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Mr. H. Rider Haggard has built a ro- cause he has fallen in love with the daughmance upon the ruins of Zimbabwe, in ter of the Phænician ruler, and walks southern Central Africa, the remains of straight into a web of intrigue, enmity, what is supposed to have been the Ophir and superstition, for the service of Moloch of the Bible, and takes us back into the still prevails there, and the high priest is days when Phænicia was still great, and mightier than the head of the State. HuIsrael still rang with the glory of the Wise man sacrifice, also, has been retained in King. He is not an archæologist nor, in the pagan ritual, but the offering of any way a finished literary artist; therefore maidens is made upon a magnificent scale; we find here much incongruity between they are offered to the god of the crater. the methods of thought and expression of We must not divulge more of the plot, his classic Phonicians and Hebrews, and which is the greater part of the book. the traditional dignity which we have Mr. Osborne has told a story of adventure come to ascribe to them in action and that in these days of many of its school word. On the other hand, Elissa has a has the merit of being original and out of good plot, and a great deal of action, in
the common. cluding, of course, considerable fighting. The success of a reprint of Mr. George The lore interest, too, is well handled. Bernard Shaw's capital story, “ Cashel The second tale in the volume, Black Byron's Profession," has led its publishers Heart and White Heart, is a Zulu idyl to offer to the public a new edition of anof the present day, or, at least, of the days other of the gifted Irishman's four novels, preceding Cetewayo's fall. The deterio- An Unsocial Socialist. Here we have Mr. rating influence of close intercourse with Shaw at his wildest in a reckless farce of an inferior race upon the white man is social theories, satire and argumenta ad illustrated forcibly in this book. Mr. homines, which fails as a tract, for which Haggard is an authority on South African it was unquestionably intended, because conditions; therefore we must accept his its author, even in those early days, cared account of cannibalism there. Witch- more for clever paradoxes than for theocraft, too, plays a rôle in the episode that ries or propaganda. The novel is unlike ends with the death of the degraded Eng- anything that ever has been written or lishman, who is the foil for the magnifi- ever will be—an excellent means to pass cent Zulu warrior, whose heart, not his, is away a few idle hours, provided one be white.
willing to accept the far-from-pleasant Mr. Haggard takes his readers to the unsocial socialist without inquiry into his ancient Phænicians; Mr. Duffield Os- nature, and to smother the inevitable conborne, in The Secret of the Crater, re- clusion that he was half insane. His atdiscovers the Englishmen of antiquity tacks upon the merchant prince, who was upon an island in the Pacific in the first his father, are forcible enough, however. half of the present century. Mr. Osborne Beer,” he says somewhere in the book, has the advantage of Mr. Haggard in “is the chloroform that enables the laborer ancient lore, obtained, perhaps, in part to endure the severe operation of living; from Gustave Flaubert, whom we may, that is why we can always assure one anindeed, accept as an unimpeachable au- other over our wine that the rascal's misthority, but the story is the thing with ery is due to his habit of drinking. We him, and it is a good one. The island is are down on him for it because, if he discovered by a ship of the old American could bear his life without beer, we should nary. One of its lieutenants deserts, be- save his beer money-get him for lower
wages. In short, we should be richer and material; God has obligations towards he soberer."
him, he feels, because he has ever obeyed There is not quite enough of Eben his Word. This is the dramatic central Holden in the book that bears his pame
idea of the book, followed in all its ramito justify the bestowal upon him of that fications towards the heart of the man's honor, but, for all that, Mr. Irving nature, handled strongly, consistently, and Bacheller has written an interesting sketch convincingly. The repressed tenderness of the life of the descendants of the men of the New England character, more inwho, in the last century, began to move tense, perhaps, for its forbidden expreswestward from Vermont into the Adiron- sion, is gradually brought to the surface dack region. The hardy, strong race of by misfortunes that try the metal of its farmers is sketched here as it lived and sternness. Mr. Dix styles his book “A won its living in the second quarter of Novel.” He should have called it “A this century, an unmistakable note of au- Study.” It is an excellent one. tobiography running through it all. Mr. We are taken still farther East in “ PovBacheller takes Eben Holden's young erty Knob,” by Sarah Warner Brooks, a ward to New York, introduces him to collection of sketches of the Maine coast, Horace Greeley, sends him off to the war, and the islands that dot it. Mrs. Brooks makes him the hero of Bull Run, and —there can be no doubt about the prefix, brings him back to the girl he left be. since her factotum, the fisherman Elkanah, hind him, a daughter of the “North called her Miss Warner in the days when Country.” The book has merit as a study she heard these tales-has had the courof a race of men, and of customs that age and the wisdom to reserve her best are rapidly changing under the in- things for the latter part of her book. fluence of modern conditions. It deals Three of her stories deal with mysterious with externals rather than with analysis dwellers on the islands, and the prevalent of the traits of character it describes, local tolerance of neglect of the marriage but the picture is none the less easily ceremony; there is a good tale of the wife interpreted.
of a lighthouse keeper, left alone on her A far deeper study of the New England rock, with scant supplies, during a two character is found in Deacon Bradbury, weeks' storm; an episode in lighter vein is by Edwin Asa Dix. The episode that “The Tramp from Bar Harbor," whose gives the author a pretext for his remark- road leads him into a corner of sunshiny able picture of the old, sound, grim New England life; while, finally, the old Puritan substratum upon which rests the superstition that shipwrecked people bring character of the Vermont farmer and ill-luck to those who rescue and harbor deacon, is somewhat far-fetched, and, in- them is proved to be true in the last story deed, decidedly improbable, but the reader of the bundle. will care little for that. Deacon Brad- Mary Gray Morrison has made an atbury himself is the book-a splendid tempt in her first novel, The Sea-Farers, picture of rugged moral strength and to blend the New England of the fifties rectitude, but also of conscious merit. with piracy in the Mediterranean, with This God-fearing man rebels when the only indifferent results. Her plot dehand of misfortune rests upon him; he serves the respect due to age, for one has not deserved this at the hands of the readily discovers under his new disguise Supreme Being whom he has served faith- the wild son who runs away from home, fully for many years in matters moral and falls into bad company, becomes an out
law, returns to extort money from his and furnishes many an opportunity for a father, and drags into his reckless exist, hearty laugh. ence the daughter of his father's friend. A new field in fiction, and a temporary As a whole, the book is unsatisfactory, but monopoly thereof, is something that many it contains passages that are not without a writer must sigh for in vain. Mr. Albert merit. The old general, a veteran of the White Vorse discovered such a field within Mexican war, the soul of honor, is a worthy the larger one of arctic exploration; as mate for so many of his martial colleagues one of his characters says, in his bundle in English fiction; his son, on the other of stories of the farthest North, “the hand, is an original study and well done. public never gets the inside history of an But best of all are the pictures of life arctic expedition.” It is just this inside among the better classes in New England history that Mr. Vorse tells in Laughter of towns half a century ago, when the old the Sphinx. The narratives of leaders, conditions were already changing, though who treat of their expeditions as homogetradition opposed the innovation warn- neous bodies, and deal largely with results, ingly. The author has not done so well ignore the warring individualities that go with her material as she should have done; to make up their following, the jealousies but then, this is her first effort, and one of the scientists, the friction of tempers not without promise.
irritated by monotony, eternal silence and Mr. S. E. Kiser's volume of newspaper unrelieved darkness. Mr. Vorse deals sketches, Georgie, should have been called with these details to the entertainment “Georgie's Paw and Maw,” for all the and instruction of his readers. The Eskiyoungster with his ingeniously consistent mos, too, come in for their share of origisystem of weird phonetic spelling does is nal comment; to Mr. Vorse they are not to record the doings of his father and his subjects for ethnological study and the mother's comments thereon. But this is display of ethnographic erudition, but huan utterly unimportant detail, for Georgie man beings, with our own emotions, viris really clever in a popular way, dealing tues and shortcomings. We need hardly with the happenings in the every-day life add that he writes from the fulness of exof the average American, whose existence perience, for he was a member of the would be rather uneventful but for the Peary relief expedition. These tales origihumor he finds in it, or furnishes for his nally appeared in the pages of some of our neighbors. “Paw” nails up shelves that leading periodicals; they can be recomtumble down, paints a porch, puts up an mended, in their permanent form, to those awning, takes his children to the circus in search of something entirely new in for his own amusement, buys a dog, en- fiction, based upon interesting and unters politics, goes shopping, discusses the common facts. events of the day and the discoveries of The love of money is certainly the root science, while “Maw” is quietly amused of all evil in Christian Reid's Weighed in at his doings and sayings, or provoked by the Balance, but it leaves untouched the them—it is all so patently the old mate- heiress herself, who restores the balance rial of the newspaper humorist, yet Mr. by being Quixotically conscientious in the Kiser gives it a decided air of novelty, interest of another heir, and unamenable no small task, and one worthy of the ap- to legal reason.
The tale is a long one, preciation he received when these sketches without great pretense, but well told and first appeared in two Western newspapers. ingeniously planned; and if it does not He is genuinely amusing from first to last, lead us ad astra, it at least takes us to a
is the paper,
moral hill-top where the air is pure and one woman in an acceptable manner to wholesome. Death too often cuts the allow of the bestowal of the other on the Gordian knot for novelists who have en- hero. The book is indifferently written, tangled the web of life of their characters yet there is undeniable fascination in the beyond unraveling. It is so here; why, development and culmination of its plot. we fail to see, for Father Thorne loses Mark Twain has gathered together from thereby a possible convert, the moral the pages of different American periodiawakening of the heiress's worldly wooer cals the stories, sketches, and more seribeing of too recent an origin to outlive ous papers that have come from his pen in long its cause his love for her. Chris
recent years. The Man that corrupted tian Reid is not a new-comer in the field, Hadleyburg gives its name to the collecas his title-page shows. We do not know tion, which includes also the “ Private if we are justified in identifying him with History of the 'Jumping Frog' Story," the priest who copyrighted his story. If and the notable “My Début as a Literary we are, there must be added to the list of Person.” Of most importance, probably, novelists of the Roman Catholic cloth a
Concerning the Jews," writer who strives to teach lessons worth while that “About Play-Acting" may learning by Christians of all creeds, while well be read from time to time by those not forgetting that it is the first duty of who view with concern the tendencies of the calling which with him is but an avo- our stage. Mark Twain's humor has cation to entertain his readers, and to
grown more quiet with the passing of the hold their interest.
years, but more subtle as well, more phiLouis Becke has hitherto not relied losophical, with a substratum of wisdom solely upon the romantic quality of his that gives a higher value to the fun. To material, but enhanced its value by care- praise Mark Twain would be little short ful, artistic workmanship. It is not so of impertinence. We accept him in his with Edward Barry, South Sea Pearler, robust, sturdy maturity, with respect for which looks very much like a careful first his point of view, and thankfulness for his sketch of a novel to be elaborated, but never-failing humor. He is among the which, even in its present form, is rattling writers whom America has given to the good reading. The strange, adventurous world, a finished artist whose Tom Sawlife of the Pacific, its dangers and lawless- yer and Huckleberry Finn are respectness, have been enıployed by Mr. Becke fully recalled to the memory of those with good results; his characters are suffi- zealous literary sportsmen who amuse ciently interesting to carry on the tale, themselves by hunting for the “Great though merely sketched in on the simple American Novel.” plan of endowing the hero with all the In “The Story of the Cowboy" Mr. E. virtues, and the villain with all the vices Hough wrote down his name indelibly in and crimes of the calendar. That villain the list of the historians of the West. He is all that can be desired, a polished mur- has enlarged his field in his first novel, derer, pirate and plotter, a gentleman in The Girl at the Halfway House, which is word and bearing, suave amid the low- a chronicle of the development of the bred villains who are his associates. The West after the Civil War, when from love affair, without which but few tales of North, East and South the hardy survivadventure are complete, is “polished off” ors of that tremendous trial of the fittest in an easy-going, practical way, that fur- emigrated to the new country, to build nishes no complications, and disposes of homes there and a new empire. The story
is episodical, its four books dealing suc- troduction to his book of three stories,
periments are unsuccessful. The touch is
heavy. Theories, not characters, remain MORE LITERARY PIECE-WORK in the mind after one lays the book down.
“A Homburg Story,” on the contrary, HEN a writer accomplishes what has movement and plot, therefore interest.
he sets out to accomplish, the The success of the book lies in the fact critic must call his work successful. If that in the end the reader thinks of the he hedges his stories around by the cau- problems suggested in exactly the way tion that the reader is to expect essays
that the author intended him to think. done into the form of fiction, the reader Whether he cares for the stories or not, he cannot complain that his expectations finds himself revolving in his mind the have not been realized. This caution Dr. ideas which they contain. The French Charles Waldstein throws out in the in- phrases and the introductory eulogistic
lines regarding the author's work might OF THINGS. By Charles Waldstein.
well have been omitted. Small, Maynard & Co., 12mo, $1.25.
There is a certain incongruity between
the green and gold cover of Maria Louise THE QUEEN'S TWIN AND OTHER STORIES. By Sarah Pool's book of posthumous stories, A Orne Jewett. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 12mo, $1.25.
Widower and Some Spinsters and the picThe Loom OF DESTINY. By Arthur J. Stringer. Small,
ture of her plain, unlovely home in RockMaynard & Co., 12mo, $1.25.
land, Massachusetts. Such stories as hers, MR. JACK HAMLIN'S MEDIATION AND OTHER STORIES. By Bret Harte. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 12mo, $1.25.
too, should be bound in homespun to A New DIVINITY AND OTHER STORIES. By “Chola."
match the kind of life which she porLongmans, Green & Co., 8vo, $1.00.
trayed. That life most of us must take THE WIFE OF His YOUTH AND OTHER STORIES. By on faith unless we are almost coming to Charles W. Chesnutt. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 8vo, $1.50.
believe that we have experienced it,