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does not understand. Beyond all except- mitted to his greatgrandson, David, who ting chance aid, and continuing through- is a cousin of John Gray's, with fewer out a writer's life, are innumerable prob- red corpuscles, perhaps, and more of the lems which he can solve only by himself, natural cleavage of sainthood. Fired with and for himself, but in so far as direction fine young zeal, David sets out to study and understanding can be given by teacher for the ministry; but being at the same to learner, The Forms of Prose Literature time honest and thoughtful, he finds it seems calculated to give it.
impossible to clear a way through the Mary Tracy Earle. jungle of theological briars and under
brush through which he must pass before
he can obtain a license to preach. He THE REIGN OF LAW
finally decides that it is better to be hon
est than orthodox, and meets his pastor LL those who have known and loved A
in a lingual duel over the conflicting the language of waving wheat fields claims of rival church clans. The pastor will delight in the soft minor prelude is effectually vanquished (though he does which Mr. Allen plays upon the hemp not know it) by David's extemporised fields which furnish the text for his new catechism. The dialogue between these story, The Reign of Law, “What is that two should be read by all quiddling heresy uncertain flush low on the ground, that hunters, who are looking for somebody or irresistible rush of multitudinous green ? something to stick pins into. Poor, harA fortnight and the field is brown no ried heretics will also find it a chortling longer. Overflowing it, burying it out of bit of literature. sight, is the shallow tidal sea of the hemp When David has been expelled from the ever rippling." ..."A hundred days to Bible College for his honesty and his lift out of those tiny seed these powerful doubts, he returns home to be again constalks, hollow, hairy, covered with tough fronted by the same pathetic incapability fibre—that strength of cables when the of comprehension or appreciation in his big ships are tugged at by the joined fury parents. Of the tragic truthfulness of of wind and ocean."
this picture of the hopeless relations beAgainst the Kentucky hemp fields as a tween David and his parents how many background, Mr. Allen brings out his a son and daughter could testify ! characters, the stern pioneers who went But the hero at last reaches the proverthere to worship God according to their bial turning that belongs to the longest own light, at the same time making it lane. Around the corner of that turning very dark for those who refused to use he finds, of course, the heroine, Gabriella, their own particular brand of theological a damsel who is sweet and sound and candle. The hero of the story is first fore- sensible enough to distinguish between a shadowed in the person of his great grand- man of rare mind and character and a father, a delectable liberal who built a
parrot to an absurd and irrelevant creed. church “simply to God, and not to any David's wooing comes late in the story, man's opinion of Him.” The habit of but is carried on with fine verve, humor thinking his own thoughts, and drawing and dispatch. To tell whether his wooing his own conclusions instead of letting prospers would be a weak pampering of some one else draw them for him he trans- somebody's feminine curiosity, but a par
agraph will indicate its effect upon the THE REIGN OF Law, By James Lane Allen. Macmillan Co., illustrated, 12mo, $1.50.
hero and heroine: "He appeared to her
for the first time handsome.
He was of several recent books by Chicago writers, better looking. When one approaches the latest of which, Mr. Robert Herrick's the confines of love, one nears the borders The Web of Life, is facile princeps. It is of beauty. Nature sets going a certain a social study in the widest sense of the work of decoration, of transformation. word, and an inquiry into the attitude of Had David about this time been a grouse, the poor towards the rich, and of capital he would probably have displayed a pro- towards labor, but it is also an admirable digious ruff. Had he been a bulbul and psychological study, so far as the two continued to feel as he did, he would have women are concerned who play the rôle poured into the ear of night such rounde- of the ewig Weibliche in its pages, Mr. lays as had never been conceived of by Herrick's talent enabling him to combine that disciplined singer.”
a survey of the material interests of our The Reign of Law will especially appeal present-day life—the struggle whose goal to three classes: those who love a lover is financial success, its end often financial (and that is “all mankind”), those who failure—with the deeper things of life; in love nature, and those who are interested other words, his book is literature as well in the great drama of religious evolution, as a social study. The stock exchange with its ever-shifting scenes from the and the railway strike led by Debs and black nights of bigotry, the twilight of crushed by the Federal government furtolerance and the full dawn (which is not nish the leading incidents of his plot, but yet) of perfect liberty.
E. B. S. he has justly probed more deeply, and
brought from below the surface a young
physician, who casts in his lot with the CURRENT FICTION
masses, and against the classes. This
transfer of their allegiance by professional HICAGO has had a school of fiction men is notable also, we are told, amo
mong of its own since the publication of the younger Western clergy, who, with Mr. Fuller's “ Cliff-Dwellers,” a school educators such as Professor Herron, are whose products are well worth studying the leaders of the so-called Christian because they reflect the social and eco- socialism, which is making rapid progress nomic tendencies of the West, of which in the West. The book is a gloomy one, the East knows all too little. A growing but an able one as well, a faithful reflecdiscontent with the "existing condition tion of certain important phases, though of things,” among the educated poor as not of the whole, of the tendencies of well as the working people, is the keynote present-day American life.
THE WEB OF LIFE. By Robert Herrick. Macmillan Co., 12mo, $1.50.
ELISSA. By H. Rider Haggard. Illustrated. Longmans, Green & Co., 12mo, $1.25.
THE SECRET OF THE CRATER. By Duffield Osborne. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 12mo, $1.00.
AN UNSOCIAL SOCIALIST. By George Bernard Shaw. Brentano's, 12mno, $1.50.
EBEN HOLDEN. By Irving Bacheller. Lothrop Pub: Co., 12mo, $1.50.
DEACON BRADBURY. By Edwin Asa Dix. The Century Co., 12mo, $1.50.
POVERTY KNOB. By Sarah Warner Brooks. A. Wessels, 16mo, $1.25.
THE SEA-FARERS. By Mary Gray Morrison. Doubleday, Page & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
GEORGIE. By S. E. Kiser. Small, Maynard & Co., 12mo, $1.00.
LAUGHTER OF THE SPHINX. By Albert White Vorse. Illustrated. Drexel Biddle, 12mo, $1.25.
WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE. By Christian Reid. Marlier, Callanan & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
EDWARD BARRY. By Louis Becke. Illustrated. L. C. Page & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
THE MAN THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG. By Mark Twain. Illustrated. Harper & Bros., crown 8vo, $1.75.
THE GIRL AT THE HALFWAY House, By E. Hough. D. Appleton & Co., 12mo, $1.50.
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 Phoenicia 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 love 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 role 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 Phoenicians; 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, should navy. 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 eld 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