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Baron Komura dramatically withdraw
quered. And so Baron Komura withdrew his demand for money, and made peace, and the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed; and a few days later the terms of the new Anglo-Japanese alliance were given to the world. But the average American will continue to believe that Mr. Roosevelt did it all as a summer pastime, dragging the Bird of Peace to Portsmouth by the neck. This sort of thing gratifies the national pride. It is also simple and easy to understand, and the popular mind always takes the line of least resistance. The whole thing is most instructive, for it shows how the history that is taught in schools is made.
A little while ago there appeared in the literary column of the New York Tribune a review of the Williamsons' My Friend the Chauffeur. It was not an enthusiastic review; in fact, the writer seemed to be in a disgruntled and irritated mood. My Friend the Chauffeur was pronounced a pretty poor sort of book, and anyway, there were entirely too many automobile stories, and people were growing tired. Thus we see that even in fiction the motor-car is a subject conducive to extremes. She The reviewer in question was simply touched by motorphobia, and had the Williamsons written with the pen of men and of angels, it would have made little difference. When a reviewer with motorphobia in his blood hears the toot of the horn and sees the motor-car come spinning down the highway of fiction, he feels it his duty to spread a few literary horseshoe nails and bits of broken glass across the road.
As a matter of fact, the grumble that people are growing tired of automobile stories is very far from the truth indeed. The man or woman who can spin a clever yarn with an automobile as the real hero, and bring in enough allusions to sooty spark-plugs, defective insulation, stripped gears and imperfect timing to satisfy the taste for local colour, need not look far for a market. In probably two-thirds
of the magazine offices in the country a writer will be greeted with "Bring us in a good automobile story-that is what our readers want nowadays." And no motorphobiacal review will prevent a book like My Friend the Chauffeur from winning an immediate place among the best sellers. This third story from these clever collaborators is very much better than The Princess Passes, and almost if not quite as good as The Lightning Conductor. It is the same old story-the gentleman turned chauffeur under a little different circumstances and in different surroundings. But the whole subject is handled so cleverly that you are never irritated by the repetition. The yarn grows out of an advertisement in an English paper printed in the Riviera to the effect that an amateur automobilist (English, titled) wishes to conduct two or three ladies, Americans preferred, to any picturesque centres in Europe for a consideration of five guineas a day each. This advertisement leads to a series of striking complications and adventures, culminating in a highly coloured abduction. There is an ethereal heroine with a giddy and light-headed aunt, an incorrigible American girl of seventeen, who is supposed to be thirteen for her mother's sake, a villainous Austrian prince and his browbeaten chauffeur, and finally the first and second heroes, Lord Terence Barrymore and Sir Ralph Moray. A thoroughly amusing book. Read it.
We offer the same advice in regard to Baby Bullet, by Mr. Lloyd Osbourne, whose series of short stories, Motormaniacs, we mentioned a few months ago. Two American ladies, Miss Christine Schell, aged thirty-five, and Miss Essy Lockhart, aged nineteen, are trudging dustily along a British highway when Baby Bullet comes into their lives. The Baby is a French car of an obsolete type which a week before had been raffled off at a charity bazaar. The subsequent efforts of the unfortunate winner have been towards deserting the car in such a way that it cannot be returned to him, and when Miss Schell asks him to give it to her he grasps the opportunity with
enthusiastic alacrity and dashes off with long kangaroo leaps for fear that she may change her mind. Then, through the agency of Baby Bullet, there come into the lives of these two women the great sixty horse-power "Gee Whiz" and its owner, Mr. Mortimer Sutphen, and the resourceful and devoted M. Alphonse Talieferro Bocher. And together the two cars roam over England and bring romance and happiness into four hitherto incomplete lives. In addition to gifts as a straight story teller, Mr. Osbourne possesses to a high degree a talent for happy allusion, for odd and delightful little turns of the imagination. For instance:
and the stanza from the "Iuliæ et Mallii Epithalamium,"
"Torquatus, volo, parvulus Matris e gremio suæ Porrigens teneras manus Dulce rideat ad patrem, Semihiante labello."
Thackeray answered, "I do not rate him highly. I could do better myself." Next morning Tennyson received this apology:
MY DEAR ALFRED: I awoke at two o'clock, and in a sort of terror at a certain speech I had made about Catullus. When I have dined, sometimes I believe myself to be equal to the greatest painters and poets. That delusion goes off; and then I know what a small fiddle mine is and what small tunes I play upon it. It was very generous of you to give me an opportunity of recalling a silly speech; but at the time I thought I was making a perfectly simple and satisfactory observation. Thus far I must unbus'm myself: though why should I be so uneasy at having made a conceited speech? It is conceited not to wish to seem conceited. With which I conclude,
À propos of Thackeray we are reproducing a picture of a Thackeray corner -that of Mr. Hiram Heaton of Amherst, Massachusetts-which is in many ways unique, and of which some of the details will arouse the envy of the bibliographer. In addition to the portraits and pamphlets the Corner contains about one hundred and twenty-five volumes. One of these, the famous Flore and Zephir, was picked up by the owner of the Corner many years ago for one dollar. The "Daly" copy sold for eight hundred and fifty dollars, which was not considered at all an exorbitant price. Another volume, The Second Funeral of Napoleon, was bought two years ago for six dollars and fifty cents. The copy is flawless, with the original paper covers. This edition has sold for three hundred dollars. Another treasure of the Corner is an autograph letter of Thackeray's which has never been published, and which shows the great satirist's keen
relish of that form of humour to which the French apply the phrase pince sans rire.
A good deal of comment has been devoted by French critics to a lately published book on Victor Hugo and Madame Juliette Drouet. AlMadame Drouet. though written by an Englishman, Mr. H. W. Wack, the volume has been rather carefully analysed by M. Jules Claretie, who has shown that some of the material contained in it is not entirely authentic, though Mr. Wack's good faith is not called into question. But after reading the chapters, one can scarcely share Mr. Wack's enthusiastic assertion that "the loves of Victor and Juliette are pathetic in their fervour and constancy, and deserve to be recorded on the same scroll with the attachment of Abélard to Héloise, Petrarch to Laura, Dante to Beatrice." The answer to this is, "Hardly!" Juliette Drouet was a rather commonplace Frenchwoman of a very usual type, an actress of mediocre gifts. Hugo, as a young man, became infatuated with her, and she received his devotion with a half-amused, good-natured tolerance such as a woman who is thoroughly rusée shows to the ardour of inexperience. She was, in fact, a French Fotheringay, without the virtue of Captain Costigan's large-eyed, placid daughter. She made no pretence of being faithful to Hugo during the early period of their intimacy. Later, when he was famous and she was faded, their attitudes were reversed. It was then she who clung to him with intense affection, while he had many other loves. But the lives of the two were linked together after a fashion, and to the end they were never separated. Madame Drouet occupied a house not far from Hugo's, and Madame Hugo received her without any display of jealousy. "How very French!" the Anglo-Saxon reader will exclaim; and it must be admitted that so peculiar a ménage would scarcely have been recognised by society in any other Western country. Yet the French themselves regarded it as remarkable, and always