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In 1889 he went abroad and began the second phase of his career. In London he formed a connection with Mr. John Lane, who made Mr. Harland editor of The Yellow Book, a publication which had a wide though ephemeral vogue, and which finally gave the adjective "yellow" a new and interesting application that has been found so expressive and so useful as to have fixed itself in the English language. The Yellow Book was at times extremely "yellow"-morbid, sensational, and decadent-but Mr. Harland's own contributions to it, like the pictorial eccentricities of Mr. Aubrey Beardsley (who first became known in its pages) were conspicuously superior to the rest of what the volumes offered to the public. Mr. Harland had now acquired a good literary technique, and he wrote several books-among them Mea Culpa-which were fairly popular. But they were in the "yellow" vein, and like all such writing, ceased at last to make any general appeal. They undoubtedly represented, however, the sort of literature which by preference Mr.
Harland cared to produce; for he was deeply influenced by the contemporary French school of fiction. Nevertheless, he was shrewd enough to see that he had reached the end of that particular sort of popularity; and so after several years of rather desultory writing, he deliberately selected an entirely new manner, and gave a perfect example of it in The Cardinal's Snuffbox. This book represents a genuine tour de force, a triumph of carefully planned delicacy of style and daintiness of theme. It is, indeed, a sort of literary méringue, with no substance and no lasting flavour; but here is the light, fine-spun fluffiness of a thistledown, elusive, airy, exquisite in its way, too exquisite, in fact, with its almost impossible Italian mise en scène, its fairy princess, and its atmosphere more courtly than that of any court. But it caught the public fancy, and from its sales Mr. Harland is said to have received the sum of $70,000. He repeated his tour de force, if not his financial success, with My Friend Prospero, and The Lady Paramount. But had he lived, he would have found himself reduced to the creation of still another manner in order to keep his hold on the public. Mr. Harland had really mastered a style of great smoothness and grace and even distinction. What he most lacked in all his books save those which he produced as "Sidney Luska," was the crowning virtue of sincerity, without which no author can long maintain a faithful following.
The anecdote which we related last month about Sir Richard Jebb and Dr. Jowett has called forth a good deal of critical commentary in the press. Its accuracy is questioned, but as no two of our censors agree in their own stories, our version may be allowed to stand, especially as it is the only one that has any point to it. Like all clever sayings, this one of Jowett's has been ascribed to a number of persons. The question as to whether the characterisation of Jebb was uttered by Jowett of Balliol or by Thompson of Trinity is, however, a minor detail. The
Jebb and Jowett
interest of the story lies in the characterisation itself, which we gave as follows:
"What time he can spare from the neglect of his duties, he devotes to the adornment of his person."
Few, we think, can fail to appreciate the delicious twist contained in the first clause of this sentence. But a particularly dense Englishman writing to the Evening Post of this city over the signature of "Cantab. '76," solemnly balks at it, and misses the point altogether. Dr. Thompson, he says, would not have expressed himself so awkwardly as to speak of "time spared from the neglect. of duties." The only comment which this sapient criticism demands is an exclamation point. So here it is!
So extraordinary were the measures taken to invest Fiona MacLeod with a real personality that the William Sharp first astonishment caused and by the announcement Fiona MacLeod that the author was simply a pseudonym for William Sharp, who died in Sicily on December 12th, has given way to general expressions of scepticism. The English Who's Who has always treated Fiona MacLeod as a living person and with remarkable detail. In addition to a list of her books, it notes her favourite recreations as "sailing, hill-walks, and listening," and gives her address. There have been also many persons who, during the last few weeks, have come forward with personal letters signed by the discussed author in handwriting bearing very little resemblance to that of William Sharp. One English man of letters tells of walking with Sharp in Surrey shortly after the first Fiona MacLeod book appeared and asking him about the authorship. Sharp replied with great frankness that the author was a friend of his own, that she was the wife of a Highland laird, that she had been obliged to separate from her husband, and that she was most anxious to conceal her name, as if it were made known it
would lead to a renewal of her domestic trials. The same writer also speaks of a very celebrated author who told him. of a visit the day before from William Sharp and Fiona MacLeod and dwelt emphatically on the latter's personal
charm and cleverness. In fact there are a great many theories on the subject flying about. Many profess to believe that Fiona MacLeod was an actual person. On the other hand, some claim that Fiona MacLeod was simply the expression of a very feminine streak in Sharp's nature, and that in assuming, for the time, this identity he not only changed entirely his mood and his forms of expression, but absolutely altered his handwriting.
MISS GLASCOW'S HOME IN RICHMOND
The old Virginia home of Miss Ellen Glasgow, whose new novel, The Wheel of Life. will be reviewed later, is one of the stately residences of Richmond, and is situated at No I West Main Street in that city. It is there that Miss Glasgow spent her girlhood and wrote her most successful books. Unlike many successful novelists, Miss Glasgow spends much of her time at home. Except for an occasional trip abroad, her life has been passed in Richmond.
it a good many times, he started up in a fit of disgust to throw it into the fire. An intimate friend of his, Mr. Edward Rawnsley, begged to see the poem, and was struck by its beauty. With much difficulty he persuaded the Laureate that it was really worth keeping, and so it was finally published. We need not say that this wonderful little cascade of melody is the only part of "The Brook" which everyone remembers and delights in, both when read and also when sung to the accompaniment of Pinsuti's descriptive, tinkling music.
It is, in fact, Tennyson's lyrics that have done most to win him fame. Having already suggested one topic as a possible one for a literary explorer, we now venture to propose another to any critic in search of a suggestive theme,
and that is the subtle resemblance between Tennyson and Kipling in their purely lyrical verse. This resemblance is sometimes startling to those who know them both, or who know either of them well; but it is a rather elusive thing when one tries to analyse its nature. The other day, to a group of young men of literary tastes, some one recited the following lines:
"Thy voice is heard through rolling drums That beat to battle where he stands; Thy face across his fancy comes
And gives the battle to his hands.
"One moment, while the trumpets blow,
He sees his brood about thy knee;
And strikes him dead for thine and thee."
The reciter then asked casually: "Who
wrote that?" There was a moment's pause, and at last one of the group answered rather slowly, "Why, Kipling; only I can't seem to remember where." Then everyone chimed in, "Oh, yes, Kipling." But of course it wasn't Kipling at all, but one of the intercalated lyrics in The Princess, supposed to be sung by Lilla. Yet it is extraordinarily Kiplingesque, only we fancy that Kipling would have increased the alliteration in the line next to the last, and would have written"Then fierce as fire he fronts the foe."
By the way, a clever friend of ours has suggested a vast improvement in the famous closing closing line of Tennyson's commemorative poem on Vergil. The original reads:
"Wielder of the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man."
That word "wielder" has always troubled us; and our discriminating friend suggests "master" as a preferable reading. It really is; for it gives an alliterative prominence to the four metrically important places in the line.