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Deniker and Grosse. The customs of painting the body and of tattooing, common throughout the primitive world, were followed among the early Egyptians; and various forms of stone implements, adorned, like many other objects, with forms of animals often extremely conventionalised, were used in the prePharaonic period. Striking, too, is the existence of "alphabetiform" signs, a circumstance which may render necessary a revision of some of the current views of the origin of the alphabet. The various forms of personal adornment and of pottery are discussed in detail and fully illustrated with a wealth of example. A word of praise should be said for the admirable work of the translator of the book, Miss Griffith, so that her version reads like a bit of original English. Early Egyptian civilisation was African, overlaid by the culture of Semites, who probably entered the Delta by way of Arabia. The author's conclusion may best be summed up in his own words: "Egyptian art, as it is revealed to us at the commencement of the fourth dynasty, appears to be composed of various elements. Primitive art, which had its birth in the north of Africa and developed during the course of centuries, was only to a small extent affected by foreign influences (Ægean and Anu?). . . . The second element is the art of the Pharaonic Egyptians, of which the earliest stages of evolution still completely evade
When it reaches Egypt it is thoroughly fixed, and serves to express religious conceptions of advanced development, which survive in Egypt, with only very slight modifications, until the close of the Pharaonic period."
L. H. G.
JAMES HUNEKER'S "VISIONARIES."* Partisans of the "safe and sane" policy in fiction will not view with joy the publication of Mr. James Huneker's new volume of short stories. For justification of their displeasure-and, perhaps, of the delight of certain readers with different tastes there is conveniently at hand the single word "morbid." It is the com*Visionaries. By James Huneker. York: Charles Scribner's Sons. $1.50.
monest slurring designation of an original author who has the impudence to write what he thinks and feels. Mr. Huneker, indeed, has himself borne the stigma before this. The memory is still fresh of an earlier volume of stories: a book of "Melomaniacs," in which were set forth with sardonic exactitude certain life-size portraits of the unrestrained artistic temperament. The "Visionaries" of the new book are of the same breed as the musicmad creatures of the old-people with obsessions, slaves of ideas, victims of strange outcroppings of bizarre passions. And these are dangerous people to put into fiction. The army of readers who always quarrel with an artist for not doing what he never intended to do are ready with their "Morbid! Unwholesome! Why doesn't he write real stories?"—that is, two-by-four stories, not seven-by-nine.
There is, perhaps, some excuse for this attitude towards an author so un-American as Mr. Huneker. He is Celtic in his wit, his high spirits, his occasional bravado, his inconsequence; in his literary faiths, his artistic ideals, he is French-never more so than in Visionaries. The motto of the book is French; it is dedicated to a Frenchman-"mon cher maître, Remy de Gourmont;" many of the characters and most of the ideas are French; above all, the type of the stories is distinctly Gallic. Mr. Huneker deliberately uses fiction as a vehicle for conveying ideas. It is not the English way. It is the French, and more particularly the modern French, way, of which Anatole France is the supreme exponent. There is character in plenty in these stories, thoughtfully conceived, brilliantly realised; but created with a purpose which is almost always explicit. There is none of the photographic reproduction, the apparently haphazard selection of the realist. The man who writes thus is more philosopher or critic than reporter.
Mr. Huneker is indeed prodigal of ideas; his is a brain restlessly active, erupting suggestive speculations. He is something more than ultra-modern in his attitude; a neo-romanticist, capable of throwing out the most revolutionary opinions with a laugh at their absurdity.
cess of sheer fantasy. "The Tune of Time" is madness run riot, and the dénouement of "The Tragic Wall" rings false. Yet there is a fascination in their wild eccentricity that draws you on in spite of your judgment.
In face of all the keen enjoyment one derives from the reading of such a stimulating and original book, there remains a residuum of disappointment to be accounted for. Perhaps it is that Mr. Huneker, with all his skill in evoking moods, misses the obvious dramatic note. It is here that he falls behind his master, Anatole France. A heartier, more robust imagination, a more flexible and picturesque style, a greater nervous and propulsive force back of his ideas—all these are in his favour. But he knows not the refinement, the subtle irony of the Frenchman, nor his skill in indicating the development of a motive. His fine gift of expression is pictorial. He can represent a soul-state often with unerring accuracy and acumen; but his personages do not progress under our eyes. To adapt a phrase of the day, his is the "static" short story. Whether this is an inherent limitation of his talent or an incident of his deliberate choice of subject and form, it is not the time to say. The question will be put to the test should he ever attempt a novel. But with every limitation of Mr. Huneker's creative faculty recognised and even exaggerated, the conviction remains that his is an artistic individuality of rare potency and of welcome value to American letters.
Edward Clark Marsh.
Back of his intimate and individual style the man is rather inscrutable. It would be dangerous to label his speculations as convictions. A sceptic, he is tremendously under the influence of Catholicism. "The Third Kingdom," an amazing scenario of the world-drama, makes Christianity the fruit of cold-blooded scheming by the arch impostor of history. Yet in "An Iron Fan" he comes back to the irresistible dominion of the Christian religion: "The Galilean is our Master." He is fecund of bizarre suggestions and prophecies: that perfume is the art of the future; that pyrotechny is the art of the future; that lunatics are your only sane men; that the anti-Christ is to come; that the duel of the sexes is eternal; that in years to come the Japanese will give us our great pianists.
The habitual reader of American magazines may well ask what all these theories and speculations, æsthetic, theological, metaphysical, are doing in a volume of short stories. Mr. Huneker's definition of fiction is evidently a broad one, and he pours into the familiar mould metal that is commonly cast elsewhere. Yet it would be unfair to imply that he cannot tell a story without a text. There are tales in this book as innocent of purpose or problem as the veriest magazine trifle. But they are fantastic affairs, French again in imaginative quality; exuberant fancies of a man who loves to write, who creates dazzling shapes and colours of human life and tosses them off carelessly as soap-bubbles. They are disappointing as soap-bubbles, too; they soar and gleam for a moment and end in nothing. Yet these fantastic tales approach
nearer to our every-day standards of good KATHERINE CECIL THURSTON'S "THE fiction than the more serious studies, and they contain some of the best writing Mr. Huneker has ever done. There is genuine human pathos in the single-minded devotion of the waiter in "The Purse of Aholibah," in which the imagery of Swinburne's fine poem is audaciously paralleled. In "A Mock Sun," the study of the poet-egotist-Maeterlinck and D'Annunzio rolled into one-could not be better. "The Haunted Harpsichord" is boisterously effective burlesque, "The Enchanted Yodler" whimsical humour. Sometimes the effect evaporates in an ex
Reading The Gambler, one is charmed by the haunting familiarity of the faces, that at the same time have individual traits of their own. So the first part of the book is Middlemarch with an Irish setting. Here again is the old, ineffectual antiquarian, not quite so selfish as Casaubon and with distinctly better manners. Like Casaubon, he is married to a girl thirty years his junior, and in the
*The Gambler. By Katharine Cecil Thurston. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1905.
first imperious glow of youth that makes age, as age, distasteful-only here the sacrifice is prompted by a dead father's obligations. A little later the scene is shifted, and the young wife meets her Lord Steyne. And what a subtle bit of character drawing is this later Lord Steyne, from his scented milk bath in the morning and the costly perfume of his clothes, to his cold eyes that narrow with desire, and his lips that leave a lingering chill on the hand they kiss! Then comes the virtuous hero-why do "lady novelists" make masculine virtue so unattractive?-and he is nothing but a slight reflex of Jacob Delafield in Lady Rose's Daughter, not more of a prig, for that would be beyond human possibility, but with the same pervasive atmosphere of moral rectitude, quite the same inflexible, self-sufficing, wooden virtue. Finally, appears the little dea ex machina, who is perfect as only a sweet Irish girl can be perfect, and who averts inevitable disaster and brings all to a happy ending, after the time-honoured fashion of Greek comedy.
The chief merits of the book lie, it seems to us, in the Irish setting of the first part, where the mystical "untouched" aspect of land and sea, the peculiar fascination of place and people breathe from the pages; and second, the occasional touches that show a grasp of situation almost careless in its complete mastery-for example, the way the dog Mick is brought into the three crises of the heroine's life. His first appearance explains the fifteen-year-old girl so thoroughly that one is tempted to quote it. James Milbanke, the elderly archæologist, has gone down to the southeast coast of Ireland to explore some ancient ruins near Corrigmore. He has been entertained the night before by an old college friend, Dennis Asshlin, and has had sufficient opportunity to judge of the degeneration in Asshlin, brought about by hard drinking and by gambling. At ten in the morning there is to be a race between Clodagh, the elder of Asshlin's two daughters, and her cousin Larry, and Milbanke is chosen umpire. In his excitement for there really is "a shred or two of frail humanity in him"-Milbanke drops his handkerchief as the two
near his mound, Clodagh's mare shies the least bit, and in that lost second Larry's cob dashes past her and wins the race. But Clodagh will not have the race called off, and goes towards the house, followed by Milbanke:
His crossing of the fields was measured and methodical, and he had barely come within sight of the arched gateway of the yard when Clodagh reappeared-this time on foot. The tail of her habit was tucked under one arm, and the struggling form of an Irish terrier was held firmly under the other.
She came straight forward in his direction, and reaching him, would have passed on without speaking. But he halted in front of her. "Miss Clodagh," he said, "you are hurt and disappointed."
Clodagh averted her eyes.
Can't I do some
"Miss Clodagh, you are. thing?"
Then at last she looked at him. Her cheeks were burning and her eyes were brimming with tears that only pride held back.
"It isn't the old race," she said, defiantly. "It's it's Mick." Two tears suddenly welled over and dropped on the red head of the dog, who responded with an adoring look from his beautiful eyes and a wild attempt to lick her face.
"Oh, I've had him since he was six weeks old," she cried impulsively. "I've reared him and trained him myself. He knows every word I say."
Milbanke suddenly looked relieved.
"Is that all?" he exclaimed cheerfully. "Is that all? We'll soon put that right. Keep your dog. I'll settle matters with your cousin." He glanced back across the fields to where Larry was walking the cob to and fro.
But Clodagh's face expressed intense surprise.
"But you don't understand," she said. "Mick was the stake. 'Twas a fair race and Larry won. Mick is is Larry's now." He laughed a little.
"Oh, nonsense! You raced for fun!" "Yes, for the best fun we could get," she said seriously. "That's why we staked what we cared most about. Don't you understand?"
For the moment her grief was merged in
unaffected surprise at his lack of comprehension.
But Milbanke was staring at her interestedly. The scene at the breakfast-table, and with it Asshlin's offended pride and ridiculous dignity, had risen before him with her soft, surprised tone, her wide incredulous gaze. With total unconsciousness she was voicing the sentiments of her race. An Asshlin might neglect everything else in the world, but his debts of honour were sacred things.
He looked more closely at the pretty, distressed face, at the brimming eyes and resolutely set lips.
"And simply because you staked him," he said, "you intend to lose the dog?"
Clodagh caught her breath and a fresh tear fell on Mick's head; then with a defiant lifting of the chin she started forward across the field.
""Twas a fair race," she said in an unsteady voice.
Three years later, Mick reappears. Dennis Asshlin has been killed by a fall from his horse and has left his penniless children to Milbanke's care. With the infinite tact of her race, Hannah, the old serving-woman of the Asshlins, puts the idea of marrying Clodagh into Milbanke's mind. At first Clodagh is simply horrified; then the knowledge of her entire dependence upon Milbanke, broken to her as usual none too gently, by relatives, nerves her to make the sacrifice. There is never any illusion. She loves all that is "young, strong and beautiful, and Milbanke is old, pathetically old and well preserved." As they are being driven to the station after their marriage, Larry brings Mick to her for a wedding present.
"While the horses covered a quarter of a mile she sat without movement or speech. But at last, lifting his great adoring eyes to her face, Mick ventures to touch her hand with a warm, reminding tongue. The gentle appeal of the action—the hundred memories it evoked -was instantaneous and supreme. In a sudden, irrepressible tide, her grief, her uncertainty of the future, her homesickness inundated her soul. With a quick gesture she flung away both pride and restraint, and hiding her face against the dog's rough coat, I cried as if she had been a child."
The next few chapters find Clodagh in Italy. But Mrs. Thurston's Italy is hard and unconvincing, quite devoid of the intimate charm of her Ireland. And the reckless, unscrupulous, pleasure-loving set to which the heroine is now introduced is much more displeasing than it is meant to be, for its central figure, Lady Frances Hope, speaks continually of people's "social position." It is here that Clodagh meets the insidious Lord Deerehurst and is scolded by Sir Walter Gore, the Galahad of that disreputable crew. In good time, too, Milbanke dies, and his charming widow returns to England and her old associates, after turning other people's heads and emptying her own purse at Monte Carlo. The gambling instinct in her blood has asserted itself; and, like a true Asshlin, her enjoyment of a game is proportional to her lossesand she always loses. But her sincerity is never open to question until after she becomes engaged, in spite of all the machinations of Lady Frances, to Walter Gore. Her financial straits, which one understands and sympathises with, have led her, at an ill-advised moment, to borrow a thousand pounds from Lord Deerehurst, and he, like the old reprobate he is, follows up his advantage in every possible way. The author makes it quite clear that Clodagh had no notion of what that advantage would be, but Gore had said to her at the time of their engagement, "Not one of these people is anything to you-in any way?" And she had answered, "Not one of them is anything to me-in any way." Even if this could be condoned, on the ground that, as a very clever woman once said, "Men, like children, ought to be told, not what they want to know, but what they should know," Clodagh's subsequent actions, surely, cannot. We are asked to believe that she was deeply and truly in love with Gore "There was, of course, her daily letter from Gore the most precious thing in her existence-and there was also her daily letter to him. But even a woman in love cannot read and write -or even dream-all day, and in the intervals of idleness there invariably seemed to be-Deerehurst." Now we don't wish to be unreasonable. Clodagh could not be rude to Lord Deerehurst,
for she had no means of paying him until her half-yearly income arrived; but she very evidently enjoyed seeing him, enjoyed riding with him, and all the while she was telling Gore that he was "the only person in the world," that "no one else existed," and it is simply impossible to think that she meant it.
The end came, as it must inevitably come, through the kind offices of Lady Frances, and Gore sent a letter to Clo-, dagh, beginning abruptly without any address (why should a man be obliged to leave off the address?), and breaking their engagement in words whose hardness and cruelty matched the slight of the omitted address. This letter found Clodagh back in Ireland, and its effect would have been most disastrous had not Nance, the little sister who was so sweet and wise and dear, told Gore the whole truth and got him to send a telegram recalling the letter. Clodagh had gone to the edge of the rock, where her father had met his death six years before, and had closed her eyes for the final plunge, when the telegram-and Mick-brought her back to life and happiness.
We cannot refrain, in closing, from saying a word about the illustrations, which seem the unkindest that ever were made for a book. Besides being so inappropriate that they might have been cut out of the "society page" of a Sunday newspaper, they are awkward and ugly to the last degree. In one of them a woman is holding a cigarette as though it were a large salt-cellar, while another is, apparently, preparing to leap over a chair. In a second, which is meant to represent Lord Deerehurst pressing the cheque for a thousand pounds upon Clodagh, a man is bending forward with a piece of cake in his hand, while a woman seated in front of him is openly winking at a third person just outside the picture. In another a woman is running full tilt into a closed door, with her scarf streaming from under her arm like a fat umbrella, and so with all the rest. If The Gambler, which is a better book than The Masquerader, shall prove to be less popular, we shall personally ascribe the fact to the very unfortunate illustrations that misrepresent the text.
R. W. Kemp.
MRS. WHARTON'S "THE HOUSE OF MIRTH."
The House of Mirth is the title which Mrs. Wharton has affixed to the most intense tragedy of recent years. A girl in New York society-a girl still, in spite of twenty-nine years, with all the vitality, spirit, charm that belong rightly to that title-begins to be very conscious that a time is near at hand when she must do something besides enjoy life as it comes. She is without parents, practically without money, and without any interests except the momentary occupations of the world she lives in. Naturally, marriage is the obvious thing, and two marriages are possible: one with money and one with a man. Not quite hard enough to pursue the first indomitably, she is not quite brave enough to abandon herself to the other. In a doubtful middle state, she allows herself to take only the step that seems necessary at the moment. The story shows inexorably what happened to her.
Why her fate should appear tragic save to herself may be a question. We have here no wreck of obvious possibilities and hopes, except of a meaner sort. Miss Lily Bart was not one of the stronger spirits of the world. She did not have the passions and interests of an artistic nature; she did not have the perceptions of intense vitality that go with a spiritual nature. Momentarily she was impressed by Selden's conception of the republic of the spirit as well as by the intrinsic power of Gerty Farish's young women's clubs. Still, she never saw clearly any better path while she slipped down the worse. She was, one might imagine, one of the useless ones of this world, and her fate, one might say, was no more tragic than the death of a butterfly; indeed, not so much so.
She did have, however, a very true and noble feeling, though blind enough, almost subconscious, without moral strength. Under favouring circumstances, with a different education and environment, she could have done great things. As it was, living in the limited world of New York, her possibilities went for nothing. But it is by this fine, distin