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"Our country is not like yours, Jaques. The father and the mother have all the say about their girl's marriage, and this girl's father was a stern man with fixed ideas. He said that no daughter of his should die an old maid. And so the girl was married. She cannot describe those months before her wedding, but you can picture for yourself, Jaques. She married a good man who had a large field to care for and an even temper; but those wonderful plans she made long ago were never fulfilled. Then a baby boy came and the girl was happier.
"One day her old lover returned. He had been shipwrecked, but not drowned. He had wandered far and endured many hardships. They saw each other for a few moments and who, but they, knows what passed between them? But she told him all and he forgave her and said he would never give up and would always love her. He became a great man in Paris before the war; but he too was killed. Henri was in his regiment.
"But the girl isn't sad about this, Jaques. When she remembers those golden days, and that kiss, she knows that God has let her see just a little of His heaven. And when the memories come, they are not sad, for they bring back that happiness. Memories are from God, Jaques, because when the world has hardened us and we have forgotten how happy we used to be, He wants us to think of the times when we were near Him and loved Him."
There was a long pause broken only by the ticking of the old clock on the mantle, while the dying fire sent flickering shadows about the room.
"Jaques, do you like pipes?"
"Ah yes, madame. They seem to bring back the memories and help us to understand them."
She went over to the little table near the mantel.
"Here," she said. "This was Henri's favorite. He used to say that it made him, too, understand. Take it, Jaques. Beside the fire on winter nights, perhaps it will help.”
I rose and took the treasure with reverence and bent over and kissed the grey head.
"Thank you, Jaques. It is good to find some one who can understand."
The House of Baltazar. By William J. Locke. (John Lane Company, New York: 1920.)
It is difficult to agree with Mr. Locke that, in the story of Baltazar, the "only unity is the oneness of character in that absurd and accomplished man." Indeed, quite the reverse seems true. We see him in four stages: as a don at Cambridge -the greatest mathematician of his day-as a second Marco Polo in China, where he occupies a vague but very important position, as an oddly philosophical and somewhat bombastic gentleman living in rural England, and, finally, as an exceedingly profane old man, who is one of the virile powers in Great Britain These four rôles that he assumes are almost as incredible as the story itself. Accept his sudden disappearance from Cambridge and his career in China if you will, but the fact that a man could exist in England from nineteen fourteen until nineteen sixteen without knowing that there was a war going on is a facer. At any rate Mr. Baltazar did just that. Then came the stray Zeppelin with its accurate bomb which demolished Spendale Farm, and informed its occupant of the cataclysm across the Channel. Having lost in the explosion some manuscripts, prepared by himself and by a phenomenal Chinaman, which represent the labor of years on the theory of groups and the fourth dimension, Baltazar proceeds to plunge himself into the business of war. He discovers a son, of whose existence he had been unaware, and also an old sweetheart. Thus everything comes out very nicely in the end, leaving our hero one of the most talked-of men in England.
As a picture of war, this latest novel of Mr. Locke is not nearly so convincing as "The Red Planet." As a story, it is entertaining. As a character study, it does not quite persuade, for, although we may take for granted the mathematical genius of the man, yet his only qualification for the great position of leader
ship that he attains seems to be his ability to storm up and down the room and say "damn." Then, too, it is difficult to find any traces of the whimsical humor, so characteristic of some of the author's earlier works-such as "The Beloved Vagabond," and "The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol." There is a certain brusqueness and forced breathlessness about the story which is almost unpleasant at times. The dialogue is not witty; it is merely abrupt. We seem to hear Mr. Baltazar smite the table with his fist as he shouts, "I don't give a tinker's curse, etc., etc.” However, there are many redeeming features: the son's attitude towards his father is delightfully and realistically done; so also is the portrait of Mr. Pillivant, the profiteer. Baltazar himself has some appeal, although it is vitiated by his blatant egotism, and the book is, on the whole, amusing. The reader of "The House of Baltazar" will at least find an author who avoids the over emotional element, and treats the love interest lightly.
Forgotten Shrines. By John Chipman Farrar. (The Yale University Press.)
In these days when all is clamor and shouting, when the best poetry is spattered with mud, and the best poets look downward and sordidly, it is most relieving to find one man who has remembered the quieter beauties of other days. Such a man is Mr. Farrar. Compare at random some of his poems, say—“A Sacristan”—“A Nun”—“ire Bákɣai”—or almost any of the sonnets, with poems similarly chosen from whatever modern author. You will find in those of Mr. Farrar an atmosphere, a quality or effect, entirely absent from any of the others-even the best. It is the refinement and the subtle delicacy of an artistic soul; and it enables him to sing his delightful "Songs for Children" without affectation, or to reach downward in "A Coal-Miner" or "A Barge Wife" without enmiring his spiritual being. Only in exceptional cases does the sentiment of Mr. Farrar approach sentimentality-the great danger to a poet of his kind. Really he is most delightful.
T. C. Chubb.