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there were a point to the story, if the book had a moral, we might be willing to forgive the author its disagreeable tone, because he has told the story in such an exceedingly clever manner. But reason, point, moral, we can discover none. And, moreover, the book is morbid and cynical in the extreme, leaving behind a bad impression after the reader has finished it. Were it not for the fact that one cannot help being interested in the hero the novel would have to be classified among the large collection of trash which accumulates on our library table. But it is just this quality which makes so great a difference, and Mr. Hubbard has shown that should he take up a worthier theme he will be more successful. The ending, where the blind girl is led into the water, is sad-and needless. The book can do no good, and we must confess our inability to see what object was intended in its publication.
It is a hard matter to decide which is the poorer, the illustrations or the binding. One has to look twice before one can be sure that it is really Putnam's name upon the cover. On the whole we think it a matter of congratulation that the volume held together during its perusal.
Average poetry can never be popular, and Francis Howard Williams' volume of poems, The Flute Player,* contains only poetry of average merit. Some of it is way below the average, and some of it, like Ave America! is' slightly above it. Just who will read the volume besides the author, the author's friends, and the critics, it is difficult to imagine. Those who do will find the explanation of The Flute Player which is printed in the margin rather more satisfactory, on the whole, than the poem itself. Love is a favorite theme with this poet, as with many others, but the love poems are disappointing. Some of his poetry shows real romantic feeling for nature; occasionally we catch glimpses of something different which reveals a true poetic insight, but much of it is imitative. A book of poems should have a more dainty and suitable binding than the one in which the present volume appears.
A clever and ingenious novelette is Walter Mitchell's Two Strings to His Bow, so ingenious in fact that we are doubtful whether the author intended us to believe in his hero's adventures or merely to be interested by them. To make us quite enter into the spirit which guides the Rev. Mr. Cresswell Price to do the very odd and extremely unconventional thing which he does would require an even cleverer narrator than Mr. Mitchell, but throughout the volume the average reader can be mildly sympathetic, and while the book contains no very exciting episodes, the quality of interest is throughout well sustained. For reasons known to himself, to the author, and to the reader (through a somewhat tiresome and unconvincing description of them in the opening pages of the book), the Rev. Mr. Price becomes
*The Flute Player, and Other Poems. By Francis Howard Williams. Pp. 128. New York: The Knickerbocker Press.
Two Strings to His Bow. By Walter Mitchell. Pp. 278. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
Mr. Robert Kenworthy, a butler, by the comparatively simple process of changing his manners and appearance slightly. Then later on he again becomes the Rev. Mr. Price. As the minister he is always being mistaken for the butler in much the same way that, when butler, he had often been taken for the minister. Of course, complications ensue. There is a lost will, a wrongful claimant to an estate, some very bad lawyers and one very good one, and much perplexity in Price's mind because in the character of Kenworthy he was witness to one of the wills and cannot now come forward in the character of Price. The legal complications at the close of the book are among the cleverest portions of the story, all of which is clever though improbable. Two Strings to His Bow should prove suitable reading for a rainy November afternoon, although much better reading can be found at any book store.
For a woman to "chose and arrange" "What men have said about Women" under the needlessly awkward title About Women: What Men have Said,* seems a trifle conceited. This is a question of ethics. As a question of literature Rose Porter has "chosen and arranged" a very dainty and exquisite little book, which on account of its title alone ought to have a large sale among women. In construction it is merely a collection of what poets (not poetesses) have said about the gentler sex, and is prettily bound. At the Christmas season its sale should be large, for it is an original idea well carried out.
The latest work from the pen of Emile Zolat is a further indication of the tireless energy and minute care that the world has grown accustomed to since the appearance in 1869 of the first volume of the Rougon-Macquart series. It is written on the same general lines as the others and shows no divergence from those fixed rules that have for so long a time scandalized the moral susceptibilities of some and the artistic sensibilities of others. Whether all this sort of thing is literature or not is a question that posterity will have to answer. It surely displays a certain knowledge of the human heart and perhaps an even wider knowledge of the human anatomy. That the slow progress of many revolting diseases on the human constitution is a subject fit for artistic treatment is something in which M. Zola has long ago signified his belief, and it is hardly necessary at this time to reopen the lengthy and perhaps profitless discussion. To him who accepts the author's dogmas, the book comes as a further artistic revelation; while to one of opposite belief the same old disgust is renewed. Both, however, must acknowledge that it is a wonderful production of a wonderful man.
"The mills of the Gods grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine" might well serve as a motto to strike the key-note of Hall Caine's novel,
*About Women: What Men Have Said. Chosen and arranged by Rose Porter. Pp. 207. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Lourdes: By Emile Zola. Pp. 464. Chicago: F. Tennyson Neely.
The Manxman.* It is the story of the natural result of a man's sinful act brought about by natural means and it is exceptionally well done. As one reads it one sees circumstance following circumstance, not arising from each other but coming from one common beginning, irresistibly if very slowly gathering to finally crush the cause of that beginning, the man who has sinned. This man, ambitious and determined to bring his name to the front falls, at the outset of his career, in a moment of weakness and thinks by strength to avoid the result. He struggles only to see his ultimate fate made surer, and the successes he desired and which he gains but make its coming more bitter. All of this gives plenty of opportunity for fine analysis which Mr. Caine does not by any means neglect, so that the struggle of a man against the power of results contains the interest in the book, an interest which will keep the reader to it till he reaches the end of the last chapter, but at the same time throws the other characters in the story too much in the background; this one must regret for the characterization is very fine and its strength should not be hidden. Mr. Caine has succeeded here in doing well a very difficult thing, mainly creating out of the hero's friend, who acts as his foil, whom he injures and by whom he is in the end forgiven, not a cosmos of sentiment and imbecility but a man, whom we are sorry to part with and sorrier yet to see turning away, sans everything," to begin his life over again. Yet with all that is so good one closes the book uncertain whether it is "worth while," there has been a little too much misery with too little to show for it and the lesson could have been taught perhaps with less. There are two glaring faults in the book, both of which show only too plainly that its author has been lately writing for a New York family weekly and which its other excellencies serve only to heighten; the introduction of nothing less than "Bowery slang " into a quiet Manx village in the mouths of characters whose other words all ring with the Manx dialect, and the effort to introduce comic effects here and there, which remind one too strongly of those dreary scenes between the comic lovers of a melodrama.
The press work is by D. Appleton & Co., and deserves mention for its excellence; the book is tastefully and well bound and printed with type which does not fatigue the eyes.
J. R. S.
Four extremely commonplace so called "life studies" are published in a book which bears striking resemblance to the average Sunday School prize, under the absurdly meaningless title of In Love with Love. The essays are religious in tone and were evidently intended for country readers who will enjoy their perusal to a greater or less degree, according as they live at a greater or less distance from the centres of civilization. The most remarkable thing about the book—and this is the only explanation that we can find for its publication—is that its author is also its publisher.
*The Manxman. By Hall Caine. Pp. 529. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
In Love with Love. By James H. West. Pp. 109. Boston: James H. West.
Every day the LIT. receives further indications of the fact that when a man of average intelligence gets an idea into his head, he immediately thinks that he owes a duty to his contemporaries and descendants to put it into imperishable book form. The Rev. Charles G. Ames, a respectable Boston preacher, is inflicted with this seemingly incurable disease. It manifests itself in his case in a little volume named by a happy stroke of genius, As Natural as Life.* It is a tiresome series of sermons to which the author has added a key for those whose mental grasp is less tenacious than his This process of condensation is a favorable sign, and the wearied reader cannot but lay down the book with the wish that the author had carried it so far as not to have published the volume at all.
The Prisoner of Zendal has been discussed least of all the books that were so widely read during the past summer. The reason is simply lack of material-although it is "pleasant reading" many complain that there is "nothing to it." The story is certainly very interesting and full of excitement. The plot and style are very much like Dumas without the historical and instructive elements of his tales of adventure. Its hero is an Englishman, Rudolf Rassendylls, who through his resemblance to the King of Ruritania is enabled to take that monarch's place on the very day of his coronation and to reign until it is possible to rescue him from the hands of a jealous half-brother. While on the throne he is forced to make love to Princess Flavia, the future bride and queen of the king. This romance is by far the strongest part of the story and it becomes essentially dramatic, when the king is at last released from prison, and Flavia is separated from Rudolf whom she has learned to love and who on his part has needed no incentive to carry on the royal courtship. The plot could give a wider field for the play of the imagination and the author has taken every advantage of his opportunity to make the story exciting. It is a feudal tale with the customs and language of to-day. The power in narrative and description are strong, while the characters in almost every case are very clearly drawn.
T. M. D.
TO BE REVIEWED.
Cicero, and the Fall of the Roman Republic. By J. L. Strachan-Davidson, M.A. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Venice. By Alethia Wiel. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Iola. By M. L. Hillhouse, LL.B. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Familiar Letters of Henry David Thoreau. Edited, with an introduction and notes by F. B. Sanborn. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Company.
*As Natural as Life. By Charles G. Ames. Pp. 109. Boston: James H. West.
The Prisoner of Zenda. By Anthony Hope. Pp. 226. New York: Henry Holt & Company.
Childhood in Literature and Art. By Horace E. Scudder. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Company.
The Life of Francis Power Cobbe. By himself. In two volumes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Company.
The Story of the Civil War. By John Codman Ropes. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Round the Red Lamp. By A. Conan Doyle. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
A Preparatory German Reader for Beginners. By C. L. Van Daell. Boston: Ginn & Company.
The First Latin Book. By W. C. Collar and M. Grant Daniell. Boston:
The Law of Service. By J. P. Kelly. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.