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The Digressions of Polly. By Helen Rowland. The Baker & Taylor Co.

There is too much of this. A few kisses are very nice. A dainty dish of mush is appetizing, but who would wallow in a tub of it? We were about to make a sweeping statement and say that every chapter ended with a bang—that is, a kiss-but on thorough investigation, for we desire scientific accuracy, we find that only fourteen of the twenty-three chapters conclude with the osculatory caress. Enough!

There is too much rouge and peroxide and powder and chiffon and small waists and penciled eyebrows. It makes one feel unhealthy.

But the book has its good points, too. It is very easy reading. It has a great deal of really clever dialogue and some sound thought on marriage. We don't quite know whether to advise the reading of the book or not. It probably won't do anyone any harm-may do good. At any rate, it will be read, no matter what we say on the subject.

Miss Billy. By Edith K. Stokely and Marian K. Hurd. The Lothrop Publishing Co.

Indulging in no depths of metaphysical thought, and exhibiting no bursts of irresistible human passion, this book achieves very neatly what it sets out to do. As implied, its field is not a wide one. It tells in a simple, charming manner the story of a minister's family that, finding itself suddenly reduced in circumstances, moves from a fashionable quarter to a neighborhood of untended garbage barrels, tin cans, dilapidated dwellings, and germs. How the attractive heroine, Miss Billy, caused a renaissance in all this squalor, and narrowly escaped death herself, is told in the remainder of the book.

To those who occasionally long (in a novel) for relief from deaths, broken hearts, complex, unanalyzable characters, and futile psychology, we recommend "Miss Billy."

Mysterious Mr. Sabin. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. Little, Brown & Co.

A novel that claims to be mysterious is usually rather bold, for the modern reader is becoming very skillful at unravelling plots and supplying needed links in the chain of events. To some extent this is probably true of "Mysterious Mr. Sabin”you guess a little more than the author intends you should. But the atmosphere of the book is truly mysterious.

In point of interest and excitement this is the most exciting book we have read for a long time. It is a hardship to have to lay it down or to have anyone intrude upon you with no matter how pleasant a conversation.

We object that in point of plot the book is not unified enough. Although from the title you are compelled to suppose the hero to be the Mysterious Mr. Sabin, for a long time your interest is centered in Wolfenden.

We will pass over the character-drawing-for there is not much of merit in that line—but advise those who care for sustained interest, complexity of plot, and rapidity of events, to read "Mysterious Mr. Sabin."

Two of the Guests. By Kate Gertrude Prindiville. James Pott & Co.

A house-party and the love affair that came of it form the subject of this delightful little book. The story is told entirely in letters and is very successfully done. The characters of the house-party are well painted, especially that of the hero, Arnold Gresham. The heroine is a very lovable girl. "Two of the Guests" will be a charming book for this summer's reading.

The Pursuit of Phyllis. By J. H. Bacon. Henry Holt & Co.

Thomas Hixton Mott, author, not yet recovered from a disappointment in love and sick in body from overwork on his new play, "The Woman Who Knew," is ordered to take a trip abroad, which he does. In London he finds in his hotel room a dozen letters left by a Miss Phyllis Huntington, who, he learns, has departed for Paris. As he was going to Paris the next day anyway, he decides to deliver the letters himself. But Miss Phyllis has just taken the train to Lyons. He determines to deliver the letters if he has to go around the world. It is in

Colombo that he succeeds in accomplishing his purpose, and then he goes on to Hong Kong with Miss Phyllis, and her chaperon. After finding that his inamorata is not engaged to his old roommate, he marries her.

There is no character-drawing, but the story is readable and interesting.

The Plum Tree. By David Graham Phillips. The BobbsMerrill Co.

To recognize life as it is and make the best of it is the keynote of this really strong novel. The story is mainly of politics. It deals with the career of Harvey Sayler, who rises from a struggling lawyer to the boss of the ruling national party of the United States. His actions would not meet the requirements of a high ethical standard in an ideal environment, but in this world of life-as-it-is the verdict of common sense would probably be "Not guilty." His marriage is an exception.

The characters are well drawn. Burbank, the president, Dominick, the city boss, "Doc" Woodruf, Sayler's underling, who becomes a senator, Carlotta Ramsay who becomes Sayler's wife, are all truly and clearly delineated. However, there is, properly speaking, only one important character, Harvey Sayler, who tells the story and occupies the center of attention all the time. His character is the character of the book.

We feel that the author has exaggerated the powers of wealth and the scope of "graft." Certainly, if things are as bad as he paints them, the times are evil indeed.

The style is straightforward, clear, terse. There are no unnecessary paragraphs, no passages put in to show the author's beautiful English.

It is a good book.

The Fugitive Blacksmith. By Charles D. Stewart. The Century Co.

The story opens with an introduction to the Finerty family, whose head, Michael, is employed in the sand house of the railroad. In this sand house Michael is accustomed to receive tramps as lodgers if they have any accomplishments to display as payment. A few days after the opening of the story a onelegged tramp is permitted shelter in the sand house. And he it is who, sitting high on the pile of sand, with his wooden leg

planted in it as a prop, tells the story of the fugitive blacksmith. And as Stumpy tells the tale to Finerty, Finerty repeats it to his family. Mrs. Finerty complains that the story didn't have "no ind," but an end is supplied when Stumpy finds the long-lost partner, a prosperous blacksmith in Finerty's town, and enters his employ.

The story of the blacksmith, as told by Stumpy, is a very interesting one. The blacksmith, while a sailor temporarily, is accused of the murder of a sailor of another vessel in port at the same time. The evidence is very strong against him, and he, seeing the impossibility of establishing his innocence, breaks jail in a very skillful manner. After a long journey, he meets Stumpy and becomes very friendly with him, friendly enough to tell Stumpy of his accusation and escape. Finerty thinks it very humorous that Stumpy should believe Bill innocent "because he tould him so." Stumpy and Bill wander about together for a long time, finding plenty of adventure and considerable trouble, which Bill's cleverness usually frees them from. At last they are separated. Thus Stumpy's own history and the blacksmith's are ended together when Stumpy discovers William Armstrong, proprietor of the Vulcan blacksmith shop.

The story of the family Finerty is woven in as a background. The character of Finerty is the best drawn in the book. His humor and philosophy and shrewdness are prominent. The blacksmith is the hero, of course, and makes a very satisfactory one. His great cleverness is not established by a mere statement, but Mr. Stewart has shown it decisively by many instances of it.

The book is one we intend to add to our library.

The Undercurrent. By Robert Grant. Charles Scribner's Sons.

This is a novel of modern American life in many of its varied phases. Common-sense is presented as the American attitude in business, politics, love, marriage. Much stress is laid on the importance of the particular instance.

The book is a stimulating one. It is impossible to read it without forming opinions on the questions with which it deals. Particularly must you form your opinion of divorce and divorce laws.

The style is good, with many touches of present-day influences in the matter of new words and expressions. The characters are clearly and strongly portrayed. The individual scenes are all fairly good, but they do not tend to a sufficient climax. In fact, the principal fault of the book is in the plot. It is true to life, but too true to have artistic unity.

On the whole, we should say "The Undercurrent" is a wellwritten, stimulating modern book. It is one to read and keepnot give away.

Charles the Chauffeur. By S. E. Kiser. The F. A. Stokes Co.

"Charles the Chauffeur" is too much of a burlesque. There is a good deal of enjoyable humor, a good deal of clever incident in it, but on the whole it is unsatisfactory. As light summer reading it may do, but we doubt it. We much prefer "Two of the Guests," or "The Digressions of Polly," bad as that is.

She thinks

The author, as usual, makes his hero end as such would in life—unromantically. Charles does not marry the "dear little lady" who was "just waitin' an' hopin'" for him. he makes a good chauffeur for her, but-"if you hear of anybody that wants to hire a good chawfer I know of one who's lookin' for a job."

For the House of La Cromie. T. W. Eutwisle. Broadway Publishing Co.

A real old-style pirate tale with lots of bloodshed, prizes, booty, strategy, mutinies, duels, and a love affair besides. The French Revolution also figures in the stirring plot of the book. Jacques La Cromie, the hero, is at last defeated by an American cutter, after English, French, Spanish and Dutch vessels have tried in vain. We fancy that "my dear little lady" in "Charles, the Chauffeur" would have found thrills enough in "For the House of La Cromie."

Practical Poker. By R. F. Foster. Brentano's.

It would be difficult for the most experienced poker player to find in "Practical Poker" any point omitted. This very complete work begins with an account of the history and origin of the game. It has been demonstrated that the real origin of this popular game of to-day is the ancient Persian game of As uâs, the name "Poker" being taken from the French Poque-a game still played in Germany.

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