Ye Legende of St. Gwendoline

With Eight Photographs by ADDIS, from Drawings by JOHN W. EHNINGER. New York : G. P. Putnam and Son.
NOTHING is so difficult as to imitate simplicity. To reproduce, therefore, the naive narrative of the old legends of chivalry is as hard a problem as any author can set himself to work out. This “Vision of St. Gwendoline” is a careful and quite successful attempt in that direction. The story is a little more dramatic than the old legendwriters chose to write or ever were tempted to write; and now and then a word slips in which Professor Child and the Anglo-Saxon pundits would laugh at unmercifully, because it belongs to our low English, and not to their golden age. But the story compels the modern reader to finish it, and this might not have happened had it been perfectly true to the narrative style of the real chroniclers of King Arthur’s court.
For ourselves, when brave men love lovely women, and when, in their hearts, these lovely women love the brave men, we have still the fancy of a child of seventeen, that it is better that this mutual attachment shall be acknowledged, defined, and solemnized by a sympathizing church, that this brave man and this lovely woman shall be united before some appropriate shrine by “that holy knot, which, when hearts and hands unite, makes a paradise on earth.” But, in reply to this view, it may be urged that there is then no story. “ Happy are the people whose history is unwritten,” and, by a correlative law, of happy people there is no history to write.
Had such been the career of the “bravest of the brave, and the fairest of the fair,” whose fortunes are here recorded, we should have had no opportunity for Mr. Ehninger’s genius, nor beautiful volume for the reader to present to his next friend.
Mr. Ehninger has outdone himself in the beauty of these illustrations. They are exquisitely copied in photograph, and the book is one of the most attractive books among those issued for the holidays.