Cape Cod and All Along Shore: Stories

By CHARLES NORDHOFF. New York : Harper and Brothers.
THE editors of this Magazine — who have been to some degree also readers of it — remember with pleasure “Elkanah Brewster’s Temptation” ; and we fancy that there are others who will be glad to read it over a second time in this collection. It is no dispraise of them to say that Mr. Nordhoff’s stories are all light, — “ easy things to understand,” — aim to please and entertain folk, and do not grapple with problems of any kind, unless perhaps the doubtful wisdom of forsaking simple Cape Cod and country-town ways, for the materializing and corrupting career of newspaper men and artists in New York. Elkanah Brewster barely overcomes his temptation, and returns to the Cape just in time to be true to Hepsy Ann, while Stoffle McGurdigan actually succumbs, becomes a great editor, and breaks faith with pretty Lucy Jones. Though the interest of these and the other stories of the book is not complex, the satire is wholesome and just, and the reader will scarcely escape being touched by the pathos. The character in them is good enough to be true of the scenes of most of the tales which take us among places and people seldom touched by magazine fiction, and not here exhausted. It seems to us that “ Mehetahbel Roger’s Cranberry Swamp ” is the best of all, and that “ Maud Elbert’s Love-Match” is the worst, as might be expected from its suggestive title.
The book is such an one as we imagine people taking up and reading through, one story after another, and being now sorry and now glad that there is not more,—so nicely is the balance trimmed with here a good story and there a poor one, — but, on the whole, kept in excellent humor by the author’s manly feeling and sympathy with homely life, and his rarely failing lightness of touch in matters usually fallen upon heavily.