Books of the Month

Fiction. Youma, the Story of a West-Indian Slave, by Lafcadio Hearn. (Harpers.) The story is a simple one in its inception, the fidelity of a slave to her young white charge as against her love for one of her own race; but it is embroidered with a good deal of description of Creole life, with a tropical profusion of color, and with an uprising of slaves and an earthquake. In fact, the simplicity of the tale is scarcely discoverable under such a covering of language. — Brushes and Chisels, by Teodoro Serrao. (Lee & Shepard.) A story of artist life in Rome, with an opening which seems to promise rose leaves, and a close which is deadly nightshade. — The Broughton House, by Bliss Perry. (Scribners.) Mr. Perry has set himself a difficult task, and apparently has restricted himself deliberately for the sake of securing artistic force and concentrated effect. He has taken four persons, — a woman and three men, — set them down, as it were, on the porch of an ordinary village inn, and watched them as they played their little drama, which, moving sluggishly at first, gains headway, and turns out to be a tragedy. An artist, who is a selfish fellow, has married a country girl with half-developed nature. A rich manufacturer, loafing at the tavern, and a country schoolmaster, fumbling about for his destiny, complete the quartette. The artist means to slink away from his wife, whom he regards as a dead weight, and betake himself to Europe. The manufacturer means to get possession of the deserted wife for his own base ends. The school-master makes out the situation, is at first lost in the swamp of his own uncertain mind, but finally gets upon firm ground, and both receives inspiration from the woman and communicates resolution to her. She, poor woman, brave enough to resist evil, but not brave enough to live, drowns herself at the culminating point, and precipitates a horror upon the reader, who has been growing uneasy, but is not quite prepared for this catastrophe. The general design of the book is fairly well conceived, but Mr. Perry has not sufficient skill to make his persons and scenes really significant. There is too much that is subaudition, and too many trivialities, which he fails to charge with force. As a consequence, the reader feels too strongly the contrast between the external story and the interior spiritual plot; the former does not sufficiently reveal the latter. In his attempt, also, at naturalness, Mr. Perry is often dull and uninteresting. His book goes to sleep too often. Nevertheless, his attempt, though it has failed, seems to indicate that he is on the right track. At any rate, he does not fall into the too common vice of such writers, of laying upon very ordinary incidents too solemn a responsibility. — One Man’s Struggle, by George W. Gallagher. (Funk & Wagnalls.) The one man is a conscientious clergyman who left a country village to take charge of a church in a manufacturing town. He attacked the evils of intemperance, thereby alienating the wealthy members of the congregation, and, though he increased the spiritual efficiency of his church, was asked to resign, at the very moment when he was dying at home of heart disease. The book records with fidelity to easily imagined facts the history of such a man. The author has not overmuch skill as a story-teller, but his earnestness and apparently his experience enable him to give a matter-of-fact reality to his story.— Were they Sinners ? by Charles J. Bellamy. (Authors’ Publishing Company, Springfield, Mass.) Quite so, and rather miserable sinners too.—Armorel of Lyonesse, by Walter Besant. (Harpers.) A romance with a very romantic heroine, who does in private life all the opportune and benevolent deeds which the fairy godmother does in the story-book. Mr. Besant has written an entertaining tale, but one has to put one’s judgment in his pocket. — How a Husband Forgave, by Edgar Fawcett. (Belford Co.) He was an adulterer, and she knew it. So she became an adulteress, and he knew it. Then he had several pages of prostration, and forgave her. They went abroad, and came back happy. That is the story. — The Lady with the Camellias, by Alexandre Dumas fils. (Belford Co.)—With the Best Intentions, a Midsummer Episode, by Marion Harland. (Scribners.) A somewhat angular piece of light writing, having for its theme the growth of a bit of scandal under the fostering care of a meddlesome woman or two, with a satisfactory explosion at the end, in which the cultivators of the scandal are sufficiently damaged. — Cypress Beach, by W. H. Babcock. (The Author, Washington.) An unnatural, violent story, with some slight claim to attention, but deficient in those qualities which go to make up a really strong and effective story of supernaturalism. — Lee & Shepard have begun a Good Company Series in paper covers, to contain popular books, presumably, published by them in more expensive form. The second of the series is In Trust, by Amanda M. Douglas.

History. Outlines of Jewish History. From B. C. 586 to C. E. 1890. With three maps. By Lady Magnus; revised by M. Friedländer. (Jewish Publication Society of America.) The reader will pause over the title-page, and note, if he has not seen it before, the formula Christian Era, in place of the customary Year of our Lord. His attention will next be directed to the author’s statements regarding the Saviour, and the birth of Christianity, which, like Renan, she refers to Paul of Tarsus. It is interesting to note how an educated Jewess, living in the midst of Christians, treats such subjects, and it is not often that one has the opportunity thus to put himself by the side of the modern Jew. Again, he will read with great interest the narrative of Jewish life in North America, and the account given of the relations maintained between Jews and Christians. The body of the book is taken up, of course, with a history of the struggle of the Jew in the development of European history. The entire work is one of great interest; it is written with moderation, and yet with a fine enthusiasm for the great, race which is set before the reader’s mind. We notice that Lady Magnus treats of the conversion of Jews to Christianity. She records but a single instance of the reverse, and this instance was not accredited. — The Story of Russia, by W. R. Morfill, is an addition to The Story of the Nations Series. (Putnams.) A business-like, systematic, and judicious book, which ought to be received gratefully by readers who desire to bring their scattered notions of this most fascinating and darkly understood nationality into some sort of order. Mr. Morfill frankly avows his interest in the nation and his general sympathy with its evolutionary movement, and he leaves quite untouched that chapter of Russian history over which we are now shuddering. But his book does not profess to give much of a survey of contemporaneous Russia, and is very thin and unsatisfactory in the history of the country just when it becomes especially noteworthy; we mean that which relates to Russia’s intervention in modern European politics. It is so good as far as it goes that we wish it went farther. — The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, by Jacob Burkhardt; translated by S. G. C. Middlemore. (Macmillan.) One ponders a little over the title, but a survey of the contents of the book makes it clear that Dr. Burkhardt is dealing with those aspects of the period of the Renaissance which look to the condition of society. Thus, he treats first of the State as a work of art, a title which is in itself a text; then of the Development of the Individual, of the Revival of Antiquity, of the Discovery of the World and of Man, Society and Festivals, Morality and Religion. The work is possibly more learned than Symonds’s book ; it abounds in incisive passages and what may be called the epigrams of scholarship; and though somewhat close reading and not wholly luminous, it is a very striking presentation of the subject. A good example of learning, high and dry, tempered by unconscious humor, is the suggestion in a footnote: “A thorough history of flogging among the Germanic and Latin races, treated with some psychological power, would be worth volumes of dispatches and negotiations. A modest beginning has been made by Lichtenberg, Vermischte Schriften, V. 276-283.” — The French Revolution, by Justin H. McCarthy. In two volumes. Vol. I. (Harpers.) Mr. McCarthy, who is a son of the McCarthy, carries his narrative in this volume as far as the destruction of the Bastile. His book is part history, part essay. A good deal of it reads as if it might have been first used in the form of magazine articles, which should not tax the mind too severely, even as they did not cost the writer too close study. We confess that we do not see much historic insight in this work ; little more than the easy performance of a tolerably well-educated man dealing lightly with a great subject. —The Civil War on the Border, by Wiley Britton. (Putnams.) The secondary title of this book describes its contents : A Narrative of Operations in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory during the Years 1861—62, based upon the Official Reports of the Federal Commanders Lyon, Sigel, Sturgis, Frémont, Halleck, Curtis, Schofield, Blunt, Herron, and Totten, and of the Confederate Commanders McCulloch, Price, Van Dorn, Hindman, Marmaduke, and Shelby. It should be added that the author supplements his study by his personal observation, since he was in the field himself. It is almost purely a military narrative, and it is written with moderation and with evident desire for fairness and accuracy. There is little express judgment of men, but in a quiet way the author makes us feel his respect for General Lyon and his small regard for General Lane — The Jews under Roman Rule, by W. D. Morrison (Putnams), is a pleasantly written volume in The Story of the Nations Series, covering a period of about three hundred years, from B. C. 164 to A. D. 135. The destruction of the Jews as a nation is the central fact about which the book is grouped, and the writer, who has a good eye for large movements, helps the reader greatly by not losing sight of the epochs included in his survey. The details are abundant, but they do not interfere with the perspective.

Travel. Adventures in the Great Forest of Equatorial Africa, and the Country of the Dwarfs, by Paul Du Chaillu. (Harpers.) This is a condensation of Du Chaillu’s former books, and is brought out now to remind readers that the discoveries for which the world is cheering Stanley were already made a generation ago by this intrepid and lively traveler. It is a pity that the book has not a map, with lines to show Stanley’s various routes, since in this case the comparison would have been an interesting one. Mr. Du Chaillu’s powers of entertainment have been supposed to throw discredit on his veracity. We only wish all accepted truthtellers were as entertaining. No one can read this book, besides, without discovering how genuinely humane is the vivacious traveler. — In and Out of Central America, and Other Sketches and Studies of Travel, by Frank Vincent. (Appleton.) Mr. Vincent’s travels in Central America were rapid, but he is a trained observer, and his book gives a good notion of external features. His trip was along the Pacific coast only ; other papers in the volume relate to the far east. — A Social Departure, how Orthodocia and I went round the world by ourselves, by Sara Jeannette Duncan. (Appleton.) A lively sketch of travel, in the East chiefly, with bright vignette illustrations. The necessity of keeping up the liveliness is something of a strain upon the author, and one murmurs to himself now and then, “ Mark Twain in skirts ; ” but the world does look a little different to two women traveling by themselves from what it does to “ others of a similar age,” and this book may well be married to some of the more serious works covering the same field. — European Days and Ways, by Alfred E. Lee. (Lippincott.) The writer appears to have been United States consul at Frankfort or some other German city. The earlier part of his book is a record of impressions received by a resident. Later he records impressions received when traveling in Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Austria. There is a commendable plainness in the narrative, and an intelligent appreciation of the subjects likely to attract a reader.

Books for Young People. The Nursery Alice, containing twenty colored enlargements from Tenniel’s Illustrations to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with text adapted to nursery readers, by Lewis Carroll. (Macmillan.) The colors may make the book more instantaneously interesting to small eyes, but Tenniel’s delicate creations do not gain by the transformation. We demur a little, also, when asked to believe that the Alice of fame can be made to eat of any stalk which will minify the book satisfactorily for children of five. Some of that age will take to the original easily. Let others have the real Alice as a bonne bouche of the future. To tell the honest truth, Alice in Wonderland is the possession of the grownup child. Its nonsense is his nonsense, and its fine shades of fun are extra-juvenile.

Poetry and the Drama. London, and Other Poems, by Slack-Davis. (J. B. Weldin & Co., Pittsburg, Pa.) A small volume of serious poems by a man of education. The spirit is reserved and thoughtful, and the lines are not unmusical, but the mind is not taken captive by the verse. — May Blossoms, by Lilian. (Putnams.) The verses of a child of seven. The ear of the little singer is good; she has caught poetical tunes as some children catch and repeat music in song or on the instrument. There are some happy childish phrases, also. But the wonder at the child’s facility does not lessen our wonder at the indiscretion of the child’s guardians. — Poems of the Plains and Songs of the Solitudes, together with the Rhyme of the Border War, by Thomas Brower Peacock. (Putnams.) The reader must not skip the fac-similes of the letter’s of Matthew Arnold, which Mr. Peacock solemnly affirms led him “ to the revision and reprinting of all former publications in this book.” The goodnatured and conscientious critic, when asked for his opinion, may well study these documents and ponder the lesson contained therein. — The Pleroma, a Poem of the Christ, by Rev. E. P. Chittenden. (Putnams.) The unlearned reader may be told that the title of this book is Englished in the ninth verse of II. Colossians as the Fulness. Mr. Chittenden is a naturalist. He is also enamored of scientific and odd words, and his pages are studded with such brilliants as ichtliyic, imbricate, lenticle, gasteropoda, carpellate, sessile, quadrifurcate, and like charming dactyls and, so to speak, pterodactyls. The enthusiasm with which he chases his subject through the Bible and nature is wonderful, and as leaps over so many fivebarred gates on the way one would think he would tire before the end ; but there is no appearance of faintness to the close of this astounding book, with its fusillade of italics and small capitals,

Economics and Sociology. Principles of Economies, by Alfred Marshall. Vol. I. (Macmillan.) Mr. Marshall treats the apparent intrusion of ethics into the domain of economics very cleverly when he says in his preface: “It is held that the Laws of Economics are statements of tendencies expressed in the indicative mood, and not ethical precepts in the imperative. Economic laws and reasonings, in fact, are merely a part of the material which Conscience and Common-sense have to turn to account in solving practical problems, and in laying down rules which may be a guide in life.”But he admits tacitly that the position of economists has been altered by the attack from the ethical side, for he adds: “ In the present book, normal action is taken to be that which may be expected, under certain conditions, from the members of an industrial group: and no attempt is made to exclude the influence of any motives, the action of which is regular, merely because they are altruistic.” It is a gain when economists cease to regard man merely as a producing, or absorbing, or exchanging animal, and Mr. Marshall shows in the attitude he takes throughout his work that he is fully alive to the greater plasticity of economic laws as due to the pliability of human nature. The book is delightful reading to one who has been impatient with the more arid treatment of economics, and yet recognizes the limitations of the field, for it is made interesting by a wide inclusion of subjects perfectly apposite, yet not often taken into full account, such as the effect of systems of education on labor, the advantages and disadvantages of large firms, colonization, and similar incidental subjects. The educated man will find in the work an agreeable enlargement of his conception of many familiar themes. — Wheelbarrow : Articles and Discussions on the Labor Question. (The Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago.) A number of papers signed “ Wheelbarrow ” have appeared in The Open Court, and are here collected into a volume, prefaced by an interesting autobiographic sketch, which tells all but the author’s name. It takes little ingenuity, though, to discover that, especially with his portrait for a frontispiece. The papers are random shots, which sometimes hit the mark and sometimes miss it. — The Conflicts of Capital and Labor, historically and economically considered ; being a History and Review of the Trade Unions of Great Britain, showing their origin, progress, constitution, and objects, in their varied political, social, economical, and industrial aspects. By George Howell. (Macmillan.) This is a second, revised edition of a work which in its first form appeared twelve years ago. Electricians and mayors of Western cities are accustomed to boast of the speed with which their achievements make ancient history of a decade, but there is progress also in the movement of the great wave of labor. Trade unions are no longer regarded as the device of the worst elements in the community to secure control of wealth. Indeed, the right to combine has passed so far into a duty, in the regard of many, that the right to refrain from combination demands champions, Mr. Howell’s material is almost exclusively British, and it would be interesting to compare English conditions with American. — First Mohawk Conference on the Negro Question. (George H. Ellis, Boston.) Mrs. Isabel C. Barrows has reported in full the interesting discussions which were held at this conference in June, 1890, touching such questions as Industrial Schools, Home Life of the Negroes, the Negro’s View of the Race Question, the Negro Citizen in the New American Life. The earnestness and the practical character of the discussions, which were engaged in by many men and women who are experimenters, and not merely scholars, make the report very different from the customary perfunctory documents of societies.

Theology and Philosophy. Boston Unitarianism, a Study of the Life and Work of Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham, by Octavius Brooks Frothingham. (Putnams.) A delightful book for all who are in any way familiar with the Boston which it preserves ; for Mr. Frothingham, with a happy disregard of mere formal book-making, has filled this sketch of his father and the group to which he belonged with numberless charming details. He had so thoroughly discussed the fuller subject to which Boston Unitarianism is related in previous writings that he could afford to take his ease in this affectionate, sympathetic study. Those who have no personal association with the theme, but have an interest in the religious and literary movement which made Boston famous in the second quarter of this century will find this book throwing a good deal of oblique light.