Comment on New Books
Travel and Chorography. The American Siberia, or Fourteen Years’ Experience in a Southern Convict Camp, by J. C. Powell. (H. J. Smith & Co., Chicago.) The title of this book is a misnomer. Mr. Powell relates in a straightforward way various incidents that came under his notice while in charge of convicts working on railroads or getting out turpentine. The convicts were sometimes negroes, sometimes whites, and for the most part were guilty of murder. The gangs were treated with harsh discipline, and there is a monotonous succession of escapes, chases, captures, and punishments. The recital is made in a plain, unadorned, and smooth style, but for what purpose it is hard to see. — The German Emperor and his Eastern Neighbors, by Poultney Bigelow. (C. L. Webster & Co.) Mr. Bigelow had the advantage of a schoolboy friendship with the Emperor, and the sketch which opens the volume is a lively account of the boy. Other sketches treat of German affairs, and the author’s experience across the Russian frontier and in Roumama. The book is fresh, contemporary, and pungent. — The Gospel of Good Roads, by Isaac B. Potter. (The League of American Wheelmen, New York.) A forcible, homely letter, well illustrated, pointing out the defects in our American road-building, showing what is done to-day in Europe, and suggesting modes of reform. Some of the actual steps taken in different parts of the country are very encouraging. — The Danube, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, by F. D. Millet ; illustrated by the author and Alfred Parsons. (Harpers.) A more varied picture of life could hardly be found than that to be descried from the flood and the banks of the Danube in its long course, and this book, which is the record of a canoe trip, reflects the successive scenes the more perfectly that it is crowded with animated sketches of human figures, bits of landscape and architecture, and scenes from rural life. The traveler has little to say about Vienna, and there is no historical padding to speak of, but a pleasant narrative of adventure and bright sketches of life. — Spanish Cities, with Glimpses of Gibraltar and Tangier, by C. A. Stoddard. (Scribners.) An unpretentious orderly narrative of travel by a good observer and trained writer, who indulges in few reflections, but occupies himself with telling simply and with little show of emotion what interested him on his leisurely journey. — Holidays in North Germany and Scandinavia. Notes on Hamburg and the Hanseatic Towns ; Rügen and the Baltic Coast, Brunswick, the Harz Mountains, Hil — desheim, Berlin, and the Saxon Switzerland ; and a Trip in Denmark and Southern Norway. Edited by Percy Lindley. (The Author, 30 Fleet St., London.) All this in less than a hundred oblong pages, with pictures on nearly every page. It is difficult to see what place it fills in the field of guidebooks. — First Report of the United States Board on Geographic Names. (Government Printing Office, Washington.) It is not often that one takes up so entertaining a government publication. The board was created by President Harrison to bring into some kind of system the great variation in spelling of geographic names in this country. The board has formulated certain general principles by which it is governed, and has adjudicated about two thousand cases. Its decisions will determine governmental usage, and there can be little doubt that the authority will make itself felt in time in popular usage. — A Little Swiss Sojourn, by W. D. Howells. (Harpers.) A light sketch of life in the neighborhood of Vevay, with a mingling of the grave and the gay which comes naturally to a writer who does not forget when he is most serious that there is humor in the situation, nor when he is most trifling that the too too solid earth is not always in a gaseous state. — The West from a Car Window, by Richard Harding Davis. (Harpers.) Mr. Davis is so frank in admitting the limitations under which he reports the frontier line of our civilization that one is prepared at the start to give full credit to him in what he does report, and soon disregards criticism altogether, and takes delight in the companionship of so manly, outspoken a comrade and so skillful a reporter. What a journalist would say cleverly Mr. Davis says with an instinct for genuine literary art, so that his book, rapid as it is, is like the quick sketch of a true painter. — Our Life in the Swiss Highlands, by John Addington Symonds and his Daughter Margaret. (A. & C. Black, Edinburgh.) Mr. Symonds, as is well known, lives summer and winter at Davos, pursuing his historical studies. This volume holds the sketches, long and short, which he has made of the country life about him, the people, the landscape, the homely round of peasant occupations. His daughter’s work is sprinkled in, and partakes very much of the character of her father’s writing, though it is perhaps less self-conscious. The book is a very agreeable picture of Swiss life as seen familiarly by a resident, who brings to his task a cultivated mind and the foreigner’s curiosity. — Play in Provence, being a Series of Sketches written and drawn by Joseph Pennell and Elizabeth Robins Pennell. (Century Co.) A little volume of light travel, which owes its charm mainly to the bright bits of actual life jotted down in notebooks and expanded in form. Mr. Pennell has the light touch which belongs to such a theme. Mrs. Pennell’s work is more deliberately airy.— South-Sea Idyls, by Charles Warren Stoddard. (Scribners.) A new edition of a piquant book of vagrancy which has the air of a later Melville ; not so robust as the earlier, but with something of the same charm of lawlessness and art.— A Family Canoe Trip, by Florence Watters Snedeker. (Harpers.) One of the Black and White series, abundantly illustrated with small half-tone camera pictures. The woman of the party describes jauntily the trifling adventures met with on a trip from New York up Lake Champlain.—A Trip to England, by Goldwin Smith. (Macmillan.) A vestpocket volume, to be read through in a couple of hours, in which an English exile sets out to give the impressions made upon him on a return to his old home ; but his desire to be comprehensive leads him into more commonplace than we should have expected. He seems to write for people who do not know England.
Poetry. Summer-Fallow, by Charles Buxton Going. (Putnams.) It is a pleasure to come upon a little book of verse so full of simple content in simple expression of tender, healthy Sentiment. There is no strain after the impossible, no frantic clutching at mysteries of life, but pure enjoyment in the best that a fair life gives. — The Dream of Art, and Other Poems, by Espy Williams. (Putnams.) A number of poems which have the appearance of ease and smoothness, but really trip the reader up repeatedly. By the bye, we wonder who the famous poet was whom Mr. Williams Saw cross the close-cropped college green in Cambridge, “ and round his neck a faded worsted tie.” The sonnet is rather interesting, and more direct and vivid than some of the poet’s work. —• A second edition of Mrs. Moulton’s Swallow-Flights (Roberts Bros.) is welcome. Ten new poems are added, and the whole is expressive of this poet’s true feeling, of her unusual skill in verse, and, may we not subjoin, of the mortuary tedium which sometimes follows her too persistent choice of one theme. — Songs about Life, Love, and Death, by Anne Reeve Aldrich. (Scribners.) There is much dramatic force in these verses, but it is expended mainly along one line. The moan over life which springs so constantly to the lips of a young writer impresses one as a rather unhealthy note, since it centres So steadfastly in one person, the dramatist’s assumed self. But there are frequent gusts of strong passion, and there is much originality in some of the situations, as well as grace in expression. — Poems of Gun and Rod, by Ernest McGaffey ; illustrated by Herbert E. Butler. (Scribners.) These poems are at the opposite scale, — the clever, easy versifying by an enthusiastic sportsman of the joys of outdoor life in search of game. Occasionally a line rings out with something of nature’s voice in it, and the objective character of the verse comes as a relief to a reader overburdened with the tears of most contemporary poetry.
Philosophy and Science. Among the recent issues of the United States Department of Agriculture (Government Printing Office, Washington) is an account of the investigations at the Rothamsted Experimental Station in the form of six lectures by Robert Warington. The station is the celebrated one established by Sir John Bennet Lawes on his estate, about twenty-five miles north of London, where agricultural experiments are carried on, on a vast scale. The first lecture gives an interesting description of Rothamsted, and the work done there ; the remaining lectures are devoted to nitrification, drainage, and similar subjects. Other issues are: The Fermentations of Milk, by H. W. Conn, with special reference to the needs of the dairy industry ; and a section of Insect Life, devoted to the Economy and Life-Habits of Insects, especially in their Relation to Agriculture, which has been in course of publication for some time under the editorship of C. V. Riley. This publication is in all but name a miscellany or magazine, containing regular papers, notes, correspondence, proceedings of societies, and the like. The department also issues Organization Lists of the Agricultural Experiment Stations and Agricultural Schools and Colleges in the United States. — The Speech of Monkeys, by R. L. Garner. (Webster.) Mr. Garner has entered with enthusiasm upon the difficult task of understanding and interpreting the speech of inferior animals, chiefly monkeys, and in this book records his progress thus far. In pursuing his studies, he has been led to the conclusion that the intelligence of these animals is more considerable than has been supposed, and that their range of expression is greater. Inasmuch as he recites his individual experience, the book is in effect a series of interesting encounters with animals, and incidents illustrative of their character and acquirements. — Volcanoes, Past and Present, by Edward Hull. (Imported by Scribners.) A volume in the Contemporary Science series. Mr. Hull’s attempt is to bring all volcanoes, extinct, dormant, and active, under a uniform law. Under that law as illustrated by scientific observation, lie is disposed to think that not only are we in an epoch of comparatively low volcanic activity, but that volcanic action is likely to become less powerful as the world grows older. The book is well illustrated. — Physics, Advanced Course, by George F. Barker. (Holt.) Professor Barker notes the changed aspect of physical science in the preponderating reference to the phenomena of energy over the phenomena of matter, and is governed accordingly in his treatment of the whole subject. More than half his book is devoted to Æther-Physics, which constitutes the fourth division ; the preceding parts after the Introduction being Mass-Physics and Molecular Physics. His aim has been “ to avoid making the book simply an encyclopædic collection of facts on the one hand, or too purely an abstract and theoretical discussion of physical theories on the other.”
Economics and Sociology. The Question of Silver, comprising a Brief Summary of Legislation in the United States, together with a Practical Analysis of the Present Situation, and of the Arguments of the Advocates of Unlimited Silver Coinage, by Louis R. Ehrich. (Putnams.) A volume in the Questions of the Day series. Mr. Ehrich is strongly opposed to the free coinage of silver, and advocates a genuine bimetallism. — Commercial Crises in the Nineteenth Century, by H. M. Hyndman. (Imported by Scribners.) A volume in the Social Science series. Mr. Hyndman, who is well known as a vigorous writer, passes in review nine commercial crises, beginning with 1815 and closing with 1890, covering in fact what may hereafter be known as the “ age of steam,” with its revolutionary change of industrial conditions. His examination leads him to the conclusion that the capitalistic system with its train of competition is responsible, and that the remedy lies in the cooperative system by which labor becomes the equivalent of money. — Farming Corporations, by Wilbur Aldrich. (W. Aldrich & Co., Now York.) The reader is attracted at once to this book by the directness with which the author sets about his work, and the freedom from doctrinaire writing displayed. Mr. Aldrich believes that our farms, if they are to be recovered from the blight now on them, must be conducted upon coöperative or associative principles,— that is, that all the farms in any given locality should combine and secure the benefits of saving which come from coöperative methods ; and to make his meaning clear he sketches at once the plan of such a corporation in a somewhat unpromising quarter in Maine with which he, as a farmer’s son, is familiar. The book is an eager study, and might profitably be taken up for discussion by farmers’ clubs. Its tone is healthy, and whether or no the fertile mind of the author has really developed a practicable scheme, there is a manly character to the book, for the idea is based on work, and not on producing something out of nothing.
History and Biography. History of the New World called America, by Edward John Payne. (Macmillan.) The title of this work, of which we have as yet only the first volume, is significant, for Mr. Payne sets out on no less a task than to relate the rise and growth of the western continent as a congeries of republics destined to a mighty career, and to a new development of the dominant forces of Europe. Hence he studies to connect the discovery of America, which is as far as he gets in this volume, with the historic development of Europe. America is the greatest product of the Renaissance, in his view. Further than this, he undertakes to lay the foundation of American history in an explication of the society existing here, but chiefly in Mexico and the Andes region. Upon these two bases, the greater European transmission and the lesser native American stock, he means to build his structure. His introductory pages show the sweep of his plan. It is pretty big, and Mr. Payne appears to have patience and the philosophic spirit.
His special training seems to have been in an acquaintance with Spanish and adulterated American languages. Some things, as his treatment of the Norse discovery, lead us to think that he has made his theory before he has found all his facts. He is pretty positive where others are content with conjecture, and he is extraordinarily content with obsolete authorities. America : its Geographical History, 1492-1892. Six Lectures delivered to Graduate Students of the Johns Hopkins University, with a Supplement entitled Was the Rio del Espiritu Santo of the Spanish Geographers the Mississippi ? By Walter B. Scaife. (The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore.) Dr. Scaife applies himself to the same problem which has been discussed by Dr. Winsor and Mr. Fiske, but enlarges the scope of inquiry. He seeks to show how the Atlantic coast was developed in the consciousness of Europeans, and then how, step by step, the whole map of the country was constructed. There is an interesting lecture on the Geographical Work of the National Government, and the supplement gives the author’s reasons for distinguishing the Rio del Espiritu Santo from the Mississippi. Barring an occasional flight of rhetorical fancy, the book is readable and bright. — A recent number of Johns Hopkins University Studies is Quakers in Pennsylvania, by Albert C. Applegarth (the Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore), in which Quaker customs, the attitude of Friends toward the Indians and negro slavery, and Quaker legislation are well summarized from a variety of sources. — Assassination of Lincoln. A History of the Great Conspiracy. Trial of the Conspirators by a Military Commission, and a Review of the Trial of John H. Surratt. By T. M. Harris. (American Citizen Co., Boston.) General Harris was a member of tlie commission, and in this octavo volume, availing himself of stenographic reports and of his own memory and judgment, he reviews the whole subject, with a view to substantiating the charge that the men actually engaged in the plot were planning and working with the knowledge and acquiescence of Davis and his associates. It is a charge which can be but indirectly proved, apparently, upon the testimony which he offers. — Autobiographia, or, The Story of a Life, by Walt Whitman. (Webster.) It is no secret, we believe, that we owe this admirable selection from Whitman’s prose writings to Mr. Arthur Stedman, who has deftly woven together the passages which are reminisceutial or annalistic into a consecutive narrative. Both the largeness and the tenderness of Whitman’s nature are expressed in the pages, and if the reader cannot escape the sense of a certain attitudinizing, why, that is largely the result of prose which does not offer the dramatic screen of poetry.— The Memorial History of the City of New York from its First Settlement to the Year 1892, edited by James Grant Wilson. (New York History Co.) Two volumes of history are before us, constructed upon the general plan adopted by Dr. Winsor when treating of Boston, and bringing the work down to the close of the War for Independence. Two more volumes are to complete the work. — The Autobiography of an English Gamekeeper (John Wilkins of Stanstead, Essex), edited by Arthur H. Byng and Stephen M. Stephens. (Macmillan.) A unique book, and one that has a curious interest as a character-study, even to a reader who cares little for sport, especially under the rather artificial conditions prevailing in England. Poachers have been usually more the objects of popular regard — at least in books — than gamekeepers, and it is well to have the other side of the subject so truthfully and forcibly presented. We can fully trust Wilkins’s naive tribute to his own bravery, but his humanity and freedom from vindictiveness in dealing with law - breakers are equally palpable. He gives at some length his experiences as an expert in dog - training, which may be summed up in his dictum that the only successful method to be used in all cases is “kindness, patience, and perseverance.” The editors’ silly notes, mostly written with humorous intent, could well be spared, as well as all the illustrations except the portrait of the writer. — Gossip of the Century : Personal and Traditional Memories, Social, Literary, Artistic, etc. (Macmillan.) Two big volumes numbering over a thousand pages. The type is large, and easily suggests that the book will be read most satisfactorily by the old. It is not merely that the reminiscences cover many persons and events to be recalled only by the old, but the garrulous style and the rather pointless character of many of the anecdotes adapt it to those who are not easily impatient in their reading. Croker, Queen Caroline, Wellington, Canning, D’Orsay, Sir William Gore Ouseley, George Eliot, Bulwer, Mrs. Fry, Mrs. Procter, Thomas Day, Lord Erskine, Rubini, Tamburini, Alboni, Mario, Lablache, Fanny Elssler, Paganini, Charles Matthews, Fanny Kemble, Macready, Ristori, Rachel, Eastlake, Raeburn, Landseer, Martin, Rosa Bonheur, Sir Francis Chantrey, Lord Houghton, — these are a few of the crowd which gathers in the two volumes. The portraits have many of them the air of being copies from lithographs. The lack of accent in the pictures frequently corresponds with a similar lack in the characterizations. Nevertheless, one would be a very exacting reader who could not amuse himself for much more than an hour over the work. — Records of Tennyson, Ruskin, Browning, by Anne Thackeray Ritchie. (Harpers.) A delightful volume of humane gossip intermingled with wise and kindly comment. Mrs. Ritchie, to be sure, writes a little as if she were fulfilling an agreeable commission. For her more spontaneous work of a similar sort one must go to her Witches’ Cauldron. But if we are to have personalia of the living (and Tennyson and Browning are but just dead ; the former not dead, indeed, when the papers were first printed), commend us to one of Mrs. Ritchie’s good taste. The illustrations are very interesting. — The Messrs. Lippincott have brought out in eight volumes what is the first really good American edition of Agnes Strickland’s Lives of the Queens of England. They have followed the text of the revised and enlarged edition, and the books are well printed, with a sufficiently open page. The interesting series of portraits contained in the best English edition are here reproduced, more or less satisfactorily, by a photo - engraving process. It would not have been amiss, in this issue of the work, to add a note in regard to its dual authorship. No less than twenty of the thirtyfour biographies it contains were written by Miss Elizabeth Strickland, though she would never allow her name to appear on the title-page. The marked differences in the style and manner of the two sisters must often have puzzled discriminating readers. Notwithstanding the writers’limitations and literary shortcomings, and the Jacobitism which colors all the later memoirs, they had in an eminent degree the historic sense, a genuine passion for historic research, and they collected and edited much valuable and sometimes exceedingly interesting historic material, which no student of English history can afford to overlook. The unusual favor accorded to this work by the general reader has helped to popularize the study to which its authors devoted their lives. — The Career of Columbus, by Charles Elton. With map. (Cassell.) A popular narrative in which a good deal of use is made of contemporary history. Mr. Elton uses all the little incidents which have been connected with Columbus and works them up with interest, but there is considerable of the “ we may suppose ” style in the treatment of the obscure parts. — Primitive Man in Ohio, by Warren K. Moorehead. (Putnams.) A detailed and fully illustrated survey of the actual results of the investigations among the mounds of the Ohio Valley. Mr, Moorehead has made his studies and collected his facts with no preconceived theory by which to determine the results, and his book thus is a contribution to the subject. Incidentally, he brushes away a good many illusions which have been indulged in regarding the race buried in the mounds.— London, by Walter Besant. (Harpers.) Mr. Besant shows in this book, as in more than one of his novels, in how large a degree he possesses that rare gift, the power of realizing and revivifying the past. He does not attempt to write a continuous history after the ordinary fashion, but to give a series of pictures of the city, and of the life, public and private, of its citizens, from the downfall of the Roman-British Augusta to the London of George II. Where all is so well done it is hard to particularize, but we will note the record of the last days of Augusta by one of its hapless citizens, the wonderfully vivid presentment of mediæval London, and, what is perhaps the most admirable chapter in the book, the story of the day spent with John Stow, a veritable resuscitation of the Elizabethan city. The work throughout is such delightfully easy reading that the reader will be apt to forget the labor and research that went to its making. — The Life and Letters of Charles Samuel Keene, by George Somes Layard.
(Macmillan.) A big volume, plentifully furnished with delightful copies of Keene’s illustrations. When one sees these thus brought together, one recognizes the charm and delicacy of Keene’s drawing, and what one may choose to call the playfulness rather than the humor of his genius. He was a character-drawer who stopped short of caricature. The text seems to confirm this impression. Many of Keene’s letters are printed. They are not especially interesting, being full of his craze for bagpipes or quaint books, but they disclose a friendly nature, a man of somewhat moody, eccentric temper, but an artist through and through. Mr. Layard is not very orderly as a biographer, but he is warmly interested in his subject, and has doubtless brought together all that we are likely to get in the way of illustration of Keene’s personality. — Secret Service under Pitt, by W. J. Fitzpatrick, F. S. A. (Longmans.) Mr. Fitzpatrick long ago proved himself an authority on matters relating to the secret history of the Irish conspiracies of the latter part of the last century and the beginning of this. Especially has he taken the brotherhood of spies and informers as his province. That the English government, beset with unexampled difficulties and dangers, and threatened with invasion, should have made use of the information some well-trusted conspirator was always willing to impart, in order to suppress rebellion in the country where a French landing was imminent, is not to be wondered at ; but it is needless to say that the great minister whose name is used in the title of this book had no personal connection with such matters. In the innermost councils of disaffection the man who should betray his co-workers and their plots was never wanting, and, as a rule, his treachery remained unsuspected, he lived at ease, and died in the odor of “patriotism.” This volume is in some sort a commentary on the works of Lecky and Froude, and Mr. Fitzpatrick has at last fully established the identity of “ Lord Downshire’s friend,” told the true history of Father O’Leary, and given a complete record of the career of that unuequaled deceiver, McNally. It is a pity that a book containing the results of so much intelligent and successful research should not have more order and method in its arrangement.
Theology, Ethics, and Ecclesiology. The
Church and her Doctrine. (The Christian Literature Co., New York.) Eight discourses by clergymen of the Church of England, of whom Principal Moule and Dr. Wacesss are the widest known, upon the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Sacraments, the Church, and other fundamental themes. The point of view may roughly be represented as the evangelical, with a disposition to a less hard-and-fast system than formerly was understood by that name. — The Life and Times of Cotton Mather, or, A Boston Minister of Two Centuries Ago, by Rev. A. P. Marvin. (Congregational Sunday-School and Publishing Society, Boston.) A book of nearly six hundred octavo pages, devoted to a detailed annalistic account of a minister of two hundred years ago as if he were a contemporary. There is hardly a line by the author to intimate that there is any difference between the two periods ; there is no power of historic imagination and discrimination, though a careful observance of historic facts, — nothing, in short, which serves fairly to interpret the man and his times ; only a labored defense at every point of attack by others, and a steady effort to hold Cotton Mather up as a model for ministers to-day. . The book, because of its abundant extracts from the unprinted diary, will be of service to historical students, but we can scarcely think of a theological student at Andover, or even at Hartford, diligently reading it. — The Teaching of Jesus, by Hans Hinrich Wendt ; translated by John Wilson. In two volumes. Volume I. (Scribners.) The great value of this work lies in the historical treatment by which Dr. Wendt seeks to discover the foundation of the teaching, then the external aspects of the teaching, and, proceeding to the great theme of that teaching, the announcement of the kingdom of God. The fearless manner in which he handles the documents is accompanied by a manly confidence in them, and this temper makes him a most enlightening interpreter. His exegesis of the parables especially is admirable, full of clear sense and fine insight, and very remote from a merely subtle interpretation. His work ought to be of very great service. — West Roxbury Sermons, by Theodore Parker, 1837-1848. From Unpublished Manuscripts. With Introduction and Biographical Sketch. (Roberts.) The volume is edited by Mr. F. B. Sanborn, and may surprise some by the constructive spirit displayed in it. — The Principles of Ethics, by Borden P. Bowne. (Harpers.) Although on a casual survey Mr. Bowne’s book appears to belong to the general class of works which set forth a System of ethics, the closer student soon discovers that its great value lies in its unfailing resort to life, and its freedom from a mere barren dialectic. The clear sense with which the writer, not without the scornful impatience of a strong-minded man, cuts through the entanglements of closet theories, and brushes away the thin webs of superficial dogmatists, is most refreshing. We like especially his treatment of the relation of Christianity to ethics, and his consideration of sociological conditions. The robustness of the thought will be a tonic to idle speculators.
Literature and Criticism. Americanisms and Briticisms, with Other Essays on Other Isms, by Brander Matthews. (Harpers.) There is a good deal of half-boyish snowballing in this bright little volume, but now and then Mr. Matthews gets mad and freezes his snowballs. We shall lose our reputation as an easy-going, good-natured people if we keep up this peppering, but one can take a half-hour’s national joy in watching Mr. Matthews’s exuberant and aggressive Americanism. — Res Judicatæ, Papers and Essays, by Augustine Birrell. (Scribners.) Mr. Birrell’s collection is more distinctly one of literary criticism and characterization than his Obiter Dicta. He treats of Richardson, Gibbon, Cowper, Borrow, Newman, Matthew Arnold, Hazlitt, Lamb, SainteBeuve, and one or two general subjects. He is less flippant and more readable in this book. His longer essays show him at his best, for he has time to forget to be smart. — Tales from Ten Poets, by Harrison S. Morris. In three books. (Lippincott.) Mr. Morris writes, in his preface, as a man who recognizes art in literature, and his touch in these prose renderings is deft and careful. Yet we must distinguish between the doing of a thing well and its worth when well done. To give a simple narrative drawn from a complex work like The Ring and the Book is one thing ; some gratitude is due for that. But to turn into prose so lucid and straight-away a narrative poem as Enoch Arden — cui bona ? In spite of Mr. Morris’s intimation that in this age people want a story, but do not want it in verse, we venture to think that it would be the hundredth man who would prefer to read his version to Tennyson’s. It is to be noticed, moreover, that Mr, Morris does not avail himself of the novelist’s privilege, but attacks his subjects, when dramatic in the original, from the dramatist’s point of view. Browning wisely introduces the Blot on the ’Scutcheon by his scene of Gerald and the other retainers watching the pageant, but would a story-teller have gone to work in this fashion ? The books are prettily made, and have portraits of the ten poets. — A more strictly legitimate performance of a similar kind is Tales from the Dramatists, by Charles Morris, in four volumes, with portraits. (Lippincott.) Here the non-Shakespearean dramatists are laid under contribution ; not only Shakespeare’s contemporaries and immediate successors, but Goldsmith, Sheridan, Colman, Talfourd, Bulwer, Victor Hugo, and others. There is always a story imbedded in a popular play which may be told without prejudice to the effect of the play itself on the reader or spectator. Mr, Morris, however, has not contented himself with an extended argument; he has resorted to his text for enlivening dialogue. — Shadows of the Stage, by William Winter. (Macmillan.) All intelligent playgoers will be glad that Mr. Winter has made this selection from the hundreds of papers on dramatic subjects which he has written during the last thirty years. His readers may not share all his enthusiasms, but they will always acknowledge and respect his admirable equipment for what has been so large a part of his life-work. His introductory chapter, The Good Old Times, is a comparison, excellent in taste and temper, of the past and present American stage. Many of the greater players of the last three decades and some notable performances serve as subjects of the critical and commemorative papers which follow. In short, the book is a valuable brief chronicle of our dramatic time.
Books of Reference. The Stanford Dictionary of Anglicised Words and Phrases, edited by C. A. M. Fennell. (Macmillan.) This quarto dictionary of 826 pages has been prepared for the syndics of the University Press at the charge of Mr. Stanford, whence its name. More than one half the contents is designed to enable the English reader to find out the meaning and history of the foreign words and phrases which occur frequently in English literature, as for example “ début,” “ vade mecum.” Other purposes kept in view are to register the increase of the English vocabulary directly due to the adoption and naturalization of foreign words since the introduction of printing, —such words, for instance, as “ banana,” “ indigo ; ” and also to record all English words of foreign origin which have retained or reverted to their native form, such as “ chalet,” “memorandum.” The editor has been very liberal in his interpretation of the scheme, and he has followed the historical method and cited freely, so that his book is not only very helpful, but even readable.—The Musical Year-Book of the United States. Volume IX. Season of 1891-1892. By G. H. Wilson. (Charles Hamilton, Worcester, Mass.) Besides the general record by cities, arranged alphabetically, which is happily without comment, but very full as to details, the Year-Book contains a list of new American compositions for the year, and a brief but interesting list of works by native and resident American composers, performed abroad. — Wisps of Wit and Wisdom, or Knowledge in a Nutshell, by Albert P. Southwick. (A. Lovell & Co., New York.) One of the helpful little boobs for puzzled readers who “ want to know.” Here are 601 questions which as many people might ask, such as, “ What was known as the Orphan Stone ? ” “ Where is Traitor’s Hill ? ” “ Who was Bachelor Bill ? ”
“ For what purpose was the fund Peter’s Pence established ? ” “ To whom was the term Dough-faces applied ? ” “ When were forks first used ?” etc., — questions which haunt the Notes and Queries column of some evening paper, — and here are the 601 answers by the patient, omniscient editor.
Fiction. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by A. Conan Doyle. (Harpers.) Sherlock Holmes, the unofficial detective and specialist in crime, in comparison with whom the regular officers of the law are as babes or imbeciles, continues in this collection of stories his triumphant career, never failing to find the clue in the most mysterious of labyrinths, nor to bring to light the most carefully concealed offenses. The tales are well told, and much ingenuity and skill are often shown in their construction. — Leona, by Mrs. Molesworth. (Cassell.) Mrs. Molesworth is at her best — and how very good that best is ! — in writing of or for children ; but something of the charm of these childstories is to be found in her novels. Leona is a tale wrought out of the simplest materials, but it is well written and readable ; there is the usual felicitous touch in the young-girl studies, and the book has a refinement of tone and manner which is in itself a distinction. — The Snare of the Fowler, by Mrs. Alexander. (Cassell.) A not unentertaining if rather conventional novel, the interest of which centres more in the cleverly constructed story than in the characters who play their parts therein. It will take a favorable position among Mrs. Alexander’s later works, but we once expected far more from the author of The Wooing o’t and Her Dearest Foe.—Out of the Jaws of Death, by Frank Barrett. (Cassell.) When we say that the hero of this story is a Russian nobleman of high character and distinguished accomplishments, a latter-day paladin who strives to redress his country’s wrongs by becoming a Nihilist ; that the heroine is an utterly uninstructed waif of the London slums, who, after a comparatively brief period of tuition, becomes the refined, intelligent narrator of the tale ; that the villain is an Irishman of infinite resource, who poses as a Nihilist and the hero’s dearest friend, but is really a Russian police spy ; and that there are, among the incidents of the story, hairbreadth escapes, kidnappings, deportations to Siberia, and escapes therefrom, we have sufficiently well indicated the character of the book, which, frankly sensational as it is, is a wellconstructed and, after its kind, clever tale, that has at least the merit of never being dull. — David Alden’s Daughter, and Other Stories of Colonial Times, by Jane G. Austin. (Houghton.) Mrs. Austin is cultivating the field of old colony romance, and this volume of short stories gives her the opportunity of making colonial history, not the cause of story, not wholly the occasion of it, but rather a good excuse for reminding her readers that the life of the times recorded yielded sweets to the sweet as well as the present may.
Books for the Young. The Boy Travellers in Central Europe, Adventures of two Youths in a Journey through France, Switzerland, and Austria, with Excursions among the Alps of Switzerland and the Tyrol, by Thomas W. Knox. (Harpers.) These boys have been traveling with great persistency for several years, but they are just as young, just as learned, just as inquisitive, and have just as sage companions as when they started. There are over five hundred pages in the book, and lots and lots of pictures. — Fairy Tales of Other Lands, by Julia Goddard. (Cassell.) Ten lively tales, which the reader may look upon as counterparts of familiar fairy tales, if he chooses, or, if skeptically minded, regard as familiar tales masquerading in foreign dress. The young reader will find his entertainment, whether credulous or skeptical.
Æsthetics and Illustrated Books. Several numbers of L’Art (Macmillan) have appeared since our last notice of this bi-monthly magazine of art, one of the two or three magazines of like purpose which maintain an almost even excellence of high merit. The Salon of 1892 is judiciously exemplified. M. Gindriez, director of the museum at Châlon - surSaône, writes of a provincial artist of that place, Antonin Richard, with examples of his art ; a number of Élie Delaunay’s decorative studies are shown ; there are copies of ancient tapestry work ; an interesting article on Greuze is accompanied by copies of several of his earlier paintings ; a paper on the sculpture to be seen at the Abbey of Mozac has a large number of detailed drawings ; and among the full-page etchings, of which each number has always one at least, there are copies of paintings by E. L. Weeks and Walter Gay. — Mr. Thomas Nelson Page’s tale of Marse Chan, that tender little story which gains in its passage through the old negro’s lips, has been issued as a holiday book, with several illustrations by W. T. Smedley. (Scribners.) — The Desire of Beauty, being Indications for ..Æsthetic Culture, by Theodore Child. (Harpers.) A brief volume of essays, in which a writer who has cultivated his own Æsthetic sense finely muses over the process aud the result, and generalizes, groping about for laws, and finding some true lines of investigation. — The form and style of the book lead us to place here Mr. Whittier’s At Sundown (Houghton), though we suspect that many who buy it to give away as a souvenir, after looking at the dainty etchings by Mr. Garrett, will linger over the autumnal verse, with its playfulness, its delightful leisure, its tender personality.
Minor Morals. The Presumption of Sex, and Other Papers, by Oscar Fay Adams. (Lee & Shepard.) A small volume containing a collection of brief papers vigorously denouncing vices of manners and corruptions of nature in men and women. The arraignment is sharp enough to make itself felt. — Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl. (The Waverly Co., New York.) Dull, insipid talk of a mere book-maker, on Dress, Country Life, Dancing, Love, Afternoon Tea, Watering Places, and the like. — Concerning All of Us, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson. (Harpers.) A collection of brief essays which touch gracefully and with a wealth of allusion upon many of the finer relations of men and women. Colonel Higginson has the art of comparing, and his comparison is of things and persons essentially the same, but superficially different. It is this delicate probing of social life which enables him to lay bare unreasonableness and mere conventions with a skill which does not hurt, but helps.