« AnteriorContinuar »
Mrs. Davis has rather strained the strength of Southern chivalry in the case of Herring. It hardly seems credible that a man of his position, and pride, and love of family would rather sacrifice his family, home, and life, than break a foolish promise to a hysterical kinswoman. This element of unrealty jars.
Out of the East.3
Joaquin Miller's City Beautiful.' The Building of the City Beautiful is in its third edition. Those who are familiar with the charming imagery and delightful word-painting of this marvelous word-picture will rejoice that in this day of the railroad novel, a classic is meeting the success it deserves. Mr. Miller's ideal city is the old, old dream of Utopia in a new and beautiful dress from the hand of a master. The part that deals with his own struggles in the upbuilding of his own “City Beautiful ” on the " Heights" above Oakland, will be found particularly interesting to his California admirers. No review of this book,- and it has been reviewed over and over again when it was in its first edition, - can adequately describe its peculiar beauty. It proves that a great poet may be a great writer of prose if he choose.
Under the Man-Fig.2 In Under the Man-Fig Mrs. M. E. M. Davis has painted, in some respects, a delightful picture of Southern life. It has its shadows, however, which the author brings out with startling vividness. The somewhat peculiar title of the book is derived from the old, barren fig tree in the center of the old Texan town under which the male gossips congregated from day to day to hatch scandal and exaggerate the daily happenings of the little city. It was under this tree that the theft of the Vanborough diamonds was fastened on the hero of the story, Vanborough Herring, – out of which the plot is evolved. While the tale is well told, the portrayals of the poor whites, and free “niggers” well done, and the plot interesting, one cannot but think that
LAFCADIO HEARN has added greatly to his reputation by his last book. It does not pretend to take up as complete a description of Japanese life as his well known “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan,” but is rather what it pretends to be: “Reviews and Studies in New Japan.” It is a collection of bits of life, stories, romances, and studies of the inner life of the people, – their higher and nobler life. He does not discuss the giesha girl or the haunts of the ordinary globe-trotter. As a student and a teacher in the Japanese schools he has come closer and nearer to the main spring and life of these remarkable people. One understands after reading him why Japan won in her struggles with China. The very same spirit that made Greece invincible pervaded Japan. The love of the aged, and patriotism, are the first and holiest sentiments of the Japanese. There is nothing tiresome or shopworn about the book, and Mr. Hearn's ease and grace make the descriptions and homilies delightful reading. It is by far the best book of its kind on Japan that has appeared.
The Mound Builders. EVER since our people first came to America, their interest and curiosity have been excited by
1 The Building of the City Beautiful. By Joaquin Miller. Chicago: Stone and Kimball: 1864.
2 Under the Man-Fig. By M. E. M. Davis. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.: 1805. $1.25.
3Out of the East. By Lafcadio Hearn. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.: 1875,
4 Report on the Mound Explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology. By Cyrus Thomas. Washington : 1891.
the Mounds, scattered throughout the Mississ- pons, the same shell-ornaments, the same stone ippi Valley, and conjectures as to their origin pipes, all point this way; and from the first exand purpose grew into a regular mythology of plorers of our country plenty of evidence may be the Mound-Builders, people of some great mys- brought similar to the following from one of terious race, compared to whom the Indian was the historians of De Soto's expedition:a degenerate savage. The Animal Mounds of “The chief
came out with five hunWisconsin and other States roused special won- dred men to meet him and took him to the vilder, and the old farmers who contemplated them lage, in which were three hundred houses, and in their busy days, discussed them in their idle
lodged him in his own. This house stood on a
high mound similar to others we have already evenings until they seemed to themselves to get mentioned.” glimpses of that prehistoric world of which Gen
Other chroniclers of this expedition also make esis relates, “And there were giants in those
reference to “Mounts made by art.” days."
Again many traditions of the Indians refer Since 1881, the Bureau of Ethnology at Wash- these Mounds to their own ancestors; and the ington has taken up the labor of exploring these burial customs indicated by the remains in the mysterious structures, of mapping them, and of
Mounds are similar to those practiced by tribes excavating more than two thousand of them.
living in their vicinity when first visited by the The results of this long labor, of which Mr. whites. Still more interesting and conclusive is Thomas has been the director, is embodied in a the fact that articles of European manufacture report of 730 pages, recently published by the are often found in such relations as to prove the Bureau. The report is richly illustrated with Mounds in which they occur to have been in actplans, engravings of skulls and objects, and is ive use after the period of Indian trade with accompanied by an Ethnological map showing Europeans had begun; instances of this are three the location and distribution of these interesting
copper sleigh-bells taken out of a Tennessee monuments. The district which Mr. Thomas
Mound in connection with the skeleton of a child, names the “Mound Builders' Section” comprises a small piece of glazed Spanish pottery found at all the territory of the United States east of the
the bottom of a Georgia Mound, two iron hatRockies, and probably extends northward into chets from a Mound in Minnesota. Canada. The works are found mostly near the The results of Mr. Thomas's work are considGreat Lakes and along the chief rivers. Roughly ered almost final by archæologists. They sum speaking, the Mississippi Valley from Lake
up as follows:Pepin to the Red River was the range of the
The Mound-Builders were Indians. Mound-Builders, although in the South they 2. They ranged from the Mississippi eastward, pressed nearer the Atlantic than in the North.
along lakes and streams. The variations in the Mounds, in shape, con- 3. They lived in permanent settlements. tents, and arrangement, are such as to leave no 4. They built earth-works:- a, as graves; doubt that they were constructed not by one b, as defenses; c, as foundations for houses or homogeneous people, but by various tribes, about villages. alike in stage of culture, but varying in detail, 5. The mound-building Indians are totally as to manners, customs, arts, and ideas. Thus distinct from the Indians of Mexico and the Pain Wisconsin Effigy Mounds appear; in Dakota, cific Slope. figures are traced out by lines of bowlders; in New York, defensive earthworks are frequent;
Meditations in Motley.' in Ohio, "geometrical works,” built in circles,
WALTER BLACKBURN HARTE has brought squares, and octagons, are characteristic; while
out in book form six essays which he alleges on through the South occur various forms of ter
the title page are “A bundle of papers imbued raced and pyramidal Mounds.
with the sobriety of midnight.” The best of them The contents of the Mounds also vary from
is without doubt-"About Critics and Critiarea to area, and their character taken in connec
cism." It is at least the easiest to understand tion with our historical and archæological knowl
and the most human. There is meat enough, edge of the North American Indian at the date
however, in all the essays, but they need of his first discovery, leads Mr. Thomas to the
boiling down. Ideas are repeated over and very decided conclusion that the Mound-Builders
over in such a variety of ways that the reader were the ancestors of our vanishing Indian tribes
begins to suspect that the writer did not enterof today; the same ornamental patterns, the
1 Meditations in Motley. By Walter Blackburn Harte. same forms of pottery, the same styles of wea- The Arena Pubhishing Co.: Boston.
Modern English Poets. 3
tain a very high opinion of his intelligence. Then again Mr. Harte does not scruple to separate the subject and predicate of a sentence by an entire page. The average mind objects to a thirty line phrase. There are plenty of good hits in the book,- notably at newspaper proprietors and publishers, but as a whole the work will not rank very high as an essay or collection of essays.
The religious aspect of modern English poetry is treated by Vida D. Scudder in a series of papers that very many people will enjoy. She is clear in her statements, convincing, often, in her logic, and the reader is fairly at one with her most of the time ; on the vexed question of faith even the apostolic fathers cannot command universal acceptance. Nor is she free altogether from faults of style, – there are many repetitions in the book and many passages where the effort at fine writing is painfully apparent, a self-consciousness that interferes with the impression that she is quite sincere in all that
An Unprejudiced Life of Napoleon. Miss Ida M. Tarbell, author of the “Short Life of Napoleon,” published by McClure, began the work in Paris, spending three years in the study of French Revolutionary history. The work is one that will be markedly popular as the author has not written it with a view to sustain any prejudice for or against Napoleon, but simply to draw a true and human picture of the man as he was. Josephine is stripped of much of the hysterical virtue morbid people have clothed her with and the state reasons for the divorce are given greater significance when it is remembered what a vain, flirting spendthrift the “Man of Destiny" was coupled with. Strange as it may seem, there are men today, who like Barras, are not possessed of sufficient brains to rise above the reputation of brilliant rakishness, that presume to criticise Napoleon's actions, especially when his star was on the wane. If the reader will turn to Miss Tarbell's “Short life of Napoleon” with a desire to form an opinion unbiased by memoirs of mediocre men, it will be found the most impartial of all the accounts of the great man's life.
Beginning with the great effect that science has had on modern poetry she shows how the ideas of evolution and of modern democracy have profoundly modified the poetic world, as well as the world in every other province of thought. These are among her most interesting chapters. Then she discourses on Wordsworth as an exponent of democracy. A very strong chapter is that on
Ideals of Redemption, Medieval and Modern,” in which she chooses the Divine Comedy, the Fairie Queen, and Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, as the best exponents of Medieval, Renaissance, and Revolutionary poetry. Here her fondness for antithesis and epigram is at its best.
The new Renaissance with the recent neopaganism occupies her next, but she hastens on to “Browning as a humorist, for she crowns him as the world's greatest humorist in addition to all his other greatnesses. “The Poetry of Search " calls up Matthew Arnold, Arthur Hugh Clough, and the pre-Raphaelite school, and culminates in Tennyson, principally in In Memoriam. In this poem she finds the first great sign of the triumph of faith in all the conflicts waged on it with these strange modern weapons. In Browning and Tennyson with their strong, militant, faith-conquering spirit she sees the culmination of modern poetry and the promise that the spirit of belief is not a waning force but the potent inspiration of the song that is to be.
The Watch Fires of '76.2
Colonel Drake has collected in most readable shape the stories of a little colony of old veterans of the Revolution. Each in turn relates in conversational style on a winter's evening some experience during the great battle for freedom. Stories that embrace all the battles of the war and contain the soldier's estimate of the battle and the general who commanded.
Every boy and even the girls cannot but be moved by the stirring record and feel their hearts beating faster as they read of the privations, hardships and glories of their forefathers. I hi Watch Fires of '76 should be in every home where there are growing children. It is a lesson in partiotism. The book is handsomely bound and well illustrated.
"Short Life of Napoleon," published by McClure. N. Y. 1895.
The Watch Fires of '76. By S. A. Drake. Boston: Lee & Shepard: 1895: $1.25. For sale by Win. Doxey
AMONG the recent reprints of old time novels is Tom Cringle's Log. Written in the person of an English marine, it is a swiftly-moving and
3 The Life of the Spirit in the Modern English Poets. By Vida D. Scudder. Boston : Houghton, Mifflin & Co: 1895.
4 Tom Cringle's Log. By Michael Scott. Macmillan & Co. New York and London: 1895. For sale in San Francisco by William Doxey.
crowded panorama of sea-life as it was between There are spirited pen illustrations by Henry (apparently) the years 1820 and 1830, in the M. Brock, and an introduction by David Hanvicinity of the West Indies and Barbadoes. As nay. such, the book may still be considered worthy of
A Little Sister to the Wilderness.” the fame it achieved when appearing as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine somewhere, we believe, ONE really hates to speak adversely of Miss in the thirties. Pictures of sea-battles, and ex
Bell's last book. The writer's intent is evidently periences with pirates, slavers, and “Johnny
so sincere and the tone of the story is so pure Crapauds,” are placed before us vividly, giving and clean, – then again, the book is printed and the impression that the author was not only
bound so daintily. But the story as a story and truthful in his representation of such life but a
not as a study of human motives is as absurd as participant in it.
its title. There is no way of reconciling one's Few of the old favorites show more forcibly common sense to its characters, or at least to its the change of thought - change for the better –
heroine. that has come over the spirit of our books
May Manley in few short months since Tom Cringle was written. With the ex
develops from the daughter of the poorception of a few descriptions and allusions, the est of the “pore whites ” in the bottombook might have been written by a very coarse
lands of Tennessee to a queenly lady, the suminded and ordinary English sailor. The author perior of the "first families.” On the first page wrote down, and produced a book no woman
of the little story she is driving mules and talkwill care to read through. After the first chapter ing hogs to her rustic admirer, - on the last it is blurred on nearly every page with oaths,
page she is in the home and hearts of the aristoand vulgar allusions and stories.
cratic Chisholms and teaching the famous Macmillan & Company's very attractive preacher, Camden, the way of life in language edition has a flattering introduction by Mowbray that the author may well be proud of. The unMorris, and is illustrated by J. Aylton Sym. reality of the entire affair ruins the story. Never. ington.
theless, the bits of description of the poor whites There are at least a few of Captain Marryat's
and their life are well done, and the chapter on twenty-four novels which should not go out of
the “Protracted Meeting” is capital. The story favor for a long time to come. Clean and whole- is hardly worth spending much time over some, yet full of life is Japhet in Search of a
although it is harmless. Father, also just issued by the Macmillans.
An English View of Harvard.3 For the younger generation some idea of the story may not come amiss. Japhet is a found- AS A graduate of the greatest of Old-World ling, left in London (and a basket, as Marryat universities, Dr. Hill, of Pembroke College, Oxwould say) at the door of a couple who take him
ford, -where Dr. Johnson was a student, - is a to a foundling home. As he grows up the desire
very fit and proper person to write a history of to know who his father is grows too, until it
the foundation and growth, and an account of becomes his one object in life. He becomes the present condition, of the most venerable of morbid and his fancy, led by the slightest clews,
New-World colleges. For was not John Harvard draws him into ludicrous and strange situations. a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Thrown into the company of gypsies he lives
and did not Henry Vane, President of the Genwith them for a time, chiefly to make money,
eral Court of the Colony which passed the first and when he leaves them, a little girl stolen
vote of money
towards a school or college,” from her parents is put in his charge. He now study at Magdalen College, Oxford ? Dr. Hill has an additional object, - to find the girl's is highly appreciative of Harvard, her president, parents. Circumstances, aided by plausible soph
professors, and under-graduates; yet he does istry put him into the position of a beau-about
not hesitate to make frank, though kindly town, a life he enjoys to the full. Gambling,
criticisms; as when he suggests that "college and the exposure of a certain amount of decep- yells ”hardly become the students of a university. tion he has practiced, ruin him, when he devotes
Dr. Hill thinks that Oxford and Cambridge, in himself still more strictly to his search and has compelling students of jurisprudence, modern stranger adventures than ever. In the end he of history, natural science, and other branches of course finds his father, as well as the mother of
2A Little Sister to the wilderness. By Lilian Bell.
Chicago Stone & Kimball: 1895. $1.25. the little girl.
3 Harvard College, by an Oxonian. By George Birkbeck 1 Japhet in Search of a Father. By Captain Marryat. Hill, D. C. I.. New York and London: Macmillan & Macmillan & Co.: New York and London: 1895.
Co : 1895. Price $2.25.
learning, to pass examinations in Greek and Latin, for which they may be utterly unfitted, do not act so wisely as Harvard. He is also of opinion that the selection of professors and assistant-professors is more sensibly managed at Harvard than is sometimes the case at Oxford and Cambridge, where assistant professors are practically non-existent, and a man does not reach a professorial chair until he is too old to be a really effective teacher. He admires greatly the Harvard Graduate School, a feature which might most usefully be imitated by the universities of the Old Home. Yet he is not blind to what Professor Goodwin admits, viz.:-that while the average attainment at Harvard may be creditable, the best men fall “far behind the highest standard” of Oxford and Cambridge. “There are no scholars of Balliol, or of Trinity, Cambridge, to be found” at the Massachusetts university: Hertford, Ireland, Craven and Derby scholars are not even dreamt of. The Harvard education does not confer that“ infinite dexterity and readiness " which are characteristic of the best Oxford and Cambridge men ; it is incapable of producing such men as Cardinal Newman, W. E. Gladstone, E. A. Freeman, J. A. Froude, Matthew Arnold, Herbert Asquith, John Ruskin, and W. H. Mallock,-to mention only a few whose names rise instantly into one's mind. Dr. Hill hopes that graduate schools at Oxford and Cambridge may attract many American students in years to come, and that a “perfect good-will ”may “some day by the help of books, scholars, and universities, be established between the great and kindred nations” of Great Britain and the United States.
The book is well printed, has a convenient index, and is adorned with several fine photoengravings.
tion concerning the early days of American independence which it would be difficult to find in another printed volume of its size. He describes in the beginning the condition of things in Massachusetts just previous to the breaking out of the war of the Revolution, and then, starting with the eighteenth of April, 1775, he relates with great particularity the events of that night and the succeeding day in Boston and at Lexington and at Concord, the ride of Revere and Dawes, the massacre at Lexington, and the fight at Concord bridge. Paul Revere's story of his famous ride, the original of which is owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society, is quoted in full. Scarcely less interesting are the narratives of others who either took part in the doings of the day, or who received the accounts from those who did. An added chapter gives an account of the flags used during the war of the Revolution, and there are a dozen or more patriotic poems. Three excellent maps aid to a more perfect understanding of the text, and there are twelve full-page illustrations from recent photographs.
The Philistine, “A Periodical of Protest,” published by White and Wagoner at East Aurora, N. Y., is the name of the neatest, best printed, and altogether most charming little bibelot that has so far graced the newstands. Its name gives one an idea of its excuse for existence. It devotes itself to a vigorous kick at the New York clique of literary mutual admirers, - Howells, Gilder, Bok, and the rest, - thus:
“Mr. Gilder dishes up monthly, beautifully printed articles which nobody cares about, but which everybody buys, because The Century looks well on the library table."
Again, “Mr. Howells maunders weekly in a column called “Life and Letters,” in Harper's Journal of civilization.
“Ginger used to be in evidence in magazines and pumpkin pies. Squash is a prominent ingredient now.
Scribner's has a thrilling article on Books We Have Published.
The Bok Bills of Narcissus.
PHILADELPHIA, June 1, 1895. W. D. Howells,
To Edward W. Bok, Dr. 42 sq. inches in Boiler Plate, ‘Literary,
Letters,' on What I know of Howells'
$ 4 20 Mentioning Howells' Name 730,000 times in same (up to date)......
7 30 Cursing Trilby (your suggestion)...
Mr. Varney has compressed into his Patriot's Day: an amount of valuable historical informa
Intrigue and Inspector Noseby. By Sparhawk Red Letter Publishing Company: Boston: 1895.
2 Patriot's Day. By George J. Varney. Lee and Shep
ard. Boston. 600.
The entire book is clever from cover to cover.