Slike strani

Of Joseph Hatton's excellent ter, 'the belle of Eyam.' The char story, "The Dagger and the Cross,"(*) we have received from Emma Duer Rogers the following appreciative review, which we give publicity all the more willingly, as we fully agree with her remarks:

"It is difficult to understand why so admirable a bit of fiction as Mr. Joseph Hatton's The Dagger and the Cross has not yet reached that degree of popularity which it undoubtedly deserves to attain. Not only is there no superfluity of modern fiction of exceptional excellence, but the supply can be said to scarcely equal the demand; consequently to overlook or to neglect a novel which has so many points of recommendation as the above-mentioned, means a regrettable loss to the world of discriminating fiction readers. The Dagger and the Cross makes satisfactorily evident the fact of Mr. Hatton's mastery of style; of a peculiarly lucid, forceful yet contained style, and of that most elusive form of it-the descriptive. There is nowhere perceptible any lapse from the dignified standard which obviously has been adopted. Not a slipshod sentence mars the book. From Venice, where are presented the lovely Italian heroine and her worshipping husband, the scene shifts to a little English village of the Old Peak Hundred, whither the Italians go to abide for a time, eventually affecting to a grave extent the lives of the proud old English lord who is its chief, and his fair daugh

The Dagger and the Cross. By Joseph Hatton. 12mo. cloth. Price 90 cents. By mail $1.02. Paper, price 33 cents. By mail 40 cents.

acter of the elegant scoundrel Ziletto-whose appearance to the pagan mind suggests Apollo, to the Christian the angel Gabriel-is portrayed with consistent reserve; the two heroines in whose lives he is for a short time the disturbing element, are so happily individualized, that to admire the one is not to find the other less adorably feminine and womanly.

[ocr errors]

"While Ziletto, like Svengali in

Trilby' is not only the villain but the principal actor in the drama, his powerful characterization in no wise weakens or absorbs the less ubiquitous personalities; indeed, his rival for the love of the belle of Eyam' is a degree more attractive, as an honest man, than is Ziletto as a rascal, and the accomplishment of that feat is in itself a triumph which it is not for every author to achieve. That the story ends at once happily and artistically is also matter for congratulations to both author and readers.

It is unquestionably a strong production-by strong is not meant ‘rank,' frequently so miscalled and as such is worthy of a wide recognition.'

In our last number we wrote about the Roycroft books. Since then we find in the June number of the Home Magazine a notice by Arthur T. Vance about the same. As we believe that not too much can be said in praise of these charming publications, both for the beauty of their making and for the intrinsic literary value, the refreshing spirit that

pervades them, and the finished style, we will quote this short, but deservedly enthusiastic notice :

"I was showing my book-dealer a copy of Elbert Hubbard's As It Seems to Me,'() and expostulating in the usual terms of enthusiasm on the charms of Roycroft books, and of those which Mr. Hubbard writes in particular, when the old gentleman asked, 'What is it that makes all you young fellows rave so much about Elbert Hubbard and his Philistine;() what is there so taking in his writings?'

To tell the truth, I couldn't definitely answer. The charm is there all right, but I'll be blessed if I could describe it or analyze it. So I told him to read and find out himself.


"But I think Mr. Hubbard answers the question himself in this volume of his collected essays, especially so in the one entitled 'Why I Am a Philistine.' He says:

"In literature he is a Philistine who seeks to express his personality in his own way. In art we

ask for the widest, freest, and fullest liberty for individuality-that's all.'

"And I rather think that is all there is to the Hubbard vogue-he ever lives up to his creed-he says what he has to say in his own way; he isn't hampered by prejudices, nor by the petty conventionalities. If he wants to say 'damn,' he spells it right out like a man-he is a man in all that he writes. Sometimes it is

(1) As it Seems to Me. By Elbert Hubbard. 8vo. leather. Price $1.85. By mail $2.00.

(2) That sprightly little magazine published in East Aurora, N. Y.

strong meat that he gives us, too strong for school-girls; but we like him the better for it.

"Mr. Hubbard, with a few others in literature, is but slightly in advance of his fellows. The times are ripe for virile literature. We have had too much of the milk-and-water, effeminate sort. Writers have been afraid of themselves, afraid to say what they thought. They have striven for nicety rather than force. They have been afraid of the prejudices of their readers, and literature has suffered accordingly. But we are going to change all that. Hubbard and the others are leaders in the assault, and we rather think they'll win out before long. But every time I get to writing about the Roycrofters, I get to wandering. Perhaps because I'm so heartily in sympathy with their work.

"As It Seems to Me contains some of the Master Roycrofter's best essays that have appeared from time to time, mostly in the Philistine. It is printed on rough paper, in the usual Roycroft style, and there is a striking portrait of Mr. Hubbard for a frontispiece. The binding is flexible russet chamois, silk-lined and of exceptional taste and beauty."

[blocks in formation]

of Regina, we cannot altogether approve of, as she, although playing the second prominent part, is certainly not the leading character of the book, nor the personification of Boleslav's, the hero's, fate. However this is only a secondary matter. We are glad to see our American readers becoming acquainted with that great German realist's masterpiece, after having previously been offered translations of Dame Care, Sudermann's play Magda (Die Heimath) and one of his weakest productions The Wish. Why the latter should have been preferred to that infinitely better and stronger Story of the Silent Mill, contained in the original in the same volume as The Wish, we could never conceive, as The Wish is certainly painful and morbid to a degree. The reason that his play Magda has been translated into English and produced on the English and American stage, while his most famous play "Die Ehre" which really gave Sudermann the place in modern literature which he holds, has so far been neglected, lies probably in the fact, that the social conditions, the contrast between "Vorderhaus" and “Hinterhaus" and the German conception of "honor," which form the fundamental problems in "Die Ehre" are too foreign and almost incomprehensible to us. But we will not go into a lengthy criticism of Sudermann's works. We may publish a short essay on this interesting author in a future number-and will now confine ourselves to the book before us. Even this work alone offers much temptation for the critic

to analyze and review it at length, but we must leave this to the reader himself and hope that many readers will be induced by our short notice to take it up. It is certainly one of the strongest works of fiction. known to us, and known to us, and written with a dramatic force and detail of psychological analysis and consequences, that hold the reader's breathless attention from beginning to end. Yet it is not a book which we could recommend to young readers. Its theme is anything but a pleasant one and the situations often so risky and bold that, if it were not for the author's refined and artistic way of telling, it might be called morally objectionable. The London Spectator says of this book in a recent, review :

"The author has handled his terrible theme with wonderful force and simplicity, and a complete avoidance of offence. No attempt is made to glorify Regina, who in some respects is infra-human, for her devotion to Boleslav is in many ways that of a dumb animal. But she is none the less a strangely pathetic, and even heroic, figure, while there is an elemental force in the passionshate, love, avarice, and cruelty-of the various dramatis persone which lend them an impressiveness rarely encountered in a novel of English life."

The scene is laid in a village of Eastern Prussia in the year 1814. Boleslav, the son of Baron von Schranden, has fought against the French under an assumed name, and returns home at the head of his comrades, who admire and love him, with

the intention, however, to enter the 'Landwehr' (militia) after having buried his father. The old Baron, who had disgraced his name as a traitor by having led the enemy over the 'Katzensteg,' a secret path, to attack the Prussians unaware in the rear, had died shortly before Boleslav's return, but was prevented by the hatred of the enraged populace from being buried. The son, although feeling no love for his dishonered father, is bent on fulfilling his filial duty and does so regardless of the villagers' scorn. But instead of leaving his home after that, as he had intended, circumstances compel him to remain and suffer the inheritance of his father's shame; a terrible story of sufferings due to The Sins of the Fathers.' He finds his father's body in the ruins of his devastated estate, and by it Regina, a beautiful, uneducated peasant, his father's tool and mistress.

[ocr errors]

At first he looks with loathing on the poor girl, who remains in his service, but her devoted and doglike fidelity gradually breaks down the barriers of his dislike, and pity is in danger of yielding to a stronger feeling as he learns how cruelly her ignorance and innocence were abused by his own father. Finally a rupture between Boleslav and his mincing, affected sweetheart, the pastor's daughter, has already overborne his instinctive repulsion to a union with Regina, when she meets her death in the successful effort to thwart a plot aimed at his life. Boleslav, having been excommunicated along with Regina by the pas

tor, buries the unhappy girl himself, and departs to the war. An English pseudo-realist would have made him commit suicide, but Sudermann, holding perhaps, with Crabbe that

"When all the blandishments of life are gone, The coward slinks to death, the brave lives on,"

merely observes that it is supposed he fell at Ligny.

This short synopsis can give, however, only an inadequate idea of the story; the power lies in the way the story is told, in all the absorbing details of emotion and description. The book must be read to be appreciated as a masterwork of modern fiction.

We have received a new revised edition, adapted for American readers by an American physician, of Chavasse's famous book, "Advice to a Mother" (1) on the management of her children and on the treatment on the moment of some of their more pressing illnesses and accidents, by Dr. George Carpenter. This excellent work has been recognized for years as a standard and authentic vade mecum so that a detailed review is superfluous; the mere mention of this issue of a new edition suffices. To those who are not acquainted with it, the title given above in full, explains its purpose entirely. It is a reliable guide and will prove a most useful handbook to mothers.

A real cheery book for cheery as well as dreary days is "The Cheery Book,"(2) By Joe Kerr. We can offer

(1) Advice to a Mother. By Dr. George Carpen. ter. 12mo. cloth. Price 75 cents. By mail 87 cents. (2) The Cheery Book. By Joe Kerr. 12mo. cloth. Illustrated. Price $1.08. By mail $1.23.


Yours truly
Joe Kerr

(By Courtesy of the G. W. Dillingham Co., New York, publishers of The Cheery Book.)

our readers no better description of it, than the following "Publisher's Preface," which introduces the book most appropriately.

The volume is properly named The Cheery Book for it is intended to promote cheerfulness, and to dispel gloom, dejection and sadness.

Joe Kerr and his writings are so well known as to need no elaborate introduction. His delightful merri

ment and tender pathos appeal to all classes. Although still a young man, he has been a New York favorite for several years.

The sentiment of all his poems is exquisite, and there is not an atom of crudeness throughout the entire book. The dialect verses are incomparable, inimitable, and genuinely mirth-provoking.

The collection is new, unique,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »