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The original Declaration of Independence is in so dilapidated a condition that nowadays it is rarely, if ever, exposed to public view. The Ladies' Home Journal was recently granted special permission by the Secretary of State to make a single exposure of the document to the camera, and reproduce the photograph, which is a remarkably clear one, in the July issue of that magazine. Exposure to light and the process of making a duplicate copy of the Declaration have faded the ink in the historic document, but it is still legible. Some of the signatures are nearly faded out. John Hancock, however, seems to have used an imperishable ink, for his name stands black and bold on the parchment, which is now kept in a steel safe, out of the sunlight, and out of the public's view.
We learn that Mrs. Craigie, the well-known author of School for Saints, and the play The Ambassador, which was a few weeks ago produced on the London stage with such remarkable success, is contemplating a lecturing tour through the United States under the management of Major Pond.
Percival Pollard, in reviewing Abraham Cahan's clever New York Ghetto Stories, entitled The Imported Bridegroom and Other Stories(*) in the Criterion, remarked that in
(*) The Imported Bridegroom, and Other Stories. By Abraham Cahan. Price 75 cents. By mail 85 cents.
depicting life of the various quarters and social circles of our great metropolis, New York, much still remains undone. The Italians, the Armenians and many other of the yet distinct alien races have no novelists in description of their share in the town's composition, and barring a scarce known book of tales by William Norris, the life of the Chinese of New York is still virgin soil. This last mentioned book (the author's name by the way is Norr, not Norris), published several years ago in cheap, uninviting paper form, though characteristic and interesting to the student of social life among the lowest classes, savours of the sensational, melodramatic "police news" style and can hardly be recommended as wholesome reading. There has, however, recently been published a collection of short stories by that clever writer Robert W. Chambers, entitled The Haunts of Men, (*) which contains among stories of a very varied character, one which takes us into the generally unknown regions of Doyers street. It is a cleverly told, pathetic drama of the Chinese quarter, told among four newspaper reporters who meet in an all-night restaurant in that ill-reputed neighborhood. We cannot say that it is a particularly elevating story; many may feel shocked and repulsed, yet it is masterly told, pathetic and characteristic, and lets us have a glance into the depths of lowly life in Chinatown. The story is entitled The Whisper.
(*) The Haunts of Men. By Robert W Chambers. 12mo., cloth. Price 90 cents. By mail $1.02.
We present herewith to our readers the latest, and as yet unpublished portrait of Mr. Gelett Burgess, who is at present in London. We invite Mr. Vance Thompson to compare this portrait of Mr. Burgess with the portrait of Yone Noguchi in our last issue, to convince himself that these two men are not one and the same, as he asserted recently in the Musical Courier. (cf. our notice in August Book NOTES on page 87.)
signer of the Stevenson Memorial fountain in that city. The Vailima party went especially to visit Miss Balfour, Stevenson's favorite aunt, and Cummie' (Cunningham Allison) his old nurse. We visited Swanston Cottage, the lovely, romantic place where Louis spent many of his boyhood's days and whose grounds and buildings figure largely in St. Ives.(1) Mrs. R. L. S. is to spend the winter in London, for the purpose of advising Mr. Sidney Colvin in regard to the 'Life' and the Letters,' as the personalities involved require to be most carefully considered. I am now writing for the Sketch quite regularly, as a contributor, illustrating my articles with caricatures."
We published an estimate of this clever young artist-writer in the July number of Book NOTES on pages 50 and 51.
The London Academy gives the following report of Mr. Cable's first reading in London:
"Mr. G. W. Cable's first reading, in Mrs. Barrie's drawing-room, last Tuesday afternoon, delighted his audience. To be accurate, it was not a reading at all, but a dramatic recitation, in the late Mr. Brandram's manner; but Mr. Cable allows himself a greater latitude in emotion and gesture. It was his own work he recited (scenes from Dr. Sevier) (*); he felt it strongly and he communi
(1) St. Ives, By Robert Louis Stevenson. Price $1.08. By mail $1.23.
(2) Dr. Sevier. By Geo. W. Cable. Price 90 cents. By mail $1.02.
cated the thrill to his audience. For properties Mr. Cable allowed himself a book and a handkerchief, and he used them only for the Widow Riley-the book as a fan, the handkerchief for her Irish tears. text itself was in the author's head. Neat, sincere and gay is his literary style; neat his manner; and neat, intimate and mobile is his method of delivery. He passes easily from the lightest of light comedy to the imminent tragedy of battle. But best of all his characters he loves to put on the flexible, caressing voices that go with the shortstepping nimble movements of his own Creoles. Mr. Cable's rendering of the quaint, cunning utterances of the matchless Narcisse was comedy at its best, and 'Mary's Night Ride' was admirable narrative tragedy. In fact, the hour and a half's traffic with Dr. Sevier called up so many delightful reminiscences that at least one of the audience went away hot-foot to the Kensington bookshops. But none of them had Dr. Sevier in stock, or, indeed, any of Mr. Cable's books; which must be remedied. Perhaps some publisher will give us Mr. Cable's works on the Edinburgh Stevenson model.
"In appearance Mr. Cable is slim and slight, with a high, broad forehead. He wears a bristling gray moustache, and might be mistaken. for a military man were it not for the sensitive play of expression of his features. Not the least interesting incident of the afternoon was his rendering of a story told by a Creole woman to a child, and his crooning of a Creole song."
Last year the importation of French books, engravings, photographs, music, etc., amounted to $178,418; in the year before $204,545. Germany exported $655,725 in 1896, and $618,699 in 1897. The United States sent $116,419 and $108,100 to France in 1896 and 1897, and $55,176 and $45,535 to Germany in the respective years.
(1) The Heavenly Twins, By Sarah Grand. Cloth. Price 75 cents. By mail 87 cents. Paper. Price 33 cents. By mail 40 cents.
(2) Maggie: A Gir] of the Streets. By Stephen Crane. Price 55 cents. By mail 65 cents.
John Kendrick Bangs contributes an exceedingly humorous story to the August Ladies' Home Journal.
He calls it "The Adventures of an Organ," and has made the organ a veritable white elephant-a very funny elephant indeed.
Among the new books published, or announced to be published shortly by Messrs. E. P. Dutton & Co., are: Through Armenia on Horseback, by Geo. H. Hepworth, an account of Mr. Hepworth's travels as special correspondent of the New York Herald, profusely illustrated from photographs. A new historical novel, entitled Raoul and the Iron Hand, a tale of the fourteenth century, by May Halsey Miller, the scene of which is laid in the North of France; and two new juvenile two new juvenile books, entitled Little Gervaise, by John Strange Winter, and Our Soldier Boy by G. Manville Fenn.
There is no mistake about it, we are having a veritable Balzac boom at present. Everybody is reading Balzac and naturally wishes to own a good edition of his fascinating novels. Of new editions of Balzac's works (in English translation) in single volumes and in sets there is no end. Without question the best edition of all, both in regard to the excellence of the translation and to the perfection in the make up, a triumph of bookmaking, the delight of every lover of really fine books, is the Saintsbury edition, published by subscription by the Croscup &
Sterling Co. Though a sumptuous and costly set, it is made accessible even to people of moderate means by being procurable at the remarkably small expense of only $2.00 per month from the Subscription Department of the Siegel-Cooper Co., where samples of this most desirable edition of one of the greatest writers of fiction may be seen.
In the Marais quarter at Paris there lived at the beginning of the eighties, a wealthy iady, well known for her benevolence and charity. Among those who enjoyed her special favor was one of her tenants, a dealer in bronzes, an honest man, but unsuccessful in business. He was usually behind in paying his rent and as the landlady never pressed him, he owed her quite a little sum, when she died in 1884. The house, where this bronze dealer lived, fell an inheritance to Felix Faure, at that time assistant secretary in the Ministry of the Interior. M. Faure was not as lenient as the former owner and the bronze dealer, unable to pay, was dispossessed. The unhappy man, driven to despair, committed suicide in the St. Martin Canal, after having notified a friend of his, a novelist, who also lived in the Marais quarter, of his intention and recommending his two sons to his care. The novelist took them to M. Faure, who was much agitated and deeply aggrieved over the result of his action and tried to atone for his hard-heartedness by giving the two orphans an education. at his own expense. The novelist
referred to, was Alphonse Daudet, and the accident gave him the instigation for his last novel Le Soutien de famille, which has recently appeared, shortly after the writer's death, in an English translation under the title of The Head of the Family.(*)
The Nineteenth Century for June contains an excellent article on Style contains an excellent article on Style in English Prose, by Frederic Harrison, which we heartily recommend for the perusal of all would-be writers. We quote from it the following remarks:
"It is a good rule for a young writer to avoid more than twenty or thirty words without a full stop, and not to put more than two commas in each sentence, so that its clauses should not exceed three. This, of course, only in practice.
"Never quote anything that is not apt and new. Those stale citations of well-worn lines give us a cold shudder, as does a pun at a dinnerparty. A familiar phrase from poetry or Scripture may pass when imbedded in your sentence. But to show it around as a nugget which you have just picked up is the innocent freshman's snare. Never imitate any
(*) The Head of the Family. By Alphonse Daudet. Price $1.08. By mail $1.23.
"Read Smith, Defoe, Goldsmith if you care to know pure English. I need hardly tell you to read another and a greater Book. The Book which begot English prose still remains its supreme type. The English Bible is the true school of English literature. It possesses every quality of our language in its highest formexcept for scientific precision, practical affairs, and philosophic analysis. It would be ridiculous to write an article, or a novel in the language of essay on metaphysics, a political the Bible. But if you care to know the best that our literature can give in simple, noble prose-mark, learn and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures in the English tongue.'