A Fictioneer of the Laboratory


The Smart Set/July, 1910

IT seems to be pretty generally agreed by the critics, at least in the United States, that H. G. Wells has stepped into the long vacant boots of Charles Dickens, and for that notion, it must be confessed, there is no little excuse.

Wells, in truth, and to change the figure, has rediscovered and staked out for himself the English lower middle class that Dickens knew so intimately and loved with such shameless sentimentality—that hunkerous, uncleanly, tea swilling garde du corps of all the more disgusting virtues, traditions, superstitions and epidemic diseases of the Anglican people. The other novelists across the water strike either above it or below it—above it at the magnificent and, as it were, almost supernatural indecency of the aristocracy, or at the moral anarchy of the self-conscious class of social climbers; or below it at the ingenuous swinishness of the herd. Thus we have on the one hand a copious outpouring of novels of the “Dodo” school (even “Esther Waters” and “What Maisie Knew” belong to it), with their melancholy presentations of perfumed polygamy; and on the other hand a steady supply of novels of the Hardy-Phillpotts-Morrison school, with their tedious prying into the amours and political ambitions, the theology and gnosiology of Wesleyan farmhands, seduced milkmaids, Whitechapel paupers and other such vermin. Now and then, of course, a writer may be found who belongs to both schools, or who flits irresolutely from one to the other—George Moore, for example; but it is seldom that any halt is made between the two. In other words, little attention is given in the current English fiction to the average Englishman. You will find plenty of degenerate dukes there, and plenty of Parliament men conducting low intrigues with clergymen’s wives, and plenty of felonious parlor maids and derelicts of the Embankment; but you will seldom find an honest English haberdasher, lawfully married to one wife, and a true believer in hell, monogamy, Beecham’s pills and the British constitution. I know not why, and do not guess, but so it is.

It is to this common and intensely human man, to this private soldier in the ranks of Christian civilization, that Mr. Wells turns in his new novel, “Mr. Polly” (Duffield, $1.50). Dickens would have loved Mr. Polly—loved him for his helplessness, his doggish joys, his calflike sorrows, his incurable nationalism—but it quickly appears that Mr. Wells loves him no more than a bacteriologist loves the rabbit whose spine he draws out through the gullet; and so we arrive at the notion that, despite a good deal of likeness, there are many points of difference between Dickens and Wells. They are, in truth, as far apart as the poles, for Dickens was a sentimentalist and Wells is a scientist, and between sentiment and science there is even less in common than between kissing a pretty girl and kissing her mamma. Dickens regarded his characters as a young mother regards her baby; Wells looks at his as a porkpacker looks at a hog. Dickens believed that the way to judge a man was to test his willingness to give money to the orphans; Wells believes that it is safer and more accurate to find out the percentage of hydrochloric acid in his gastric juices.

As a matter of fact, the history of Mr. Polly, as Wells presents him to us, is a history of Mr. Polly’s stomach. We are told, on the very first page of the book, that the low spirits in which we find him are due to the fact that his wife is an atrocious cook. “He suffered from indigestion . . . nearly every afternoon . . . but as he lacked introspection he projected the associated discomfort upon the world. Every afternoon he discovered afresh that life as a whole, and every aspect of life that presented itself, was ‘beastly.’ ” It is the business of the first half of the book to trace the origin of Mr. Polly’s indigestion—in coarse, ill-cooked food; in badly ventilated sleeping quarters ; in lack of exercise ; in the dull, sedentary life of a haberdasher in a small town, with a sluttish, unimaginative wife and no means of escape from her—and to show its lamentable consequences. Mr. Polly goes constantly from bad to worse, from mere discomfort to pessimism and despair. His day’s work becomes intolerably painful; he is eternally irritated; he quarrels with his neighbors; he begins to lose money in his shop. Finally he decides to put an end to his woes by burning down that shop and cutting his throat.

The first of these desperate acts is accomplished with brilliant success, but Mr. Polly loses courage when he comes to the second. Thus he finds himself still alive and still very uncomfortable, but with a hundred pounds of insurance in his wallet instead of a wad of bills payable. What to do? Set up another shop? The thought of it sickens! Take to the woods? Well, why not? It is a short step from the idea to the act. Mr. Polly separates that insurance money into two parts, puts one where his wife will find it—and fares forth into the open country. He is a free man again, an opulent bachelor, the most enviable of creatures.

Thereafter the story describes the gradual salvation of Mr. Polly’s stomach, and through it, of Mr. Polly’s immortal soul. He happens one day, quite by chance, into a quaint sixteenth century hostelry on a river bank—the Potwell Inn, to wit—and the motherly old soul who owns it sets a plate of honest roast beef before him. Mr. Polly eats and is thrilled.

Eight years afterwards he is still there—still eating the nourishing, digestible victuals of that saintly and accomplished cook, and moving ever upward and onward in the scale of brute creation. He becomes a sound man, a brave man, an efficient man, a happy man. As we part from him, he is sitting on the river bank in the cool of a golden summer evening, tranquilly smoking his pipe and meditating upon the great problems of existence. “Whenever there’s signs of a good sunset,” says Mr. Polly, “and I’m not too busy, I’ll come and sit out here.” Enviable man! True philosopher! He has found the secret of life at last!

“Mr. Polly” is written with all of Mr. Wells’s customary facility and humor. The sheer fluency of the writing, in truth, is one of the book’s faults. One feels that more careful polishing would have improved it—that it should have remained in the author’s desk a year or so before going to the printer. Another fault lies in the fact that Mr. Wells is sometimes just a bit too scientific. Intent upon exploring Mr. Polly as a biological specimen, he seems to forget, now and then, that Mr. Polly is also a human being. In other words, a dash of Dickensian sentimentality would often add something to the flavor of Wells. But I have no hesitation whatever in saying that Wells, as he is, entertains me far more agreeably than Dickens. I know very well that the author of “David Copperfield” was a greater artist than the author of “Mr. Polly,” just as I know that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a more virtuous man than my good friend, Fred the Bartender; but all the same, I prefer Wells and Fred to Dickens and the Archbishop. In such matters one must allow a lot to individual taste and prejudice.

But enough of Wells, that ingenious and diverting, that sly and scientific man. We come now to “The Twisted Foot,” by Henry Milner Rideout (Houghton-Mifflin, $1.20), author of the extraordinary “Dragon’s Blood,” one of the most striking romances of last year. Let it be said at once that “The Twisted Foot” makes a sorry successor to “Dragon’s Blood.” It is, in fact, an exceedingly commonplace tale, with a hero who falls in love with the heroine’s portrait and goes galloping about Malaysia in search of her, a pack of mongrel villains at his heels. Mr. Rideout, of course, tells his story with a good deal of skill, and the hot, dancing atmosphere of the tropics is in it, but his personages have very little reality. We never learn much about the hero. What is he doing in the Far East? Where does he get the funds to finance his rather expensive heroics? And who is the heroine? These questions are insistent and irritating, and the merits of the tale are not sufficient to make us forget them, even for a moment.

It is rather probable, of course, that “The Twisted Foot” will be a greater popular success than “Dragon’s Blood,” which was scarcely a popular success at all. But Mr. Rideout is a young man of too much promise, a writer of altogether too much skill, to go treading the Indiana path of dalliance. “Dragon’s Blood” gave excuse for the belief that he was gaining much from an assiduous study of Conrad, but in “The Twisted Foot” the Conrad influence is less noticeable than that of Richard Harding Davis. Let Mr. Rideout go back to “Nostromo” and “Lord Jim”; his talents are too rare to be wasted upon the manufacture of best sellers.

“Kimeny of the Orchard” by L. M. Montgomery, author of “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea” (Page, $1.25), is an unpretentious little love story of the North. Eric Marshall, a young Nova Scotian, goes out into the backwoods to take a hack at school teaching as substitute for an old friend whose doctor has ordered him to lay up for repairs. One day, passing an orchard, Eric hears beautiful music coming from among the trees, and quite naturally climbs the fence to investigate. Within sits a girl of 18 or so, playing a violin. She is a very pretty girl, and Eric tries to be polite to her, but she drops her violin and runs away without a word. She is Kilmeny Gordon—and she is dumb! But she can hear well enough, particularly when Eric comes a-wooing, and it breaks her heart to refuse him. “When I can speak like other women,” she writes upon her tablet, “I will marry you.”

Does that time ever come? It certainly does, or there would be no romance. One day Kilmeny’s foster brother, Neil Gordon, a good-for-nothing fellow, sneaks up to Eric and essays to brain him with an axe. Kilmeny sees—and shrieks. And then : “Oh, Eric, I can speak—I can speak! Oh, it is so wonderful! Eric, I love you—I love you!” A pleasant and cleanly little book.

“Lady Merton, Colonist,” by Mrs. Humphrey Ward (Doubleday – Page, $1.50), is an ultra-feminine—which means an excessively sentimental study of the conflict between East and West, civilization and the wilderness, silk lingerie and rough, red, medicated flannel. Specifically, it is the story of Lady Merton, a young English widow of aristocratic lineage and hothouse tastes, who goes out to the Canadian Northwest with a sick brother and there falls in love with George Anderson, the son of a border outlaw. What chance for happiness will there be in a marriage between Lady Merton and Anderson? How will she get on in the wilderness without her beloved Tintorettos, her first editions, her Chippendale chairs, her Tudor roses, her daily copy of the Morning Post? And how will Anderson pan out as the husband of a civilized woman—Anderson, the son of that melodramatic malefactor, that highwayman, that downright murderer?

Mrs. Ward’s answer seems to be the eternal one of the woman novelists. She is apparently firmly convinced that love will find a way; that all conflicts of training and temperament will be stilled by its soft music; that the Andersons will forget, eventually, that they belong to different races and different centuries, almost to different species of the genus homo. But it cannot be said that this answer of hers is supported by very impressive evidence. She seems to shirk from a too elaborate investigation of the problem. She merely turns a rose-colored spotlight upon hero and heroine, strikes up a sentimental tune—and then brings down her curtain. It is ladylike; it is sweet; it is even extremely interesting—but it is very far from satisfying. Perhaps—who knows?—we shall have the story of the divorce, of the fight over the impending child, maybe even of the murder of Lady Merton, in a sequel!

Posthumous novels from the pen of the late Marion Crawford have been pouring from the presses ever since his death. Apparently he kept a large stock of manuscripts constantly on hand, ready to profit by every fluctuation and exigency of the market. The last to get between covers, “The Undesirable Governess” (Macmillan, $1.50), is little more than a novelette, but there is so much ingenuity and humor in it that it deserves to be ranked far above some of Mr. Crawford’s more pretentious novels. The story is that of a woman, who, for the protection of the susceptible males of her household, seeks a hideously uncharming governess for her young daughters. A girl with frank designs upon one of those males sneaks in in disguise—and thereafter the farce is of harmless foolery and hearty laughter all compact.

It is pleasant to take leave of Mr. Crawford with a smile, and particularly so since that smile is not at him this time, but with him.

“A Modern Chronicle,” by Winston Churchill (Macmillan, $1.50), is an attempt at a full length study of a woman—a woman with all the innocent unmorality of her sex. Honora Leffingwell is a young Westerner, who comes East with a design of getting on in the world, and for some five hundred pages we observe her doing so over the corpses of her slain. It is impossible, with any fairness or intelligibility, to summarize so deliberate and elaborate a narrative. There is little of the dramatic in it; it is rather a slow moving panorama, a picture of a gradually unfolding personality. Serious defects are plentiful throughout the book, but if we grant Mr. Churchill his philosophy and his manner, it must be admitted that he has constructed a story which does honor to both, a story with strong sincerity in it and showing considerable skill.

That eternally fascinating devil, the war correspondent, figures as hero in two of the current novels. In both of them he is an American; in both he toils brilliantly for an English newspaper; and in both he falls afoul of those blood-letting Russians. The name he bears, in “The Red Symbol,” by John Ironside (Little-Brown, $1.50), is Maurice Wynn, and he tells his story himself. Believe me, friends, that story will keep you awake! Cold chills will go running up and down your vertebrae; your heart will stand still; your teeth will chatter like a kinetoscope; your face will turn a greenish, unearthly white! Imagine Maurice’s horror when he sees his best girl slain before his very eyes by barbarous Cossacks! And imagine his joy when he finally gets back to England and discovers that she was not his best girl at all, but his best girl’s twin sister! Of such electric situations is this romance made up—of such brain benumbing, soul staggering, mind mauling events.

In “Routledge Rides Alone,” by Will Levington Comfort (Lippincott, $1.50), you will find fewer shocks, but a great many more human beings. The chief of the latter are Routledge, the dashing young American correspondent; Jerry Cardinegh, an elderly Irishman in the same trade, and Jerry’s fair young daughter, Noreen. Routledge, of course, loves little Noreen, and Jerry, of course, hates the English—and that’s how the tale begins. It is a tale with a good deal of vigor and color in it, a tale which leads us tearing around the world, from Charing Cross to Shanghai and from Shanghai to the Afghan border, and introduces us to the serpentine Russian, the short-legged Nipponese and the wall-eyed Chinee. Why anyone should care to write such tales is rather beyond me, but it is certainly something to do it as well as Mr. Comfort does it.

From murder to mirth! Nine rollicking yarns of the cow country make up “A Happy Family,” by B. M. Bowef (Dillingham, $1.50), and in all of them Ananias Green, that Sandow of liars, is the star. Do I hear my sensitive conscience suggest that the humor is often laid on with a shovel? Well, then, let it be a shovel, hand or steam—so long as it provokes the honest and health giving guffaw! Back to crime again! It appears in “The Heart of Desire,” by Elizabeth Dejeans (Lippincott, $1.50), toward the middle of the book, and spoils an otherwise harmless and even elevating love story. That story has a hero who loves one girl for no less than fifteen years on end—a hero, you must admit, of quite extraordinary assiduity. Let Miss Dejeans avoid melodrama in her future compositions. She is at her best when she is farthest from it.

A deft compound of Jules Verne and Richard Harding Davis is to be found in “The Sky Man,” by Henry Kitchell Webster (Century Co., $1.20). Philip Cayley, Lieutenant, U. S. A., is the sky man. His false friend, Lieutenant Perry Hunter, has accused him of a crime of which he is innocent, and he has been turned out of the army in disgrace. But does he commit suicide, or become an evangelist, or change his name and enter the newspaper business? Not at all. Instead, he makes him a pair of wings, hooks them to his back, gives them a couple of flaps—and goes sailing away toward the North Pole!

The girl, of course, arrives on schedule time, and in the orthodox yacht. How Cayley falls in love with her, how he and she are lost in the arctic snow waste and spend months together battling with the bitter cold, and how, in the end, sweet Jeanne, “with a sudden passion of understanding, clasps him close and kisses him,” and he puts aside his wings forever and comes back to the United States and is acquitted of that false charge and settles down, let us hope, as an honest married man, with no more yearning to roam—all of this and much more we either learn or deduce from Dr. Webster’s diverting pages.

Another arctic romance is “The Land of Frozen Suns,” by Bertrand W. Sinclair (Dillingham, $1.50). Here we have the story of a battle against that king octopus, the Hudson Bay Company, with love making added for good measure. Mr. Sinclair’s narrative passages show simplicity and skill, but his dialogue is sometimes labored and his characters have not much reality.

Folk without any reality whatever are to be found in “The Broken Wheel,” by Florence Land May (Clark, $1.50). The tale deals with the carnival of graft which entertained San Francisco after the earthquake, and Abe Reuf, Schmitz and the other grafters appear under transparent aliases. Like most novels “founded on fact,” it is extremely amateurish and inclined to be tedious.

More “facts” are to be found in “John Holden, Unionist,” by T. C. De Leon (Dillingham, $1.50), and the author sometimes stops to assure us in a footnote that they are accurate. Let us hope so. As for the story itself, it is a Civil War tale showing rather more skill in the telling than the usual Southern author can muster.

“The Running Fight,” by William Hamilton Osborne (Dodd-Mead, $1.50), is the chronicle of an immoral and cynical millionaire’s battle with the law. Peter V. Wilkinson is his name, and milking trust companies is his trade. One day a humorous judge sentences him to ten years at hard labor—and Peter suddenly realizes that his trade has become perilous. But the dungeons yawn for him in vain. He fights like a wolf, like a jackal, like a hyena; and when finally it is seen that only a pardon can save him, and the Governor of New York refuses to grant it, that gentleman is chased out of office, and one of Peter’s own minions is elected in his place. As payment for the pardon, which is now courteously granted, the minion is to get $1,000,000 in cash and the hand of Peter’s beautiful daughter, Leslie. But poetic justice blocks his felonious cashing-in. Peter, in a word, hasn’t the money to pay up, for he has transferred all his opulence to Leslie for safe keeping—and Leslie, the little minx, marries the moral ex-Governor and bids the minion go hang!

A powerful and complex fiction. A tale without the slightest stain of plausibility. Mr. Osborne, let it be admitted, has made some progress in the art of composition since writing “The Red Mouse,” but it will be a long while, I fear, before he becomes a serious rival to George Meredith.

Better stuff is to be found in “Studies in Wives,” by Mrs. Belloc Lowndes (Kennerley, $1.50), a book of six short stories. In most of them the note is tragic, and in a few it is positively horrible; but in all of them one observes the sure hand of a practised and accomplished fictioneer. The best of the stories is “According to Meredith,” an account of a trial marriage’s unexpected termination. Mrs. Lowndes has a sort of grim, ironic humor; she knows how to give her characters reality; she is well worth reading.

In “The Fascinating Mrs. Halton,” by E. F. Benson (Doubleday-Page, $1.50), an unending stream of amusing dialogue must make up for the lack of sterner qualities. The book is a novelization of Mr. Benson’s play, “Aunt Jeannie,” which Mrs. Patrick Campbell tackled ingloriously a few years ago. It tells the story of a young widow who attempts to save her niece from an unwise marriage by directing her highly agreeable animal magnetism at the bridegroom-elect.

Another novelization is C. L. Dazey’s famous play, “In Old Kentucky,” by Edward Marshall (Dillingham, $1.50). Mr. Marshall has lifted the ancient melodrama far out of its class by putting good writing and a touch of poetry into it.

Time flies, and the procession of novels is endless. I must be brief with the lesser ones. Of such sort are “Commencement Days,” a pleasant little tale of college life for girls by Virginia Church (Page, $1.50); “The Early Bird,” a story of love and business, with plenty of movement in it and told in George Randolph Chester’s brisk manner (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50); “The Dilemma,” a grim and powerful study of growing insanity by that marvelous Russian, Leonidas Andreiyeff (Brown, $1.00); “Yet Speaketh He” (Sherman-French, 80 cents), and “I Choose” (Sherman-French, $1.00), a pair of stories of strong ethical purpose by Gertrude Capen Whitney; “An American Baby Abroad,” an original and amusing chronicle of travel by Mrs. Charles N. Crewdson, with illustrations by R. F. Outcault and Modest Stein (Little-Brown, $1.50), and “The Red Flag,” a study of the struggle between capital and labor in Alsace-Lorraine, by Georges Ohnet (Dillingham, $1.50).

Of such sort, too, are “A Saint of the Twentieth Century,” by Fannie Bond Rice, a prohibition romance with a Methodist mad mullah as hero; “Just Between Themselves,” by Anne Warner (Little-Brown, $1.50), an account of the amusing adventures of a crowd of Americans in Germany; “Rosamond the Second,” by Mary Mears (Stokes, $1.25), with a scientific villain-hero-comedian who fits wax dummies with cerebrums, and is tempted to proceed to the manufacture of a large, artificial harem; “The Voice in the Rice,” by Gouverneur Morris (Dodd-Mead, $1.25), the story of a forgotten feudal oligarchy, hidden in the rice fields of the Carolinas, with a copious supply of lords and ladies; and “The Glory of His Country,” a dramatic and effective tale of war and patriotism by Frederick Landis (Scribner’s, $1.25), with the promise in it of even better work to come .

Finally come three books of short stories—“The Achievements of Luther Trant,” by Edwin Balmar and William McHarg (Small-Maynard, $1.50); “Just Horses,” by Sewell Ford (Kennerley, $1.00); and “Montes the Matador,” by Frank Harris (Kennerley, $1.00). Luther Trant is a Sherlock Holmes of a new sort—an experimental psychologist who examines witnesses and suspects with the galvanometer, the chronoscope, the pneumograph, the plethysmograph, theautomatograph, the cardiograph and all the other devilish machines of the psychological laboratory. Guilt, transformed into physiological irregularities, appears on a sheet of paper as a zigzag line; innocence is as straight as an arrow. The stories, in brief, have a good deal of novelty in them.

Mr. Ford’s book is a companion volume to “Horses Nine,” and has the same charm for horse lovers. The author writes with a light touch and is always entertaining. Mr. Harris, on the contrary, is solemn and a bore. The five stories in his book are all bad.

A book of curious interest is “The New Word,” by Allen Upward (Kennerley, $1.50). Who Upward may be I’m sure I don’t know, but he is plainly a fellow with ideas in him, and he sets them forth in an unusually entertaining manner. The “new word” that he presumes to define in upward of three hundred pages is “idealism.” What does it mean? Mr. Upward answers that it means a sort of gospel of hope—of hope borrowed in equal proportions from the materialism of today and the supernaturalism of yesterday. He is trying to prove, in brief, that an elaborate science of living is not enough to make mankind happy—that an art of life is needed, too. His proof is as discursive as a chapter in Rabelais, and as ornate with outlandish learning. Incidentally, he falls into an error that nearly all critics of modern materialism make: he loses sight, at times, of the enormous difference between a scientific theory and a scientific fact.

If you love Thackeray’s “The Four Georges”—and who doesn’t?—you will be interested in “In the Days of the Georges,” a large and ornate book by William B. Boulton, an authority upon the England of the eighteenth century (Pott, $3.00). The volume is made up of six essays, each complete in itself, but all reeking with the flavor of the old coffee houses, the old gaming clubs, the old peacock parades. One tells in sixty pages the strange story of George Brummel, that incomparable beau and deadbeat; another discusses the ancient legend of George Ill’s youthful marriage with Hannah Lightfoot, alias Wheeler, alias Axford, a fair and mysterious Quakeress; yet another is an interesting and searching study of the character of Charles Fox, gambler, gallant and politician. Mr. Boulton reveals on every page his mastery of his material. He is one who knows the gay Georgians intimately and senses their point of view; and in the writing of his book he strikes the happy mean between historical romance and bloodless, scientific history.

“A Splendid Hazard,” by Harold McGrath (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50), is a sort of encyclopedia of coincidences. It is a coincidence that John Fitzgerald the American and Karl Breitmann are both ardent admirers of Napoleon I; another that the two dine together in Paris next to Admiral Killegrew and his beauteous daughter; another that they meet again at the Admiral’s home in New Jersey; yet another that the Admiral and M. Anatole Ferraud, the French secret agent, are both interested in butterflies; yet another that the Admiral and Fitzgerald’s father were once firm friends; yet another that the Admiral is steeped in pirate lore, and in consequence, ripe for a search for lost treasure. Take away the incredible coincidences, and little remains of the book save the preposterous illustrations of Howard Chandler Christy. The story itself is of the flimsiest. The lost treasure, we discover, was buried by early Bonapartists, in the hope that it might one day finance a Restoration—and Karl Breitmann, the German, is the last of the genuine Bonapartes, for his great-grandmother was a complaisant Bavarian peasant girl, and his great grandfather was none other than the Little Corporal himself. Altogether it is a mechanical and exasperating story, badly imagined and atrociously written—a story of true best seller cut, with not a single merit that I have been able to discover.


Oberammergau —

by Josephine Helena Short. (Crowell, $1.00)

An excellent little guide book to the Passion Play, with intimate glimpses of village life in Oberammergau and many good illustrations.


In Amber Lands —

by Tom McInnes. (Broadway Pub. Co., $1.25)

The very original and interesting strophes of a Canadian bard. Now and then Mr. McInnes is commonplace, but more often—as in a poem called “Broken Days,” for example—he shows that he has something to say and that he knows how to say it.


My Own Philosophy —

by Werner Eggerth. (Donnelley, $1.50)

The tedious rhapsodies and dramas of a bucolic bard.


Revolution —

by Jack London. (Macmillan, $1.50)

A collection of miscellaneous essays ranging in character from a silly Socialist harangue, praising violence, to amateurish ventures into criticism. The best of them is Mr. London’s answer to a Certain Person’s charge that he is a nature faker. Poor stuff.


The Butterfly Man—

by George Barr McCutcheon. (Dodd-Mead, $1.25)

An account of an attractive young scoundrel who bluffs his way through society until he is finally found out and dropped—with an extra hard thump. Handsomely illustrated.


The Riddle of Life and Health —

by T. B. Keyes, M.D. (Tubercle Press, 75 cents)

An attempt to prove that subcutaneous injections of oil will cure all sorts of diseases and ward off old age.


Russian Lyrics and Cossack Songs —

by Martha G. D. Bianchi. (Duffield, $1.25)

Lyrics by Pushkin, Plestcheeff, Fofanow, Tschawtschawadze, Nikitin, Maikow and other Russian bards, done into lame and uncomfortable English verse.


Woodland Paths —

by Winthrop Packard. (Small-Maynard, $1.20)

Charming pictures of the woods and fields in spring, by one who evidently knows them and loves them. A delightful little book.


Royal Lovers —

by Helene Vacaresco. (Lane, $1.50)

The amours of a pair of empresses, with a lot of court gossip and intrigue on the side. The author was once lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Roumania, and had to flee the desperate love making of the Crown Prince, and so she may be presumed to know whereof she writes.

(Source: Hathitrust.org, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101076426152;view=1up;seq=528)