George Bernard Shaw as a Hero

H.L. Mencken

The Smart Set/January, 1910

If you approach Gilbert K. Chesterton’s “George Bernard Shaw” (Lane, $1.50) as serious biography, you will find it amazing in the things it contains and irritating beyond measure in the things it doesn’t contain; but if you throttle your yearning for facts and look only for entertainment you will fairly wallow in it. The cleverest man in all the world, with the second cleverest as his subject, is here doing his cleverest writing. The result is a volume as diverting as Nietzsche’s “ Also Sprach Zarathustra,” and as obviously unauthentic. It belongs, not to history, but to philosophic fable. I have shelved it among my more furious epics, cheek by jowl with “The Estimable Life of the Great Gargantua,” the Book of Revelation, “Fécondité” and “The Story of Mary MacLane.”

The Shaw that Mr. Chesterton draws for us is a valiant and heaven-kissing hero, a metaphysical Hugh de Vermandois, a moral Knight Hospitaller, an economic Carrie Nation, an Irish Luther, earnest, lion-hearted and chemically pure. He staggers toward the light of a remote future, the weight of a universe upon his shoulders. It is his business to clear the path, to tear up the brambles, to knock the old gods down, to prick and pulverize the old delusions. He is, in a word, none other than Zarathustra Himself, actually come to life. In every word he utters there is some ghastly stab at pretense, convention, smug content, in his every act, grimace and attribute; in the very raisins of his bill of fare and texture of his woolen shirt there is some note of impatient revolt. The man is bitter. He thinks deeply and, as Max Beerbohm once said, indignantly. He is the armed and mobile foe, not alone of sloth and laisser-faire but also of peevish dissent and stupid remedy. He hates the reformer almost as much as the unreformable. It is only, indeed, his sublime faith in his own infallibility that saves him from bilious pessimism.

Mr. Chesterton’s word picture of this entirely imaginary colossus spreads itself over some two hundred or more delectable pages, and in the course of drawing it he takes occasion to prove that he, too, is a philosophic Sandow. There are, in fact, lengthy passages in which Shaw recedes into the background, losing his character as a hero and taking on the shadowy outlines of a mere text. In these passages Mr. Chesterton maintains anew his familiar theses—that the only real truths in the world are to be found in the Nicene Creed, that science is a snare and human reason a delusion, that Hans Christian Andersen was a greater man than Copernicus, that sentiment is more genuine than hydrochloric acid, that all race progress is an empty appearance. Of his dialectic manner, it is not necessary to give examples, for every habitual reader of books knows it well, and enjoys it hugely without letting it convince him. He is the world’s foremost virtuoso of sophistry and paralogy. Not since St. Augustine have the gods sent us a man who could make the incredible so fascinatingly probable.

Getting back to his vegetarian muttons, Mr. Chesterton undertakes to estimate the damage that Shaw has done to the human race and the benefit that he has conferred upon it. In three ways, he says, the author of “Man and Superman” has worked harm. First of all, he has made his followers too fastidious. That is to say, he has inoculated them with a tendency to peck at things and to turn up their noses. The Shawian, when it comes to morality, is too all-fired dainty: he is disgusted by the good old hoggish virtues. In the second place, Shaw has encouraged that anarchy which now torments the world. Seeing his vast success, thousands of lesser sages have sought to win fame by denouncing the true, the good and the beautiful, and the result has been a needless slaughter of ideals. In the third and last place, he has been too much the joker. Mankind, as a species, has no sense of humor whatever, and so Shaw’s elaborate hoaxes and wheezes have been taken seriously, and headaches have been the fruit of them.

On the credit side, Mr. Chesterton finds three high and honorable services. Number one is the service of making philosophy intelligible and popular; number two is that of stirring up the philosophical animals, and number three is that of obliterating the mere cynic, with his ineffective sneers. Without entering into a long consideration of Mr. Chesterton’s exposition and demonstration of these ideas, I may be permitted to record, perhaps, my modest conviction that only the second of his trio of services has any real existence. Shaw has not stamped out cynicism, and he has not made philosophy popular. The palpable survival of eminent cynics proves the first proposition, and the second finds its proof in two obvious facts, the first being that Shaw is not a philosopher, and the second being that philosophy remains today, as it was in Carthage and Mesopotamia, entirely beyond the ken of the plain people.

So far as I have been able to discover, the central problem of philosophy—What is truth?—has never even occurred to Shaw. Search his writings from first to last and you will find no answer to it and no attempt at an answer. At one moment he seems to subscribe to a sort of rationalism, and at the next moment he is a thoroughgoing empiricist. He flirts with mysticism, agnosticism, sensationalism; he is, in turn, Kantian, Nietzschean, Haeckelian. When he talks of one thing he is a violent dogmatist; when he talks of something else he is a pallid skeptic. Taking him by and large, he is probably a sort of pragmatist—which means, not a philosopher at all, but a man from whom all the philosophical juices have been squeezed.

But when he credits Shaw with a beneficent stirring up of the animals I agree with Mr. Chesterton affably and completely. Shaw’s method is that of the Suffragettes. He heaves bricks, horsewhips demigods, howls from carttails and has himself arrested. He has a great contempt for the respectable, an abysmal loathing of the usual. And he has the wit and humor, the command of epithet and skill at fence, to make his onslaughts dangerous. Such a man, I believe, does a lot of good in the world. His light thrusts go home; he sheds blood where bloodletting is needed; he is a resourceful and horrific foeman to platitude, conscious virtue, orthodoxy, tradition, superstition and all the other vile impediments to human progress. He is honest enough to laugh now and then at himself; he can find the heart to turn his squirt gun upon his own creed. He is riotously human and sentimental, and yet he can lift himself above emotion and look at men and things with a clear eye. Such men are rare. Ibsen was one, as “The Wild Duck” proves. Shaw is another. You will not find many more.

We have forgotten long since that Francis Bacon was a thief, and we have begun to forget that William Wycherley was a white slave; and so it is not unreasonable to suppose that we shall forget, too, some day that Oscar Wilde was careless of the decencies. The process of forgetting, it is even probable, is already in progress, for didn’t the first citizens of London not long ago give a public dinner to Robert Ross for his fidelity to Wilde as friend and protector? Once that process is complete, the residuum will be a great reputation, for while it may be admitted freely that Wilde was not a genius of the first rank, the fact that he stood very near the top of the second rank cannot be denied. He restored wit to the English drama, whence it had departed with Sheridan’s youth; he made sound and permanent contributions to English criticism; and he left behind him more than one example of inspired English verse.

A new and complete edition of his works, edited by Mr. Ross, is now under way, and as a sort of herald the volume containing his poems is sent out ahead—“The Poems of Oscar Wilde,” Complete and Authorized (Luce, $1.50). There is no need to consider them in detail. Not a few of them—“Ave Imperatrix,” “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” and “Easter Day,” for example—are already firmly lodged in the anthologies. They are striking and beautiful poems, with music in them and the great human note. Elsewhere the familiar faults of Wilde—his posing, his strutting, his tinsel —mar his fine stanzas, but in the worst that he wrote there is proof that he is not to be punished, dead, by oblivion for the crimes that he paid for, living, in intolerable suffering.

Richard Le Gallienne’s book of “New Poems” (Lane, $1.50) is a collection of all sorts, ranging from verses of almost startling beauty to clumsy pieces of occasion. To the first category be long the Kiplingesque “ Cry of the Little Peoples,” the delicious “Red Rose of Margaret” and the noble “Sleep for London.” In this last poem, perhaps, Mr. Le Gallienne best vindicates his title to the name of poet. It is an excursion into a field much trodden of late—an effort to put into words the vast poetry of a great city. No other poet that I know has succeeded here so splendidly. But one line, as it were, of that colossal epic is given to us in this short piece, but one line, if it is perfect, is certainly worth having. In the book as a whole, the good things far outnumber the bad.

Mr. Le Gallienne also makes his appearance this month as a translator, with a version of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.” He essays that ancient staff rhyme or alliterative verse which Wagner used, and surmounts its difficulties with superabundant ease. The result is a Wagner libretto in English so far above the ordinary translations that it stands in a class alone. It is printed in a large folio, with historical and critical chapters by Edward Ziegler and a number of fine pictures in color by G. A. Williams (Stokes, $6.00). Mr. Ziegler is a thoroughly competent man; his estimate of Wagner is a just one, and his discussion of the “Tristan und Isolde” music is clear and penetrating. Altogether, the volume may well serve as an example of the gift book at its best.

Another poet—John G. Neihardt. I don’t know who John G. Neihardt may be—what a label for a rhapsodist !—but this I do know, that he writes blank verse of quite remarkable excellence. You will find a lot of it in his book, “Man Song” (Kennerley, $1.00). It has clang and clash in it and gorgeous color. The rare hand for devising arresting phrases and epithets which distinguishes Stephen Phillips at his best is Mr. Neihardt’s, too; and now and then his verses roll out as sonorously as “Marlowe’s mighty line.” His efforts at rhyme are less successful. He is, in fact, a lame rhymster; but in writing blank verse, that noble English measure which, so poor John Davidson used to say, thrills its maker like wine from the gods, he is a craftsman of unquestioned skill.

More poets yet! Of Lizette Woodworth Reese’s delightful volume, “A Wayside Lute” (Mosher, $1.50), I hope to write at length in some future article. Of William Watson’s “New Poems” (Lane, $1.50) it is sufficient to say that they are workmanlike and harmless. Save in one of them, a “Song From an Unpublished Drama,” which is anything but new, I see little else. There is no thrill in them; they miss greatness by a million miles. The commonplace stanzas of Denis A. McCarthy in “A Round of Rimes” (Little-Brown, $1.00) are even less worth praising. They are of obvious sentiment, of trite optimism all compact. Now and then a singing line stands out, but in the main they are newspaper verses. With James D. Dingwell’s “Christus Centuriarum” (Badger, $1.00) we strike bottom. These are the safe and sane strophes that undergraduates write at Oxford. They are to be tested, not by the standards of poetry, but by those of theology.

Henry James, it would appear, is clearing his shelves of shopworn stock and remnants of odd lengths—a sensible and even laudable enterprise. One of the latter appears on the current book list under the appellation of “Julia Bride” (Harper’s, $1.25) and in a gorgeous red cover. It seems to be made up of the first and second chapters of a novel begun in high spirits and terminated in sudden despair. That novel, I am convinced, had Mr. James but labored resolutely to the end of it, would have gone thundering down the dim corridors of time as one of the most delightful to his credit, for the two chapters he now gives to the world are in his very best manner. In spirit and humor, in indirection and ambuscade, in ingenuity and insight, and even in actual theme, they recall “What Maisie Knew.”

The Maisie of this limbless trunk of a story is a young woman of vast charm, whose social progress is hampered by a somewhat disconcerting history. Her mamma, also a lady of charm, is a triple divorcee, and she herself has been engaged no less than half a dozen times. These facts confront her gloomily when a young man of rich but extremely respectable parentage begins to take notice of her. How is she to gloss over and minimize her ghastly past? She begins by tackling her mamma’s second husband. Will he be a dear, and suffer the story to be circulated that mamma simply had to leave him, he being an insufferable brute? Gladly, he says—but the fact of the matter is that he thinks of marrying again himself, and the highly virtuous object of his devotion is to be won only upon the theory that mamma was the brute. Julia, staggered, turns to one of her six young men. Will he assure the opulent but moral eligible that there was never any engagement, and so inoculate him with the idea that the five others were also mere gossip? He consents to undertake the office, not only willingly, but even wildly. He will visit the opulent eligible at once, and take his fiancée with him, for there is a successor to Julia in his affections. And then poor Julia begins to doubt the expediency of the whole maneuver. This ex-lover, indeed, is plainly inflamed by the idea of making social capital out of the encounter with the young millionaire.

Here the story ends, with Julia weeping mournfully. It’s a pity that Mr. James lost heart. What a novel the history of Julia’s battle against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, with victory at the end, would have made!

By a curious chance, two books of stories by Rudyard Kipling come together—one made up of his latest work, and the other of tales written in his prehistoric nonage and rescued lately from the dusty files of Indian newspapers. The former bears the title, “Actions and Reactions” (Doubleday-Page, $1.50). There are eight stories in it, and most of them are stories of the very first rank. Let no sour croaker convince you that Kipling is going backward. Believe it not, dear friends. Ideas without number still throng his mind, and he has a technique that few rivals even remotely approach. If you doubt it, read “An Habitation Enforced” and “With the Night Mail,” in this varied and interesting collection. The man able to write such fiction is a man still far from the autumn of his year. The other book is called “Abaft the Funnel” (Dodge, $1.50), and in it we behold the youthful Kipling of the days when the “Plain Tales From the Hills” were on the stocks. The value of these stories, it must be confessed, is archeological rather than artistic, but that archeological value is immense. Here we have the author’s first sketches of the characters which won him fame, and his first essays in that cocksure, galloping style which won him copious imitation. The immortal Mulvaney appears as Gunner Barnabas, of the Mountain Battery, and there are shaky, uncertain attempts at Mrs. Hauksbee, Ortheris, Learoyd and the others. A book to make the Kipling lover glow! A marvelous boy it was, indeed, who sweated over blank copy paper on those hellish Indian nights, in the year of grace 1888!

Unless we assume it to be the theory of the publishing gentlemen that the name of F. Hopkinson Smith covereth a multitude of sins, how in the world are we to account for that versatile and ingenious author’s latest book, “Forty Minutes Late” (Scribner’s, $1.50)? As a book, pure and simple, it has all of the shortcomings and few of the merits of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. Toiling through the first chapter, one discovers it to be a much padded and exceedingly tedious anecdote, with little excuse or interest. In the second chapter one encounters an echo of “The Wood Fire in No. 3,” and then, later on, a store of other things, from a genuine short story to a rhapsody in praise of L. Aston Knight, the artist, and at the end, twenty-two pages of rambling recollections of travel. There is ground for the fear that Mr. Smith is taking seriously the Boston Herald’s remarkable judgment that he is “the Thackeray of American fiction,” for an external likeness to the “Roundabout Papers” appears in some of these sketches. But that is as far as the resemblance goes. Thackeray was a colossus, and the marks of his great genius were upon the slightest of his productions. His report of a cab accident, a performance of “Camille,” a walk up Broadway from Xtieth Street to Xty-fifth, even of a sermon, would have been literature. In Mr. Smith, for all his facility, there is no such overpowering charm of manner. When he has an interesting story to tell he tells it charmingly, but when he is merely making conversation the interest of the reader is apt to lag.

“Little Sister Snow,” by Frances Little (Century Co., $1.00) , is a Japanese story of the wishy-washy, conventional sort. A dashing young American invades the land of Nippon, wins the heart of a little Nipponese maiden—and then sails away to wed his best girl in the States. Is it really impossible to write a Japanese story without using again that ancient and tedious plot? Is the vain yearning of a Mongolian damsel for a Caucasian husband the only dramatic situation known in modern Japan? Common sense answers nay, but the tourist literati, particularly of the sentimental sex, seem to say yea. Mrs. Little’s story, even forgetting its triteness, is a very ordinary performance.

“Bella Donna,” by Robert Hichens (Lippincott, $1.50), is an appalling tome of over five hundred closely printed pages, in which the author essays to lay bare the soul of a thoroughly bad woman. The thing is done in his best pictorial manner, with the yellow sands and blue sky of Egypt as a background. The title is not inept, for an odor of “poppy and mandragora and all the drowsy syrups of the East” hangs over the tale. As a serious psychological study it has about as much value as a drama by Charles Klein, but as a device for killing time agreeably and by wholesale it is worth very respectful consideration. Another fat and chromatic book with a drugstore touch to it is “Trespass,” by Mrs. Henry Dudeney (Small Maynard, $1.50). The fable here is the startlingly novel one of a woman wooed by two men, the one a bold Don Juan and the other a servile slave. Engaged to the slave, the woman makes off with the Don Juan, who, when he tires of her, sends her back to the slave, who promptly marries her. Then the Don Juan undertakes to borrow her, and there ensues an incredible encounter, from which the slave emerges sincerely sorry for the balked Don Juan. A book full of gaudy adjectives and boudoir philosophy; a book in the English “lady novelist” style.

The two extremes of that melancholy science, Shakespearean criticism, are mirrored in a pair of books now before us, the one being “The Man Shakespeare and His Tragic Life Story,” by Frank Harris (Kennerley, $2.50), and the other being “The Shakespearean Stage,” by Victor E. Albright (Columbia University Press, $1.50). Mr. Harris’s method of attack is fanciful, daring, imaginative, cabalistic, almost fantastic, while Dr. Albright’s is that of the slow moving, heavy stepping, sure footed German professor-doctor. The one seeks to uncover the soul of Shakespeare in his plays; the other’s intent is merely to recreate for us, out of a vast heap of stray hints and scattered vestiges, the Shakespearean stage. In each case the result is a book of interest to all whose thoughts turn proudly to the glories of our incomparable English literature. As for me, I prefer Dr. Albright’s admirable inquiry to Mr. Harris’s gorgeous theory, just as I prefer vaccination to the Emmanuel Movement, and a square meal to the doctrine of infant damnation; but in all such matters, I freely confess, prejudice plays a part, and so I lay down no bitter comparisons.

Mr. Harris starts out with the assumption that a dramatic author, no matter how hard he may strive to be remote and impersonal, must inevitably put a good deal of himself into his characters. Granted. But his gallery of characters, if he writes many plays, must be large and diverse, with pessimists and optimists, idealists and materialists, ascetics and epicureans hopelessly thrown together. How are we, then, to determine which individual or group actually reflects the author’s own philosophy? Mr. Harris answers with another assumption, to wit, that in Shakespeare’s case, the man himself is to be found best drawn in Hamlet. After that his task is easy, for all he has to do is to prove that there is some flavor of Hamlet in every other Shakespearean hero—an enterprise whose simplicity becomes evident if William Jennings Bryan or Count Tolstoi or Harry Thaw or any other man of parts be substituted for Hamlet. There is, indeed, a dash of each and all of us in Romeo, Macbeth, Jacques and Duke Vincentio, for these personages are great creations, with the universal human markings strong upon them.

But admitting Mr. Harris’s pair of assumptions, we behold a Shakespeare much like the one denounced for vain resignationism by George Bernard Shaw, a morbidly introspective and somewhat cynical person, with doubts of everything, including even his own doubts. He begins as a voluptuous youth, whose rapid burning of the candle leads to satiety and boredom; he proceeds by easy stages to W» genial agnosticism, and he ends with a pretty firm conviction that all convictions are inferior to agree able emotions. A plausible picture, it must be admitted, but still not one that bears the stamp of satisfying verity. We might, indeed, start out with an assumption exactly contrary to Mr. Harris’s second one, i. e., that Shakespeare, when he drew Hamlet, was trying to draw the man least like himself, and de velop a colorable theory from it. But let Mr. Harris have his way. He has made an entertaining book, and if only for its chapters upon the poet’s alleged passion for Mary Fitton, maid of honor to Queen Bess, it is worth standing on the bookshelf.

Dr. Albright, as I have said, is not a poet, but a statistician. He attempts to show us the theater for which Shakespeare’s plays were written, its stage, its crude scenery, its customs, its conventions. He ransacks the whole literature of the subject; he quotes stage directions from hundreds of plays; he considers the views of all possible authorities. In the end he sums up in a clear and convincing manner. “This monograph,” says a note opposite the preface, “has been approved by the Department of English in Columbia University as a contribution to knowledge worthy of publication.” It is.

Now come two attempts to interpret the spirit of a town, both full of insight and understanding, poetry and color, sympathy and affection. The one is Jacob A. Riis’s “The Old Town” (Macmillan, $2.00), and the other is James Douglas’s “ Adventures in London” (Cassell, $1.75). It is the drab little fishing village of Ribe, in Den mark, wherein he first saw the light, that Mr. Riis tries to draw for us in his book, a village of queer old gabled houses, ancient traditions and bitter winds from the sea. The gaunt Domkirke, as austere as the creed it glorifies, has looked down on the roofs for many years, but the old romance of Odin’s day is not yet quite dead. Storks still build their nests in the eaves, and the Leprecawn, or Little People, still come down the wide chimneys at nights to scare bad boys and reward good ones. Traversing Ribe’s cobbled streets, with Mr. Riis as guide, one gets a better understanding of Hans Christian Andersen. It is, in truth, a fairy tale town, and in this discursive and delightful book there is something of a fairy tale’s charm.

Mr. Douglas’s volume is a collection of impressionistic sketches, perhaps eighty of them, and in them he tries to interpret the city in terms of its people, and its people in terms of their heroes. These heroes, it is apparent, are not only the gorgeous folk of parliament house and palace, but also the passing Hamlets, Dogberrys, Romeos and Juliets of each day’s drama —the magnificent arch jehu on the box of the Lord Mayor’s coach, Dorando the runner of marathons, the new conductor at Covent Garden, Seymour Hicks, Mrs. Pankhurst, Jem Mace, the chief judge at the Old Bailey, trying a capital case with a nosegay of roses, carnations and sweet peas in his hand. Mr. Douglas gets beyond bricks and mortar; he makes real for us, not London, but the Londoners. I know of no other man who has got more life into the picture, not even George W. Stevens.

A book of picturesque charm is “A Lady of the Old Regime,” by Ernest F. Henderson (Macmillan, $2.00). It tells the story of Elizabeth Charlotte, daughter of the Elector Charles Louis of the Palatinate and wife of Louis XIV’s brother. For forty years she was a principal figure in the high comedy enacted at Versailles—witty, caustic, a great intriguer and politician and full of feminine guile. To one and all she was simply “Madame.” No further appellation was needed to identify so assertive a personality. Dr. Henderson’s method is much like that of Thackeray in “The Four Georges.” That is to say, he takes the drama of history for granted, and devotes his chief attention to the actors. The result is a strikingly vivid and realistic picture of French court life at the dawn of the eighteenth century.

A useful life work is that of George P. Upton, who seems ambitious to leave behind him a series of books describing all the music worth hearing. He has already given us volumes upon the standard operas, symphonies and oratorios, and now, after a rest of several years, he comes forward with one telling all that the music lover wants to know about the tried and true overtures, suites and tone poems. He calls it “The Standard Concert Repertory” (McClurg, $1.75), and like its predecessors, it has many merits. Mr. Upton’s explanations are not the longwinded dissertations one finds between the advertisements in concert programs. On the contrary, he boils down his facts without mercy, but for all that, he rejects nothing that is of real interest or importance. In his book you will find clear accounts of the origin, history and artistic significance of all the pieces that orchestras commonly play, from the four Leonora overtures and Weber’s “Invitation to the Dance,” to Tchaikowsky’s “Nut Cracker” suite and Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Fawn.”

A “uniform edition” very unlike those commonly peddled by pesky book agents is that of Anatole France’s stories and sketches (Lane, $2.00 per volume). There are twenty-five volumes in all, printed in beautiful type upon good paper and bound in dignified red cloth covers. The translations, by various hands, are all carefully edited by Frederic Chapman. As for France, he needs no testimonial from humble critics.


Guatemala and Her People of Today —

by Nevin O. Winter. (Page, $2.50)

Another of the Page firm’s excel lent books about foreign lands. The facts and the figures are all there, and there is also something of the gorgeous tropical color. Maps, illustrations and appendices make it complete.


Just for Two —

by Mary Stewart Cutting. (Doubleday-Page, $1.25)

Five workmanlike and amusing short stories in the fashionable manner.


Kentucky of Kentucky —

by H. Henderson Kniffen. (Cochrane, $1.25)

The earnest effort of an amateur.


Alice in Sunderland—

by Jane Anne Torrey. (Cochrane, $1.00)

A country schoolmarm’s wrestling with the eternal riddles.


Bronson of the Rabble—

by Albert E. Hancock. (Lippincott, $1.50)

An American historical novel, essaying to show how the proletariat, led by Andrew Jackson, wrested this fair republic from the old time barons of the Washington-Adams type. The thing is vividly but very crudely done.


Longshore Boys—

by W. O. Stoddard, Jr. (Lippincott, $1.50)

A brisk sea story for boys.


The American Newspaper —

by James Edward Rogers. (Univ. Chicago Press, $1.10)

The vaporings of a somewhat peevish pundit. Gigantic generalizations from dubious evidence.


Some Friends of Mine —

by E. V. Lucas. (Macmillan, $1.25)

Another of Mr. Lucas’s agreeable scrapbooks—this time a collection of character sketches of men.


The Marx He Knew—

by John Spargo. (Kerr, $1.00)

An old friend’s sentimental memories of Karl Marx, Socialist messiah and good comrade.


Those Nerves —

by Geo. L. Walton, M.D. (Lippincott, $1.00)

A cheery, but probably useless book of advice to hypochondriacs, hysterics, the harassed poor and the idle rich.


The Shadow Between His Shoulder Blades —

by Joel Chandler Harris. (Small-Maynard, $1.25)

Mr. Harris’s latest story —and one of the most charming on his long list.


Aunt Amity’s Silver Wedding —

by Ruth McEnery Stuart. (Century Co., $1.00)

Four of Mrs. Stuart’s inimitable studies of the Southern darky. Humor, charm and a delicate art are in all of them.


The Severed Mantle —

by William Lindsey. (Houghton-Mifflin, $1.50)

A tale of old Provence, with a great deal more poetry and understanding in it than the average historical novel can show.


The Key of the Unknown —

by Rosa Nouchette Carey. (Lippincott, $1.50)

The latest of Mrs. Carey’s endless series of stories for girls.


The works of H.L. Mencken and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism. Visit our bookstore for single-volume collections–-ideal for research, reference use or casual reading.