The Meredith of Tomorrow

H.L. Mencken

The Smart Set/April, 1911

THERE is no need at this late date to make formal confession that Herbert George Wells is a first rate novelist. He wrung that acknowledgment from the world after a sharp tussle two years or more ago, when his “Tono-Bungay” came from the ‘press. The Wells of the fantastic tales preceding—of “The Time Machine,” “The War of the Worlds,” u.s.w—had been an enormously clever fellow—but clever fellows are not scarce enough, even in England, to be revered. But the Wells of “Tono-Bungay” was something rarer and more noteworthy: a new and realistic Wells, who had put time machines and other such fripperies behind him; an alert and sapient observer of the human comedy; a ruthless explorer of impulse and motive; a philosopher with a firm grip upon the facts of life; a humorist of deep, Rabelaisian, sub-diaphragmic laughter; a psychologist whose thinking was swift, accurate and his very own—in short, a true novelist, a reporter plus interpreter, a literary artist. “Tono-Bungay,” for all its concessions to the old Wells and his following, was easily the first book of its season, and yet that season was far from a sterile one, for it also brought forth “Fraternity,” “The Point of Honor” and “The Power of a Lie.”

In “Ann Veronica,” which followed, the humorist yielded in large part to the man of science. We had here an acute and relentless study of the latter day Englishwoman—that artificial, half-educated, half-emancipated, unhappy creature whose American sister was set before us so vividly by David Graham Phillips in “The Hungry Heart.” Mr. Phillips’s novel, as we all know, was the very best work that he was destined ever to give us, but Mr. Wells’s, I am convinced, was even better. One must search many novels, indeed, to find chapters more penetrating than those which describe Ann Veronica’s adventures in militant suffragetting—her feminine revolt against the mental and sartorial dowdyism of the shrieking sisters, her startling discovery of sex, her swift yielding to the fore ordained man. The book came so soon after “Tono-Bungay” that it had to share attention and so it lost much of its effect. But when the time comes to estimate Mr. Wells’s work calmly it will be agreed, I think, that he was even nearer reality when he created Ann Veronica Stanley than when he created the prodigious Ponderevo.

“The History of Mr. Polly” followed—a tragedy of the ludicrous. And now after an interval of almost a year comes “The New Machiavelli” (Duffield, $1.35), a novel which exceeds all three of its predecessors, both in plan and in execution. Externally, “The New Machiavelli” is the story of a rising young English politician who throws away all his chances in life to go chasing after a woman, but that story is really little more than a text from which the author preaches copiously and eloquently and with unfailing wit, plausibility and logic. The thing actually under consideration is political idealism, its causes, nature and impediments. Does this world that we live in always fail? Why does failure lie ambushed in every scheme for the betterment of man? Why are Socialism and all other such programs of amelioration essentially and incurably impracticable? Because, as the psalmist hath it, man is vile. Because the individual, try as he may, can never quite subordinate himself to the race. Because a barbarian lurks beneath every plug hat and behind every diamond stomacher. Because appetites play hob with states of mind and passions gobble ideals. Because, in brief, man eternally runs amuck.

Mr. Wells’s hero is Richard Remington, a young Englishman of respectable but far from distinguished parentage. His father, an inefficient schoolmaster, dies early and he is brought through his ’teens by a pious mother to whom he is ever a mystery and often a most alarming one. At the City Merchants’ School the Latin tongue is rammed into him and he is taught to revere cricket, mutton and the British Constitution. Then he goes up to Cambridge, and there he is whirled about in a maelstrom of new ideas. He hears a hundred eager youngsters discussing government, learning, sex, raiment, art, theology and the destiny of man. Occasionally an older sage drops a word or two; Remington himself learns to take a hand. He emerges from the tumult a fledgling politician of socialistic leanings, with a great yearning to lift his fellow men out of their wallow, to get some order into the muddle of life, to substitute some great man-made plan for the struggle for existence.

Why all this waste of muscle and mind, matter and energy? Why this endless round of building up and tearing down; this formless, aimless, useless striving; this ferocious conflict over non-essentials; this vain cannibalism of the street, the market, the church, the university and the parliament house? Why not set men to helping one another instead of letting them go on consuming one another? Why not get that same orderly system into life which is visible in the revolutions of the wheels of a clock? Why not choose some definite goal and work toward it in an intelligent fashion, with due regard for short cuts, hills and obstacles in the way? Why can’t men be brought to see the stupendous value of discipline, combination, organization, economy of effort?

Remington tries to make them see it, and the second and third sections of the chronicle are devoted to the story of his failure. Beginning as a Liberal with socialistic sympathies, he is gradually forced out of the party. The trouble is that there is no such thing. What he took to be a large and compact party, with a well defined plan for the amelioration of human woes, is really a wild mob of individuals, no two of whom agree upon anything. Remington goes over to the Unionists—and finds the same confusion in that camp, too. Then he sets up what is practically a party of his own, and for a while it prospers greatly. Ardent young men flock to his standard; he arrests the attention of the House of Commons; his writings and exhortations make him a power in the nation; it grows plain to everyone that he is a coming man, that he will one day make and unmake laws.

But alas and alack, this superman at bottom is exactly like the common men about him! The heat of his ideas has carried him so far—but suddenly that glow pales into phosphorescence beside the white flame of passion. The apostle of discipline, of order, of fixed intentions, goes roaring down the highway, a rebel against all the laws! In brief, Remington bolts to the Continent with the fascinating Isabel Rivers, leaving his lawful wife to the divorce courts and yellow journals. At one stroke the great structure that he has built up goes to pieces. That incurable deviltry, that innate savagery, that wild disregard for discipline which he has sought to throttle in his fellow men takes its revenge by throttling him. His suicide is magnificent, but like Parnell’s it is without curtain calls. Richard Remington, once so puissant a fellow, is now merely an Englishman sojourning on the Gulf of Liguria—a somewhat dubious Englishman, be it said, with a more dubious companion and a still more dubious child. Politically and socially he has ceased to exist.

Thus the story, in crude outline. In detail it is a thing of rare and surpassing merits, a supremely excellent piece of writing, one of the best novels of our day. Mr. Wells is constantly enriching his English. The gipsy phrase creeps into it. It is full of delicate half-tones, color, music. And as his merely technical skill as a writer increases, he seems to get a firmer grip upon his ideas. The most engrossing pages in “The New Machiavelli” are the pages of earnest argument! I state it as a sober fact. What other living English novelist has so much to say that is worth saying and can say it so well? Conrad, Hardy and Moore perhaps—but who else? With these three Wells must do battle for the laurel of Meredith—and youth is on his side. If he keeps on as he has started, the world in ten years may choose to forget that he once wrote thrillers in the manner of Jules Verne, just as it has chosen to forget that Richard Wagner once wrote romanzas for cornet-a-piston.

“Trashy” is the adjective which best describes “The Root of Evil,” by the Rev. Thomas Dixon (Doubleday-Page, $1.50). The copy before me is adorned with a full page portrait of the author, and across that portrait and in facsimile of his handwriting is the legend: “Has the woman who turns from a great love to marry for money a soul?” At first glance this seems to be a novel and startling question, but a second look at it reveals the fact that it is not a question at all, but merely a high sounding and unintelligible procession of empty words. The tale which follows is the same sort of piffle. It is crowded with incident and heavy with pronouncements upon the great problems of human existence, but it quickly appears that not many of the things done by the characters are plausible, and that not many of the thoughts so laboriously set forth are either new or informing. The story deals specifically with the adventures of James Stuart, a young Carolinian jackass who goes to New York in pursuit of Nan Primrose, a beautiful daughter of his own state. But Nan is out for the cash, and so she jilts James to marry John C. Calhoun Bivens, a loathsome millionaire. John is entirely without blood or breeding. Not one of his uncles was on the staff of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Search the South from Alexandria to New Orleans and you will never find his old mammy, for the good and sufficient reason that his folk were poor whites and had no chattels. He is, in brief, a brother to the ox, and Nan in the end finds him impossible. So she poisons him and sends for James. But James by this time has gained a bit of that common sense which even Southerners, for all their childish romanticism, gather in New York. Instead, then, of clasping Nan to his bosom, he gives her the cold shoulder, and soon afterward we find him the husband of Harriet Woodman, a famous singer, and the father of an infant of indeterminate age and sex. James gets ahead in New York and is elected to office, but he speaks North Carolinian to the end. “Your father don’t take boarders”—“This thing don’t go with me”—such are his artless mutilations of the English language. In another place one of the minor characters says: “The man who fights for the right can’t lose.” “Unless they fight trusts,” observes James sapiently. Of such stuff are best sellers made!

“One Way Out,” by William Carleton (Small-Maynard, $1.20), purports to be the autobiography of a native born American who emigrates to America. At the start we see him struggling along miserably on a clerk’s wages. He is a good clerk, it appears, but clerking is a bad, bad trade. One day he loses his job—and in a month he is face to face with starvation. What to do? An idea seizes him. Why not imitate the immigrants who find hope and opportunity on our shores? Here come coarse, brutish fellows from Southeastern Europe, utterly ignorant of English and but half removed from barbarians—and yet there is work for them among us and a chance to improve their lot. Why not join them? Certainly an intelligent American should be able to do as well as they. So our busted ex-clerk goes into the ditches and hires a room in a tenement to house his wife and child—and thereafter we see him climbing up the ladder. He masters ditching and becomes a gang boss; then he bosses whole jobs; then he sets up a contracting business of his own. He has learned a useful trade; he can do one thing well; he prospers; his happy thought has saved him.

“William Carleton” is a mask for some very skillful contriver of tales. This one is told with amazing plausibility. It bears from end to end an air of almost literal truth. Reading it, one catches oneself believing it as if it were the history of a real man. In only one place indeed is there any stretching of the probabilities, but that unfortunately is in a place of critical importance, to wit, the place where the clerk makes his plan. It is difficult to imagine any natural born clerk achieving so large a feat of ratiocination. True thinking is impossible to the clerkly mind. A clerk can feel and hope and yearn but he cannot think. He has a civilized man’s capacity for suffering without a civilized man’s capacity for doing. That, in brief, is his tragedy.

“Sidney Carteret, Rancher” (Stokes, $1.50) is another of Harold Bindloss’s tales of amateur agriculture and ardent amour in the Canadian Northwest. Mr. Bindloss writes these tales with considerable fluency and skill. They are suave, they have movement and color, and their characters are interesting and plausible. But the thought will not down that they would be even better done if the author gave a bit more time to the doing of them. As it is, they succeed one another almost as rapidly as the images on a moving picture screen. Too much haste is also visible in most of the short stories which make up the volume entitled “When God Laughs,” by Jack London (Macmillan, $1.50). Here we have good ideas spoiled by an overspeedy typewriter. “Semper Idem,” as it is printed, is a mere anecdote, and “Make Westing” is a rough sketch and nothing more. (What a masterpiece Joseph Conrad would have made of it!) The best story in the book is “The Chinago,” a study of Chinese stocism in the face of death. Next comes “Just Meat,” a tale of two burglars. They make a rich haul, and each, yearning to cabbage the whole of it, gives the other poison. Then they die horribly, face to face. No doubt some Strindberg of the vaudevilles has already stolen the idea! Mr. London seems to oscillate between achievement and failure—perhaps because his output is double his capacity. His “Martin Eden” was unspeakably bad, but the book of Alaskan short stories following it was crowded with good things. Then came “Revolution,” a volume of preposterous balderdash, and after it “Burning Daylight,” the best novel he has ever done. “When God Laughs” strikes bottom once more. Let us wait in patience for his next book, which, by his private law of compensation, should be a good one.

Of lesser novels, there is, as usual, a copious outpouring. Easily the best of them all is “The Phantom of the Opera,” by Gaston Leroux, that clever and industrious Frenchman (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50). M. Leroux has borrowed—and put to excellent use—a trick invented by De Foe. That is to say, he tells his fantastic and creepy story with a great assumption of seriousness, using real names and real dates whenever possible and setting down “corroborative facts “ in solemn footnotes. In his prologue he gravely thanks M. Messager, director of the Paris Opera, for “kind assistance,” and from end to end he retains the air of the painstaking and even pedantic historian. As for the tale itself, it is a thriller which porcupines the hair and bulges the eye. If such things must be manufactured let us be thankful that a man so skillful and ingenious as M. Leroux is at the labor of manufacturing them. Several double page illustrations in full color by Andre Castaigne are given with the book as lagniappe. The name of the translator appears not.

Finally, come “Four in Family,” by Florida Pope Sumerwell (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.25), a story of family ructions and young love, told from the standpoint of Bosco, an intelligent bull terrier, and showing a fresh and lively humor; “The Golden Web,” by Anthony Partridge (Little-Brown, $1.50), in which the business piracies and amorous adventures of a mining millionaire keep us awake pleasantly for two hours and twenty minutes; “The Imprudence of Prue,” by Sophie Fisher (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50), a romance of good Queen Anne’s day, with a heroine who commits the unpardonable indiscretion of marrying an outlaw; “Playing the Game,” by Rita Weiman (Cupples-Leon, $1.50), a bright, clever story of a society girl’s revolt against the shams of her narrow world; and “Col. Todhunter of Missouri,” by Ripley D. Saunders (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50), a tale of love and politics in the back reaches of the incredulous state, with the full length figure of Col. Thurston T. Todhunter, politician, philanthropist and philosopher, in the fore ground.

In “The Miracle of Right Thought,” by Orison Swett Marden, B.S., B.O., A.M., LL.B., M.D. (Crowell, $1.10), we wallow in the New Thought, that compound of credulous faith and incredible denial. The whole universe, it appears, is controlled by Mind. Decide what you want and will it hard enough, and you will infallibly get it, whether it be a large bank account, a political job, the royalties that some publisher owes you or a wife with tepid feet. The human body, being material, is a mere function of the Mind. “The more intelligent physicians are beginning to see that the healing of the body is brought about by connecting the patient with the great life storage batteries, with the very Source of Life, the life principle itself. The future physician will be a man trained to help the sufferer find his God, his good. He will need no other remedy.” Prof. Dr. Paul Ehrlich, it is plain, is an ignoramus, for he has never heard of this storage battery. Instead, he gravely doses his patients with arsenic. What an ass he is! And what hunkerous donkeys they are for getting well!

So much for New Thought pathology and therapeutics. On the theological side it is equally astonishing. Dr. Marden, for example, is privy to all the dark secrets of the universe. He knows exactly why human beings were put into the world and what they are expected to do here. Their chief duty, it appears, is to think right, for out of right thinking will come universal prosperity and happiness. “No one,” says the Doctor, “ was meant to live in poverty and wretchedness. The lack of anything that is desirable is not natural to the constitution of any human being.” In brief, the law of the survival of the fittest is now formally repealed. The struggle for existence is a mere chimera. Adam Smith was an imbecile, Malthus a clown, Darwin a numskull. Let us sing a hymn and disperse to our luxurious homes!

Windy and harmless nonsense, true enough, but did you ever stop to think that thousands of Americans take it seriously? According to the publishers, 21,000 copies of one of Dr. Marden’s earlier books have been sold. And other such books pour from the presses in a ceaseless stream. The rise and progress of the New Thought is one of the marvels of the day. It constitutes a sort of grand lodge, to which Christian Science, Anti-Vaccination, Psychic Research, the Emmanuel Movement and all other such fantastic things bear the relation of subordinate lodges. It has room for every pale young curate who hears angelic voices when his liver is out of order, for every spavined old maid who mourns over slaughtered guinea pigs, for every bumptious fellow who thinks he knows more about medicine than Dr. Osier, for every vapid windjammer in the land. It is, in brief, the reaction of ignorance against the rockiness of the road to learning. It enables any fool to master all wisdom by reading a single $1.10 book.

Let this be said for Dr. Marden: that he is far less absurd than most other prophets of the New Thought. I have picked out the worst things in his book. In the main it is devoted to the quite reasonable and even obvious thesis that the will must always precede the deed. With that thesis I have no quarrel, but upon its New Thought corollary that the deed must infallibly follow the will I bring down a club. By what process of willing will a one-legged man ever manage to perform a Wiener waltz? And by what process of willing will a man with a charge of buckshot in his hips ever manage to convince himself that he is lolling comfortably in a Morris chair reading Rabelais and smoking a dollar cigar?

Ezra Pound, author of “Provenca” (Small-Maynard, $1.00), tells us frankly that his chief aim is to sound a revolt against that puerile kittenishness which marks so much of latter day English poetry. Nine-tenths of our living makers and singers it would seem are women, and fully two-thirds of these women are ladies. The result is a boudoir tinkle in the tumult of the lyre. Our poets are afraid of passion; the realities of life alarm them; the good red sun sends them scurrying. Instead of celebrating with their wind music “great deeds, strong men, hearts hot, thoughts mighty,” they

 

dream pale flowers,

Slow-moving pageantry of hours that languidly

Drop as o’erripened fruit from sallow trees.

 

Such is Mr. Pound’s complaint against the bards of our decadence. In his little book he attacks them, not only with precept, but also with example. That is to say, he himself writes in the clangorous, passionate manner that he advocates—and it must be said for him in all honesty that his stanzas often attain to an arresting and amazing vigor. The pale thing we commonly call beauty is seldom in them. They are rough, uncouth, hairy, barbarous, wild. But once the galloping swing of them is mastered, a sort of stark, heathenish music emerges from the noise. One hears the thumping of a tom-tom. Dionysos and his rogues are at their profane prancing. It is once more the springtime of the world.

Naturally enough, Mr. Pound finds poets—and heroes—to his liking in the Middle Ages—those spacious days of feasting, fighting and hard loving. A ballad of the gibbet, in the manner of Villon and with good Francois himself the gibbet bird, is one of the best things in the book. Again we have a fine song of the open road, credited to some wanderer of the Campagna in 1309. Yet again there is the last song of Arnaut of Marvoil, troubadour to the Countess of Beziers in the twelfth century. From the Provencal of Bertrans de Born comes a lament upon the death of Prince Henry Plantagenet, elder brother to the Lion Heart; from Lope de Vega comes a song to the Virgin Mother; from Jaufre Rudel and Arnault Daniel certain fantastic canzon forms. Bertrans bawls vociferously in a battle song:

 

Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!

And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing,

Spiked breast to spiked breast opposing!

Better one hour’s stour than a year’s peace

With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music!

Bah! There’s no wine like the blood’s crimson!

 

“The Ballad of the Goodly Fere” (i.e., mate, companion) is Mr. Pound’s only venture into the old English ballad form, but here he achieves a remarkable imitation, not only of the form, but also of the naif spirit of the early tales in rhyme. It is Simon the Apostle that speaks, “some while after the crucifixion.” A few stanzas follow:

 

A son of God was the Goodly Fere

That bade us his brothers be.

I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men,

I ha’ seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails

And the blood gushed hot and free;

The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue

But never a cry cried he.

 

A master of men was the Goodly Fere,

A mate of the wind and sea;

If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere

They are fools eternally.

 

I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honeycomb

Sin’ they nailed him to the tree.

 

Mr. Pound is an American, but he had to go to England to gain recognition. The present volume, I believe, is the first book from his hand to be printed in this country. It has defects a-plenty. More than once the very earnestness of the poet destroys the effect he essays to produce. His violence at times grows almost comic. One recalls the early profanities of Kipling. But, considered as a whole, this little collection of verses is one of the most striking that has come from the press in late years. Here we have a poet with something to say and with the skill to say it in a new way, eloquently, sonorously and sometimes almost magnificently.

A maker of simpler songs, which never wander from the orthodox canons, is Helen Hay Whitney, whose new book “Herbs and Apples” is sumptuously bound and illustrated (Lane, $1.25). In some of Mrs. Whitney’s compositions one discovers little more than an effort to arrange words prettily. But that effort, it must be said, is nearly always successful, and now and then there is in addition a thought worthy of its setting. Much the same tuneful facility is apparent in Myrtle Reed’s “Sonnets to A Lover” (Putnam, $1.00). I hear no deep note in these sonnets, but there is no denying their unfailing melodiousness, their simple dignity, their good workmanship. In John B. Tabb’s posthumous “Later Poems” (Kennerley, $1.25) the merits and defects of his earlier work are again visible. It is the custom among the critics to refer to Father Tabb as an artificer in cameo. There is aptness in the metaphor, for while a brilliant beauty often characterizes his patiently wrought fragments, many of them also reveal a quality which can only be described as hardness. Too often, indeed, they are not poems at all but merely beautiful epigrams. A word of praise must be given to Mr. Kennerley’s book making. We have come to expect good taste in this publisher’s issues, but here he sets himself a new standard.

The minor bards—God bless ’em! First comes Gazelle Stevens Sharp, with “A Little Patch o’ Blue” (Badger, $1.00), a pleasant collection of homely and unpretentious rhymes. The divine fire, I regret to say, is not in Mrs. Sharp, but her outlook upon life is healthy and sane and a sense of humor halts her at the brink of bathos. I have read worse. Far more ambitious stuff is in “Cactus and Pine,” by Sharlot M. Hall (Sherman-French, $1.50), a collection of verses dealing chiefly with the great Southwest. Miss Hall has got something of the mystery and magic of that sun-baked wilderness into her lines. Obviously a disciple of Kipling, it must be said that the offerings she brings to his shrine certainly do turn no discredit. Her “Song of the Colorado” is a truly excellent piece of writing, eloquent, galloping and full of color, and in many another place she gives ample promise of still better work later on. Let her be made welcome.

Let me commend “The Lady,” by Emily James Putnam (Sturgis-Walton, $2.50), to all whose taste is for a serious social study brilliantly written. Mrs. Putnam makes no attempt to reduce the lady to a formula; the type has varied too much in detail and is fundamentally too vague and elusive to permit of that. But she has sketched for us with great skill the ladies of eight distinct epochs—the Greek lady of Socrates’s day, imprisoned in her marble cage; the rebellious and manumitted lady of the Roman decline; the lady abbess, with her feudal splendors and prerogatives; the chatelaine of the twelfth century; the lady of the Italian Renaissance, inventor of the corset; the intellectual ladies of the French and English salons; and finally, the half -mythical and wholly pathetic lady of the Old South. There is warmth and color in these sketches; one puts down the book with a sense of having seen life creep into faded wax works. It is a pleasure to call attention to a volume showing so much patient inquiry, so much discernment, and above all, so much charm of style.

“Famous Impostors,” by Bram Stoker (Sturgis-Walton, $2.00), is entirely bare of these merits. It is a formless and uninteresting collection of papers upon Perkin Warbeck, the Tichborne Claimant, Cagliostro, the Princess Olive and other such frauds. Half a dozen extremely dull stories of petty swindles and practical jokes are added. In “Barbarous Mexico,” by John Kenneth Turner (Kerr, $1.50), the author overwhelms the reader with proofs that Senor Diaz of that so-called republic is a bold, bad man; that he winks at the enslavement of peons and the murder of Yaquis; that he has no more gentleness in him than the darky around the corner who bites off puppies’ tails Let us admit it all. But what of it? How long would a gentle, sentimental Diaz hold his job and keep the country going? How are you to make peons work save by enslaving them? What is there to do with Yaquis save murder them? Mr. Turner apologizes to the Mexicans for calling their country barbarous. He says that it is really Diaz that is barbarous. He is wrong. Diaz is civilized, unemotional, imaginative, intelligent. The Mexicans themselves are the barbarians—and the only way to rule barbarians is to treat them as such. Diaz is no more responsible for that law of nature than he is for the fact that manganese is indigestible. Dry your tears, O Turner! You weep because hawks are not handsaws.

The pretty little Beacon Biographies, which have long included mono graphs upon Longfellow, Paine and other such second raters, have been lately enriched by the addition of volumes upon Washington and Franklin, the former by Worthington Chauncey Ford and the latter by Lindsay Swift (Small-Maynard, 50 cents each). Much praise may be justly given to each book. It is no easy thing to review the crowded life of a great man in 150-odd small pages, but it is here done with skill and discrimination by both authors. Chronologies and bibliographies are added, but indices, which would be useful, are omitted.

Israel Zangwill, in his “Italian Fantasies” (Macmillan, $2.00), sometimes descends to the puerile vice of fine writing. There are too many “tises” and ‘”twases” in his discourse; his sentences are polished just a bit too highly. But the matter of these essays and rhapsodies, as distinct from the manner, is of a rare and satisfying quality. It was not as a mere gaper at marvels that Mr. Zangwill loafed through Italy, but as an artist of the seeing eye, a mellow and mature philosopher. Naples set him to meditating upon dead cities, dying creeds, forgotten Christs; in Pisa it was Galileo rather than the Leaning Tower that engaged him; the ballet at La Scala, by some strange magic, turned his thoughts upon the failures of science; at Assisi, of course, it was St. Francis that stood in the foreground, but not by any means the St. Francis of orthodox legend. A genial and discursive book, filled with the reflective accumulations of half a lifetime—quaint odds and ends of thoughts, happy phrases, novel heresies, frank confessions of faith, half-tones, half-lights, intimations.

 

Mrs. Featherweight’s Musical Moments —

by John Brady. (Harriman, 75 cents)

Good-natured flings at musical pre tenders, with excellent comic drawings by the author.

 

The Temptation of St. Anthony —

by Gustave Flaubert. (Harriman, $1.25)

The late Lafcadio Hearn’s painstaking and colorful translation of the great Frenchman’s prose epic.

 

Brown County Folks —

by Kin Hubbard. (Martin, $1.00)

Another of Mr. Hubbard’s collections of homely apothegms—for example: “Th’ best Saturday bargain is a bath”—this time with the addition of a grotesquely funny burlesque novel, “The Lost Heiress of Red Stone Hall.”

 

A Valid Religion for the Times —

by Parley P. Womer. (Broadway Pub. Co., $1.00)

An earnest plea for a new Reformation, with the object in view of completely ridding Christianity of ecclesiasticism.

 

The Court of Lucifer —

by Nathan Gallizier. (Page, $1.50)

The third volume of a trilogy dealing with medieval Italy and the dread doings of the Borgias. The illustrations and decorations are of unusual splendor.

 

The Science of Being Well—

by Wallace D. Wattles. (Towne, $1.00)

In this slim book the author tells what he knows about physiology.

(Source: Hathitrust.org, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101076380318;view=1up;seq=766)