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                <title>Dilettante 1.1 (1898-04)</title> <!-- enter vol./issue number and date, like this: Dilettante 1.5 (1898-08) -->
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            <div type="issue">
<div type="front"><ab> 
NO 1
<div type="fiction"><ab> 
A Monthly Literary Magazine.
APRIL, 1898.
Every person who has visited the mining regions of the far west has acknowledged the queer

impalpable charm that is in the air. Even those not directly interested in mining ventures 

share in the feverish zest, the undefinable fervor of the inhabitants. In the Mining Camp 

there are no disappointed, unfortunate croakers; no Doubting Thomases who have the 

hardihood to declare that they wish they hadn’t come. In an environment of remote and 

loggy wildernesses, of cheap shanties and the unsightly debris of mining enterprises, the 

goddess Hope has established her permanent court and rendezvous.

When we four tenderfeet, the Utilitarian, the Speculator, the Bard and the Scribbler, 

found ourselves at Spokane, in the far-away state of Washington, we were impressed above 

all by this prevalent elation of spirits among all classes of the population. Every other 

man we met was a high officer


in some mining corporation; on all sides we heard tales of wealth dazzling beyond belief; 

and we four pilgrims from the Mississippi valley congratulated ourselves that Fate had led 

us thither. We looked upon the animated phantasmagoria of the busy streets as through an 

enticing roseate mist. We were in the outfitting point whence people voyaged to the 

Fortunate Isles.

Some curiosity has been expressed in literary circles regarding the sensations one 

experiences in becoming a millionaire. I am prepared to speak of these things as one 

having authority, for have I not recently served as president of the Ignis Fatuus Mining 

Company ? And I still retain a large interest in the great Will-o'-the-Wisp mine. As 

spokesman for a coterie of ex-millionaires I feel competent to write knowingly of the 

sensations and whim-whams incident to that enviable condition. In other words I know how 

it feels to be rich. Perhaps the recital of how I became a millionaire and how I felt will 

be adjudged pleasant reading.

It was the Expert who roused us to action. He it was who unfolded to our eager ears the 

gorgeous legend of the “Lost Lead.” The Expert, by the way, was the first mining man of 

standing whom we met in the west. That he was a mining man of standing we were confident, 

for he said so himself.

The legend, in brief, is as follows: In the heyday of the old-time placer-mining camp of 

Oro Fino, in Idaho, that is to say, about 1862, one Robinson, a veteran prospector, 

stumbled upon a fabulously rich quartz ledge far up in the Bitter Root range. In those 

days little attention was given to the develop-



ment of quartz, so inadequate were the transportation facilities and so crude the 

available machinery for crushing the ore and extracting the precious metal; hence the old 

prospector failed to take note of the precise location of the ledge, though he carried 

samples with him to Oro Fino. When assayed it was ascertained that the ore averaged 

842,000 to the ton. Robinson with a strong party sallied out at once and began a vigorous 

search for the lost lead. But in that vast labyrinth of desert mountains overgrown with 

jungle-like copses of hawthorn and juniper or dark with prodigious forests, the search 

from the beginning was quite hopeless. Robinson was positive on one point only, and that 

was that he found the ledge on one of the small tributaries of the North Fork of the 

Clearwater or Kooskooskee river. For several successive seasons the old man led a 

searching party of adventurers into the wilds, then in the fullness of time was gathered 

to his fathers; and to this day that catamount-infested wilderness has been ransacked by 

enthusiasts in search of the Lost Lead.

When we heard this enticing legend (narrated by the Expert calmly and as though he took 

little stock in it himself) we agreed that the directions were ample for our guidance, and 

we laid it to the stupidity of former explorers that the mine was not found years ago. 

Then in our juvenile gratitude for the Expert’s kindly interest in us we employed that 

gentleman on the spot to guide us into the Idaho wilds and lend us the value and solace of 

his counsel. Indian ponies were purchased, arms and supplies hastily gathered together, 

and soon a goodly



caravan was under way, ten bold adventurers in all, most of us actuated by a strenuous 

determination to get rich. The Expert rode at the head of the cavalcade, and we felt that 

we must surely gain caste among the rude frontiersmen we encountered by the mere presence 

of so distinguished an explorer. The tenderfoot contingent of our party was further 

increased on the eve of our departure by our accepting the services of the Obese One, a 

fat and wrathy youth, helpless with obesity yet cherishing the illusion that he was an 

invincible pugilist and a dangerous man. Four Barbarians completed the list, and to these 

fell the duties of loading and driving the pack animals, preparing fuel, and assisting in 

the preparation of our meals.

It were wearisome to recount the tedious details of our trip through the forest; suffice 

it to say that we jumped logs (with which our route was grievously encumbered) and pursued 

our way along that labyrinth of cow paths, the LoLo trail, with a kind of dogged 

perseverence and such philosophy and patience as we could muster, and hailed with pleasure 

our approach to the higher regions where the thinning forest and granite ledges permitted 

the sun to shine upon us and the wind to blow freely. The fifth day after entering the Lo 

Lo trail we passed over a remarkably high, arid hill, free from forest growth, and 

overlooked a great extent of silent wilderness. It was a solitude so vast and empty and 

voiceless that it made the heart sick. It was verging toward nightfall and a thunder-gust, 

miles wide and indescribably tumultuous, was devouring the landscape—overwhelming whole 

townships in



gloom. Suddenly we were enveloped in a strange yellowish glimmer of fog, and there was a 

constant deafening bellowing of thunder. We were immersed in a cloud heavily charged with 

electricity. We shrank from that strange yellowish glimmer as from a menace of death.

A vivid zigzag streak fell in front of us with an instantaneous crash. It was an affecting 

sight to see the more valiant members of Our cavalcade quail before the onslaught of the 

mysterious artillery of the air, while the Bard and a nameless one in this sudden 

emergency became bold and rode undaunted through the fearful cannonade. But the storm 

swept away as fleetly as it came and the sun went down behind imperial curtains of purple 

and gold.

In due time we came to the divide between the Clearwater and the Bitter Root rivers, and 

leaving the main trail we began our search for the Lost Lead. Our barometer registered a 

height of 10,000 feet above the sea, and we found the slightest exertion fatiguing. (This 

was probably due to the rarity of the air, though some there are who are fatigued by 

exertion under any and all conditions of the atmosphere). We established our camp in a 

grassy glen and branched off in twos and threes and began to ransack the adjacent ledges 

and trackless mountain wilds with a sublime faith that we would find the Lost Lead.

It was intensely cold those July nights at such an altitude. The forest growth was scanty, 

and the snow still deep on the northern slopes of the mountains. The wary mountain sheep 

were often in sight from our camp, but we were too intent on



making our fortunes to attempt their capture. The air had a certain rare, pearly 

appearance, and the sunsets were inexpressibly beautiful and tender. It seemed an 

enchanted land, not designed for human occupation.

We had been in camp a week or more, when the Expert came in at dusx with a pack-load of 

quartz, and a dark scowl of superior knowledge on hi» face. We gathered eagerly around him.

“I’ve been in Leadville,” said the Expert, with the deliberation that adds so much 

impressiveness to the most trivial remark, “and I know Leadville rock.” (Sublime pause.) 

“I know rock carrying silver.” (Sublime ditto.) “This’ere white rock,” he added solemnly, 

“is identical to the best Leadville rock. She’s got lime, she’s got jest the qualities to 

make her a free-milling ore. She’s rich ore, and this ’ere mountain’s the Lost Lead.”

We held our breath. If any man had dared at that supreme moment to question the Expert's 

knowledge of geology, practical assaying, or in fact any branch of human science or 

learning, we should have helped the miscreant to a limb on the nearest tree. We believed 

every word the Expert uttered; and ah, the dazzling dreams that began to flame before our 

fancies ! The Scribbler and Speculator began to shout deliriously; the Bard wept; the 

Barbarians began to sing drinking songs, out of tune and time, but enthusiastic; the Obese 

One challenged anybody and everybody to mortal combat; even the sage Utilitarian was 

beside himself with delight, and began talking like a Salvation Army brigadier general. 

The Expert caught the in-



fection and added to our enthusiasm by remarking, solemnly:

“This is the Lost Lead. This ’ere rock goes $42,-000 to the ton.’’

If any person had had the audacity to remark at this juncture that the rock could not 

assay so high, since the minted coin runs only about $83,000 to the ton, we should have 

risen up as one man and punished the miscreant severely. Mankind accounts it a most 

grievous injury to be disenchanted.

There was never such another night spent on the lonely heights of the Bitter Root range; 

rarely, in any person’s experience, such a bewildering glimpse into Aladdin’s cave. We 

walked on air. We saw the roseate phantasmagoria of the great world unfold before our 

mental vision, lending a siugular brightness to that rather solemn area of desert 

mountains. Our isolation we felt to be but a temporary condition: we had at hand the key 

to all earthly delight. It was for us to visit the remotest -corners of the earth and view 

the records of man’s happiest thoughts and civilization; we could now gain access to the 

most precious works of art; investigate novel phases of human existence; mingle with a 

happier society than the rude frontier afforded. Our brains seethed with fancies, 

multitudinous, multiform, impetuous; rang with incommunicable melodies; Tamed with new 

thoughts and a buoyant glow of hope. To sleep was impossible, so we ransacked the adjacent 

groves in the darkness, dragging entire trees to the bonfire and performing feats of 

strength quite beyond us in calm moments. All night our fire and our enthusiasm flamed 




taneously. At break of day we were at work locating miners’ claims, and the next morning, 

loading our animals with a supply of the precious rock, we were on our way back to 


The logs were scarcely noticed now as we leaped them; so light were our hearts and so 

elated our hopes that we could have leaped over the tree-tops if necessary. After a week’s 

difficult march we reached the quaint old town of Lewiston, Idaho, from which point we 

shipped five hundred pounds of the rock to a San Francisco assayer. In two weeks we 

received the return. The Expert was not to be found, so the Utilitarian read the important 

document, we all standing breathless by. It read:

“Trace of silver; trace of gold; value, nothing.”

We all wilted down like transplanted cabbage plants in the hot sun; all were speechless; 

but after he had recovered his breath a little the Utilitarian pulled down his vest and 

yelled: “Where's that Expert ?” and dashed into the street. We all followed, but we soon 

learned that our scientific friend had left town.

Joy had gone out of our lives; the light of the sun no longer seemed good or wholesome. We 

were in truth a dejected party of adventurers. We clung to the forlorn hope for a little 

space that the San Francisco assayer had given a false return, hoping to throw us off our 

guard and enable him to send a secret emissary to defraud us of our fortune; but we 

gradually relinquished this idea, and at this time I am quite convinced that the San 

Francisco gentleman entertained no such nefarious purpose.

But time heals all wounds, and after various



tribulations we have taken our places in the work-a-day world again. And possibly we have 

experienced one of the richest delights of the millionaire, for we have tasted of the 

intoxication of success without the responsibility and care of possession.</ab></div>

<div type="fiction"><ab> 




Our Sage-brush community, into which I wish to introduce you, is not one of the newest. In 

fact we consider ourselves comparatively old and well-established. We have a Post-office, 

R. R. station, store, school-house, and above all, of course, a “ditch,”—this latter item 

forming the life artery of the little system of irrigated farms, and, through them, of the 


The people who own the little farms are gathered from almost every state in the Union, and 

represent all shades and varieties of belief and opinion; hence it is not strange that 

there should occur occasionally a wild agitation in our midst, rising suddenly and 

unexpectedly, and subsiding with equal rapidity. The commotion is not unlike that of a 

boiling pot, which bubbles over, then quickly resumes its customary level—when we discover 

that, after all, the vessel contained but a cupful or two at the bottom, and that the heat 

which sent it boiling over was merely the sharp quick tire of sagebrush, so intensely hot 

while it lasts, and leaving behind nothing but a small heap of ashes.

We have just passed through one of these ebullitions, and, the causes being slight, and 

the events without interest except to the participants, the only benefit to be gathered is 

the short cut by which we may become acquainted with these people, whose natures, tried as 

by tire, reveal what years of quiet every-day existence might easily keep hidden.

I wish you to know many of them, but for the



present sketch I have chosen Mrs. Eli Grigsby, who, being the wife of a member of the 

“Board” who assisted in “ gathering the sage-brush, that formed the fuel, that built the 

tire, that boiled the pot” alluded to, deserves a pronounced place in this series.

Her home was formerly in the fertile and much famed Willamette Valley, recently the scene 

of Mrs. Higginson’s charming stories. Many are the tales she will tell you, with a shake 

of her earrings, of “when I was a young lady, in Oregon.” She is now a grandmother—has 

been for many years, in fact— yet one of her peculiarities is a love of ribbons; not</ab></div>

    <div type="images"><ab> 
“ When I was a young lady."
 <div type="fiction"><ab> 
black or brown, or sober drab or gray—not at all; but her reds and greens, and yellows and 

purples, are of the most gorgeous hues.

She became incensed at a neighbor, and all but threw things at her, one day, and on the 

day following, being as yet a novice, an uninitiated looker-on, I was amazed at the 

embrace which she bestowed upon her enemy. Not that she had in the mean-



time become convinced—perish the thought ! Her opinions remain unchanged to this day.

She is a notable housekeeper of the old school, and openly boasts that she can do as much 

work in a day as two young women; but notwithstanding all this housewifery, which would 

appear a business in
                <div type="images"><ab> 
“ She can do as much work in a day as two young women.”
                <div type="fiction"><ab> 
itself, she has time to... devote herself to whatever movement may be on foot in the 

little neighborhood —to say nothing of the prominent place she occu-



pies in the Sunday school, missionary society, sewing circle, school elections, and 

“social,” which last is an institution among us. She believes, with Julius Cæsar and Miles 

Standish, that it is “better to be first in a little Iberian village than be second at 

Rome.” Her desire to lead is not founded upon any special gift or fitness in that line, 

but reminds one of the lady who wrote to one of our successful authors, enclosing an 

inferior attempt at a poem, and saying, “I feel that I must be a poet, that I must write 

true poetry, because I have such a desire to do so !”

She has a fund of reminiscences, and family history of every one within a radius of twenty 

miles. Sometimes it seems miraculous that they should not become mixed—these anecdotes. In 

fact I have been told that they were originally enacted “in Oregon, when I was a young 

lady,” and afterward fitted where they best suited: but this is doubtless a libel. Even in 

this case, however, most of us being in no position to gainsay them, it is best to accept 

them as they come, seeing that we neither gain nor lose by the operation.

As Mrs. Grigsby is liable to appear again in the annals of this highly authentic history, 

let this suffice for an introduction. She will now step aside with a bow and a shake of 

her earrings, and “I pray you, know me when we meet again.”

<div type="articles"><ab> 



Hallam Tennyson’s biography of his father is the most noteworthy book that has appeared 

this season, in a biographical way. It is, first, authoritative—the all-important factor 

in a biographical work. The poet had a peculiar aversion for biographers, but realizing 

the claim of his readers, he authorized his son to prepare such a work after *he had 

“crossed the bar.”

It is interesting to every Tennysonian enthusiast to learn that the poet regarded 

“Crossing the Bar” as his crowning jewel and desired that the poem should be given a 

conspicuous place in his published works. It is an admirable bit of verse, with some-.what 

of the old Tennysonian flavor, and much of the old inimitable melody:
                <div type="poetry"><ab> 
“Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me;

And may there be no moaning of. the bar,

When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as, moving, seems asleep,

Too full for sound or foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep,

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark;

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark.

For though from out out bourne of Time and Place, The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face,

When I have crossed the bar.”
                <div type="articles"><ab> 

I can not discuss the poetry of Tennyson without being led into almost intemperate 

adulation. He is



the poet par excellence. I once uttered a threat to scribble upon the subject of Tennyson 

versus Shakespeare, proving that Tennyson is the greater poet. Lee Fairchild, who chanced 

to hear of this rash resolve, most earnestly remonstrated with me, whether from fear that 

his literary idol, Shakespeare, should suffer in the encounter, or from solicitude for me, 

I know not. At any rate, Shakespeare got off that time. But as time passes I lean more 

strongly’to the belief that Tennyson is the ideal poet and Spakespeare an ideal dramatist 

merely. Nor do I agree with the distinguished critic, Edmund Clarence Stedman, who rates 

the dramatic form of poetry above all others. It is perhaps the most difficult form, 

especially if designed for stage presentation, but the narrow limits of stageland 

everywhere impede the poet’s fancy; and always in the drama we shall miss certain rare 

qualities of song which most delight the soul of the dilettante, and which are found in 

perfection in the poems of Tennyson.

Shakespeare’s work is too often marred with -trivialty, coarseness, flippancy, and with 

pleasantries which are not humorous. True, flippant and trivial characters utter those 

offensive passages; but I should say that the true poet ignores the existence of ignoble 

and unpoetic persons. Why should that disgusting old inebriate and liar, Falstaff, be 

immortalized ? We resent in actual life any public discussion of obscene subjects, but 

Shakespeare’s characters frequently speak with a more than Biblical bluntness. It seems to 

me that the office of poesy is to idealize and to exalt only the noble and the beautiful 

among mankind. Such is Tennyson’s con-



ception of the office of the poet; and through his pages march a splendid array of kings, 

princes, knights, and ladies fair, and on every hand loom palaces, “royal rich and wide.”

Shakespeare’s kings are kingly, it is true, and in such noble plays as “Julius Cæsar” we 

learn to take a more exalted view of human nature. But into every Shakespearean piece is 

woven a thread of baseness,—true to life, of course, but most disenchanting. Shakespeare 

in his youth was a poacher and committed disgraceful deeds; but Tennyson maintained that 

splendid gravity even in his school-days. We may take these lines from “Locksley Hall” as 

a glimpse of the poet in his youth:

Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest, Did I look on great Orion 

sloping slowly to the West.

Here about the beach I wandered, nourishing a youth sublime With the fairy tales of 

science, and the long result of Time.

This is an ideal way for a poet to spend his evenings. How much more appropriate it is for 

a poet to observe great Orion sloping slowly to the West, than to put in his time drinking 

sack in a low tavern, or going upon deer-stealing or chicken-stealing expeditions.

But it is chiefly in technical finish and beauty of style that Tennyson so conspicuously 

surpasses all his tuneful brethren. Where shall we find a parallel to the magic beauty of 

“The Lotus Eaters,” “The Passing of Arthur,” and portions of “Maud” and “The Princess.” 

The typical Tennysonian strain is as distinct and original as Robert Louis Stevenson’s 

prose. When one runs across a detached phrase it



is as readily distinguished from other poets’ lines as a silken thread is distinguishable 

from a thread of cotton. And for me, the strongest endorsement of Shakespeare is the fact 

that Tennyson spent his last hours upon earth with the dramatic works of Shakespeare open 

in his hand.

Tennyson was not a “people’s” poet. He held himself aloof, in royal seclusion, and scorned 

the trivial and insipid tastes of the common people. Hence his fame will never be so 

universal as that of inferior rhymesters like Henry W. Longfellow, who reel off facile 

household verses suitable for children to recite at school. It may be generally set down 

as an axiom that when a writer is received into general favor with the masses of the 

people, the literary value of his work is nil. Tennyson, happily, has never been and never 

will be popular in the sense that Longfellow and Robert Burns are popular. But his poems 

hold a place of honor in every poet’s and every scholar’s library.


In these days of the aggrandizement of the short story it is profitable to recall to our 

attention some of the short tales written a generation ago' by the foremost authors of 

that day. They compare more than successfully, in many cases, with the products of writers 

who are now at the acme of public favor.

One of the best illustrations of this is the little volume of tales by Mr. T. B. Aldrich 

entitled, “Marjorie Daw and Other Stories.” This book contains half a dozen or more of the 

most exquisite bits of abbreviated fiction ever written by any man or wo-



man. The stories are full of witty conceits and delightful turns of expression; and there 

is pathos, too, most subtile and delicate. “Marjorie Daw” itself is an adroit and 

altogether delectable creation and a work of art. Aldrich’s style of narration reminds one 

of the best old English novelists or suggests the quiet perfection of Washington Irving’s 

manner. Its finished and charming felicity of expression is refreshing after a course of 

Kipling, Garland, Miss Wilkins and other slip-shod or sledgehammer story-purveyors of the 

present day. Even Anthony Hope’s clever mixtures of bright dialogue and romantic adventure 

seem in comparison to lack sincerity and worthiness. Mr. Aldrich has written many pleasing 

tales and verses since “Marjorie Daw,’’ but neither he nor any of our present literary 

idols who have achieved a meteoric fame have produced anything fuller of the breath of 

genius. It is safe to prophesy that T. B. Aldrich will be known by his works after 

Hope-Garland-Wilkins and their like are no longer even memories.


The one supreme production of recent years in the way of fiction is undoubtedly this 

latest work of the famous Pole with the unpronounceable name— Sienkiewicz. There are a 

score of slightly lesser tales which have seen the light of publicity within recent years, 

but none of them come up to the plane of “Quo Vadis,” though they are in many instances 

superior to Sienkiewicz’s masterpiece considered as “pleasant reading” merely. “Quo Vadis” 

is in many respects a disagreeable book,



crowded with fell deeds of violence, cruelly accurate portraits of sinister Roman 

magnificoes of Nero’s day, appalling narratives of slaughter—monstrous, infamous, 

colossal. Nero himself is drawn in his true colors—a dreadful ogre—all powerful, but 

odious to the last degree. The book, on the whole, leaves a rather bad taste in the mouth, 

as it were.

The literary style of ‘-Quo Vadis,” while reputed to be super-excellent in the original 

Polish tongue, is sadly marred in the authorized translation by Jeremiah Curtin. There is 

a bluntness aud an inelegance of diction which is almost inconceivable as existing in the 

original; although instances are not rare of great writers of fiction who technically 

write lamely, or who care little for the “ inner music of words.”

The one admirable character in “Quo Vadis” is the polished courtier, Petronious. Here is 

indeed a treasure, a creation as distinct and imperishable as Jean Val jean, d’Artagnan or 

(in a different way) Huckleberry Finn. I commend to a blase reading public that 

incomparable letter of the courtier written just before his death, to the wicked Nero. 

Here is sarcasm, indeed, and denunciation of the most crushing sort. It is a marvel that 

the monarch survived it, and no doubt it was a shock that shortened his life. Petronious 

is the real hero and center of the book and the most admirable character that Sienkiewicz 

has yet drawn.

An excellent edition of “Quo Vadis” has just been issued by Henry Altemus of Philadelphia, 

the translation being by Dr. A. S. Binion. This book



sells at a moderate figure and in some respects is superior to the “authorized” 

translation by Jeremiah Curtin.


Conan Doyle’s latest story, “A Desert Drama,” is as excellent a thing as he has ever 

written. It is a strongly dramatic tale of adventure and heroism. A party of light-hearted 

and careless tourists, traveling up the Nile in the Korosko, decide to visit the pulpit 

rock of Abousir, half a day’s journey inland from the river. Here they are captured by 

Dervishes, two of the party are killed and the rest carried off on camels. After a long and cruel march during which they suffer tortures from thirst and heat and fatigue, not to 

mention anxiety, they are told that death is to be their lot unless they accept the Koran. 

This they refuse to do; and the denouement of the story is in Dr. Doyle’s most vigorous 

and charmful vein. There are some graphic descriptions of Egyptian scenery. The book is 

published in a handsome binding and the fine illustrations add not a little to its general 


J. B. Lippincott, publisher, New York.


“The Honorable Peter Stirling,” by Paul Leicester Ford, is not one of the newest novels, 

having been first published four years ago. But the history of the book is like the 

history of its hero Peter—it started out modestly and was overshadowed by its more showy 

contemporaries, but gradually secured recognition and esteem by reason of honest merit.



The book is now in its seventeenth edition, and it may be recommended to people who can 

distinguish good literature from the false. Mr. Ford has a straightforward style which is 

not without a few “grace notes” withal, and the story of Peter Stirling’s useful and pure 

life ought to be interesting to ambitious young men. Peter is a good man and a politician 

of influence. These two apparently irreconcilable facts may at once give the impression 

that the book must be a mere fairy tale; but read it, and you see that all things are 

possible. The story is a very interesting exposition of the inner workings of municipal 


The history of the evolution of Peter is engrossing. He is first introduced as a silent, 

unsocial college youth. Still he has his romance, which is pleasingly set forth, and there 

are some complications of an almost original kind. James Lane Allen said not long ago that 

there were no real “gentlemen” in American fiction; so he undertook to construct one as 

the hero in “The Choir Invisible,” and failed very completely. In fact John Gray is almost 

as thorough a cad as any of Mrs. Burnett’s heroes. But Peter Stirling is possibly as 

deserving of the “grand old name of gentleman” as any character ever created by an 

American author. He is not a romantic hero, nor is he “goody-goody” after the style of 

John Halifax. He is credited with wit, of the genuine American variety, and the samples 

given in the book substantiate this claim. Have we not all sighed over John Halifax’s 

depressing witticisms ? Miss Mulock tells us that he was most entertaining when in a gay 

mood, but as she proceeds to report what



he said when he felt merry we wish she had left it to our imaginations—then we might have 

believed her. This is not the case with Peter Stirling. Peter is as “good” as John 

Halifax, but he doesn’t expect other people to live according to his own code of morals. 

He accomplishes many surprisingly difficult things, because he has brains, perseverence 

and a good degree of personal magnetism. There are probably not many men in real life like 

him, but there might be, so realists should not object to this novel. In Anthony Hope’s 

romances we read of adventures which could not happen under any circumstances in this 

world where we are living at present. Mr. Ford’s novel contains no incidents that might 

not have occurred under the observation of any of us, though most probably they have not. 

The story is honestly entertaining, and there is in it no straining for effect. It 

deserves the seventeen editions, and may it have as many more.

Henry Holt, publisher, New York.


Among other evidences of metropolitan growth, the improvement of Spokane’s public library 

in recent years is noteworthy. Time was when the library was little more than a 

collection of lumber-room refuse in the way of cast off books and magazines. I can 

remember when the library occupied two small rooms in the Auditorium block, and the works 

of Bertha M. Clay seemed to be the chief attraction. In those days the erratic Robert A. 

N. Harvey was harrassing the residence portion of the city on a vigorous canvass for 

donations, and the



amount of literary garbage that he acquired on these excursions was beyond belief. 

Almanacs of several years before; patent medicine pamphlets; files of the last year’s 

San* Francisco Examiner; Spurgeon’s sermons; city directory of three years before; a 

treatise exploiting the virtues of Warner’s Safe Cure. All this “literature,” as Robert 

blindly designated it, has long since been transported to the city dump. Robert, too, has 

vanished. But the library has grown into an institution of permanence and real merit. Not 

a little of the improvement in the quality of the books placed on the library shelves is 

due to the correct literary taste of the librarian, Miss Emma Driscoll, and the book 

committee of the library commission, consisting of Miss Driscoll, Col. J. Kennedy Stout 

and Rev. O. J. Fair-field. As a consequence, the library nowadays is the rendezvous of 

the literary element, and of the best people of the community.

Among the multitude of publications which crowd the book-stands and the mails, Collier's 

Weekly has not a rival. Its pronounced literary tone distinguishes it from Harper's 

Weekly, which is perhaps its nearest prototype, and its marked originality is a welcome 

change after the perfunctory and fulsome book reviews and empty prattle of the average 

literary journal. Mr. Collier, the owner, is a man of wealth and good taste, and he is 

determined not to let questions of expense stand in the way of making Collier's Weekly a 

synonym for perfection. It is the ideal weekly journal, splendidly illustrated, and the 

literary matter is supplied



by the erudite and ornate Edgar Saltus; by Edgar Fawcett, an unexceptionable stylist and 

a subtle critic; by Henry James, the most polished of American novelists; and by sundry 

other writers of recognized standing.

Aldrich has called Boston “an abandoned literary farm.”

Lippincott’s Magazine is soon to publish a new novel by Amelie Rives.

Anthony Hope has written another romance, which is to appear serially; it is called “Born 

in the Purple.”

“Rupert of Hentzau,” sequel to “The Prisoner of Zenda,” is to be published in book form 

very soon by Henry Holt fe Co.

William Black has for the past three years been engaged upon a novel which is to be 

published serially in Harper's Bazar.

Rider Haggard’s new novel, “Swallow,” about to be published, is an historical romance of 

Holland in the days of William of Orange.

Rudyard Kipling and family are in South Africa. Mr. Kipling expects to remain there for 

four months, during which time, it is stated, he will do no literary work.

Mr. F. Hopkinson Smith’s “Venice of To-day,“ which was published not long ago in a 

subscription edition, now comes out in a handsome 12-mo volume entitled “Gondola Days.” 

Houghton Mifflin and Co. are the publishers. It is a picturesque and charming book.

<div type="fiction"><ab>     



The phrase had become a sort of shibboleth on Newspaper Row in Spokane. Day had the itch 

for notoriety in an aggravated form. It was almost a daily occurrence for the tall 

athletic “parson” to stride into the editorial office of some of the local papers and, 

looking sternly at the editor in charge, demand in stentorian tones, “Why does not the 

name of Day appear in your paper ?” Day regarded a day lost if his name did not appear. 

It may be said, however, that he lost few days during his sojourn in Spokane. If the 

“parson” did not umpire a prize-light, he managed to stir up another phase of his endless 

embroglio with his brother clergymen. He had an opera bouffe law-suit with his former 

colleague, Rev. McInturff, which deserves a place in classic story. These bald outlines I 

commend to the attention of some deft artificer in words—some eager scribbler thirsting 

for a theme:—

Erstwhile, when Day stood high in the councils of the People’s United Church, Brother 

McInturff, in the kindness of his heart and zeal for the furtherance of the cause, did 

loan and lease to the said Day for an indefinite period a certain ecclesiastical 

garment—a beautiful long-tailed coat—fine apparel in which a Parkhurst or a Talmage might 

ascend into the pulpit. Day, being of great stature, found it necessary to employ a 

tailor to add a cubit or thereabouts to the length of the sleeves. He paid $2.50 for this 

service. In process of time dissension broke out in the People’s United. For a little 

space the



name became a misnomer. It was a Disunited Church. Day was discovered, it was alleged, in 

the act of breaking several of the commandments. The brethren, perhaps because many of 

them were “broke” themselves, would not tolerate a man addicted to breaking things, and 

Day was deposed. Then steps were taken to recover the elegant ecclesiastical garment. Day 

loved it as the apple of his eye, for it just suited his peculiar type of beauty. But 

part with it he did, and then brought suit to recover the $2.50 expended in lengthening 

the sleeves, claiming that the alteration was in the nature of a permanent improvement, 

from the enjoyment of which he, Day, was prematurely cut off, and of which Bro. MeInturff 

became the sole beneficiary. The trial consumed days. Clouds of witnesses were summoned. 

The oratory of the advocates eclipsed anything heard in Congress. The plaintiff lost. The 

elegant coat and the equally lovely $3.50 had gone forever, so far as the Most Rev. 

Leslie Day, DD., LLD. was concerned.

Day is now en route to the Yukon country, but his progress is slow, as in every town 

through which he passes he looks up the local journalists in order to have the name of 

Day appear.
                <div type="poetry"><ab> 
To kiss a fan !

What a poky poet !

The stupid man !

To kiss a fan,

When he knows—that he can Or ou^ht to know it.

To kiss a fan !

What a poky poet !

Harrison Robertson.

                <div type="fiction"><ab> 
. Everybody knows how distressing it is to think 



of a brilliant bon mot just after the occasion for it has passed. Even the brightest 

minds frequently work in this post-date fashion instead of producing ideas when they are 

wanted. A popular after-dinner talker once said that all his best speeches were made in 

the cab on his way home. The average man does occasionally surprise himself and his 

friends by a witty remark, but he can’t repeat the exploit as often as he would like. 

Following are a few repartees attributed to well-known people, and which we are assured 

were really delivered on the spur of the moment:—

First comes one credited to our own Poet Longfellow. He was invited to a reception, 

w7here he met Mr. Nicholas Longworth, a scholarly and sterling American citizen. A mutual 

friend introduced the two gentlemen with some facetious comment regarding the similarity 

of their names, on which Mr. Longfellow quoted Pope’s famous line:	“Worth

makes the man, and want of it the fellow. ”

Then there is the clever retort made by that genial Frenchman, Max O’Rell. An American 

said to him on board a steamer sailing from Liverpool to New York, “You are a foreigner, 

I guess.” “Well,” answered O’Rell, “not yet. I shall be when I get to your country.”

Another is said to be recorded in John Wesley’s journal. He was brought before the mayor 

of a certain town and charged with having disturbed the peace of the city by his street 

preaching. “You ought to have known,” said the mayor, “that this sort of thing is not 

permitted by the mob.” “Pardon,” answered the bold Methodist, “but I was not



even aware that this town of yours was governed by a mob.”

Here is a story lately told in London about the Countess Waldegrave, who was married four 

times: One evening she appeared at the opera in Dublin, during her fourth husband’s 

occupancy of the post of chief secretary of Ireland. An audacious Celt, catching sight of 

her ladyship in one of the boxes, shouted out with real Irish temerity, “Lady Wald-grave, 

which of the four did you like best ?” The countess was equal to the occasion. Without a 

moment’s hesitation she rose from her seat and exclaimed enthusiastically, “Why, the 

Irishman, of course!”—a remark which naturally “brought down the house.”

And, finally, there is an anecdote relating to Oscar Wilde, At a social gathering one 

evening he made a particuiarly brilliant witticism, and after the langhter had subsided a 

friend remarked enviously, “I wish I had said that !”

“Never mind, my boy,” retorted Wilde, promptly, “you will say it.”

                <div type="articles"><ab> 



In introducing the initial number of a literary journal to the public attention it seems 

fitting that the promoters should assume almost an apologetic air (if, indeed, such an 

ignoble attitude is permissible under any circumstances). So foreign to the usual 

interest of the great public are literary themes, that it seems almost an impertinence to 

endeavor to place before the ‘'general reader” a publication which takes little 

cognizance of commerce, politics, prize fights or the price of wheat. Nevertheless it is 

the publishers’ conviction that there exists in every community a coterie of choice 

spirits whose devotion to letters is spontaneous and persistent; who, while embroiled 

more or less in the feverish activities of our ultra-commercial civilization, have not 

grown wholly deaf to the still small voice of sentiment, nor abandoned forever the 

haly-con fields of Fantasy. If there are any of these unique persons (natives of the 

Fortunate Isles) in Spokane, they shall receive honorable mention in the pages of The 


“The general reader'’ is perhaps at sea as regards the meaning of the word “dilettante.” 

True, should he consult the dictionary, he would receive light; but there are those who 

will never think of so simple a remedy. Hence the Editor will venture to assume for a 

moment the role of the school-master: it means, primarily, “an admirer of the arts;” an 

adept in any of the arts is forever exalted above the status of the dilettante: and thus 

the word has



come to be a synonym for an idler, a trifler. But of this seeondary meaning the Editor, 

in his vainglory and with a degree of egotism, declines to take cognizance. Far be it 

from me to impeach the learning of my contributors by such an admission. So far as this 

journal is concerned, the noun “dilettante” means simply “an admirer of the arts.”

The Dilettante starts out on rather a modest scale, but if any encouragement can be found 

for such an enterprise, ample means will be forthcoming in due time to improve the 

magazine, to illustrate it and pay its contributors. Until otherwise announced, outside 

contributions will not be paid for. Those who desire to write for glory alone, who are 

impelled to the scribbling habit by real inspiration, and who marshal their words in 

proper sequence according to the accepted rules of English grammar, will be welcomed; and 

as a special reward and incentive to strenuous endeavor, an effort will be made to spell 

their names correctly. Contributors who contribute gratuitously will be granted the 

further privilege of writing on both sides of the paper if they so desire.

But, to eschew unseemly banter, the Editor of The Dilettante, in all sincerity, is an 

admirer of the arts; and so great is his zeal for the cause of the Illuminati that he is 

ready to sally out alone against the prodigious forces of the Philistines. The credited 

members of the Illuminati in these parts are few and widely scattered, yet they are an 

appreciable force. The Dilettante has espoused their cause.

To speak without parables, The Dilettante as-



pires to interest those who read books and who prize the art of words for itself. It is 

the purpose of the promoters to publish fiction with a Northwestern setting, sketches of 

pioneer life and travels, criticism and book reviews. Arrangements will presently be 

perfected to pay some attention to art subjects, also. A strenuous effort will be made to 

produce a magazine well worth the paltry charge of one dollar a year.

There is a disposition on the part of the reading public to utter hasty criticisms upon 

books and newspapers which may run slightly counter to their own whimwhams. It seems to 

be the special penchant of the average man to denounce the chief daily newspaper of his 

own community. I have in mind instances of this kind in Portland, Seattle and Omaha, and 

right here in Spokane is a flagrant case. The Spokesman-Review is denounced by men 

totally ignorant of the strenuous labor necessary in getting up a daily paper. The 

editor, who, by the way, is one of the most talented newspaper men in the West, is 

pronounced a fool, a dunce, a crank. Mr. Durham, being merely human, may have his full 

share of foibles and frailties, *but I am of the opinion that there is not a.man in 

Spokane at the present moment capable of doing the amount of work (or doing it so well) 

that is daily performed by the editor of the big morning newspaper. Personally, 1 echo 

the sentiment of a distinguished man-of-letters, who says:—

“I do not like the daily press, and consider it as one of the plagues sent down to 

torment humanity. The swiftness with which the world becomes



acquainted with current events is equal to the superficiality of the information, and 

does not compensate for the incredible perversion of public opinion, as any one who is 

not prejudiced must perceive. Thanks to the daily press, the sense which knows how to 

sift the true from the false has become blunted, the notions of right and wrong have 

well-nigh disappeared, evil stalks about in the garb of righteousness, and oppression 

speaks the language of justice; in brief, the human soul has become immoral and blind.”

Nevertheless, since newspapers we must have, I protest against the swarm of half-baked 

critics who harrass the hurried and overworked scribblers of the daily press with 

inconsiderate anathemas. Were these cavilers themselves exalted to editorial chairs their 

incompetence would quickly become apparent, and ludicrous as well.
                <div type="miscellaneous"><ab> 


Published monthly by The Dilettante Publishing Company, Spokane. Wash., P. O. Box 705.

Subscription price, $1.00 per year; if paid in advance, only 75 cents. Single copies 10 


Address all business communications to The Dilettante Publishihg Co., P. O. Box 705, 

Spokane, Wash. Remittances should be made by P. O. Money Order, or registered letter, if 

checks on out-of-town banks are sent, add ten cents for cost of collection. Stamps taken 

for sums less than $1.00

Your bookseller will receive your subscription if desired.

                <div type="advertisements"><ab> 
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