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                <title>Dilettante 1.5 (1898-08)</title> <!-- enter vol./issue number and date, like this: Dilettante 1.5 (1898-08) -->
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A Monthly Literary Magazine.

VOL. I.	AUGUST,	1898.	NO.	5
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There is an universal looking forward and beyond to things rare and fine—an universal idealism. Distance lends enchantment, and the mountain ranges at a distanee are clad in a blue, impalpable smoke— the ideal tint of beauty. But examined in closer detail, we find them harsh and melancholy. So it is that the inhabitants of the far West look upon the Hudson and the Shenandoah as classic streams, while our own Columbia and Spokane are seen to be lacking in historic interest, and have only their wild, natural beauty to recommend them. And in turn, the dweller on the Hudson looks with longing fancy to the historic Danube, the mysterious, ancient Nile or castled Rhine. Possibly, too, he perceives in the Columbia that fresh charm of primitive beauty which is apt to be hidden from the dweller upon its banks. We are the reverse of near-sighted, and overlook accessible beauty to yearn for things remote and beyond our grasp.

Following this tendency, the American romancer flies over seas to the storied cities of the old world, or takes along pilgrimage into the subtle Orient, or searches in the past for the proper atmosphere of romance. But all the elements of thrilling adven-

ture are at our own doors if we will but earnestly, school ourselves to lookfor it. Why should we forever applaud that ancient Scottish love-tale of Loehinvar and his flight across the border with his stolen bride ? Here are two Idaho adventures, taken from real life, which in my opinion cast the Scottish romance in eclipse:

A Coeur d’Alene blade, who bore the unromantic name of Jones, fell into the ways of the world and loved a damsel of a Junonian—not to say obese—type. The damsel reciprocated. Jones played well the part of a gallant; escorted the maiden to a trained •dog show, bought red lemonade for two, and peanuts ditto. On Sundays he called at the paternal mansion and made himself agreeable by playing on the accordeon; but the old man refused to be ingratiated, and plainly told the musician that he could be no son-in-law of his. Whether this result was due to the general unfitness of the young man, or only to his musical accomplishments, the legend does not state. Like the Scottish Highlanders, the Coeur d'Alene youths are proud and imperious. Jones at once made up his mind to carry off the Junonian damsel.

When opportunity offers, therefore, the two start down the railroad track in the direction of the residence of a justice of the peace. The old man discovers the plot and pursues them, shot-gun in hand. Flight is impossible, as the old man can outrun the young lady. Jones perceives a hand-car by the track, with the wheels chained. To seize a crowbar and burst the chain is but the work of a moment; the two then lift the car upon the rails, and away they fly, a la Loehinvar. It was an affecting sight to see the futile pursuit-of the enemy, who arrived at the house of the justice a good half hour behind the fugitives, and found the two made one; upon which, making a virtue of necessity, he laid down the shot-gun, and amicably accompanied

the bride and bridegroom in their return trip upon, the hand-propelled chariot.

The other romance adds stratagem to daring—a bewildering medley of danger, mystery and love. A penniless young man living in a certain remote region of Shoshone county was smitten by the charms of a young lady of the neighborhood. The girl was not unfriendly to him, but all her relatives were vehemently opposed to the match. The devoted pair went before the local magistrate and demanded to be made one; but the magistrate, previously instructed, refused to perform the ceremony.

An elopement was considered; but the only road leading out of the country crossed a ferry, which was in the hands of the girl’s uncle; they knew they would not be allowed to cross.

But this opposition called into use all the latent invention of the ardent lover, and in what clime or country, prithee, has not love succeeded in outwitting hatred ? The lover harnessed his span of bony ponies to a lumber wagon, and placed in the box a quantity of hay, as though preparing for along journey—as in truth he was. The young lady then lay down in the wagon and was covered with the bay,, and they sped away and crossed the ferry unchallenged. In a distant town they easily succeeded in getting the marriage ceremony performed and presently they returned home in triumph.

The novelist working up these episodes might point out the potency of love for brightening the wits and sharpening invention. If he was a bright writer he might string it out to such an extent as to get ten dollars for the MS. from some of the sensational papers. To command that figure, however, he would be obliged to write plainly, on one side of the paper only, and exercise care in spelling most of the words correctly. It would be well, also, for him to enclose stamps for the return of the MS. in case it is not accepted.

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Were I a despot, I should grant a boon To our perspiring, fan-manipulating race;

I’d banish to the Mountains of the Moon—

To Medical Lake—the lakelet of the Loon—

Or ship to Zion via a balloon—

To Butte, Slocan or Cuba—any place—


That insufferable yahoo Who doth our lives hoodoo,

By asking forty times a day, “Is it hot enough for you j ”

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Twelve or fifteen years ago Spokane was but a melancholy little cluster of board shanties on a gravel plain. As most people will suppose, the falls were in business even at that early date, and the handful of citizens witnessed the same tumultuous downpour of green water, and gave ear to the perpetual cataract roaring like a battle. But the mile-long facade of imperial palaces dedicated to Mammon which now fronts on Riverside avenue, existed only in the imagination of Messrs. Cannon, Glover and a few other early arrivals. Some of the said early arrivals hadn’t enough imagination to conceive of their “ranches” ever becoming a site for a city, and they tried to trade for a two-bit cayuse to carry them to luxurious and .metropolitan Walla Walla, but they could find no takers.

It is related of one of these Doubting Thomases that he got tired and moved to Cheney. He owned a number of lots on Howard street between Riverside and .Main, and after going to Cheney he put an aggravating advertisement in the Sentinel, which read about as follows:—

I own five lots on Howard street at Spokane. I want to get rid of them, as I don’t think that place will ever amount to anything. Cheney will be the leading town of this section, and I want to sell those Spokane lots before the bottom falls out of the place altogether.

This advertisement ran for several weeks, until

Frank Moore espied the odious reflection upon Spokane’s prospects, and called the prominent citizens together to devise some scheme to suppress the Cheney pessimist. No method could be thought of but to buy the lots, but as the bilious owner wanted $500 for them, the leading citizens couldn’t raise the funds, and the matter was laid on the table.

Soon the Cheney “ad.” was changed to read about like this:—

I believe Spokane is going down hill. It will never amount to anything at all. Nothing there but gravel, and you can’t -raise anything to live on. I can’t even raise a mortgage. I’ll sell those lots cheap for cash.

The Spokane men got desperate and began a vigorous canvass to organize a syndicate and raise $400 or $500 to buy the lots. Arrangements had almost been completed to close a deal on those terms, when Mr. Moore got a remittance from the east, and purchased the lots on his own account. Then the obnoxious advertisement disappeared from the pages of the Cheney paper. The six-story block occupied by Holly, Mason, Marks &amp; Co. now stands on those historic lots. Mr. Moore, now deceased, lived long enough to realize that his $500 investment was a good one.

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Oh, she was debonair, bright and very Stunning she looked on Coeur d’Alene beach !

This Spokane maid was a real “huckleberry.”

In vulgar parlance, “she was a peach.”

Methought, “Here is a literary fairy,

Reading the poet’s rhymes upon the beach,

Or else some romance sweet and salutary,

Which pure and high ideals of life doth teach.”

She laid aside the book, did this maiden wise and witty;

I seized the sacred volume, with reverent intent;

Yegods I the thing was called, “How Always to Look Pretty, With Twenty Recipes Explaining How Wrinkles to Prevent ! ”


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Now I am sure you are going to be mildly astonished at the fact that there already exists in our embryo settlement a family feud in a healthy, flourishing condition. I know it seems little short of an impertinence for us to make such a claim, and yet— why, here it is ! an argument which is unanswerable. I must add by way of explanation that the families who permit themselves this luxury, which seems properly to belong to an older community where generation after generation keeps up the old feeling, are in fact very old settlers for this part; so that, even at this stage, there are two generations involved. And no one can deny that all feuds have their beginning, even as the great tree grows often from the tiny seed.

Years ago, before the days of “ditches. ” water-rights, irrigation companies, or any of these legitimate bones of contention, two families settled very near each other upon the broad river bottom, which, as we all know, does not require “the ditch,” but sub-irrigates from the river. The two farms, though adjoining, have the river between them. At the time of high water this served as an admirable barrier—a line fence between fields and pastures and meadow lands; but when the water became low, it was found that the cattle and horses belonging to one farm simply laughed it to scorn, and often paid visits to the corn-patch or alfalfa meadow of the rival farm. This caused remarks to be made, on both sides, without sufficient consideration; for who stops to choose words when breathless with the exertion of chasing a bunch of unruly cattle, or while warm with emotions engendered by beholding the work of an entire season laid waste and desolate ? So the feud began, and the little seed grew and grew, un-


til in a short time it became quite a sapling, and began to make branches in various directions as well as to strike its roots more deeply and firmly into the soil.

Another of the causes, or I should say conditions, which made a feud a natural vent for pent-up feeling, was the fact that one of these families was newly arrived from a Southern state in which the feud was indigenous to the soil—seemed to exist in the very air. Perhaps they were a trifle less homesick for the “Old Kentucky Home” when they found themselves launched into the familiar waters of a good, old-fashioned quarrel. At any rate, they thrived. Both families became highly successful, each home gradually assuming its own distinctive character— the boys upon one side waging eternal warfare upon the boys on the opposite side of the river.

Once the two youthful Jeffries, engaged in building a fort in the sand with infinite toil and pains, perceived the Larkin boys upon the other bank, making gestures offensive and threatening, and intimating, what is impossible to be borne by boys of spirit, that they “could lick them within an inch of their lives.” No such boast had ever been made before—and perhaps the Larkin boys did not realize that the river was getting low enough to wade across, by rolling the pantaloons very high !

The little sister of the Jeffries boys came out and looked and listened with visible displeasure and rising ire, the fighting spirit strong in her. “Boys,” she exclaimed to her brothers, “will you stand there and let those two puppies say such things to you ? If I was a boy wouldn’t I just wade across and show them a thing or two ?”

Thus incited, the two Jeffries’ made their preparations and began their journey to the opposite bank. The water was a little higher than they had ever before attempted—to be sure the boys were a trifle taller also, which perhaps made matters even, and


prevented a catastrophe on the outset.

The Larkin boys did not believe the enemy could accomplish the feat, and stood there laughing and jeering, adding fuel to the flame of wrath already kindled; so that by the time the two Jeffries youths were across they were very warm, indeed, although the water was almost ice-cold.

They did not wait for preliminary arrangements, such as choice of weapons, appointing seconds, etc., but each boy cast his coat, and they paired off and fought it out.

The Jeffries came out victorious in this engagement, the Larkins finally taking to their heels with an outcry terrible to hear—while the little sis. ter who sent her brothers to the war, hid her face in her apron and longed for peace. At school, for several days after, the Larkin boys-unwillingly carried each his decoration—the one in the form of a black eye, the other a lump upon his cranium resembling a hen’s egg in size and shape.

This led to encounters between older members of the two families, and so the trouble continued to augment, until all the young folks grew up. There has been no communication for a 'number of years between the families. The older-boys have gone into business for themselves—Dan Jeffries is our postmaster now, Frank runs the farm, in partnership with his father; tne Larkin boys are both farmers, but Elmer, the younger, has been taking a course in the Agricultural College at Pullman. When he came home something over two years ago, helmet Kate Jeffries in the train—he had not seen her for years— and was astonished at her loveliness. The little girl who had once desired to see him well beaten, was now a demure young lady who was inclined to laugh at the youthful encounter,rand, also, to let the feud languish and die—especially when she discovered how the years had brought manliness and dignity to her old play-fellow. In 'short, the usual


thing happened. They loved, they became secretly engaged. And now the feud began to do its deadly work. What the girl’s father said when some obtrusive neighbor brought this love tale to his ears, I do not know; but I know that for months a pale shadow of our merry-hearted little Kate slipped in and out from the meetings at the school-house, and carried on her part in the household work at home. Elmer and his father had a bad half hour, and the boy kissed his mother, and with a small valise in his hand, boarded the east-bound train.

Months passed, and summer came round once more. It was whispered that one or two letters came to Kate which her brother eyed suspiciously as he handed them out, but out of sympathy for the “little sister’s” pale, troubled face, he kept his counsel and guarded her secret.

The two fathers were obdurate as ever, the mothers interested and tearful, and the lovers apparently as widely separated as fate could manage to place them—when our ice-cream social came off. It was held upon the vacant “company” lots, which ai’e planted to alfalfa and surrounded by locust trees. We hung Chinese lanterns in the trees, spread tables and arranged booths here and there, placed extemporized seats at one end, where the village quartet, which has become quite proficient, provided music, with organ and violin to vary the program. Kate Jeffries seemed upheld by some unusual excitement—never had she appeared so gay; she looked beautiful in her white gown and pink roses, the color in her cheeks rivaling the dowers in her belt. It was past nine o’clock, and the whistle of the night train sounded at the crossing beyond the big “cut” half a mile away. The mail train stops only a minute or two, when there are passengers— otherwise it receives the mail by the catch-bag system.


Suddenly the little crowd of merry-makers were startled to see Elmer Larkin drive up with his brother’s new buggy and the tine team of grays which the boys had raised and trained from colts. Kate Jeffries, hastening to him, was assisted to a place by his side and whirled away before the very eyes of the two families—both being largely represented.

It was all so quickly accomplished that by the time the irate fathers had gathered together their scattered wits, the whistle of the retreating train was heard off among the sage-brush hills. The grays were found carefully tied to a post at the station, a little note from Kate, addressed to her mother, pinned to the cushion in the seat.

Henry Cameron, our justice of the peace, is an intimate friend of Elmer’s, and it was remarked that he had occasion, that same night, to take a short rail-way trip—a thing unusual for him even under the most auspicious circumstances.

This all happened last summer, and thus far no word has come from the fugitives. A marriage often unites families, but this one has made the feud hotter than at any time in its history. It has now an element in it fraught with deepest interest, and assumes a new dignity and solemnity.

It seems that upon the night of the elopement, Elmer appeared at the Larkin place about sunset, tired and dusty. Meeting his brother, he unfolded his plan and compelled his co-operation by the force of his logic. “Young Lochinvar” had no occasion to swim the “Elk river,’’ or doubtless he would have been equal to the task—though, being familiar with our river, there would be no necessity to swim, for experience has taught him that the fords are very good and very numerous. The “fair Ellen,” also, if put fairly to the test, could have waded across with the lover whom she had formerly desired to reach in like manner, with a far different object. Where is she now ? and what are her thoughts when



she recalls her old home, and the bitter and useless feud which still grows bitterer, instead of sweeter, with age ?

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A notable convention will meet in Spokane late in August—a general gathering of the Press Associations of the Pacific Northwest, including the states of Washington, Idaho and Oregon. We will welcome the visitors and the municipal authorities will tender them the freedom of the city. As a facetious official once declared on a similar occasion, “I may as well tender it to them voluntarily, for they’ll take it anyway.”

The rural editor has often been maligned and lampooned. Comic journals have depicted him in the act of sawing wood and performing other menial labors as a means of augmenting his scanty income. The Dilettante has been struck by the pathos of the Rural Editor at the “loud banquet,” desperately endeavoring to assume a nonchalant air, as though he was used to that sort of magnificence. It is true that the typical newspaper man from the smaller countrj” towns does not have the well-fed smug appearance of the metropolitan business man; and in a way he is a little aside from the great highway of human progress. But he is a sterling personage, nevertheless, often worthy of better things and a more gorgeous income than the town of Wayback can supply.

The Country Newspaper Man is coming to town; he will be multitudinous and probably athirst; let the people of Spokane prepare to do him honor.


* *

the need of a national air.

The need of a national air becomes daily more apparent. With armies in active service, battle-



ships devastating the sea-board eities of the enemy, patriotism running like wild fire through all classes of our population, we need a martial air of undoubted merit, such as the “Marsellaise.” The “Star Spangled Banner” is not properly a martial air, though the theme is of war and shells bursting in air; it is a mere song; armies cannot march to it, nor can it fire the warrior with that fierce determination that the “Marsellaise” has always inspired in the troops of France. “Marching Through Georgia” is probably our best popular war song. With its name changed, the element of sectionalism eliminated, and new words adopted, this might answer for the official air of the armies of the great republic. There is a splendid lilt and momentum in its strains, and it swells gloriously when played with a brave blare of brass at the van of marching armies. If serious objections be raised to the adoption of this air, we must then turn to Sousa and his inspiring marches. In these compositions the characteristic traits of the citizens of the great republic are conspicuously reflected. These marches throb with the musical expression of courage, hope, self-reliance, youthful vigor and good cheer. “King Cotton” is an air that could not fail to inspire our armies with the spirit of liberty and the certainty of victory.


* *


Harold Bolce, a journalist of national reputation, (we may almost say of international reputation, for he has written and published a pamphlet on South African politics) is now running the Kaslo Koote-naian. The paper is already in request among the literati. Recent issues contain scintillant work about the Colossus of Rhodes (Cecil Rhodes of South Africa); “The Quixotic Dons,” in which figure such valiant warriors as Don Scareoffa Vamoosa, Admiral Disappeara Obscura, Gen. Bombasto Furioso, Capt.

— 12—


Stickaknife Retreato, and Capt. Carrambo Blow-hardo. “Nebuchadnezzar and the Gamin'’ is filled with happy conceits and a most consummate manipulation of words.


* *

THE RED, WHITE AND GREEN The Dilettante is patiently waiting for some one to join its crusade in favor of incorporating green in the national banner—a green field instead of blue. I have duly set forth the reasons for this change, the chief reason being the aesthetic improvement that would be effected thereby. So far no one has seen fit to endorse the plan, and apparently the blue will be retained. Conservatism is indeed a bulwark, and the Flag is girt about by a veneration so profound and universal that a change, even for the better, is not to be thought of. The Dilettante therefore abandons the project, and ivill undertake something more feasible—making water run up hill, for instance, or lifting oneself by one’s boot-straps.

— 13—




Written for The Dilettante.

Alfred Lord Tennyson has made his art the earnest study of a long life. From the feeble poetic touch of “Oriana,” (1880) to the firm artistic grasp of “Rizpah,” (1880) the distance in degree of merit far outnumbers the distance in years. In the artistic sense, poeta fit. And the question forces itself on the admirer of any “mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies”, whether his success was wholly due to the instinctive guidance of a highly cultivated and sensitively musical “ear,” or whether it was due in part to a regular study of what has been termed the “laws of verse.” It is an old theory that the poet must have “an ear for music”—in musicians’ parlance. The poet of the early Greek art was not a “maker,” but a “singer.” The Romans, too, sometimes confounded poets with musicians.

The identity of the two “ears” is a theory of dazzling attraction for the unpoetic critic of poetry. But this delightful theory will not stand the test of actual fact. The most musical fashioner of words into rhythm was unable to appreciate between high and low sounds; could recognize only two tunes and these only by their different rhythms. In this ability he very much resembled General Grant, who used to say that he could distinguish but two tunes, one of which was Yankee Doodle, and the other of which was not Yankee Doodle.” Rossetti, it is said, disliked music. How was it with Tennyson—that master of melodiousness in verse? Edward Fitzgerald, speaking of Tennyson’s college days, remarked that the poet “was not thought to have an ear for music. ” Of the scientific aspect of music he seems to have had scarcely any knowledge, although lamenting the lack of it. It seems pretty clear, therefore, that his marvelous sensitiveness to the melody of language was not built on any sympathetic love for music—


whether melody or harmony. His triumphs illustrate the futility of attempting to identify the two “ears,” or even to associate them by any essential connection; for with no decided musical ear he certainly had a wondrously acute development both of the physical and of the poetic ear. Nevertheless, no one has written finer things about music:—

The tides of music’s golden sea,

Setting toward Eternity.

The glory of the sum of things Will flash along the chords and go.

Like Collins, he could hear the “short, shrill shriek” of a bat, and this he considered the test of a fine ear. In some notes which he left on “Maud” we find the interesting fact stated that he designed the words, “Maud, Maud, Maud,” to imitate the rook’s caw; and the words, “Maud is here, here, here,” the call of the little birds. Reading aloud his ode on the Duke of Wellington, he dwelt long on the final words, letting them ring, so to speak. Who will not immediately detect the rushing of rivulets, the moaning of doves, the murmuring of bees in these lines

Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn The moan of doves in immemorial elms,

And murmuring of innumerable bees.

and who will not echo the criticism that they are as felicitous as Theocritus ?

So much for the poet’s doctrine and practice with respect to the melodious sounds of language.

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Against the steel-blue sky the pines

Stand outlined, dark and weird and tall; Low down, beyond, the sun’s red ball Between their forest pillars shines;

The sunset sky their boughs enfold Gleams as in some cathedral old;

Beyond the pillared nave, o’erhead,

A window flames with mystic red.

William Sharp.



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Written for The Dilettante.

There are but lew to whom Dante’s Inferno is wholly unknown or who do not remember some at least of its sublime and affecting pictures. The mighty genius of the poet here fixes our gaze on figures often appalling indeed and terrible, but so true and life-like that, once seen, they are never wholly forgotten.

Most poets clothe their ideas in allegorical forms whose unreality is apparent throughout, and the illusion entirely fails. Dante’s figures, on the contrary, have a real existence, independent of their allegorical significance, and they themselves more than their antitypes speak to our imagination. With him we tread upon sure gi ound and are surrounded by realities. In his episodes Dante gives life to his idea by descriptions of actual events. Without distorting history, he transfigures his heroes by revealing their inner motives, and enriches each well-kuown story with pictures of his own creation. Only Shakespeare and Tacitus possess with Dante that mysterious power of laying hold of the reader and concentrating his ideas and emotions on one single point. Truly does Macaulay term the style “incomparable.” Take his own horror at the sight of hell:

I through compassion fainting, seemed not far

From death, and like a corse fell to the ground.

Or, again, the despair of Ugolino:

On either hand through agony I hit.

In these lines we hear the heavy fall of the body, we see the rage of the wretched man. In the description of the infernal region the verses sound like a wail of lamentation, now wild and rude, now stern and terrible. The inscription over the entrance produces a sensation of awe and terror which no translation can convey:

Per me si va nella citta dolente;


Per me si va nelV eterno dolore;

Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Lasciat ’ogni speranza, voi ch’ entrate.

Through me you pass into the city of woe;

Through me you pass into eternal pain;

Through me among the people lost for aye.

Every ear must be struck with the monotonous cadence of these repeated rhymes, in which the everlasting outcry of pain that ascends from the depths of the abyss seems alternately to burst forth and expire. In the thrice reiterated per me si va you may fancy the knell of the dying Christian.

The Inferno itself, as a poem, though terrible in the extreme as a whole, is, as all know, relieved by passages of extraordinary beauty and grace. Perhaps there is no single episode in poetry which has been more often translated, or has been more often the subject of art, than that of Paolo and Francesca, the sinful lovers, whirled through space before the blast of God’s displeasnre. In the following lines, which reveal with matchless truth the depth and madness of her love, Francesca tells her story:

If thou art bent to know the primal root From whence our love gat being, I will do As one who weeps and tells his tale. One day For our delight we read of Lancelot;

How him love thralled. Alone we were, and no Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue Fled from our altered cheek. But at one point

Alone we fell....................

The book and writer both Were love’s purveyors. In its leaves that day We read no more.

What admirable simplicity in this recital of Francesca ! What delicacy of expression in the concluding lines !

Let us now return from the outward form of the Inferno to its inward sense.

The poet is in the midway of life. He has become entangled in the woods of sin and error, and is beset by passions that are about to devour him. Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, sees his plight, and foras-


much as he has venerated her she does not abandon him in his peril. She sends Lucy, or Illuminative Grace, to his assistance. Lucy commands Virgil (Reason) enlightened by her directions, to save him. As he is about returning upon his evil course reason tells him that he must take another road if he would be rid of the error of his ways. He obeys. The journey is long and dismal and dreary. Sometimes the poet is discouraged and desires to return. Sometimes he requires the assistance of Virgil, as when the Roman poet turns him around and with his own hands closes his eyes that he may not behold the Gorgon; and all of which means that there are certain sins and temptations in life which cannot be overcome by human nature unaided. At times Virgil himself is unable to make headway against the powers of darkness. But a heavenly messenger comes and dispels all dread, and opens the entrance; and forthwith Dante and his guide walk securely, without molestation. They find no further opposition. Indeed, it is only by reason of heavenly grace that Virgil is able to lead Dante through the dread regions:

From high descends the virtue, by whose aid I to thy sight and hearing him have led.

Whereby the poet would teach that human reason, good and admirable as it may be in itself, is not sufficient to contend against the world of passion and wrong-doing. Again, at times the poet would rest; but there is no resting place for the soul struggling with evil till it frees itself therefrom. And so we have the grand lesson of work and energy in overcoming indolence and sloth and evil habit:

Now needs thy best of man; so spake my guide;

For not on downy plumes, nor under shade

Of canopy reposing, fame is won.

Reader, would you be deeply affected—would you know how far the imagination of pain can extend— would you become acquainted with the poetry of


torments and the hymns of flesh and blood—descend into the Inferno of Dante.

Now, did Dante himself believe his hell to have an actual existence, or did he regard it simply as the creation of his imagination, reflecting as in a mirror the condition of the wicked upon earth? We must make this distinction. The actual images of its torments are the poet’s own work; but the idea of retributive Justice eternally rejecting the impenitent sinner, the notion of the punishment varying with the sin, are doctrines intimately and necessarily bound up in the poet’s religious belief, and with it they stand or fall.

This triumph of Divine justice, before which all that is best in man, his feelings of compassion, of love, must bow in silence, constitutes the greatness of the Inferno,

Justice the founder of my fabric moved.

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By the chance turning of a spade In Roman earth, to view was laid Bits of carnelian, bronze and gold Laboriously carved of old,—

Sleek Bacchus with his leaves and grapes; Bow-bending Centaurs; Gorgon shapes; Pallas Athene helmeted;

Some grim forgotten emperor’s head — This one most precious for its make,

That other for the metal’s sake.

A touch—and lo ! are brought to light, Fancies long buried out of sight In hearts of poets: bits of rhyme Fashioned in some forgotten time And thrown aside, but, found to-day,

Have each a value in its way,

This, for the skill with which ’tis wrought; That, for the pathos of its thought.

T. B. Aldrich.


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All students of literature must have remarked the important difference between the best English novels and the best work of the French fiction-writers, and perceived the reasons therefor. But the general reader, perhaps, can not explain why “Les Miserables,” “The Count of Monte Cristo’’ and Taine’s “History of English Literature” should be so perennially enticing, whereas the great English fictions and histories so often pall upon the reader. Who has the patience to read George Eliot’s novels the second time ? Even Thackeray is sometimes intolerably diffuse. Who can endure to wade through to the end of W. D. Howells’ wearying narratives ? But there is a certain quick dramatic sparkle, a nervous momentum, as it were, in the best of the Parisian fictions which carries the reader’s attention along imperiously; and the subjects of the great French novelists, too, are such as appeal to the “general reader,” being not much given to abstruseness, or loftiness of theme.

The English mar their work by their frantic efforts to bring about a moral denouement—to have the hero win fortune and the fair heroine’s hand, and to get the villain properly foiled and adequately punished. In the old money-grabbing merchant* Dornbey, Dickens was led into an absurd error by the supposed necessity to have all bad men reformed or punished in the last chapter, and everything wind up lovely. Dombey, the life-long cold-blooded, selfish pursuer of Mammon, transformed into a kind, generous old gentleman through the influence of his daughter, is an utter impossibility and totally untrue to life.

But whence arises the peculiar attraction of the French style of writing ? They are content to picture life as it is, and above all they avoid such false


creations as Mr Dombey. Edmund Dantes, subsequently Count of Monte Cristo, is not exactly a Sunday-school model, but he is decidedly human and possible. But the chief charm of the Parisian writers is their literary style; and this style is but the logical expression of the sprightly national character. The Parisian if he knows nothing else, knows how to talk entertainingly. He talks in his books, and every sentence is crisp and sharp, lumbered with no superfluous words, as is so common with English and American writers. The charm of the Parisian literary style survives even the perils of translation, and in Taine’s “English Literature” we have a good example of the advantages of literary sparkle, even when dealing with historical subjects.

The Dilettante has always marveled at the public apathy toward the art of words. The mere bald recital of facts seems to content most readers, Little they care for the “inner music of words;” little notion have they of the vast possibilities for expression that reside in aptly chosen adjectives. Of all arts, this art of manipulating words calls for a calm and vigorous hand. Would the writer be spontaneous and forcible—beware lest you violate the canons of good form. 'Would you be content with mere colorless, scholastic English—then, forsooth, the critics will decry your work, as being stilted and cold. It is the happy medium that the artist strives to attain. The literary path to success is a narrow way, beset upon all sides by every species of professional and technical forbidden fruit.

It would seem that this is the secret of acquiring a style at once attractive and forcible:—to learn to talk. No good talker will ever be led into the verbose style of writing that mars so many standard English books. How absurd one would appear if in general society he should express himself in the phraseology of the average work of fiction. But


the French writers kindly permit their characters to converse in a language which they themselves would not be ashamed to utilize in public.


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Here is another of those vigorous Hugoesque fictions with the manner of which the world has lately grown familiar through the extraordinary vogue of “Quo Vadis.” Sienkiewicz is indeed a force—there is a constant momentum in this book that gives it a high place in letters. “Pleasant reading” it is not, —no more than is “Quo Vadis;” and some there are who will not gather profit from its perusal. But such as love to learn of every phase of human existence, deeming even the base-minded and the 'barbaric human, this wild tale of the Cossacks and the Tartar hordes will appeal with a lively eloquence. The book has an “atmosphere.” The steppes are in the book—the empty, solemn steppes, now quite voiceless and devoid of human enterprises—then suddenly filled with clamor, with battle and tumult inconceivable. The author has apparently drank deeply of the indefinable charm of the wilderness. He, as a faithful historian, tells us of the superstitions extant among the rude denizens of the steppes—a naive recital, as though he shared iheir fantasies. I am moved to transcribe these curious passages:—

Night came down upon the Wilderness, and with it the hour of ghosts. Cossacks on guard in the stanitsas related in those days that the shades of men ivho had fallen in sudden death and in sin used to rise up at night and carry on dances in which they were hindered neither by cross nor church. Also, when the wicks which showed the time of midnight began to burn out, prayers for the dead were offered throughout the stanitsas. It was said, too, that the shades of mounted men coursing through the waste barred the road to wayfarers, whining and begging them for a sign of the holy cross. Among these


ghosts vampires were met with, who pursued people with howls. A trained ear might distinguish at a distance the howls of a vampire from those of a wolf. Whole legions of shadows were also seen, which sometimes came so near the stanitsas that the sentries sounded the alarm. This was generally the harbinger of a great war...........

Eyerywhere the country was full of grave-mounds ancient and modern, covered already with a growth of pine. Here, as in the Wilderness, ghosts and vampires rose up at night. Old Zaporojians, sitting around their fires, told marvelous tales of what took place in those forest depths, from which issued the howling of unknown beasts—cries half human, half brute—terrible sounds as of battle or the chase. Under water was heard the ringing of bells in submerged cities.

The sanguinary character of the title will prepare the reader for accounts of carnage and sudden death; but the ordinary horrors of war are here augmented by the extraordinary brutality of the denizens of the steppes. Here is a picture that equals anything in “Quo Vadis” for sheer horror:—-

Between the fires burning under the kasha kettles, lay here and there bodies of murdered women over whom orgies had taken place in the night, or stood pyramids of heads cut from the bodies of killed and wounded soldiers. These bodies and heads had begun to decay and gave out an offensive odor, which however did not seem to be at all disagreeable to the assembled crowds. The town bore marks of devastation and the wild license of Zaporojians. Doors and windows were torn out; the shivered fragments of a thousand objects, mixed with hair and straw, covered the square. The eaves of houses were ornamented with hanged men, for the greater part Jews; and here and there the crowd amused themselves by clinging to the feet of pendant corpses and swinging on them.

The “great” writers have never endeavored to produce literature suitable for ladies to discuss at five o’clock teas. “With Fire and Sword” is a rude powerful chronicle; a “human document” of unimpeachable veracity; but not desirable as a subject


for discussion at a pink tea.

The book, however, is not given over wholly to narratives of slaughter. There is a heroine of extraordinary beauty, a prince of the highest valor, and a company of noblemen of much spirit and unimpeachable honor. It is full of adventure, sudden forays and brilliant military victories.

Published by Little, Brown &amp; Co., Boston.


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Thomas Wentworth Higginson is a typical American of “the better sort,” and his book of reminiscences just published is an epitome of our counHy’s history during the past three-score years; for the author was identified with many of the important events in the nation's life. His book is aptly named “Cheerful Yesterdays,” for he entered into the interests of the passing yeai s with an optimistic zest which is reflected in this very delightful book of memories. He has lived, which is more than can be said of many of us. Preacher, author, lecturer, abolitionist, soldier—he enjoyed every one of these callings or conditions, and now at seventy-four he views the world with unimpaired, vivacious interest. You can feel the buoyant vitality of the man in his manner of telling the stirring incidents of his life.

Educated at Cambridge, he graduated from college at eighteen, “a happy boy, ankle-deep in a yet unfathomecl sea.” He presently entered the “liberal” ministry; then became interested in the antislavery movement, aiding John Brown with his influence and capital, as well as personally assisting in the escape of fugitive slaves. In 1856 he visited Kansas—when that state was in a condition of chaotic disorder almost inconceivable to us at this time. Here is an extract from his account of the wild state of affairs prevailing there:


Soon after arriving I had to drive from Nebraska City to Tabor, over about twenty miles of debatable ground, absolutely alone. It had been swept by the hostile parties of both factions; there was no more law than in the Scottish Highlands; every swell of the rolling prairie offered a possible surprise, and I had some of the stirring sensations of the mosstrooper. Never before in my life had I been, distinctively and unequivocally, outside the world of human law; it had been ready to protect me even when I disobeyed it. Here it had ceased to exist; my Sharp’s rifle, my revolvers—or, these failing, my own ingenuity and wit—were all the protection I had. It was a delightful sensation:	I could quote

from Browning’s magnificent soliloquy in “Col-ombe’s Birthday:”—

“When is man strong until he feels alone!”

This experience was a good preparation for the Civil War which was soon to come. Mr. Higginson entered the army early in that conflict, and commanded the first colored regiment formed on the Union side.

However, the book is not taken up with politics and Avar, by any means. There are chapters of entertaining gossip about literary people of our own land, of London and Paris. He knew that brilliant company of men and Avomen whose writings made New England famous. When he visited London he met Carlyle, of whom he gives a pleasant glimpse; Tennyson, “the most un-English looking man I had yet seen; he had a high and domed forehead, yet his brilliant eyes and tangled hair and beard gave him rather the air of a partially reformed Corsican bandit, or else an imperfectly secularized Carmelite monk.” Col. Higginson also visited Darwin, and speaks of the latter’s “hearty enjoyment of Mark Twain, avIio had hardly then begun to be regarded as above the Josh Billings grade of humorist.”

But it is impossible to touch upon half the subjects worthy of especial attention. “Cheerful Yesterdays” is decidedly worth reading. Published by


Houghton Mifflin &amp; Co:, Boston; 12mo, $2.00


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This is a rather sombre Southern tale—the history of two or three tragic human beings with the beautiful and lonely mountains for a setting. The author describes the locality in a way that conveys its charm to the reader:—

At the foot of the crags stood the doctor’s cabin, a gray bird in a nest of green. Above it, the white mists ascending and descending about the heights of Sewanee; below, a brown thread in winter, in summer a strip of gay green, the pleasant valley of the Elk; through the valley—now lisping along its low banks, now cutting its course, a mountain torrent, through a jungle of cedar and ivy and laurel, the everlasting greens—the Elk itself, gurgling gaily down to meet the Tennessee; and through the valley, in and out among the greens, climbing the mountain farther back, the old brown foot-path that used to pass the doctor’s door. Making a turn or two, it also passed the door of the next house, a little whitewashed cabin set back in a clearing which Alicia Reams, the miller’s granddaughter, used to call her “truck-patch.” Singing among her pea-rows, summer days, her voice would come down to the doctor under his own vine and fig-tree, mixing and mingling strangely with his fancies.

There is surely the idylic touch in that passage. The story is written in a felicitous style that relieves the gloom of the plot, and there are some finely dramatic situations. If the book were cheerful it would not#be true to the life of that region described; for isolated mountain folk naturally take a serious if not melancholy view of things. No one can be gay in presence of majestic mountains and with the ungracious forest for company. We can be merry only when we are gregarious—taking courage from each other.

Books like “the Valley Path” have always a fascination. There is no more romantic region than


the Southern mountains, with their antique people unaffected by the progress of the outside world; and Will Allen Dromgoole knows how to put this quaint “atmosphere” inside the covers of a book.

Published by Dana, Estes &amp; Co., Boston; price $1.25


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Ellen Olney Kirk has just published a little book containing two excellent tales—“A Bevolutionary Love Story” and “The High Steeple of St. Chrysostoms.” The volume takes its title from the former. Both stories are well told, the frequent descriptive passages being especially happy; and while there is nothing remarkably striking in the narratives, they repay one for the reading quite as well as the average novelette published nowadays. The first is just what its title indicates—a history of the love of|a charming girl for a young Connecticut patriot who joins Washington’s forces and is thus separated from her. Through the intrigues and falsehoods of rivals they are estranged, each believing the other to be unfaithful. The second story ends more happily— at least, it concludes with a wedding. Everybody, including bachelors and bachelor maids, like to read love stories; and the sole motif of these tales is love, fortunate or otherwise.

Stone &amp; Kimball, publishers; price, $1.25


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For apparent sincerity and fairness Grover Flint’s “Marching With Gomez” is first among the books pertaining to Cuba. Mr. Flint is a bit prejudiced against the Spaniard at the outset, yet he tells of things as he saw them in that unhappy isle two years ago. The introduction is by the author’s father-in-law, John Fiske.

Mr. Flint went to Havana early in 1890 as a newspaper correspondent; finding it impossible to secure


correct information there concerning the war, he determined to venture into the interior and join the insurgent army. Friendly “pacificos” aided him to reach an insurgent camp “just in time to witness a skirmish.” “Peasants hurried past us, fleeing as from a plague. Old men, women with babies in their arms and little children tugging at their skirts, ran along, never looking up. Cottages were left vacant; only dogs and hens remained.” After a desultory fight the Cubans set fire to a large cane-field through which the enemy was advancing; and that ended the battle. It seems to have been the policy of the Cuban leaders from the start to lay waste their country so that Spain might receive no revenue therefrom. Nothing aroused the wrath of Gomez more than to see a farmer cultivating land, attempting to raise a crop. Wherever he went he left desolation in his wake.’

Mr. Flint’s accounts of the peculiar methods of warfare employed by the Cubans do not tend to establish for them any great military prestige. He adds, however: “It is interesting to note that under different influences these forces act differently, although recruited from the same material. If the leader likes fighting, they will fight pluckily; if he likes to run, they will run with equal cheerfulness.” He was with Gomez for some weeks, and engaged in several so-called battles. His description of the insurgents does not excite unalloyed admiration tor their character; but they are preferable to the Spaniard. A ghastly chapter is devoted to “typical atrocities” perpetrated upon the “pacificos” by Spanish officers—unspeakable horrors such as an Apache Indian would shrink from committing.

The book is honest and instructive as well as interesting. There are many illustrations taken from sketches made by the author.

Published by Lamson, Wolffe &amp; Co., New York. Price $1.50



Not many new books are being issued just now, this being the “duli season” for publishers as well as other business men. There are numerous hurriedly prepared war books on the market, some good, some bad, some striking a medium between. Many of them will lose their interest when peace comes again. Indeed, we are already beginning to feel sated with sanguinary literature. Personally, I prefer to read Lieut. Peary’s new book, ‘-Northward Over the Great Ice,” rather than an account of adventures on a battlefield. It is a good plan to provide oneself with a copy of “Northward” to read during the torrid August days. Nothing more grateful and soothing could be imagined—unless it is Nansen’s “Farthest North,” which is a good companion for Peary’s book. The best narrative of railroad life that has been published for many a day is “The General Manager’s Story,” by Herbert E. Hamblen. Mr. Hamblen’s style is shrewd and humorous, and there is plenty of incident in the book. It is as engrossing as “The Workers” and is written from the standpoint of a genuine railroad man instead of an aristocrat who becomes a worker for the time being merely to see what it is like.

Sarah Jeannette Duncan has written a sort of sequel to “An American Girl in London.” It is called “A Voyage of Consolation,” and is undoubtedly humorous, but has not the spontaneous fun of its predecessor. Another frivolous book of “travels” which some people will enjoy and others will not, is Kate Douglas Wiggin’s account of experiences in Scotland, “Penelope’s Progress.” Houghton, Mifflin and Co. publish this book, which is very handsomely bound in Scotch plaid. And speaking of effective bindings—-Laurence Hutton’s “A Boy I Knew and Four Dogs” is especially fortunate in this respect. It is brought out by the Harpers, and is a sincere,


delightful autobiography of the boyhood of Laurence Hutton and of every man who reads the book.

“Here, There and Everywhere’’ is the title given Mrs. M. E. W. Sherwood’s book of reminiscenses of travel in Europe and America. She takes her readers to many interesting places and lets them know some of the celebrated people of both countries. Herbert S. Stone &amp; Co. are her publishers. Longmans, Green &amp; Co. have just issued a book by Hon. L. E. Tollemache, “Talks With Mr. Gladstone,” which will be interesting to admirers of the Grand Old Man. Two newly edited volumes of Byron’s writings have been published in England and America: his “Poems,” and his “Letters and Journals.” Chas. Scribner’s Sons are the American publishers.

In the way of novels the very newest, perhaps, is “Rupert of Hentzau,” sequel to “The Prisoner of Zenda.” The Holts publish it in uniform style with “Zenda.” It has been given enthusiastic praise, in which I do not join. “The Prisoner of Zenda” was a delightful romance, with an ending most graceful and tender. Mr. Hope should have “let it go at that.”' In my opinion the sequel is a mistake. The situation was more noble, if less tragic, at the conclusion of “Zenda.” However, all who enjoyed the earlier romance will doubtless wish to possess this also. Robert W. Chambers, who is equal to Anthony Hope as a writer of romance, has now come out with a volume of short tales under the title, ‘ ‘The Haunts of Men.” A capital new story—not deep, but pleasant reading—is “The Fire of Life,” by Chas. K. Burrow.

Mrs. Gertrude Atherton recently surrendered to Dodd, Mead &amp; Co. for publication her new novel, “American Wives and English Husbands.” It falls below her splendid “Patience Sparhawk,” but is yet far superior to the best work of the average novelist. Another of Frank Stockton’s peculiar tales is advertised by the Scribners. Mr. Stock-


ton’s productions are like olives in the respect that you have to learn to like them; and there are per sons (of whom 1 am the least) who do not consider the final enjoyment a sufficient reward for initiatory boredom. His admirers will enjoy the new book, which abounds in the fantastic situations wherein Stockton excels A novel more pleasing to the average reader is Miss Elliott’s “The Durket Sperret,” a vigorous Southern story full of interest and real genius. Charles Egbert Craddock’s new story, ‘The Juggler” is of the same general order, both being tales characteristic of certain localities in the South —as Miss Pool’s last novel, “The Red Bridge Neighborhood,” set forth the peculiarities of a New England vicinity. A curiosity which has lately come from “The Bodley Head” is Mr. Le Gallienne’s “Romance of Zion Chapel.” Arnelie Rives at her worst, or best, is tame beside Mr. Le Gallienne. This ro-mance is christened erotic, esoteric, but is in fact principally silly. It is at times amusing, though unintentionally so.

Sienkiewicz is engaged upon a new novel, “The Knights of the Cross,” which he hopes to finish by the end of this year. Mrs. Humphrey Ward’s new story, “Helbeck of Bannisdale,” is just published by the Macmillan Co Another notable English story is “The Whirlpool,” by George Gissing. The Fred. A Stokes Co. are the publishers of this book, which has been called one of the most remarkable novels of the year.


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The progress of the war between the United States and Spain is recorded fully and intelligently from week to week in the columns of The Youth's Companion. In this particular The Companion provides a valuable adjunct to the newspaper press of the country. When the unhappy conflict is ended The Companion's weekly record of the war and the proceedings which led to it will be found unrivalled in accuracy, and its editorial utterances faithfully reflecting the patriotic feeling of the country. The best part of the 1898 volume of The Companion is yet to come. A free illustrated announcement will be sent to anyone addressing: The Youth’s Companion, Boston, Mass.


The August issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal has a most pleasing cover design, appropriate to the season. This is the midsummer number and is made up principally of Action. There are nine capital short stories by well-known writers, and “Bob” Burdette contributes a humorous sketch concerning “Tongueless Liars.” An excellent article by John Gilmer Speed is “How to Have Good Country Roads.” The editorial and other departments are full of timely interest.

As an illustrated war journal Collier’s Weekly is strictly up to-date. Every week it is filled with illustrations of battle scenes, war ships, portraits of military or naval heroes. The delightful essays or discursive talks about things in general, which Edgar Saltus and Edgar Fawcett used to contribute to that journal, are for the present crowded out; but one can detect the unique hand of Mr. Saltus in the editorial paragraphs.
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The following books have been received and will be reviewed in the September fssue of this magazine:

Northward Over the ‘Great lee,’ by Lieut. Peary. Fred. A Stokes Co., New York. 2 large vols., $6.50.

The Broom of the War God, by Henry Noel Brails-ford. D. Appleton &amp; Co., New York. $1.25.

Free to Serve, by E. Rayner. Copeland &amp; Day, Boston. $1.50.



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