Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Frenchwoman, with whom he has an intrigue, interest seems inexhaustible, like that of the he almost breaks the heart of Susanna Vasel- French Revolution or of our own great Civil kamp, the old Puritan, who, however, resolves War, Philip Randal, the English officer in that her nephew shall expiate his sin by marry. India, who, brought up as an adopted son of ing the adventuress. It is discovered, un. an old miller, does not know his true lineage, fortunately for this

that the lady has is scarcely less unhappy in his passion for & a husband living. Nothing daunted, thinking beautiful and highly born girl than is his only of the sin and nothing of the possible adopted sister (also his betrothed), Jessie evil of the connection, when legalized, to Meade, in her romantic and tragic attachment Oostrum, the old maid, who is cast in an iron to Claude Medway, who tries in vain to make mould, spends her money lavishly in seeking her consent to an illicit connection. The into secure a divorce, so that the guilty ones terest of the book is equally divided between may marry. She is well summed up in the these two, and both are portrayed with verdict of Parson Jacob, another character, strength and nobility of treatment. The ad. who tells her, “You are one of God's fanatics, ventures of Philip amid the terrible surroundbut you do the devil's work." The character ings of the utiny, specially that episode is drawn with remarkable strength, and is the wherein he saves Ada Maynard and restores central figure of the book, Oostrum is a her to her friends after the massacre of Cawnjoyous, devil-may-care fellow, who sins easily pore, are related with great verve. The gal. and repents quickly, but is full of good and lant young soldier's sweetheart is one of the attractive qualities in spite of his sins, which finest types of the high-bred English gentleare those of a bright and vivacious young fel. woman, strong, gentle, self-sustained, a blend. low, who has seen but little of the world, ing of courage and womanly sweetness quite One does not care much for the French vis- delightful. But we suspect the reader will countess in spite of her Parisian fascinations, be still more in love with Jessie Meade, who and is disposed to wonder how so stur a fights a battle at home in her spiritual stress, fellow at bottom as Oostrum should be be- quite as severe a test of strength as any fought guiled from his sweet little adorer Dorothy by with sword and musket in India. The brave the foreign enchantress. A great charm of and sorely tried girl, persecuted by the pasthe book is found in the racy pictures of the sion of the man she loves, misconstrued in minor personages, who are so natural and her own circle by the harsh judgments of her hearty as to take strong hold on the reader's friends, flies to the stony heart of London to affections. It is a story in the best vein of hide herself amid its millions, and perchance realism, though we suspect that the author to earn her bread by her cleverness as an would resent being classified with many of artist. There is no tragedy so pathetic and the best-known writers of this so-called mod. terrible as that of a young and beautiful ern school of fiction. Mr. Maartens has effec woman alone in a great city, without money tively followed up the impression made by or friends, helpless except so far as she can “Joost Avelingh,” which, we believe, was help herself, exposed to insult, face to face published by the Appletons in their “ Town with starvation, oftentimes with no relief exand Country Library."

cept a leap in the river, if she would remain

true to herself and self-respect. The chivalry Maxwell Gray has given American readers of man in such cases proves a reed no less another strong story in the new novel, “ In rotten than the forbearance of the savage. the Heart of the Storm." "The Silence of Jessie Meade does not leap from London Dean Maitland" was one of the great English Bridge, however, and is rescued for a brief books of its year, and though the first and period of happiness. We do not propose to best the author has written, she has not failed show the outcome of the touching story, which to show the same artistic touch and vigorous is managed by the author with a keen sense grasp of her material in her succeeding books. of all the possibilities of the interest of the Much of the present story is connected with situation. Nor is it needful to tell our read. the great Indian mutiny, and one is tempted ers how Philip Randal found his birthright to comment on the fact that this remarkable and what he did with it. Those who read episode has never lost its fascination, in spite the book will admire the delicacy and skill of the fact that it has been made the theme of with which the fine touch and true feeling of innumerable stories by English writers. Its the writer have evolved the tangled web of her

story, in obedience to the impulses of char well as the literary side. It is proper to say acter and temperament which from start to that the title of the book is derived from the finish govern the actions of her personages. far-fetched reason that the heroine had been While in no distinctive way a novel of char. maid of honor to the queen, acter, character dominates incident and gives it a rich, warm flavor of humanity.

A much more interesting Mephistopheles

than the super-subtile abbé, and not without a Mr. Wingfield's "Maid of Honor" is notable suggestion of the soutane, however, comes to for its striking portrait of a French Mephis- light in Mr. Egerton Castle's “Conse. topheles, the Abbé Pharamond. It is charac- quences.” We are not familiar with this teristically French in this, that to the passion writer's work, but if he is a novice he has for evil for its own sake is added the lust of made a decidedly clever beginning, fresh in the flesh, the lubricous temperament which its initial conception and quite original in. the Gallic mind inevitably drags into situation its methods. The notion of a hero expurging and character when it contemplates human himself and becoming a legal nobody by a wickedness, a tendency which the English craftily devised pretence of suicide, that he imitator seems bound to respect in his study may reappear as a somebody else in after of French social conditions. The slime of years amid the surroundings of his early life, the serpent must always go with his bite. His is not altogether new in fiction, but it has sister-in-law, the Marchioness de Gange, is not been worn threadbare. It may be readily practically left under his charge at a country seen that the motif is capable of very effective château, and the abbé proceeds at once to en treatment. Captain George Kerr, an English velop her with his subtle nets of solicitation. officer, who disappears from the world that Fortunately a passionless and coldly virtuous knows him because he is disappointed in his woman, she has but little trouble in resisting Spanish wife Carmen, again makes his entry the tempter, though her conjugal arts are not on the stage as Colonel David Fargus, an exsufficient to retain the affections of her hus- Confederate cavalry leader from America, band, who is a devotee of Mesmer, and who, whose sword had made him famous. We if not quite a boneless and flabby fool, is alto- find the cause of the remarkable step of selfgether a contemptible personage. One could effacement altogether insufficient, but it will almost excuse a wife for unfaithfulness to such serve as well as another in introducing the an emasculated partner. Failing the power action of the comedy. Colonel Fargus disto seduce, Abbé Pharamond enters into a plot covers that he had been a fool, and that his to destroy the heroine and secure her patri. beautiful Carmen had left a boy, who had mony, a plot into which the marquis is a half. grown up and become an English soldier. unwilling accomplice through the control held The unknown father attaches himself to the over his mind by his more intellectual brother, son, and among the earliest of his paternal The endangered heroine is finally rescued by offices he seconds him in a sabre duel with a the help of a Jacobin leader (the story is laid German university student, who is promptly in the period of the French Revolution, dissected in a style that makes the colonel though we get only side glimpses of its main believe his offspring a true chip of the old movements), and the wicked brethren become block. We do not reach the thick of the plot the victims of the enraged populace during an till the elder brother of the pseudo-Fargus emeute. So the deus ex machina is found in a dies intestate and without children, leaving a revolutionary mob. One does not find much bandsome rent-roll. Who is next of kin? fascination in the nexus of the story, though George Kerr is dead, and Colonel Fargus, for it is very well told. The marchioness is a de more than one reason, cannot bring him to cidedly uninteresting person, in whose fate life again, Lewis Kerr, his son, is supposed we take little interest, except as she affords to be the heir. Now enter Mephistopheles, material for the audacious deviltries of Abbé not in red or through a trap-door, but in the Pharamond. In this character the author sedate garb of a learned college don, an Oxworks con amore to model a unique image of ford fellow, a man of distinguished parts, and wickedness, and with some measure of suc outwardly the pink of snug propriety. The cess. He is the redeeming feature of the demon is hidden under the very English exstory, if it be proper to use a qualifying word terior of Mr. Charles Hillyard, the son of a in this case, so suggestive on the ethical as sister of George Kerr, and whose very brill

iant brains are entirely undiluted by any gallant ex-Confederate hero, Colonel Fargus, principle except that of self-love. Lewis, on still a youngish man in the prime of life. the point of entering into possession of the But there--we have said enough. Let the property, receives a letter from a London law reader take a taste of the pudding and find firm indicating the possession of letters on out the rest of the plums for himself, the part of Hillyard which circumstantially

The Marquis of Lorne possesses the merits prove that the former was the son not of of having husbanded an English princess, of George Kerr's wife, but of his mistress, and having made a respectable Governor-General therefore not competent to be his uncle's heir,

of Canada, and of being the heir of a dukedom Fargus now realizes the logic of “conse

and the future head of the Campbells. His quences,” in the fact that his idolized son ambition, however, leads him to crave laurels risks disinheritance on the score of illegiti- which are not accidental ; and he has sought macy from his own past folly, and that he,

to struggle up the cliffs of Parnassus and seek the only one who could explain the true mean- fellowship with the muses with the sincere ing of the dangerous documents, is legally self-confidence which sometimes makes medidead. All the resources of his craft and cour- ocrity respectable. Our noble author is forage are, however, stimulated to the utmost by tnnate in this, that he has no reputation to paternal love to fight a losing battle to a vic- risk by writing poor fiction. Candor forces tory. Hillyard to his amazement, for he can us to hint that, had his prefix been a plebeian discover no motive, soon learns that his true title, he would have found it difficult to have opponent in the duel is not his cousin, but found any shrewd practitioner in literary obhis cousin's mentor. It is scarcely needful to stetrics to have presided at the birth of the dull the edge of the reader's curiosity by re- infant in the case of the alleged novel before tailing the thrust and parry of two daring and us. The book is without point, and the only well-matched fencers. Each learns to respect feature at all interesting (something, by the the other's prowess in this battle of wits, and way, which has only casual connection with if Colonel Fargus finally disarms his oppo- the story) is a description of a remarkable nent without revealing his identity to the cave on the seaboard of Northern Scotland, world, it is only by the accident which always which is rather good. How the fair American justifies, in novels at least, Milton's dictum, heroine meets, loves, and espouses a youthful “Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel Scot whom she meets in California constitutes just.” The somewhat vulgar and un-Miltonic the whole of the story, which is unillumined accident in this case comes through the agency by any scintilla of romance or by any pene. of a pretty barmaid, who had loved the sly trating insight into matters which the world college don“ not wisely but too well."

cares for. Why this prosaic narrative should The conception of Hillyard, the Oxford have commended itself to the fancy of the scholar, who carries parallel with his keen author one seeks in vain to guess. “From love of science and letters and a genuine in- Shadow to Sunlight” has at least the minor tellectual pre-eminence the tastes of the vo- merit of being short. It was an ancient boast luptuary and the arts of the scoundrel, is a of the Clan Campbell

, “ It is a far cry to strong piece of character work, well worked Sochow." We may say, too, that it is a long out in detail and studied with notable literary stretch from the well-marked talent of the art. The cynical indifference of one so well Duke of Argyle, who has made himself honestablished in his own superiority that he de ored as a scholar and thinker, to the medispises the opinions of those who have learned ocrity of his eldest son, who seeks to disport that he is a hypocrite is warmed, too, with a himself in the more airy and elegant fields of touch of humanity in keeping with the cyni. letters. It is, however, an infinitely better cism. The beaten gamester at the last dis- and manlier way of dispelling ennui than imcovers that his plebeian mistress, she who posing heavy " baccarat" on his friends, as had been the principal agent in his defeat, the price to be paid for the honor of his so. has a genuine hold on his corrupt heart ; and ciety. The public at least are not compelled he makes her an honest woman, in utter de to buy and read any particular book. fiance of his own interests and worldly convention, because it so pleased him. An in- ON THE STAGE AND OFF. The Brief Career of teresting minor complication of fresh fancy is a Would-be Actor. By Jerome K. Jerome. that the woman beloved by Lewis Kerr had New York : Henry Holl & Co. already fallen desperately in love with the Among the recent English writers who have

risen to place among the minor notabilities, Harriet Preston's translation of “Mirèio" Mr. Jerome must be included. That humor (Mireille) by Frédéric Mistral, the French of the better vein which seeks the kinship of Provençal poet, a work in a new school of mirth rather than that of satire, and is not French poetry, which excited at the time great devoid of sympathy with the faults at wbich enthusiasm, and from which Gounod took the it laughs so pleasantly, is not so common theme of an opera. This Provençal renais. that we can afford to let it pass. Mr. Jerome sance, known as the Félibrige, “lou riei is a gracious and kindly jester, and he wears paire de Felibre,” has produced several brillthe cap and bells in the exercise of a mood iant additions to the literature of France, without the like of which the world would be butt he founder of it, who died recently, is a far more doleful place. He has found fit- less well known than some of his disciples. ting field for the exercise of his talents in the Joseph Roumanille died at Avignon on May domain of stage-land, and the pleasant little 24th. He was born August 8th, 1818, at St. book before us shows he has plenty more to Remy, where his father was a gardener. Edusay on the same subject. The present sketches cated at Tarascon, he went to Avignon in 1845 relate the common professional experiences as tutor in a school, where one of his scholars of the actor, and are full of lively incidents was Frédéric Mistral. His first volume of and amusing pictures, some of which are as poems-a volume which dates the beginning good in their way as the stage experiences of of the movement which has added a beautiful Nicholas Nickleby. The book appears to have modern literature to the beautiful early literbeen derived from personal history and not ature of the Troubadours—was “Li Marfrom observation, and of course is all the bet- garideto" (1847). This was followed by “ Li ter for this reason. It does not sparkle with Capelan" (1851), “Li Provenzalo" (1852), the strong and powerful quality of the writer's “Li Souniarello ” (1852), “ La Part de Diéu” earlier writing, but it is racy and entertain- (1853), “La Campana Mountado” (1857), ing. Ulysses does not always bend his bow. “Li Nouvè'' (1865), “Li Flour de Sàuvi,”

"Lis Entarro-chin'' (1874), and “ Fau i'ana."

In 1864 a collected edition of Roumanille's FOREIGN LITERARY NOTES. works in verse and prose was published in The Athenæum notices with marked appro

two volumes, “Lis Oubreto en Vers'' and bation and with no reservation of comment a "Lis Oubreto en Proso.” In 1883 a volume short story by Mr. Frank Harris, the editor of of tales was issued under the name of " Li the Fortnightly Review, published in the last Conte Prouvençau e li Cascareleto." Rounumber of that periodical, entitled “ A Mod. manille, who was a bookseller, was his own ern Idyl." We do not propose to discuss the

publisher, and the publisher of the works of literary value of the story here, but only to Mistral and most of the other Félibres. The make a passing reflection in wonder that the charm of Roumanille's work lies in its quaint staid Atheneum should have failed to call at- and simple freshness, its delicious humor, tention to the abominable indecency and want its absence of literary artifice.

His songs of taste, not to use stronger terms, shown by have the flavor of folk-songs, his tales the the author. The story is simply that of an flavor of folk-tales. It is not literature that adulterous courtship between an American

one reads, it is spoken words that one hears, it minister and the wife of his principal deacon. is the people singing at their work. Tales The way in which religious ecstasy and licen. like “Lou Curat de Cucugnan” ('Le Curé de tious passion are commingled is worthy of Cucugnan," well known in Daudet's French verthe most advanced disciples of the new French sion) and “ Lou Abat Tabuissoun" ("L'Abbé school. A self-respecting critic would far Tabuisson”) have the exquisite and perfectly better run the risk of being called a Philis- pious irreverence of the monkish legends of tine than express anything but disgust at the Middle Ages, with little that betrays a such a flagrant insult to all the established

modern origin. decencies. This short story contains more callous immorality than “Madame Bovary''

On June 3d Messrs. Sotheby sold the autoor“ Mademoiselle de Maupin.” There is not graph mss. of Wilkie Collins's plays, together a reputable magazine in the United States with the copyright and fees accruing therewhich would dare to publish such a story,

from. Appended to the same catalogue are a

number of autograph letters, chiefly of liter. Many of our readers will remember Miss ary interest, including the original agreement

conse

us.

iant brains are entirely undiluted by any gallant ex-Confederate hero, Colonel Fargus, principle except that of self-love. Lewis, on still a youngish man in the prime of life. the point of entering into possession of the But there—we have said enough. Let the property, receives a letter from a London law reader take a taste of the pudding and find firm indicating the possession of letters on out the rest of the plums for himself. the part of Hillyard which circumstantially

The Marquis of Lorne possesses the merits prove that the former was the son not of of having husbanded an English princess, of George Kerr's wife, but of his mistress, and having made a respectable Governor-General therefore not competent to be his uncle's heir.

of Canada, and of being the heir of a dukedom Fargus now realizes the logic of

and the future head of the Campbells. His quences,” in the fact that his idolized son

ambition, however, leads him to crave laurels risks disinheritance on the score of illegiti. which are not accidental ; and he has sought macy from his own past folly, and that he,

to struggle up the cliffs of Parnassus and seek the only one who could explain the true mean

fellowship with the muses with the sincere ing of the dangerous documents, is legally self-confidence which sometimes makes medidead. All the resources of his craft and cour.

ocrity respectable. Our noble author is forage are, however, stimulated to the utmost by tunate in this, that he has no reputation to paternal love to fight a losing battle to a vic

risk by writing poor fiction. Candor forces tory. Hillyard to his amazement, for he can

us to hint that, had his prefix been a plebeian discover no motive, soon learns that his true title, he would have found it difficult to have opponent in the duel is not his cousin, but

found any shrewd practitioner in literary obhis cousin's mentor. It is scarcely needful to

stetrics to have presided at the birth of the dull the edge of the reader's curiosity by re.

infant in the case of the alleged novel before tailing the thrust and parry of two daring and

The book is without point, and the only well-matched fencers. Each learns to respect feature at all interesting (something, by the the other's prowess in this battle of wits, and

way, which has only casual connection with if Colonel Fargus finally disarms his oppo. the story) is a description of a remarkable nent without revealing his identity to the

cave on the seaboard of Northern Scotland, world, it is only by the accident which always which is rather good. How the fair American justifies, in novels at least, Milton's dictum, heroine meets, loves, and espouses a youthful “ Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel Scot whom she meets in California constitutes just." The somewhat vulgar and un-Miltonic the whole of the story, which is unillumined accident in this case comes through the agency by any scintilla of romance or by any peneof a pretty barmaid, who had loved the sly trating insight into matters which the world college don " not wisely but too well." The conception of Hillyard, the Oxford have commended itself to the fancy of the

cares for. Why this prosaic narrative should scholar, who carries parallel with his keen

author one seeks in vain to guess. “From love of science and letters and a genuine in- Shadow to Sunlight” has at least the minor tellectual pre-eminence the tastes of the vo

merit of being short. It was an ancient boast luptuary and the arts of the scoundrel, is a

of the Clan Campbell, “ It is a far cry to strong piece of character work, well worked Sochow." We may say, too, that it is a long out in detail and studied with notable literary stretch from the well-marked talent of the art. The cynical indifference of one so well

Duke of Argyle, who has made himself honestablished in his own superiority that he de ored as a scholar and thinker, to the medispises the opinions of those who have learned ocrity of his eldest son, who seeks to disport that he is a hypocrite is warmed, too, with a himself in the more airy and elegant fields of touch of humanity in keeping with the cyni. letters. It is, however, an infinitely better cism. The beaten gamester at the last dis

and manlier way of diena ing ennui than im. covers that his plebeian mistress, she who posing heavy " baccai

iends, as had been the principal agent in his defeat,

the price to be paid f

his sohas a genuine hold on his corrupt heart ; and

ciety. The public at

helled he makes her an honest woman, in utter de.

to buy and read an fiance of his own interests and worldly convention, because it so pleased him. An in

ON THE STAGE AND

r of teresting minor complication of fresh fancy is

a Would-be Acr

me. that the woman beloved by Lewis Kerr had New Y already fallen desperately in love with the Amo

[graphic]
« VorigeDoorgaan »