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least objection to allow that Amer- which local allusions require to be ican humour has a most distinct and understood. But she must underracy flavour, and sometimes is ad- stand that we cannot adopt all mirable. The · Luck of Roaring her little provincial names into Camp' was a very fine and orig- the universal bead-roll; or believe inal contribution to our knowledge that, if she were to burst in the of the kinds of living that are pos- effort, she could produce right off sible in our own day, and had two hundred masterpieces of any touches in it to produce both kind. Let her produce one great, laughter and tears; and Uncle really great writer. Remus' is exceedingly funny and son together: why now, oh why worth trying to understand, which should it not be a Shakespeare ? is saying a good deal: but does She has tout ce qu'il faut, and any man, even if he is an Amer- the principle of evolution to help ican, believe it possible that there her. Does not everybody who is are two hundred masterpieces of worth listening to tell us that a humour in the crude and voluble great poet is, like every other literary productions of any genera- great thing, the development of tion, much less one that lives from a chain of influences, the end of hand to mouth, and publishes and processes of development? Tocca republishes, and selects and collects, à te, we cry: it is your turn, as if they were jewels, the sketches great Republic. Don't send us of magazine and newspaper, the any more groups of nobodies, froth of the moment, which may to be taken as great upon your swim upon the top of the stream word. Send us something like for that moment, but should cer
a poet, and
we will fall down tainly die there, like the foam on and worship. Why in the fulness the fountain and the bubbles on of the ages, and with such a full the river ? Our complacency must tide of power and vitality flowing, stop here. We are very glad to you should not startle us with a give America credit for all she can big Soul really of the Sovran class, do that deserves it. Many of her instead of all these little persons, novels are admirable; she has pro- we are unable to divine. duced some fine criticism
Talking about American literagood historical compositions; and ture, however, before we change Mr John Bright recommends Ban- the subject, here is a very delightcroft's • History of the United ful little book from the hand of a States,' we believe, as the best lady who has done some fine and reading for the intelligent work- some doubtful things, which is, in ing man. But above all, her hu- its way, a little gem. It is the mour, when it is genuine and not story of a fisherman and his family, made to order, is often at once and of his loss and recovery, and quaint and brilliant, full of dis- all the little tragedy of a tempotinctive character. The satire and rary quarrel nearly turned into a sparkle of the Biglow Papers, and great one. But for the interposisome other productions of a similar tion of a “summer boarder,” that character, only want a completer curiously and vulgarly fine, banal, understanding of their allusions to and unmeaning person, who so take as high a place--as is possible often comes in to spoil the natural to any permanent literary work in scene in American romances, the
1 The Madonna of the Tubs. By Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., Boston.
story of the hard-working wife, so not often to be met with. Whattender and true, but with her spark ever he has to say he says in the of temper and quick impatience, most agreeable and delightful way. and the rough but loving sailor-hus- The drawback is that he has not band and all their brood, is at once very much to say. What he wants charmingly told and full of pathos is a subject. He is like an admiand humour, worth a hundred of rable piece of mechanism without the Masterpieces.' The rough fit use, turning its delicate wheels little house, so clean and bright vainly in the air, and working when all is well, so forlorn under west and shuttle, which should the pressure of sorrow; the mother spin us the finest of fabrics, withwith her children, so faulty, and out anything to fill the loom. It tender, and human; the big fish- is a thousand pities, both for himerman, with his rough ways and self and us, for the faculties that superstitions; the salt keen atmo- have not sufficient exercise, and sphere of the sea, and even the for the audience which is most special Americanism of “the instru- willing to listen, but which is ment,”—are all delightful, natu- practically wasted by the absence ral, and true. We should have of any object. The latest little preferred to escape the inevitable book which this accomplished fine lady, so superior to the other writer has put forth, has a title summer boarders in the ineffable which seems to mean something, fineness of Beacon Street, Boston; and which, somewhat disappointed but that, perhaps, was too much to by the last little book but one, be hoped. We do not pretend that we turned to with some eagerness, Miss Phelps's little book is a mas- hoping to hear many pleasant terpiece, but it is very pretty, things about books and the men natural, and true.
that love them from one who is The name of Mr Andrew Lang not only a maker of books, and an has recurred frequently in the pub- authority in literature, but a booklishers' lists for some time past, collector and bibliomaniac. Well and we are always glad to meet -yes: there is a little instruction, that charming, graceful, and easy a little information, a good deal literary workman. We cannot, of pretty writing. There is, inhowever, help feeling that when we deed, a collection of pleasant short meet him, as it were, in the dark, magazine articles, very agreeable with his fencing-mask upon his in- for their first and natural use. telligent countenance and his foil in But, bless us all ! is this everything his hand, he is more vigorous and we are to get out of one of the most ready than when he comes before accomplished of literary men, one us under his own name and charac- of the leaders of opinion and guides ter, with, perhaps, a little hesitation of public taste? Mr Lang tells and less confidence in himself than us very nicely how we are to disbecomes a person so accomplished. tinguish an Elzevir, how wonderNothing can be more admirable fully the prices of cherished edithan Mr Lang's style--his wealth tions have risen, with what daintiof allusion, his learning, his high ness the connoisseurs of a past culture, and what is not always generation bound their treasures : associated with these fine gifts, which is all very pleasant, but his graceful wit and easy touch, scarcely worth making a book of, make up a total of qualifications to hand down his name to genera
1 Books and Bookmen. By Andrew Lang. London: Longmans & Co.
tions to come; unless, indeed, it of his court by almost the breadth of had some curiosity of printing, a nail, and that his altitude filled the some special excellence or singu- minds of all with awe.” larity, like the Elzevirs of the good There is a good deal of writing dates which he loves; but this of this pleasant kind, full of whimMessrs Longmans have not taken sical enthusiasm nocking itself, in any pains to provide him with. Mr Lang's last book. The last but That the reader may see how one ?_which, indeed, is not so much pleasantly the information is given, older, perhaps, as might be natural and may judge how much it is in two members of the same family likely to profit him, here is Mr -consists of a number of stories Lang's account of what an Elzevir made up with considerable care, worth calling by that name really and told in the same lucid, delightis :
ful style which we have already re“ Meantime, and before we come to marked upon, but all suffering from describe Elzevirs of the first Aight, the same want of subject. The let it be remembered that the 'taller' • End of Phæacia' may indeed be the copy, the less harmed and nipped supposed to have an object, in the by the binder's shears, the better. way of conveying graphic impresMen scarcely know how beautiful sions of the real aspect of life fire is,' says Shelley; and we may say that most men hardly know how beau. among the Greeks (as near as a tiful an Elzevir was in its uncut and
nineteenth - century
imagination original form. At the Beckford sale can realise it)—but we doubt if there was a pearl of a book, a this laudable and instructive in• Marot,'—not an Elzevir, indeed, but tention was in Mr Lang's mind; a book published by Wetstein, a fol- or it may be intended to show lower of the Elzevirs. This exquisite that such a writer as Mr Rider pair of volumes, bound in blue morocco, was absolutely unimpaired, and Haggard can be matched with finer was a sight to bring happy tears into weapons in his own field—but the eyes of the amateur of Elzevirs. neither do we suppose that to be There was a gracious svelte elegance Mr Lang's intention. May not we about these tomes, an appealing and suggest to him tenderly that his exquisite delicacy of proportion, that intentions are too timid ; that it linger like sweet music in the mem- is a pity he should be swayed by ory. I have a copy of the Wetstein current suggestions; and that it * Marot' myself, -not a bad copy: would be a great deal better for though murderously bound in that ecclesiastical sort of brown calf an- us, and perhaps also for himself, if tique which goes well with hymn- he would shake off this interesting books, and reminds one of cakes of timidity, and step out on his own chocolate. But my copy is only some legs? We feel forewarned that 128 millimetres in height, whereas the boldness of this advice of ours the Beckford copy (it had belonged is but too likely to bring us within to the great Pixérécourt) was at least reach of the exterminating sweep 130 millimetres high. uncut example, mine looks like Cin- of a certain lash which has already derella's plain sister beside the beauty played lightly, premonitorially, of the family. Now the moral of round our devoted head. If a disthis is, that only tall Elzevris are tinguished organ of public opinion beautiful, only tall Elzevirs preserve took the trouble to chastise our their ancient proportions, only tall impudent style on behalf of a byElzevirs are worth collecting. Lemuel Gulliver remarks that the stander, what will it not do to us King of Lilliput was taller than
when we thus gently and respect
1 The End of Phæacia. By Andrew Lang.
fully but firmly admonish one of its necessary weapons.
So have we own brilliant band? But we will be seen a timid bather stand tremulous bold, and take the consequences. upon the edge_let us say of that Perhaps our masters of the press rock called the Step, upon a certain will this time pass us over with stormy opening of the Northern silent contempt; perhaps they will seas—making little runs as if to give us a practical example of the take the final spring, jostling the art of rollicking, in which they in- bolder bather, who rushes at a correctly assume us to be making bound into the cold, blue, dancing essays. Nay: but taking lessons, waves. The sea is cold : but that if perhaps we may learn that diffi- keen eastwind which whistles cult art; for to rollick wisely and about the undefended limbs is in well is a fine thing in its way. It reality colder. One spring, and is an art that has passed out of the wholesome shock will make the ordinary moyens of the critic. the blood dance. The metaphor Time was when a member of that is perbaps defective, but the procraft would pick up a startled ceeding most desirable; and we author upon the point of his spear, hope that the accomplished writer and flourish him forth in mid air to whom we wish so well will folto the admiration of all beholders. low our advice. It was not kind, for the contor- We may remark in passing, tions of the poor wretch were though the book in question is not sometimes painful to behold; but a new one comparatively), that it was as clever, and probably as ex- in one case
with which we are citing, as that fine art of playing acquainted, Mr Lang did make a salmon which men of fine feel- this spring. The Mark of Cain's ing hope does not hurt the fish. was but to outward semblance a The critic, we fear, is less benevo- shilling dreadful, and, as such, lent, and does not hope that his never, so
are aware, victim is incapable of feeling. It reached that extraordinary audiis painful to think of the hook ence whose tastes are never to which will presently transfix our be calculated or predicted, who innocent jaw; of the wild Auster carried Called Back' to the of darting hither and thither, to heights of fame. But it is at which in our rage and anguish we the same time a great deal more. will presently be exposed. Con- It is one of the finest bits of goodscious, however, of this so possi- humoured satire with which we ble penalty, and preparing for the are acquainted. It has been read worst, we still gently but decidedly we don't doubt by hundreds of repeat that Mr Andrew Lang must innocent people, to whom it was get him a subject it he would ever a sensational story of somewhat do justice to the fine-pointed pen- recondite flavour, and no more ; cil which he possesses.
We wish but in fact, had the English readthat the subject may not be our ing public been as sharp-witted as mangled body, which would be an it once was, had it been a public affair of a moment-exactly the of finer apprehensions, this little sort of thing from which we are book would have been the apoendeavouring to wean him. Let theosis at once and explosion for it be something of his own. The ever and ever of sensational dreadworld is wide-room there is in fuls, as much as Defoe's • Short it for everybody who possesses the way with the Dissenters' was the
1 The Mark of Cain. By Andrew Lang. Arrowsmith, Bristol : 1886.
deathblow in literature of fanati- with the liquid in the phial, and then cal Anglicanism in the seventeenth drew off a quantity in the little syringe. century. Never was a massacre
Then he very delicately and carefully of the Innocents more daintily and punctured the skin of one of the enjoyably done. Mr Lang outdid oranges, and injected into the fruit all the prodigies of those who, operation he elaborately completed in
the contents of the syringe. This like the old conjurers, “with their the case of each of the six chosen hair on end at their own wonders, oranges, and then tenderly polished wonder for their bread.” His their coats with a portion of the skin villain was more unutterably vil- of the fruit he had eaten. That porlanous, his expedients more detion of the skin he consumed to dust lightfully impossible, than anything strong odour remained in the room,
in the fire ; and observing that a that ever had come from the press he deliberately turned on the unof Arrowsmith. There is a certain lighted gas for a few minutes. After episode concerning some Jaffa this he opened the window, sealed oranges which has always chilled his own seal in red wax on paper a our blood. The operator in this great many times, finally burning the case intends to get rid of the hero- collection, and lit a large cigar, which ine, who is in his way.
he smoked through, with every appear She is
ance of enjoyment. While engaged recovering from a fever, and apt on this portion of his task he helped to be thirsty, as is not unusual. himself frequently to sherry from the Mr Crawley takes advantage of his glass, first carefully rinsed, into which opportunity, and prepares for her he had poured the liquid from the under the following unlikely form now unlabelled phial. Lastly, he put the final dose. First, he buys a the phial in his pocket with the little basket of very fine Jaffa oranges; ped in delicate paper, within the
syringe, stored the six oranges, wrapthen a small phial marked Poison, basket, and closed the window. Next _rwhich it may be as well,” says he unlocked the door, and without the romancer, careful of possible opening it, remarked in a sweet voice, consequences, “not to name "; Now, Alice, you may come in.'" then a hypodermic syringe,-all at
It has curdled our blood, as we different places and under different have said, many times since, to pretences. Coming in, he draws think, What became of these Jaffa down the blinds, stuffs his pocket- oranges ? Are they still about the handkerchief into the keyhole, lays world, or have they in the course the hearthrug “ across the consider- of time gone bad, and passed innocable chink which, as is usual, ad- uously away? There is no answer mitted a healthy draught under the to this thrilling question, neither bottom of the door," and proceeded will we inform the reader what with his preparations.
was the final outcome of these pre
parations. Let him get the Mark " He set them out on the table in of Cain,' and read for himself: or order--the oranges, the phial, 'and the hypodermic syringe.
if it is not to be had, let him make
Then he carefully examined the oranges, chose the life of his bookseller a miserhalf-a-dozen of the best, and laid the able one, until pressure is put upon others on a large dessert-plate in the the mysterious headquarters of so dining-room cupboard. One orange much murder and miracle at Brishe ate, and left the skin on a plate on tol, and another edition is forththe table in company with a biscuit
coming He will not easily find a or two.
"When all this had been arranged more delightful piece of literary to his mind, Mr Crawley chose mystification. another orange, filled a wine-glass There is no mystification about