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What charm can soothe our melan- guised but no less baneful form.

choly, What art can wash our grief away?" Having toyed with adultery,

our lady novelists seem to have is unquestionably the problem become enamoured of suicide. of the day, and happy will be Mrs Humphry Ward made the literary agent who can solve away with her latest heroine, it. Our writers have become and that none too soon. We grave as judges, and their occa- contemplated the change with sional deviations into the sadly an equanimity which we cannot humorous are received with the profess to feel for the new lenient enthusiasm of a wearied writer who has recently, in a court - room. A live rabbit work of great ability, put the under the partially exhausted justification of suicide forward receiver of an air-pump exhibits as "The Open Question. The a melancholy excitement that is ability of the book, and, alas ! almost equalled in pathos by the its earnestness, are only too conduct of the general reader in apparent; but neither of these the present rarefied atmosphere can extenuate the offence of an of humour. We are fain to author who, appealing to laugh at the most unconsidered popular audience, dares lightly trifles. To such a pass have to tamper with the very

foundawe come, that men have re- tions of morality, and vitiates cently been seen to smile at the public mind with a study Mr Frank Harris's Shake- in mental pathology, tricked spearian criticism, and to laugh out in the guise of fiction. We immoderately at Canon Rawns- do not envy C. E. Raimond her ley's daily sonnet. The only responsibility. It is a fascinatfear is that Mr Jerome and his ing subject, truly! the painfully merry men should again take minute record of two neurotic advantage of our necessity. We and decadent lovers who

marry want humour, it is true; but for mutual gratification, and heaven protect us from a re- resolve to die together before crudescence of the late New their hereditary curse Humour, which, after all, was bequeathed to another generanever really “new," but only tion. A brave and inspiriting an Anglified and diluted form gospel this, which to the quesof the Transatlantic substitute tion whether life is worth living for wit. Oh for an hour of answers, Yes-provided that we Thackeray or Dickens !

But realise clearly that the duration Melancholy, it would seem, has of life is in our own hands. A marked us for her own. more pitiful shadow of a man

We had fondly harboured the than Ethan Gano never trod delusion that the problem novel the stage of feminine fiction, had gone to its long home with and were it not for the insidious the trunk-maker, and lo! it is moral of his puling life, we with us again in a subtly dis- should heartily applaud the

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closing scene where - much Would you know how first he met
against his own will, be it said

her?
-he finally " steers for the

She was cutting bread-and-butter.
Sunset." The only redeem- Charlotte was a married lady,
ing character in the book is And a moral man was Werther,
brave old Mrs Gano, a mother

And, for all the wealth of Indies,
worthy of a Gracchus, and all

Would do nothing for to hurt her. too tolerant of her own miser

So he sighed and pined and ogled, able brood. “ You walk in And his passion boiled and bubbled, darkness," said the old woman

Till he blew his silly brains out, on her deathbed. “ Not the

And no more was by it troubled. fear of God—that's tonic—but

Charlotte, having seen his body in the fear of pain. Oh, I've Borne before her on a shutter, watched this phase of modern

Like a well-conducted person,
life. It's been coming, coming

Went on cutting bread-and-butter."
for years. The world to-day is
crushed and whining under a We are bound to say, however,
load of sentimentality. People that recent fiction also offers us
presently will be afraid to move, several excellent antidotes for
lest they do or receive some this nauseating stuff, and we
hurt.” The vigorous excellence deemed ourselves fortunate when
shown in the drawing of this chance made us acquainted with
character leaves a loophole of the tenth edition of the story of
escape for C. E. Raimond, in 'Isabel Carnaby'—a most viva-
that it sometimes raises a doubt cious and entertaining book. It
whether we are to read her con- has all the charm, if all the faults,
trariwise, and regard the book of youth, and we gladly forgive
as a satire of decadence. But a conventional plot for so much
this is only a charitable and for- sprightly dialogue. Miss Fow-
lorn hope; and if it be correct, it ler — to use the latest Fleet
but serves to show that she has Street jargon—has “arrived,”
handled deadly weapons which and “should go far”; but we
she cannot without en- would respectfully suggest that
dangering the public safety. she would go still farther were
There is only one natural in- she to cease to use “like” for
terpretation of her book, and it “as," and were she to add to

"
is fraught with the poisonous the many “excellencies” of her
air of a hothouse philosophy. work the purely masculine vir-

Thackeray, we stake the re- tue of correct spelling. Some
putation of Maga' on it, knew of the same magic of youth

'
a great deal more about the which gives its perennial charm
humour and the tragedy of hu- to “Mona Maclean'has dis-
man life than C. E. Raimond; appeared from Graham Tra-
and to all poor souls who have vers's Windyhaugh’; but we
read The Open Question' we are fully recompensed by an
would commend his summary infinitely more matured skill, a
of problem fiction as a sovereign more subtle humour, a pro-
antidote :-

founder insight into life. There
“ Werther had a love for Charlotte

is perhaps enough and to spare Such as words could never utter; of psychology in Dr Todd's

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“What charm can soothe our melan- guised but no less baneful form.

choly, What art can wash our grief away?" Having toyed with adultery,

our lady novelists seem to have is unquestionably the problem become enamoured of suicide. of the day, and happy will be Mrs Humphry

Humphry Ward made the literary agent who can solve away with her latest heroine,

Our writers have become and that none too soon. We grave as judges, and their occa- contemplated the change with sional deviations into the sadly an equanimity which we cannot humorous are received with the profess to feel for the lenient enthusiasm of a wearied writer who has recently, in a court - room. A live rabbit work of great ability, put the under the partially exhausted justification of suicide forward receiver of an air-pump exhibits as "The Open Question. The

' a melancholy excitement that is ability of the book, and, alas ! almost equalled in pathos by the its earnestness, are only too conduct of the general reader in apparent; but neither of these the present rarefied atmosphere can extenuate the offence of an of humour. We are fain to author who, appealing to a

. laugh at the most unconsidered popular audience, dares lightly trifles. To such a pass have to tamper with the very

foundawe come, that men have re- tions of morality, and vitiates cently been seen to smile at the public mind with a study Mr Frank Harris's Shake- in mental pathology, tricked spearian criticism, and to laugh out in the guise of fiction. We immoderately at Canon Rawns- do not envy C. E. Raimond her ley's daily sonnet. The only responsibility. It is a fascinatfear is that Mr Jerome and his ing subject, truly! the painfully merry men should again take minute record of two neurotic advantage of our necessity. We and decadent lovers who marry want humour, it is true; but for mutual gratification, and heaven protect us from a re- resolve to die together before crudescence of the late New their hereditary curse Humour, which, after all, was bequeathed to another generanever really “new," but only tion. A brave and inspiriting an Anglified and diluted form gospel this, which to the quesof the Transatlantic substitute tion whether life is worth living for wit. Oh for an hour of answers, Yes—provided that we Thackeray or Dickens ! But realise clearly that the duration Melancholy, it would seem, has of life is in our own hands. A marked us for her own.

more pitiful shadow of a man We had fondly harboured the than Ethan Gano never trod delusion that the problem novel the stage of feminine fiction, had gone to its long home with and were it not for the insidious the trunk-maker, and lo! it is moral of his puling life, we with us again in a subtly dis- should heartily applaud the

can be

closing scene where much against his own will, be it said -he finally "steers for the Sunset.' The only redeeming character in the book is brave old Mrs Gano, a mother worthy of a Gracchus, and all too tolerant of her own miserable brood. "You walk in darkness," said the old woman on her deathbed. "Not the fear of God-that's tonic-but in the fear of pain. Oh, I've watched this phase of modern life. It's been coming, coming for years. The world to-day is crushed and whining under a load of sentimentality. People presently will be afraid to move, lest they do or receive some hurt." The vigorous excellence shown in the drawing of this character leaves a loophole of escape for C. E. Raimond, in that it sometimes raises a doubt whether we are to read her contrariwise, and regard the book as a satire of decadence. But this is only a charitable and forlorn hope; and if it be correct, it but serves to show that she has handled deadly weapons which she cannot use without endangering the public safety. There is only one natural interpretation of her book, and it is fraught with the poisonous air of a hothouse philosophy.

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Thackeray, we stake the reputation of Maga' on it, knew a great deal more about the humour and the tragedy of human life than C. E. Raimond; and to all poor souls who have read The Open Question' we would commend his summary of problem fiction as a sovereign antidote :

6

Would you know how first he met her?

She was cutting bread-and-butter.

"Werther had a love for Charlotte Such as words could never utter;

Charlotte was a married lady,
And a moral man was Werther,
And, for all the wealth of Indies,
Would do nothing for to hurt her.

So he sighed and pined and ogled, And his passion boiled and bubbled, Till he blew his silly brains out, And no more was by it troubled.

Charlotte, having seen his body
Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
Went on cutting bread-and-butter."

We are bound to say, however, that recent fiction also offers us several excellent antidotes for this nauseating stuff, and we deemed ourselves fortunate when chance made us acquainted with the tenth edition of the story of 'Isabel Carnaby '-a most vivacious and entertaining book. It has all the charm, if all the faults, of youth, and we gladly forgive a conventional plot for so much sprightly dialogue. Miss Fowler- to use the latest Fleet Street jargon-has "arrived,” and "should go far"; but we would respectfully suggest that she would go still farther were she to cease to use "like" for "as," and were she to add to the many "excellencies" of her work the purely masculine virtue of correct spelling. Some of the same magic of youth which gives its perennial charm to 'Mona Maclean' has disappeared from Graham Travers's 'Windyhaugh'; but we are fully recompensed by an infinitely more matured skill, a more subtle humour, a profounder insight into life. There is perhaps enough and to spare of psychology in Dr Todd's

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remarkable book, but it is all been achieved by Mr Alfred of the right kind; and there is Ollivant, who has contrived to not in English fiction a more make a most absorbing story careful and penetrating analysis out of but three characters, of the evolution of a woman's two of them being sheep-dogs mind than is given in Wilhel- and the other an irascible little mina Galbraith. But “Windy Scotsman. We are not surhaugh’ is not a book in which prised to see that Mr Ollivant there is only one "star” and a has also been duly told that he

“ crowd of “supers." Every will “ go far,” for we are almost character is limned with the ready to go the length of saying conscientious care that bespeaks that in Owd Bob' he has the true artist, and the analyt- already“ been and gone and ical interest of the novel is done it.” Red Wull and Owd rigorously kept in its proper Bob are the best dogs on paper, place as only one element in a and we honestly prefer them delightful story. It is a

to most of their human conpremely interesting and whole- temporaries in fiction. some book, and in an age when have a fault to find, it is that excellence of technique has Mr Ollivant, like Landseer, dereached remarkable level, bases his dogs by making them

Windyhaugh' compels ad- too human for an ordinary miration for its brilliancy of kennel; and we should have style.

liked Owd Bob all the better Dr Todd paints on a large had he been less circumspect canvas, but she has a true sense and gentlemanly in his walk of proportion the want of and conversation in life. None which alone prevents Mr Eden the less, the death of Red Wull Philpott's Children of the Mist'is Homeric. ‘

. from being one of the finest The year of grace 1898 will novels of its year. The roman- stand out prominently in the tic atmosphere he has and all literary history of Poor Jack. the literary endowment, but he Once more the spirit of the age has smothered a brilliant novel has found literary expression, , under a plethora of detail. As and the result is a whole revolvcompared with either of these, ing bookcaseful of literature, Miss May Sinclair is a minia- highly charged with the spirit turist; but it would be difficult of Imperialism. Taking it all to praise too highly her bril- in all, the literature is worthy liantly clean-cut portraiture, of the sentiment. The keynote and her bold and successful is struck on “Drake's Drum,” a handling of unattractive magnificent song by Mr Henry subject, in “Mr and Mrs Nevill Newbolt, which will ensure him Tyson. The story is a little a place in all future masterpiece, and the literary thologies side by side with epicure will find a rich feast in Thomas Campbell.

The its gracefully easy and pungent- Fighting Temeraire” and “The ly witty style. But of all the Ballad of the Bold Menelaus" literary feats of the year one of are only a degree less successthe most remarkable has surely ful, and throughout all three

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