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Natural Law in the Spiritual World, which has had an astonishing success over here? The best public, perhaps, does not much care for it; but the second best, all the religious world, and even the more serious portion of the aristocratical world have accepted the book as a godsend, and are saying to themselves that here at last is safety and scientific shelter for the orthodox supernaturalism which seemed menaced with total defeat. I should like much to know what you think of the book, though I can hardly imagine its suiting any public but that very peculiar and indirect-thinking public which we have in England. What is certain is, that the author of the book has a genuine love of religion and a genuine religious experience; and this gives his book a certain value, though his readers, in general, imagine its value to be quite of another kind." And again, here is a bit about Tennyson: "Is it possible for one who has himself published verses to print a criticism on Tennyson in which perfect freedom shall be used? And without perfect freedom, what is a criticism worth? I do not think Tennyson a great and powerful spirit in any line, as Goethe was in the line of modern thought, Wordsworth in that of contemplation, Byron even in that of passion; and unless a poet, especially a poet at this time of day, is that, my interest in him is only slight, and my conviction that he will not finally stand high is firm. But is it possible or proper for me to say this about Tennyson, when my saying it would inevitably be attributed to odious motives?" Now and then he puts his working convictions into felicitous, almost epigrammatic form, as when, in a letter to a workingman, he writes: "As to useful knowledge, a single line of poetry, working in the mind, may produce more thoughts and lead to more light, which is what man wants, than the fullest acquaintance (to take your own instance) with the processes of digestion."
Once more, in referring to an elaborate attack made on him by Fitzjames Stephen, he remarks: My sinuous, easy, unpolemical mode of proceeding has been adopted by me, first, because I really think it the best way of proceeding if one wants to get at and keep with truth; secondly, because I am convinced only by a literary form of this kind being given to them can ideas such as mine ever gain any access in a country such as ours."
If one were to take these Letters and compare them with the formal literary work on which Arnold was engaged dur ing the same period, one might naturally come to look upon their writer as having a somewhat frugal mind, and as not disposed to waste much thought on his correspondents; in this respect the Letters suffer in comparison with the spontaneous flow of Lowell's. But a slight analysis will show that Arnold was governed much by the relation in which he stood to his correspondent. Many of his more careful judgments are contained in his letters to M. Fontanés, and now and then other friends outside of his family received letters which had more or less of a general, public character. The greater part of the two volumes, however, is occupied with letters written to his mother, his sisters, his wife, and his daughters, and the disclosure they make is most interesting; for to these he writes with an affectionate frankness which gives one a most agreeable impression of the sweetness of his nature. His letters to his mother have an undercurrent of feeling which conveys some notion of Mrs. Arnold's fine nature as well as of the deep loyalty of the son, a loyalty not concerned with the possibility of any misunderstanding between them. Dr. Arnold died in 1842, shortly after Matthew had left Rugby for Oxford, and Mrs. Arnold survived him about thirty years, during which time she saw her son rise to distinction chiefly through a course which seemed to lead
him away from his father's position, although in a more significant sense Matthew Arnold's attitude was not illogically connected with his father's contentions. Yet there was not silence between mother and son upon religious themes. On the contrary, the son repeatedly wrote to his mother in a vein which was neither apologetic nor protesting, but frank and genuine. There is a fine respect shown by the son, and notably an unbounded admiration for his father, and eagerness to establish a community of judgment with him.
Something of Dr. Arnold's nature reappears in Matthew's lively interest during his travels, especially in Italy. Dr. Arnold, like his son, was keenly observant, but his observation was directed rather toward historical features and indications of political society; Matthew Arnold was on the lookout for those characteristics of people which offered points of comparison with the English whom he knew so well. Both were most animated in their description of scenery, and the reader receives a very pleasant impression of Matthew Arnold's delight in flowers, for which he was all the while searching, whether in America or on the Continent. But a closer spiritual likeness may be noted in the serious view which each took of himself. The keynote of Dr. Arnold's character was his earnestness, nestness which appeared to make him quite responsible for the church and the state of England. Matthew Arnold never lost sight of his mission as the apostle of culture, and though by no means deficient in humor, and not at all arrogant in private expression, he shows a calm, serious regard of the work which he is accomplishing that tempts one sometimes to smile behind his hand.
Yet the reader comes easily to form some notion of the world which Arnold wished to create; and though he may
be amused at some of the outbursts of a nature which was constantly readjusting human life on a little more delicate scale, he recognizes, if he is open-minded, the simplicity and the largeness of the ideals which Arnold sets before himself. Truth, genuineness, good taste, the cultivation of these is not ignoble, and the fact that one may go through life in the pursuit of them with a near-sighted sort of gaze may give opportunity for good-natured raillery, but does not lessen one's respect. Nor can the student of contemporary literature and society and religious faith fail to esteem the service of a man with such ideals, who employs some of the most refined weapons of rhetoric for slaying the dull dragons that block the way. Indeed, though Arnold's modes are somewhat ill adapted to the demands of a better America, Arnold's spirit is one greatly to be desired in the discussion of the same problems of life that confront us; and after one has entertained himself with some of the amusingly characteristic expressions in these Letters, and the American portion offers some entertaining trifles, there remains as a deposit in one's mind the impression of a generous nature, fastidious in a high degree, yet overflowing with true affection and wearing no mask. It is a genuine service which his family and the editor of these volumes have done to literature in permitting those who knew Matthew Arnold as a critic to know him also in his simple affection
Mr. Russell has shown almost unfailing tact in his editorial supervision; his notes are pertinent and reserved. He might have been a little more accurate in some trivial matters concerning Arnold's American experience, but the only serious charge to be brought against him is the unpardonable sin of neglecting to provide an index.
COMMENT ON NEW BOOKS.
Fiction. The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane (Appletons), is a narrative of the experience of a raw youth in battle, and of the steady screwing of his courage to the point of heroism. So vivid is the pic ture of actual conflict that the reader comes face to face with war. He does not see its pomp, which requires a different perspective, but he feels the sickening horror of slaughter and becomes a part of the moving line of battle. The process of becoming a hero is so naturally unfolded that the reader no more than the hero himself is aware of the transformation from indecision and cowardice to bravery. This picture, so vivid as to produce almost the effect of a personal experience, is not made by any finished excellence of literary workmanship, but by the sheer power of an imaginative description. The style is as rough as it is direct. The sentences never flow; they are shot forth in sharp volleys. But the original power of the book is great enough to set a new fashion in literature. The Red Cockade, by Stanley J. Weyman. (Harpers.) Whatever its popular success, The Red Cockade will disappoint Mr. Weyman's discriminating readers. The novel is ingeniously constructed, full of life and movement, and, we need not say, unfailingly readable, but there is no such ease and sureness of touch in indicating the spirit, the atmosphere of the time as is to be found in the author's tales of the France of the religious wars and of Henri Quatre. The highly conventional types of character which appear in the book show, so to speak, a merely conventional study of the epoch. -The Years that the Locust Hath Eaten, by Annie E. Holdsworth. (Macmillan.) It evinces an unmistakable power in the author that, notwithstanding the almost unrelieved and peculiarly irritating painfulness of her tale, it holds the reader steadily to the end. It is the story of the slow doing to death of a bright, hopeful young creature, sacrificed to the monstrous selfishness of her husband, an indolent dreamer, who talks eloquently of the great book which he has not even begun, and in the mean time allows his gently nurtured wife to be both household drudge and bread-winner. The moral
of the tale, so far as we can see, and so strenuous a writer would probably insist that one must be found, is that such a foolish and unequal marriage as the heroine's would inevitably lead to poverty and misery unspeakable. Society, as at present constituted, can hardly be held responsible for her sufferings. — Master Wilberforce, the Study of a Boy, by Rita. (Putnams.) The boy is an abnormally precocious infant with a passion for study, who amuses though he hardly convinces the reader; but he develops into a lad of a more usual type, and the story of his dawning love for the tempestuous girl who is his playmate and foil is prettily told. At Tuxter's, by G. B. Burgin. (Putnams.) A cheerful and quite unrealistic tale of some dwellers in a squalid London street. So far as in him lies, the writer is a faithful follower of Dickens, but Mr. Burgin's humor is a very faint reflex of that of his master. -The Three Impostors, or The Transmutations, by Arthur Machen. Keynotes Series. (Lane, London; Roberts, Boston.) Studies in the horrible, pure and simple. Three human fiends, two pleasantspoken men and an attractive young woman, are engaged in hounding a young man to a terrible death, and, to beguile the time thus spent, tell gruesome tales, with the properly vague psychological and occult touch and hints at the unnamable. The not inconsiderable literary and constructive skill which has gone to the making of the stories only partially veils their moral offensiveBeatrice of Bayou Têche, by Alice Ilgenfritz Jones. (McClurg.) After a somewhat prolonged absence from American fiction, the white slave reappears in this tale. The book opens charmingly with the description of the child Beatrice and her home in the French quarter of New Orleans, and afterward of her introduction to the plantation on the Têche; but as the girl becomes the woman, the story, which is overcrowded with incident, grows commonplace and tediously diffuse. Though the infinitesimal drop of negro blood in the heroine's veins is not perceptible, even to a Southerner, yet it is sadly true that it might perhaps have spoiled her life in her own land. But then America is not the world, and there are various
highly civilized countries where success of every kind would await a woman possessed of dazzling beauty, a marvelous voice, extraordinary artistic ability, exceptional scholarship, phenomenal intelligence, and perfect health. Under the circumstances, a lifelong retirement to an isle in a far Eastern sea and a disuse of most of these good gifts hardly seem called for. Two Women and a Fool, by H. C. Chatfield-Taylor. With pictures by C. D. Gibson. (Stone & Kimball.) That Guy Wharton, a successful Chicagoan artist, is a particularly weak fool probably no reader will deny. The two women, whom he first meets as "co-eds" in college, are Dorothy, a good girl, and Moira, a worthless minx, with eyes that are lustrous, tantalizing, tormenting, dreamy, and fathomless by turns, who develops into a popular burlesque actress. From the lures of this vulgar enchantress the hero quite undeservedly escapes in the last page, doubtless to bestow the remains of his battered affections on Dorothy. The sketch is smartly written, with an occasional touch of cleverness worthy of a better use. - A Hilltop Summer, by Alyn Yates Keith. (Lee & Shepard.) Unpretentious but well-told stories of country life. The connection between them is that which exists between the people's lives, interwoven more or less closely as they are pretty sure to be in a small New England village. The details are generally so true to life that we can forgive a tendency towards the sentimental which occasionally shows itself: The final tragedy is unexpected and unnecessary, and the blending of humor and pathos in the conversation of the grief-stricken old couple is not particularly well done. Books of and for Children. The Second Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling. Decorated by John Lockwood Kipling. (The Century Co.) "And this is the last of the Mowgli stories," one reads at the close of the book. We commend Mr. Kipling for the wise reserve he thus shows in his art, but we are glad he did not write these words in the previous volume after the death of Mowgli, and we are not sure whether or not he applies the term to all the so-called Jungle tales. Certainly literature is richer for the masterly story in this volume, The Miracle of Purun Bhagat, a story which will long live in the memory of those who read it. Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses gives fresh delight through the illus
trations which have been added by Charles Robinson, illustrations which show a kindred fancy, and often a fine imagination. One would have hesitated about putting this most winning book into the hands of a draughtsman, but his doubts would have disappeared upon seeing the picture which serves for The End or The Land of Nod. One is tempted sometimes to think that Robert Louis Stevenson's eternity of praise is to come through this little book. A Book of Nursery Songs and Rhymes, edited by S. BaringGould. With illustrations by members of the Birmingham Art School, under the direction of A. J. Gaskin. (Methuen, London; Lippincott, Philadelphia.) A pretty book, with an archaic setting of border and occasional design. The effective wood-cutting is the most praiseworthy feature. (Scribners.)—The Arabella and Araminta Stories, by Gertrude Smith. With an Introduction by Mary E. Wilkins. Embellished with fifteen illustrative designs by Ethel Reed. (Copeland & Day.) We have had books in one syllable which were very hard reading. It was like walking on squares without stepping on the lines, to read them. This book for very young children is of a different order. It is based on the primary principle of repetition. As like unto Arabella as Araminta is, so are the doings and the reports of the doings of the two children. "Tell it over again" may be said of almost every sentence. If one can make his mind small enough in reading this book, he can get into an amusing toy world. We are curious to know how actual children of three or four will take to these stories, which are printed in very large type, for the benefit, probably, of the grandmothers who will read them aloud, for no child of the age interested could be expected to read the book to herself. "Embellishment" is a large word to apply to the puzzles in blackand-white, which are darkening, not illustrative designs. Children's Stories in American Literature, 1660-1860, by Henrietta Christian Wright. (Scribners.) The lives and works of sixteen writers, from Audubon and Irving to Parkman and Holmes, are successively considered; a brief chapter devoted to our early literature serving as introduction to the book. These sketches are nearly as mechanical and as wanting in literary quality as those which used to be found in textbooks known as Compendiums
of English Literature, and they can hardly convey to young readers any very vivid ideas as to the personality of our greater writers.
- Harper's Round Table, 1895. Harper's Young People, of which this is the sixteenth annual volume, changed its name in the spring of 1895. Its general character remains the same, but several "departments" are added, - The Camera Club, Interscholastic Sport, Stamps, Bicycling. A distinctive feature, and one which is significant of the times in which we live, is the space devoted to Interscholastic Sport. Under this heading "The Graduate" gives reports of contests in all branches of field and track athletics from all over the country, besides much sensible advice to the schoolboy athlete. The girls also come in for their share of attention in The Pudding Stick, which is conducted (or should we say wielded ?) by Mrs. Margaret E. Sangster. Joseph the Dreamer, by Robert Bird. (Scribners.) Literature. Vailima Letters, being Correspondence addressed by Robert Louis Stevenson to Sidney Colvin, November, 1890 - October, 1894. In two volumes. (Stone & Kimball.) When one considers that this period covers the Samoan residence; that Mr. Colvin, five years Stevenson's senior, was his intimate friend and critic and go-between in the literary projects of these years; and that Stevenson wrote with all the freedom of his gay nature of his work, his Samoans, his thoughts on life and letters, himself even, one can guess how much there is to enjoy in these two trig volumes. The lover of Stevenson wants the trivial, for he is eager to be intimate with this most friendly of writers; and thus he will read of proofs and corrections and dealings with publishers and oily-skinned Samoans with an insatiable ardor. - Little Leaders, by William Morton Payne. (Way & Williams, Chicago.) Mr. Payne has collected from The Dial several of the thoughtful, sagacious papers on literary and educational topics which have made that journal so representative of sound criticism. There are some interesting appreciations at the close of the volume under the general heading In Memoriam, of which that on Huxley may be singled out as felicitous in its seizing upon salient points within brief compass.
- In an agreeable pair of volumes M. J. Knight has brought together a Selection of Passages from Plato for English Readers,
from Jowett's translation. The aim has been to save the more distinctly dramatic and poetic elements of Plato, and thus offer an introduction to an acquaintance with his writings which might be forbidden by the formidable task of becoming familiar with his metaphysical speculations. Brief introductions and notes supply what is required for elucidation, and the reader gets a taste of the literature in a not altogether fragmentary way. (Macmillan.) — A Companion to Dante, from the German of G. A. Scartazzini, by Arthur John Butler. (Macmillan.) Access to this work of an eminent Dante scholar is a real convenience to an English student. The book belongs, indeed, not to the criticism which is literature, but to the criticism which gives apparatus. The Teutonic side is the more prominent in Scartazzini, and his book lacks entirely the fire and charm with which Carducci, for example, clothes his Dante scholarship. But it is valuable, despite a laboriousness of method which sometimes defeats its own end, for a departure from the Dante legend popularly repeated from the days of Boccaccio, and an independent and thorough investigation of real authorities. The present volume is decidedly more useful than the Handbook by Scartazzini translated by Professor Davidson in 1886; for it is more comprehensive in facts, and often less far-fetched in argument. Scartazzini retains, to be sure, his old claim that Beatrice was not Beatrice, but somebody else of a different name, because forsooth it would be immoral to suppose that Dante celebrated a married lady. But he has dropped the yet more fantastic assumption, triumphanthy deduced from nothing, that "Gemma Donati was worthy not only of the love, but of the respect of Dante," and candidly confesses, after prolonged discussion, the obvious truth that concerning Dante's domestic life we know nothing at all. Five Lectures on Shakespeare, by Bernhard Ten Brink. Translated by Julia Franklin. (Holt.) No student of Shakespeare can read this little volume without a keen regret that the writer's history of English literature should only have reached the Elizabethan age, and that these brief lectures, written for a popular audience, should be all that remains to us of a lifetime's study of the poet. We say "the poet" advisedly, for it was to Shakespeare, and not to Shakespearean literature,