* * * * *
OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.
A Future for Women.
From the last report of the Bureau of Education it appears that twice as many girls as boys enter high schools in the United States, and that three times as many complete the four years' course. "Nature," in commenting upon this fact, attributes it to the great attractiveness of commercial pursuits in this country, and the consequent eagerness of boys to enter upon them at as early an age as possible. This is doubtless the true reason, and the disproportion is more likely to increase than to diminish, even though the actual number of boys who rush into a money-making career as soon as they have mastered the arithmetic necessary for it may be growing smaller. It is beginning, moreover, to be an every-day matter for women to receive a college education. There are already three well-filled colleges of high rank exclusively their own, and the new Bryn Mawr bids fair to be a powerful rival to Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley. Many of the colleges for men are open to them; now, and the capitulation of those strongholds of conservatism. Cambridge. New Haven, and Baltimore, is only a question of time. Great colleges are ravenous for fresh endowments, and the offer of a large sum of money may at any moment procure from them the full admission of women. It is not impossible that before many years have passed there will be as many women as men receiving a college education. How is this army of educated women going to occupy itself?
There is another aspect to the question. Not only is the mass of women better fitted than ever before for worthy occupation, there has never been a time nor a country in which their traditionary sphere has shrunk to so small dimensions. Nowhere else are there so many women of such a station that they are not obliged to toil and spin, nor to sleep all day to make up for nights of dissipation. For all those who do not have to concern themselves with the wherewithal of living, the art of living easily has been brought to a state of great perfection. The general care of the house and of the children is still the duty of the woman, but the labor involved in acquitting herself of that duty is a very different matter from what it was a generation ago. Then all her energies were needed to bring up a family well. Brewing and baking and soap- and candle-making were all carried on in the house, and there were a dozen children to be kept neatly dressed with the aid of no needle but her own. Now the purchase of the day's supplies is the only important demand upon her time; well-trained servants, the descendants of the raw Irish girl her mother struggled with, are capable of carrying on the cooking and the scrubbing by themselves. Sewing it is hardly worth her while to do in the house. Stitching her linen collars was once an important item in her year's work; now it is safe to say that there is not a single woman who does not buy her collars ready made. Making cotton cloth into undergarments has become a manufacture in the unetymological sense of the word. The Viscount de Campo-Grande, in addressing the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences at Madrid, two years ago, admitted that sewing was no longer an economy, but urged women to practise it still for the purpose of quieting their nerves. But the modern American woman who has had a healthy bringing up, who has divided her girlhood between vigorous study and active out-door exercise, who can row and skate and play ball and tennis with her brothers, has no unquiet nerves. She does not ask for sedatives, but for some high stimulus to call into play her strong and well-trained faculties. Money-making, the natural sphere of man, has become a more and more absorbing pursuit, while the usual feminine occupations have become more than ever trivial and unimportant at the very moment when the feminine mind has taken a new start in its development. The woman who is fresh from reading Gauss and Pindar, and who has taken sides in the discussion between the adherents of Roscher and of Mill, cannot easily content herself with the petty economies that result from doing her own cutting and fitting and dusting and table-setting. Still less, if she has not married, is she satisfied to look forward to the position of nursery governess to her sister-in-law's children. Her education has fitted her for something better than to save the wages of an upper servant. Again the question is forced upon her, where can she find a fitting field for the exercise of her powers?
To many people, who have all the means of existence they care for without a struggle, it seems that the only thing that can give a thorough interest and zest to life is to devote themselves to the elevation of the degraded classes of society. They find such monotony in their own comfortable ways of living, and the misery of the very poor seems so appalling to them, that they cannot escape from the passionate desire to spend themselves in their service. The problems connected with the relief and the prevention of the wretchedness by which they are surrounded have all the interest of a scientific experiment, and are capable of calling out all the fervor of a religion. But for the few people here and there who have now the passion of the reformer it is not impossible that another generation may see many thousands. A second christianization of the world may convert all the happy into the consolers of the unhappy, instead of leading people to absorb themselves in the question of their own salvation. No one can say how great a change might be made in the fair face of the earth if the effort to remove the causes of poverty and of disease should become the serious occupation of half mankind. In the lower stages of existence the extermination of evil has been the work of a slow and gradual process. Millions of individuals have been sacrificed in order to produce the few who were fitted to their surroundings. But at last a creature has been produced of so much intelligence that he is able to undertake his own further development. He can speculate upon the causes of his failures in the search for happiness, and he can apply remedies. It is true that those remedies have often been productive of more harm than good, it is true that it would be hard to calculate the evil effects of the English poor-laws, for instance, but all the experiments that have hitherto worked badly are but so much material from which to draw a knowledge of better methods. When the Wlllimantic Thread Company has found a way to make its girls come singing from their work as they go to it, and to make better thread at the same time, no one can say that great changes may not be brought about when once scientific methods shall have been discovered for the extermination of disease and crime. What more interesting field for investigation, for theory, for active work, can women find than that large kind of charity which is to supersede in the future the indiscriminate alms-giving of the past? The unselfishness that is demanded by the life of a reformer they have already in large abundance. There is no limit to the devotion which many women show their families, but such devotion has in these days become so unnecessary as to be little more than a higher form of selfishness. Perhaps it only needs a leader to turn this store of energy into wider channels and to make it subservient to larger ends. Perhaps the labor and patience and self-renunciation that are necessary to the regeneration of the world are to come from women. Such an absolute disregard of self as they are capable of, if it were once allowed to overflow the narrow limits of the home, might in no long time turn a goodly portion of the world into a garden of roses. There are still men who wish to appropriate to themselves all the high qualities of their women, but they belong to a race that is destined to rapid extinction, and to most rapid extinction in this country. That American men are more thoroughly chivalrous than English is a common belief. It was curiously confirmed by the English clergyman who wrote to the "Nation," some years ago, to describe the qualities which an English clergyman ought to have in order to be successful in this country, and who said that he had found it necessary not to let it be known that his wife warmed his slippers for him. The theory that woman exists solely for the purpose of smoothing the wrinkles from the brow of man is one that seldom finds expression now, except in the Lenten sermons of men who are content to drop out of the ranks of those who influence opinion. But the great freedom that the modern woman has gained for herself, the thorough education that is for the first time within her reach, the strong sympathies that are her inheritance,—these are grounds of a responsibility that she cannot but feel to be a heavy one. What better outlet can she find for her activities than to carry forward that slow process of fitting together the human race and its surroundings which it is no longer necessary to leave to chance?
* * * * *
There are three days in the spring of the year called by the French Les Saints de Glace. These days are the 12th, 13th, and 14th of May, and the saints to whom they are dedicated are Saint Mamert, Saint Pancras, and Saint Servais. They are very obscure saints, in honor of whom few children have been named, and, were it not for the vast parish of Saint Pancras which once comprised all the northwestern part of London, their names as well as their history would be, to Protestants at least, entirely unknown. They have, however, the evil reputation of commonly bringing with them a nipping frost, and are abhorred in Burgundy as the great enemies of the vine.
Their advent this year was telegraphed to Paris by the New York "Herald," whose weather reporter was probably quite ignorant of any ecclesiastical traditions connected with the matter. On May 11 the following despatch was received in Paris: "A great depression, having its centre in the neighborhood of Lake Ontario, will be followed by a cyclone of great extent, travelling in the direction of Halifax, It will probably occasion great changes of temperature along the coasts of Great Britain and France, beginning May 12 and continuing till May 14." Never was prediction better fulfilled. The Ice-Saints sank the French thermometer to 6 deg. Centigrade, corresponding to 21 deg. Fahrenheit, a temperature more severe in those latitudes than the cold of an ordinary Christmas. When the Ice-Saints had departed the weather grew mild again.
M. Quetelet, the head of the Observatory at Brussels, has paid great attention to the periodicity of weather-changes in Europe. The result of his investigations is as follows:
I. That there is always a "cold snap" between the 7th and 11th of January, during which ordinarily occurs the coldest day of the year.
II. That from January 22 to March 1 there is, as we say in our vernacular, "a let-up" on the coldness of the temperature. In France there is no ground-hog, or, if there is, he so generally sees no shadow upon Candlemas (February 2) that the three weeks succeeding it are called L'Ete de la Chandeleur.
III. In April cold may be expected from the 9th to the 22d, and the Ice-Saints may prolong their influence to May 23, after which there is no more possibility of frosts in France, though within my memory June frosts have been twice known in Maryland and Virginia. The prolonged frost in May is said to be produced by an understanding between the Ice-Saints and what is called in France La Lune Rousse,—the Red Moon.
IV. Though it needs no prophet to foretell hot weather from June 6 to June 23. M, Quetelet's observations point to June 13 and June 22 as days of exceptionally high temperature.
V. Between July 4 and July 8 comes the hottest day of the summer, which is not to be looked for in the dog-days, which are from July 21 to August 20.
VI. July 25 distinguishes itself by being cool, and August 25 tempers ten days of heat which commonly begin on the 15th of August.
VII. September 14 and September 30 are days when the thermometer may be expected to make a sudden fall.
VIII. Cold weather may be looked for from October 20 to October 29, and from November 10 to November 19; but in the first ten days of November comes what we call Indian summer, and the French L'Ete des Morts,—because it succeeds All-Souls' Day,—or L'Ete de Saint Martin.
M. Quetelet adds no observations on December, it being presumably a cold month everywhere.
M. Fourmet, of Lyons, has also made meteorological observations of the same nature in Southern France, and especially in the valley of the Rhone. He says the lowest temperature in each month is as follows: January 9 and 21. February 3, 12, and 20. March 5 and 21. April 19. May 12, 13, and 14. June 8, 20, and 27. July 12 and 25. August 2, 12, and 24. September 5, 15, and 30. October 22. November 5 and 17. December 3 and 29.
M. Charles Sainte-Claire Deville has also been engaged in careful weather-calculations for many years, and has been in constant correspondence on the subject with the Academie des Sciences. His theory is based on the existence of the three Ice-Saints in May, and he considers that a similar periodic influence may be traced in other months of the year. He maintains that there are three days in every month, with an interval of about ten days between them, in which we may look for a fall of temperature, and that the weather gradually grows warmer during the interval that separates them. His observations are only in part corroborated by those of M. Quetelet and M. Fourmet.
* * * * *
A Svenska Maid.
Marie has been in the United States about four years, and still accents her English with the Lapp-Finn modulations of Northern Sweden. She is only eighteen years old now. She has fair hair and a serene fair face somewhat like the Liberty face on our silver dollar. Her young shape is strong and handsome, and she has white little teeth like a child's, and the innocent nature of a child.
Marie's father is a Swedish farmer. Many adventurers came to America from her neighborhood, and, though but fourteen years old, she wanted to come too; and a cousin's husband, already settled in Illinois, lent her the passage-money. The last Sunday, according to custom, all her friends brought offerings to church, and she was made to go through the congregation holding her apron. They filled it with cake, a Bible, etc. The young people walked with her parents and herself to the steamer-landing, and kept from crying until she was aboard.
When the steamer was under way an old woman came across her in the steerage, and exclaimed, "Why, child, where are your father and mother?"
To which Marie responded, with the gentle persistence peculiar to her, "I leave them in Svadia. I go to America."
Though all the steerage people were kind to her, she fell into bad hands by way of her tender sympathies. There were a man and woman with a family of small children, who were coming to America carrying an unsavory record. The woman fell ill, and Marie nursed her, and she fastened herself upon Marie with brutal tenacity. She took away a little silk shawl the child had inherited and was bringing over as a chief bit of finery. She had a delicate appetite for steerage fare, and ate up the precious cheese Marie's mother had given for a parting gift. And she took charge of Marie's bit of money, never returning it.
"If she had but left me my cheese," says the Svenska maid, "I might have had something to eat between New York and Illinois. I just had my ticket in the cars, and, oh, it was more than two days, and I had such feelings in my stomach! I was all alone and speak not a word of English, and everybody around me eat, but I would not try to ask for somethings. A German family by me have lots to eat, and when they left the cars I got down under the seat and pick up orange-peel they throw down, and eat that. I could not sleep in the night, I feel so bad. And when I get to Illinois and to Willingham, the Swede people not meet me yet, and a woman took me to her house to get my dinner, I never taste anything so good in my life, but I eat with my hat on. The woman tried to take it off, and I hold on with both hands. I thought she was going to take my hat for pay, and I could not do without it."
The little maid fell sick among her kin, and a great doctor's bill of a year and a half accumulated upon her. The cousin's husband paid it and added the debt to her passage-money. By the time she was able to work, her pretty pale face had attracted an old man, and this persistent suitor tormented her until she was wellnigh helpless in the hands of her relatives. They set her debt before her, and reminded her of the obligation she was under to marry a rich man.
"But I said, 'I won't, I won't, I won't,'" says Marie. "That is all the English I could talk, and I would say, 'I won't.' Then my cousin told me I must leave; I could not stay in her house. And I felt dreadful bad. The young folks come in with provisions to see me: they made a party because I was going away. And I notice that all kept being called into the next room but me. I was weak yet, and it made me feel as if they wanted to slight me. But last of all they called me into the next room, and there was twenty-five dollar they had made up to give me. And I cried; I could not talk and thank them, but just cried hard as I could cry. Then I took that money and paid part of my debt, and got a good place to work."
Marie is strong, willing, humble, and touchingly friendly in the position of the Western "girl." She is ambitious to learn American ways. She makes the most delicious pancakes that ever fluffed upon a griddle or united with butter and maple syrup. She is religious, she is tender with children, she is full of love for her native land. Her lovers are not encouraged.
"I go back to Sveden to visit it once more in five years. I go back before I marry any man, now my debt is all paid."
This Svenska maid is full of folk-stories. She tells the children how St. John's eve is celebrated in Sweden. The young men and girls bring boughs and construct arbors. They stay up all night, eating, playing, and visiting from arbor to arbor. About midsummer, it is true, there is very little night in Northern Sweden.
"This was once in the papers," says Marie innocently. "They said it was true. There was a girl going to take her first communion, and she got into the churchyard before she missed her braid. Then she turned round and started home after her braid, and met a man with a covered basket on his arm. He asked her what she was going for, and she told him she was going home for what she forgot, and the man said, 'Look in the basket, and see if that is your switch.' She looked, and there was the hair coiled up. Then he asked her if he might put it on her head, and the girl said yes, and he put it on, and she went to church.
"It came to the place where the minister gives her the bread, and her braid slipped down on one shoulder; but when he gave her the wine it jump like it going to strike the cup, for it was a snake the man put on her, and it was fast to her head and never came off again."
Marie's mother in youth worked for a Swedish farmer, and it was her duty to get up about three o'clock in the morning and light a fire under the boiler where the cows' feed was heated. This was in the barn. The cows stood upon a floor over a large pit wherein were caught all the liquids of the stable. The sleepy maid took a coal upon a chip, instead of matches, and this primitive custom saved her from horribly drowning. For as she opened the cows' stable one morning, and was taking a step within, the chip flared up, and showed her three cows swimming below in the pit. The floor had given way.
"Sometimes there are excursions across the ocean," says Marie, speaking of that star of a home visit which lures her into the future, "and you can go and come back for twenty-five dollars. They do not have nice things to eat in the steerage, but you can keep alive." M.H.C.
* * * * *
The "Additional Hair" Supply.
The late war between France and China had one effect which the public did not expect,—it created a panic among the French dealers in human hair. Before that war began it was not generally known that a vast proportion of the false hair used in Europe and America was imported from China into France and there prepared for the trade. But the beginning of hostilities between the two countries made the fact apparent by the sudden cutting off of the customary supply from the Celestial Empire. A German paper mentions that in 1883 the hair thus imported amounted to one hundred and twenty-four thousand seven hundred and fifteen kilograms, for which the French dealers paid at the rate of only ten or twelve francs per kilogram. As no other country can, or at any rate will, supply human hair in such enormous quantities and at such a low price, the effect on the market may easily be imagined. The hair-merchants of Marseilles had been accustomed to furnish at least twenty-five thousand coiffures for women and several thousand wigs for men every year; and even before the stoppage of direct communication with China they had found it hard to get as much raw material as they needed. When their principal drawing-point became inaccessible they were reduced to despair, and perhaps presented the only case ever known in which "tearing the hair" would seem to have been attended with some practical benefit. However, the termination of the war revived their hopes, and they are now making up for the lost time with a vigor and determination which even threaten the male Celestial with the loss of his sacred pig-tail.
The European sources from which human hair is obtained are not numerous or very prolific. Many peasant-women of Normandy and Bretagne sell their beautiful brown, red, or golden locks, but these are of such fine quality that they command very high prices. Norman or Breton girls having braids eighty centimetres in length sell them for as much as a thousand francs. Perfectly white hair from the same French provinces brings a sum which seems almost fabulous. The French journal "Science et Nature" declares that the price commonly paid for a braid of such white hair weighing one kilogram is twenty-five thousand francs.
The hair-merchants of France have never been very successful in drawing supplies for their business from England, Germany, or any of the countries in the northern part of Europe. Lately, however, they have begun to have a good deal of success among the lower classes of the Italians. Their imports from Italy are already comparatively large, and they seem to be increasing every year. Such an easy way of getting money as this opportunity affords must appear vastly attractive to the swarms of professional beggars who infest every highway, church door, and public square in Southern Italy, and whose enjoyment of the indispensable dolce far niente cannot be spoiled by merely submitting to the operation of having their hair cut off. It is probable that they furnish much more of the hair brought from Italy than do the laboring-classes of the cities or the honest contadini of the rural districts.
The idea of actually wearing hair which once belonged to some member of "the unspeakable" lazzaroni tribe cannot be considered a fascinating one. At the same time it is at least not more unattractive than the consciousness of having fallen heir to the capillary adornments of a Cantonese tonka-boat girl. And in reality such a feeling, though natural enough, would be based upon nothing but imagination. All the hair purchased and used by the dealers in Paris, Marseilles, and other French cities to which the Chinese and Italian hair is brought goes through a number of preparatory processes, which cleanse and purify it thoroughly; and when it is ready to be sold again it is probably in as unobjectionable a state as hair can reach. As for the imagination, if we were to allow it to govern us entirely in all such cases we should soon find ourselves restricted to almost as few comforts and conveniences as those unhappy historical characters whose constant fear of poison reduced their whole diet to boiled eggs. Still, the feeling is one of which it is very hard to rid ourselves; and in all probability the ladies who derive the most unalloyed satisfaction from their "additional" braids are those who have had them made from "combings" of their own hair. J.A.C.
* * * * *
LITERATURE OF THE DAY.
"The Rise of Silas Lapham." By William D. Howells. Boston: Ticknor & Co.
In his later books Mr. Howells has shown that he is on the point of discovering the secret of the best novelists. Unabashed by the difficulties and dangers which beset the realistic writer, he has gone to work to describe the simple machinery which puts in motion all human actions and passions, and has given a subtile but sure analysis of certain phases of modern life, and a vivid picture of at least two actual, warm, palpitating, breathing men. His success in this respect is the more striking because he began by offering us mere pasteboard heroes of the most conventional type. The male characters in his early books were, in fact, shuttle-cocks to be tossed hither and thither by the mysterious contradictions, the incomprehensible inconsistencies, of his heroines, whose scheme of existence was the indulgence of every whim, and whose notion of logic was that one paradox must educe another still more startling. Having finally made up his mind as to the insoluble nature of the female problem, he seems inclined to discard mere clevernesses and prettinesses and to advance into the broad arena of real life, with its diversity of actors and its multiplicity of interests. Both Bartley Hubbard in "A Modern Instance" and Silas Lapham in the book before us strike us as admirable characterizations. If Lapham is in certain respects a less original presentation than Bartley Hubbard, he is at least a hero who draws more strongly upon the reader's sympathies and takes surer hold of the popular heart. In fact, Silas, with his big, hairy fist, his ease in his shirt-sleeves, his boastful belief in himself, his conscience, his ambition, and his failure, makes, if we include his sensible wife, the success of the novel before us. The daughters are not, to our thinking, so well rendered; while the Coreys, sterling silver as they ought to be, impress us instead as rather thin electro-plates. The Boston Brahmins have entered a good deal into literature of late, but so far without any brilliant results. According to their chroniclers, they spend most of their time discussing in what respects they are providentially differentiated from, their fellow-beings. Sometimes they put too fine a point upon it and wholly fail to make themselves felt. But then again their superior knowledge of the world is patent to the most careless observer. For instance, when Mrs. Corey pays a visit to Mrs. Lapham she apologizes for the lateness of the hour, explaining that her coachman had never been in that part of Boston before. This naturally casts an ineffaceable stigma upon the respectable square where the Laphams have hitherto resided, and shows that between the two ladies there is a great gulf fixed. Again, to point sharply social distinctions, young Corey says to his father,—
"I don't believe Mrs, Lapham ever gave a dinner."
"And with all that money!" sighed the father.
"I don't believe they have the habit of wine at table. I suspect that when they don't drink tea and coffee with their dinner they drink ice-water."
"Horrible!" said Bromfield Corey.
"It appears to me that this defines them."
The Coreys have the liveliest sense of all these nuances of deviation from their standards, and strike us as rather amateurish, clever people who want to make sure of nice points and get on in the world, rather than as real flesh-and-blood aristocrats with the freedom and ease of acknowledged social supremacy.
While the Coreys try faithfully to compass the best that is known and thought in the world, the Laphams go to the other extreme, and touch depths of ignorance and vulgarity almost incredible for a family living in Boston with eyes to see, ears to hear, and, above all, money to spend. For a sort of superficial culture is a part of the modern inheritance, and seems to belong to the universal air. Even Penelope Lapham—the elder daughter, who is a girl of remarkable shrewdness and gifted besides with a keen satirical sense which makes her the family wit—is content to laugh at the family failings and provincialisms without any definite idea of how they might be corrected. But the Laphams are all the more interesting because they display no feeble and tentative gentilities. Mrs. Lapham's acceptance of Mrs. Corey's invitation to dinner, in which she signs herself "Yours truly, Mrs. S. Lapham," initiates some delightful scenes in the comedy. The colonel's resolution to go to the dinner in a frock-coat, white waistcoat, black cravat, and ungloved hands, and his eventual panicky substitution of correct evening dress regardless of cost, the anxieties of his wife and daughter on the question of suitable raiment, the great affair itself, when the colonel comes out in a new character,—all this part of the book shows in a high degree Mr. Howells's bright vein of humor.
But, putting aside the humor and comedy of "The Rise of Silas Lapham," the book has other points of value, and, as a study of a business-man whom success floats to the crest of the wave only to let him be overwhelmed by disaster as the surge retreats, presents a striking similitude to Balzac's "Cesar Birotteau." In each case we find a self-made man elated by a sense of his commercial greatness, confident that the point he has already attained, instead of being the climax of his career, is the stepping-stone to yet greater wealth, besides social distinction. Cesar Birotteau inaugurates what he believes to be his era of magnificence with a ball, while Silas Lapham tempts fortune by building a fine house on the back bay. Each hero projects his costly schemes in opposition to the wishes of a more sensible and prudent wife, and each, at the moment when fate seemed bent on crowning his ambition, falls a prey to a series of cruel and, in a way, undeserved misfortunes, and finds his well-earned commercial credit a mere house of cards which totters to its fall. Each man, broken and bankrupt, displays in his feebleness a moral strength he had not shown in his days of power: thus the name, "the rise of Silas Lapham," means his initiation into a clearer and more exalted knowledge of his obligations to himself and to his kind. The moral of Cesar Birotteau's "grandeur et decadence" strikes a still deeper key-note. Compared with Balzac, who is never trivial, and who has the most unerring instinct for character and motive, Mr. Howells wastes his force on non-essentials and is carried away by frivolities and prettinesses when he ought to be grappling with his work in fierce earnest. Balzac, whose unappeasable longing was to see his books the breviary, so to speak, of the people, would have laughed and cried with Silas, lived with him, loved with him, and come to grief with him, and forced his readers to do likewise. Mr. Howells is not so easily carried away by his creations, and is too apt to laugh at them instead of with them. But his mature work shows, nevertheless, a boldness and facility which ought to put the best results within its compass; and we confidently look for better novels from his pen than he has so far written, full of wit, humor, and cleverness, yet expanding outside of these gracful limitations into the fullest nature and freedom.
/# "A Canterbury Pilgrimage. Ridden, Written, and Illustrated by Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell." New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. #/
It may be confessed that in certain respects bicycles and tricycles answer admirably to the requirements of travellers in search of the picturesque. They are swift or slow at need, may be halted without want or waste, and have no vicious instincts to be combated by whip or spur. But they are nevertheless hideous inventions, and it is impossible for lookers-on to feel for wheelmen the cordial good will given so freely to Mr. Stevenson on his donkey, for instance. The rider on wheels is an object that exasperates the nerves of horses, dogs, and men. Mrs. Pennell in this little book describes a collision on the old Kent Road with the driver of a hansom cab, who sat watching their extrication scowling. If he had his way, he said, he would burn all them things." And, little affiliation as most human beings have with cabmen, we yet believe that he gave utterance to the sentiments of all non-wheelmen. However, the modern world is likely to belong to bicycles and tricycles, and this attractive brochure, signed with the names of one of our cleverest draughtsmen and his wife, with their silhouettes on the cover, is likely to set more wheels in motion than there were before it was printed. The two evidently enjoyed their expedition, and the lady tells the story easily and pleasantly; and if it is relieved by little incident it is yet sustained by intelligent observation and discriminating enthusiasm, while the illustrations are, like all Mr. Pennell's work, clever in the extreme. The two left London on their tricycle late in August, and had the finest weather in which to cross historic Blackheath and look up the picturesque wharves in Gravesend. Hop-pickers filled the roads and offered many a subject for the artist's pencil. "We rode on with light hearts," recounts the fair wheelwoman. "An eternity of wheeling through such perfect country and in such soft sunshine would, we thought, be the true earthly paradise. We were at peace with ourselves and with all mankind, and J—— even went so far as to tell me I had never ridden so well," And thus on to the inn at Sittingbourne, which has this quaint notice hung over the door:
Call frequently, Drink moderately, Pay honourably, Be good company, Part friendly, Go home quietly.
Arrived at the close of the second day in Canterbury, the two "toke" their inn at the sign of the "Falstaff," where hung "Honest Jack, in buff doublet and red hose," in a wonderful piece of wrought-iron work. Whether next day, after viewing the cathedral, the tricycles pursued their journey, is not told. The pilgrimage ends, as it should, at the shrine,—that is, where the shrine had been; for the verger, after saying solemnly that they had come to the shrine of St. Thomas, solemnly added, "'Enery the Heighth, when he was in Canterbury, took the bones, which they was laid beneath, out on the green, and had them burned. With them he took the 'oly shrine, which it and bones is here no longer."
* * * * *
"The Lady with the Rubies." Translated from the German of E. Marlitt by Mrs. A.L. Wister. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company.
"Barbara Heathcote's Trial." By Rosa Nouchette Carey. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company.
"The Bar Sinister. A Social Study." New York: Cassell & Co.
"Pine-Cones." By Willis Boyd Allen. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co.
"An Old Maid's Paradise." By Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
In spite of all the clever pleas urged by the lovers of realism for realistic novels, it is easy enough to see that the mass of readers are just as much in love as ever with a high romanticism, and Miss Marlitt's stories still retain the strong hold they first took of the popular heart. The success of fiction comes from the fact that it supplies a want existing in most people's minds: lively incidents to awaken and stimulate the fancy, a touch of mystery to give a thrill of pleasing fear, sharply diversified characters impelled by strong motives which insure a lively conflict of passions,—all these are what the average novel-reader demands, and finds in Miss Marlitt's works. A great rambling German house, with suites of disused apartments shut away from sunshine and air and haunted by vanished forms and silent voices, while its open rooms are tenanted by a nest of gentlefolks of all degrees of relation,—some united by love, and others at swords'-points,—offers a lively field for the romancer; and such is the scene in "The Lady with the Rubies." "Belief in the Powers of Darkness will never die so long as poor human hearts love, hope, and fear," is the moral, so to speak, of the book; and the author has used with good effect this vein of superstition which "makes the whole world kin." Little Margarete's encounter with the family spectre, her flight from home, her lonely and terrifying night, are touchingly described; and, in fact, the book is full of pretty child-pictures, which enhance the pleasantness and charm of the love-story. Few of Miss Marlitt's books possess more interest and diversity than "The Lady with the Rubies;" and, as usual with Mrs. Wister's work, it is well and gracefully translated.
Given a family of girls well contrasted, utterly untrammelled, and each in possession of a will and a way of her own, materials for a romance are not hard to find; and in telling the story of the Heathcotes Miss Carey seems to have jotted down a series of events exactly as they fell out in actual life. There is plenty of sentiment, but its expression is dealt out with a sparing hand; there are pretty sylvan scenes, and the wood-paths, the warm homesteads, the meadows and fields, all enter into the story and make a pleasant part of it. If "Barbara Heathcote's Trial" has no leading motive as strong and as universally interesting as the author's former book, "Not Like Other Girls," it is, to our thinking, quite as pleasant and readable, and will no doubt enjoy its predecessor's popularity.
Romance has done much good work in the way of laying bare men's faults, hypocrisies, and evil lusts, and if Mormonism is actually on the increase among us there is good reason for a novel like "The Bar Sinister," which tells us the story of certain converts to the peculiar tenets of the saints and introduces us into the every-day life of Salt Lake City. That our families and our institutions are in peril from this monstrous and ridiculous evil it would not be easy for us to believe. Yet it is impossible to read this book without a conviction that the author could easily substantiate his facts by proofs, and that intelligent men and women have been and are still being led away into the heresy. The incidents of the story are, however, calculated to shock and repel the reader, who rises from its perusal sick and indignant as much from having been confronted with such personages and their doings as from the fact that such people are in existence. The author has without doubt enjoyed the advantage of a flesh-and-blood acquaintance with leaders of the faith who talk unctuously of "Class No. 1, 2, 3, 4," etc.; and, besides actual knowledge, there is strong feeling and earnest principle behind the whole narrative.
"Pine-Cones" is a pleasant story for young people, telling the adventures of a party of boy and girl cousins making a visit among the great pine woods of Maine. There is plenty of open air in the book, bright talk, and earnest stories told round the fire.
"An Old Maid's Paradise" is a bright little sketch of the adventures and misadventures of a woman who builds a cottage on Cape Ann promontory for five hundred dollars, and settles down to a joyful existence without any need of aid or comfort from living man except as a purveyor and burglar-alarm. Every one likes to know the price of things, and it is pleasing to understand exactly what may be done with five hundred dollars. "The cottage," as described by Miss Phelps, "contained five rooms and a kitchen. The body of this imposing building stood twenty feet square upon the ground. The kitchen measured nine feet by eight, and there was a wood-shed three feet wide, in which Puella managed to pile the wood and various domestic mysteries into which Corona felt no desire to penetrate. There were a parlor, a dining-room, a guest-room, and two rooms left for 'the family.' There were two closets, a coal-bin, and a loft. The house stood on what, for want of a scientific term, Corona called piers.... Corona's house had no plaster, no papering, no carpets. Her parlor, which opened directly upon the water, was painted gray; the walls were of the paler color in a gull's wing; the ceiling had the tint of dulled pearls; the floor was rock-gray (a border of black ran around this floor); the beams and rafters, left visible by the absence of plastering, were touched with what is known to artists as neutral tint," etc. A very pleasant little cottage in itself, the description may be of practical utility to many who would like some pied-a-terre by mountain or shore, and who are not quite certain what a moderate outlay can do.
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The Poems of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Household Edition. With illustrations. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
Due South; or, Cuba Past and Present. By Maturin M. Ballou. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
City Ballads. By Will Carleton. Illustrated. New York: Harper & Brothers.
A Social Experiment. By A.E.P. Searing. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Lawn-Tennis. By Lieutenant S.C.F. Peale, B.S.C. Edited by Richard D. Sears. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
The America's Cup. By Captain Roland F. Coffin. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Our Sea-Coast Defences. By Eugene Griffin, New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Cholera. By Alfred Stille, M.D., LL.D. Philadelphia: Lea Brothers & Co.