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The style of the book is delightfully clear, and agree or disagree with the writer as you may, you are never at a loss as to what his position is, and cannot fail to see that it is supported by sweet reasonableness, and a sane and charitable common sense. There is also about the work such evident candor and sincerity, and an absence of anything unbalanced or violent, that the grave and calm language often rises to eloquence.
These points would strike the stranger reading the book, and yet greater will be its effect on those that know of the character and life that has made Professor Peabody beloved of many generations of Harvard students.
Irving's Indian Sketches.1
Perhaps the wide difference in opinion concerning the character and wrongs of the Indian that exists between the humanitarian and his less charitable brother in the United States comes most strongly from the inability of each to take the other's standpoint, and understand the other's view. The former sees only the possibilities of the Indian character for better things, while the latter gets no farther than the practical knowledge of his ferocity and the treacherous bitterness of his revenge. The humanitarian considers the Indian as practically of the same disposition he was before the white man found him, and led him astray with the vices of Caucasian civilization. The Philistine refuses to believe that he was ever anything better than the degraded creature that he is today. The Philistinism, however, is of head rather than of heart, and as a rule stands open to conviction.
It is this desire to think well of the Indian that for more than fifty years has made popular the sketches of John Treat Irving, and which now makes necessary the printing of a new edition. Jotted down on the spot, during an expedition among the warlike tribes west of the Missouri, they give a singularly clear account of the manners and customs of the Otoe, Pawnee, and other tribes who, up to that time, had not mingled with the whites, and preserved intact their own peculiar customs and manners. It is the little details of Indian life — the peculiarities of their households, the every day customs and manners, the child-like barbarism of their tastes that make the book a valuable one. There is no straining after effect, and when a stirring scene is depicted or a sensational incident occurs, it is set forth with a simplicity of diction and an earnestness of manner that is at once charming and convincing of its truth. No attempt is made to gather the folk-lore of the nations, though several interesting legends and hero tales find a place between its covers. The greatest fault lies in its prolixity of scenic description and its repetition of the common peculiarities of the different tribes in the separate accounts of each.
In the same rich lead of folk lore that Mr. Joel Chandler Harris struck in the Uncle Remus papers, Mr. Jones has worked in his Negro Myths 2 The same legends are related in a somewhat different dialect. Mr. Jones uses nothing of the charming frame. work in which Mr. Harris sets his stories. Old Uncle Remus and his small listener and all their companions are left out, but the tricksy Brer Rabbit, transformed into Buh Rabbit, lays his deep plots and circumvents the other beasts in the same way. This additional work is valuable to the student of folk lore as showing how much of these legends is the common property of the Southland negro. Most of it is peculiar to his race, but traces of the folk lore that we knew before occasionally appear, as for example, the version of Bluebeard. The dialect has evidently been carefully studied, and he who runs may read the true darkey accent in the phonetic spelling used. A comparison of this dialect with that of the Indians and the Chinese on the Western coast shows so many points of resemblance that it looks as though a Pigeon English might be generalized from them that would do away with the need for Volapük as a universal language. The use of “sabe,” to know, and the sparing use of r's, make these stories intelligible in the Chinese quarter of San Francisco. The final chapters of the book deal with negro dentistry, the alligator, spirits, and religion, all of them amusing and valuable studies.It would require a good Catholic and a patriotic Newfoundlander to care to read through the Reverend Mr. Howley's solid book3 of minute research into the church history of that island. To such it will no doubt prove thoroughly satisfactory,- - complete it certainly is, and moreover decidedly anti-English in its tone.——— Colonel Powers has published a small manual of fancy drill movements 4 that will no doubt prove useful to the drill companies of political clubs during the coming summer.- -A collection of artotype views of points of interest in California has been published by the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company of this city. — So much has already been printed about Maximilian that a later writer like Mr. Schroeders could hardly expect to advance anything strikingly new or interesting concerning the international episode that brought the Mexican emperor into prominence. His account, however, is clear and logical, and in brief form presents the main facts that led to the downfall of the
1 Indian Sketches. By John Treat Irving. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1888. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
2 Negro Myths from the Georgia Coast. By Charles C. Jones, Jr. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. 1888. For sale in San Francisco by Samue
Carson & Co.
Ecclesiastical History of Newfoundland.
4 Display Movements for Political Clubs. By Colonel Frank H. Powers. Chicago: Hugh T. Reed. 1888.
5 The Fall of Maximilian's Empire, as seen from a United States Gun-Boat. By Seaton Schroeder. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1887. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
unhappy Austrian. The most interesting portions of the book are those bearing on the character of Bazaine, and his influence on Maximilian. When the withdrawal of the French troops was ordered, and the downfall of the empire became certain, Maximilian arranged for flight on the Austrian vessel lying off Vera Cruz. An indiscretion on the part of her captain revealed the plan to the French. Bazaine at once took such steps as to prevent this plan being carried out until after the abdication of the Emperor or the withdrawal of the French troops. These terms were in gratification of the Marshal's personal ambition, and not made at Napoleon's dictation. Maximilian's abdication, or his continuance in the country as emperor until the going of the French troops, would take away the onus of failure from the French arms and admitted of Bazaine's return to France without serious injury to his miltiary prestige. The flight of the Emperor would reverse all this, and the French Marshal did not hesitate to use every means in his power to save his personal reputation. To his selfish plotting and stinging sarcasm was due the final resolve of the Emperor to continue the war, his shutting himself up in Querétaro, and his final capture and death. These facts are especially interesting because of the later discussion concerning Bazaine's patriotism during the Franco-Prussian war, in that they throw a new light on his intense selfishness and unscrupulousness of disposition. A harassing feature of modern travel is the difficulty of obtaining reliable data concerning the commonplaces of itinerant life. Most of the guide-books are so taken up with descriptions of the things new and strange along the routes discussed that the practical things, the things that make life a comfort,- fall into the background, or are eliminated altogether. If a man travels with a courier the case is different. But the traveler who looks out for himself is much more interested in that portion of the guide-book which gives him definite information concerning prices, hotels, time consumed in passing between places, and kindred topics, than in all the descriptions of galleries and castles that could be written. It is this practical quality which has carried Mr. Knox's book into popularity. Of course, in such small compass, nothing but an outline of the subject is possible, but it is astonishing how much practical information is crowded between its covers. The outline tours are especially suggestive, and the new chapter on travel talk in four languages, although lacking in many common phrases, is more truly colloquial and less "bookish" in its diction than the majority of its class. At first thought, conversation would seem to be like good breeding a thing not to be acquired by study of a text book. It has about it, where successful, a spontaneous and elusive quality that would seem to be hampered
Knox. 1888. Co.
1 The Pocket Guide for Europe. By Thomas W. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson &
rather than helped by the application of a body of fixed rules. The present manual is an excellent exposition of these natural limitations, and being written by a man at once sensible and educated, deals with the negative rather than the positive side of the subject. He does not content himself, however, with simply pointing out the things fatal to good conversation, but in the most charming English, and with a chattiness of style that shows that he himself is an entertaining conversationalist, he sketches the outlines of the art in a clear and convincing fashion that elevates his work to a very respectable plane. Unconsciously amusing to the American reader will be the chapter on conversation between superiors and inferiors, and that suggesting the deportment of women when admitted to general conversation. Being English, Mr. Mahaffy has a standpoint that does not accord entirely with that of the American observer, and the latter chapter is more liable to stir up the fair sex.to rage than to induce in them those qualities desired by the author.-There have been many books on architecture published, but so many of them have been over technical and over elaborate that Mr. Tuckerman's small handbook on the subject is pretty sure to find a place for itself. His method is to take the various orders of architecture from the cromlech of the Druid to the most celebrated buildings of the present, and to give a brief and intelligible description of it and the practical needs from which it resulted. In this scheme he has done his work well, avoiding the technicality on one hand and the gush on the other that is apt to repel in such books. The wayfaring man, though he be not wise in matters architectural, can learn enough from this book to enable him to take a real and intelligent interest in architecture in all its forms. The book is fully illustrated with plates of the façades and ground plans of the most typical buildings.In The English in the West Indies, Mr. Froude, as is usual with him, has made an exceedingly interesting and readable book. It is the outgrowth of a vacation trip to the British possessions in the West Indies, made for the purpose of studying their conditions and needs, and relations to the Empire. The picture he draws is gloomy in the extreme; the islands are on the verge of ruin, the plantations have ceased to pay, and the whites are steadily decreasing in numbers. But the reader can feel little confidence in his conclusions as to the causes for such a state of affairs and the remedies needed. The strong prejudices of the writer on political conditions in England warp and
2 The Principles of the Art of Conversation. By J. P. Mahaffy. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1888. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
8 A Short History of Architecture. By Arthur Lynn Tuckerman. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1887. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
4 The English in the West Indies. By James Anthony Froude. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
bias his judgment; he cannot forego the pleasure of belaboring Gladstone and lamenting the tendencies of parliamentary government. -Two of the latest accessories to the Questions of the Day Series are The Old South and the New, and Slav or Saxon.2 In the former book, Mr. Kelly has added another to the long list of testimonials that are being presented to the astonishing awakening in manufacturing lines throughout the Southern States. His letters are especially forcible in that they contrast the observations of a shrewd and experienced man resulting from two trips through the South, the first immediately after the war, the other, last year. Mr. Kelley's Pennsylvania ideas on the tariff question occupy a prominent place. Slav or Saxon by Mr. Foulke, is a study of the growth and tendencies of Russian civilization, and a discussion of the future contest between the Russian and British Empires. He asserts that the struggle for liberty and self government must come sooner or later between these two; that the other European nations have seen their best days. If we believe the author, the conclusion is irresistible that Anglo-Saxon progress and civilization are in serious danger. The book pretends to a popular discussion of the subject, but the style is by no means entertaining. Its conclusions are not valuable; nor is it a real contribution to the literature on the subject.- Grant versus the Record is a bit of special pleading founded upon a comparison of the "Personal Memoirs" and 66 Military History of U. S. Grant," with the records of the Army of the Potomac as exemplified in "The Virginia Campaigns of 1864 and 1865" by Gen. A. A. Humphreys. The author laboriously strives to prove how unjustly Grant has treated his two subordinate commanders, Meade and Warren. The spirit of the book may be seen from the following italicized sentence following an enumeration of the honors showered upon, and the great doings of, Grant: "Only the pen of General Grant himself could blot the name that had been so glorified." The book is worthless and unreadable. One of the most critical journals in the country has long followed the practice of putting its book notices under classified headings, "Poetry," " Fiction," "Travel," Philosophy," and so forth. On one occasion, however, the proper classification of a book received in the office seems to have puzzled the editor, and demanded a new heading; which accordingly appeared with all gravity among the others,
The Old South and the New. A series of Letters by William D. Kelley. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, Questions of the Day Series. 1888. For Sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
2Slay or Saxon. A Study of the Growth and Tendencies of Russian Civilization. By Wm. D. Foulke, A. M. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, Questions of the Day Series. 1887. For sale in San Francisco by Samuel Carson & Co.
3 The Personal Memoirs and Military History of U. S. Grant versus the Record of the Army of the Potomac. By Carswell McClellan. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Company. 1887.
viz., "Nonsense." We are reminded of this neat anticipatory summary of the review to follow by at ponderous volume entitled The Hidden Way Across the Threshold, and sub-entitled first "The Mystery which hath been Hidden for Ages and from Generations," and second "An Explanation of the Concealed Forces in Every Man to Open the Temple of the Soul and to Learn the Guidance of the Unseen Hand." The general reader will be glad to learn that this most important revelation is "Illustrated and made plain with as few occult phrases as possible"; and that its author's competency to speak on the matter is assured, as he is an A. B. N. and Fellow of the Order of the S. S. S. and of the Brotherhood Z. Z. R..R. Z. Z. A fellow of the Order S. S. S. might perhaps fail to inspire perfect confidence in our minds that he had at his fingers' ends the mystery that has been hidden for ages; but membership in the Brotherhood Z. Z. R. R. Z. Z. staggers skepticism. The author is. moreover, persuaded to the work by numerous requests "from both worlds,” and has gleaned “these precious thoughts" from "both angels and men," so that his backing in his views may be regarded as quite complete. The Field-Ingersoll Discussion: Faith or Agnosticism, reprinted from papers in the North American Review, seems a feeble sort of copy of a similar reprint,- the Spencer-Harrison discussion on agnosticism, which came to an untimely fate — the reprint, we mean, not the discussion - by Mr. Spencer's suppression of the whole edition, out of deference to some dissatisfaction of Mr. Harrison with the statement of his position. We believe the only readers who ever had access to this volume were the reviewers, to whom advance copies had been sent, (although of course the original papers were open to every one in the periodicals where they appeared); but there is sufficient similarity of make-up in the pamphlet now under review to suggest that the idea was taken from the carlier one. This invites comparisons that Colonel Ingersoll and Dr. Field can hardly bear. The discussion is on the old and obsolescent plane of "infidel" and "orthodox believer,❞—a plane on which it seems to us futile and painful to carry on discussion. It is not reasoning together at all each man expounds his own view, without seriously trying to meet the other man's; there is no real effort find common ground, and to narrow down and define and so consider with precision the actual differences. Some exceedingly good things are said by both, and while Ingersoll is more eloquent and telling, Dr. Field scores some admirable points, as when he says: "You think yourself persecuted for your opinions. But others hold the same opinions without offense. Nor is it because you express your Nobody would deny you the same free
4 The Hidden Way across the Threshold. By J. C. Street, A. B. N. Boston: Lee & Shepard. 1887.
5 The Field-Ingersoll Discussion: Faith or Agnosticism? A series of articles from the North American Review. New York: The North American Review.
dom which is accorded to Huxley and Herbert Spencer" and goes on to say with a bluntness far from undignified, that Ingersoll excites the feeling that he does, not as an agnostic, but as a "rough antagonist." The clergyman is far the more temperate and fair disputant; but he ignores or evades Ingersoll's strong est points, while Ingersoll misrepresents his positions. There is nothing in the whole to give much pleasure to people who desire to see human thoughts on these great mysteries fairly and earnestly compared together. --Better Not1 is a little treatise on the use of wine, theater-going, dancing, and card-playing. It does not denounce these things as wicked, nor as for bidden to Christians, but only as things that it is "better not " to do. Its tone is very frir, gentle,
and moderate; but it is earnest and impressive.A really bright little satire on American politics and society of today comes to us with the title The Age of Cleveland. 2 It is entirely good-natured, and though not uniformly amusing throughout, nor free from a few quite pointless pages, it has a number of decidedly clever ones. Its political part is by far the best. We fear, however, that it is by no means every one who will be able to distinguish between literal and satirical statement in all the jokes. One of the brightest hits made by the writer (who early betrays himself as a Mugwump) is his definition of "the vital distinction between the Republican and the Democratic parties"- viz., " that the former insists that the war is not yet over, the latter that it has never taken place."
2The Age of Cleveland. By Harold Fulton Ralphdon, New York: Frederick A. Stokes & Brother. 1888.