LITERARY COLUMN. RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
Among new novels published in London during • February were "The Monster and Other Stories," by Stephen Crane, "War and Arcadia," by Bertram Mitford, and "The Bolieving Bishop,' by Havergall* Bates, The following notices of these works axe extracted from the columns of the Spectator. After placing Mr. Crane's work at the head of its weekly list our contemporary proceeds :—: — Two at least of the stories have already seen the light in magazine form. "His New Mittens" — a touohing story of a little boy who, yielding to the force of public opinion, disobeyed his mother's instructions, was punished on his return, ran a^vay from home in a fit of resentment, ivnd was brought back by a, kindly tradesn'iajn — and the very striking and rather ghastly story which gives its name to the collection. This narrates how a good-natured, childishly vain coloured groom saved the life of his master's little boy from a fire caused by his own carelessness, bufc sustained such terrible injuries as to affect his reason, and disfigure his appearance to the extent of monstrosity. The. boy's father, a skilful doctor, saves the poor fellow's life, and pensions him off, but the horror which "the Monster" inspires is so great that his guardians refuse tto keep him, he breaks out and creates a panic in the town, and finally, when the doctor has taken the monster back to his own • houae, ho is repaid for his humanity by being boycotted by his neighbours. He loses his practice, his wife's parties are deserted, and a. deputation waits upon him to beg that he will consent to the removal of the unhappy negro. Throughout this strange narrative Mr 1 . Crane is at his best. The description, of the fire and the rescue is astonishingly vivid, ands the conflict in the doctor's / mind between gratitude and repulsion, his duty to his son's rescuer, and consideration for his family and friends, is brought out with peculiar poignancy. If Mr. Crane had never written anything else he would have earned the right of remembrance by this story alone. It is full of pity and terror, and leaves an indelible impression on the reader. In "War and Arcadia" Mr. Bertram Mitford gives a vivid picture of the last Sioux troubles in the United States. We "gentlemen of England" who sit at home "at ease" generally forget the fact that almost within the last decade scalping, ghost dancing, and every kind of atrocity known to Fenimore Cooper were practised in the territories belonging to our cousins over the water. Let us hojpe' that it was for tho last time. Mr. Mitford gives a most exciting account of the adventures of his hero and heroine, and though we are bound to confess that the "war" section of his novel furnishes much better reading, Arcadia, too, is not without its disturbing ' elements. In the end, however, the Boroly tried hero escapes from all his enemies, civilised as well as savage. Mr. Havergall Bates attempts, in the most spirit, to show in "The Believing Bishop" what would the effect if an English Bishop tried to follow the teaching of Christ literally. Perh»ps, if it is permissible to touch on so spiritual a question in the columns devoted to fiction, we may venture to suggest -that Bishop Rannsome took only oue event in the story of the teaching of our Lord on which to model his "imitation of Christ." This event was, t>f course, the story of the ruler who "had great possessions." If, on the other hand, the Bishop had taken the parable of the talents for his chief study, his life would have taken probably a different turn, for in the end we doubt whether tho attempt to save his own soul is the loftiest possible aim for man in his spiritual life. And Bishop Rannsome, though he advanced his own spiritual life, undoubtedly did not do nearly so much good in carrying the message of Christ as he would ■ have done bad he not thought it his duty to limit nis own human intercourse by living a poor man among the poor. At any rate Mr. Bates writes his book with profound earnestness, and though there are miiny objections to be found to his rendering of jthe obligations of a Christian— for example, tne complete overturning of all civilisation by, savage invasion if every Christian acted according to the exact letter of his creed— still, we can only bo interested by his setting forth of the exact consequences of a life lived in accordance with this reading of the duty of a follower of our Lord. NEW BOOKS AND NEW EDITIONS. "The Temperance Problem and Social Reform," by Joseph Rowntree and Arthur Sherwell. Cheap Popular Edition (abridged). Hodder and Stoughton, London. , The value of Messrs. Rowntree and Sherwell's compendious examination of the temperance problem is thoroughly well known to all students of social reform. As Canon Gore pointed out, the book marked an epoch because it approached the temperance problem as part of the whole soloial problem, and because it also provided a broad basis on which people of all sorts could co-operate. Public men of yarious types, bishop 3 and statesmen, university proiessors and lawyers, churchmen and nonconformists, have borne testimony to its excellence. A cheap popular edition which brings -it within the reach of all will be welcomed in' many quarters. Although it is necessarily some' what abridged, the authors have well succeeded in their desire "to retain the more important facts, together with the praotical proposals, that are set forth in the larger yrork."
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