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ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOKMEN., Issue 10470, 13 November 1897, Supplement
ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOKMEN.
Our London correspondent, writing on September 10, says :
Though new books are still scarce and of indifferent quality, the publishing world has commenced to hum again, and in a very few weeks the annual autumn avalanche of literature will have begun to descend upon us. I should say, too, judging by appearances, the output promises to be exceptionally heavy. Mr Fisher Unwin, who is first in the field with his announcements, furnishes per se a formidable list. Amongst other attractive works he advertises a volume of the ' Private Papers of William Wilberforce,' by Mrs A. M. Wilberforce, which should, I imagine, be read with special interest at Government House, Adelaide. We are also to have an elaborate essay on the 'Works of Charles Keene' (the famou3 «Punch' artist), by that eminent black-and-white dilettante Joseph Pennell, and a volume on' The Love Affiirs of Famous Men' by th e audacious cleric who wrote' How to be Happy Though Married' some years ago. Mr Hardy will have his work cut out to beat Mr T. P. O'Connor's 'Some Old Love Stories,' which is a capital mixture of history, gossip, and surmise dealing with this subject. The first of the ' Builders of Greater Britain' series, which (as you know) Louis Becke and Mr Wilson, of the Colonial Office, are editing, will be 'Sir Walter Ralegh,' by Major Martin Hume, and ' Sir Thomas Maitlantl,' by Walter Frewen Lord, and the initial volume of a popular series on ' Masters of Medicine'('John Huntei') by Dr Stephen Paget. Mr J. F. Hogan, M.P., has not merely written a bookon ' The Gladstone Colony,' but captured an introductory letter from the G.O.M. himself to give it tone. Furthermore, Mr Unwin will publish for Mr H. De R. Walker a volume on 'Australian Democracy.' The most notable fictions emanating from Paternoster square should be 'The Tormentor,' by Benjamin Swift, the youth who got such kudos from Mr Barrie and others for ' Nancy Noon'; ' The School for Saints,' by John Oliver Hobbes; ' Wild Life in Southern Seas,' by Louis Becke ; and • The Outlaws of the Marches,' by Lord Ernest Hamilton.
The edition de luxe of Kipling, in twelve volumes, which Macmillan announce, is, of course, merely a reproduction, by arrangement, of Scribner's ' Outward Bound ' issue. Its chief interest lies in the fact that the author has rearranged his stories in suitable groups. Thus under ' Soldiers Three' will be found all the events in which Mulvaney, Ortheris, and Learoyd were concerned, followed by other military stories; 'ln Black and White' covers tales of Native life in India, and ' The Phantom Rickshaw' those which deal with matters more or less between the two worlds. To ' Under the Deodars ' has been added ' Mrs Hauksbee Sits Out,' and to 'ln Black and White' «The Enlightenments of Paget, M.P.' 'The Story of the Gadsbys' and the Anglo-Indian child stories stand as first issued. Alterations in matter and text have been avoided as much as possible, but two tales—'Bitters Neat' and 'Haunted Subalterns '—have been added to' Plain Tales from the Hills.' These formed part of the original series as it first appeared in India ten years ago. The Mowgli stories have been collected in one volume and arranged in sequence.
Mr Kipling is at present suffering severely for a jocular indiscretion which has been copied far and wide throughout the Empire. As everybody knows (or ought to know, for it has been advertised sufficiently), Lord and Lady Aberdeen are bringing up their children on a System (with a big S). This includes amongst other intellectual distractions a good deal of " ink spilling " and the editing of a miniature monthly magazine called « Wee Willie Winkie.' Therein the fair editress, Lady Marjorie Gordon, recently chaffed Mr Rudyard Kipling anent his ' Our Lady of Snows' poem. Of coarse, the number somehow found its way to that gentleman, and, willing to jbe good-natured, ho re. eponded with the following nonsense verse :
There was once a small boy of Quebec Who was buried In snow to the neck j When asked " Aro you friz ?" Ho replied " Yes, I is, But we don't call this cold in Quebec." These" lines are now übiquitous. I've seen them in every paper I've picked up for the la3t ten days. Picture our Rudyard's exasperation !
Like 'Captains Courageous,' the railway story '007,' in ' Scribne'rs,' has brought Kipling to sad grief with American cognoscenti, who aver that, despite the author's seeming mastery of his subject, language and technical details are equally faulty. "■' Section Boss " writes :
Mr Kipling turns out pretty good American for an outsider, but if he had spent a night in a round-house with his ears open he would never have used "loco" for locomotive or have omitted the familiar "engine" altogether; he would not have said "bogie" when he means truck" ; he would not have allowed a parlor car to be hitched to a suburban commuter's train ahead of the caboose" ; he would not have made his engines speak of themselves as " Americans " (in the sense of pattern), or painted his hero peagreen with a red "buffer-bar." lurther, no American writer would use a simile for brilliancy a ' fireman's helmet in a street parade," as few of his countrymen have ever seen a fireman in a metallic head-covering such as his worn in London. I suppose it's all right to strengthen a situation by omitting the guard-rail from an 80ft bridge. It gives a pleasant, breezy, Western, get-there-or-bust, nigger-on-the-safety-valve movement ; and maybe it's good fiction to bring about the catastrophe with a hundred-pound piglet, who " rolled right under the pilot" and thereby caused the " bogies" to lift; but on plain, every-day railroads there is a guard-rail at every open culvert. I ve learned a good deal about India from Rudyard, but when I read his Yankee stories I wonder if, perhaps, I haven't learned some things that aren t so.
The combination of the ' British Review' with the 'National Observer' proved the complete failure the fatuous venture deserved to be, and the paper is now finally defunct. The «Speaker' may be the next to go, and I fear neither the 'Academy' nor the ' Saturday Review' pay expenses. The ' Idler' began with a gorgeous circulation, but has been starved into a comparative failure. Jerome K. Jerome once more resigns the editor's chair, and Allen Upward will see what he can do with it. On the other hand, ' Pearson's' carries all before it, the piles on provincial bookstalls being something to marvel at.
In the days of its prosperity the 'National Observer' tried desperately hard to kill George R. Sims with ridicule of the cruellest kind—the sort which contains half a truth and yet is the blackest of lies. Fortunately "Dagonet's" reputation and cuticle are robuster than his oft-advertised liver, and whilst the 'National Observer' lay dying the other day he was celebrating his jubilee. The dinner (for, of course, it was a dinner) came off at the Cafe Royal, and next to the speech of the guest of the evening (spontaneous and eloquent) the menu was its leading feature. Under the general heading 'How the Poor Live' the following novel dishes appeared:—"Melon du land of gold ; poule au pot rogues and vagabonds; creme a la mother-in-law; sole a la portu gay city; fillets de rougets en caisse a la Dorcas Dene, supremes de poularde a la Merry Duchess; foie gras de Dagonet en aspic; noisettes d'agneau a la 'Referee'; pommes nouvelles a la Three Brass Balls • perdreaux Fault Up-to-date, safade, mustard, and cress; Mary Jane's souffK Billy's Roes on toast, Lights o' London glacee, au dessert Dagonet's Ballades. In response to the toast of the evening Mr Sims made a speech.that suggested that Mr Chauncey Depew must look to his laurels if "Dagonet" should follow "Mrs
fiulliboy's " example and take a holiday in America. A oapital entertainment was provided by Messrs R. G. Knowles, T. Keynolds, Griff, Cliff Ryland, Alec Hurley, and the Lyrjc Vocal Quartet. Altogether a very festive evening; and I can quite believe the statement of one of the entertainers: that it took George R. quite two days to recover his natural despondency. ■« : The late E. J. Milliken, who died the other day, was the poet of ' Punch,' and the most regular, industrious, and hard working •member of Mr Burnand's literary staff. Probably, indeed, it would not be far wrong to allege that most weeks the editor and Mr Milliken wrote the leading comic journal themselves. The jokes forwarded by the public to ' Punch' are of course innumerable, but not one in twenty can be utilised. Mr Milliken produced practically all the verse. He invented '"Arry," and his ballads in that jo'.e are redolent of the real Cockney vulgarity. Also, he produced each week the rhymed letterpress to accompany Tenniel's cartoon, and occasionally blbo suggested the theme. Mr Spielmann, indead, declares Milliken's services at the weekly discussions on this subject were quite exceptional. In some respects he. lived for the cartoon. He filled his note book with suggestions for it. His. mere failures might have furnished forth the topics of the week for the whole of the comic Press. The cartoon was often chosen on his suggestion, though, of course, not invariably so, for he sat at a council board and with no casting vote. Mr Milliken's part in ' Punch' has been happily defined by it,s historian as that of general utility man. He was able to turn his hand to anything, and he was always ready for the event of the day, no matter what its nature—a '"situation in politics, the death of a celebrity, or a crisis in the affairs of the nation. Apart from all this, he showed his gift for social satire in a number of typical creations. He was a capital parodist, and when a book deserved that treatment he could expose its absurdities in the most telling of all object lessons. Eleven years ago Mr Milliken's faculty for social satire involved Mr ' Punch' in a libel action. The article was entitled ' Mrs Gore-Jenkins : A Suburban Political Lady,' and poked fun at' the league meetings, garden parties, and other political blandishments of the wife of the M.P. for the Brixwood Division of Norton. The cap was promptly fitted on by Mrs R. Gent-Davis, whoso husband was then member for the Kennington division of Lambeth. Mr Milliken lived in South London at that time, and was known to be a Liberal. Unusual acerbities were thus imparted to the case, with the result that in December, 1886, the genial editor of ' Punch' was committed for trial. By the time the case came on in the superior court, however, all parties had had opportunities to cool, and the little ebullition ended with pacific apologies. Mr GentDavis resigned his seat three years later. Mr Milliken once gave a capital answer to a lady who complained that ' Punch' is not as good as it used •to be." " No," assented Milliken, genially, "it never was !" Those of your readers who came across a novel called ' A Dreamer' some fifteen years" ago and liked it can confidently 6end to the library for * Our Wills and Our Fates,' a rather cumbrously christened story which the same authoress—Katharine Wylde—has just brought out. The central situation sounds luridly melodramatic, dealing, in fact, with the marriage of a young man bent on revenging the assassination of his sire to the murderer's daughter. But the treatment of this not unfamiliar- imbroglio is adroit, and the drawing of the chief characters admirable. Mrs Oliphanc at her beat did nothing better than Dean Caernarvon ; in fact, the Caernarvon family generally are wonderfully able portraits of well-meaning but insufferable philistines. Tne unconventional hero Geoffrey is not quite convincing, but Marie and her adventuress mother will appeal strongly to all feminine readers. If there are any of your readers who consider the strictures passed by the reviewers on Mr Hall Caine's 'The Christian' too severe let me advise them to peruse or reperuse ' The Deemster.' They will then easily grasp the difference between MrCaine at his best, writing anent a place and people he thoroughly understands, and Mr Caine frisking in conceited ignorance, backed by superficial observation and inaccurate data, through the mysteries of our modern Babylon.
Prince Ranjitsinbji's cricket book is a big success. I hear from a reliable quarter that the edition de luxe, of which three 'hundred and fifty were printed, only twenty remain unsold. The twenty-five shilling edition has been nearly exhausted, and the second popular edition, cf which five thousand were printed, has done so well that a third edition Is meditated. Ten thousand were printed of the first popular edition.
The new volume of Savage Club papers which Mr J. E. Muddook is bringing out in conjunction with a number of more or less notable members of that coterie may easily surpass in merit the original volumes of 1807 and 1888. These are principally valuable for the sake of the illustrations by Cruickshank, Harrison Weir, Erunton, etc. The' 67 issue was got up fcr the benefit of Robert Brough's widow, and Consists mainly of indifferent magazine padding. A characteristic fairv tale by W. S. Gilbert entitled 'The Triumph of Vice' might bear reprinting, and T. W. Robertson's 'After Dinner' has a certain interest. The rest of the charitable contributions are such as men usuallv vamp out of a forgotten corner for— nix. The 1868 volume rises a step higher. There are big names galore, but the only story of even moderate merit is by a then anonymous young gentleman, the author of the ' Waterdale Neighbors.' We now know him as Mr Justin M'Carthy, M.P. In the August ' Cosmopolis' (which as a magazine will not, I fear, last) Professor Max Muller continues hi 3 interesting reminiscences. This time his gossip is of royalties. In the course of it he refers to meeting the late Queen of Holland at luncheon at Dean Stanley's. The Queen had a3ked the dean to invite a number of literary men—Tennyson, Monckton Milnea (Lord Houghton), Huxley, and several more. The company were waiting and waiting, but Tennyson did not appear. Stanley suggested that they should not wait any longer, but the Queen refused to sit down before the great poet's arrival. At last it was suggested that Tennyson might be mooning about in the cloisters, and so he was. He was caught, and was placed next to the Queen. The Queen, Professor Max Muller goes on to tell, knew wonderfully how to hide her crown and put everybody at their ease. She took the conversation into her own hands, and kept the ball rolling during the whole luncheon. But she got nothing out of Tennyson. He was evidently in low spurts, and, sitting next to him, the professor could hear how to every question the Queen addressed to him he answered " Yes, ma'am," " No, ma'am," and at last, by a great effort, " Ma'am, there is a good deal to be said on both sides of the question." He then turned to the professor, and said in a whisper, but a loud whisper: "I wish they had put some of your talking fellows next to Regina."
Besides the New Zealand novelist's (Marriott Watson's) tale of adventure, Harper Brothers (who have now a London house of their own) will next year run Henry SetonMerrimm's ' Rodens Corner' through their magazine. Du Maurier'a 'The Martian' will be published by the same firm on the 17th inst., and I fear won't set the Thames ablaze. Mrs Mannington Caffyn's 'Poor Max' is also due in volume form shortly. «Materfamilias' will be the title of Ada Cambridge's new story.' According to latest advices, Louis Becke has relinquished the editorship of Unwin's 'Rulers of Greater Britain' series, which will now be supervised by H. F. Wilson only.
The flattering but belated, half-column review of Mrs M'Cosh Clark's ' Maori Tales and Legends' in Tuesday's ' Westminster Gazette' should give the book a fresh impetus in the market. ' Stapleton's Luck,' by Margaret HoIHb, is the newest Australian novel. I have not read it yet, but Mr Courtenay pronounces the story well constructed. Theie is, he says, a weak and unintelligent rogue in the tale, Mr Searle, and there is a selfish, cynical, wealthy Australian squatter, Mr Denison. These two persons are presented with an amount of ability which entitles the reader to feel aggrieved at the pale and ineffectual effigies of Stapleton and Miss Fowler. The latter is a merely silhouetted heroine, and the wrongs of the former leave
us unmoved. Everybody ia unaimable, and the pious people are positively odious. The author jerks us uncomfortably backwards and forwards between Melbourne and the City of .Rilchester, and has evidently what the colonials call- "a down" on Dissenters. Phil Robinson's Australian friends will be glad to meet him again 'ln Garden, Orchard, and Spinney.' This is a charming book and certain to delight all lovers of the country and of natural history. The author loves the birde and the squirrels, and- even the insects, and he writes about them with a dainty gracefulness and knowledge which go admirably together. Most of the papers originally appeared in the 'Contemporary Review.'
Two new Australian stories are out this week, 'The Adventures of the Broad Arrow' by Morley Roberts and -■« Sheila M'Leod : A Heroine of the Back Blocks' by Guy Boothby. I have read the first-named, and think very little of it. A more obvious and flagrant "pot-boiler" it would be hard (jpme across. Plot, characterisation", and exeoution are all equally "slip slop," and unworthy of the writer of «King Billy of Ballarat.' Guy Boothby's latest I propose to enjoy this evening. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy's autobiography, which was first announced years ago, but the completion of whioh has been delayed by the author's ill-health, will be ready for publication shortly. 'My Life in Two Hemispheres,' as it is to be entitled, contains many interesting particulars of the disturbed Ireland of Sir Charles's youth and early manhood. It is also a contribution to the history of the building of Greater Britain. Young Gavan Duffy had the privilege of making Carlyle's acquaintance (and taking copious notes of him) during the philosopher's visit to Ireland, the poorer farms of whioh he said resembled "Paddy's ragged coat."
The late Madame Couvreur (ne'e Jessie Catherine Huybers) was the daughter of Mr Alfred James Huybers, J.P., of Hobart, originally from Antwerp, was born at Highgate, near London, and was taken to Tasmania as an infant by her parents in the early fifties. "Tasma" lived in Hobart until her first marriage, when she went to Victoria,' where she remained until 1879, when she went to reside permanently in Europe. In 1885 she married M. Auguste Couvreur, the well-known Belgian publicist and statesman, who died a few years ago. Her firtt' Btory, 'Barren Love,' appeared in Mr Garnet Walch'a Christmas annual in 1877; and her first novel, ' Uncle Piper, of Piper's Hill,' which first appeared in the ' Australasian,' was published in London in 1889 under the name of "Tasma." Her subsequent novels include ' In Her Earliest Youth' (189 C), 'The Penance of Portia Jamas' (1891), 'The Knight of the White Feather' (1892), and 'Not Counting the Cost' (1895). She also published various short stories, contributed extensively to the ' Australasian,' and was ' The Times's' correspondent at Brussels. • - . "
ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOKMEN., Issue 10470, 13 November 1897, Supplement
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