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BOOKS AND BOOKMEN

• Peggy of the Circus.’ By Mary Farrah. ‘ A Schoolgirl’s Diary ’ : tho atorv of her holiday beyond the seas. By May Baldwin. London : W. and R. Chambers.

The above are two interesting stories of children for children of which nothing need be wild save that they are healthy in tonftj simply told, well printed, and bound in attractive cloth covers, with four and six illustrations respectively. They can bo commended at this time of tho year as admirably adapted for juvenile prize or Christmas and New Year gift book*. THE SHORT TALES OF hOLOGUB. Russia is tho land of short stories and sketches. long novels are exceptional and not very popular. Nearly all Russian writers of 'note to-day are either poets or essayists or short-story writers. Tchekhof, who wrote some 20 volumes of little tales, really made tho short story popular. “ I have made a way for this sort of writing,” he is reported to have said to Kuprin ; “ after me it will be easy for others to go on writing such talcs.” Tho prophecy has been fulfilled. More than 80 per cent, of tho fiction published since his death has -been collections of little stories. Fedor Sologub is one of the cleverest and, bo it added, one of tho most eccentric of contemporary literary men in Russia. Much of his work is obscure and ■gains him ridicule with the bourgeois, but each volume that ho produces contains something touching- and suggestive. I take the tenth volume of his works—he has now produced 13—and, ns nothing <>f his has appeared as vet in the English language, wifi quote three or four o.xaiiinlos of 70 stories, many of which arc only half a page in length, tho short story reduced to a minimum. —The Candles.— There were two candles burning, and many lamps along tho walls. A mini was reading from an exercise bcok, and others were silent and listened. The flames trembled. Tho candles also listened; they liked listening, but there was a draught from somewhere, and they trembled. The man finished reading. The candles v,cm blown out, and tho people went away. And it wag just as before. There, was one grey candle burning. A woman snt and sowed. A child slept and coughed in his sleep. There was a draught from tim walls. The, candle wept white heavy tear?. Tho tears trickl'vi away and froze. It began to dawn. Th' woman with red eyes still sawed on. She blew out the candle. She sewed on. Ami it was just as before. I •vllov.’ candles were burning. A mmi lay in a coffin—yellow and cold. Someone west reading from, a book. A woman wept. The candle? worn dying from fear and sorrow, A crowd arrived. They sung, they flung incense. They lifted up the coffin. Tho candles were , blown out. They went away. And it was just as before. —Equality.— A nig fi-ii overlook a little one, and wanted to swallow him. The little fish squeaked nut; It Is nnjust. I also want to live. All fishes are equal before tho law." Tim l;lg fish answered : •• V.T-t’s the matter? I won't discus? whet lies 1 we are equal, hut if you don't viant me to rat yon. then do yon pleic-e swallow me if you can—swallow me. do n't rf afraid, f shan't sot on you.” 'I he Hi tie fish opened his mouth and noted atom trying to get the big fish in. sighed at last, and said : "Yon have it. Swallow me.” Then, in a more humorous vein : —The Lump of Sugar.— There was once a landlady. She had

little key to unlock a. little cnphor.r.l, in the little clipboard was a little box. aml in the little box was a wee. wee. lump r-f cigar. Ami the landlady had a little doggie, and the doggie teas very capricious, and lik'd I" outre, hold of the end of the. landladv’f skirt ami (eg at it. I tn- landlady look her little key and opr.K.l the little cupboard, found the j little box, am! took on' flic woe. wje j lump of <ll gar. The little vlopgio looked j up at her and wagged his tail. ! Rut tlie landlady said : "k on i egged at my skirt. Capriza Petrovna: so see this little lump of snpai—well, you shan't harp it." And she put the sugar hack where it was before. The little doggie repented. Yes. hut it was too late. - Tlie Golden Po-I.—• Bobby was angry with his papa, and said itj his nurse : As soon a.s I grow up I'll get to ho a. general, and I'll come to papa's house with. a. cannon ami take him prisoner and tie him np tn a post." Pupa, overhearing, cried out: "Ah, \ou bad boy! 'Fie papa, to a post. would you 9 That would hurt papa badly." Bobby took fright, and said heritatingly : “But, pnpn. yon know it would bo a golden post, with a bit of writing on it—- ■ For Bravery.’ ” Solognb is not, however, famous in Russia through three little tales alone, hm for hi-s longer and more impressicnielt stories. That Tathor wonderful ina/azinc the ‘ Golden Fleoco’ contained some of his best stories, and among them ‘The Herald of the Beast,’ an impressionist amount of a rich but lonely man overtaken by fever in a sumptuously-furnished House, where he was living alono; It wa.s quiet and peaceful : neither gladness nor sadness was in the room. The electric light wap on. The walls seemed solid, firm as adamant, indestructible. The window \var> hidden behind heavy dark green curtains, and the big door opposite the window wns forked and bolted, as was also the little one in the wall at tlie side. But on the otlmr side of the doors all was dark and tintenanted, and in the melancholy ball, where beautiful palms yearned for their southern homes. Gurof lay on the dirnn in delirium ; From a corner ran out Fever, long 1 and slender, with ugly yellow face and j dry. bony hands, lay down beside him. j embraced him, kissed his face, and pmijed. , The walks of the room disappear, and j Gurof is transported in his delirium to an unearthly kingdom, and seems to resume j a life ho* has some time or ether broken off | in order to live for a space as an ordinary i mortal. It is there his destiny to fight a dragon and he destroyed by him. Twice j Onrof escapes from his kingdom by utter- j ing an exorcism, and he gets hack to his | lonely, sumptuous room, where in the | silence mice arc turning with their tails i the pages of the book lie had been read- . ing when the fever overtook hint. Bui i the third time the exorcism fails, and : Gurof is slain by the beast, who in the i Inst paragraph of the story is looking ; down upon him with red eyes, “ grinding I his bones in his teeth, devouring Ids yet- j beating heart." An appalling story.— | • Times’s ’ Russian correspondent. i NEW BOOKS. j Tbo * Bookseller ’ publishes the following i new books table showing the 14 principal ! totals in the larger table, with oninparigona between 1311, 1312, 1915: — !

Classification. No. of Books Pub' 1911. 1912. islied. i 1913. ! Fiction .2,033 2,290 2,285 Religion and theology 8d8 934 893 Essays and belles kit res Children’s books ... . 796 895 876 j . 695 821 869 Biography and history 638 674 615 1 Poetry and tbe drama . . 558 674 582 i Political economy ... . . 520 621 594 1 Educational . 561 522 455 Medical and surgical . . 325 367 505 Music . 244 300 ■329 Annuals and serials . 364 275 357 Law and parliamentary 234 249 139 Art and architecture . . 235 233 196 Travel and adventure . . 222 213 188

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141114.2.17

Bibliographic details

BOOKS AND BOOKMEN, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914

Word Count
1,299

BOOKS AND BOOKMEN Issue 15650, 14 November 1914

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