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THE LITERARY NEWS.
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The Literary News
3n irnnttr fou mai reoix t^tnxy ob tgtwm, 6g t^ fittiiUt M!b <n ummer, oft um6ram, unbtr om< t^k ftu,
and t9<retmt9 fas* atoat (9e fe&tou< fotore*.
From MacGrath's '-The Urey Cloak." Copyright, 1903, by Bohbs-Merrill Co,
THE LETTER CRUMBLED INTO BLACK FLAKES UPON THE TABLE.
The Grey Cloak.
This new romance, by the author of "The
Puppet Crown," opens in Paris in the brilHant
days of Mazarin's sway, and from there passes
to the wilds of New France, with its contrasts
of old world elegance and Indian savagery.
In the vivid setting chosen Mr. MacGrath
has wrought a story of dramatic incident and
absorbing interest. It centres in a political
conspiracy, to which the conspirators have
pledged themselves in writing, this document
being the object of plot and counterplot by
those implicated. In the first effort to secure
it, murder is the result, and of the midnight
assailant the only clue is the grey cloak torn
off in his reckless flight. From this point the
grey cloak becomes the sinister influence in
the fortunes of the half dozen persons whom
chance has thrown together in love and in
peril. Its owner is cleared of the imputation
it casts, but he had lent it to a friend; the
friend, in turn, can clear himself of suspicion;
but the question remains. Who was the
wearer? and remains unsolved until the grey
cloak has finished its work.
Through all this tangled web of suspicion
and misunderstanding there runs a bright
thread of love story, and few more charming
heroines have made recent appearance than
Diane Gabrielle, at once madame and made-
moiselle, for whom the various possessors of
the grey cloak are brought into their peril.
The change of scene from France, when the
lost document renders the Bastille too immi-
nent, to Quebec and the wild Canadian forest,
is admirably depicted; and the scattered
threads are united and the drama brought to
its fitting close in a series of thrilling scenes.
(Bobbs-Merrill Co. $1.50.)
THE LITERARY NEWS.
As a historical romance "Roderick Talia-
ferro" has the pleasing merit of presenting a
series of episodes in recent history that still
retains much freshness and vividness. It is
a story of Mexico, and Mexican history,
especially that of the last half century, has
not as yet been worked to death by the novel-
ists. This fact is all ths more surprising
since the history of this Spanish-American
country, from the time of its discovery by
Cortez to the election of President Diaz,
abounds in thrilling adventure and romantic
Not the least interesting period has been
chosen by George Cram Cook as the scene of
"Roderick Taliaferro," the time of the French
occupation when Maximilian and his wife
Carlotta were sent over seas by the European
powers to proclaim themselves Emperor and
Empress of Mexico.
The hero whose name gives title to the book
is the last surviving member of a branch of a
good old Southern family, who have sacrificed
everything to the Confederate cause. And, by
the way, any one south of the Mason and
Dixon line knows that Taliaferro is pro-
nounced Tulliver. Roderick himself has
served in the Confederate army, but, heartsick
with loss of family and estates, and embittered
by defeat, he lacks the courage to take up life
under the new conditions, and therefore de-
termines to try his fortune in Mexico, where
there will be fighting in plenty, with possible
chances of advancement. It is well for him
that he is endowed with indomitable courage,
resourceful wit, a glib command of French,
and consuming love of adventure, for from the
time he sets foot in the City of Mexico he be-
comes involved in a web of intrigue that
would tax the powers of a weakling. Of
course there is a bewitching senorita and a
revengeful rival, and, later on, war and siege
in grim earnest, culminating in the queen's
madness and Maximilian's execution; but the
dashing Southerner comes through it all, if
not unscathed, at least alive and in happy pos-
session of his senorita. Historical personages
play their part in the story, while Maximilian
himself is portrayed as a pathetic figure,
vacillating yet attractive, and heroic at least
in his martyrdom. (Macmillan. $1.50.)
From "Roderick Taliaferro." Copyright, 1903, by The Macmillan Co.
"there was only a rush of hoofs ; a surge
OF HORNS !"
The theme of a marriage for convenience
between a man and woman who do not love
each other in the beginning, but who grow,
almost against their own wills, to love, has
been used again and again by novelists. Mr.
Rye Owen, however, has managed to invest
''t with fresh interest in this book of his, part-
ly by reason of the wholesome country back-
ground it is a story of farm and manor life
in Cornwall and partly because of the curi-
ous vein of Hindoo mysticism he has intro-
duced. The heroine, Barbara, is a cousin of
the House of Trehanna, and she marries the
present" squire, to whom she is indifferent, be-
cause she loves Trehanna, and she hopes that
with the money she brings as dowry the old
place may be restored to its ancient splendor,
from which it is sadly fallen. Now Barbara
owns a piece of silk, brought from India,
whose scent has the curious property un-
known to her of awaking in its wearer dor-
mant brain cells, even inherited memories of
lives lived in the wearer's family generations
bf:fore. Barbara has always had a strange in-
terest in a certain ancestress. Dame Gillian
Trehanna, whose picture hangs on the walls of
the old house, and when she wears the Indian
silk after her marriage it has the effect of re-
incarnating Dame Gillian's soul in Barbara's
body, as it were, so that for a time she lives
two lives. Dame Gillian's and her own. This
is the mystic thread running through "Red-
Headed Gill." (Hoh. %i.so.) Commercial .
THE LITERARY NEWS.
A Rose of Normandy.
It is small wonder
that, despite its critics,
the historical novel
holds its own, when it
deals with scenes as va-
ried and absorbing as
those presented in "A
Rose of Normandy."
For the setting of his
romance William R. A.
Wilson has gone to
France and New
France in the days of
Louis Fourteenth and
has given, in effect, the
picturesque story of
Henri de Tonty, the
"chevalier of the iron
hand," the dauntless as-
sociate of La Salle, and
the brave defender of
France's domains in the
New World. It is in
a Paris garret, facing
the world as a soldier
of fortune, that we first
meet de Tonty, and are
witness of the strange
adventure that binds to
his service the quick-
witted unf ortunate
whom he has aided to
escape the gallows. As
members of the little
band of the Sieur de
La Salle the two set
out with their leader l_
on the perilous mission
to New France, but not
before de Tonty has
lost his heart to Renee d'Outrelaise, his "Rose
of Normandy," and made an undying foe of
her base pursuer the Comte de Miron. Mr.
Wilson has not strayed far from historic truth
in the working out of his story. It is in ac-
cordance with the facts that his little group of
characters are brought together again in Que-
bec, whither Renee has been sent to escape the
dangerous attentions of His Most Christian
Majesty, and where de Miron, disgraced and
banished as an enemy of Frontenac, has be-
come the renegade chief, Le Loup, of the
fierce Iroquois. Mr. Wilson has given us
a romance of the true romantic spirit,
full of perils, of plots and counterplots, and
picturing with vivid strokes one of the most
absorbing episodes in the history of New
France. (Little, Brown & Co. $1.50.)
From "A Rose of Normandy "
Copyright, 1903,_by Little, Brown & Co.
I HAVE A BETTER TOAST.
Life of Bret Harte.
Bret Harte's title to fame is that he was
the pioneer of the short story. He was not
the originator by any means our own Leigh
Hunt realized the potentiality of the short
story, and Bret Harte's compatriot, Washing-
ton Irving, wrote two or three short stories
of fadeless beauty long before Bret Harte
popularized it. But Bret Harte "pioneered"
the short story into prominence and populari-
ty. It was his supreme achievement. "The
Luck of Roaring Camp" which, by the way,^
was nearly lost to the world through the^
prudery of a young lady proofreader and a-
narrow-minded printer gave a vogue to the-
novel-in-brief, and emulators sprang up im
thousands. Bret Harte was versatile andl
achieved other triumphs as poet, parodists.
THE LITERARY NEWS.
novelist, but to the end of his day he was
first and foremost a short story writer, the
recognized master of a branch of fiction which
many attempt but in which few succeed. Mr.
Fdgar Pemberton was a close personal friend
of Bret Harte's, and in this biography his
obviously genuine hero worship leads him to
claim too much for his subject. His perspec-
tive is warped by his own enthusiasm, and
from these pages Bret Harte leaps out as a
genius of undying splendor. Time's cruel test
alone will prove the final critic on this score.
For the rest we recognize in Mr. Pemberton's
biography a painstaking endeavor to give us
a faithful and intimate piece of portraiture of
a fascinating and many-sided personality, and
ja briskly-narrated sketch of a career crowded
with adventurous experiences. The story of
Bret Harte's life, as unfolded in this biogra-
phy, is not less interesting than any of the
delightful stories which he himself spun.
Mr. Pemberton follows Bret Harte through
the vicissitudes of his many-sided career, and
subtly reveals the winsome characteristics of
the man. The book has the completeness of a
carefully-planned biography based on ample
material. It is readable throughout. (Dodd,
M. & Co. $3.50 net.) London Literary
Life of Horace Greeley.
"Horace Greeley's life grows more rather
than less interesting with the lapse of time,**
says Public Opinion. "Or so it has seemed to
us in reading William A. Linn's book, a fact
which, we realize, is due hardly less to the
skill of the biographer than to the essential
interest of his subject. Particularly interest-
ing are the chapters which detail the founding
of the Tribune, the situation in the New York
newspaper world of that day, and the manner
in which Greeley met this situation. Greeley's
political life and the part he played during the
war is more familiar as well as less pleasant
reading. Mr. Linn's admiration is tempered
throughout by insight and good judgment. He
calls attention, for example, to an element in
the success of the Tribune which is commonly
ignored or made light of. This success, Mr.
Linn plainly says, was due to a considerable
extent to Greeley's 'isms'; they brought the
paper readers whose numbers were out of all
proportion to the merit of the 'isms,' and
once gained they were held by Greeley's bet-
ter qualities as an editor."
"What renders this book peculiarly attrac-
tive is its candor," says M. W. Hazeltine of
the New York Sun. "The author is j ust, even
sympathetic; but, with the exception of one
or two incidents connected with Greeley's final
retirement from the Tribune, he holds back
nothing and extenuates nothing. He tells the
truth regarding Greeley's attitude toward se-
cession at the epoch just preceding the out-
break of the Civil War, and regarding his
attitude of unfriendliness toward Lincoln, not
only during the Presidential campaign of 1864,
but up to the very night of Lincoln's assas-
sination. Most of Greeley's biographers have
shown an inclination to pass over these things,
which, in truth, were characteristic of a man
whose editorial career was almost as distinct-
ly marked by weakness as by strength, and
whose lack of foresight often played havoc
with his judgment. There is this, also, to be
said for Greeley's mistakes, that almost al-
ways they were retracted and regretted."
(Appleton. net, $1.)
The Triumph of Count Ostermann.
Heinrich Johann Friedrich Ostermann,
the German who entered the service of Peter
the Great, rose to be Foreign' Minister, and
became to all intents and purposes a Russian,
even assuming a Russian name, is depicted in
this book as a refined idealist, willing to sacri-
fice himself on all occasions for the good of
his adopted country. He marries a Russian
Princess, who, when she discovers his low
origin and foreign birth just after the wed-
ding, becomes disgusted with the man the
Czar had instructed her to marry and loses
no opportunity to humiliate him. Eventually
she learns to give him a certain grudging re-
spect, but she only discovers that this respect
has developed into love when her husband has
been ruined and sentenced to banishment to
Siberia as the result of an intrigue in which
she herself was engaged without knowing to
what it would lead. The book closes with
Ostermann and his wife about to set out for
"The Triumph of Count Ostermann" is well
written and interesting, and the author has
taken no more liberties with history than is
usual in "historical" novels. An excellent
picture is given of the savage Russia of
the early eighteenth century, and the reader
gets a good impression of Peter the Great
brutal, overbearing, gluttonous, but at the
same time a true patriot and an indefatigable
worker for the enlightenment of "Holy Rus-
sia." (Holt. $1.50.) AT, Y. Times Saturday
THE LITERARY NEWS.
More Letters of Charles Darwin.
We may congratulate ourselves that Dar-
Avin's correspondents treasured and kept his
letters, for the volumes before us contain ma-
terial as interesting and as valuable as that
found in Mr. F. Darwin's life of his father