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RAINBOWS. BT OUVE CUSTANCH. _ . Songs! that like rainbows following after storm Spanned suddenly with flamelike wings of hope .Some silent void of sorrow in my heart. Dark with vain prayers and desolating tears, Or rising softly in a happy hour _„__ Were mirrored like pale colors of the Dawn In my glad soul, as in a dancing sea. Ana borne on crests of laughter to_the_light!__ ILLUSTRATED SUPPLEMENT. SUNDAT, JANUARY 4. 3903. An anonymons publisher, writing in "The London Outlook." discusses at large one of the most salient phenomena in his sphere, the art book, which of late has Income extraordinarily popular. He finds one explanation of that pop ularity lying on the surface, where others have noted it before him, in the development of pho tographic processes. After the engraving on wood or steel came the photogravure, and now the color plate is getting itself produced with considerable success. Much Las already been done. The student can now find a well illus trated volume on almost any of the old painters lie wishes to investigate. In some cases he may have to accept a French or a German text, but he may find it in English again ami again. In due time the art books in our own language promise to be as numerous as those in any other. It is all very cheering, but the situation will not be altogether .satisfactory until two reforms have been accomplished. In the first place, the art book must be made cheaper, with out any diminution of its quality. There is no reason why this could not be managed. Photo graphic processes do not need to remain expen sive in an ago as inventive as this one. Furthermore, while the reader wants as many plates as possible, he would gladly spare a few of them for the sake of a reduction in price. Then something should be done to make the line art book less cumbrous than it often is. Let the huge volume be cut In two. In the current number of "The Tall Mall Magazine" there is an article on the fiction of l!n>2 by Mr. 11. B. Marriott Watson, himself a writer of fiction. lie comes to the conclusion that the year has been somewhat barren and unavailing. "The year V.Hf2," lie says, "has marked time and no more." The judgment Is fair enough. It is quite true that no new novel has appeased with the mark of immortality upou it. 15ut there is uo reason why this should make any one unhappy. In the first place, it Is well to rememl>er that a year is a very short period of time. We may receive in 1903 -what we have missed in l(>02. In the mean time, as Mr. Watson himself confesses, "the astonishing feature is the excellence of the average book." It is not merely astonishing, it is a solid com fort. After all, if we are temporarily without a great work of genius, it is enormously con soling to have such books as those recently published by "John Oliver Ilobbes," A. EL W. Mnson, Joseph Conrad, Owen Wister, 11. G. Wells and several others. It is more than con soling, it is positively exhilarating. The trouble with the "average" novelist used to be that he wrote nothing but trash. Surely much has been gained when he gives us really good and some times brilliant if not immortal work. Let us not undervalue the first rate average novel, now that we have got it It may not be a thing to treasure as we treasure "Esmond" or "Pick wick," "Pere Goriot" or "Les Trois Mousque t a ires." "The Scarlet Letter," or the works of itr -1 Harte. Hut it is a thing to enjoy in the present, and it is not at all unlikely that some of this "average" work, though it may not endure forever, will be enjoyed for a good many years to come. Apropos of this question of the durability of recent fiction, or. for that matter, of any form of literature, the Editor of "Punch" has casually thrown a little useful light upon the subject in bis reply to a question as to what two new books pleased and interested him most in 1902. He confesses his inability to signal out any two publications. "All that I have come across and rend." he adds, "have pleased and interested — if they didn't I'd drop them at the twentieth payc." Mr. Burnand here puts his Baser upon the crit ic.il point. The book that is not interesting is lost, whether it be a novel or a work of scholar ship. We can, in our mind's eye, see the arms of a hundred writers passionately uplifted at the monstrous absurdity of this remark. We can hear their scornful gibes at the merely In teresting writer, who, in their opinion, is either the frivolous compiler of a series of romantic adventures in the style of the egregious Dumas, or the degraded "popularizcr" of literature and learning in superficial manuals. They them selves would, of course, have no parleying with mere human nature. Masterpieces of philosophical realism are what they mean to produce, or "scientific" works of scholarship. Well, they have their readers, among them the conscientious reviewers, who beat their way through these dreary writings and praise them when they can. But the world moves, and it is no laziness, it is no love of frivolity, which has slowly hut steadily put the reading public on the side of the author who recognises the impor tance of beiug interesting. NEW- YORK TRTBUNE ILLUSTRATED SUPPLEMENT. IN NORTHERN ITALY ESSAYS BY AN ENLIGHTENED ENTHU SIAST. LOMBARD STUDIES. By the Countess Kvelyn Martinengo Cesaresco. With illustrations. Oc tavo, pp. vii, 392. Imported by Charles Scrib ner's Sons. Every inch of Italian soil has its inspiration for those who have once been initiated into the spirit of the mo^t enchanting of European coun tries. But for some reason the books about Italy which follow one another in rapid suc cession are far less often concerned with Lom bardy than with provinces further east or south. Travellers crossing the St. Gotthard pause often enough in that lake region which provides a kind of fairyland between the austere majesty of the Alps and the industrial prose of the plain, the violet haze of its romantic atmosphere giv ing vaguely a sense of the poetry and beauty awaiting one in the richest domains of the Peninsula. But the yellow gleaming hamlets, with their rosy roofs of weather beaten and sun saturated tiles, that lie scattered along the slopes down wh'ch the train pursues its winding way to Milan, rarely invite the observer to break his journey before he reaches that city and to ramble due east. The odds are that when the time comes to move in that direction — ON LAKE GARDA. (Krom the painting by Corot, reproduced in "Lorn l.sr'l Studies.") if he does not proceed to Florence through the Emilia — he will make his first stop at Verona and then go on to Venice. Thus the Countess Martinengo has comparatively unfamiliar ground to survey in her book on "Lombard Studies." Her home is at Salo, on the shores of Garda, the loveliest of Italian lakes. Near at hand lies Brescia, the famous little hill-town with which for centuries her husband's historic family has been identified, and all around her is a region, sown thick with interesting asso ciations, which she has lived in long enough to know with the thoroughness of a native. An Englishwoman by birth she nevertheless has the keenest insight into the Italian nature, which she not only respects but loves, and her es says are among the best we know, well worthy to be placed beside those of Symonds and Bourget, Hewlett and Carmichael. If Garda, even now, when it enjoys a certain popularity among tourists, especially those from Germany, is less fashionable, so to say, than Como or any other of the more northern lakes, it has never lacked distinguished celebrants. There Catullus, "Tenderest of Roman poets, nineteen hundred years ago,' soothed his sorrow in the olive groves of Sermione. There Tenny son, burdened with a kindrtd grief, addressed that antique shade in measures so sweet that, for all that they are so well known, we must quote them here: Row us out from Desenzano to your Sirmione row! So they rowed and there we landed: O Venusta Sirmio! There, to me, through all the groves of olives in the purple glow. There, beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow. Came that Avu atque Vale of the Poet's hopeless woe, Tendtrest of Roman poets, nineteen hundred years ago! Other poets, no less famous, have had their say about this beautiful lake, and in her first sixty or seventy pages, devoted altogether to its glories, the Countess Martinengo writes in al most lyrical vein. She could not well write otherwise. Garda is essentially a poetic theme. But the human interest cannot be long forgot ten by even the most dreamy sojourner on those haunted shores. The present author especially has good reason for passing, after a while, from the sylvan charms of her environment to stories of OKI unhappy far-off things And battles long :lk" The Martinenghi. according to legend, "were descended from one named Tebaldo, who gave them the Red Kagle for insignia— because, on one occasion, when he carried in battle the gen eral standard of the empire, he obtained a vic tory and went in t «> the Emperor's presence with the Imperial Eagle dyed in the blood of his enemies." The legend dates from the middle of the tenth century. Ever since then the family, which has had many ramifications, has played a loyal and often notable part In the history of Italy, that branch of it to which the author of this book belongs having been conspicuous at many periods, and there are vivid pages h«»re recalling the diversified and tumultuous life led by the great nobles of the past. It was at Salo, by the way, in the same palace in which these pages were written, that the French, in revo lutionary days, endured a long and bloody siege. In later days it was the scene of many a high hearted conference over the hop*»s and fears of Italian unification. It was the Countess's father-in-law, Giuseppe Martinengo Cesaresco, who figured gloriously in the Ten Days of Bres cia, and we may note that she never tires of tes tifying to the noble achievements of those criti cal times. But even more interesting than her souvenirs of martial adventure, ancient or modern, is her account of Vittoria Accoramboni, the ill-fated "White Devil" of Webster's famous drama, who spent some time at Garda in the Palazzo Mnrtin-ngo, during a troubled period in her amazing career. To Salo she fled w=th her duke of Braceiano, when Sixtus VI threw off the mask h*» had worn fis Cardinal Montalto and sought vengeance for the violent death of his nephew, the first hus band of Vittoria. Was he justified in his wrath? Was the lovely Duchess guilty of the murder? Was her marriage to the Duke an affair of crim- inality from beginning to end, or was she one more innocent victim of that strange miasma of intrigue and crime which made the Italy of her time, despite its fairness, a kind of charnel house? It is impossible to say. The Countess Martinengo is inclined, on the whole, to take a sympathetic view of her heroine's history, and we confess that her chapter on the subject is plausible. But it seems to us that she Is ill ad- THE COUNTESS MARTTN'ENGO CESARESCO. (From the portrait in "Lombard Studies.") vised in questioning the drift of Webster's play, which may easily have had a documentary basis unknown to modern investigators; and, furthermore, his presentment of the episode is in harmony with the general tone of Italian society in the Renaissance. The late John Addington Symonds was inclined to accept the conclusions of the English dramatist, and it is difficult to see just why the latest commentator on the sub ject is indisposed to agree with him. especially as she can cite no authentic documents for her tentative rehabilitation of the Duchess. The probabilities are all in the direction of that great lady's having done much to authorize Webster's lurid portrayal of her. In any case, we are grateful for this Rtdßng of her xtory, n-n. !»•!>■. 1 the more interesting through having been writ ten in the selfsame room which must have wit nessed her perturbation over the veagefal ao tions of her enemies and her griet orer the deata of the Duke. That doughty lover breathed his last at Salo. and his body rested In the privat* chapel of the Palazzo until the Capuchins wer» or >. -ed by Sixtus to throw It out of doors an 4 efface the epitaph hieh had been inscribed upon his tomb. There is more history, there is mor» romance, in Countess Martin»ngo's book, but she gives a great deal of her space to descriptions of th« country round about, in I'.rescia-Q territory; to notes on Lombard agriculture, and to the most appreciative amounts of th° rustic types among her friends. She knows and loves the gilensio t-rrde of Carducf i. and some of her best pictures commemorate the still Virgil lan charm of Ital ian husbandry. She a<iu..'s that the economJo conditions with which the Italian rustic has t» reckon are far from being as satisfr. ~tory as !h*>Y ought to be; she believes that the trans planting of so many peasants to South America fs, on the whole, beneficial: but she remember* the remark of Verdi, she has her sub Italy will not starve," and she has much to say in regard to the farms of her region which is distinctly enrouragirc?. Always, too, she is re minding us of the sturdy character that forms thf nope of Italy. She finds it everywhere. One of her charai t- -ri.-tic anecdotes is of "Totano." the strongest swimmer on the Adriatic coast and a very important personage about the baths at Rimini. His r*>al name is Giuseppe Peraz zini. and, as the author says, he "might affect to be a Person in a black coat, but he is content to remain Totano in his shirtsleeves." In a talk one day about the discontent with which most people regard their position he said: As for me, I envy no one, nor have I ever wished to be or appear what I am not. ... I will tell you whom I envy— these who die in their strength ." This engaging type appears in a chapter on the Rimini of to-day. There i 3 another, on the historical ages of the town, no less interesting. This is followed bj a delightful paper on tha popular stage, and the book is concluded with some discursive pages on La Scala, in which the author takes the opportunity to do justice to composers and singers not always remembered in a time more enthusiastic for Bayreuth than for Milan. The book as a whole is discursive enough, yet it is held together by the author's feeling for the essential things at the bottom of Italian art, literature and life. She is warm to the point of being emotional, but she never loses her head, never indulges in highfalutin, and, in the long run, if we are grateful to her for many and varied pictorial impressions, we are still more grateful for what she does in making us better acquainted with the Italians as a people- It is a delightful and an instructive book, ita illustrations are exactly what one desires, and it deserves an honorable place, which it will loos hold, on the shelves of the lover o" Italy. A REASONABLE COMPL I INT. From The London Globe. Why in the name of all that is modern and swift do not publishers cut the leaves of the books they publish? It is assumed that in tre-se days a man has not time to walk upstairs; it is perfectly undertood that telegrams must be accelerated, and that boy messengers must be cherished; and yet publishers will persist in at taching a sentence of slow servitude to nearly every book they issue. Take the "Dictionary of National BiogTaphy." It ia a serious thing to buy it, but it is a more serious thing to get it cut. Who is to do it' Not every man has relays of daughters or an under gardener whom he can arm with a paper kni.'e. Monarchs and millionaires must have ways of dealing with this problem. It is not to be supposed that at Wind sor Castle the reader cuts the leaves. Whitaker may be silent on the point, but it sf-ems cer tain that a Groom of the Paper Knife or a Book Barber in Ordinary exists and draws an enviable salary. The "Dictionary" is a fat sjsjd flagrant case- It is morally and actuarially certain that many eager purchasers of this great wort have r.ot lived to cut its leaves. Widen is sad. But the evil is at least proportionally great in even a tiny volume. The present writer had occasion this week to cut (with a paper knife two feet long) a copy of Matthew AnsWl "Kail Books." The booklet was tightly hound, the leaves were stiff and slippery; and although his one desir* was to get at the inmost mind of Arnold h« had all the sensation of vivisecting a guinea pig. Which is absurd. THE BLUE lIHiIIWAT. BY WALTER RIDDALL. The cold beach cries behind us in the grip of the sea's unrest. We've done with stagnant harbors, we're decked out in our best. With a white band on the funnel instead of dirty gray. We're off to meet old friends upon the blue high way. Wives and sweethearts call us, call to us of home. The red gleam of a tavern creeps out across the foam, But we head for the notched horizon where the great white breakers, be. And all the stars are shining, a-shining on the sea. Comrades' voices warn us at the road we take. The lips of the drowned keep cry'QS. crying ia our wake. But we head for the not, he, l horizon where the great white breakers be. And Mother Carey feeds her chicks, feeds her chicks at sea. The cold beach cries behind us in the grip of the sea's unrest. We've done with stagnant harbors, v.ere decked out in our best. With a white band on the fIIBJIH 1 instead of dirty gray. We're off to meet old friends upon the blue highway.