Newspaper Page Text
The San Francisco Sunday Call
BOOK PAGE OF THE SUNDAY CALL "The Fighter" By Albert I'aysnn Torhun<\ author of -Cairn C«novor. Usili-rvBder," etc Published by Prank I". I-ovell A: Co.. New York. "Tho red haired man was fighting." 5e *rTV3 Mr. Tcrhunc in the opening line of his novel; and variations of that line tell the whole story of the book, which Is more than a novel; it is a finger post directing the eyes of the world to the marvelous develop ment of this country. No, not the, "great American novel." That is a for gotten controversy; but a picture of the most vigorous side of our develop ment. The author pitches his scene in the growing town of Granite. Caleb Conove", whom we met in an earlier book as the "railroader," is the hero, now known as the "Fighter." He has become a small railroad magnate, this "self-made man who glories In his maker,** and now absolutely dominate* the commercial life of his ' town. H^ ha? no book education, but he knows human nature, at least male human nature, through and through. Early in the book we find this mil lionaire living in a back room of his office, quite as simply as he did when he was a clerk. "• • * Conover had had a room and bath fitted up for his personal use. • • • Here he still dwelt, now that success was his. The inan qrhose wealth had already passed tli*"- million mark and was rocketing toward far higher figures was simpler In his personal tastes and surround ings than was the poorest brakeman on his road. An iron cot bed, a painted pine bureau with flawed mirror, an air tight stove, a shelf with 14 books, the deal table and two chairs formed •"\u2666the sum of his living room furniture." V.'];at were the 14 books on thy shelf? Conover would laugh at the idea of i ".five foot book shelf"; his books would need a foot and a half or less. The man is hopelessly uneducated, but with the marvelous gift of reading his fel lowroan. Suddenly he becomes imbued with the idea that social recognition is # v.-orth striving for. He wants to break into the "gold shirt" crowd, as he calls them, and thinks his money will take him there. He is nearly right. For one reason or another every promi 3ient family in town is under a finan cial obligation to him and they dare not refuse his demands. For purposes of Qction the author has slightly exag gerated hi social blunders, his uncouth ntss and his seeming lack of conscience. One of the most remarkable scenes in the book describes an evening at the ultra fashionable Arareek country club. At the -height of the festivities a drunken old man comes running out among the guests, pursued by club servants. They explain that he is a tramp taken In for extra work and has been caught stealing. The drunken man. explains in a maudlin way that he 1 fought in the civil war. that drink I n:ade him steal, but that he was all v light when he was sober; that he had a rich son who didn't even know he was alive; that he didn't know his sou was alive till he struck Oranite; that his name is Saul Conover. His babblings electrify the company, \u25a0who ar«? none too friendly toward Conover anyway, and they are glad and appalled £t the revelations. One friend starts Tr> speak, hoping to save the situation, \u25a0 but "The Fighter" Interrupts him: "Hold on : You mean well an' ... I thank you. But I think this is where . I do the talking, an' not you. • • * T!".:<t man doubled up on the floor there lc my father — I didn't know till five . minutes ago that he was still alive. .'."• •• • My father was a risin'. hard vorkin' man. He come of decent peo ple. • • • When the civil war broke .out he went to the front. There he learned to starve*, to loaf, to forget his business tralnln'. • • • There's •wiiere he learned to drink, too. When men have to go supperless to bed on . the wet ground after an a!l day march -. a ."-wig of whisky's a blessir.'. It's a blessin*. too. when It dulls the mem'ry of the comrade at your side that wan Llowed to pieces by a shell or ripped opor. by a bay'net. Can you blame the soldiers if they let the whisky bless 'em so often that it gets to be a habit? • • • After the war • • • he coirie back like a good many thousand others, none the better for a four year course in shiftlessness, booze an' no r<"g'lar work. The folks who'd cheered him when he went to fight for 'cm had cheered away a lot of their spare . patrl'tism by that time. There want 'enough of it left in Granite to give my ; father a fair start in the world again. "Because he'd learned to drink, to loaf, to be uneasy an' unreliable when h*» worked, they forgot he'd picked up tli<-'so tricks whilei he was defendfn* their country. Heroes was a drug in the market. If any of you fellers know how it feels to get down to work the day after your fortnight's vacation, maybe you can understand what it • meant to him to settle down to a job after four years in the open." Conover's speech goes on for several pages. The magnetism — brute magr.et l&m — which is impressed upon the reader throughout the story is as dis tinctly felt in this speech as though the man himself were present. He goes on to tftll of his father's business — how he "fixed" the scales in the mer cantile firm he was with and stole a small rakeoff per day. "That was his mistake. If he'd stole a million he'd 'a' been a big man in Granite." But he . was discovered and sent jail and horded with criminal wild beasts for five years. What a fearful indictment liis speech is against the prison — and it Is all so seemingly true and reason able. He closes his speech by saying: "In short he's what s'clety an' a loving paterna.l gov'ment has made him. An —he's my father. God help him: An' lite man who says I'm ashamed of him lies!" and Conover helps the poor old beast out of the room. The aftermath of the speech is surprising, but the reader's Interest in reading that part of It must not be spoiled. Conorer has for a ward Desiree Shev lin, daughter of an old friend. She has been brought up thinking she is rich., but her father left nothing and Caleb Conover has given her everything she has^ The development of this romance is as fascinating and thrilling as any reader could possibly desire. Desiree knows what she wants, but Conover is slow to discover bis sentiments, but when he does the author treats us to a love scene that has not been equaled in modern fiction for many a long day. There are a number of minor faults in this novel, but as a whole it de- L serves high praise. It has a rugged jbess of style quite in keeping with J ero and title and the story holds the Interest to the end. Many more pas pages are worth quoting, but lack of ppace prevents. The book deserves careful reading. "The of Matka" Story Ey I>av!d Starr Jordan. Published by Whit nk»*r & Ray-Wlggin company, San Francisco. Price $1. The author has written a touching story of a mother sea lion. As litera ture it is a model of simple and direct narrative; as a story of the beautiful side of animal life it ranks with "Black Beauty," while as a source of informa tion on the life and habits of this won derful animal it must inevitably stand alone. The book was written while the au thor, then president of the Bering sea commission, was on the Island of St. Paul. Pribilof group, investigating the habits of the sea lions. For this rea son it is more accurate than most ani mal stories, and underlying it is a hu manizing power that gives the book a decided ethical value. In liis introduction to "The Story of Matka" Prof. Ellwood P. Cubberly says: '.'lt is a matter of congratula tion that in response to a strong de mand for the story it is now isssued at a price within the limit of the public school funds." The book was written primarily for grown people, but when its value for children was appreciated Its reissue was demanded. The book is beautifully illustrated by photo graphs and numerous pen sketches. "California Story Book" Published by tlio Enelish club of the Univer sity of California. Berkeley, Cal. :.r r; No one will read "The California Story Book" without immediately re calling the book of Stanford stories published something like a decade ago by Will Irwin and Charles K. Field. The difference in presentation to the public of these two books is that Irwln and Field made their first venture into the literary world alone; the new volume of California stories comes forth with the indorsement and back ing of the English club of the Univer sity of California. Originally, the stories were to have been compiled of those written about college and the product of the college days of the authors. That idea had to be aban doned and a short story contest was opened by the club. Three stories in the book are the result of this compe tition; the others are selected from the works of graduates who have made places for themselves among the writ ers of the day. Several of the con tributions appeared originally in peri odicals. Following an appreciation in verse by Isabel Mcßeynolds Gray to the mater, the place of honor is given to a story, "The Passing of Cock-Eye Blacklock," by the late Frank Norris, who belonged to the class of '94. ~ It 5s remembered by those who followed the short, brilliant career of this au thor, and Its presence in this publica tion adds an Important laurel to the wreath these authors are laying before their alma mater. James Hopper's story. "The Idealist." is In the collection. It Is one of those football yarns that "Jimmy spins so entertainingly. Here again the Eng lish club adds a worth while name to the literary roster of the state's col lege. Richard Walton Tully of the class of '01 and Eleanor Gates of the same year, his talented wife, are among the story tellers. "Dick" being represented by "All in the Play" and Mrs. Tully by "The Spotted Dawg." both of which have appeared before. As these tales are well worth a second reading this fact does not militate against their value in the college story book. This is true of all the republished contri butions. They are the .work of exceed ingly busy men and women who have not the time to do original work for such a publication, but who, in all honor to the college, must be repre sented. Among the new stories by tho new people that by Grace Torrey. "The Rec ord Quarter," is conspicuously good, both for Its gripping human lntereat and for the exquisite charm of Its tell ing. It is the story of an athletic father who had a delicate "dig" for a son. Mrs. Torrey has a distinct In dividuality of style. The other stories and their contribu tors are: "Yesterday —a Toast," by Sara Ashbury '10: "The History of Chop Suey and Fan Tan." by Gurden Edwards '07; "Phil," by Christina Krysto '09; "Values," by Marguerite Ogden '10; "Steve," by Francis Steel '10; "Buck dv Spain," by Helen Duncan Queen '07; "Bernice, Patrice and Clar ice," by Elizabeth F. Young '10 and "Billy-Zoo," by Abby L. Waterman '04. They are all stories of merit and all in all make a worthy record for the University of California. - "By the Bay" By I.ucia fctta Lorinjr (Smith). Published by Paul Elder & Co., Sau Francisco. Lucia Etta Loring (Smith) has col lected some 60 pieces of occasional verse, most of which has appeared In the Sunset, Overland Monthly and Once a Week. The verses are all lo cally Inspired and some of them have real merit. The author Is a real lover of nature and In poems of that class her best work is shown. She gives play to a vivid and poetical imagina tion in" "El Camino Real," which is well worth remembering: "The Royal Highway follows the shore One d3y's length from each mission door"; . \u25a0« A phantom roadway, when day has sped, . For It echoes to the patient tread Of gowned ones, who rest and pray. Where moonlit ruins mark the way. Their flitting shadows rest a while 'Neath crumbling arch devoid of tile." While others at each new bronze, bell Send back a peal that all is well. . If you would tread this King's High way, It's free to all:throughout the day, But those who have a better right, . The phantom* fathers, pass by night." The frontispiece, "Copa deOro," Is from a bas relief modeled by Bradetta L. Smith. The, book:. Is artistically printed and bound, and the edition is !;-;:;Ud to -50 copies. UNA H. H. COOL "History of the Great American Fortunes" , Dj GnstaTus Myers. Volume 1.- Published by Charles 11. Kerr & Co. Price $1.50. Coming from the publishing house of most of the socialistic literature of the day and written by a well known so cialist writer, it was to be expected that this book would be filled with prejudice, but the subject was of such interest that much was expected from it. The author Is so obsessed by his subject that he can not distinguish any longer between denunciation and fact. The first volume Is divided into two parts in the first of which. "Conditions in Settlement and Colonial Times," lie rewrites much early American history from a socialist standpoint. He deals in a somewhat cursory manner with the fortunes of colonial times, including that of Stephen Girard, the richest of the shippers. The second part devotes Itself principally to the Astor fortune in New York' and the Marshall Field fortune in Chicago. The author abuses John Jacob Astor for his fur trading with the Indians, and it may be there Is some justice in this; but when he accuses him of fraud in real estate the denunciations are more serious. The author is apparently quite as savage over the holding of legitimately bought property as he Is over that which he says was dishonestly acquired by graft with city officials through taxation. He abuses the Astor family instead of the system of government which per mits such a state of affairs. If the author wrote in a well balanced and sane fashion he might impress his readers, but his style is so vicious that he overreaches himself and- entirely misses his object. There are to be two more volumes in the series. "Do It to a Finish" By Orison Swett Mairden. Published by Thom as Y. Crowell & Co., New York. Price 30 cents. The editor of Success is in his best vein when writing upon such topics as this. Furthermore, he is writing upon a much needed text, in this day of hurry and worry and half done things. The newspapers nowadays are so full of accounts of loss of life and limb, not to mention loss of money; through slipshod work or faulty plans, that a note of vigorous warning such as this is well worth heeding. Says Doctor Marden: "The worst crimes are not punishable by law. Careless ness, slipshodness, lack of thorough ness are crimes against self, against humanity, that often do more harm than the crimes that make the |per petrator an outcast from society. When a tiny flaw or the slightest de fect may cost a precious life, care lessness is as much a crime as delib erate criminality." This booklet Is especially directed to young men and women. Its title would be a good motto for each one of them to adopt. It is a sermon on honest work and thoroughness easily comparable with that other little classic, "A Message to Garcia." The publishers expect to find prominent merchants ordering large quantities of "Do It to a Finish" for distribution among their employes, as they have done -in the case of other books by this sensible, forceful author. . ' "The Tocsin: A Drama of the Renaissance" By Esther Brown Tiffany. Published by Paul Elder & Co., San Francisco. Price $2. Making books In this the farthest of all the western cities has not been ex tensive enough to be "taken for granted." The volumes that have been born here are never examined without bringing a feeling of commendable pride—for they have been distinctly worth while. The publishers seem to have had a definite realization that their handicraft must be better than the best to command attention in a land where the printing of books la a business not easily measured. All of which means that now comes Paul Elder & Co. with an important and beautiful addition to their publications —"The Tocsin, a Drama of the Renais sance," by Esther Brown Tiffany, a daughter of one of Boston's prominent Unitarian ministers, the late Francis Tiffany. This volume from the craftsman's standpoint Is an achievement. The text Is printed on Italian handmade paper, seemingly apropos of the story it tells. The binding is of Fabriano board. A frontispiece .In .photogravure after Michael Angolo's "The Dream of Life" enriches the book. This time the author has "come out of the east." For the most part the San Francisco publishers have handled only the work of local people, but why should that be so when they have so much that is good and.of good taste to give? , ..-'-> "The , Tocsin" takes the reader to Florence in 1586—the time of Fran cisco de Medici, when the terrors of the plague tested the souls of men and women—those of the state and those of the church. The plot carries them out of the Castle delle Torre, outside of the city of Plstola, at the foot of the Apennines, w/hlther they fled from the suffering; the dead and dying for very fear of their own lives. The drama (In four/acts) js developed 'with a fine sense of dramatic values. | From: the riotous pleasures in Florence the reader is taken through the flight, the intricacies of subplots:and finally: on to the hour of repentance and regen eration. The .last scene finds the ab bot, who had been afraid,, taking the cross and leading those who had fol lowed him ,to Florence .to "de serted posts, to glorious pain, to death, to life everlasting." -Throughout the dialogue holds the reader. \u25a0 -+- - \u25a0 "Le Meunier d'Anglbault," first > pub lished In 1845, is a story: by George Sand. It belongs to the second period of her literary activity, when* her in terest had been "attracted to social studies. In this edition, in French the dogmatic portions have been omitted by the editor, J.-W.Kuhne, and the pretty Idyl has been disentangled with out altering the original text. :; The theme is; the: inheritance: of a worn out and mismanaged;estate by, a young wldow,; its rehabilitation iwith - the-as aistance :of a neighboring land i owner, a.nd;the attachment which results.- The text-contains much; dialogue adding to the, liveliness of the plot. A Notes and a vocabulary make it-suitable for school use. . (Tho . American book company, New York. 40 cents.) ' \u25a0" ; "The Marvelous Year" Introduction by Edwin Markbam. Drawings by Gertrude Huebsch. Published by B. W. Huebsch, New York. Price $1.25. The year 1909 was prolific of cen tennials and it remained for an anony mous author to gather the materials of, the subjects of the celebrations to gether and make a memorial volume. The book as it stands presents a se ries of condensed biographies of- 14 remarkable personalities, 13 men and I woman, all but three of whom were born in 1809. Calvin, was born in 1509 and Doctor Johnson In 1709, while Haydn's death occurred in ISO 9. How remarkable the rear was! Literature was represented by Poe, Tennyson, Johnson, Holmes, Gogol and Edward Fitzgerald; music DyHaydn, Chopin, Mendelssohn; science >y Darwin; the stage by Fanny Kemble; statesmanship by Lincoln and Glad stone, and theology by Calvin. Of this wonderful array of talent, Mendelssohn was the first to go, dying in his thirty-eighth year, and Glad stone •was the last, being spared for 89 years. Each sketch is preceded by a Jrawlng of the subject done by Ger trude 'Huebsch. She has selected little known pictures from which to make lier drawings and some are quite un familiar, notably those of Lincoln and Holmes, and are not likely to be pop ular. The work of the artist is good, but her selection of pictures from which to make her drawings are not the best. Edwin Markham's Introduction is valueless. It is a "mushy" sort of panegyric quite uncalled for and not it all Interesting. The author's work, though anonymous, can quite afford to stand upon Its own merits, and the Markham introduction detracts from the book. The volume is artistically printed and bound and is one of the best gift books seen this season. Brief Reviews of New Books "Emily Fox Seton" ia a new edition in one volume of two of Mrs. Frances Hodg-son Burnett's stories. The first six chapters are "The Making: of a Marchioness," and the last 18 "The Methods of Lady Walderhurst." The two together form a complete and con nected story of English life, no better and no worse than hundreds more of its same middle class quality. A poor, well born girl with every known good quality becomes companion and friend to a wise old woman, who ought to have a common -name, for she appears in every well regulated English novel. The good young girl wins the hand and fortune of the marquis of Walderhurst and then has a long, hard struggle to clear her. path of enemies and to hold fast the title and inheritance. The same old situation, same old troubles, same old everything, make the novel mediocre to a degree and quite un worthy its able and distinguished au thor. (Frederick A. Stokes company, New York.) • • ;\u25a0-'•\u25a0. To most persons Hebrew Is a dead language. It is known of course that Jews speak the language, but the gen eral impression is that all they have to read is the bible, the talmud and the commentaries. It is known, too. that in various corruptions it continues in Yiddish writings, but It will surprise the general public to learn that a vig orous literature written In • pure He brew is in existence. Its history has been written by Dr. Nahum Slouschz in "The Renascence of Hebrew Litera ture," 1743-1885, and translated from the French by Henrietta Szold. The author traces the revival of Jewish let ters in Italy, Germany, Poland,. Galicia and Lithuania and shows how they de veloped wholly unknown to the outside world along the same lines that, other literatures have followed. There are_ poets, novelists, essayists that Jews, alone know of. •' (The .Jewish Publica tion Society of America, Philadelphia.) "':,\u25a0•'- \u2666 ••: • ' "Socialism for Students" Is what its title" indicates. It is written , by Joseph E. , Cohen ; and published by Charles H. Kerr & Co., the co-operative, socialist publishers of Chicago. The chapters in the International- Socialist Review from July, to Novem ber last year, and the author has at tempted to teach only orthodox social ism. The book will serve as an outline to the study of socialism,- for a, very complete list of books upon the subject is appended and all are j now \u25a0; easily obtainable. The author quotes freely from many of. the books, but what he writes himself is clear and concise. (50 cents.) Lamb's : "Selected Essays of Elia" is the most recent addition to the Gateway series of English. texts for college en trance requirements, -'it Is, edited by John F. Genung and contains 15 of BOOKS REVIEWED "The Fighter/ by Edward Payson Terhune f'The Story of Matka," by David Starr Jordan" "California Story Book" \ ' >: '"By the^Bay," by Lucia rEtta JLoring (Smithf. ' "History of the Great American J Fortunes," by Gustavus , r '. ; Meyers ;'-... ..\u25a0:...,. \u0084-; \ .\u25a0\u25a0' ', \ -..; . . ; "Do It to a Finish," by Orison Swett Marden ; '"The Tocsin: A Drama of the Renaissance," by Esther /'"The Marvelous Year" ' ''The Rough Rider, and Other Poems," by Bliss Carman "A Night Out," by Edward Peple \-\ "Sailors' Knots," by W. W. Jacobs "The Rough Rider and r Other Poems" .By.Bllss Carman. Published by Mitchell Ken nerly, • New York. Price $1. ?\ Theodore Roosevelt's fine aggressive Americanism is responsible for Bliss Carman singing, In heroic verses, sev eral long songs that make, him some thing of. a. poet",laureate for; the na tion. They are in a new volume called "The Rough Rider and Other Poems." Flexibly bound, the kind to put in your pocket when starting for a walk In the large wide spaces . that seem to be settings for the verses. While the "strenuous" former presi dent to , whom the book Is dedicated stands as the American type, the first poem only tells of him. Other heroes named and unnamed have been inspira tion to Carman for his American songs. There is no.need to answer Carman's question when lie says: .. • - '_ . _ Who is the hardy figure Of Tirile fighting strata, , With Talor and conviction In heart and band and brain? Sprung from our old ideals To serve our later needs. He Is tho modern Roundhead. The man who.rides and reads. Nor when he writes: Let no one think to wheedle, To buy, coerce, nor cheat The man who loves the open, . The man who known the street. Back in 1675 Carman" goes for the Puritan Incident that inspires "The Spirit in Arms." "The Puritan-Captain" is a tribute to sturdy Americanism and "A New England Thanksgiving" gives in Carman's pictureful verse something of the conditions, that have influenced the type. The significance of Memorial day is told and in "St. Michael's Star" is a hymn for Labor day, making another tribute to American manhood. In the poem, "At the Making of Man," Carman opens the great horizon for mankind, also life's responsibilities, in the fol lowing: , The world shall be his prorince, The princedom of hla skill; Tlip tides shall wear his harness. The winds obey, his will; Till neither flood, nor fire, nor frost Shall work to do him ill. .A creature fit to carry ' The pure creative fire. Whatever truth inform him. Whatever good inspire. He shall make lovely in all thins* To the end of his desire. There are war songs and a tribute to "The Golden West" that every Cali fornia^ will have a sense of Droprietor- ship in. and finally "The Gate of Peace." which Is fine in scope and masterful in form. Lamb's best essays, including those on "Poor Relations," "Old China," "Grace Before Meat," and tne celebrated "Dissertations on Roast Pig." The ap pended notes serve to promote the student's interest in the essay itself, and in what the author has at heart, rather than In mere dry and dead de tails of grammar or philology or his tory. They will therefore inspire the wish to know more of this delightful essayist and his work. The introduc tion treats of Lamb's life,- interest and personal traits, with special reference to their relation to his writings. (American book company, New York. 40 cents.) . r . * \u25a0 • . \u25a0 • Horace H." Cumming's . "Nature Study for Lower Grammar Grades" chooses those subjects which naturally fall within the school environment.. These are presented to the scholars through their own investigations and experiments, the text being in the form of questions depending upon the knowledge already accumulated, or upon the scholars' power of observa tion. Earth, air, water, \ fire, plants, animals, " birds, insects, minerals and many other subjects are interestingly and helpfully discussed, so that the pupil gains an intimate understand ing and appreciation of the world of nature. By means of simple experi ments under the guidance of a teacher the connection of a subject with the practical activities of life is estab lished. ;The lessons are general in character and applicable to any part of the country. (American book com pany, New York. 60 cents.) ". • " . • - • Edna M. McKinley has arranged a notebook and study outline for Roman history which combines the topical and library methods of studying history. There Is a skeleton outline of topics, blank spaces in which the student writes the more "important subjects, and other brief notes. Special topics for collateral: reading are inserted in proper Full lists of books in this connection are given, and nine out line maps to be filled in and N numerous spaces for -drawings and plans to be made by the pupil after consulting the books mentioned. (American book com pany, New York. 25 cents.) \u25a0 \u25a0 . • . * • Ella Wheeler Wilcox has worked her travel : experiences into a book, "Sail ing Sunny Seas." She visited Jamaica, Haiti, Porto Rico, Dominica; Honolulu, Santo Domingo, St. Thomas, Mar tinique, Trinidad and the West Indies. The various chapters and articles are in prose and verse and the book is illustrated by reproductions of* copy righted photographs,': many of which show us the author. The author's style Is too well known to require comment. The book is .well printed and bound. \u25a0\u25a0<\V. B. Conkey company, Chicago. $1.50.) :-,>. -' "A Night Out" By Edward. Peple. Published by Moff«t, Yard 4 Co.. New York. Price 60 cents. Omar Ben Sufl was a cat, but he was no ordinary cat. Hla pedigree could be traced directly back to Padisha Zlm Yukl Yowsi Zind, the purest Persian strain, and , he lived in a poor little $80,000 cottage In the suburbs. His \u25a0woman owner employed a French maid for Omar and allowed him to play In a poor little $30,000 back yard when he was not being given mortifying scented baths or having lavender bows tied about his neck. Poor Omar never knew the joys of killing; he had never heard of a mouse. The maid "fed him from Dresden china on minute par ticles of flaked fish and raw sirloin with a dessert of pasteurized cream." Omar didn't know it, but he was dying of ennui and one day as he sat in the sun he was astonished to see a disreputable cat, a vulgar guttersnipe, climb upon the wall. The cat was very friepdly but very tough. He had a frog # ln his mouth, which he proceeded to kill and gave a bit to Omar. The new comer, who confided that his name was Ringtalled Pete, told Omar of the joys of the outside world and finally made an appointment for a nocturnal ramble to see the town. Omar was there to see and they had a wonderful night out, the most exciting moment of which comes when Ash Can Sam, the bully of the alley, appears on the scene. One must laugh at the adventures of the cats. They are so well and so naturally told. The book is decidedly amusing. Gossip of Books and Writers What was the best selling book 50 years ago? In these day 3of record breaking sales, and these sales almost exclusively among novels, the answer to this question involves contrast. In 1855, according to documents on file in the Harper publishing houee, Edward Everett wrote to Lord Macaulay of the latter's "History of England": "No book has ever had such a sale In the United States except the bible, and one or two schoolbooks." •« • " It is a singular coincidence that two of the most important books of the year are by old men. and each Is pub lished on its author's birthday. "It Never Can Happen Again." by William de Morgan, was published on his seven tieth birthday and "The Retrospection of an Active Life." by John Bigelow, appeared on his ninety-second birth day. W. W. Jacobs, whose new book of shore stories, "Sailors' Knots." has just been published, continues to hold hla own as the foremost living humor ist. Only the other day a correspond ent wrote to the English publishers an Interesting letter in the course of which she explained that Jacobs' stories were first brought to her notice by a busi nessman out west, who was suffering from what she called "Jacobs mania." This admirer of the humorist, she says, devours everything, that Jacobs writes as soon as it appears and even pays a man to make researches in the British museum library In case there are any early stories which he may have missed. He Is a highly successful business man, and works hard, but whenever he feels iinusually fatigued he takes a dose of Jacobs and is himself again. • • • E. W. Hornung and Sir Arthur Co nan Doyle are brothers In law and some years ago a proposition was made by a publisher that they collaborate on a book in which the ingenuity and dare deviltry of Raffles as an enemy of con ventional society be pitted against the science of deduction as practiced by Sherlock Holmes. Needless to say, the suggestion came to nothing, as it would be obviously impossible to yoke two heroes in this way without giving one or both over to burlesque, and of course neither Doyle or Hornung could give consent to this. • ' • \u25a0 • Apropos of the state of Maine's pe tition to congress for an appropriation to raise the battleship Maine in Havana harbor, it Js interesting to read what Rear Admiral F. E. Chadwick, a mem ber of the commission appointed by congress In IS9S to determine the cause of the battleship's destruction, has to say about the work of the commission in his book, "The Relations of the United States- with Spain — Diplomacy," which has Just been published. Ad miral Chadwick want to Cuba believ ing that the explosion had been caused by interior forces, and one other mem ber of the board shared this belief. After careful Investigation, however, both men became firmly convinced that the explosion was caused by a mine or torpedo outside the ship. « -' • ' • • Now that Marie Corelli's likeness has been exploited far and wide, Eden Phlllpotts remains distinguished and unique among authors in refusing to give out his picture for publication. •• ' • Ernest Thompson-Seton In his new book, "Life Histories of Northern Ani mals," which has Ju3t been published, contends that there are suffragettes even among the elks of the papitl herd. Mr. Seton. says: "The Individual in that, herd who. can impress . on. the others that he Is the .wise one — the safe one to follow — -eventually becomes the leader. Numberless observations show that this wise one is'not the big bull, but almost invariably an elderly female. The big bull ", might drive them, but net lead them- ; She?. is the one that has lm presse'd. the -others with the Idea . that she Is safe to follow— that she will lead Into no foot traps; that | she ;knows the best- pastures' and best ways 'to them; 'that 'she* has learned the salt licks and the watering places that are safe and opehtto ': all \u25a0; around; that her eyes and ears are ;keen. and that she will take good' care of herself and incidentally of the band. 'This female leadership 1 "Sailors' Knots" By W. W. Jacobs, aathor of "Many Ctrgv**." etc. Published by Charles S*ribner's» Sons, New York. Price $I.3<X Patriotic Americana may think it la stretching a point to name W. W. Jacobs the "Mark Twain" of England. We are accustomed to thinking and saying that Mark Twain Is In a clas3 by himself, and so he is —In this coun try. W. W. Jacobs has been amusing the public for a long time now. Ha was so young when he made his great hit with "Many Cargoes" that he was called the young English humorist, and the "young" has clung to him quite as firmly as the "humorist." His humor is young and as fresh today &a ever. In this collection of a dozen tales we meet again Bob Pretty, trying as always to evade the law and lay up supplies for a rainy day at no expense to himself. Here, too, we find Sam Small, Ginger Dick and Peter Russett giving each other the double cross <ln the same old way. Fet they are aa welcome as they were In the first stories and readers will vote that tha stories which tell of their doings are perhaps the best In the book. "Peter's Pence" and "Self-Help" are two of these and aura to be prime favorites. The "Head of the Family", la the tale of a pompous «nd bullying man who is taught a lesson. "Double Dealing" la the most characteristic example of tha author's humor In the book, full of twists for which he Is justly famous. One tale In the book shows a new side of this author's genius, quite as surprising as tt is Interesting. It la "The Toll House" and Is weird and fan tastic. Knowing the author, the reader is expecting a humorous ending to the uncanny and ghostly tale when it sud denly ends In tragedy. It Is a tale of four young men spending a night in a haunted house, and If any one can read it without thrills he has strong nerves. Mr. Jacobs is singularly happy In his selection of titles, not only for his stories individually but collectively In book form. "Many Cargoes," "Odd Craft," "Short Cruises," and now "Sail ors' Knots." "Wisely, too, he keeps th» same Illustrator, Will Owen, whose pic tures now are a necessary part of every Jacobs story. common to almost. If not all. horned Quiller-Couch. author of *Tru» Tilda." "The Mayor of Troy," etc.. !.• best known on this side of the water ava a writer of stories, but in England he is thought of more as an essayist and critic and as a poet. In his home town of Fowey he takes a most enthusiastic interest in all that goes on about him. He helps train the school children for the Christmas pantomime. Ha is jus tice of the peace, rear admiral of the yacht club and a leading spirit In the mercantile association and the Troy town band. He plays cricket and fre quently kicks off the ball at Important football games. His popularity Is summed up by one of his Cornish neighbors. "They'm many of us could tell you that Mr. Quiller-Couch la the only gent in Fowey." • • • Will Irwln. popular for his short stories, has written a, novel which tha Century company will Issue in March. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has declined to referee the Jeffries-Johnson fight. It would be amusing to have Bernard Shaw Invited. His letter of refusal would be worth reading. In a letter to Henry T. Flnck. au thor of "Success in Music and How It Is Won," Jean de Reszke says: **I have read your book. 'Success in Music and How It Is Won,* with deep emotion. All my life as an artist has passed be fore my eyes, and ray thoughts have been carried back to my dear com rades, and to the battles won at the cost of so much labor, perseverance and self-denial. May the story of my efforts and of the efforts of my illus trious fellow workers serve as a guide and an incentive for all young people who would enter the theatrical profes sion! Tour book shows them the path to fame, and I wish them success with all my heart." It 13 occasionally, interesting to see ourselves as others see us. The fol lowing brief review waa clipped from the London Spectator: Partners of Providence, by Charles D. Stewart (Duckworth & Co.). This, we Imagine, is simply an Issue in England of an American novel.published In 1907. Perhaps ,lt may be new to English readers, to whom, however. It makes no great appeal. It is written In a shocking dialect, scarcely to be recog nized as founded on the English lan guage, and in a. style admirably suited to the tastes of those who follow "beef steak and onions" with "Ice cream"— as one of the persons of the story claims to have done —but not to those of likings more refined. \u2666 • • f Mrs. R. S. Garnett. author of "Tha In famous John Friend," is a daughter In law of the late Dr. Richard Garnett. She is also a descendant of William Roscoe, historian of the Medici, and a niece of R. H. Hutton. late editor of the Spectator. Her novel Is a romance founded on Napoleon's projected In vasion of England. Books Received "The Double Life." by Gastca Lercui. John E. Kearney. New York. "The Fighter." by Albert Payson Terhnire. Frank F. Lorell company, Nevr York. "Sailing Snnuy Seas," by Ella Wheeler- Wll cox. W. B. Coakey company. Chicago. "The Story of,Matka." by David Starr Jordan. Whttaker & Ray-Wlßnln company. San Francisco. "The Prido cf the Bancho," by Henry B. Smith. J. S. Ocilvie publishing company, New York. "Intercollegiate Debates." Edited by Pan! Sl.' Pearson. Hinds. Noble A Eldredjre. New York. "The Treatment oi Nature In English Poetry." by Myra Reynolds. The University \u25a0of Chicago press. Chicaco. "Commercialism and Journalism," by Ilamlttoa Holt. Uouzhton-Mlfflla company. Boston. "The Conflict Between Private Monopoly and Good CitijNishtp," by John G. Brooks. Hough tpn-Mlfflln* company. Boston. •'A Nljrht Out." by Edward Peple. Moffat. Yard & C 0... New York. "Lord Lot eland DlscoTers America." by C. N. and A. M. Williamson. Doubledayi Page & Co.; New York. 5 "Do It to a Finish." by O. S. harden. Thomas •Y. Crowell & Co.. New York. "Selwt Essays of Ella." by Charles Lamb. Edited by John F. Genny. American book com* pany, -Nrvr York. , \u25a0•'VXatnre" Stndy. Lower Grammar Grades." by Horace IJ. Cummins*. American book coiapanj. \u25a0 New York. •The Dragnet." by Elizabeth Baker'Bohan. The C. M. Clark publishing company. Boston. "The Writlnjr «n the Wall.", by Ertwanl Mar- Sjhail. G. W. DlUinzbam comuaor. New Yuri. .