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Out of the mass of commonplace novels, which bear the same relation to literature that sensational newspapers bear to serious journalism, a few stories claim attention as sincere and genuine works of the art which, at its best, transcribes life intimately and dramatically. The most admirable and vital work in this field is not always the most immediately successful; though the idea that a popular novel must be an inferior novel is either the refuge of the unsuccessful or the cynicism of the dilettante. Sooner or later a novel of vital power finds its readers; many stories of serious aim fail, not because they are serious, but because they are deficient in vitality.

Mrs. Watts always has a serious purpose: she means to tell the truth about life. Her novels have been rich in original obsérvation and in vigorous character-drawing. Her style, too, is vivacious and intimate; she stays with her subjects, and her readers live in their atmosphere and see them at close range. The Central West has been studied many times in its more obvious and spectacular aspects; Mrs. Watts has given us studies of men and women who express not so much the energy of the section as its traditions of social refinement; she has done for her section what Miss Jewett did for New England.

But her range of portraiture has not been narrow, and her studies of decaying gentility, of the old families run to seed, have been supplemented by skillful sketches of those who are in the process of emerging socially. "The Rise of Jennie Cushing "is a carefully drawn portrait of a girl born in the slums, educated in a reformatory, and disciplined by going into service in a family of easy-going, "slack" farmers; her further preparation for life is gained in a manicure "parlor " and as a lady's maid. The circumstances are adverse, and the girl has less definite moral teaching than a heathen; there is a great deal of paganism in American society, and Jennie Cushing grows up in its atmosphere and becomes a clean-minded, honest pagan. She knows nothing about moral laws, but she has some moral instincts and a great deal of self-developed rectitude. She makes a great

The Rise of Jennie Cushing. By Mary S. Watts. The Macmillan Company, New York. $1.35.

mistake, largely because society has never really touched her and she has worked out her problems in isolation; she sees her mistake, accepts the consequences, and pays the price. The sub-title of "Tess," "A Pure Woman Faithfully Portrayed," might be put on the title-page of this able, interesting, and courageous story.

"The Encounter," which is also the work of an American woman, is as far removed in material from Mrs. Watts's novel as the crudity of social emergence in a new country is from the sophistication of Europe, and in method the contrast is equally striking. Mrs. Watts tells the story of a woman in relations with a large group of people; Anne Douglas Sedgwick describes an episode in the experience of an American girl in a pension in a small German watering-place in a little circle of six people. The construction and the presentation of the story are characteristic of a writer who has mastered her craft. There is hardly a superfluous line in the story, and the characters stand out with the utmost clearness.

It was not an easy thing to draw a portrait of an irritable man of genius who has discovered the secret of an automatic universe and is trying to torture his life to fit into his scheme, and who is in love with a young American girl at those rare moments when he is not in love with himself. The rootless American mother and daughter floating about Europe, detached from convictions and vital connections, but well-bred, cultivated, and protected to a limited extent by good taste, are studied with keen insight. There is a warm-hearted Italian woman whose intentions are better than her judgment, and there is an unworldly German of a type especially attractive in this hour of "blood and iron." The tale does not arrive anywhere, but that is proof of its fidelity to truth; the people it describes never reach definite ends.

It is pleasant to get into the romantic atmosphere after this clear-cut study of the cultivated denaturalized American, and the very title of "The Street of Seven Stars": sets the imagination at play. We are young, ardent, and living in happy poverty in Vienna in the very first chapter. We are in bohe

The Encounter. By Anne Douglas Sedgwick. The Century Company New York. $1.30.

2 The Street of Seven Stars. By Mary Roberts Rine hart. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. $1.25.



mia, and as innocent of conventions as children who have never known sin. The situation of the hero and the heroine is as far from the usages of sophisticated society as was Eden before Satan corrupted Eve. They are clean-minded, unworldly, lovable Americans whose integrity is so much a part of themselves that they are as unconscious of it as healthy children.

This is a pretty story of gay poverty, joy in art, and the ease of spirit which makes work a happy play. There are slums in bohemia, and there is a slum in this bohemia; but the stars are put out, not by a wicked hand, but by heavy-handed goodness blindly enforcing a law instead of wisely and tenderly revealing it. This is a charming story also for those who cannot discriminate between good and evil unless they are put in separate places and plainly labeled; and it is a wholesome story for those who are in danger of thinking that life is only another name for dull routine.

As if to reinforce this romance of youth with the confirmation of experience, comes Mr. Nicholson with "The Poet," "1 whom everybody loves and who refuses to submit to the destruction of his ideals and takes a hand in a domestic drama which is on the edge of tragedy, but not yet hopelessly ended in the final misery of divorce. The Poet has been involved in the fortunes of two lovers, and has not only warmed his hands and heart in the glow of their happy marriage, but has found in it a deep spring of inspiration. When the great American god, Success-recovered from the ruins of a pagan past and set up in business again in a new temple of artificial marble-seduces the young man from his ideals, and the simple loyalties of love go out of his life and the home is wrecked, the Poet feels that his teaching has been discredited and does not rest until he has rekindled the fire on the hearth and revealed the lovers to themselves. It is a wholesome romance delightfully told.


If there is a conspiracy to "show up fallacy and shame of divorce, Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Venable are deeply involved, and "Pierre Vinton "2 is as dangerous in its detection of the sophistry of divorce as "The Poet." It is not a goody-goody tale; on the contrary, it deals with sophisticated. society folk who are experts in the knowl

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The Poet. By Meredith Nicholson. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. $1.30.

2 Pierre Vinton. By Edward C. Venable. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. $1.25.


edge of good and evil. It is bright, witty, and gay in manner, but it is serious in purpose, and, without a note of ethical instruction, it drives home the double truth that marriage is a sacrament and that the real trouble with people who are divorced is that they have never been married. Pierre has been divorced simply because his wife is restless, without inward resources, and imagines that the trouble is in her condition. He submits to the legal proceedings, but knows that his marriage has not been and cannot be dissolved. He does not argue about it; he knows it. He is full of humor, he does not bore his friends, but he knows that he is, and always will be, his wife's lover and husband. In the end he convinces her, although he nearly kills himself in doing it. He not only saves his wife for himself but he saves her for herself. A light-hearted, conversational manner conveys a sane and noble ideal of marriage in this charming story.


And in an equally gay mood Mr. Williams turns the whole question of marriage so that one sees it from every side in his story in the form of a play, "And So They Were Married," 1 which is described in its sub-title as "A Comedy of the New Woman." It is a comedy of the woman who thinks but has not reached a final conclusion; she sees so many aspects of marriage that she is confused as to the real relation between love and

the formal ceremony. She stands on bedrock in her conviction that marriage without love is profanation; but she is caught in the net of verbal definition of obligation. In the end she is married in spite of herself.

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Respectability has triumphed this time," says the somewhat cynical Judge at the end; "but let society take warning and beware! beware! beware!" In this vivaciously dramatized tale emphasis rests on the real source of most of the unhappiness which culminates in divorce; it is not because of marriage, but because there has been only a sham marriage.

When a novelist knows enough about art to write about it in the vernacular and not in a dialect, and enough about artists to dramatize the artistic temperament, the reader is likely to get a story which has genuine human interest. Such a story was Charles Marriott's "What a Man Wants," published last spring; a book full of insight and suggestion in its definition of the attitude of the artistic temperament towards nature and life.

And So They Were Married. By Jesse Lynch Williams. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. $1.25.


Such a story is Mr. Thurston's "Achievement," in which the impulsion of the passion for artistic expression drives Richard Furlong from the mill on the countryside to London, to two years of wandering on the Continent, to restless experimentation, and finally to the success which is won by genius backed by a persistence which is not so much a matter of will as of temperament. The emotional experience of such a man bears directly upon his art, and Furlong is inspired as an artist and destroyed as a man by the imperious demands of his temperament for emotional expression. In such matters he knows little either of fundamental or conventional law; but he is loyal to a deep-going integrity in his nature. "Achievement is a serious, able, and unconventional novel.

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If one is in search of the latest impress of modernity, he will find it in Mr. Wells's novels; they are, as a rule, not only up to date, but some of them are so far ahead of the times that one doubts if the times will ever overtake them. They are so entirely tied to the moment that they seem to partake more largely of journalism than of literature. They are, for this reason, rarely restful, and they are often disconcerting.

In "The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman "2 the possessive theory of marriage is stated in the most elementary terms. It is a literal trans

lation of "The Taming of the Shrew" without the poetry, the imagination, or the humor of the play. Sir Isaac is an underbred and offensive plutocrat who grinds the face of the working-girl and tries to lock his beautiful young wife in a country house. She flies into rebellion, becomes a suffragette, and brings him to terms, which he respects while he is ill and weak and casts to the winds when he recovers. The heroine dips into philanthropy and persuades herself that marriage is fatal to feminine " autonomy"-an opinion which she changes later. It is needless to say that Mr. Wells never lacks courage or vigor.

"Ellenor Stoothoff" might have named her story "The Lark" instead of "The Nightingale," and the very obvious joke involved in that title would have been pardonable in view of the exactness with which it would have described her clever, original, and amusing book. It tells the story of the excursion into the world of a wife and mother who feels the need of a change and who gets it with great rapidity and in many varieties. Her procedure is surprising and radical; and the fun is kept up until the very end. Probably very few people will know how to pronounce the name of the author; but that difficulty may also be taken as part of the general" larkiness" of the story.


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At the outbreak of the present European conflict, our Chief Executive, true to the traditions of our Nation, published a declaration of strict neutrality, and, so far, the American people have supported the President in this position. However, there are several phases of the present titanic struggle which challenge our careful attention and must cause us seriously to consider whether or not we can afford to remain absolutely neutral in every eventuality. Such is the alignment of the Powers in the present conflict and such the magnitude of the issues that nothing short of the complete prostration of the belligerents on the one side or the other can bring about peace.

Achievement. By E. Temple Thurston. D. Appleton & Co., New York. $1.35. By H. G. Wells. $1.50.

The Wife of Sir Isaac Harmon. The Macmillan Company, New York.

Should the arms of the Allies prevail, AustriaHungary will cease to be a dominating factor in the Balkans, and may see a large number of her Slavic peoples forming themselves into a confederation under the protection of Russia. Germany's dreams of European domination will be dispelled, and the smaller states of western Europe, such as Belgium, Holland, and Denmark, will feel themselves assured of their national existence.

The prestige gained by Russia will be great, but it is only blind prejudice that raises the specter of "Slavic barbarism" as a menace to the maintenance of civilization in western Europe. Success to the allied arms will mean the thorough democratization of Russia and the development by her people of the arts of peace. The gigantic fallacy underlying the so-called "Slavic menace" is the unwarranted assump

The Nightingale. By Ellenor Stoothoff. Houghton Mifflin Company. $1.25.

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tion that the Teuton is inherently superior to the Slav. History bears out no such broad assumption.

Success to the Allies will also mean that Great Britain will have greater sea power and an augmented commerce, but it cannot be shown that this nation has ever yet exerted her vast resources in the oppression of smaller states. On the contrary, Great Britain has consistently protected smaller states against the aggressions of their more powerful neighbors.

The people of America should see no menace to them in the enlargement and extension of British political, economic, and juridical institutions, which are so much in harmony with their own.

Now let us consider briefly the other possible outcome of the war.

Should the Allies be crushed, Austria-Hungary will dominate southeastern Europe, France will be so weakened as to be relegated to the position of a second or even third rate Power, Belgium will cease to exist as a sovereign state, and Holland will soon experience the fate of her luckless neighbor.

Decisive defeat of the Allies will mean that Great Britain may have to purchase a humiliating peace at the tremendous sacrifice of her sea power, her commerce, and the fairest of her colonial possessions.

Undoubtedly, in such an event, Germany will. seize upon Canada as the most suitable base for her future colonial expansion.

Will it then be a matter of indifference to Americans whether they have as neighbors a people with whom they have so much in common and with whom they have been on the most cordial terms for a full century, or, on the other hand, a people intoxicated by success in Europe and with the means and determination of establishing their militarism in the New World?

Just how far will the Monroe Doctrine apply in such a contingency?

Americans can profess a position of strict neutrality to-day, and can even tolerate an extensive pro-German propaganda in their press, because, deep down in their hearts, they feel that the Allies will ultimately prevail, and that no danger threatens America at the end of the war. However, the prospect, or even possibility, of having German militarism dominating one-half of the North American continent at the close of the war, and, in that event, the certainty of a not distant struggle between the vastly enlarged German Empire and the United States single-handed, should lead all thoughtful Americans who still prefer democracy to autocratic militarism to hail with delight the speedy and decisive triumph of the allied arms.

In a very special sense Great Britain is war


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In the October 7 number of The Outlook Mr. Bullard, in his article on the war, while speaking of the possibility of the exhaustion of war munitions by the combatants, states the possibility of the field artillery of the army being used up faster than it could be manufactured. He says that it takes a year to make a field gun. Though I am not familiar with artillery, I asked an artilleryman connected with the local recruiting station, and he says that a field gun can be turned out in a week, and that even the larger guns do not take anything like a year to make. I am a subscriber, and hope you will publish a paragraph correcting Mr. Bullard's statement. Duluth, Minnesota.


[The question of how long it takes to make a field gun depends entirely on how nearly the gun is complete before you begin making it. If all the raw material is at hand, if all the various metals have been mined, reduced, and properly tempered, and all the glycerine compound for the hydraulic recoil absorber mixed, if the necessary optical instruments for the fire control are ready, and the machinery all in place, something which looked like a field gun might be turned out in a week. But ordinarily a longer time than this is spent, after the mechanism is assembled, in merely adjusting the sights.ARTHUR BULLARD.]



The gunboat Princeton, of the American navy, while entering the harbor of Pago Pago, Samoa, ran on an uncharted rock. A pinnacle of the rock entered the Princeton's hold and prevented her slipping off and sinking in deep water. Divers succeeded, with the help of other salvage men, in keeping out the water first with canvas and then with plank sheathing. Finally they cut off the pinnacle of rock that had pierced the vessel from the ledge of which it was a part and cemented it fast in the wound it had made! Then the vessel went on its way. This remarkable achievement required several months of unremitting effort.

A college town is a pleasant place in which to pass one's declining years if one happens to have been a college president. At least so it seemed to one observer, the other day, who noticed the universal respect accorded to Dr. Dwight, formerly President of Yale University, in New Haven, when he takes his constitutional. Dr. Dwight is nearing his eighty-sixth birthday, and looks forward with confidence to the time when he can call himself a nonagenarian.

"This country," remarks Mrs. Twickembury in the "Christian Register," "is ruled by a pack of demigods." The assertion would have been indorsed, probably, by another New England Mrs. Malaprop, who said that in her opinion the corruption in politics was due to "the dormant party."

Next to Russia, the United States has more horses than any other country in the world. Combined, the two countries possess 58 per cent of the world supply. Russia must now use her millions of horses for war purposes; and the United States thus remains the great horse market for the rest of the world.

The "Century Magazine " for November appears with new typography, the pages having an open effect that will be comfortable to the eyes of many readers; others will remember with pleasure the fine standards set by the De Vinne Press in the past in the printing of this magazine and regret any change.

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Michael Idvorsky Pupin, a writer in "McClure's says, arrived at Castle Garden a penniless boy; got employment as a rubber in a Turkish bath; went to the public schools; graduated from Columbia; and is now one of the greatest of American scientists and inventors. "A single Pupin invention has made possible our modern long-distance telephone service." Incidentally, Mr. Pupin has become that rare combination-a professor in a university and a millionaire.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is trying to put out small accidental fires that may de

Redondo Beach

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velop into serious conflagrations. It supplies printed forms to its trainmen marked conspicuously, "Go Back and Put Out Fire." When the trainman discovers a blaze near the track that is not dangerous enough to justify stopping the train, he fills out the blank, locating the fire, and throws it, off to the first trackwalker or station agent passed.

"Life's " Lexicon of War gives these revised definitions of familiar expressions: Censorship -The art of refusing to acknowledge facts. Peace-Complete military and economic exhaustion. Stern Retaliatory Measures-An atrocity committed by ourselves. Treaty-A scrap of paper. Ultimatum-" Hands up !"

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Children do not always understand the use of capital letters. The "Editor's Drawer" of 'Harper's Magazine" tells this story, which well illustrates the point: Marjorie wrote a composition about "Grant's Work in the Civil War." In describing Lee's surrender she told how Lee wore his sword and was handsomely attired in full uniform; then she wrote: "Grant had on nothing but an old, ragged union suit."

Lester Wallack, as quoted in a magazine article, did not consider beauty a mere matter of face and form. "As a matter of fact," he said, "many women who have attained a great reputation for beauty have been actually very plain. Recall the pictures of the famous beauties of history: can you not, without much effort, think of a hundred women who exceed them in good looks? And still their fame is not undeserved. It has been won by charm rather than by pink cheeks and brilliant eyes." But then the famous actor went on to speak in rapturous terms of a woman who had both charm and physical perfection-Adelaide Neilson-hardly an example of his own theory.

Rice, according to the "Country Gentleman,' has had a greater proportionate advance in price recently than any other food crop except sugar. It brings now two dollars a barrel more than the average of the past ten years.

"Collier's" disapproves of the submarine, as an unchivalrous engine of war. Of the recent sinking of British cruisers by a German submarine it says: Blackbeard would understand that victory and approve it; so would Attila, so would Nero; but we should like to see a board of naval strategists trying to explain these modern methods to Sir Philip Sidney or Nelson or Bayard." "A certain lord " expressed a similar idea even more neatly:

"It was great pity, so it was, This villainous saltpeter should be digged Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,

Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed so cowardly."

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