The New York Times/Boston Notes/December 1905
Some New Fiction - A Musical Dictionary by Nathan H. Dole--Some New Editions and Other Gossip About Books.
The traditional after-holiday period of rest during which the publishers are supposing to be imitating Mr. Mieawber and falling back for a spring is not to be closely observed in Boston this year, and Messrs. Little, Brown & Co. have two novels in press for January. Mr. A. B. Ward's "The Sage Brush Parson," has an English hero who toils mightily in a Nevada mining town, and, although handicapped by being an Englishman, leaves his mark in many lives. The second story, Mr. E. Phillips Oppenheim's "A Maker of History," includes the police of three countries among its personages, to say nothing of Ambassadors, clever Secretaries, and high officials, and a mysterious disappearance and a missing sheet of manuscript keep the entire company in movement. The scene shifts from Germany and Russian to France and England, and the author, as is his way, gives the reader to understand that he is receiving valuable information as to the manner in which the world is governed. A little later the firm will issue a Canadian novel by Miss Anna Chapin Ray.
Mr. Nathan Haskell Dole, the athor of "A Score of Famous Composers," has made a "Musical Dictionary" of an instructive character and of sincere seriousness, as everything connected with music must be in Boston. It is intended especially to meet the wants of those desirous of understand the descriptive programmes sometimes distributed at concerts, by way of reminding the audience that he management can account for its presence only on the ground of ignorance, and the author indulges in occasional cheerful flosses, to correct the natural despondency of the reader. The work is to be published by Messrs. Luce & Co., probably a little later than "Foolish Etiquette," which will come in March.
The tenth edition of "The Gentle Reader" came simultaneously last week, but the title of the last books needs explanation for many a reader. One of the author's parishioners commended it to an aquaintance met in a bookshop the other day, "It's such a queer subject; just a pocketbook," objected the other. "Oh," said the parishioner proudly, "he could write about anything." So each bought one, and by this time, if they read the preface, both have become aware of a new English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer.
The next book from Mrs. John Eliot, almost invariably called "Maud Howe," may be "Two in Spain," for thither she and her artist husband are bending their way with intent to roam and rest at will for two years.
Mr. Thomas Railey Aldrich and his wife and son are going to Egypt next month to remain until Spring, but it is hardly to be hoped that any such good gift as a novel will come to his readers in consequence. His knowledge of other countries plays but a slender part in his fiction.
The author, unlike the prophet, now has as much honor in his own country as is good for him. The Thursday Morning Fortnightly Club has been presenting a laurel wreath to Miss Coletta Ryan after hearing poems from "Songs from a Sun Garden" read by the club President, and immediately after the holidays Mr. Charles Gibson is to give four drawing-room readings from this Among French Inns," and an unpublished volume of poems. Miss Eva March Tappan's Books are nowhere more favorably received then in the State of their publication. Seventy-five towns are using "Our Country's Story"; "England's Story" is used in forty-one, counting Springfield, which has just adopted it for the eighth and ninth grades. Both the Latin schools and the English high schools of Boston are by vote of the retiring School Board to use her "England's Literature."
Miss Tappan has prepared a volume of "American Hero Stories," arrangign the achievements of great Americans in chronological order, and the book is to be published by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., with illustration after old prints and engravings seldom used in a work of this species. She has also written "A Short History of America's Literature," and this will be bound to her "Short History of England's Literature" for the use of those teachers who wish to consider the two subjects in their relation to one another. "England's Literature" will still be published in its first form.
As Mr. Morley Roberts has published some thirty-five volumes of fiction during the last eighteen years, it is evident that his self-imposed task of marking each one unlike all its forerunners is not easy, but in "The Idlers," which heads Messrs. L. C. Page & Co.'s list for 1906, he has at least written nothing to suggest "Rachel Marr" or "The Promotion of the Admiral," or "Lady Penelope," his American books for the last two years. His English product in that time has six books, but he spent thirteen years traveling and collecting his materials, pausing now and then to work in divers places from the Indian House to a Texas sawmill, thus learning the routine of affairs and labor. At thirty he began to publish, and by the time he was forty-years of age he had fulfilled Dr. Osler's programme, and had finished the hard work of his life, henceforth having only the pleasant labor of pursuing a mastered craft. He is not yet fifty years old, and may be expected to work faster rather than slower for a few years at least.
The swift production of books is not so necessary as in the days before international copyright, when speed was the only protection against ruinous robbery, and a thin volume of Tennyson was printed and bound in less then two days, but the third edition of "The Little Colonel," upon which the printers began before the second had left the binders' hands, was printed and bound in five days.
The son of the late Hjaimar Hjorth Boyesen, Mr. Bayard Boyesen, has written an allegorical drama entitled "The Marsh," and Mr. Richard G. Badger is publishing it. It shows the fate of a man who leaves the safe ground of duty and religion, even with the lofty intent of saving the world from its sins and troubles. It contains some fine lines, but the average reader is too intent upon economizing his gray cortex to use it in deciphering allegories, and it is hardly to be expected that the book will have much circulation. There is nothing allegorical about "Songs from the Sedges," by Miss Ellen Brainerd Peck, the niece of Mr. Samuel Minturn Peck. Her verses are straightforward ballads and lyrics of love and happiness generally simple in form, but sometimes delicately intricate. With these, too, Mr. Badger is bring out Mr. William Colegrove's "Hardford," an epic in hexameters. The first verse, "Arms and men I sing who first to Connecticut land came," shows its quality. He who perseveres until the last will discover that it prefaces a solemn warning against the City of Hardford's "public policy motto." Perhaps Hardford will take heed, but she is hardly the Syracuse of Balaustion to be moved by poetrymeven if Mr. Colegrove were Euripides.
The title of the Dwight Titlon novel, soon to be issued by the Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, is "The Goldern Greyhound," and it is to be of adventure all compact.
Boston, Dec. 30, 1905