The Nebraskan. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1892-1899, October 22, 1893, Page 15, Image 4

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to us laden perhaps with the scent of the pure
forests unci with very little else. Mere seem
ing vagaries of an imagination that delights
Is Bret Harte losing his skill in story-tell- i the aspects ol nature taken unawares, and
ing. His last ellbrt in the Century will hard- s guiltless of motive or purpose as some of
ly add anything to his reputation. On the his own characters. These creations may be
whole it is rather a rambling, desultory, in- justified, if justification is needed, on the plea
consequential sort of -i narrative, but en- of art for art's sake, and some of them are
livened at intervals by characteristic touches the very embodiment of art. Others of his
in which even the most casual reader could sketches, howevei , for they are not all so
not fail to recognize the hand of the author, charmingly illogical, are most vivid pictures
The Kentucky girl talks western slang with (f the life of the mining camp and frontier
a southern accent, probably the result of towns. At times showing us the very depths
some previous residence in California, which of human misery and vice, yet investing even
is hinted at rather than expressed. How she these very often with a glamour and a jaunty
acquired her thoroughly western manner is ir that while they are not intended to, and
less evident. However, she is not lacking do not decive us as to their real nature, win
in native wit, and very cleveily gives the our admiration for their skillful handling.
Scotch-Englishman, a chance acquaintance, What though his heroes are gamblers and
the benefit of her ideas on Highland scenes, highwaymen, adverse circumstances shaped
Right here the author unconsciously or other- the careers of many of them, and they were
wise cannot refrain from making a slight none the less men for a' that. John Oakhurst
comparison of the land of the Scots with his willingly sacrifices his life for the "Outcasts
own beloved California, to manifest disad- of Poker Flat," and Jack Hamlin, in addition
vantage of the former in western eyes. The to his wonderful nerve and skill at play is not
chance acquaintance proves to be the true lacking in generosity and fair-mindedness,
but unappreciative heir of the McIIulishes, They are not border ruffians, but rather the
not loath to part with his desert island for unicores of a former respectability. There
American gold, and we close the magazine is something wonderful about even their
wondering whether the lady from Kentucky greatest achievements and successes, which
was prevailed upon by the consul's western ure met with the equanimity of habitual man
friend, or by her daughter at the instigation ners.
of the dissipated youth from MaeCorkleville Harle's style is indescribable but unmis-
to embark in the fruitless enterprise. takeable. Lazy description is succeeded by
It. is below Harte's usual standard, and action with startling suddenness, and yet in
does not do him justice by any means. His such a provokingly subdued manner that we
inimitable sketches of life in the Sierras wonder whether anything has really hap-
would lead us to expect something better, pened and turn back to read it again. He is
He has contributed more than any other man fond of introducing incongruous persons in
to the literature of that interesting but over- incongruous places, and then ingeniously
described region, and it is a relief to turn adapting them to their surroundings in a way
occasionally from the ponderous style and that might be ludicrous if it were not so well
heavy metaphor of some more pretensions done. We cannot help feeling that he is in
writer:? who really never wrote anything half sympathy with his own characters, erring
so delightful, to one of his breezy sketches, human beings though they often are.
Many of his stories are like zephyrs wafted There is a slight tinge of philosophy in
over wavering plains and snowy mountain many of his works that is not incompatible
tops, and as apparently aimless. They come with the nature of his subjects. His heroines