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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (March 15, 1888)
seemed to say 'You, now, just trust yourself to us and we
will do everything; wc understand without fail how every
thing is done the same way for any man.' " Is it any wonder
Howells said Tolstoi's works were not a description of life
Ilyitch becomes worse by almost imperceptible degrees.
The idea of death is impressed for so long a time upon his
wife and acquaintances that this hypocritic stock of sorrow
which usually lasts through a funeral, becomes exhausted
under this long strain and the real feelings crop out. His
wife can't help showing that she wishes he were out of the
way, and his colleagues calculate upon their chances for pro
motion in case of his death. A man, somehow, feels worse
about dying himself than anybody else does, and Ilyitch does
not lose any of this scarcely concealed impatience. People
call, "asking after his health, lor the sake of asking, and not
from a desire for information" in short, wc have a perfect
picture of what must be the feelings of consumptives or
invalids who know they have a limited time to live, and that
everybody knows it.
Another of the most skillful touches is the intense disgust
inspired in him by the self sufficient, domineering bearing of
his physicians, exactly analagous to his own conduct as a jus
tice. One is often most disgusted by seeing one's own char
acteristics displayed by another person.
The best thing Julian Hawthorn has written, and the one
perhaps which will justify his claim to any of the ability of
his illustrious father is ''Archibald Malmaison." It is a
psychological story, reinforced by such a formidable array
of facts that one almost believes it. I presume it must be a
kind of poetical license which permits an author to build up
an appalling tale upon an alleged scientific truth, corroborat
ing all his statements by foot notes and references having as
honest a look as any in a standard history. Perhaps the
demand for such exhaustive attempts to prove the story true
may be accounted for as a survival of that trait so com
mon to childhood the desire for a "true" story. But isn't
it odd that we will make, or allow an author to make for us,
such an elaborate proof that a story is really true, when we
know all the time it can't be so. Hawthorne's evidence is so
assuring throughout and his remark at the end of the volume
that he finds truth and facts hamper him and that in future
he is going to stick to fiction, is given with such apparent
frankness that 1 fell an easy victim to the plausibility of the
story, and was only called back to a rational opinion by the
Archibald Malmaison is an English second son, who has
inherited a little family trait of sleeping every alternate
seven years (and he wasn't a policeman cither). The first
seven years of his blissful existence was passed in this som
nambulistic condition. He moved about, of course, but had
a general air of stupor about him which nothing could effect.
At the end of seven years he wakened up, but to the surprise
of his parents he had forgotten everything he had learned
and had to bi treated like a new born babe. He learned
remarkably fast, however, and soon regained what he had lost,
but very oddly the affections were all just reversed and he
hated everybody he had formerly loved.
When he awoke at the end of each seven years he went
right on completing the thought or sentence he had left un
finished seven years before. Of course the inconvenience of
this trait is apparent at once.
In the family mansion was a room which had been occupied
by the ancestor from whom Archibald had inherited his
somnambulistic tendencies. That worthy gentleman had
acquired an unenviable reputation as a wizard on account of
of his supposed ability to disappear instantaneously, and as
a proof of thisaccomplishmcnt was quoted the fact that he
had actually disappeared from this very room when there
was no possible mode of egress, remained absent three days
and then appeared as mysteriously as he dad departed. The
room came in for a lasting share of the prejudice which had
been accorded to the ancestor and nobody but Archibald
would have anything to do with it. He, however, took quite
a fancy to it and accidently discovered the spring which
opened into a secret chamber.
Archibald had taken the usual fancy to the ''lovely and
accomplished daughter" of a neighboring nobleman and
in fact they had the foundation for a mutual admira
tion society, but unfortunately Archibald was overtaken
by one of his sleepy periods and when he awoke his
adored one was the wife of a widower twice her age. Of
course he didn't enjoy this at all. In a few years he met
Kate and their intimacy was renewed. Shortly after Archi
bald shot her husband in a duel resulting from a long stand
ing feud. He placed Kate in the secret chamber until the
excitement should blow over and was then going to elope
with her, closed the doors and went to show himself so his
servants would not connect him with the duel. While absent
he was overcome by the sleep. At the end of the seven
years he remembered that he had left Kate as he thought a
few moments before and went back to the chamber. He
found her a skeleton.
Alter reading the realists a novel like this is refreshing.
It is so delightfully unreal.
A RACE TO THE FINISH.
I may be somewhat reckless. Recklessness is a charac
teristic of western boys who seldom take a back seat for
eastern boys. But sometimes this spirit of daring leads to
trouble; at least it did so in my case. I have not spoken
much of a certain adventure 01 mishap rather, that I met
with a year ago last winter, while visiting in ; but as
a warning to those who may be placed in similar circum
stances, I will relate the story, and let it be taken for what
it is worth .
To "praricboys" coasting is a novelty. It was so to me
as I learned to my cost. Perhaps the reader thinks it is an
easy task to guide a sled down hill. But it is not so to an
inexDcrienced coaster. It is far easier to let the sled take
its own course while making the trip to the bottom of
hill, hut the attendant risks are creator. Actual
instead of risks however were my lot.
To day toboggan slides are the rule, instead of the old
time coasting ground. In ihissmall town of , however,
the young people still used the old time sleds; and a steep
hill served as a coasting place.
Every evening the hill was crowded with young and old.
There was no lack of sport. Every unfortunate coaster, who
was upset or who by an unlucky effort, sent his sled grating
sideways, and then went rolling down the hill inconsequence,
was greeted with shouts of laughter. The coasting place was
about three quarters of a mile in length. The impetus
gained by the time the bottom of the hill was reached, en
abled the coasters to slide far out in the field below. Bon
fires were kindled near the top of the hill, and gave a cheer
ful aspect to the scene.
Many of the sleds were large enough for two, and in fact
each sled, whether large enough or not, carried a happy
couple down the hill at a startling speed. But the young
fellows of my acquaintance were by no means alarmed at
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