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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1889)
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nry, for it contains very good descriptions ol the ceremonial,
and of the events immediately following. There are several
articles by diflercnt authors on various topics connected with
Washington's inauguration. Read it and be prepared to use
your knowledge thus acquired when the U. of X. observes
the new national holiday, April 30.
Krank K. Stockton has written another story. It is plain
from reading it that Stockton wrote the story, for no one can
imitate his style, half humorous, half-mockingly serious.
The name of his latest production is "The Great War Syndi
cate," and the idea contained in the title is as interesting as
the details of the story arc ingenious. The stojy is of an
American war with Great Britain, a war that the United
States government was anxiously prosecuting. The date of
the occurences was in one of the last years of the nineteenth
century. In order to lelicvc the government, a syndicate of
millionaires and geniuses was formed, who, for a certain sum
agreed to take the war entirely off the government's hands.
A contract was drawn up and the syndicate went to work.
They had discovered a new projectile, the "instantaneous
motor bomb," and had a new kind of submarine boat, called
a "crab." With these the syndicate proposed to subdue
Great Britain's mighty naval forces. Stockton describes
IkmIi these implements of war so naturally that one can
almost imagine that the bomb which instantly annihilates
whatever strikes, and the "sea devil" or "crab"
really exist. The story is made up of the doings of the
syndicate's crabs and bombs, and ends with a treoty of peace
between the two warring powers. And here is where the
Stockton of the story crops out. The war was begun on
account of the fisheries question, but the treaty through
some oversight did not mention this subject. It is the same
Stocktonian fondness for a problem that led to the "Lady or
the Tiger," only less pronounced, and it is in this (a trait
noticeable in all his writings) that the chief charm of his
While the "Great War Syndicate" will not make Stock
Ion's reputation greater than it is, it wiil make him dearer to
all lovers of an idle hour. For there is not much to the
story to engage one's thoughts, unless it be the idea of a syn
dicate's making war. As imaginary as "Ten Thousand
Leagues Under the Sea," Stockton's story is less extrava
gant. It is as ingenious as the "Tale of Negative Gravity"
or the "Reversible Landscape" and it is as interesting as
"The Casting Away of Mrs. Leeks and Mrs. Aleshinc."
There is reading and reading. One class of. literature we
read to forget; another class, we read and remember it whether
wc will or not, simply because it is worth remembering.
The first of these two classes makes the easier reading. If
it is the most interesting it is because the taste of the reader is
either vitiated or has never been rightly formed. The second
class is, of necessity, much harder reading, and consequently
the kind one should read most of, on account of its
probable excellence and on account of the lasting bensfits
conferred by it. The same satisfaction that one feels after hav
ing done some difficult mathematical problem, or, after having
performed a delicate chemical experiment, is felt when oae
has completed the reading of a "hard" book, and knows
that he has giaspcd the principle and meaning of the story.
Such a hard book to rend is Arthur Sherburnes Hardy's
book, "But Yet a Woman." One undertakes it in the expec
tation of reading it in a day, when in reality there is some
thing like a week's work on the mcic reading.
Before one has read the book, its title is ambiguous, and
after one has read it the ambiguity still remains, but with no
incoustcucy. While the book is still unread a person sup
poses the story to be about a woman who is lofty-minded,
ambitious for truth, and pure, yet with all virtues and aspir
ations, still a woman with a warm loving heart; or else it is a
story of a woman, bad and wicked, but not .incapable of
grand actions and heroic deeds. In doubt between these
two possibilities one reads the book, and when it is finished
the doubt still remains, for both possibilities arc the truth.
And then to decide which truth it is the author's intention
to convey by the story, the descent from loftiness of soul to
the warmth of heart natural to woman, or the ascent from
selfishness of purpose to the heroism of a true soul. It is
a good book for the cynical unbeliever in the nobleness of
human nature, and especially feminine human nature.
The story is a represention of French life, a representa
tion that gives the reader an idea of the many sided char
acters of that life, and of its versatility. Rcncc, the niece of
a somewhat prominent writer and philosopher, was a woman
who added to splendid physical beauty, a greater beauty
of life and soul. It was her desire to live a life of perfect
purity and repose, believing that the surest way to overcome
the evils of earthly existance is to shun all temptations. In
accordance ith this view (narrow-minded on account of her
youth and inexperience) she had made arrangements for
entering a convent. Stcphani Milevski, the widow of a
Russian nobleman who died on the road to Siberia, is the
aunt of Renci, and half sister of M. Michel, Rcnec's uncle.
Stephanie, like Renec was very beautiful, bnt her mind was
fixed on the advantages of life more than on its duties.
Ambitious, keen of intellect, wealthy, influential and popu
lar, it was but natural that she should be one of the leaders
in an attempt to establish the French monarchy. Her fail
ure in this was no fault of hers, but of the king she professed
to serve. When these two women were thus engaged, one in
her ambitious plans, the other in her devout contemplation
of a secluded life, Roger Lande, a brilliant young physician
appeared on the scene. The result was inevitable. Renec
fell in love with him partly because she couldn't help it, and
partly led by the superior nobility of his aim in life, which
was to live for others. Stephanie fell in love with him on
account of his genius and intelligence, as well as the true
nobleness of his character. So here was a situation that
might have tried the hearts of nobler women than these two.
Each had a battle to fight, and each won. Renec submitted,
because she perceived because she perceived the higher duty
of a life led for others, submitted ithout a struggle. But
with Stephaiuic it was far different. The conflict she had to
wage was against herself, against her destiny, against her
training, her ambition and the selfishness of her nature, and
these antagonists are very fierce. But she conquered, and
in that victory all necessity for it was done away. Stephanie
entered a convent, happy in the happiness she had caused to
others. Renec and Stephanie are the embodiment of the
two kinds of womanhood: the kind that loves and finds its
legitimate destiny in loving; and the other kind (not less
human because nobler) that sacrifices all for its love.
FOR YOUNG WRITERS AND SPEAKERS.
"A Decade of Oratory" price cloth $1.00. A beautiful
and substantial little book conraining eleven orations which
have been awarded the annual $100 Kirk prize at Northwest
ern University the highes honor in the gift of the institu
tion. Worth many times its price to young writers and
speakers. Shows what styles of oratory are successful before
mature judges. A study of these orations may bring you
prizes or honor in your own school. Address .. .:
UNIVERSITY PRESS CO., Evanston III.