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Dickens, Jane Austen. Sydney Smith, Lockhart. William Black, Mrs. Lynn Linton, Mrs. Oliphaut, Mrs. Gaskell, Leslie Stephen many times, and Matthew Arnold again and again. Not one escapes, and mistakes are exposed in almost every review, magazine, and newspaper of note. Every mistake is verified by chapter and verse reference. Other works similar to Hodgson's may be consulted, but no one else has marshalled so many interesting authors imperfectly attired. Curious in especial degree are the cases of Leslie Stephen and Matthew Arnold. Stephen, the lirst editor of the "Dictionary of National Biography," was a scholar with a deep knowledge of the language: yet he is here constantly convicted of errors that the schoolmaster makes fun of in the schoolboy. Arnold (an inspector of schools) was the nice and very erudite and somewhat scornful critic whom, with no hint of satire, we dubbed our Apostle of Culture, yet, as we view him here, his literary raiment seems a patchwork of false concords. Truly—as careful as we seek to be— these instances should make us quake! A blunder so common as to be wellnigh invariable is made with the adjective in the degrees of comparison. Things must be compared with other things. When, for instance, we say: "Never was there seen such a man as Napoleon," what we probably mean is that Napoleon was in some way the greatest of men; what we actually state is that no such person as Napoleon ever existed. if there never was seen such a man as Napoleon, it is obvious that Napoleon is himself excluded. When we compare two things only, we are bidden to use the comparative; Leslie Stephen is therefore wrong in saying:—
Cowper was as indisputably the most virtuous man as Rousseau the greatest intellectual power.
The pronoun is constantly employed in
such a manner as to puzzle and confound the reader. This is from Fielding's "Amelia":—
We now quitted the inn, and went to our lodgings, where my husband, having placed me in safety, as he said, he went about, &c.
This from Arnold's "Literature and Dogma":—
And this prevents their attending enough to what is in the Bible, and makes them battle for what is not in the Bible, but they have put it there.
Awkward and careless verbal constructions are of many kinds. Lockhart says:—
For neither did i feel the night breeze chill me as we rushed through it, nor partook, in any sort, &c.
in "Mansfield writes:—Park" Miss Austen
I never was so long in company with a girl in my life—trying to entertain her—and succeed so ill.
The perfect form of the infinitive, after a perfect verb, is incorrectly used for the simple form. Even Macaulay (though, to be sure, the example is taken from a letter) writes: "I had hoped never to have seen the statues again." The same error is Ruskin's in "i intended to have insisted"; and Mrs. Lynn Linton's in, "He would have liked to have read it."
A dreadful snare is the contracted sentence:—
I am anxious for the time when he will talk as much nonsense to me as I have to him.—Lamlor.
I never have, and never will, attack a man for speculative opinions.—H. T. Buckle.
He ridicules the notion that truth will prevail; it never has, and it never will.—IifJtlie Stephen.
The little error of the "hanging" participle, the participle that lacks a subject:—
Looking back on the affair, after the lapse of .rears, the chief mistake seems, &C.—Lord Houghton.
Entering the factory gate, the evidence offered his visual organs might lead, &c.—Jas. Greenwood.
This copy is now in my possession, having purchased it at, &c.—A. Constable.
Looking back from this distance of time ... it appears difficult to understand, &c.—Justin McCarthy.
Sad tricks are played with the adverb. Thackeray makes mention of a "seldom" entertainment; and such a shocking expression as "the failure or otherwise" is frequent. The preposition is sorely abused. Kingsley has the phrase "found rest into"; Miss Mitford, by letter, informs a friend that her "state of extremity" has been "doubted to"; and George Augustus Sala is "not averse from a moderate quantity of good, sound, fruity port." Mill must have known quite well that things which are unlike do not differ "to" but "from" one another, yet the phrase "different to" occurs in the "Logic"; and Addison, Coleridge. Thackeray, and John Henry Newman are guilty of "different than." Matthew Arnold employs "directly" as n conjunction, and puts "one" for "one's" in this sentence from "Literature and Dogma":—
But this does not make it the less really trifling, or hinder one nowadays seeing it to be trifling directly we examine it.
The whole sentence, indeed, is almost as had as it could be. Bulwer Lytton, in the "Last Days of Pompeii"; Hawthorne, in the "House of the Seven Gables"; and William Black, in "A Daughter of Heth," fall into the not uncommon vice of using "than" after "scarcely." "Scarcely had she gone, than Claudius." &c. Mill lapses into the terrible "and which":—
Those whom privileges not acquired by their merit, and which they feel to be. &c.
Faults in syntax are as plentiful as faults in accidence. A few examples, bearing on the rule of the concord of subject and verb, were given at the outset; they might, were space of no importance, be added to. Matthew Arnold:—
Culture points out that the harmonious perfection of generations of Puritans and Nonconformists have been, in consequence, sacrificed.
No action or institution can be salutary and stable which are not based on reason and the will of God.
The obstinate maintenance, in the interest of a class, of an alien church and an alien land-law in Ireland are faults, not misfortunes, now.
The rational and the emotional nature have such intricate relations, &c.
The fire which glows in Macaulay's history, the intense patriotic feeling, the love of certain moral qualities, is not. &c.
G. H. Lewes:—
There is little illustration, and no sidelights of suggestion.
Certain authors are frequently in trouble with their relative pronouns, and Beaconsfleld's:—
The very two individuals whom he thought were far away,
could be matched a thousand times. "Pray remain single and marry nobody (let him be whom he may)," says Sydney Smith; and Louisa Alcott caps it with: "The sign of the Good Samaritan is written on the face of whomsoever opens to the stranger."
in the matter of government we may fail as egregiously as in that of concord. Mrs. Lynn Linton:—
I wish that little Mavey would find them closeted together, he softened by her tears, and she receiving his devotions with effusion.
God forbid that John Hawkins's wife should refuse her last penny to a distressed mariner, and he a gentleman born.
The domain of the husband to whom she felt that she had sold herself, and had been paid the strict price.
Fielding:— Is theu English a language without
He hath given away above half his a grammar, or is it the writers of Eug
fortune to the Lord knows who.
lish that are lacking?
Scene—The Library of a Country House. He is writing at a table near the window with his back turned to Her, She is standing irresolutely in the middle of the room behind an armchair, which she has just dragged and pushed laboriously from its usual place. The time is 3 p. m.
He (turning round upon her suddenly). I wish to heaven you wouldn't make such a frightful racket in the room! I can't get a thing written, and l counted on an hour or two of quiet.
She, Oh, don't bother about your writing now. You'll have to give it up anyhow in about twenty minutes,so you may as well get up at once and help me with these chairs.
He (pettishly). Bother the chairs! Why can't you leave them as they are? But you're never happy unless you're moving gigantic pieces of furniture from one place to another. My wardrobe, for instance. Where's that gone? lt was in my dressing-room two days ago, and now
She (appealing to the universe). There —he grudges me the wardrobe, the only place where I can really put anything comfortably. He wants it for his coats and his trousers and his overgrown riding-boots. And l'm not to have even a tiny corner to hang a dress in. Charles, how can you be so selfish and so heartless?
He (dexperatily). Oh, take the wardrobe
She. 1 have.
He. Take everything. I never met a woman yet who didn't consider u man selfish for wanting to keep what belongs to me.
She. Him, Charles, him. You're getting your pronouns mixed. However, if you'll help me with these chairs. I'll forgive you even that.
He. But what on earth do you inint to move the chairs for? Why can't you leave them where they are?
She (again to the universe). He's forgotten again Didn't I see an advertisement of Memory Powders somewhere the other day? Charles, you must take one in water after getting out of bed in the morning. It'll help your writing, too, you know. You're always forgetting where the quotations come from
He (jumping from his C/km'i). Will you or will you not tell me what game you're up to?
She (placidly). I'm not sure l like that expression, Charles. It doesn't seem to be quite in your best "fourguineas-a-thousand" style. "What game you're up to"! No, no. "What design you are contemplating," or "What project you have set your hand to." I'm sure something of that sort
He. If I were a weaker and a more brutal man, I'd throw you out of the room
Sht: Don"! be unjust to yourself, Charles.
He. Once more; what are you up to?
She (cheerfully). Now. honestly. Charles, do you really mean to say you've forgotten that the S.l'.A. are to meet here at 3,30 to-day?
He (passing his hand over his forehead). The S.P.A? What's that? Senatus Populus—no. that won't do What is it?
She. Don't be absurd, Charles. You know well enough it's the Stocking and Petticoat Association.
He (blankly}. Never heard of it.
She. My dear! it's had two meetings here already.
He. No. That was the Tea and Coal Club.
She. Same thing. it's changed its name. instead of giving tea and coal to the parents, we're gong to give stockings and petticoats to the children.
He. Oh, that's it, is it? But why is it to meet in this room? We had it in the dining-room last time.
She. My dear, it's too dreadfully formal having them all sitting round the dining-room table. We shall be much cosier here.
He. if you've settled it, of course there's no more to be said. / know that well enough.
She. That's a good sensible boy. Now
He. But. I say, didn't they make you Secretary last time?
She. Yes. I'm Secretary.
He (inalitjiumtlti). Have you posted up your minutes?
She. What a funny thing to say. Charles. What does one do when one posts up minutes? is it a painful thing to do?
Hv (apitenling in his turn to the unirerse). Here's a woman, a Secretary, who doesn't know what minutes are. (7'o her) Have you written your account of the last meeting in the minute-book? She. Don't be ridiculous. Of course i have. How could I know you meant that? Listen. (She takes up the minntc-ltook from, a chair and reads): "Monday, July 6th. A meeting of the Tea and Coal Club was held at Bristol House. Sir William Lampeter in the
chair. There were present"
There you are. all complete and beautiful. In fact. I'm the champion minuteposter of the parish (There is a
sound of carriage-wheels outside, and a ring is heard at the front door.) Gracious! There they are. Hurry up, Charles, and help with the chairs. I lie dashes in and helps magnificently. in the space of a minute they perform prodigies of chair-and-sofu-tind-tablrchanging together. The whole aspect of the room is altered. A butler throws open the door of the room. With a whisk of her hands she smooths herself and advances smiling. He remains in the background also smiling. The Butler (announcing). Sir William and Lady Lampeter!
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
The Pleasant Thought Year Book, edited by M. R. J. DuBois. and published by Henry Holt & Co., is well named, for it contains cheering and helpful selections in prose and verse for each day in the year. Originally intended for private circulation its good sense and good cheer may well
make it a pleasant mentor for many over-burdened souls.
"Things Seen in China." by ,T. K. Chitty. is a book of modest proportions which may easily be read at a sitting, but it gives a more vivid idea of the China of to-day, its family life, its social ami commercial customs, and its political ferment than many a ponderous volume of travel and description. it has fifty illustrations. E. P. Dutton & Co.
"On the Open Road" is the title chosen by Ralph Waldo Trine, author of "In Tune with the infinite" for his latest little volume of heartening counsel for perplexed and weary minds. Mr. Trine writes with a sincere purpose and a cheerful optimism which make a strong appeal to readers who seek help in the apprehension of spiritual truths. Thomas Y. Crowell & Co.
Jane Barlow's charming story, "The Morroghs' Dreams." which was published in The Living Age, September 12th, is copyrighted in the United States by the Perry Mason Company. it forms one of the group of stories published in London by Hutchinson & Co. under the title "irish Neighbors." Few modern writers equal Miss Barlow in the delineation of irish character.
P. Blakiston's Son & Co. publish the American National Red Cross TextBook on First Aid and Relief Columns, a convenient manual of instructions showing how to prevent accidents and what to do for injuries and emergencies. it has been prepared for the American National Red Cross by Major Charles Lynch of the medical corps of the United States army. it is of convenient pocket size and its practical value is enhanced by numerous illustrations.
Mr. H. Escott-Iuman's "Wuinoth the Wanderer," is a prose version of a saga of King Alfred, but it begins far back in the days when Cerdic the thrall, thrall although noble of birth, came with his little son, Wuinoth. to pray King Hardcanute for shelter and
food. Strange prophecies were mad' of them and strangely were they fulfilled, and in fulfilling them Wuinoth went across the seas and saw the woe of Alfred the King and his return to happiness and power. And Wuinoth himself won his love Kdgiva, and learned to know Who was the most powerful of all kings and to serve hi ni joyfully, and Mr. Escott Inman writes the tale in beautiful English and it is printed with green page decorations, and a rubricated title, and colored frontispiece by Troy and Margaret Scott Keuney, and is a lovely gift for the day when the birth of the strongest of Kings is celebrated. A. ('. Me Clurg & Co.
Miss Mary Wright Plummer's "Roy and Ray in Canada" would make an excellent guide book for the Eastern Provinces of the Dominion, and admirable supplementary reading for school children taught from ordinary manuals of geography, but it is meant for home consumption, and from it the "States" children may learn more of Canada than nine-tenths of their elders could tell them. The little map will not be new to them, and some of them may have gathered snatches of history from forty-seventh dilutions of Parkman, presented in various story-books, but the instruction as to the form of government of each province; the character and achievements of the principal statesmen; the industries practised, and the inter-relations of the United Kingdom, the Dominion and the United States will be novelties. As Canada becomes of greater importance to Americans with every passing year, the sooner parents put this book in the hands of their boys, the sooner will the United States possess a body of young voters fit to judge of the commercial and political relations of Uncle Sam's nearest English speaking neighbor. Henry Holt & Co.