One of the most touching phases of human generosity and unselfishness is the habit of marking the books of the city library. It is sweet to know that there are so many people who think so constantly of others that they carefully draw a line about every paragraph which strikes them as good. But the unbridled generosity of the human heart frequently leads to error. The fact is nobody has a right to mark a book that other people are going to read. It is enough to prejudice one against a book forever to open it and find "Splendid!" "How true!" pencilled all along the margins in a delicate female hand. Then it is rather courageous to appoint one's-self a sort of running commentary on Browning or Tennyson and pronounce verdict upon their work. It takes considerable assurance to write "This is a gem" over Sordello or "a dainty little poem" over Maude . It is quite a study in psychology as well as literature to read the remarks written upon the margins of books of city library. One of the most refreshing commentaries is written in the front of one of George Meredith's novels, "I don't understand this book at all; it don't say whether he married her or not.—H. G." H. G.'s comment is the most sensible one this writer has yet seen. If people must mark books, if they can't sleep well without it, they should mark only their own and hide those in their most secret chamber. It is too great a burden for anyone to assume to direct the taste of the great public.
Tenth street is the Lincoln Bowery and it is there that most of the "strange things" of the town are done and said. It is lined with the usual array of saloons, cheap restaurants, fruit stands and second-hand stores, indicative of Bowery taste. It is haunted by a mild species of Bowery tough and a still milder species of Bowery dude. It is of one of the latter that this paragraph treats. He may be seen almost any day at one of the cheap restaurants. He is very young in all senses of the word. He is tall and blonde and wears his hair curled. He comes down to breakfast about 10 o'clock, attired in patent leather house slippers, checked trousers, a shirt with flowers embroidered on the front, a light blue tie, a watchchain disappearing in each of his trousers pockets, a light felt dressing gown hanging open, and a tall silk hat thrust on the back of his head. In this strange garb he comes down the street to the restaurant. He hangs up his hat and cane, settles the cluster of diamonds in his scarf and yawns wearily as he throws himself into a chair and taps for the waiter. He asks for the bill of fare and the wine list and sits stroking his smoothly shaven chin as he reads it over with an air of general ennui. At last he lays down the list and whipping out a white silk handkerchief scented with Eau de Espagne he orders a cup of coffee and five cents, worth of toast.
There is not a particle of doubt that little Annie Kenwick is a very clever specialty performer, and if she lives she will be much cleverer. Seeing her on the stage you would be at a loss to say whether she was a young girl or an old girl. Her movements were light as a child's, but her management of her eyes would do credit to a woman. Her eyes are really remarkable for their brilliancy and magnetism. Off the stage she was found to be a very quiet, modest little girl of fourteen in short gingham dresses, with a fondness for pug dogs and chewing gum. She was a little bit bashful and it was rather hard to get her to talk, but after she once started there was no trouble.
Those laughing brown eyes have dark circles under them in the daytime and are red and bloodshot. She kept rubbing one of them and I asked her if she had hurt it.
"O, no, my eyes are weak; they hurt me a good deal all the time. I think it's the hot grease paint and the lights that does it. This one is very weak because one night when mamma was sick I had to make myself up and I dropped some hot cosmetics in my eye. I could scarcely see that night."
"Your eyes are remarkably good from the front; rather the best thing you have."
"Well, you see there is very few folks that understands that make-up of the eyes. Anybody that has a full eye is all right if they know how to make up and use the grease paint hot enough and then soften it. Of course it sometimes hurts awful and it spoils our eyes when you're close up to us, I but then close up ain't our business."
"Can you make yourself up?"
"O, yes, I do sometimes, but don't like to. I like to have mamma do it for me. It's always hard to go back to making up after I've had a long rest. I hate it."
"You rested this summer?"
"Yes, we rested three months in our home in St. Louis."
"Have you ever travelled alone?"
"O, no!" she replied in a shocked tone, "my mamma always travels with me. Why," she added, in a tone of lofty conviction, "my mamma don't hardly think it's proper for a girl to travel alone when she is eighteen. My mamma is that stout lady over there. She always comes to rehearsals and everything."
I saw that I had shocked her ideas of propriety terribly and changed the subject. "Where did you learn stage dancing?"
"My mamma taught me. She was in the business. Yes, it's hard work, but I like it. I like to see plays better than anything else in the world; good plays, I mean, not specialties. There, that's my cue to rehearse; good-by. Come pug," and she took up the pug, who certainly had "full eyes," and was consequently "all right." I checked any Van Bibber outbursts, for a child brought up on the stage is never happy anywhere else. Still, there are some things connected with specialty work that it seems too bad for a child like that to know.
The song service at the First Congregational church conducted by Mrs. P. V. M. Raymond is a thing to hear and not tire of. It is full of feeling and devotion, and moves along with the perfect fitness which characterizes all of Mrs. Raymond's work. There is no doubt that the musical people of Lincoln owe a great deal to Mrs. Raymond. She has the power of quietly and surely bringing things to pass. Apparently without much effort or worry she can carry out the most ambitious undertakings with perfect success. Mrs. Raymond undoubtedly has some of the feu sacre, or whatever it is, that separates good work from mediocre work and gives it a flavor and individuality of its own.
The saddest news that has come to the theatrical world for some time comes from Paris, announcimg the serious illness of Emma Calve . Calve has been troubled for several years by cancer and in the last month the surgeons have operated on it repeatedly without success.
Mrs. Kendal is back again and the young reporters are beginning to tremble in their sleep, and the dry goods clerks are going out of town and the stage photographers are taking down their signs. Of course we all love and reverence Mrs. Kendal and acknowledge her as the great domestic actress and model of propriety, but it is too bad that she has such a beastly temper with it all. Mrs. Kendal certainly ought to be good—she is cold enough. One likes to see her act, but enjoys it better with an overcoat on. But really she need not feel so very superior to other poor mountebanks of the stage.
I have a sneaking idea that there are plenty of women on the stage who are just as good as Mrs. Kendal, only they don't go around talking about it because they take it as a matter of course, and there are several who, if they haven't quite so white an escutcheon, certainly have better tempers and warmer hearts.
Marion Manola's friends no longer try to conceal the fact that she is hopelessly insane. Miss Manola, although one of the brightest comic opera stars, has had a hard struggle for fame. She has always been crippled by poverty and to a certain extent by ill-health. Last season was particularly trying on all professional people and Miss Manola and her husband, Jack Mason , suffered heavily. Early in the summer one of their creditors had Miss Manola arrested and her costumes taken for debt. Miss Manola was ill at the time of the trial and went from her bed to the court room. She was acquitted, but a few weeks later a mortgage of $500 was foreclosed on the furniture of their cottage at Winthrop. Jack Mason is a clever, good-hearted fellow who is devoted to his wife, but he has no head for finance and thus has thrown all the burden of worry on her. From the constant excitement and nervous strain of their profession actresses are peculiarly unfit to apply themselves to money matters, and yet no other women have so much of it to do. The strain of the court room and the hopeless horror of debt were too much for the little woman who has helped the world to smile so long. Her malady developed where her talent had, on the stage itself. She began by forgetting her lines and looking hopelessly at Jack. In a little while she forgot the "Mikado" altogether. The last act of this sad little comedy life is extremely pathetic. She has forgotten all the success and the applause, she remembers only the biting of poverty and the horror of debt. She continually hears her creditors pounding at the door and hiding her head on her husband's shoulder cries: "Don't let them in, Jack, don't let them in; I can't see them. Don't let them take the little pink dress I wore that, my first, night."
I never see the Sabbath come now without thinking of one man who used to enjoy it so. I never knew anyone who entered so completely into genial warmth and deep content of Sunday as did Major Hastings . It was always a day of gladness to him. I have heard him tell how when he was marshal he would ride hundreds of miles to get home to spend Sunday with his wife. The major never grew old; his enthusiasm kept him young. He enjoyed life to the last, as long as there was sand in the glass. He never lost his youthful ardor and zeal for his religion any more than he ever outgrew the living tenderness and sentiment of his first and only love. To him all the high and sacred things which in this day we are beginning to doubt as dreams were alive and real and all-powerful. He lived by them and died by them.
Lillian Russell's latest advertising scheme is allowing her name to be used as an indorsement of obesity pills and having "greatly reduced in weight" printed on her London bills. It will be pleasing news to all Miss Russell's admirers to hear that she is growing slender, but she need not be quite so public about it. Marie Tempest's last story of how really ill and broken down Miss Russell is, and how she could scarcely drag herself upstairs when she came to see her, is almost enough to make an indignant public pardon Miss Russell for her matrimonial caprices. Lillian Russell well, radiant, triumphant, on the crest of popularity with three cast-off husbands is one thing, but Lillian Russell rich, friendless, in a strange country and with no husband at all is quite another. If she has taxed the public patience too far, it is she who will be the greatest sufferer. The world ought not to be too bitter on her vanity, for the entire American public has spent its time assiduously cultivating that vanity for about five years. To be as beautiful as Lillian Russell is enough to make a fool of any woman.
If there is one superfluous calling in this world it is that of the book agent. When the first division of labor was made the book agent's job should have been cancelled out. The world could get around its orbit and gospel be spread from land to land without him. What need has a civilized community with good book stores for a wandering vendor of volumes? If the book agent ever handled anything new it would be another thing, but Thackeray and George Eliot have surely done penance for the sins committed in the body and ought be let alone, and in just the tail-end of the Nineteenth century it so interesting to be shown a prospectus of "Mr. William Shakespeare, an English poet of note."
"The Superfluous Woman" is a better book than "The Heavenly Twins," but it has no real excuse for existing at all. The heroine is a superfluous character in literature. There is in all the dreary waste of paper no one strong situation, no one flash of truth that gives the book a right to be. In a work of art intrinsic beauty is the raison d'etre. Any piece of art is its own excuse for being. Art, like wisdom, is born full-armed without the will or consent of man. Hecannot say it yea or nay. Madam Grand's book is a sermon, not a work of art. A sermon, like too many other sermons, based upon partial untruths and constantly sheltering itself in exaggerations. The conditions in English society cannot be as Madame Grand depicts them: dissipation and dissolution cannot entirely prevail. She makes half the English nobility either idiots or villians. That cannot be true, for the English court is noted for its stalwart men and beautiful women. Her earls and lords are perfect Hannos of mental and physical disease. This sounds strange for a nobility famous for its fondness of hunting and unequalled in battle. But even were her premises true, Madame Grand would not be justified in making a book to reveal the shameful nakedness of her country. No man, or woman, is ever justified in making a book to preach a sermon. It is a degradation of art. Browning says that the glory and the good of art is that it can teach indirectly, that it need never preach. Every great work of art should teach, but never preach. It should not sit in the high place in the temple and lay upon men's shoulders burdens that it would not lift with its finger it should go down into the fields and the streets and toil and love and suffer with men and teach them the sweetness of its endurance and the greatness of its affection, like that greatest of teachers whom the Pharisees despised. An artist should have no moral purpose in mind other than just his art. His mission is not to clean the Augean stables; he had better join the Salvation army if he wants to do that. His mission is to make bowers of delight so beautiful, perspectives so wide and boundless that men will grow to loathe their mire and will come up higher.
The mind that can follow a "mission" is not an artistic one. An artist can know no other purpose than his art. A book with a direct purpose plainly stated is seldom the work of a great mind. For this reason "Uncle Tom's Cabin" will never have a place in the highest ranks of literature. The feminine mind has a hankering for hobbies and missions, consequently there have been but two real creators among women authors, George Sand and George Eliot.
In these days of purposes and vexed moral problems it is hard for an author to keep himself untainted by the world. It is hard to hold fast to art pure and simple. One reason we all loved Trilby so was because she didn't have any mission or any purpose, and taught us nothing except to love her. She didn't talk Herbert Spencer or Darwin or Humboldt at us, but just sang Alice Benbolt very badly. An author is not an artist until he can create characters that we love not for their goodness or their character or their "cause," but for themselves. An artist has nothing to do with how much wine we may drink at dinner or how low we may wear our ball dresses. His business is to make men and women and breathe into them until they become living souls.
Kipling and Richard Harding Davis , who make very little men of very common clay, are better and truer artists than Madame Grand and "Iota," who make colossal monstrosities. If one cannot make great men and make them real men, as Thackeray and Balzac did, then it is better to make very common little men in sack coats as Howell does. The main requisite is that they live.
The further the world advances the more it becomes evident that an author's only safe course is to cling close to the skirts of his art, forsaking all others, and keep unto her as long as they two shall live. An artist should not be vexed by human hobbies or human follies; he should be able to lift himself up into the clear firmament of creation where the world is not. He should be among men but not one of them, in the world but not of the world. Other men may think and reason and believe and argue, but he must create.
Robert Browning: Robert Browning (1809-1889). His poems were favorites of intellectuals and would-be intellectuals; in America many people, especially women, joined Browning Clubs to study his work in social settings.
Image available at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Alfred Tennyson: English poet Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was one of the most popular poets of the nineteenth century. He was one of the twelve children of a disinherited Anglican minister, and began writing poetry as a youth. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he met Henry Hallam, the friend whose death inspired "In Memoriam." Poems Chiefly Lyrical (1830) was published while he was still an undergraduate; his second volume of poetry (1833) included "The Lady of Shalott," but was severely reviewed, and he did not publish again for ten years. His Poems (1842) made him famous, a fame secured by The Princess (1847). He was appointed poet laureate of England in 1850 and made first Baron Tennyson in 1884. Other famous poems include The Idylls of the King, based on Arthurian legend, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "Crossing the Bar," "Maud," and "Ulysses."
Sordello: Robert Browning's poem "Sordello" is based on the life of a thirteenth century Italian poet. Its difficulty perhaps accounted for some of the hostile reception to it, but later in the nineteenth century it came to represent intellectual (as opposed to sentimental) poetry.
Maud: Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Maud; A Monodrama (published in 1855 in Maud) is a soliloquy in a variety of meters and rhyme schemes, spoken by a young man who falls in love with Maud, daughter of his family's enemy. The poem was criticized as obscure and morbid when it first appeared. Some of the most famous lines are in Part I, section xxii: Come into the garden, Maud,For the black bat, night, has flown,Come into the garden, Maud,I am here at the gate alone;And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,And the musk of the rose is blown.
George Meredith: English novelist and poet George Meredith (1828-1909) was the son of a tailor, but small family legacies enabled him to acquire some formal education in England and in Germany by the time he was sixteen. He had an early unhappy marriage (which eventually gave him material for some of his best poetry in Modern Love in 1863) and a long struggle for financial independence and artistic recognition. His first novel to achieve recognition was The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), followed by Evan Harrington, or, He Would Be a Gentleman (1860); The Egoist (1879) and Diana of the Crossways (1885) established his popularity and reputation as a writer of brilliant romantic and psychological comedies and creator of complex, spirited women. His last three novels were published in 1891, 1894 and 1895; by then he was widely acknowledged as the greatest living British novelist.
Tenth street: Numbered streets in Lincoln run north and south. Some of the vignettes in Cather's early columns in November and December 1893 refer to small businesses—laundries and fruit-stands and the Wonderland Musee—that were on 10th Street.
The Bowery: The popular song, "The Bowery" (1892) with music by Percy Gaunt and words by Charles Hoyt, from A Trip to Chinatown, was one of the first big Broadway show tune hits. The song begins: Oh! the night that I struck New York,I went out for a quiet walk;Folks who are "on to" the city say,Better by far that I took Broadway;But I was out to enjoy the sights,There was the Bow'ry a blaze with lights;I had one of the devil's own nights!I'll never go there any more!CHORUSThe Bow'ry, the Bow'ry!They say such things,and they do strange thingson the Bow'ry!The Bow'ry!I'll never go there any more!
Eau de Espagne: French (eau d'Espagne), "water of Spain," a kind of cologne.
Annie Kenwick: American singer Annie Kenwick (born about 1880) appears as a singer on the sheet music of several dialect songs in 1901.
Van Bibber: Van Bibber is the dilettante title character in several short stories in Richard Harding Davis's collection Van Bibber, and Others (1892)
First Congregational church: The First Congregational church was the first of any denomination to organize in the village of Lancaster, in 1866; the village was renamed Lincoln the following year. In 1869 a building was erected at 13th and L Streets. A daughter congregation, Plymouth Congregational Church, was organized in 1887; the two merged as First-Plymouth Congregational Church in 1923, and built a new church at 20th and D streets in 1930-31.
Carrie Bell Rice Raymond: Carrie Belle Rice Raymond (c. 1858-1927) was born in New York state, the daughter of Edgar G. and Frances A. Rice. In the late 1870s she married P. V. M. Raymond and had one son. She was an accomplished musician who directed the University of Nebraska chorus from 1894-1927 and served as organist and music director at First Congregational Church for 40 years. She also directed the University of Nebraska chorus.
feu sacre: Literally, sacred fire, figuratively, artistic inspiration.
Emma Calve: Singer Emma Calvé, born Rosa Emma Calvet (1858-1942), was born in France and brought up in Spain. She studied under influential voice teacher Mathilde Marchesi, and made her debut in Brussels in 1882. She sang in Paris before making her London debut in 1892, where she sang Carmen; she became the greatest Carmen of her time. Calvé was also famous in the role of Santuzza in Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana (1890). She retired in 1925 to teach. Her autobiography is I Have Sung Under Every Sky (1937).
Mrs. Madge Kendal: Madge (née Margaret Robertson) Kendal (1849-1935) was born in an established English theatrical family (her brother Tom Robertson was a well known playwright), and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1929.
Image available at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Marion Manola: Singer Marion Manola (1865-1914) was born Mina Stevens and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where she sang as an amateur in church choirs and in theatricals. At the age of seventeen she married Henry Mould, and had a daughter, Adelaide. After financial reverses, the Moulds went to Europe, where Mina studied singing under Mme Marchesi. She made her stage debut in light opera in England, taking her stage name apparently from a French opera, Manola. Returning to the U.S., Manola joined the McCaull Opera Company, which had been licensed to produce Gilbert and Sullivan operettas since 1880. In 1890, her attempts to leave the McCaull company before her contract was up in order to join DeWolf Hopper's company involved her in lawsuits; later that year, when she was surreptitiously photographed during a performance, she sued, invoking the right to privacy and control over her own image. Manola recovered somewhat from her addiction to narcotics but the rest of her career suffered financial difficulties; she was one of the first "legitimate" stars to go into vaudeville in the late 1890s.
Cather interviewed Manola's daughter, Adelaide Mould, for the Pittsburgh Leader, 6 February 1898, and wrote about the experience, and about Manola, in the Lincoln Courier for 19 February 1898.
John (Jack) B. Mason: Actor John (Jack) B. Mason (1859-1919) was born in New Jersey and made his New York stage debut in a small part in Mignon in 1878. Later that year he joined the company of the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. By August of 1879 he was with the company of the Boston Museum, where he played leading parts for seven years. In 1886 he was with Edwin Booth's company, playing Laertes to Booth's Hamlet, and Edmund to his Lear. Mason made his London debut in February 1891. Although it is unclear when he met Marion Manola, the Mason-Manola company made its Broadway debut on December 20, 1892, in what the New York Times review described as Manola's first venture into comedy after her career in comic opera. Later, c. 1905, Mason became Mrs. Fiske's leading man; he continued to appear on Broadway until 1918, the year before his death. The entry for Mason in Who Was Who in the Theatre does not mention a marriage to Marion Manola.
According to Cather's article on Manola's daughter in the Courier (19 February 1898), Mason came from an aristocratic Boston family.
The Mikado: The Mikado, or the Town of Titipu, is one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular operettas. It opened at the Savoy Theatre in London on March 14, 1885, and ran for nearly two years, fanning an interest in things Japanese. The first American production was in Chicago on July 6, 1885; H.L. Mencken said in a 1910 article that within a few months there were 117 companies playing The Mikado on the road in the U.S. The plot concerns Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, who has disguised himself as a minstrel in order to escape a distasteful marriage; he falls in love with Yum-Yum, the ward of Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, who must find someone to execute. The operetta introduced such phrases as Grand High Pooh-Bah and making the punishment fit the crime.
Major Alfred G. Hastings: Alfred G. Hastings (1832-1894) was born in Connecticut, and moved to Iowa in 1853, where he was a carpenter. In 1862 he enlisted in the Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was transferred to the regular army in 1863, serving until 1866. In 1869 he and his wife moved to Lincoln. He served as town marshall from 1871 to 1873, served in the state legislature in the 1874-76 term; he was appointed a deputy U.S. marshal in 1873, serving until the late 1880s. Hasting was active in the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, the State Historical Society, and the Old Settlers' Association, and the Baptist Church, where he was superintendent of the Sunday School. He was also a trustee of Wyuka cemetery, where he was buried.
Hastings and his wife, Catherine (Catura) Pease Hastings, lived at 1027 L Street, part of a duplex that included 1029 L Street, where Cather lived for her last two years as a student in Lincoln; it is likely that they were her landlords. Mildred Bennett describes "Aunt Kate Hastings," with whom Cather roomed, as a friend of the family.
Lillian Russell: Lillian Russell, born Helen Louise Leonard (1861-1922) in Clinton, IA, was educated in Chicago, and then in New York, where her mother took her to study in hopes of an opera career. Her first appearance on the New York stage was in the chorus of a production of Pinafore in 1879; Tony Pastor, owner of one of the best variety theaters in New York, gave her the new name, Lillian Russell, and billed her as "The English Ballad Singer." Her blonde beauty, lovely singing voice, and fashionable figure quickly made her a star, one of the highest paid in America. She starred at the Casino Theatre from 1888 to 1891, when she headed her own company at the Garden Theatre. In 1899 she joined the Weber and Fields company, staying with them until 1904. Her voice had suffered over the years, so she toured in comedy from 1906-1908.
Russell was famous for the number of her husbands and for her long liason with "Diamond Jim" Brady. Her first husband was the Pinafore company's orchestra leader, Harry Graham. Her second husband, composer Edward Solomon, was arrested for bigamy in 1886, after two years of marriage. She married her third husband, John Chatterton, known as Giovanni Perugini, in 1894; they were divorced in 1898. Russell retired from the stage after marrying her fourth husband, Alexander Moore, owner of the Pittsburgh Leader. She wrote columns and articles on love and beauty for women, and advocated woman suffrage.
Lillian Russell epitomized the stage beauty of the 1890s. A movie was made of her life in 1940, starring Alice Faye, with Henry Fonda as her fourth husband. Her character also appears in various other movies about the theatrical life of the time.
Image available at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
George Eliot: English novelist George Eliot (1819-1880) was born Mary Ann Evans to an evangelical family in rural Warwickshire. She became a rationalist in matters of faith as a result of her studies while still a young woman, publishing a translation of Strauss's Life of Jesus in 1846. In 1851 she became assistant editor of the Westminster Review, becoming part of a circle of learned men and women, including George Henry Lewes, who became her husband in all but legal fact. In 1858 she published her first volume of fiction, Scenes from Clerical Life; Adam Bede (1859) established her reputation. These were followed by The Mill on the Floss (1860) and Silas Marner (1861). Her masterpiece is generally considered to be Middlemarch (1872).
A Superfluous Woman: The novel, A Superfluous Woman (1894), by Emma Frances Brooks (c. 1844-1926), explores issues of marriage and particularly the effects of male syphilis on women. Jessamine, the well-born heroine, tries to escape conventional society marriage by adopting the simple life in the Scottish highlands. She falls in love with a strong healthy Scottish farmer, but feels that marriage to him would be another form of the marriage trap. She marries the aristocratic Lord Heriot, not knowing that he is syphilitic, and bears a congenitally syphilitic child.
The Heavenly Twins: The Heavenly Twins (1893) by Sarah Grand, was one of the best selling and most discussed novels of the year. The complicated plot follows the lives of several intelligent, forceful women and their marriages. Angelique Hamilton-Wells is stronger than her twin brother, Diavolo; she delights in the freedom that comes with wearing men's clothes and assuming a male identity. When a man who had cherished her as "the Boy" discovers her real gender, he is revolted and later dies. Evadne Frayling and Edith Beale both have marriages to aristocratic and diseased men—the novel was shocking in its relatively frank discussion of venereal disease and its consequences for women and their children.
raison d'etre: French, reason for being.
Art, like wisdom, is born full-armed: Athena, the goddess of wisdom, was said to have been born full grown and armed with helmet and spear; she is usually depicted with a breastplate (the aegis) and shield also.
Madam Sarah Grand: Frances Bellenden Clarke (1854-1943) was born in Ireland; she married Chambers McFall, a widower, in 1871, when she was barely seventeen. Her first novel, Ideala (1888), was self-published. She left her husband in 1890 and adopted the name Sarah Grand in 1893, the year that saw the publication of her best-known novel, The Heavenly Twins (1893). She popularized the term "New Woman" as she expressed her ideas about education and suffrage for women, but it was her questioning of conventional marriage that roused the most controversy. Later novels include the somewhat autobiographical The Beth Book (1897), Babs, the Impossible (1900), Adnam's Orchard (1912), and The Winged Victory (1916). Grand was mayor of the city of Bath in England from 1922 to 1929.
Hannos: Possibly a Carthaginian general, Hanno the Elder, who may have been a son of Hannibal. The Roman historian Livy attributes to him a number of defeats, although some historians believe there were several generals of this name involved in the conflicts.
Browning says that the glory and the good of art is that it can teach indirectly: At the end of book XII of Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book (1869), Browning says: Why take the artistic way to prove so much?Because, it is the glory and the good of Art,That Art remains the one way possibleOf speaking truth, to mouths like mine at least. And goes on: But Art, — where man nowise speaks to men,Only to mankind,— Art may tell a truthObliquely, do the thing shall breed the thought,Nor wrong the thought, missing the mediate word.
That greatest of teachers: Jesus of Nazareth. Most atheists and agnostics in the nineteenth century acknowledged Jesus as a great moral teacher, though they did not believe in his divinity.
Pharisees: The Pharisees were a sect of Judaism, opposed to the Sadducees; they believed not only in the written Torah, the books of Moses, but in the "oral Torah," the ongoing revelation of the word of God through rabbis and other holy teachers. They insisted that the purity laws applied to all Jews, not just the priests in the Temple. In traditional Christianity they were seen as small-minded ritualists who insisted on the letter, rather than the spirit of the laws; according to accounts in the Gospels, they tried to trap Jesus on a number of occasions.
Aguean stables: As punishment for killing his wife and children in a fit of insanity, the Greek hero Hercules was sentenced to work for King Eurystheus, who commanded him to perform twelve seemingly impossible feats. The fifth was cleaning the stables of King Augeus, one of the richest men in Greece, with thousands of cattle and other livestock. Hercules performed the feat in one day by diverting two rivers to flow through the stables, carrying away the waste. The Augean stables came to symbolize centers of moral or political corruption.
Salvation army: Methodist minister William Booth made it his mission to minister to the poorest and most hardened people in the slums of London; the mission took on a quasi-military organization and was named the Salvation Army in 1878, with Booth as the general. Work in the United States began officially in 1880. Street corner bands and singers attracted the attention of passers-by and encouraged their attendance at revival meetings.
Uncle Tom's Cabin: Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly (1852), exposed the evils of slavery in vivid pictures of the saintly Uncle Tom, the lively Topsy, of Liza fleeing across the icy river to freedom, and of the evil white overseer Simon Legree. The book became the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century, helping to fuel Abolitionist sentiment.
George Sand: Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin (1804-1876) was brought up in rural France. She married Casimir Dudevant in 1822, but left him in 1831 and went to Paris where she began her career as a journalist. She adopted the pseudonym George Sand for her first novel, Indiana (1832); it made her famous with its protest against the social conventions of marriage and its plea for the freedom to love. Sand herself claimed the freedom to take lovers, among them Prosper Mérimée, Alfred de Musset, and Frédéric Chopin. Her novels of rural life, with their theme of love overcoming conventionality and class obstacles, such as La Petite Fadette (1849), are considered her best; however, critics considered that she wrote too quickly and at too much length. Sand published her memoirs in 1854-55.
Trilby: George Du Maurier's novel of Parisian artistic life, Trilby, was serialized in the U.S. in Harper's Weekly in early 1894. The book version, illustrated by Du Maurier himself, appeared later that year. Trilby is an artist's model who loves Little Billee, an artist of a higher social class. Some years later, Little Billee sees her singing on the stage, though she had never been able to carry a tune before. Her voice is the result of hypnotism by the evil Svengali; when he dies, Trilby dies also.
The book was immensely popular; it helped shape the image of the bohemian artistic life in Paris, gave the name of trilby to a kind of hat, and the name of Svengali to hypnotists and sinister star-makers. It was made into a play by Paul Potter (1895) and into movies—shorts in 1896 and 1898—and feature films in 1914 (Britain), 1915 and 1923 (U.S.), 1927 (Germany, as Svengali), 1931 (U.S., with John Barrymore), and 1954 (Britain, as Svengali).
Herbert Spencer: British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) is most famous as the founder of "social Darwinism," although his ideas about the development of human societies predated publication of Darwin's ideas on biological evolution; Spencer coined the phrase "survival of the fittest." His writings were influential among conservatives, libertarians, and radicals, fueling the eugenics movement, among others. He was often criticized for not leaving room for moral values, though he advocated for the rights of workers, women, and children.
Darwin: British naturalist and philosopher Charles Darwin (1809-1882) developed the ideas of natural selection as a means of developing different species that have become the foundation of biology. His Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) is one of the most influential books of the nineteenth century.
Humboldt: The great German scientist (Friedrich Wilhelm) Alexander, baron von Humboldt (1769-1859) made the first scientific exploration of Central and South America. He was the first to propose that the continents of Africa and South America (as well as Europe and North America) were once joined. His work, Kosmos (1850-58 ) tried to bring together all the branches of natural history. Various species of plants and animals are named after him, as well as physical and geographical features (possibly including the town of Humboldt in southeastern Nebraska).
Alice Benbolt: The popular (and much parodied) song "Ben Bolt" (1848), with words by Thomas Dunn English (written in 1842) and music by Nelson Kneass, begins: Oh! don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben BoltSweet Alice, whose hair was so brown;She wept with delight when you gave her a smile,And trembled with fear at your frown.In the old church yard, in the valley, Ben Bolt,In a corner obscure and alone,They have fitted a slab of granite so gray,And sweet Alice lies under the stone. Another popular verse goes: Oh! don't you remember the school, Ben Bolt,And the master so kind and so true,And the little nook by the clear running brook,Where we gather'd the flow'rs as they grew.On the Master's grave grows the grass, Ben Bolt,And the running little brook is now dry;And of all the friends who were school mates then,There remains Ben, but you and I.
Rudyard Kipling: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay, India; he was educated in England, first in a foster home (an experience rendered in "Baa Baa, Black Sheep" ) and then at boarding school (Stalky & Co. ). He returned to India in 1882, working as a journalist for seven years and exploring Indian and Anglo-Indian life in poems and stories. His verses were collected in Departmental Ditties (1886) and his stories in Plain Tales from the Hills (1888) and other collections published before his return to England in 1889, where he found himself famous for his vigor and the freshness of his style and material. Kipling married an American, Caroline Balestier, in 1892 and they came to America to live until 1896. His best work was published in the 1890s and shortly thereafter: The Light That Failed (1890), Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), the Jungle Books (1894 and 1895), Captains Courageous (1897), and Kim (1901).
Richard Harding Davis: American novelist Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916) was a son of novelist Rebecca Harding Davis. His first career was as a journalist, a career he pursued, especially as a colorful war correspondent in Cuba, South Africa, and Europe, even after his novels and stories had made him famous. Gallagher (1891), stories of a newsboy-detective, first made his reputation in fiction, followed by the Van Bibber stories. Later popular works include Exiles (1894), Princess Aline (1895), Soldiers of Fortune (1897), Ranson's Folly (1902), and The Bar Sinister (1903). Davis, who looked the part of the handsome, dashing hero, was often considered the American equivalent of Rudyard Kipling.
Many of Davis's stories were made into movies, beginning in 1910. His Gallagher stories were made into a series of TV movies by Disney in the early 1960s.
Iota: Iota was the pseudonym of Irish-Australian writer Kathleen (Hunt) Mannington Caffyn (1855-1926). One of the "New Woman" writers, she attained her first success with A Yellow Aster (1894), whose heroine frankly disavows any interest in motherhood.
Balzac: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was a French journalist and writer, and is associated with the Realist movement. During his career, he wrote enough material for 90 novels and novellas that featured more than 2,000 characters and focused on the traditions, atmosphere, and habits of bourgeois France.
sack coats: Sack coats were the standard daytime suit coat for men, especially lower and middle class men, in the mid and late nineteenth century. They were relatively loose-fitting (hence the name), made of wool, and fastened three or four buttons.
William Dean Howells: William Dean Howells (1837-1920), American novelist, critic, and editor, grew up in Ohio. He became assistant editor (1865), then editor (1871-1881) of The Atlantic Monthly, and then of Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1886-1892 and 1899-1909) where he was a publisher and champion of literary realism and of writers such as Henry James, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Charles Chesnutt, as well as European writers such as Ibsen, Zola, and Tolstoy. His first novels were about middle-class life, followed by international novels of manners, then by novels examining current social problems; A Modern Instance (1882), The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), and A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890) are some of his best-known works.
In the world but not of the world: This frequently-used phrase derives from the Bible, most probably from John 17, verses 11, where Jesus says of the apostles: "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee," 16: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world," and 18: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."