Advocate Reviewed by Prof. Lanman
The fourth number of the Advocate appeared yesterday. The straightforward and unpretentious little sketch called "A Maker of Monuments" is written with such sympathetic tenderness that we feel as if its central figure, a dear old Colonel, whom we see writing his reminiscences of the war and smoking among his roses, must have been a real colonel whom its author had known and loved. In "The Sophist" we have much a variation of the perennial motif as Polonius might call the tragical-psychological. The bearer of the title-role convinces an enamored college-friend that there is no such thing as the power of love, and with such effect that "It's all over" between the friend and his affianced. The "Power," embodied in none other than the woman aforesaid, turns out to be too strong for the Sophist himself, and so justifies the title. The real stage-business of the piece, the actual sophistry, like the killing in a Greek tragedy is done behind the scense; but that hardly concerns the critic, and the author has done cleverly what he set out to do. The writer of the account of school-boy incidents, "As Related by Mr. Reginald Richards," essays, not wholly without sucess, that spirit of virile and forceful juvenility which appeals to us all in "Tom Sawyer;" the fun, however, is meagre and the piece too young by several years; it belongs rather in the columns, let us say, of the Cambridge Latin School Review. Although one may admit that a tractate against snobbishness and Anglomania is always timely, the bald rehearsal of Cousin Harry's solecisms in "Hands Across the Sea" reads too much like a catalogue.
The five pieces in verse are as various in form as in subject. The author of "The Pickle of the Past," with a frank disclaimer of anything that makes for sentimentalism, gets down to the hardpan of wholesome boyish sentiment in a way that ought to delight his contemporaries; as it certainly will their fathers and uncles. "Cragan the Spalpeen" shows touches of Celtic with and spirit such as the author, if we may judge by his name, comes honestly by. The metre of line eleven halts badly and is easily amended. The author of "The Lecture-Tasters" is moderately funny; but here and there he is led too far astray by the exigencies of rhyme. An editorial sets forth the difficulties inherent in a prompt and satisfactory election of Freshman class officers. It is hard to see how the "rough-and-tumble estimate of the class," that used to be got on Bloody Monday, could be of service at such an election.