Advocate is Below Average
If mere consistency is a desideratum, the chief virtue of the present number of the "Advocate" is that it maintains a certain harmony of inferiority. Much of the writing is mediocre or positively bad. To the latter class belongs the prosesketch, "A Nightmare Whisper of the War." The author has contracted from Stevenson an aggravated form of the adjectival disease, and the ineffective anti-climax with which the piece concludes does not compensate the reader for the pathological exhibition to which he has been subjected in the foregoing tedious paragraphs. Though free from this contagion, the "storiette" called "A Gamble in Orange Blossoms" is badly constructed, failing in a convincing delineation of the leading figure and obscurely cramming the subsequent vicissitudes of the hero and heroine into an inadequate final paragraph. "The Other Voice," a play let, despite the excellent characterization in the dialogue, sounds like an unsuccessful imitation of Maeterlinck or of the NeoIrish school. In the words of the great English lampooner, Philip Guedalla, "The Celtic two light has rendered the action quite invisible."
To the class of the mediocre belong the three bits of verse, "The Jap Doll," "Lamentation," and "The Caravan." The first transposes the "Madame Butterfly Motif" into the familiar key of Kipling's dialesticisms. The second is a highly colored trifle as frail as the "jewelled veil gossamer" that its writer mentions. The last is purposeless but inoffensive. Like so much modern verse, all of these compositions lack the bone and fibre of solid thought and poetic necessity. They leave the impression that their authors sat down and cried, "Lo, I must produce a poem," and then cudgelled their brains for a proper subject.
The banal harmony of the pages, however, is occasionally interrupted. Mr. Babcock's tale, "And Then He Had Him," is a grateful relief in its simplicity, directness, and real point. The trenchant theatrical reviews at the end are so good as to arouse a desire that the signature W. C. B. might be substituted for cer- tain well-known initials in the critical columns of a certain Boston newspaper. Mr. Murdock's short poem, although it has its "amethyst and pearl," its "gold and blue," is inspired by true feeling and possesses true significance. Perhaps the best thing in the number is Mr. Jacobs's war-sonnet, a vital and powerful satire, and the winner of the Advocate competition. C. R. POST '04