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"A Comedy of Errors" impresses one as a clever bit of character-delineation - certainly as good a piece of prose as there is in the eighth number of the Advocate. In the mutual misunderstanding of the man and the woman, who are the sole human characters of the sketch, we recognize certain phases of the story of Beatrice and Benedict - modernized. What constitutes the chief charm of the sketch is the directness of thought and expression, terseness in phrasing, and the simplicity shown in introducing perhaps the most important character of the tale, Chimborazo, the match-making dog.
Of a different nature, but fully as good in its way, is "Roland s Reform." It is thoroughly local in its character, the men in the story - the frank, apparently priggish but really joke-loving friend, and the fellow who indulges in a summer flirtation, unconscious of its serious results - are dyed-in-the-wool Harvard men, and the bits of description are quite cleverly done. The whole thing is true to the life here at Cambridge and the anti-climax is happy. It is perhaps the best thing its author has done this year.
"Told at the House of Tunn-Chwing" is much poorer. It is far more ambitious in its nature, as it is a relation of the incoherent ramblings of an opium-smoking woman, shattered by the insidious habit which has mastered her. As such, it immediately invites comparison with Rud-yard Kipling's "At the Gate of the Hundred Sorrows," to which it bears much similarity in conception and to which, it is almost needless to say, it is infinitely inferior. And for several faulty English constructions in the opening paragraph, there is not the excuse of delineating an opium eater's vagaries of thought. In general, this kind of writing demands a power which very few college men possess, and too often lures men beyond their depth.
"Norah's Excuse" is a life-like reminiscence told in the Irish dialect. No blame certainly attaches to a man who is not a master of dialect and who does not pretend to be. It is the writer who attempts to use a dialect which he has not thoroughly mastered who lays himself open to just criticism. And assuredly the substitution of "i" for "e," and the occasional use of "me" for "my" do not constitute good Irish dialect, - the author of "Norah's Excuse" to the contrary, not withstanding. A study of the masters of the Irish dialect - and there are plenty of them - would considerably improve the execution of the tale, which in conception is not bad.
"The Memory of Mag" is another one of that class, to which the majority of contributions to the Advocate belong, - character sketches. As a whole, it is not very strong, there being much of what Lang styles "an unnatural coercion to tears."
"Between the Acts of Cleopatta" is a piece of description - given in the form of dialogue. While not particularly scintillating, it is suggestive.
The verse of the number is a trifle below the Advocate's usual standard, although the triolet entitled "Leigh Hunt" is much the better of the two poems. "A Winter Song" could hardly be called a poem, however, for there is not a poetical image, simile, or turn of thought in the whole song, and the Shakspearian specificness of diction at which the author aims cannot be said to be happily attained.
Of the College Kodaks, number five is distinctly good and number one is not bad. The editorials are, in general, to the point, and one of them, in particular, lays stress on the want of a course in German conversation, - a subject the CRIMSON treated editorially yesterday morning.
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