After noting the fragment of reminiscence of "Early Days in Phi Beta Kappa," which in its brevity but whets curiosity without satisfying it, the impression made upon the reader formulates itself in the hearty wish that the contributors would write in English instead of in dialect. Whether dialect writing is of any philological value may well be questioned; that the reading of dialect is tiresome to a degree is certain. The same amount of labor and skill wasted upon such productions would be better bestowed on efforts to acquire mastery of a true English style and in developing powers of invention. Few are those who can overcome the handicap of dialect and produce a story worthy of the name in the strange forms of tongue so affected by some writers. A weak tale is all the worse for being put into queer speech, and a good one is not bettered. It is possible that the two specimens of dialect in the present number are masterpieces, but it would take a keen judgment to detect the fact.
More satisfactory is the study of Rideout's work. Here, at least, we have what is worth having and worth noting: the views of an enthusiastic admirer who is at the age when admiration is generous and little restricted by the habit of criticism. It is not possible to accept all the conclusions of the writer, especially as he invalidates some of them himself--e. g., the simile of the lizard on the wall--but it is pleasant to see the genuine attempt to give a reason for the faith that is in the enthusiast.
"Windermere Hours" has a certain charm, although the mingling of personal pronouns jars upon the ear. It is simple, and that is a quality too little thought of by young writers, apt to imagine that the more complex their sentences and the more far-fetched their comparisons the more artistic their work. The writer of the study on Rideout offends in this way: he has one sentence, if not more, that challenges the understanding and defeats it.
Of the verse, "The Bridge Builders" has merit, albeit it is not quite clear, and "Sing" has a swing which takes the fancy.