Darrel of the Blessed Isles by Irving Bacheller
The author has tried to give some history of that uphill road, traversing the rough back country, through which men of power came once into the main highways, dusty, timid, foot-sore, and curiously old-fashioned. Now is the up grade eased by scholarships; young men labour with the football instead of the buck-saw, and wear high collars, and travel on a Pullman car, and dally with slang and cigarettes in the smoking-room. Altogether it is a new Republic, and only those unborn shall know if it be greater.
The man of learning and odd character and humble life was quite familiar once, and not only in Hillsborough. Often he was born out of time, loving ideals of history and too severe with realities around him. In Darrel it is sought to portray a force held in fetters and covered with obscurity, yet strong to make its way and widely felt. His troubles granted, one may easily concede his character, and his troubles are, mainly, no fanciful invention. There is good warrant for them in the court record of a certain case, together with the inference of a great lawyer who lived a time in its odd mystery. The author, it should be added, has given success to a life that ended in failure. He cares not if that success be unusual should any one be moved to think it within his reach.
A man of rugged virtues and good fame once said: "The forces that have made me? Well, first my mother, second my poverty, third Felix Holt. That masterful son of George Eliot became an ideal of my youth, and unconsciously I began to live his life."
It is well that the boy in the book was nobler than any who lived in Treby Magna.
As to "the men of the dark," they have long afflicted a man living and well known to the author of this tale, who now commits it to the world hoping only that these poor children of his brain may deserve kindness if not approval.
NEW YORK CITY,