Novel 066: Lucy B. Walford, The Baby's Grandmother (1884)

 
Archibald J. Stuart Wortley, Lilian Eldée

Archibald J. Stuart Wortley, Lilian Eldée

 

A well-intentioned middle-aged man, in love with a middle-aged woman, finds himself in a painful moral dilemma.


Here is another excellent novel by the prolific and talented Walford (see Post 18), with an unconventional heroine and several other complex characters.

“The heroine is a charming creation, and as original as she is charming... The characters are drawn with Mrs. Walford’s well-known skill, and there is many a touch in her delineation of the heroine that could only have been given by an accomplished novelist who has...the sympathetic imagination of a true artist.” Athenaeum, August 23, 1884

“There must be something deficient in the mind of any person who does not find it full of humour and vivacity varied by true pathos, and also by distinct traces of tragic power.” Spectator, August 23, 1884

“This is one of the most fresh and delightful stories recently published in English literature.... The book has humor and vivacity, with pathos and enough tragedy to relieve its lighter portions.  The narrative is quiet and not very eventful, but it has the charm of flowing logically out of the clash and collision of character.” Eclectic Magazine, October, 1884

“To buoyant spirits and a fresh imagination the author unites a piquancy of style which is fairly irresistible.  Her characters are life-like yet unhackneyed, she has an artistic grasp of plot, and excels in her conversations, which are thoroughly natural, spontaneous, and flowing.” Dublin Review, April 1885.

Download this week’s novel:

v.1 https://archive.org/details/babysgrandmother01walf

v.2 https://archive.org/details/babysgrandmother02walf

v.3 https://archive.org/details/babysgrandmother03walf

Crossword 065: Trial Runs

 
Herbert Draper, The Lament for Icarus

Herbert Draper, The Lament for Icarus

 

I have crafted this puzzle specifically for those elite solvers who are able to soar above the petty, earthbound considerations of vulgar linguistic usage that limit the intellects of the common herd.  If you belong to this group, I congratulate you, and invite you to congratulate yourself.  For self-congratulation is a primary—in fact, for many, the only—purpose of cultural experience.  Let us wallow in it together.


Download this week’s crossword:

065-Trial-Runs.puz

065-Trial-Runs.pdf


Pointing Hand.png

A puzzle of mine will appear next Tuesday, February 19, in the New York Times. Meanwhile, on the very same day, another puzzle of mine will appear in the various newspapers that run the Universal Crossword .


Novel 065: Charlotte Riddell, Too Much Alone (1860)

 
Sir William Quiller Orchardson, The Chinese Cabinet

Sir William Quiller Orchardson, The Chinese Cabinet

 

An orphaned gentlewoman is married and then neglected by her hard-working chemist husband.


Charlotte Elizabeth Riddell (1832-1906) wrote over fifty works of fiction between 1856 and 1900, often set, like this one, among middle-class denizens of London.

“A well-conceived, well-wrought-out story, which has an air of human truth and reality about it which novels do not often possess.” Athenaeum, March 17, 1860.

“A thoroughly good novel” distinguished by “its downright reality”; practical scientists in charge of factories are brought “living before us, in very flesh and blood, not a blotch or stain overlooked.” Spectator, March 31, 1860

Download this week’s novel:

v.1 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000049DA6#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=2%2C374%2C2173%2C1604

v.2 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000049DAC#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=-263%2C-171%2C3050%2C2252

v.3 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000049DB2#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=-143%2C0%2C2779%2C2051

Novel 064: Anna Harriet Drury, Friends and Fortune (1849)

 
George Frederic Watts, Miss May Prinsep

George Frederic Watts, Miss May Prinsep

 

To test her relatives, an heiress switches identities with her companion.


Anna Harriet Drury (1824-1912) wrote some 16 novels between 1849 and 1891.  This one, despite intermittent downpours of religiosity, provides some excellent social comedy.

“It is at once amusing and instructive, genial and healthful…. Miss Drury’s style is peculiarly correct and elegant.  She writes, indeed, simple, honest, unaffected English, quite refreshing after the artificial semi-barbarous Teutonic gibberish of the day….  Miss Drury...has a natural dramatic faculty—the power of entering into the feelings of others, and speaking in their persons.” English Review, March 1849

“Her perceptions are lively and keen, and her powers of delineating manners and character might well be compared with those of authors ‘of mark and likelihood.’  Her style is racy, animated, and easy, often pointed and epigrammatic…. The story is told in a pleasant and genial spirit; and although pervaded...by an earnest religious tone, it is so far from being bilious or melancholic that many a hearty laugh is to be enjoyed at the strokes of humour scattered through its lively pages.  If Miss Drury is a serious thinker, ... she has also a relish for a joke, and a keen perception of the ludicrous.” Morning Chronicle, April 14, 1849

Download this week’s novel:

https://archive.org/details/friendsandfortu00drurgoog

Crossword 063: Groundhog Wild

 
Atkinson Grimshaw, Tree Shadows on the Park Wall, Roundhay Park, Leeds

Atkinson Grimshaw, Tree Shadows on the Park Wall, Roundhay Park, Leeds

 

Today, in Connecticut, will be held the Westport Library Crossword Tournament— where, frightened of my shadow, I will not appear.  But, through the kind offices of "Bob Kerfuffle" (who also thought up its title) the attached puzzle will appear there, in paper form, and I welcome anyone led here by that means.   I couldn't find any paintings of groundhogs, but I’ve posted a nice one of some shadows.  Imagine yourself as seeing them from a groundhog's point of view.


Download this week’s crossword:

063-Groundhog-Wild.puz

063-Groundhog-Wild.pdf


Pointing Hand in Reverse.png

A puzzle of mine appeared yesterday in The Los Angeles Times (and The Chicago Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, etc.)


Pointing Hand.png


A puzzle of mine will appear next Thursday, February 7, in the Wall Street Journal.


Novel 061: M.E. Braddon, Lost for Love (1874)

 
William Powell Frith - The Artist's Model

William Powell Frith - The Artist's Model

 

A rising doctor, a beautiful heiress, an impulsive young painter, and a poor city girl are entangled by love and betrayal. 


The great M.E. Braddon (see Post 004) was among the most often and unjustly maligned of Victorian novelists.  Contemporary critics never tired of blaming her for Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), as the worst consequence of an unhealthy vogue for “sensation novels.”  And her improbable plots are easy to mock.  At the same time, they are consistently engrossing; while her characters are vivid and often surprisingly complex, her settings evocative, and her style subtle, witty, and exact.

“When our fault-finding is done with we thank Miss Braddon for a treat.  Her novels are always agreeable reading and have as much genuine merit as would set up a dozen of her rivals.  Her descriptions of Voysey Street and other districts are delightful.” Sunday Times, September 27, 1874

“The real secret of her success is that her people are exactly the same kind of commonplace, everyday folk as we are ourselves, and as our friends are.” Observer, September 27, 1874

Download this week’s novel:

v.1 (Tauchnitz ed.) https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_5HAdetMocuQC/page/n5

v.2 (Tauchnitz ed.) https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_lNzrF7wZ5JsC/page/n7

Novel 059: Justin McCarthy, Linley Rochford (1874)

 
George Elgar Hicks, A Gypsy Girl

George Elgar Hicks, A Gypsy Girl

 

A marriage goes wrong.


Justin McCarthy (1830-1912), an important Irish politician as well as a journalist and novelist, published some 25 works of fiction between 1866 and 1901.  The contrast here between the attitudes of the husband and wife towards life and each other is particularly well delineated.

“Mr. McCarthy’s language is correct and well chosen: the events of his story bear each its due and proportionate share in working it out; his scene is not over-crowded with characters, and those whom he introduces are reasonable, probable, and consistent with themselves.” Athenaeum, October 10, 1874

“Besides their general truthfulness to nature, there is mostly to be discovered playing round the several characters that lambent flame of humour which is serviceable in lighting up particular traits and idiosyncracies, and setting them clearly in the reader’s eye.” Examiner, October 17, 1874

“A close observer and excellent delineator of character, Mr. McCarthy contrives to combine in his portraits reality and originality, and while he does not disdain to mention trifling incidents and minute but distinctive traits, he never wearies by prolixity.” Morning Post, October 22, 1874

Download this week’s novel:

v.1: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000048C36#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-1144%2C-246%2C3754%2C2524

v.2: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000048C72#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-246%2C0%2C2958%2C1988

v.3: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_000000048C8A#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-217%2C0%2C2994%2C2012

Crossword 058: Accentuate the Positive

 
Edward Frederick Brewtnall, The Princess and the Frog Prince

Edward Frederick Brewtnall,
The Princess and the Frog Prince

 

"Oh goodness infinite, goodness immense!,/That all this good of evil shall produce,/And evil turn to good!" you will exclaim, "replete with joy and wonder," after you finish this puzzle.  (See John Milton, Paradise Lost, XII.468-71)

We owe 32 Across to my test-solver, proofreader, and sometime editor “Bob Kerfuffle," who has also spared me the embarrassment and you the annoyance of many errors of all kinds.  He will not permit me to use his real name, preferring to "do good by stealth." (See Alexander Pope, Epilogue to the Satires of Horace, Dialogue I, l.136)