Novel 048: Frank Smedley, Frank Fairlegh (1850)

 
 Louise Rayner, Oxford

Louise Rayner, Oxford

 

Four pupils of a private tutor have adventures, grow up, and meet various fates.


Frank Smedley (1818-1864), a journalist and editor, wrote only four novels before succumbing to ill health in middle age.  This, his first (serialized 1846-48) features amusing (if flat) characters, a pleasant style, and an often silly but usually entertaining plot. (The novel, by the way, is partly set in Cambridge, not Oxford—but I like this painting.)

The characters “are nicely and unaffectedly marked. They...get into scrapes in a manner sufficiently easy and natural.”  The author’s “style is clear of trick and vulgarity” and “his scenes are alive.”  Athenaeum, April 27, 1850

 A “humorous and right-minded”  novel “full of Pickwickian fun.” The plot “contains sufficient of adventure to carry it on with due interest,” and the characters “are well contrasted and developed.”  It will suit “the merry and wise of the old school of English readers.”  New Monthly Magazine, June, 1850

Download this week's novel:

https://books.google.com/books?id=YENWAAAAcAAJ&pg=PP2#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Novel 047: Lady Charlotte Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother (1842)

 
 Charles Lock Eastlake, The Lily—Portrait of Miss Bury (Lady Charlotte Bury's daughter)

Charles Lock Eastlake, The Lily—Portrait of Miss Bury (Lady Charlotte Bury's daughter)

 

An ambitious gentlewoman has five daughters whom she means to marry as aristocratically as possible.


Lady Charlotte Bury (1775-1861), daughter of the sixth Duke of Argyll and herself the mother of nine children, wrote, in addition to poems and scandalous memoirs, some sixteen novels.  In addition to the complex, convincing title character she provides here a leisurely series of subplots—a few of them exaggerated, but many successfully comic, and some genuinely moving.

Bury shows a “full and wise reliance on nature as it exists in itself” and a “happy skill in putting the commonplaces of life and character in an uncommonplace point of view”; the resulting novel is “ true to English life and nature as they actually exist in our own day.” New Monthly Magazine, July, 1842

“She is many degrees nearer to Miss Austen, than any of her contemporaries.”  Athenaeum, July 2, 1842

“The quiet unexaggerated pictures, the lively dialogues, the nice discrimination of various kinds of weakness, the contrasts of folly and vice, the dangers of a false education and a half morality, were chiefly noticeable in the writer’s first production, and present themselves in this with unabated freshness." Examiner, July 9, 1842

Download this week's novel:

v. 1 https://archive.org/details/manuvringmother01bury

v. 2 https://archive.org/details/manuvringmother02bury

v.3 https://archive.org/details/manuvringmother03bury

 

Novel 046: Arthur C. Conder, The Seal of Silence (1901)

 
 Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Reading the Letter

Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Reading the Letter

 

Two cousins, one mercurial, the other slow but sure, quarrel over a woman, with surprising, mostly comic, consequences.


Arthur R. Conder (1876-1901), barely out of college when he wrote this novel, died shortly after its completion of heart failure.  Read it, and you will join contemporary reviewers in their regret that he did not live to enjoy a long career.

“The plot is entirely diverting if not altogether probable.... The writer regards his characters with a whimsical sympathy and has been able to make them eccentric and lovable at the same time...   The quaint architecture of this little book is beyond criticism—compact, peculiar, facetious.”  Chicago Tribune, July 18, 1901

“It is full of quiet humor, keen characterization and a certain freshness which is all too rare among the novels of the day.”  Baltimore Sun, August 15, 1901

“The plot...is good, and the interest is well maintained; but it is in the freshness of the treatment, the briskness of the narrative, the excellent characterisation—a certain individualizing of every-day characters—that the great charm and merit of the book lie.”  Bookman, October 1901

Download this week's novel:

https://archive.org/details/sealsilenceanov00condgoog

Crossword 045: No Matter How You Slice It

 
 Helen Allingham, Baking Bread

Helen Allingham, Baking Bread

 

I once made a cd for a friend with 24 distinct recorded versions of the song on which this puzzle is based.  He hasn't spoken to me in years.  Do you think there's a connection?

The original title of this puzzle—which almost no one understood—was "Put on the Skillet! Put on the Lid!" The final, much superior, title was the inspiration of Ralph Bunker, who, along with a man who prefers to be called "Bob Kerfuffle," has been test-solving my puzzles for months.  I'll take this occasion to express my profound gratitude to both.  Would you also like to test-solve my puzzles?  Send me an email!  The qualifications are minimal:  an unerring sense of which Roman numerals correspond to which Arabic numerals would do (I find myself surprisingly shaky on this subject).  The compensation, however, is even more minimal:  nothing whatsoever!



A puzzle of mine appears today, and another will appear Thursday, October 4, in The Wall Street Journal.


 

Novel 045: Beatrice May Butt, Alison (1883)

 
 Thomas Francis Dicksee, Distant Thoughts

Thomas Francis Dicksee, Distant Thoughts

 

A virtuous young lady marries a scholarly older man who needs help caring for his late sister's children.


Beatrice May Butt (1856-1918) published some fifteen works of fiction between 1876 and 1908; in this she offers a quiet plot, some vivid characters, and a subtle sense of personal relationships.

“A pretty story, with a happy blending of the poetical and the prosaic.” Times, November 9, 1883

“Those who like a quiet story, without sensationalism of any kind, but yet, at the same time, an admirable study of the inner life and its affections, will find undoubted pleasure in this work.... The author’s style is smooth and pleasant, and occasionally rises into dignity and pathos.”  Academy, November 10, 1883

“The heroine’s pure and affectionate though passionate nature is well exhibited.”  Athenaeum, December 1, 1883.

Download this week's novel:

v. 1: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004AFFA#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-31%2C0%2C2547%2C1856

v. 2: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004B7FE#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-59%2C0%2C2627%2C1915

v.3: http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004B000#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-95%2C-1%2C2651%2C1933

Crossword 043: Get the L Out

 
 Lord Frederic Leighton, The Return of Persephone

Lord Frederic Leighton, The Return of Persephone

 

Wait!  Come back!  Not you!—the "L."  Everybody's welcome here at David Alfred Bywaters's Weekly Crossword Cavalcade—even you.  As so often before, we at "The Cavalcade" have taken something unpleasant, a phrase that may perhaps evoke bitter memories, and made it—fun! (By "we" I mean, of course, "I.")


Download this week's crossword:

043-Get-the-L-Out.puz

043-Get-the-L-Out.pdf


A puzzle of mine appears today in The Wall Street Journal.


Novel 043: Thomas Cobb, The Bishop's Gambit (1901)

 
 Walter Crane, The Moat and Bishop's Palace, Wells Cathedral

Walter Crane, The Moat and Bishop's Palace, Wells Cathedral

 

A bishop’s daughter’s fiancé is accused of adultery in a divorce case.


Thomas Cobb (1854-1932) wrote some 86 works of fiction beginning in 1887. He specialized in breezy comedies like this one.

“A book of ingenious complications and bright dialogue...the story is human and pure comedy.”  Academy, February 2, 1901

The author “is saving us the trouble and humiliation of always going to France for good light fiction.  There are few English authors who have the art of being light without being empty." This novel "shows no falling off in interest and vivacity...We read it on the South Eastern Railway, and forgot where we were.”  Speaker, February 16, 1901

It has “a clever, novel plot in its way” with “an air of light comedy.”  Athenaeum, February 23, 1901

Download this week's novel:

http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/OXVU1:LSCOP_OX:oxfaleph014873955

 

Novel 042: Anonymous, My Lady (1858)

 
 Richard Buckner, Emily, 1st Viscountess Hambleden, and her Daughter

Richard Buckner, Emily, 1st Viscountess Hambleden, and her Daughter


A woman and her children are left in trouble after the husband and father absconds with another woman.


The anonymous author is known to have written two novels, of which this was the first.  Some sources (I don’t know the origin of the claim) identify her with Emma Willsher Atkinson, the author of last week’s novel; Troy Bassett finds no basis for this, and the novel seems to me by another hand entirely.  Read both and make up your own mind.  Whoever she (or he) may be, she (it seems the likelier choice) provides an involving, sophisticated analysis of the consequences of Victorian marital failure.

It is “told...with great strength of feeling, is well written, and has a plot that is by no means commonplace.” Examiner, September 16, 1858

It has “the freshness of inexperience.”  Though the plot “verges upon melodrama,” the characters are “distinctly drawn, and often wear an appearance of individuality.” Spectator, October 2, 1858

“The subject and structure of the story are well chosen and well planned, the conversations are natural, and the characters neither hackneyed nor untrue.”  Literary Gazette, October 23, 1858

“It is not in every novel we can light upon a style so vigorously graceful—upon an intelligence so refined without littleness, so tenderly truthful, which has sensibility rather than poetry; but which is also most subtly and searchingly powerful.”  Dublin University Magazine, April. 1859

Download this week's novel:

https://archive.org/details/10491482.1530.emory.edu

 

Crossword 041: In Absentia

 
 Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, Dignity and Impudence

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, Dignity and Impudence

 

In is out!  That's the kind of upside-down, through-the-looking-glass sort of a wonderland world this bold new puzzle creates.  And just so you don't get too comfortable, at least one in....is still in!  You won't find that feature in many other puzzles.

The above painting refers to a subtheme, daringly embedded in baffling cross-references.


Download this week's crossword:

041-In-Absentia.puz

041-In-Absentia.pdf

 

Novel 039: Margaret Hunt, Mrs. Juliet (1892)

 
 Philip Calderon, Juliet

Philip Calderon, Juliet

 

A virtuous young lady, secretly married, is forced to live with her rich, vulgar, art-collecting aunt.


Margaret Hunt, née Raines (1831-1912), who sometimes wrote as Averil Beaumont, sometimes as Mrs. Alfred Hunt (her husband was a well-known painter) produced about a dozen novels beginning in 1872, the last completed by her daughter Violet, also a novelist, and the consort of Ford Madox Ford, the best known novelist of the three.  This novel, the gripping plot of which begins in domestic comedy and ends in sensationalistic mystery, represents its varied and amusing characters in a brisk style.

Despite themes long familiar from “tri-voluminous fiction, the author...has managed to produce a fresh, attractive, and decidedly entertaining story.” Athenaeum, December 31, 1892

“Mrs. Alfred Hunt is a writer whose narratives go along smoothly enough, and whose persons have the breath of life."  Saturday Review, January 21, 1893

The heroine’s troubles “are related with a vivacity which goes far to relieve their dismalness....The story is a very good one, with plenty of excitement in the matter of plot, and at least one admirably drawn character.”  Spectator, March 25, 1893

Download this week's novel:

v.1 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004DCAC#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-1624%2C-120%2C4644%2C2389

v.2 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004DD00#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-657%2C347%2C2911%2C1498

v.3 http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_00000004DD4E#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=6&xywh=-693%2C-1%2C3791%2C1951

 

Crossword 38: That's No Way to Be!

 
 Albert Joseph Moore, A Garden

Albert Joseph Moore, A Garden

 

When I wrote the clues for this puzzle, the temptation to cross-reference was particularly difficult to resist.  10 Down, 33 Down, and 19 Across all refer to an activity that may be performed on 4 Down, 6 Down, 12 Down, 14 Across, 60 Across, and in fact anything 47 Down.  But for your sake, gentle solver, resist I did.