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BOOKS aiid Their WRITERS

Im (his latest -volume, 'A Winter Pilgrim age in Palestine, Italy, and Cyprus,' Rider Haggard tells a number of good stories, some .of which stand the test of being ?wrenched from their context. When lie was going' .-through; the Chapel 'of the Ascension on 'the Mount of Olives, a Moslem custodian

showed. (him the footprint of Christ, said to have been impressed upon 'the rock, as He rase heavenward : 'By the footprint is a small, round hole, arid, as our gulide seemed thoroughly con versant wit!h all the circumstances sur rounding the Ascension, I asked him what it was, and iiow i't came there. Not in the least abashed, !he replied that when the 'Hadji' went up to Heaven He had His wajking-sti.ck 'in His hand, with which He stcuck '. the :rock as He ' sprang from it, leaving a mark we see to-day.' ?Mjany of the saered edifices which belong to the Christians are in sad need of repair, but Latins, Greeks, o| Armenians refuse to beautify or preserve them for fear of 'be nefiting the property of their fellow wor shippers of another shade of faith. Mr. Haggard writes : 'A gentleman in Jerusalem told me ttyat not long ago he found a Turkish soldier on guard- in the Church of St. Mary at Beth lehenj, where it was' not usual for a sentry tai be, and incuired of him why he ?was there. He pointed to a nail in the wall, and replied : 'It is my duty to watch that nail.' Asked 'why, he explained that the Liatins, or the, Greeks, I forget which, had driven in the nail with a view of hanging a picture ; that the rival sect had furiously objected, saying that it was an interference with their property, and wanted to pull out tha mail: That thereupon the Turkish Govern ment had intervened, and set- him to watch the; nail and see 'that no picture was hung upon it, asnd that it was not pulled out. To ialWw the picture to be Ihung would have been to admit the claims of those who drove in the nail ; to allow it to be culled ou; would have 'been to admit the claims of those who objected to the driving in of the mail. Therefore, 'the nail must be pre served, and the. picture must not be bung, and, to see that this was so, an armed sentry must watch day and night. For engirt I know, be may be watching still. At any rate, the story is as instructive 'as it is true.' 'Here is a good exanyple Of Louis Becke's genius for writing a whole novel in a para graph, taken from his new book, 'Yorke, ithe Adventurer, and other stories': 'Half- way to .ithe side of the mountain, which overlooked the water of the little land locked barber, there was a space clear of timber. Huge, jagged rocks, whose sur faces were coveped with creepers and grey rnOes, protruded from the soil ; and on the highest of these a man was lying at full length, looking at the gunibcat anchored half a anile away. He was clothed in a gir dle of ti leaves only ; his feet were bare, cut, and bleeding : round his waist was

strapped a leather belt with an empty cart ridge pou'cft. ; bis brawny right band grasped a Snider rifle ; Ms head-covering was a roughly-made cap of oocoanut-leaf, with a projecting peak, designed to shield bis bloodshot, savage eyes from the sun. Yet he had been a White Man.' Bret Harie is said to 'be contemplating a new volume of 'Condensed Novels,' parodying Kipling, Hope, Doyle, and others. ?Because a beautiful young white 'woman, the heroine in Sir Walter Besant's serial etory, 'No Other Way,' is forced to marry a negro criminal, the 'Sunny South,' one of^. the leading literary weeklies of the Southern States, has announced the dis continuance of tbe publication of .the story. Tbe 'Sunny South' declares tbe story passes the' deed-line of southern sentiment. It appears that the novel was selected after a -synopsis bad been submitted, and not until the fourth instalment was the ob jectionable feature discovered. The editors, declare the plot of the story to be 'an ob session, the result of mental indigestion, from which we sball endeavor to save our readers.'

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New South Wales Government
Digitisation generously supported by
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New South Wales Government
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State Library of NSW Digital Excellence Program
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