No corrections yet
EIDER HAGGARDS LATEST ROMANCE.
Messrs. E. S. Wigg and Son, Ltd., book- j sellers, Hay-street, Perth, have sent to this Í office a copy of H. Kider Haggards latest romance, "The Wanderer's Necklace," which has just' been published by Messrs. Cassell, London. For nearly thirty years thc author of "King Solomon's Mines" has wielded a busy pen with- astonishing versatility and consummate art. Romances, novels, books of travel, ou agriculture, country life, socio- logy, political history, 'and other subjects
have been produced with the skill that only a master hand can show. Mr. Haggard's admirers-and they must be many-wfll wel- come this latest bf his works, which does not show any abatement either of imagina- tive power or graphic description. Episodes
intensely dramatic, scenes weird and awe- j inspiring, situations tense and overpower- 1 ing in their expectant issues, are met with throughout the whole of the romance. Olaf is followed every step of the way with an ever increasing sympathy and interest,
whetllbr it be to Iduna's island in Scandi- navia, to Constantinople, or to Egypt.
The work is divided into three parts. Book I. treats of Olaf's youth in the home of his father, his betrothal to Iduna the Fair, of the treachery of his foster-brother, Steánar, who eloped with Iduaa, of the sacrifice of Sfceinar on the altar of the god Odin by Olaf's people, and of Olaf's cutting off the god's head to show his disregard for Odin and his defiance of dumb gods. Christianity had not then touched Scandi- navia. Olaf had been sneered at as a coward, a verse maker, a sullen, self conscious philosopher. Having, by killing a white bear, robbing a tomb-èf a portion
of a necklace and a much envied sword, cutting off the. head of Odin's image, and scorning' the fair Iduna on her re-offer of
marriage-having by these things estranged himself jtrom his people, he set his face southward towards Byzantium. -
Book, H. describes his extraordinary career in Constantinople, where he was soon in favour with the Mother Empress Irene, whose endeavours tb enmesh the brave, fair Dane were after the fashion of the tempt- ress who tried her charms on Joseph ia Egypt. In his native land he had a vision of a lady wearing the other half of the neck- lace fae himself wore, and he had determined
I u> wander through the world until he found her. In Coiistanwnople Olaf is made gover- nor of the jan, tuen captain of the guard,
j then he is made a general. The ^inpress,
I after many indirect references to the nigh - piace he íaigut ocupy, makes a formal "pro ; posai. Olaf is converted to Christianity,
hut with such a fine sword ss he had, aud so much, use for it in the Imperial palace, be wished he could be a Unristian inside and a pagan externally, üeliodore, che lady of his vision, arrives on a visit to Constan- tinople and lie recognises her and the half of the necklace. Olaf tells the .Empress of
hts love for ileliodore. In the meantime a. revolution break« out, Heiiodore ttee& to' ?Egypt. Olaf is put in prison and offered again th,e position of consort to Irene, the alternative being the loss of his eyes. Olaf preferred |the latter, and his eyes were put out, With Martina-the Empress's maid of honour-he eventually escaped to Egypt.
Book III. describes the wanderings of Olaf in Eearch of Heiiodore, with Martina, a6 his guide. Among the tombs, haunted with ghosts and peopled with myriads of ancient spirits, Olaf siruck his harp and,-.sang a love song :
At last voice, the voice of Heiiodore, speaking whence I knew not, asked:
"Do the dead 6ing, or is it a living man? , And if so, how is that man named P"
'A living man," I replied, "and he is named Olaf, son of Thorvald, or other- wise Michael. That name was given him in the cathedral at Byzantium, where first big eyes fell on a certain' Heiiodore, daughter of Magas the Egyptian, whom he
'.Let me see your face, you who name yourself Olaf, for know that in these haunted tombs ghosts and visions and mocking voices play strange tricks. Why do you hide your face you tvho call your- self Olaf?"
"Because the eyes are gone " from it, Heiiodore. Irene robbed it of the eyes from jealousy of you, swearing that never should they behold your beauty."
She looked-I felt ber look. She sobbed -I heard her sob, and then her arms were about me and lier lips were pressed upon my own. So at last came joy such as I cannot tell; the joy of lost love found I again.
Thig was but the beginning of their Egyp 1 tian experiences. Many vicissitudes, many
disguises, menacing plots, exciting incidents yet remained for the wanderers. The good, wise Martina, who stood godmother to Olaf when he was baptised in 6t. Sophia when* he acknowledged the Christian faith, who stood by the blind wanderer Sn moments of direst danger, will find a warm niche in the memory of the reader6 of thi6 splendid 1 romance. Despite much slaying, despite tor-
tures which could only emanate from the
[ mind of the Orient, this romance is a most
[ delightful one.