The Colonel's Dream
THIS is a story of the South, with all that portion of the country's prejudice against the blacks. Colonel French visits his old home, and is almost immediately brought into close contact with the conditions and limitations of class distinction. He has been ordered South by his physician to recuperate, whence he goes, accompanied by his young son. Soon after their arrival, the Colonel visits the cemetery, and there encounters an aged negro, who, on being accosted, solemnly affirms that his name is French--"Peter, suh--Peter French." A little later, he finds Phil chatting with a young woman--Laura Treadwell--and walks home with her to see her mother, an old acquaintance of his, and he stays to supper. Graciella, Laura's niece, is there, and Ben Dudley, who is a suitor for her hand. Worthy, but poor, is he. Graciella yearns for the fleshpots of Egypt, and with woman's wiles rebukes his tenderness with a view to being his inspiration and rousing his latent ability.
Colonel French soon becomes actively engaged in renobating the old homestead, and gives a housewarming, the guest being requested to come in costume, 1830-1860. He later carries out school plans for the betterment of the negro children. Old Peter tries to save little Phil from beneath the wheels of a train, and is fatally injured, the child also internally injured, dying later of his hurt. Colonel French returns North and marries.
B. J. R.
--THE COLONEL'S DREAM. By Charles W. Chestnutt. Doubleday, Page & Co.
Rev. of The Colonel's Dream in "Fiction by New Writers and Old," Book News 24 (Mar 1906) : 514