"The Conjure Woman," by Charles W. Chesnutt, contains half a dozen stories of negro character, strung on a slender thread of connection. The narrator is a Northerner who goes South to buy a grape plantation. The stories are those told to him and his wife by the local negroes, and the first one, in which a shrewd old darkey describes the awful "goopher" that hangs over the very place about to be purchased, is highly amusing. The old man had been living in a cabin on the place for years and acquiring some small revenue from the sale of the grapes that grew without care or culture. He therefore finds it expedient to set forth at length the alarming liabilities to people attempting to run the property or even to eat the grapes. To the fact that his warnings passed unheeded though not unappreciated by his hearers is due the production of the remainder of the stories, all of which are characteristic and amusing.
("The Conjure Woman." By Charles W. Chesnutt. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $1.25. For sale by the St. Paul Book & Stationery Co.)