Skip to main content

[Review of The Conjure Woman]

The Conjure Woman

Charles W. Chesnutt has written an exceedingly interesting book of short stories (one of which has appeared in the Overland), treating of Southern darkey's superstitions.

A young man engaged in grape culture in Ohio must needs seek a permanent residence in a warmer climate because of the ill-health of his wife. Down in the sunny South he selects an old plantation, upon which there is a neglected vineyard in possession of an old darkey, Uncle Julius, who informs the young couple that the place was "goophered, conjured, bewitched," by an old conjure woman years ago and that, in consequence, the negroes avoid and fear the vines. This startling revelation does not frighten away the visitors; instead, it invests it with an air of mystery and charm, and when they buy the place they find it a source of never ending, never failing pleasure. They start to make it a success, and to every plan, scheme or suggestion old Julius has something to say. He has the liveliest imagination any one could possibly fancy, and the yarns he spins, the tales he weaves and the downright fibs he invents are altogether laughable, and they while away many a lonely hour. Humor, observation and sympathetic insight into the temperament of the darkey are here discernable, and the reader will linger smilingly over the last story, which ends a very pleasant little book in a very pleasant way.

Bound in brown and white. Price, $1. Publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co.