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[Review of The Conjure Woman]

– If you like local flavor of genuine authority, North Carolina darky flavor, there is a fine supply of it in the short stories entitled "THE CONJURE WOMAN," by CHARLES W. CHESNUTT (Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston–$1.25). As the title suggests, they deal largely in negro magic, and one who is fresh from Miss Kingsley's "West African Studies" will find many striking resemblances between this and the native witchcraft. Old Julius, who tells the yarns, may in most cases be suspected of ulterior motives; but there is an innate credibility (to plantation negroes) in his tales of conjurers and their gophers[sic] which makes you put aside as unworthy Mr. Chesnutt's occasional tantalized suggestions that the old fellow had manufactured them out of whole cloth. No, there is no doubt that the grapevine was gophered[sic], that Sandy was turned into a tree and ignominiously sawn up into timber, that "Mars Jeems" was made a negro and given a dose of his own medicine, and that Primus did painful duty as a mule. It is told too vividly for any serious doubt of it to enter the reader's mind. Local flavor may not be the highest manifestation of the fiction spirit, but there is a charm about the simplicity and credulity of these negroes that gives perhaps the most gracious local flavor that this country has so far produced.