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[Review of The Colonel's Dream]

The Colonel's Dream. By Charles W. Chesnutt. (Constable & Co.)

REGARDED merely as a piece of fiction, 'The Colonel's Dream,' which deals with the colour problem in America, has a number of defects. The narrative not infrequently drags, and the character-drawing is sometimes wanting in clearness. Yet the book, thoughtful, sympathetic, picturesque, is distinctly worth reading. Col. French, having amassed a fortune in New York, goes down South to his native town, where he makes an earnest effort to improve the condition of the negro population. He strives to abolish the debt laws that rob them of liberty; but the forces of prejudice are too strong for him, and he abandons his projects in despair. The character of the Colonel, benevolent, manly, energetic, is finely drawn; and several of the situations have real dramatic power. Though the Colonel's projects end in failure, the note of the book is not wholly one of despair.