The author of "The Colonel's Dream," Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt, is undoubtedly sincere in his attempt to present impartially conditions in the South since the war. While the atmosphere in its laziness, its slowness, its narrowness and lack of progressiveness is true to the South of the small town it gives no impression of the New South which, in its larger cities, has during the past five years shown an accession of most commendable energy, bidding fair to rise again to its former rank as the most prosperous section of the land.
Col. French is a Northernized Southerner who returns to his boyhood's home after having made a large fortune in New York. Under the influence of tender recollections revived by the scenes of his boyhood, he dreams of remodeling the sluggish little town of Clarendon and inspiring it with some of the energetic methods of the North. He buys his ancesteral home that has become the property of negroes, renovates and restores it, entertains in ante-bellum style, starts reforms, endows charities and otherwise attracts public attention. Such a course makes friends of the better element, but enemies of the worst. The latter cause his dream to come to naught. Race prejudice is too strong. When his old servant who has given his life while trying to save his only son is refused burrial (his coffin is exhumed and placed on the Colonel's piazza during the night) the Colonel is so discouraged that after a few feeble struggles he awakes from his dream and removes with his cherished dead, back to the flourishing North, where he marries a woman who has tried to catch him from the very first chapter. It is to be hoped he stays where he belongs.
THE COLONEL'S DREAM. By Charles W. Chesnutt. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York.