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[Review of The Wife of His Youth]

The Wife of His Youth; and other Stories of the Colour Line. By CHARLES W. CHESTNUTT[sic]. With illustrations by CLYDE O. DE LAND. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Toronto: William Briggs. Price $1.50.

During the Secession War and since, many of the negroes of the South exhibited a loyalty, a chivalry, a moral heroism that have seldom been surpassed. Some aspects of these are described in the "Stories of the Colour Line" in this volume. "Each of these," says Zion's Herald, "is unique, each a gem, but perhaps the most interesting and touching is the one that gives title to the book—'The Wife of His Youth.' Mr. Ryder was the most prominent member of the 'Blue Veins,' a little society of coloured persons in the North, of which the unwritten requirement for eligibility to membership was 'white blood enough to show blue veins,' free birth, and character and culture. Mr. Ryder had decided to give a ball that should mark an epoch in the social history of Groveland—a party given in honour of a lady visitor to the town from Washington, with whom he had fallen deeply in love. But on the afternoon of the day of the reception a little old black woman—a relic of plantation life—called. She was in search of her husband of slave days—had been looking for him for twenty–five years. How she proved to be the wife of Mr. Ryder's youth, much older than he, and how with true manliness he acknowledged her as such that evening before his assembled guests and the woman he had learned to love, you must read the book to find out." The titles of the other stories are: "Her Virginia Mammy," "The Sheriff's Children," "A Matter of Principle," "Cicely's Dream," "The Passing of Grandison," "Uncle Wellington's Wives," "The Bouquet," "The Web of Circumstance."