This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1876. Excerpt: ... BLUE-BEARD. "The legendary enwraps the real as a flower its germ." That sounds fanciful, but has meaning in it. Trace back the heroes of song and fable to history's early dawn, and what are they? Real, breathing men, as much a part of their time as Louis Napoleon and Benjamin Butler of ours. The monster of legend turns out a pestiferous marsh,--the St. George an intelligent noble with an eye for effects and causes. Even the characters of fairy-lore loom up in palpable shape,--half seen, half guessed. The prince who woke his love with a kiss is no marvel. Kisses are of to-day,--before our eyes is the miracle wrought. Puss-in-Boots shadows forth the coming railroad or pneumatic tube. Red-RidingHood's wolf was a baby-farmer or a seller of swillmilk; the malevolent godmother but Mrs. Grundy invested with official position. There they stand, the nuclei of their delightful selves, in that vague distance known as "many hundreds of years since;" and who knows but we who smile at them as unreal, and at ourselves as commonplace, may, after the lapse of centuries, be also woven into fairy legend, and in our turn become the joy and pastime of nurseries as incredulous as those of to-day. That most instructive creature, Blue-Beard, for instance,--who can fail to realize his actuality? Does he not typify a class whom we see represented every day,--which figures largely in society, and supplies a painful and pleasing study for the curious in human nature? I seem to see him. How the girls of his period fluttered with excitement over his successive bereavements! How ready they were to "come and be killed," without even asking the name of the sauce with which they were to be eaten! And the mammas: "Poor fellow, how unfortunate he is!" they said (as if matrimony were an inve...
Used availability for Susan Coolidge's For Summer Afternoons
February 2012 : USA Paperback