The Wife of His Youth.
Cleveland is indeed fortunate and may be justly proud of so talented and versatile an author as Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt. His "Conjure Woman," which appeared about a year ago, won for him an enviable position in the literary world, and his new book, "The Wife of His Youth," will in no wise detract from his fame, but, on the contrary, must add appreciably to it. The book contains nine short stories, and is named from the first, which is a story of the love and devotion of an old colored woman who for 25 years has been searching unceasingly for her husband, who became separated from her during the war. While "The Wife of His Youth" is remarkably good, it lacks the delicacy and pathos of "Her Virginia Mammy," which is undoubtedly the best story of the collection. The story of the pretty little dancing mistress and her lover is told with infinite delicacy and tenderness, and the identity of the old negro chaperon is revealed so gently and quietly that the story is finished before all the nobility of her sacrifice and reunification is realized.
In "Uncle Wellington’s Wives" and "A Matter of Principle" Mr. Chesnutt proves himself as much a master of humor as he has proved himself a master of pathos in "Cicely’s Dream" and "Her Virginia Mammy."
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Cleveland: Burrows Bros. company. Price $1.50.
Rev. of The Wife of His Youth in "Some of the New Books," Cleveland World 2 Feb 1900: 19.