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WHAT OUR BOYS ARE READING

that he seems to be a fine fellow, and all the world, which is against him, is unjust and overbearing. His father, the immediate representative of society, executes its judgments with the rod, which again is an insult to the high-spirited youth and produces on his side either open war or a dignified retreat to some distant region.

These stories are not markedly profane, and they are not obscene. They are indescribably vulgar. They represent boys as engaging all the time in the rowdy type of drinking. The heroes are either swaggering, vulgar swells of the rowdy style, or they are in the vagabond mass below the rowdy swell. They are continually associating with criminals, gamblers, and low people who live by their wits. The theater of the stories is always disreputable. The proceedings and methods of persons of the criminal and disreputable classes who appear in the stories, are all described in detail, so that the boy reader obtains a theoretical and literary acquaintance with methods of fraud and crime. Sometimes drunkenness is represented in its disgrace and misery but generally drinking is represented as jolly and entertaining, and there is no suggestion that boys who act as the boys in these stories do ever have to pay any penalty for it in after life. The persons who are held up to admiration are the heroes and heroines of bar rooms, concert saloons, variety theaters, and negro minstrel troupes.

A few illustrations may serve to bring out some of the foregoing statements. One of the school stories before us has a "local color" which is purely English, although the names are Americanized. The mixture is ridiculous in the extreme. The hero is the son of a "country gentleman" of Ohio, and comes to school with an old drunkard, "ex-butler" of the Ohio country gentleman, whom he allows to join him at the Grand Central Depot. This