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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/409

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Reviews. . 373

of the ever-recurring delight of humanity in the marvellous. It is impossible to read the story of the Maid of Orleans without a genuine and fervent sympathy with that pure and ill-used heroine. Englishmen join with Frenchmen in their admiration and gratitude. In saving France she saved England also. Hence we are always ready to listen to Mr. Lang in his efforts to glorify her name, and we share his interest in everything that concerns her.

To the student of psychology, however, the deepest import of the book is found in the worship of a saint whose very existence is somewhat more than doubtful, and in the miracles alleged to have been performed by or through her.

As to the miracles, the translator gives up the puzzle, only observing " that to tell such tales, often apparently in good faith, is a persistent factor in human character. A Catholic age gave them a Catholic colouring, that is all." Yet the stories are deserving of study and comparison with others equally well authenticated as matters of fact in other cults, and parallel with them in all essential features, if regarded as " human documents." By translating them from a little-known pamphlet Mr. Lang has secured for them a measure of attention at the hands of all to whom these problems are attractive. We could wish, indeed, that he had taken courage enough to give even those " one or two very dull narratives " which he confesses to omitting, for even dull narratives ofttimes throw light upon the livelier.

His introduction we need not say is as lively as the stories themselves. He contrives in his usual entertaining way to tell us the main facts, and to summarise the arguments so far as they present themselves to him. The dainty form of the volume is fully worthy of its contents.