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Mr. Howells shows a light and exquisite touch in "April Hopes," a novel, it is safe to say, in which all his finer qualities are seen at their best. The sweetness of it is perhaps a trifle cloying now and then to robust palates, but the story is for all the world like a spring day where showers and sunshine grace fully intermingle. Story, we say, while in reality there is no story at all, in accordance with Mr. Howells' views of the lack of stories in "real" life. Only an account of how two young things fell in love with one another and quarreled and made up, and quarreled again, and made up again, and broke off the engagement once more, and finally made up for good and got married. But how charmingly the affair is put before us?all the foolish, silly, entrancing details are there, and never does the author exceed the limits of probability or the canons of good taste. It is like a pretty play, for the narrative in the book is a poor pennyworth of bread to an infinite deal of sack in shape of bright and sparkling dialogue. We sit and watch Dan and Alice at their love meetings and their love quarrels, hear them exchange their bits of romantic nonsense, see them go through their little deceits and flights of tragedy and playings at broken hearts, and listen while they utter protestations of undying affection and vows of unwavering faith. It is all very pretty very dainty, very touching, and everyone who assists at the performance must feel that here at any rate is a bit of reality?softened, indeed, and modified somewhat by the essentially idealistic temperament of the author, who finds it hard not to give a Watteau-like grace to all his fond imaginings? yet sufficiently "real" to chime in with the actual or fancied experiences common to the majority of commonplace humanity. The doctrine of elective affinities has no place in the world of 'April Hopes.' "Girlhood", in the author's view, "is often a turmoil of wild impulses, ignorant exaltations, mistaken ideals, which really represent no intelligent purpose, and come from disordered nerves, ill-advised reading, and the erroneous perspective of inexperience." When two creatures thus constituted indulge in the frantic effort of trying to reconcile their ideals the comedy and tragedy of courtship begin, for as Mr. Howells says once more, "the difficulty in life is to bring experience to the level of expectation, to match our real emotions in view of any great occasion with the ideal emotions which we have taught ourselves that we ought to feel."

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