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THE REV. CHARLES W. GORDON

"RALPH CONNOR"

The interest which one feels in a good story is commonly succeeded by curiosity about the writer. This curiosity is all the more natural and pardonable if one has found in the story not merely recreation but intelleceutal enlargement or spiritual uplift. It is not surprising, then, that from the two or three million readers in Canada, the United States and Britain who have enjoyed "Ralph Connor's" works, there should be a demand for some authentic information about the life and personality of the man who has spoken to them with such sweetness and power as novelist, evangelist and missionary.

In a Perthshire glen, not far from "the Tummel and banks o' the Garry," there lived in the early part of last century a Highland family bearing the renowned name of Gordon. They were not richly dowered with worldly goods, but they had something better-they had brains and character. Of the six sons in the home, five made their way into the professions, three becoming doctors and two entering the ministry. One of the latter was the father of "Ralph Connor."

A hundred years ago there was a considerable emigration to Canada of Gaelic-speaking Scots, whose descendants are found to-day in all the older provinces of the Dominion. These people were strongly attached both to their language and their religion, and they longed greatly for the service of ministers who could speak to them in their own tongue. Among those who were moved by the need of their countrymen in the Canadian forests was Daniel Gordon, and in the early forties he came to Canada and was placed in charge of a Gaelic settlement. Mr. Gordon was the beau ideal of a Highland minister. Of magnificent physique, erect and muscular, with dark hair and beard and flashing eye, he was every inch a commander. Of his gifts and characteristics as a preacher, no better description could be given than that which is to be found in the chapter of The Man from Glengarry entitled "A Sabbath Day's Work" for there is more than a suggestion of Mr. Gordon the elder in the Rev. Alexander Murray. Very conspicuous was his Highland gift of "vision." In preaching he saw and heard the things of which he spoke. The writer well remembers hearing him speak of the coming of the Lord to judgment, and as he told us that the chariot of the Judge was drawing near one could almost hear the rumbling of its wheels. It may be stated in passing that Mr. Gordon is still living, and, though retired from active work, possesses a large measure of his former vigor.

It was Mr. Gordon's good fortune to win as his wife a woman of truly remarkable qualities of mind and heart. Mary Robertson was the daughter of a Scotch minister who came to America and was settled as pastor of a Congregational Church in New England. He afterwards moved to Sherbrooke, Quebec. He was of

the same family as the late Professor Robertson Smith, and was also related to the Rev. Andrew Murray, of South Africa. One of his daughters, Margaret Robertson, won a deserved reputation as a writer of religious fiction. Christie Redfern's Troubles is perhaps the best known of her works. Mary Robertson, who married Daniel Gordon, was a graduate of Mount Holyoke, and while still a girl taught philosophy in that wellknown institution. She might have filled her place in any society or in the learned world, but love and duty called her to the toil and the limitations of a backwoods parish, and she took up the work of a pioneer minister's wife with a shining face and a brave heart that never left her till the close of life. No one could know Mrs. Gordon without feeling her charm. It is not necessary to speak of her patience, her sweetness, her intellectual alertness, her fathomless faith in God-these things have been commemorated in that noble monument which her son has raised to his mother's memory in the character of Mrs. Murray in The Man from Glengarry and Glengarry School-days.

Of these parents Charles William Gordon was born, and he has inherited something of the qualities of each. His early home was in the settlement of Indian lands in the county of Glengarry, Ontario. The forest was about him, the river was not far away. In his home were high thinking and gentle manners; about him were a strong, serious, resourceful people. It was a good school for the making of a man.

When Charles was about eleven years of age the family removed to another congregation in Western Ontario, where the educational advantages were better. A High School was near at hand, and after the necessary preparation there and a year or two of teaching, Charles, with an older brother, proceeded to Toronto University. During his undergraduate course he was by no means a bookworm, but entered with zest into all that varied life which only a great university can afford, and which is so important an element in education. He played football, he trained in the gymnasium, his fine tenor voice was a feature of the College Glee Club. Withal he gave fair attention to study, and was graduated with honors in classics in 1883. From the university, after a year as classical master in an Ontario High School, he passed to Knox College, Toronto, where he took a three years' course in theology. As a student he gave a summer or two to missionary work in Manitoba, and there was kindled that love for the western land and the western life which has never forsaken him. His health, at the end of his theological course, was not very good, and a year was spent, in company with his brother and some other friends, in Edinburgh and on the Continent, partly in study and partly in recuperation. On his return to Canada he was stationed for two years as ordained missionary at Banff, amid the magnificent

scenery of the Rocky Mountains. There he found the material which was afterwards used with such good effect in Black Rock and The Sky Pilot.

By this time the first waves of that tide of emigration which has since risen to such a height were beginning to flow into the Canadian West. Men of foresight were impressed with the importance of providing religious ordinances for the growing settlements. At the head of the Home Mission work in the Canadian West, as superintendent, was Dr. James Robertson. Gordon was brought into close contact with that great missionary statesman

and caught a large portion of his spirit. It was decided that it would be well to send a deputy to Britain and lay the needs of the western work before the British Churches and obtain their assistance in providing for the spiritual care of their sons who were seeking homes in Canada. Mr. Gordon was chosen for this mis sion. In a visit of some months to the British Isles he obtained help which was of the very greatest assistance at a critical period in the history of Canadian mission work. Upon his return to Canada he was called to the pastorate of St. Stephen's Church, Winnipeg, a young congregation in a growing section of the metropolis of the Canadian West. There he still remains, and it is amid the duties of a busy pastorate that his literary work has been done.

er. His physique and temperament are not those of the orator. But for one who comes to church to receive instruction, counsel and help for the daily life, Mr. Gordon has a message. He thinks clearly, and, as might be expected, expresses himself in chaste and elegant language. He has more than a touch of his father's imagination, and in a descriptive passage he makes the scene very real to his hearers. His friends think that he might use his imaginative and descriptive powers in the pulpit even more than he is accustomed to. In preaching he loves to choose the greatest themes; and

REV. CHARLES W. GORDON "RALPH CONNOR."

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It may interest the admirers of "Ralph Connor, the novelist, to know something of the Rev. Charles W. Gordon, the preacher. Visitors to Winnipeg who inquire the way to St. Stephen's Church will find a splendid new building, which was completed and dedicated during the past summer. In the pulpit, on most Sundays of the year, they will see a man of forty-three-tall, slender, and well set-up, with a pale, intellectual face. His voice, as he speaks, is soft and clear. He reads with expression, and his prayers are reverent and intimate. He is not what is usually called a popular preach

though his manner is usually quiet and too restrained at times, when he speaks of Christ, the King, and calls men to his service, the fire kindles in his eye and a new note of passion rings in his voice. At such a time one understands his hold upon his congregation, and especially upon the young men who form so large a part of it. The problem of the young man-an important and difficult one everywhere-is especially acute in the West, and Mr. Gordon is singularly endowed for dealing with it. He has great personal charm, being modest and approachable, and, above all, possessing the faculty of sympathetically interesting himself in the interests of other people. Remember

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ing the large number of young people, far from home, who live in the hotels and boarding houses of a city like Winnipeg, the new St. Stephen's has been completely fitted up with parlors and recreation rooms where those without homes may spend their evenings amid pure and helpful surroundings. Gordon's attractiveness to young men is increased by the fact that he is unaffectedly interested in sport and outdoor life. As we have said, he was a football player at the university, and it is on record that in his Manitoba mission field he won his way into the confidence of the youthful members of his flock by his prowess as a baseball pitcher. His favorite holiday is spent in a canoe, far from the habitation of men, threading by day

the windings of a Canadian waterway, and lying by night upon the fragrant fir, close to the ample bosom of mother earth.

Mr. Gordon's industry as a minister is by no means confined to the preaching and pastoral work of his own congregation. He is an active churchman, and his name may be found upon several of the important committees of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Manitoba College claims a large share of his interest, and as has been already said, he is devoted to the cause of Home Missions.

It remains to say something about Mr. Gordon's work as a writer. His literary career dates from 1896, when, after consultation with his friend, the Rev. J. A. Macdonald, then the editor of the Westminster, he set to work to produce a story that would bring before the Church in Canada the need and importance of Western missions. The projected story developed into a series of sketches-"Tales from the Selkirks," afterwards published as Black Rock. When the sketches were gathered into book form, great difficulty was experienced in finding a publisher, especially in the United States. The expert readers" declared that the book would never go, being too full of religion and temperance. How the public fell upon it when it at length appeared, and how one edition was demanded after another, until the sale of Black Rock in Great Britain, the United States and Canada, has now risen to the neighborhood of a million copies these things are matters of history. Similar success attended the publication of The Sky Pilot (1899), The Man from Glengarry (1901) and Glengarry Schooldays.

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The success is well deserved. Sweetness, light and strength pervade "Ralph Connor's" work from beginning to end. The combination of genuine goodness with a sane and wholesome enjoyment of life, which is characteristic of the author, enters into his books and makes them irresistible. And there is more. It is impossible to separate Mr. Gordon's writings from his work as a minister. He would not care to deny that he is a novelist with a purpose. Art for art's sake may be the vocation of some, but it is not his; his life's work is all of one piece. When the Sky Pilot, beaten in metaphysics but unshaken in faith, exclaimed, "It is true-1 feel it's true. Men can't live without Him and be men," he enunciated the author's theory of life. And "Ralph Connor's" books are written to show that men cannot be men without Christ, and that Christ is able to make them men, and Charles Gordon's sermons are preached to call men to this same Christ. No apology is needed for the dominance of the religious interest in Mr. Gordon's books. A novel should be a record of life, and the most important thing in life is religion. People feel this to be so, and they welcome with enthusiasm a story of adequate literary merit in which religion is treated sympathetically and without cant.

All this has a bearing upon the question which is sometimes asked, whether, in view of the great success which has attended Mr. Gordon's writings, he might not

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feel it his duty to lay aside his pulpit work and devote himself to a literary career. There is plainly something to be said for such a course. No one would claim that Mr. Gordon has attained to mastery of the novelist's craft, and the best work of which he is capable could hardly be produced under present conditions. Doubtless with greater leisure and undivided attention, he might put forth something of more perfect literary workmanship than anything he has yet done.

On the other hand, Mr. Gordon loves his ministerial work, and, as we have seen, his literary work has grown out of his ministry, and is wrapped up with it. It seems probable that, if his strength is equal to the task, he will continue his pastoral duties, and will find such time as he can for the exercise of that other gift with which he has been so richly endowed. That he may long be spared to do his part towards sweetening the waters of current literature and refreshing the spiritual life of his generation is the sincere prayer of a great multitude of friends and admirers.-Robert Haddow in The British Monthly.

MUSSON BOOK COMPANY'S BOOK NEWS.

By the time the next issue of the CANADIAN BOOKSELLER is issued spring will be upon us; if not in weather conditions, it will be in a business way. Those of the trade who carry wall paper will be looking after that department to its smallest detail, and be prepared for the great rush. There are other things just as needful as that department if we were only to stop and think and bring before the public books that are actually needed to brighten both the farmer and the trades in general, especially at the opening of spring. A special department should be created in every bookstore in Canada for boots that are adapted for these purposes. These books may be called technical, and yet not apply that word in its strictest sense. In this department we suggest you to make, we offer books that are most beneficial, and propose to start with what are of use on the farm. Farm Engines and How to Run Them, by James H. Stephenson and other expert engineers, is a book that every farmer who has a farm large enough to employ an engine, should have one. This is the most valuable book on the market, and is thorough in its detail. Any farmer with but a slight education can grasp what is essential. This, in itself, is a fact that cannot be ignored. It is well illustrated, showing the principal features about a farm engine. If this book is given a prominent place and shown to the intelligent farmer, a good many can be sold. The price is $1.00, with a very liberal discount to the trade.

The next addition we propose for the farmer to add to his library is Scientific Horse, Mule and Oxshoeing, by J. G. Holmstrom. Having this book always at hand the farmer can very often save hours of time by attending to his own wants. There is not another book treating on that subject which is so thorough in detail, imparting information to the most simple mind. This book does not only appeal to the farmer, but is also valuable to the city, town and village blacksmith. Price, $1.00.

The third addition to his library we propose that he have a copy of Bookkeeping Self Taught, by Philip C. Goodwin. Price, $1.00.

As a fourth book we suggest The Horseman's Friend. This book deals with all the diseases of cattle, and is invaluable. The most important feature of this book is the standard for the breeding of army horses. Price, $1.00. These four books make a powerful combination, and are bound to play an important part in the financial standing of the progressive farmer at the end of his financial year.

In order to give the farmer a clear insight as to the necessity of getting these books it is necessary for the farmer's wife to touch him through the stomach. An up-to-date cook book sold previous to his seeing the books will work all right. A well-cooked meal, with accompanying side dishes, etc., followed by a good dessert will produce wonderful crops, and also put him in good humor with his local bookseller. The cook books

that are recognized to be the best published in Canada are The Home Cook Book and The New Cook Book.

To get down to the more serious side of the farmer's wants we suggest Dr. Chase's Recipes, Physical Life of Woman and the Doctor at Home.

The carpenter section in this department is another important factor. Hodgson's Steel Square, Part I. and II.; Modern Carpentery, and Common Sense Handrailing are books that handle their subjects in a masterful way. In fact, in many of the technical colleges they are used as an authority. They are written in plain, simple language, and can be mastered by any one who takes an interest in their work. Sold in sets or single volumes at $1.00 each.

Hodgson's Builders' Architectural Drawing Self Taught, coupled with Radford's American Ideal Homes, fill in the architectural branch of the department. All of these books are needed at this time of the year owing to the activity in the building lines.

To complete this special department we have mentioned, we would suggest Horstmann & Lonsley's Wiring Diagrams and Descriptions, Dynamo Tending for Engineers, by the same authors; Swingle's Twentieth Century Handbook for Engineers and Electricians; Modern Air Brake Practice, Its Use and Abuse, by F. H. Dubesmith; Electricity Made Simple, by C. C. Haskins; Handy Vest Pocket Electrical Dictionary, by Wm. Guide to Telephone Exchange, by T. S. Baldwin, M. A.; Telegraphy Self Taught, by T. A. Edison, M.A. Ask to see these books when our travellers call on you. Every book mentioned in this column are essential to the trade.

The Musson Book Company, Limited, in presenting Ellen Glasgow's latest novel, The Deliverance, have got hold of a book that stands out pre-eminently as one of the best books published this year. The scenes are all centred in Virginia. Its construction and moving characters all lend an intense interest and make the book worthy of the best place in literature. Human nature is faithfully portrayed, and the dramatic scenes are well executed, without anything tending to make them sensational or out of place. It is a story wonderfully told, containing a fund of common sense and in it is taught unconsciously an object lesson, especially so when it touches on the caste-prejudice which was so common with the older families of that day. This book should not fail to take a strong hold on the great reading public.

MATTHEWMATTICS.

The Atlanta Constitution the other day received the following letter:

"Sur and Frend: Do the Carnage liberrary lend Books teech Matthewmattics to Outside your Citie? I vant Onlie Books on Matthewmattics, as I am all righ on spellin an am a purty good Grammatician if I do say it Miself. I kin Spel an Grammarize but Matthewmattics is one too Much for Me."

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Fifty Titles of the Best Detective Stories

OLD SLEUTH'S SPECIAL DETECTIVE SERIES

The following list comprises some of the very latest and best literary work of "Old Sleuth" and they will all sell rapidly. Every book contains from 200 to 300 pages, and are bound in a handsome lithograph paper cover printed in four colors.

1. Malcolm; or, A Ten Day's Mystery. By Old Sleuth.

2. Witch of Manhattan. By Old Sleuth.
3. The Ex-Pugilist Detective. By Old Sleuth.

4. True Blue; or, The Romance of a Great Special.

5. Murray, the Detective. By Old Sleuth.

6. Oscar, the Detective. By Old Sleuth.

7. Kefton; or, The Wonder of the Age. By Old Sleuth.

8. A Lady Shadower; or, A Detective's Stratagem. By Old Sleuth.

9. Night and Morning; or, A Detective's Shadow. By Old Sleuth.

10. The King's Detective. By Old Sleuth.

11. A Puzzling Shadow; or, A Detective's Enigma. By Old Sleuth.

12. Seth Bond. A Lost Treasure Mystery. By Old Sleuth.

13. A Weird Sea Mystery. A Detective Story. By Old Sleuth.

14. The Twin Athletes. A Detective Story. By Old Sleuth.

15. A Single Clue. A Detective Story. By Old Sleuth.

16. A One Night Mystery. A Detective Story. By Old Sleuth.

17. A Man of Mystery. A Detective Story. By Old Sleuth.

18. A Remarkable Feat; or, Great Detective Work. By Old Sleuth.

19. Tales from a Gilded Palace. Illustrated. By Old Sleuth.

20. A Final Triumph; or, A Lady Bachelor. By Old Sleuth.

21. Magic Dick, the Detective; or, A Phenomenal Trail.

22. The Ventriloquist Detective; or, Nimble Ike and Jack the Juggler.

23. The Old Miser's Ward. By Old Sleuth.

21. A Detective's Daughter. By Old Sleuth.

25. A Weird Courtship. By Old Sleuth.

26. Winning a Princess. By Old Sleuth.

27. Norval, the Detective. By Old Sleuth. 28. Vavel, the Wonderful Treasure Seeker. 29. Funny Bob; or, In and Out of Everything in New York.

30. A Little Confederate; or, A Southern Boy in New York.

31. Nimble Ike, the Trick Ventriloquist.

32. The Giant Detective; or, The Feats of an Athlete.

33. The Cowboy Detective. A Great Story of Mystery.

34. The Bicycle Detective; or, Smart Jim.

35. Dick, the Boy Detective; or, The Streets of New York.

36. Aggravating Joe, the Prince of Mischief. 37. Jack the Juggler's Ordeal; or, Tricks and Triumphs.

38. Jack the Juggler's Trail. A Story of Magic, 39. A Female Ventriloquist; or, A Girl's Magic Feats.

40. A Desperate Chance; or, Desmond Dare. 41. Detective Payne's "Shadow;" or, A Remarkable Search.

42. Two Wonderful Detectives; or, Jack and Gil's Skill.

43. Saved by a Detective; or, A Beautiful Fugitive. 44. The Mystery Man; or, Fire Bomb Jack.

45. The Fatal Resemblance; or, A Marvelous Escape,

46. Nimble Ike, the Detective; or, Solving a Mystery.

47. Bertie Bland, the Detective. A Tale of Tricks and Surprises.

48. The West Point Lieutenant; or, Arkie, the Run

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Orders solicited from dealers. The trade is supplied by any of the News Companies, Wholesale Dealers

or orders may be sent direct to

J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY,

57 ROSE ST. NEW YORK

Dealer's order list eomprising over 900 Titles sent frce on application.

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