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From The Saturday Review: Review of The Evergreen, Vol. 3

“The Evergreen” is as nerveless a piece of pretentiousness
as you can meet in a three months’ journey along the path of
periodical literature. He is but a poor sort of man who has no
sympathy with pompousness, who cannot be moved at times
by the high-sounding and the full-mouthed, though it be empty
and even savour of humbug. But the solemnity that does
not impose is only aggravating. The all-embracing garment
stitched together from shreds of Buddhism, the worship of Pan,
with here a patch of Chivalry, there a frill of Ruskin, or a bit
of the New Woman, or anything else that lies handy, this is
too large a thing for the wearing of Mr. Patrick Geddes and
his colleagues of the Lawnmarket. And apparently they will
not content themselves with the position of humble students;
unawed, they trip and stumble and entangle themselves in the
trailing robe. The impression one gets from their antics is of
a number of persons making solemn faces about nothing, and
the one quality which could lighten this impression—namely,
elegance—is eschewed of set purpose. With the exception of
two drawings. by Mr. James Cadenhead, the pictures are as
pretentious and unconvincing as the thick overloaded writing.
It is all very well to be elemental—artists may be anything they
like so long as they succeed—but meaningless lines are meaning-
less the world over. And this Gaelic Revival business becomes
broad farce in the drawing by Mr. Robert Brough which he
calls “Roses.” Anyone who wants to get a laugh out of the
otherwise sad “Evergreen ” should compare this drawing with
Steinlen’s “Feuilles Mortes” and “Femme de Chagrin” in the
supplement of the “Gil Blas” for 27 October, 1895, and
2 February, 1896, respectively. It is really most amusing to
see how helpless Mr. Brough is when the necessities of
combining two figures from two different drawings make it
impossible for him to copy Steinlen line by line. And we
cannot even commend his admiration for the master, because it
is inconceivable that an artist with one grain of taste in
his composition could have had the heart to tamper with fine
work in such a thick-headed, mean-spirited fashion. There
always was, of course, a close connexion between Scotland and

MLA citation:

Review of The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, vol. 3, Summer 1896, The Saturday Review, July 1896, p. 48. Yellow Nineties 2.0, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.