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saved him. He died within a week after the verdict.
But this outline gives nothing of the strange atmosphere of the story, or of its primary interest, which has to do with the Klinger girls. They lived apart from the world. It was known that they were clairvoyant. The neighborhood had had instances of the helpful character of their "sight". It was this sight upon which they based their defense of their father. They had "seen" two men waylay, kill, and rob the stranger before they sent their father to investigate. But this testimony seemed fantastic in the court
for Nothing" (Hearst's International, January) is a delightful introduction, for those who need it, to the garrulous night watchman, Peter Russet, to Ginger Dick and Sam Small. The story in "Hearst's" concerns, of course, these old and well loved heroes. It recounts - that is, the night watchman recounts how Sam Small met a man "whose on'y object in life is to do good to 'is fellow creechers", and by what undeserved good fortune Sam's comrades saved him eleven pounds and his watch and chain after they had passed into the experienced hands of the doer of good.
It is only recently, some thirty years after Mr. Jacobs first won a hearing,
that criticism has begun to look upon him with kindliness; but he will not mind; there are hosts of people who admire and love him. Without concern for technical literary problems, they somehow know that Mr. Jacobs is inimitable in his comic dexterity, his management of dialogue and exposition, and in the difficult and delicate artifice which he handles with so great a tact. Mr. Jacobs has created a delightful, bright little English cockney world, and the sooner you enter into it and discover its wharves and pubs the merrier life will be for you.
A story which is built upon character and events peculiar to special classes in society, or racial characteristics, or geographical influences, is fairly sure to make an impression, whether because of curiosity, our taste for the picturesque, some special bond of sympathy, or because of the opportunity the story affords for escape from reality.
The romantic note tends to prevail. We want "the facts" far less than has often been supposed, but rather a heightened, simplified, imaginative treatment of them. Mr. Bercovici, for instance, in the story already mentioned, in "The Vineyard" (Good Housekeeping, January) and "The Storm" (Designer, January), displays an unusual gift for lucid and plausible simplification. His concern is only with impetuous young lovers coming together over family opposition, with rustic toil and feast days, with the weight of tribal tradition upon the individual, with the unfolding of the mysteries of the rolling seasons.
The same qualities inhere in the work of Edgar Valentine Smith, even though his scene is American, and his society far from barbaric. Mr. Smith celebrates the old south, and his
"Cameo" (Harper's, December) is a tale of the gallant old gentleman made familiar by the southern school of an earlier day a man steeped in family lore, ordering every act as though the ages (in the form of the portraits of his ancestors) looked down austerely upon him. The old gentleman lived finally to settle the feud between his family and the Tollivers, the ancient foes of his house. And the way he settled it is Mr. Smith's own contribution to one of the distinctive veins of American romance.
A sketch from the life of a different society of the south, the society of the fastnesses of the southern mountains, is Hodge Mathes's "The Linkster" (Everybody's, October). The author himself is the "linkster" Kentuckian of the old Elizabethan word for translator. Called upon by wistful hill women during the war to translate a letter from France, the linkster discovers that the letter is from a young French girl with whom the young son and husband has been playing fast and loose. How he saved the situation by an innocuous translation, and by what slender chance he escaped discovery in his duplicity, is Mr. Mathes's own story, and one well worthwhile.
Of all the professions, none in current fiction seems to outshine that of the actor. Sometimes the stage is just a background for a story of love and courtship, as in Nels Leroy Jorgensen's "The Clown Who Forgot to be Funny" (American Magazine, January); sometimes as a variant of the success story, as in Grace Sartwell Mason's "Leave It to Margie" (Red Book, September), in which Margie O'Day by courage, luck, cunning, and sheer ability wins a leading part and a playwright too; and sometimes the movie angle is added, as in "More Stately Mansions" (Red Book, October) by Samuel Merwin, in
which a broken down old minister goes into the movies and disseminates a beneficent and regenerating influence among the disintegrated personalities of the lurid Hollywood studios.
A much fairer story, because it attempts to portray the solidarity of the people of the theatre, their pride in their work, their sense of tradition, is Walter De Leon's "Locke and Keyes" (Hearst's International, December). Here is a picture of the loyalties of the vaudeville artist. These loyalties formed the characters of the hero and heroine. It guided their lives. Not even the fact that at the last moment the girl discovers aristocratic family connections in England, with a corresponding accretion of respectability, dims one's perception of the fact that Mr. De Leon has tried to write sincerely.
But a far neater handling of the same theme is Jesse Lynch Williams's "The Actress and the Lady" (Cosmopolitan, October). A handsome young banker is in love with a beautiful young actress who is a member of an old theatrical family. (Her grandmother never forgets that she has acted with Booth.) The climax comes in the comic dialogue between the young man's mother and Felicia's stately grandmother. Each has the pride of family and profession and position; each thinks the proposed match a mésalliance. The mounting succession of misunderstandings all grow admirably out of the character and ideals of the Shakespearian old lady.
This general subject should not be left without reference to Arnold Bennett's "House to Let" (Red Book, September). Mr. Bennett frequently tosses off a pot boiler between masterpieces, or when he doesn't feel quite up to a little handbook on philosophy. This story, dealing with the adventures
in humility which came to a certain music hall star, seems to me to be one of the pot boilers.
I have constructed a little group of stories which bear relation to each other only in "the portrayal of man's developing consciousness of himself among his contacts with life". Yet from the point of view of artistic truth, the common bond is legitimate, and an interesting test of the representativeness of the author's presentation of human character.
Stacy Aumonier has in "Dark Red Roses" (Everybody's, October) written "Othello" without Iago, though the part of Iago might justly be given to David Cardew's imagination, which stole in between him and his lovely wife Denise, and intimated that she had a lover. Step by step Mr. Aumonier builds the fatal structure of fact, assumption, and false logic by which a jealous imagination achieves its horrible chimeras, and the story clings in one's memory as a telling presentation of the theme.
Jealousy, but different in kind, is also the theme of Frank Swinnerton's "Miss Jedburys" (Ladies' Home Journal, October), in which two sisters are cruelly torn apart by the partialities, of a little boy.
The first published story of a new writer, Winifred Sanford, is "The Wreck" (American Mercury, January). While a big freighter goes to pieces on the rocks and living men are turned to hideous chunks of ice by the wintry seas, Miss Sanford studies the mind of Elsie, a sea coast trollop who titters while her lover struggles futilely to rescue the doomed men - to one of whom she has but recently granted secret favors. This story has all the hard, cold, metallic brilliance which
Mr. Mencken admires and his contributors imitate; but for all its mordant observation, it shows a complete absence of vivacity or interest in any but an ugly, disagreeable world.
Mr. Galsworthy pictures a male type of equally low grade material in "The Mummy" (Red Book, November). Within the limits of a short story he really compresses a novel the life story of Eugene Daunt who evaded responsibility all his life, who made an art of inertia, who took without giving, and died miserably of gin and starvation.
Among the bachelors of nature now writing should be mentioned Herbert Ravenel Sass and Samuel Scoville, Jr., who steadily make romance and sentiment out of the survival of the fittest. Mr. Sass's "The Bachelors of Devilhead" (Saturday Evening Post, December 6) may be taken as representative. The whole suspense is built upon the hunt the stalking of a loon by a hawk, of a rabbit by a fox, and of the fox by a man. Nature, "red in tooth and claw", is treated in the same spirit in Mr. Sass's "Rusty Roustabout" (Saturday Evening Post, November 7), and in Mr. Scoville's stories, "When Red Rooi Was King" (Collier's, October 4) and "The Death Dodger" (Collier's, January 10).
Both these authors seem to dramatize successfully, and sentimentalizefalsely the law of the wild described by Thoreau: "The perch swallows the grub-worm, the pickerel swallows the perch, and the fisherman swallows the pickerel; and so all the chinks in the scale of being are filled."
"Why is the American short story so sad?" queries Mr. E. J. O'Brien in the introduction to his latest annual. Then he goes on to describe a recog
nized condition, though his commentary is limited to a brief and not very lucid gesture in the direction of the dread inhibitions which are frequently said to manacle our national spirit.
But whatever the reasons, it is a fact that the really humorous, the lightly whimsical, the genuinely gay story is far too rare in our magazines. I have recently noticed only six stories which I should account as of this class and the best three of them are by English authors: one, W. W. Jacobs's already mentioned "Something for Nothing"; another, Elizabeth De Burgh's "Mrs. Buckle" (Atlantic, January), a merry tale much in the Jacobs vein recording a delightfully garrulous charwoman's criticism of life; and one other, St. John Ervine's "Mr. Peden Keeps His Cook" (Century, December) - a delightful narrative of an epicure who married his cook for the sake of his stomach, only to find that she had become, perforce, a fine lady and would cook for him no more!
Yet the mellowness of Mary Wolfe Thompson's "Turtle" (Midland, December), a sketch of how two old men catch and eat, or try to eat, an enormous turtle the mellowness and gaiety of this American writer must be admitted. And still more interesting is "The Ultimate Frog" (Harper's, November) by Roy Dickinson. This could not be called a humorous story on the grounds that it is humorous in intent. Indeed, its end is tragic and deeply moving. But it has a breezy, genuine humor, and with it an eerie. touch of caprice. Told briefly, without effort to convey its elusive flavor, it is the story of Old Man Saunders who
Mr. Dickinson is peculiarly identified with influences which, along with Puritanism, are blamed for throttling the creative effort of Americans. I mean modern business. Mr. Dickinson is a member of the editorial staff of the "Printers' Ink" publications, and spends his days writing about sales resistance in the drug trade, market analysis, advertising copy, and what can be done about educating the grocer to a warmer appreciation of what food manufacturers accomplish in spending money for advertising space. "The Ultimate Frog" gives an account of Mr. Dickinson's nights and a very fine and cheering one it is. There is yet hope for us so long as any business man can write a story as good as this one. And with regard to our Puritan inhibitions - haven't we been somewhat glib and sudden in making them the scapegoat of our discontent?
By Grant Overton
With a Portrait by Bertrand Zadig
ND here it is 1925, and he is sixty. Once upon a time it seemed that he was to have a half dozen careers but they have turned out to be only a single career, after all. It would be interesting, though, to find out what it is. Never was such a manysided man who is yet somehow always being onesided, nor a prophet so with and without honor in his own country, nor an outlander so snugly at home. Born in the bazaar, he keeps his hall in Sussex. Bred to write, he consorts with county families or else consorts not at all. In infancy in India, he saw men of a venerable countenance withdraw themselves from the fleshly world with the significant syllable, "Om". This, in English, is the first syllable of "Omen". Many times hath he said, "Omen, Omen", and some harkened thereto and others took no heed. Nevertheless, even as with those ancient men, the look of peace has stood sometimes in his eyes.
In a not unreasonably long life he has compassed much and has kept a little. Born in Bombay in 1865, the grandchild of Wesleyan ministers, with a mother and sister who wrote verse and a father interested in the history and culture of India, Rudyard Kipling had an ayah or nurse who addressed him in Hindustani, a tongue which the QueenEmpress Victoria was to start learning in her approaching old age. Kipling Sahib was director of the Lahore Museum; he did not shrink from curious and strange knowledge. But when his
son was six, he sent the lad to England. Since young Rudyard was too little for school, he was lodged for five years at Portsmouth with a family. At eleven he went into Westward Ho! in Devon, the favorite school for the children of Anglo-Indians, the school of "Stalky & Co."
He took an English literature prize, edited the school paper, and wrote verse imitative of Tennyson and Browning. There is a poem of the time in honor of Victoria with the note of imperial obligation quite clear in it.
His school life was ended when he was sixteen. He refused the path to one of the universities and returned to India, where, at seventeen, he was a newspaper man on the staff of the "Civil and Military Gazette", Lahore. But now he was a man. "He had, though living with his parents, his own servants, his horse, his dog-cart, his club, his friends, a life of his own." He was a reporter and editor, too. The Duke of Connaught, in India as a military commander, gave permission to young Kipling to visit the army and see what he could make of army life.
Some of the early poems were written as part of the day's newspaper work, and some of the stories. From the Lahore journal Kipling went to work for the Allahabad "Pioneer". His first book was "Departmental Ditties", published at Lahore when he was twenty one; two years later at Calcutta was published "Plain Tales from the Hills".