Imágenes de páginas

Caleb," and I turned away without trust four girls of the summer colony were ing myself to say more.


ETWEEN the evening at Judge Talbot's and the day set for the dedication of the library I saw little of Caleb. I kept away from his house, partly because I felt there was nothing I could do which would help to make the coming separation from "Glory o' the Dawn" easier for him, and partly because of an occurrence which did not bode well for Caleb.

It was the very next day after the meeting of the Library Committee that a schooner bearing a deck-load of unsavory fish dropped anchor in Middlehaven harbor. There was more interest in the doings of that schooner than its apparent cargo might lead one to suppose. At dusk a dozen or more rowboats could be seen clustered about her, bargaining for fish-fish that the next morning were to be found floating in the harbor waters or left high and dry on the beach by the receding tide. The schooner, having finished her business and emptied her hold of sundry boxes containing nothing which ever came out of the sea, departed on her way-some three hours before a patrol-boat flying the flag of the Treasury Department appeared on the scene. Concerning her after history I know nothing and concerning her cargo almost as little. I only know that Judge Talbot's launchman was among those present when she discharged her load; I know that the hotel-keeper was also represented, and that there was an unaccustomed hilarity along the water-front of Middlehaven for several days after the schooner's departure. I know, too, that part at least of one case found its way to Caleb's house. Broken as he was by his impending loss, it is not to be wondered at that he gave in to the thing which meant at least a brief forgetfulness. course I should have stayed with him at this time, but something of that old reluctance, which I had shared with my father, to recognize a side of Caleb so discordant with the character which he had shown to us made me fear to intrude.


When the day for the dedication of the library came, I went to his house with a group of old friends from the town. I did not find that the Middlehaveners were as enthusiastic as they might have been over this prospect of a ceremonial gathering in Caleb's front yard. For obvious reasons he did not stand very high in the estimate of the townspeople. Added to this, the prospect of playing second fiddle to the Library Committee, which had arranged for the gathering, did not increase the atractiveness of the affair. The only Middlehaveners who had any official part in the arrangements were the three selectmen, and the rôle which had been assigned to them was very largely that of passive recipients.

When we arrived, it was to find that Caleb's house had been festooned with red-white-and-blue bunting. Three or

tacking up the last strips as we approached. Caleb himself sat in the old rocker on his doorstep. He was dressed in an ancient suit which once had been black, but which showed almost green in the hot sun which beat down mercilessly upon the little gathering. He did not seem to see the people around him; he did not even stop rocking to and fro when one of the girls who had been decorating his house stooped and pinned a rose in his buttonhole. I was close behind him as she did it, and I heard her say: "Mr. Gurney, we all think you are just wonderful, really we do. You are giving lots more to the library than all the other people put together." But Caleb only rocked and twisted his handkerchief in his hands. I stepped beside him and put my hand on his shoulder. "It's all right, Caleb," I said; "you are doing a mighty big thing." He reached up, touched my hand for an instant, and then went on rocking back and forth. But his eyes never left the model of "Glory o' the Dawn," which stood, sails set as for a far voyage, in the center of his weed-grown yard.

"Glory o' the Dawn" was supported at either end by a flag-draped saw horse. and behind her a stand some six feet high had been erected, large enough to contain half a dozen chairs and a table bearing a white pitcher of ice-water. The stand as well as the house had been hung with bunting. As I stood at Caleb's side and looked through the lofty spars of his vessel to this platform, decked out in Fourth of July magnificence, I had the feeling that the whole setting of the scene was strangely inappropriate. It seemed to me almost as though this flimsy stand upon which the pitiable old man beside me was to mount should have been hung in the black of a scaffold rather than the gay colors of our National holiday.

While I stood there the schoolgirls, dressed in white muslin, had grouped themselves in a restless half-circle between us and the ship. On one side of the yard there were perhaps twenty or thirty men and women of the summer colony, chatting and laughing among themselves. In this group there were some with golf bags in their hands. Obviously they had stopped to see the sight on their way to the country club. I noticed one fresh-faced college boy in white flannels gazing intently at the ship and then at Caleb. At last he laid his clubs on the ground and walked over to Caleb's chair. "That's a beautiful ship of yours, Mr. Gurney," he said. "I want to thank you for my share in the gift you are making." He flushed a little and went on, "You know, Middlehaven means a lot to some of us-maybe more than we mean to Middlehaven." Caleb took his outstretched hand, mumbled a few words, and the boy slipped back among his friends.

In a separate group on the other side of the yard stood and sat perhaps an equal number of people from the town.

Somehow they seemed to have an even greater air of detachment from the proceedings than the summer people themselves. Few of them had anything in common with Caleb; fewer still felt that the summer people had anything in common with them.

There was a lull in the chatter on both sides of the yard. Judge Talbot beckoned to the selectmen and with two members of his committee mounted the platform. When the others were seated, he advanced to the edge and, looking through the rigging of "Glory o' the Dawn," waved a friendly but rather ponderous hand to the circle of children. "I think," he said, "that we would like to start this brief ceremony by singing the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' We want you children to start the song and the grown-ups will join in-if they can."

The children struggled to their feet and, under the leadership of a teacher with a pitch-key, launched themselves boldly into song. When the shrill notes had died away-few deeper voices had joined in-Judge Talbot wiped his forehead with a silk handkerchief, drank a glass of water, and began his heavyfooted remarks. I doubt if any one remembers much of what he said. Certainly all that I can recall are his concluding words: "And now, citizens of Middlehaven, let us stand in honor of the man who has given the chief adornment of our new library. Mr. Gurney, we want you here on the platform beside us."

Caleb shook himself, stood, swayed, and caught my arm. The half-circle of school-children opened, and we moved together towards the platform. I felt Caleb's hand trembling as though he were stricken with the palsy.

He let go my arm, caught the edge of the platform, stumbled up the steps, clutched Judge Talbot, and then leaned heavily on the table. I do not think that he saw anything of the circle of curious faces grouped in a half-moon behind the vessel of his dreams. Judge Talbot stepped forward again, touched Caleb's shoulder and called, "Now three cheers for Mr. Gurney." Again the shrill cries of the children drowned out their elders' voices. The patter of polite applause which followed soon died away.

Judge Talbot glanced a bit anxiously at Caleb, fumbled at his watch, and announced that "after Mr. Gurney has said a few words we will all adjourn to the library for the dedication. Members of the Library Committee and the selectmen will head the procession, and this beautiful boat will be carried in state on the float we have prepared. I trust you will all fall in behind." He turned and in quieter tones said, "Now, Mr. Gurney, just a few words and we will be on our way. You are going to ride with me in my automobile."

Caleb had hardly moved during the welcome which he had received save that his body swayed to and fro as if he were balancing himself on the deck: of a plunging ship. At Judge Talbot's

words he moved forward to the edge of the platform, his eyes fixed on "Glory o' the Dawn." He wet his lips with his tongue, but we heard no sound. Incessantly his hands worked and twisted at the knotted handkerchief which he held. Twice he opened his mouth as though to speak, but no word came forth. The people on the platform behind him pushed back their chairs and started down the steps to the ground. Single figures broke away from the fringes of the gathering. From down the street towards the library came the blare of the village band. The schoolchildren scrambled to their feet, whispering and craning their necks.

Still Caleb stood, as though his mind were in a haze, as though his pale-blue eyes saw nothing but the beauty of his ship below him. Judge Talbot looked at his watch again and touched Caleb on the arm. "Just a few words, Mr. Gurney; we must go." At that moment from the group of summer people broke out the tittering giggle of a young girl. I do not think that she was laughing at Caleb; she had merely given way to that youthful hysteria which is born of em

barrassment. But the sound of her voice seemed to break the spell which had bound Caleb speechless. He turned towards her and his face flushed.

"She's laughin' at me! She's laughin' at my ship!" His hands clinched. "By God, ye ain't none o' ye fittin' to hev my 'Glory'!" The sweep of his arms took in the whole of the astonished gathering with his menace. "By God, if I can't keep her I'll smash her all to hell."

The amazed Judge saw him snatch the water-pitcher from the table, raise it over his head, and hurl it downward into the mass of delicate spars and more delicate rigging. It grazed the hull and shattered on the ground. Just as Caleb reached for a chair Judge Talbot seized his wrist.

"Don't you tech me!" cried Caleb, wildly. "Don't you tech me! I'll smash my own ship if I want to!"

Caleb's sudden fury gave to his arms a strength which the Judge could not withstand. The end of the struggle came before any of us could reach the platform.

The two men, fighting for the posses

sion of the chair, stumbled over the edge of the stand and crashed down upon the unsupported midship section of "Glory o' the Dawn." There was a splintering of wood and then the two bodies slipped to the earth. Judge Talbot, bruised, scratched, and groaning, rose to his feet. But Caleb did not move.

What happened then I hardly know, save that I found myself with Caleb's head in my lap. A doctor pushed forward from the crowd which had closed about us, tore open Caleb's shirt, and laid his ear to Caleb's heart. Then he looked up at the excited faces about us and said, "Better stand back there a bit, please. Gurney is gone."

[blocks in formation]



F you have ever wondered how people are coaxed into broadcasting, the answer is, They are not coaxed, they are shanghaied. Out of a clear sky-figuratively, as it comes by ordinary telephone-a voice bade me go and speak freely to half a continent and several isles beyond the sea. "Radio . . WJZ... The famous Westinghouse plant at Newark, New Jersey. . . . Ninethirty next Friday evening. . . . Broadcast your interview with Augustus Thomas for The Outlook."

Before I could so much as protest, "Oh, my dear Mr. Editor!" I heard my lips consent. The newness of the thing, the dazzling immensity, the bewilderment it brings-these are what take one clean off one's feet.

It is a mercy that I am a reporter. "Congratulations!" the reporter instinct said. "Now you are going to learn by personal experience how it feels to make the ether carry your voice to no one can compute how many listening ears. You never talked to more than three thousand people at once. You never wrote for more than two million. This broadcasting-are you not aware that a message from WJZ leaps the Canadian bor der in one direction, and is distinctly heard by Cubans and Porto Ricans in the other?"

Quite shameless in these confessions, I may add that I was also aware of my own elevation, and during a three days' interim I spread the news among my friends. Never do that; it invites warn


ings. "Hope you'll pull through, old man; De Wolfe Hopper calls broadcasting the ordeal of a lifetime." "Write it. Remember what Christopher Morley says of broadcasting: To err used to be human; now it is international.'" "I'm told there's only one way to avoid perishing of stage-fright. Fix your mind on some radio enthusiast you know, and imagine that you are merely telephoning to him, privately, confidentially, in the usual style."

But meanwhile came glowing accounts of the joys that follow the ordeal. Longlost relatives would rediscover me and write. Travelers I had met in Rio or Paris, ages ago, would seek me out again. In some remote farmhouse or mountain cabin, when my voice reverberated, a cry would go up "Come! come quick! Guess who's talking on the radio!" and within a week or less a penciled scrawl would warm the cockles of my heart.

I am not sure that all novices at broadcasting burst into song. Speaking for myself alone, I sang with great vivacity. It was partly to sustain my courage, partly to give vent to elation, and partly to groom my vocal powers for the maiden effort. Between these carolings I wrote. Not that I intended to read. Ah, no! Despite warnings, I planned to chatter offhand, now and then enlivening my discourse with a playful flight of fancy-"Peking! Oh, Peking! Won't you please get off the ether?" or, possibly, "Mars, dear, this is the earth;

how can I talk to these people when you keep cutting in?" And yet-better safe than sorry!

Again, I doubt if all novices at broadcasting have a distinct mental picture of the plant at Newark. In that picture two magnificent steel towers pierced the sky, with "WJZ" gayly pricked out in electric lights.

The fateful evening arrived. I ducked beneath the Hudson by tube and sped across the Jersey flats, secretly wondering all the way why my fellow-passengers took my presence so calmly. By what miracle of self-restraint did they overcome a burning impulse to nudge one another, furtively, and whisper, "Look! That's him"?

On reaching Newark and seeing no towers, I hailed a citizen, who, little guessing the pang he inflicted, directed me to a commonplace, old-fogy, orphanasylum-like brick structure, dark all but the entrance and an office beside it. There a watchman ushered me into a peculiarly unromantic corridor suggestive of hand-trucks and porters in overalls-me-think of it! Then a door opened.

I wish I might say that it opened by enchantment, for such was the impression, and enchanting indeed was the interior it revealed-creamy walls hung with paintings; antique furniture admirably chosen; grand piano; Levantine rugs; mellow lights; flowers; altogether, an effect of supreme elegance, heightened by the graceful floatings to and fro

of charming apparitions in ballroom attire.

Toward the farther end of the room stood a rose-pink apparition reading aloud into a metal cylinder thrust out from the top of a tall metal upright. Several powerful reflectors, with lights ready to be turned on when wanted, were grouped about her. A photographer waited his cue, bulb in hand. Se that is why apparitions wear ballroom attire while broadcasting. An album receives their photographs; opening it later, I found portraits of half the celebrities in North America.

I own up to a slight flutter on being so suddenly plunged into this milieu of ultra-elegance. But there was a stronger feeling the desire to learn by observation the trick, if I may so call it, of broadcasting. To my surprise, it appeared that nothing could be easier. The apparition might have been addressing a mere class in domestic science, and her subject was-domestic science.

Well, why not? In the biograph's early days any picture that moved seemed wonderful-fire-engines running. trolley cars crossing a square, even a man eating. So with radio at present. Enthusiasts delight primarily in the thrill that comes of snatching from the sky any message whatsoever with an instrument they themselves have made, or they enjoy adding nightly to the list of stations they can "pick up;" only a few have grown critical.

During the apparition's performance the rest of us felt as vaudeville artists in the wings feel toward a vaudeville artist before the footlights. She was a rose-pink nuisance delaying our own onslaught on fame.

When at last she stopped reading, the piano struck up an interlude, lackeys moved the reflectors about at the photographer's command, a picture was taken, and then WJZ's official announcer proclaimed, "This being Literary Evening, Mr. Rollin Lynde Hartt, a contributor to The Outlook, will tell of his interview with Augustus Thomas."

All the decencies combined bid me pretend that my blood ran cold, or at least to declare that the condemned man went to the transmitter with a firm tread, but the truth is, I glowed and walked on air.

Confidently I began, "Hello! This is Hartt speaking. I just wanted to ask-" As the manuscript opened with an interrogatory sentence, it afforded an easy transition if I chose to read instead of talking. Did I so choose? I did not. There was no choice whatever. In an instant half the spunk had gone out of me. In the next, half the other half went. I quailed, and thanked my lucky stars for that manuscript. It was not only because my fellow-broadcasters kept up a running fire of conversation, nor yet because there came no response whatever from America, Canada, Cuba, or Porto Rico-not a hand, not a laugh.

Bad enough, this; but what over whelmed me with horror was the spectacle I clearly beheld. Night! Illimita ble black mountains, alive with people All hating me! From a sickening alti tude I gazed down upon them. The very air breathed malice and unutterable scorn. Forty years this lasted.

Looking back over that period of my life, I am at a loss to understand how I endured it. Despised, alone, and an outcast, I read grimly on to the bitter end, but there were no playful interruptions from Peking, no opportunities to rebuke the planet Mars. When I had finished,! dragged myself home, a misery of aching disgust.

I have since faced the instigator of this revolting drama-my editor and still my friend, my friend and still my editor. But where are the rewards of so much woe? Have long-lost relatives come swarming? Have old cronies turned up? Am I buried in letters that warm the cockles of my heart or showered with adulation by a grateful halfcontinent and isles beyond the sea' Weeks have passed. The total result is nothing! Nothing at all! Less! Anybody wishing to borrow large supplies of humility will know where to come. I am a blighted and a ruined man, consoled by only one thought: That transmitter-was it working?

Moral: When invited to broadcast, do not hesitate; take deadly aim, and fire!

OY! soda!"

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Bring me a whisky 'n'

"That's the Call of the East for you." So says the newly arrived American in China or the Philippines as he lounges back in his pin-pin chair and privately pats himself on the back (the only form of exercise indulged in until one is acclimated) for having put the thing so neatly.

But a brief sojourn in the Orient convinces him that this Occidentally obsolete phrase is not, after all, the key to the situation. He has overstated the matter. Boiled down to a monosyllable, the call of the East is "Boy!"-just "Boy!" What follows is immaterial.

Occasionally the cry is emphasized by a smart clapping of the hands, but this is superfluous, and in the case of one over-Americanized Filipino was keenly resented. When the head of the family first indulged in this indoor sport, Naba Potenciana respectfully but pointedly placed a bell before her-a bell of the The United States, along with other foreign

rs, maintains troops in China under the is of the Boxer Protocol of 1901. Specifiv, our troops are there to reinforce the Legaon Guard (U. S. Marines) at Peking and to ep the railway open from Peking to the seaa Tientsin. The 15th U. S. Infantry Is the regiment which has represented this country in Tientsin since 1912.



tinny, ten-cent store variety. It brought her to her senses with a jolt, and she hastily returned to the unadorned use of the magic word that tiny syllable which, whatever the tone or accent, is the force that makes the wheels go round, from the harbor of Manila to the portals of Peking.

The sunburnt Britisher, wearily washing down a sandwich at the cricket club, drawls languidly, "Boy, pahss the mahstud!" (not an Eastern dishmerely the British rendering of the relish that goes with cold ham). As his exhausted accents meet the ear, one can picture him a few minutes earlier out on the cricket ground: "Boy, fetch the bally ball!"

The American Army officer en route to drill his company raps out briskly, "Boy! Gimme that Sam Browne, kwaikwai!" (Chinese for "Make it snappy!") Later, at the close of an arduous day in the field, he may be found in an attitude of pained reproach due to the discovery that his wrist-watch has run down. And now the plaintive cry is, "Boy, didn't I tell you wind watch every day? One day, two day, ting puhao (very no good). Must wind every day." The doughboy, merely to put the raw

recruit in his place, will probably drop into the vernacular: "Hey! Shohysa! Jobee!" (Hey! Boy! Rickshaw!) Taxing his pick of the dozen which rush to his command, this young lord of creation in khaki lolls back at ease, manifestly the monarch of all he surveys. Suddenly he spies a buddy, likewise lolling and bound for the same goal. Does he alight to run an honest race on his own "pins." as he would term them? Not at alllet Boy do it!

The only exertion he permits himsel! at this point is to lean forward, the ligh of conquest in his eye as he growls "Boy! Kwai-kwai!" Boy, ever faithful, senses the situation instantly and the race is on, both coolies flinging taunts at each other, and, although they may be panting their poor lungs out, appar ently enjoying the fracas as much as the two soldiers. Arrived at the barracks, the winner-and perhaps the loser toowill probably pay his Boy three times over-assuming, of course, that thes

events occur within three days after pa day.

And now we come to the America Army wife and the meaning to her of this call of the East. She and her hus band are but recently arrived in Ten


tsin to take their place in the 15th Infantry. They go to a hotel so that she may get her bearings before attempting to settle their new home. Within twentyfour hours she is discovered by another Army wife-an old-timer (meaning that she has been in China any part of two years). The following conversation, or rather monologue, ensues:

"Why, my dear! What are you doing in this hotel? You must have been here two days! Why don't you move into quarters? Have you a boy? No? Well, I'll see that you get one, and he'll move you right out of this expensive place and have you settled in your own home in a week's time. Trouble? Nonsense! I'll just speak to my Number One Boy."

Morning brings a tall Chinaman clad in a long coat of rich, dark silk and a small round cap. Confronted with this garb and a countenance of calm benignity-not to mention dignity-the Army wife finds herself wondering if she is receiving a call from the Bishop or some other dignitary of the Chinese Church. But no-her illusions are dispelled by the smiling statement that Number One Boy of American Major send him see Missy. What Missy like?

She outlines her requirements, which seem so modest to the Bishop that he respectfully informs her that plenty officers have four-piece boy-three house boy and one-piece boy for rickshaw. But this Missy, being fresh from a Mexican border camp where she has frequently scoured her own frying-pans in the desert sands, feels that an establishment of four is an embarrassment of riches and holds out firmly for only two-piece boy.

Wong graciously humors the Foreign Missy of the Strange Ideas, serene in his private conviction that before many moons he will have his full quota of underlings with which to run the house "ploppa fashion, all same other officers' family." He takes unto himself, therefore, the combined offices of Number One Boy and cook, with the assurance that on the morrow he can catchee Number Two Boy.

His monthly stipend is fixed at twenty Mexican dollars ($10 U. S. currency), the Army wife having received advance coaching from the old-timer anent this matter of the laborer being worthy of his hire. Theoretically, $5 Mex is for Number Two Boy, but it is better not to inquire too closely into its final disposition. This does not mean that the Bishop is dishonest-perish the thought! Missy has paid for the services of two boys and will receive these services. What is it to her if Boy Number Two works for no other compensation than his bed, "chow," and the sense of virtue and well-being said to emanate from honest toil? The apprenticeship system is a ruling principle in China, and he is borne up through its duration by the knowledge that his day as Number One is sure to come.

Missy is roused from her musings by a series of bows and smiles from the


Boy-her Boy now-who, with the destiny of her ménage resting lightly on his shoulders, is off in quest of kitchen utensils.

To make a long story short, all happens as predicted. The next day she is moved into quarters, the Boy himself transferring those articles he deems too fragile for conveyance in Army wagons. That night she dines in her own home, and within the week there are guests around her festive board.

In the days that follow she forgets that back in her home town there is a servant problem. She finds that this

[blocks in formation]

Boy, whose name is on every tongueuttered all too often in sharp, discourteous tones-is a being who is always polite, never cross, never tired, never demands an evening out. He oils the wheels of the domestic machinery so expertly that menus are planned and executed, marketing accomplished far more economically than she could do it, Number Two Boys fired as well as hired, and the family shoes shined, with scarcely a thought on the part of Missy. Practically the only time she gives to housekeeping cares is a quarter-hour each week for checking over the books in which Wong accounts for every copper spent (for your Chinaman is quick to learn writing and figuring in English and requires no school other than a brief term of service in a British or American family).

Missy begins to wonder if this state of bliss can long endure. And with this doubt the storm clouds gather. Number Two Boy's acquired air of polite reserve is cracking under the strain. He is developing a "satiable curiosity" akin to that of the Elephant's Child in Mr. Kipling's story. Missy does not mind a friendly interest in the family affairs, but there are limits to sociability even in China. While setting the table he suddenly drops the silver with a crash and runs to examine with the children the workings of some new toy. He takes to peering over her shoulder when she sits down to write. She decides that "the time has come," and braces herself for the ordeal.

But by now she herself has attained to a degree of Oriental poise which permits her to broach the subject with seeming serenity. Along with the announcement that there will be four dinner guests that night, she issues her ultimatum:

"Wong, Missy thinks more better we have new Number Two Boy. Lee do many things we do not like. Can catch other boy?"

"Yes, Missy. Can do." And this without a trace of resentment, though the object of criticism happens to be his brother. The nuisance disappears that afternoon, and Wong engineers the dinner-party in his usual adequate style, with the aid of a borrowed Boy-his "flend."

Next morning, enter Wong to announce triumphantly that brother has been replaced by "new Boy name' Mah, who have very good face." Mah is brought in for inspection. Missy agrees with Wong as to his physiognomy, and the household wheels roll on without a jar.

The American Army wife has learned the call of the East, and knows now that while she bides "somewheres east of Suez" she will never call in vain.

What wonder, though, that she and her husband and a regiment of Uncle Sam's soldiers view with dismay the current press reports that all American troops may shortly be withdrawn from China:




HE old writers of ballads and tales, if I remember rightly, used to speak with peculiar unction of October's brew of ale. It is usually true that the fiction brew of October is also vigorous and enjoyable, but this year, so far as novels of the first importance are concerned, October hardly equals its traditional fame. I have not as yet had the pleasure of reading Mr. Hugh Walpole's "The Cathedral," but even the fact that it deals with Job in modern times and in an archdeacon's costume, even as Mr. Wells once dealt with a Job of our own day, does not deter one from believing that "The Cathedral" must from its authorship be out of the ordinary and in the class of quality fiction, if I may use that phrase, rather than among the novels of mere excitement and amusement.

Although the majority of the stories of the month hardly belong in the first class, there are some so good that one is inclined to except this general assertion. Such a book undoubtedly is Miss Alice Brown's "Old Crow."1 Miss Brown's short stories were remarkable in their living pictures of New England character and life. Her novels have gone deeper, although they are not always as closely knit or as single in presentation of the main theme as one would like. As a study of New England traits and ways "Old Crow" goes beneath dialect and into the fiber of character. It is profound and intense in its presentment of the clash between what is spiritual and what is base in life, and of native purity faced with hostile heredity and environment. It has emotion but not emotionalism. It is

1 Old Crow. By Alice Brown. The Macmillan Company, New York. $2.


human tragedy flecked with the rays of cheerfulness, sympathy, and devotion.

Another story which for quite different reasons distinctly rises above the average of the month is Mr. Christopher Morley's delightful volume called "Where the Blue Begins." It is easier to read this than to describe it. We are pleasantly introduced into a dog world, where the dog people live and talk and act very much like human beings, so much so, indeed, that an intention of gentle and humorous satire runs through the whole. One hates to use the word whimsical in speaking of Mr. Morley's work, for he must be heartily tired of seeing it. It is his own fault, however, for no word begins to describe his peculiar appeal as that does.

Readers of New York newspaper "colyums" will certainly take a special pleasure in comparing Mr. Morley's new book with that of Mr. Heywood Broun. "The Boy Grew Older" is cleverly written. It has considerable realism in its reproduction of newspaper men's talk, but joined with a spirit of human kindliness and friendly feeling that saves the talk from the kind of realism that makes "Babbitt" in its essence pessimistic. Certainly there is much enjoy ment to be got from Mr. Broun's picture of the young sports editor, who marries in such haste that one at first dubs him an ignorant fool, but later finds that in his inexpressive way he is really the victim of a deep-lying passion. When his wife skips away from him to gain fame as a singer and dancer, the poor sports editor stolidly but bravely undertakes the task of bringing up his baby boy. He makes queer work of it, but again as the reader goes on he is impressed with an undercurrent of feeling and steady purpose that balances the apparent restlessness and recklessness of the young father. That the book is humorous is a matter of course. It is also odd, and its oddity holds the attention closely.

Mr. Marshall's "Pippin" is quite different from his previous stories. Years ago he made a most agreeable impression with his novels of English country life. They were always compared with Trollope's novels solely because both "featured" the parson, the squire, and the gentry generally, with villagers and farmers respectfully in the background. Mr. Marshall did this sort of thing capitally, and thereby gave gentle and humorous enjoyment to tens of thousands. Then came the war; the old order of things had a severe jolt; perhaps it was for this reason that the author abandoned his former field;

2 Where the Blue Begins. By Christopher Morley. Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City. $1.50.

The Boy Grew Older. By Heywood Broun. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. $1.75.

Pippin. By Archibald Marshall. Dodd, Mead & Co., New York. $2.

but for a time he seemed to stray rather listlessly in unfamiliar fields, and his more recent books have not satisfied. But in "Pippin" he strikes an entirely new vein; and a delightful one it is for those who care for delicacy of writing and the quiet depiction of human nature. Pippin, a little restless in his too comfortable home life, obtains his parents' consent for a wander-year in which he shall see the world. Mainly he rambles on foot through the English countryside, talks and works with a "gentleman tramp" who also is a selfish rogue, with a wise peddler who loves children, with people simple, amusing, or singular. His longest stay is with a circus troupe. Finally he comes home, contented, and meets at his approach the girl who had been the last to say good-by. All this would be nothing if it were not for the really exquisite way in which it is written. In its own genre "Pippin" is a little masterpiece.

Those who wait impatiently for each new Joseph Lincoln book to come out will not be disappointed in "Fair Harbor." It has one of the fine old captains that the author loves to drawshrewd, clever, humorous in the Cape Cod manner; and the curious situation in which the captain finds himself as skipper of a women's home gives ample chance for incident and fun.

The "Three Fires," by Amelia J. Burr, is a thrilling and stirring romance of Ceylon. It is founded, so far as atmosphere and racial depiction go, on the author's own study and observation. The "three fires" are avarice, ambition, and love. How these affect the life of a sweetnatured and devoted young Hindu girl

[merged small][graphic]

Photo by Mary Dale Clark HEYWOOD BROUN

« AnteriorContinuar »