(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Studying the short-story; sixteen short-story classics, with introductions, notes and a new laboratory study method for individual reading and use in colleges and schools"

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at |http : //books . google . com/ 



Lit 0''^(><^ • i^'^S^ 




HARVARD 
COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




Studying the Short-Story 



SIXTEEN 5HORT-STORY CLASSICS 
WITH INTRODUCTIONS, NOTES AND 
A NEW LABORATORY STUDY METHOD 
FOR INDIVIDUAL READING AND 
USE IN COLLEGES AND SCHOOU 



BY 
J. BERG ESENWEIN^ A.M., Lit.D. 

IDITOR~bF THE WRITER'S MONTHLY 
REVISED EDITION. 

THE WRITER'S LIBRARY 

EDHED BY J. BERG ESENWEIN 



THE HOME CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL 
Springfield, Mass, 

. iV PtJBLI^ERS >^'" • 



Li i j;i^^06. /ji.s* 



HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY 

BEQUEST OF 

WINWARO PRE8C0TT 

JANUARY 27, 1933 



Copyright I912 
By J. Be&g Esenwein 
Copyright 1918 
By J. Berg Esenwein 



[ 









TO 
MOTHER 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS vii 

PUBLISHERS' NOTE xi 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF THE 
SHORT-STORY xiii 

L STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 

MiuMiE AND His Writings 4 

" Mateo Falcone," Prosper Mirimee 8 

Stevenson and His Writings 29 

" A Lodging for the Night," Robert Louis Stevenson . 34 

Suggestive Questions for Study 67 

Ten Representative Stories of Action and Adventure 68 

IL STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 

PoE AND His Writings t^ . . -72 

"The Purloined Letter," £(/gari4//an P(?tf .... 76 
Jacobs and His Writings 108 

"The Monke>''s Paw," IV, W. Jacobs in 

Suggestive Questions for Study 129 

Ten Representative Stories of Mystery and Fantasy. 130 

IIL STORIES OF EMOTION 

Daudet and His Writings 135 

"The Last Class," Aiphonse Daudet 139 

Kifung and His Writings 147 

v- " Without Benefit of Clergy," Rudyard Kipling . . 151 

Suggestive Questions for Study 189 

Ten Representative Stories of Emotion or Sentiment 190 

IV. HUMOROUS STORIES 

Henry and His Writings 194 

"The Ransom of Red Chief," 0. Henry .... 198 



TABL£ OF CONTENTS 

PAGB 

Babsie and His Writings. 215 

" The Courting of T'Nowhead's Bell," James M. Barrie 219 

Suggestive Questions for Study 249 

Ten Representative Humorous Stories 250 

V. STORIES OF SETTING 

Harte and His Writings 255 

"The Outcasts of Poker Flat," Bret Harte ... 259 

Maupassant and His Writings 277 

" Moonlight," Guy de Maupassant 281 

Suggestive Questions for Study 290 

Ten Representative Stories of Setting 290 

VI. IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 

Hawthorne and His Writings 297 

"The White Old Maid," Nathaniel Hawthorne . . 302 
" The Fall of the House of Usher," Edgar Allan Poe . 320 

Suggestive Questions for Study 351 

Ten Representative Impressionistic Stories .... 352 

VII. CHARACTER STUDIES 

"The Piece of String," Guy de Maupassant . . . ss^ 
CoppfE AND His Writings 368 

"The Substitute," Frangois Coppie 371 

Suggestive Questions for Study 388 

Ten Representative Character Studies 389 

VIII. PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES' 

"Markheim," Robert Louis Stevenson 394 

Morrison and His Writings . 422 

"On the Stairs," Arthur Morrison 425 

Suggestive Questions for Study 431 

Ten Representative Psychological Studies . . .432 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 433 

INDEX 437 



TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS 

Growing out of my former volume, Writing the Short- 
Story, appeared the use for a new book that should con* 
tain a large number of short-stories arranged and anno« 
tated in form suitable for school or private study. Ac- 
cordingly, the unique marginal arrangement for notes, 
which was first used in the study of Maupassant's '' The 
Necklace/' in the earlier work, was also adopted in this, 
with the addition of exhaustive critical introductions and 
comments. Further study, whether by classes or by in- 
dividuals, has been facilitated by the reading references 
upon the authors represented, and — arranged under 
each of the eight type-groups — the explicit lists of ten 
representative short-stories available for reading and 
analysis. 

Five points were had in mind as a basis for the selec- 
tion of the stories included in this collection : First, the 
real merit of the story, as illustrating the short-story 
structurally perfect, or as nearly perfect as could be 
found in combination with the other points desired; 
second, the typical qualities of the story, as standing for 
the class it was to represent ; third, its intrinsic literary 
interest for the general reader ; fourth, its representative 
quality as illustrating the author's tone and style ; fifth, 
its suitability for class and private study and analysis. 

vii 



Vlll TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS 

Other stories are equally brilliant and equally repre- 
sentative, but some are too long to fit into such a selec- 
tion ; others are not available because of publishers' rules ; 
still others are morally unsuitable for the uses of mixed 
classes of young people ; while many capital stories are 
the work of authors who have not produced consistently 
good work. 

The tone of many of the stories included is sad, and 
their endings tragic ; this is accidental and has not at all 
governed the selection from my belief that stories of 
tragic quality are necessarily the greatest; though the 
tragic phases of life, being the most intense, are the most 
likely to offer attractive themes to authors who prefer to 
deal with strong and subtle situations. The same is true 
of stories dealing with sex problems, but these have been 
excluded for obvious reasons. Livelier and more cheer- 
ful stories either were not as representative of the types 
I desired to exhibit, or were rejected from other motives. 
Those who study these selections with a view to writing 
the short-story will do well to bear in mind that fiction 
of gloomy tone must be very well written and on themes 
of unusual power to atone for their depressing qualities. 

For the use of teachers and their pupils, a series of 
general questions has been prepared (p. xxxi), besides 
questions at the end of each section. Of course these 
will be regarded as suggestive rather than exhaustive. 

The margins left blank in the stories marked " For 
Analysis " may be used for pencil notes, at the option of 
the teacher. For further study, strips of writing paper 
may be attached to the margins of stories cut from the 



TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS OC 

magazines and full notes added by the pupU. Writing 
the Short-Story will be found an especially practical ad- 
junct in making the marginal analyses and notes, as that 
work gives much space to the general structure of the 
short-story and an analysis of its parts. The nomencla- 
ture of Writing the Short-Story has been observed in 
this volume, as well as the typographical arrangement, 
where practicable — especially the practise of indicating 
short-stories by quotation marks, while printing book- 
titles in italics. 

I venture to hope that the present work may prove 
helpful in disclosing to lovers of the short-story, as well 
as to those who wish merely to study its technique, the 
means by which authors of international distinction have 
secured their effects. 

J. Berg Esenwein. 

Philadelphia, June 8, 1912. 

note to revised EDITION 

The only changes made in the original text are such 
typographical corrections as were needed and a consider- 
able addition to the bibliography. 

J. B. E. 

Springfield, Mass., May 1, 1918. 



PUBLISHERS' NOTE 

The wide usefulness of Writing the Short^iory, by 
the author of this volume, as evidenced by its adoption 
for class use in the foremost American universities, col- 
leges, and schools, and by the many thousands of well- 
known writers and younger aspirants who have found 
it so helpful m their craft, has encouraged the author to 
undertake the present work. Mere collections of short- 
stories are not lacking, but no other volume presents an 
authoritative international selection, with comprehensive 
classifications under leading short-story types, critical 
and biographical introductions, illuminating marginal 
notes, and opportunities for original study afforded by 
margins for the student's notes, together with questions 
and lists of stories for examination and study. Whether 
used singly or as a companion volume with Writing the 
Short-Story, it is confidently believed that the present 
work will prove a notable contribution to the literature 
of this most popular and significant literary form. 

The Publishers. 



ad 



AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY 
OF THE SHORT-STORY 

Fiction as an art has made more progress during the 
last hundred years than any other literary type. The 
first half of the nineteenth century especially developed 
a consciousness of subject matter and form in both the 
novel and the short-story which has created an epoch as 
notable in the history of fiction as was the age of Shake- 
speare in the progress of the drama. In Great Britain, 
France, Russia, Germany, and America arose fictional 
artists of distinguished ability, while in other nations 
writers of scarcely less merit soon followed. 

The novel demands a special study, so even for its 
relation to our theme — the short-story — the reader 
must be referred to such works as specialize on the 
longer form.^ 

A comprehensive treatment of the short-story would 
include an inquiry into the origins of all short fictional 
forms, for every story that is short is popularly known 

^Excellent and comprehensive works, dealing more especially with the 
English novel, are: The English Novel, Sidsey Lanier (Sctibners, 1883, 
1897) ; The Development of the English Novel, Wilbur L. Cross (Macmillan, 
1899) : The Evolution of the English Novel, Francis Hovey Stoddard (Mac- 
mUlan, 1900); A Study of Prose Ftction, Bliss Perry (Houghton-Mifflin, 
1902); The Study of A Novel, Selden L. Whitcomb (Hcalh, 1905); The 
Technique of the Novel, Charles F. Home (Harpers, 1908); Materials and 
Methods of Fiction, Clayton Hamilton (Baker-Taylor, 1908). 

xiii 




XIV INTRODUCTION 

as a short story. The fullest and best guide for such a 
study is Henry Seidel Canby's historical and critical 
treatise, The Short Story in English. 

Naturally, an inquiry into origins would prove to be 
measurably profitless and certainly dry for the general 
student were it not supplemented by the reading of a 
great many stories — preferably in the original — which 
illustrate the steps in short-story development from 
earliest times.^ 

A "further field for a comprehensive survey would 
be a critical comparison of the modem form with its 
several ancestral and contributory forms, from original 
sources. 

A third examen would be devoted to the characteristics 
and tendencies of the present-day short-story as pre- 
sented in volume form and, particularly, in the modem 
magazine. 

A fourth, would undertake to study the rhetoric of the 
form.* 

None of these sorts of study can be exhaustively pre- 
sented in this volume, yet all are touched upon so sug- 
gestively and with such full references that the reader 
may himself pursue the themes with what fullness he 
elects. The special field herein covered will be, I believe, 
sufficiently apparent as the reader proceeds. 

* Good collections arranged historically are. The Booh of the Short Story, 
Alexander Jessup and Henry Seidel Canby; and The Short-story, Br&ndtr 
Matthews. The former contains lists of stories short and long grouped 
by periods. 

> A full study of this character has been attempted in the present author's 
Writing The Short-Story, Hinds, Hay den and Eldr^^'or New York, 1909. 



INTSODUCTION XV 

Let it be understood from the outstart that throughout 
this volume the term short-story is used rather loosely 
to cover a wide variety of short fiction ; yet presently it 
will be necessary to show precisely how the modem form 
differs from its fictive ancestors, and that distinction will 
asstime some importance to those who care about reo^- 
nizing the several short fictional forms and who enjoy 
calling things by their exact names. 

4 

The first story-teller was that primitive man who in 
his wanderings afield met some strange adventure and 
returned to his fellows to narrate it. His narration was 
a true story. The first fictionist — perhaps it was the 
same hairy savage — was he who, having chosen to tell 
his adventure, also resolved to add to it some details 
wrought of his own fancy. That was fiction, because 
while the story was compounded of truth it was worked 
out by the aid of imagination, and so was close kin to 
the story bom entirely of fancy which merely uses true- 
seeming things, or veritable contributory facts, to make 
the story " real." 

Egyptian tales, recorded on papyrus sheets, date back 
six thousand years. Adventure was their theme, while 
gods and heroes, beasts and wonders, furnished their in- 
cidents. When love was introduced, obscenities often 
followed, so that the ancient tales of pure adventure are 
best suited to present-day reading. . -^ 

What is true of Egypt 4000 B. C. is equally true 
of Greece many centuries later. The Homeric stories 



XVI INTRODUCTION 

will serve as specimens of adventure narrative ; and the 
Milesian tales furnish the erotic type. 

As for the literary art of these early fictions, we need 
only refer to ancient poetry to see how perfect was its 
development two thousand and more years ago; there- 
fore — for the poets were story-tellers — we need not 
marvel at the majestic diction, poetic ideas, and dra- 
matic simplicity of such short-stories as the Egyptian 
" Tales of the Magicians," ^ fully six thousand years old ; 
the Homeric legends, told possiblytwenty^ive^l^ 
years ago ; * " The Book of Esther," * written more than 
twenty-one hundred years ago ; and the stories by Lucius 
Apuleius, in The Golden Ass,^ quite two thousand years 
old. 

In form these ancient stories were of three types : 
the^an^cdote (often expanded beyond the normal limits 
of anecdote) ; the scenario, or outline of what might well 
have been told ar^ Idilger story ; and the tale, or straight- 
forward chain of incidents with no realcomplicating plot. 

Story-telling maintained much the same pace until the 
early middle ages, when the sway of religious ideas was 
felt in every department of life. Superstition had al- 
ways vested the forces of nature with more than natural 
attributes, so that the wonder tale was normally the com- 
panion of the war or adventure story. But now the 
power of the Christian religion was laying hold upon all 
minds, and the French conte devot, or miracle story, re- 

^ Egyptian Tales, W. M. Flinders Petric. 

* Stories from Homer, Church. 

*The Bible as English Literature, J. H. Gardiner. 

*A History of Latin Literature, George A. Simcox. 



INTRODUCTION XVII 

cited the wonderful doings of the saints in human behalf, 
or told how some pious mystic had encountered heavenly 
forces, triumphed over demons and monsters of evil, and 
performed prodigies of piety. 

These tales were loosely hung together, and exhibited 
none of the compression and sense of orderly climax 
characteristic of the short-story to-day. In style the 
early medieval stories fell far below classic models, natu- 
rally enough, for language was feeling the corrupting 
influences of that inrush of barbarian peoples which at 
length brought Rome to the dust, while culture was con- 
served only in out-of-the-way places. In form these 
narratives were chiefly the tale, the anecdote, and the 
episodg,JbyjKhich^Ijnea^ fragmentary part of a longer 
tale jirith which it had little or no organic connection. 

The conte divot in England was even more crude, for 
Old English was less polished than the speech of France 
and its people more heroic than literary. 

When we come to the middle of the fourteenth cen- 
tuqp-^^e find in two great writers a marked advancement : 
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron 
— the former superior to the latter in stofy-telling art •^— 
opened up rich minps of legen^ Advent ure^Jhumor, and 
hum an in terest. All subsequent narrators modeled their 
tales after these patterns. Chaucer's " The Pardoner's 
Tale " has many points in common with the modem ^ 
short-story, and so has Boccaccio's novella, " Rinaldo," 
but these approaches to what we now recognize as the 
short-story type were not so much by conscious intention 
as by a groping after an ideal which was only dimly 



XVlll INTRODUCTION 

existent in their minds — so dimly, indeed, that even 
when once attained it seems not to have been pursued. 
For the most part the fabliaux^ of Chaucer and the 
novelle ^ of Boccaccio were rambling, loosely knit, anec- 
dotal, lacking in the firmly fleshed contours of the 
modern short-story. Even the Gesta Romanorum, or 
Deeds of the Romans — i8i short legends and stories 
first printed about 1473 — show the same ear marks. 

About the middle of the sixteenth century appeared 
The Arabian Nights, that magic carpet which has carried 
us all to the regions of breathless delight. The story 
of "Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves," for one, is as 
near an approach to our present-day short-story as was 
Irving's "Rip Van Winkle," and quite unsurpassed in 
all the literature of wonder-tales. 

Thus for two thousand years — yes, for six thousand 
years — the essentials of short story narration were un- 
changed. What progress had been made was toward 
truth-seeming, clearer characterization, and a finer hu- 
man interest, yet so surpassing in these, very respects are 
some of the ancient stories that they remain models to- 
day. Chiefly, then, the short fiction of the eighteenth 
century showed progress over that of earlier centuries 
in that it was much more consistently produced by a 

^ The fabliau, a French form adopted by the English, is an amusing story 
told in verse, generally of eight- syllable line. Another poetic form of the 
period is the /at, a short metrical romance. 

* The Italian novella was popular in England down to the late Elizabethan 
period. It is a diverting little story of human interest but told vrith no 
moral purpose, even when it is reflective. In purpose it is the direct oppo* 
site of the exemplum, which is a moral tale told to teach a lesson, and may 
be compared to the " illustration ** which the exhorter repeats in the pulpit 
to-day. 



INTRODUCTION XIX 

much greater number of writers — so far as our records 
show. 

Separately interesting studies of the eighteenth-cen« 
.tury essay-stories of Addison, Steele, Johnson and others 
in the English periodicals, the Spectator, Tatler, Ratn* 
hler. Idler, and Guardian might well be made, for these 
forms lead us directly to Hawthorne and Irving in 
America. Of almost equal value would be a study of 
Defoe's ghost stories (1727) and Voltaire's development 
of the protean French detective-story, in his "Zadig/' 
twenty years later. 

With the opemijgjitjhe nineteenth century the marks 
of progress are more decided. The first thirty years 
brought out a score of the most brilliant story-tellers 
imaginable, who differ from Poe and his followers only 
in this particular — they were still perfecting the tale, 
the sketch, the expanded anecdote, the episode, and the 
scenario, for they had neither for themselves nor for 
their literary posterity set up a new standard, as Poe 
was to do so very soon. 

Of this fecund era were bom the German weird 
tales of Ernst Amadeus Hoffmann and J. L. Tieck ; the 
\Mi>r(^^JIjdeji of Maria Edgeworth, and the fictional 
episodes of Sir Walter Scott in Scotland ; the anecdotal 
tales and the novelettes of Prosper Merimee and Charles 
Nodier in France; the tales of Pushkin, the father of 
Russian literature ; and the tale-short-stories of Washing- 
ton^ Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne in America. Here 
too lies a fascinating field of study, over which to trace 
the approach towards that final form, so to call it, which 



XX INTRODUCTION 

was both demonstrated and expounded by Poe. It must 
suffice here to observe that Irving preferred- the easy- 
flowing essay-sketch, and the delightful, leisurely tale 
(with certain well-marked tendencies toward a compact 
plot), rather than the closely organized plot which we 
now-a-days recognize as the special possession of the 
short-story. 

In France, from 1830 to 1832, Honore de Balzac pro- 
duced a series of notable short-stories which, while mar- 
vels of narration, tend to be condensed novels in plot, 
novelettes in length, or expanded anecdotes. However, 
together with the stories of Prosper Merimee, they fur- 
nish evidence for a tolerably strong claim that the mod- 
em short-story was developed as a fixed form in France 
before it was discovered in America — a claim, however, 
which lacks the elements of entire solidity, as a more 
critical study would show. 

From 1830 on, it would require a catalogue to name, 
and volumes to discuss, the array of European and 
American writers who have produced fictional narratives 
which have more or less closely approached the short- 
story form. Until 1835, when Edgar Allan Poe wrote 
" Berenice " and " The Assignation," the approaches to 
the present form were sporadic and unsustained and even 
unconscious, so far as we may argue from the absence 
of any critical standard. After that year both Poe and 
others seemed to strive more definitely for the close 
plot, the repression of detail, the measurable unity of 
action, and the singleness of effect which Poe clearly 
defined and expounded in 1842. 



INTRODUCTION XXI 

Since Poe's notable pronouncement, the place of the 
short-story as a distinctive literary form has been at- 
tested by the rise and growth of a body of criticism, in 
the form of newspaper and magazine articles, volumes 
given broadly to the consideration of fiction, and books 
devoted entirely to the short-story. Many of these con- 
tributions to the literature of criticism are particularly 
important because their authors were the first to an- 
nounce conclusions regarding the form which have since 
been accepted as standard; others have traced with a 
nice sense of comparison the origin and development of 
those earlier forms of story-telling which marked the 
more or less definite stages of progress toward the short- 
story type as at present recognized ; while still others are 
valuable as characterizing effectively the stories of well- 
known writers and comparing the progress which each 
showed as the short-story moved on toward its present 
high place. 

Some detailed mention of these writings, among other 
critical and historical productions, may be of value 
here, without at all attempting a bibliography, but merely 
naming chronologically the work of those critics who 
have developed one or more phases of the subject with 
particular effectiveness.* 

Interesting and informing as all such historical and 
comparative research work certainly is, it must prove 

^For a fuller examination of the bibliography of the subject refer to the 
bibliographical notes in the books by Matthews, Baldwin, Perry, Jessup and 
Canby, Canby, Dye, C. A. Smith, and the editor of this volume — all re- 
ferred to in detail elsewhere herein. A supplementary bibliographical note 
will also be found on p. 433. 



XXU INTRODUCTION 

ho be of greater value to the student than to the fictioa 
writer. True, the latter may profit by a profound knowl- 
edge of critical distinctions, but he is more likely, for a 
time at least, to find his freedom embarrassed by attempt- 
ing to adhere too closely to form, whereas in fiction a 
chief virtue is that spontaneity which expresses itself. 

But there would seem to be some safe middle-ground 
between a flouting of all canons of art, arising from an 
utter ignorance and contempt of the history of any 
artistic form, and a timid and tied-up unwillingness tO' 
do anything in fiction without first inquiring, "Am I 
obeying the laws as set forth by the critics?" The 
short-story writer should be no less unhampered because 
he has learned the origin and traced the growth of the 
ancient fiction-forms and learned to say of his own work, 
or that of others, " Here is a fictional sketch, here a tale, 
and here a short-story " — if, indeed, he does not recog- 
nize in it a delightful hybrid. 

By far the most important contribution to the subject 
of short-story criticism was made by Edgar Allan Poe, 
when in May, 1842, he published in Graham's Magazine 
a review of Hawthorne's Tales, in which he announced 
his theory of the short-story — a theory which is re- 
garded to-day as the soundest of any yet laid down. 

In 1876, Friedrich Spielhagen pointed out in his 
Novelle oder Roman the essential distinction between the 
novel and the short-story.^ 

> For this important record of the discriminations of a critic little known- 
in America, we are indebted to Professor C. Alphonso Smithes work on The- 
American Short Story, 



INTRODUCTION XXUl 

In 1884, Professor Brander Matthews published in the 
Saturday Review, London, and in 1885 published in 
Lippincott's Magasine, " The Philosophy of the Short- 
story/' in which, independently of Spielhagen, he an- 
nounced the essential distinction between the novel and 
the short-story, and pointed out its peculiarly individual 
characteristics. In a later book-edition, he added greatly 
to the original essay by a series of quotations from other 
critics and essayists, and many original comparisons be- 
tween the writings of master short-story tellers. 

In March 11, 1892, T. W. Higginson contributed to 
The Independent an article on " The Local Short-Story," 
which was the first known discussion of that important 
type. 

In 1895, Sherwin Cody published anonymously in Lon- 
don the first technical treatise on the rhetoric of the 
short-story, " The Art of Story Writing." 

In 1896, Professor E. H, Lewis instituted in Chicago 
University the first course of instruction in the art of 
story-writing. 

In 1898, Charles Raymond Barrett published the first 
large work on Short Story Writing, with a complete 
analysis of Hawthorne's "The Ambitious Guest," and 
many important suggestions for writers. 

In the same year Charity Dye first applied pedagogical 
principles to the study of the short story, in The Story- 
Teller's Art. 

In 1902, Professor Lewis W. Smith published a bro- 
chure. The Writing of the Short Story, in which psycho- 



XXIV INTRODUCTION 

logical principles were for the first time applied to the 
study and the writing of the short-story. 

In 1902, Professor H. S. Canby issued The Short Story, 
in which the theory of impressionism was for the first 
time developed. In 1903, this essay was included in The 
Book of the Short Story, Alexander Jessup collaborating, 
together with specimens of stories from the earliest times 
and lists of tales and short-stories arranged by periods. 

In 1904, Professor Charles S. Baldwin developed a 
criticism of American Short Stories which has been 
largely followed by later writers. 

In 1909, Professor H. S. Canby produced The Short 
Story in English, the first voluminous historical and crit- 
ical study of the origins, forms, and content of the short- 
story. 

I have dwelt upon the history of the short-story thus 
in outline because we often meet the inquiry — sometimes 
put ignorantly, sometimes skeptically — What is a short- 
story?^. Is. it^ any thing^n^ than ajtpry that is shor t ? 

The passion for naming and classifying all classes of 
literature may easily run to extreme, and yet there are 
some very great values to be secured by both the reader 
and the writer in arriving at some understanding of what 
literary terms mean. To establish distinctions among 
short fictive forms is by no means to assert that t)rpes 
which differ from the technical short-story are therefore 
of a lower order of merit. Many specimens of cognate 
forms possess an interest which surpasses that of short- 
stories typically perfect. 



INTRODUCTION XXV 

Ever since Poc differentiated the short-story from the 
mere short narrative we have come to a, clearer appre- 
hension of what this form really means. I suppose that 
no one would insist upon the standards of the short-story 
as being the criterion of merit for short fiction — cer- 
tainly I should commit no such folly in attempting to 
establish an understanding, not to say a definition, of 
the form. More than that: some short-stories which 
in one or more points come short of technical perfection 
doubtless possess a human interest and a charm quite 
lacking in others which are technically perfect — just as 
may be the case with pictures. 

Some things, however, the little fiction must contain 
to come technically within the class of perfect short- 
stories. It must be centralized about .one predominating \ 
incident — which may be supported by various minor in- 
cidents. This incident must intimately concern one cen- 
tral character — and other supporfing characters, it may 
be. The story'Hmust move with a certain degree of 
directness — that is, there must be a thorougtu«3fclusioii 
cT^ch detail as is needless. This central situation or 



episode or inci(3eftt constitutes, in its working out, the 
plot; for the plot must not only have a crisis. growing 
out of a tie-up or crossroads or complication, but j:he 
very^essence of theT>1ot will coHsist in the resolution or 
untying or denouement of the complication. 

Nafiiraily, the word plot will suggest to many a high 
d^^ee of complexity ; but this is by no means necessary 
in order to establish the claims of a fictitious narrative 
to being a short-story. Indeed, some of the best short- 



XXVI INTRODUCTION 

Stories are based upon a very slender ccmiplication ; in 
other words, their plots are not complex. 

Elsewhere* I have defined the short-story, and this 
statement may serve to crystallize the foregoing. "A 
short-story is a brief, imaginative narrative, unfolding a 
single predominating incident and a single chief charac- 
ter; it contains a plot, the details of which are so com- 
pressed, and the whole treatment so organized, as to 
produce a single impression." 

But some of these points need to be amplified. 

A short-story is brief not merely from the fact that it 
contains comparatively few words, but in that it Js_so 
compressed as to omit.non-essential elements. It must 
be the narration of a single incidentTsiipporfed, it may 
be, by other incidents, but none of these minor incidents 
must rival the central incident in the interest of the 
reader. A single character must bejreeminent, but a 
pair of characters coor3inate~Tn importance may enjoy 
this single preeminence in the story, yet tio minor char- 
acters must come to overshadow the central figure. The 
story will be imaginative, not in the sense that it must 
be imaginary,^ that the facts in the story may not be 
real facts, but they must be handled and organized in an 
imaginative way, else it would be plain fact,aildncrt fic- 
tion. The story must contain a plot; that is to say, it 
must exhibit a chars^cter or several chargj;:ter&_in_ crisis — 
for in plot the important word is cxiais -T:^andihe. denoue- 
ment is the resolution of this crisis. Finally, the whole 
must be so organized as to leave a unified impression 

^tVriting the Short-Story, p. 30. 



INTR(M>UCTION 



XXVll 



- jt^ntssT <60tie«ntsale-^n}d 



upon tfi$ 

noTdifftfaca ttention ant^tint&rest 

Cil of the same qualities that inhere in the short-story 
may also be found in the novelette, except that the n^y^l- 
etteJadcg^the^cgii^ic^sj^Lrjua^ the 

short-story and is therefore really a short novel. Both 
the novel and the novelette admit of sub-plots, a large 
number of minor incidents, aiid' even of digrgi^ions,^ 
whereas these'are denied to tlie short-story, which throws 
a white light on a single crucial instance of life, some 
character in its hour of crisis, some soul at the cross- 
roads of destiny. 

There is a tendency nowadays to give a mere outline 
of a story — so to condense it, so to make it swift, that 
the narration amounts to merely an outline without the 
flesh and blood of the true short-story. In other words, 
there is a tendency to call a scenario of a much longer 
story — for instance the outline of a novelette — a short- 
story. This extreme is as remote from the well-rounded 
short-story form as the leisurely novelette, padded out 
with infinite attention to detail. 

The tale differs from the short-story in that it is 
merely asuaMssionoF~tadaenS^^ 
of ^finTajTotfteivfOT^j^^ be given by 

the close of a man's life, the ending of a journey, or the 
closing of the day. The tale is a chain ; the short-story 
is a tree. The links of thSrcEaurmaybe'cirtend^ in- 
definite^ but there comes a time when the tree can grow 
no longer and still remain a perfect tree. The tale is 
practically without organization^ and without ploF — there 



XXVlll INTRODUCTION 

is little crisis, and the result of the crisis, if any there be, 
would be of no vital importance to the characters, for 
no special change in their relations to each other grows 
out of the crisis in the tale. 

A sketch is aHghter, shorter, and more sim ple form of 
fictio n tha n the short^toiy. Tt exhibits character in a 
cerfam staSohaf^Tsituation, but has no plot^jior^ges it 
disclose an3rthing like a crisis from .which a fesohitton or 
deriouemeritlis^demanded. It might almost be called a 
pi^fe in^stijl life were it not that the characters are 
fikely to live and to move. 

In these introductory pages I have emphasized and 
reemphasized these distinctions in various ways, because 
to me they seem to be important. But after all they are 
merely historical and technical. A man may be a charm- 
ing fellow and altogether admirable even if his com- 
plexion quarrels with his hair and his hands do not match 
his feet in relative size. 

The present tendency of the British and American 
short-story is a matter of moment because no other lit- 
erary form commands the interest of so many writers 
and readers. All literature is feeling the hand of com- 
merce, but the short-story is chiefly threatened. The 
magazine is its forum, and the magazine must make 
money or suspend. Hence the chief inquiry of the editor 
IS, What stories will make my magazine sell? And this 
is his attitude because his publisher will no longer pay 
a salary to an editor whose magazine must be endowed, 
having no visible means of support. 



INTRODUCTION XXVt 

These conditions force new standards to be set up. 
The story must have h'terary merit, it must^be true to 
life, it must deal sincerely with great principles — up to 
the limit of popularity. Beyond that it must not be 
literary, truthful, or sincere. Popularity first, then the 
rest — if possible. 

All this is a serious indictment of the average maga- 
zine, but it is true. Only a few magazines regard their 
fiction as literature and not as merely so much merchan- 
dise, to be cut to suit the length of pages, furnish situa- 
tions for pictures, and create subscriptions by readers. 
Yet somehow this very commercialized standard is work- 
ing much good in spite of itself. It is demanding the 
best workmanship, and is paying bright men and women 
to abandon other pursuits in order to master a good 
story-telling method. It is directing the attention of our 
ablest literators to a teeming life all about them when 
otherwise they might lose themselves in abstractions " up 
in the air." It is, for business reasons, insisting upon 
that very compression to which Maupassant attained in 
the pursuit of art. It is building up a standard of pre- 
cise English which has already advanced, beyond the best 
work of seventy years ago — though it has lost much of 
its elegance and dignity. 

In a word, the commercialized short-story is a mirror 
of the times — it compasses movement, often at the ex- 
pense of fineness, crowds incidents so rapidly that the 
skeleton has no space in which to wear its flesh, and 
prints stories mediocre and worse because better ones 
will not be received with sufficient applause. 



XXX INTRODUCTION 

But while the journalized short-story adopts the hasty 
standards of the newspaper because the public is too busy 
to be critical, in some other respects it mirrors the times 
more happily. The lessons of seriousness it utters with 
the lips of fun. Its favorite implement is a rake, but it 
does uncover evils that ought not to remain hidden. 
Finally, it concerns itself with human things, and tosses 
speculations aside ; it carefully records our myriad- form 
local life as the novel cannot; and it has wonderfully 
developed in all classes the sense of what is a good story, 
and that is a question more fundamental to all literature 
than some critics might admit. 

Here then is a new-old form abundantly worth study, 
for its understanding, its appreciation, and its practise. 
If there is on one side a danger that form may become 
too prominent and spirit too little, there are balancing 
forces to hold things to a level. The problems, projects 
and sports of the day are, after all, the life of the day, 
and as such they furnish rightful themes. Really, signs 
are not wanting that point to the truth of this optimistic 
assertion: The mass of the people will eventually do 
the right, and they will at length bring out of the com- 
mercialized short-story a vital literary form too human 
to be dull and too artistic to be bad. 



INTRODUCTION XXXI 



SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS AND EXERCihxLCj FOR 

CLASS OR INDIVIDUAL STUDY OF A 

SHORT-STORY 

1. Estimating from an average page, how many words has 
this story? 

2. What type of story is it chiefly ? 

3. Does it subordinately illustrate any other types also? If 
so, which? 

^ Is the title adequate? 

>What is its theme? 

/rite out a brief scenario of the plot 
^^-JL Are the incidents arranged in effective order? 
dSS How many characters (a) speak, (b) are present but do 

peak, (c) are referred to but are not present? 

)Are the characters idealized, or are they quite true to hfe? 

?Are the characters individualized? Point out how the, 

3r accomplishes this result 

;What is the author's attitude toward his characters? 

\ What is the proportion of dialogue to description and com- 
mwit? 

13. What do you think of th^ dialogue? 

14. Do you regard this story as being realistic, romantic, ideal- 
isjig, or composite? 

CyPls the author's purpose apparent? If so, what is it? 

16. Are there any weak points in the plot? 

17. Is the introduction interesting and clear? 

18. Does .the story end satisfactorily ? 

19. Is the conclusion either too long or too short? 

20. Would any parts of the story be improved either by short- 
ening or by expanding? Be specific. 

(SVJPoes the story arouse in you any particular ' feeling, or 
mood? 

22. What are the especially strong points of the story? 

23. Write a general appreciation; using about two hundred 
wo|4s. 

i^|l)What is the final impression the story makes upon you? 




XXXll INTRODUCTION 

NOTE 

Nine distinct methods for the study of a novel are outlined in 
the appendix to The Study of a Novel, by Selden L. Whitcomb. 
Some of these may be applied to the short-story. Some excellent 
study methods and questions are given in The Writing of the 
Short Story, by Lewis Worthington Smith. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND 
ADVENTURE 

Mateo Falcone. — Prosper MiRiMEE. 
A Lodging for the Night. — Robert Louis Stevenson. 



But the great majority of novels and plays represent human 
life in nothing more faithfully than in their insistence upon 
deeds, ^ t is_ through actio n — tangible, visible action upon the 
stage, or, in the novel, action suggested by the medium of words 
— th^^t_{he-xha.racters of the jjay a.nd>4he jovel are ordinarily 
revealed. In proportion as high art is attained in either medium 
of expression this action is marked* by adequacy of motive, by 
conformity to the character, by progression and unity. — Buss 
Perry, A Study of Prose FicHon. 



Studying The Short-Story 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 

Few words are needed to set forth the meaning of this 
caption, for the designation is sufficiently explicit. One 
point, however, it will be well to emphasize: In fiction 
all action worthy of the name is the outward manifesta- 
tion of an inward condition. There is a sense, therefore, 
in which all stories that are not mere pictures of internal 
states are stories of action; just as it may be said that 
all stories are stories of thought, feeling, and resolve. 
The point of distinction lies here: in which direction 
does the story tend? 

In on e class, outward actinti U Ret^ n fn wnrlr pmfrk^iprfly 

upon the inward life^ and the story shows us the work- 
ings of this influence in its final effect upon the inward 
man and his character. In another, an inw ard s^^'^t^ i«? 
the hasis^ th<^ pr^HlJ'iPj t^^ f^^^tai fr^^n^^ {j^ the story, and 
from that beginning the story goes on to ghr>w Ky a sffiric*^ 
of o utward m ovementj^ just hov y this greatioward- fofce 
o perates in and up on conduct. In a third dL%§js*, Qtttward 
and i nward action b aljLtiC£«>... 

3 



4 STUDYING THE SHORT7STORY 

Now when the outward or visible action^ proming jatly 
displaying physical movement^JbecotiLes p aramoun t, 
whetfier' shown as cause or as effect, ge jiave the a ction- 
story, and sometimes the adventure-story. And in pro- 
porfiorTas the inter eVt' oF the reader centers in what the 
characters do instead of in what they are^ the story de- 
parts from the subtler f orms^ such as t he character-study 
and the psychological-study, and action or adventure be- 
come^s^^^tTiFtyper Reverse these conditions, and another 
sort is the result. 

Naturally, many variations are possible with these two 
chief ingredients ready for use. One story may begin 
with soul action, then proceed to show us bodily action 
with great vividness, and end by taking us back into the 
man's inner life. Another may progress on contrary 
lines; and so on, in wide variety. The final test as to 
what is the predominating type lies in the appeal to the 
i nterest of the rpadptv^jg^ {t based chiefly on what th e 
characters are or on what t he y do? Is it the why^ or the 
how, the motive or the happening, that is most a bsor bing? 
The best stories,~even the best action and adventure yams, 
are likdy to show a fair proportion of both, 

M^RIMfe AND HIS WRITINGS 

Prosper Merimee was born in Paris, September 28, 
1803. His father, a Norman, was a professor in the 
6cole des Beaux-Arts, and his mother, Anne Moreau, 
who had English blood in her veins, was also an artist. 
Prosper attended the College Henri IV, and in the home 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 5 

of his parents met the literati of the day. He undertook 
the study of law, but soon abandoned it, and spent some 
years in. observing life while journeying abroad. He 
made much of ancient and modem languages, becoming 
especially proficient in Spanish. Upon his return to 
Paris he served in public office, and held the post of 
Inspector General of Public Monuments until declining 
health compelled him to retire. He was elected to sev- 
eral learned societies and became a commander of the 
Legion of Honor, and, in 1844, a member of the French 
Academy. Nine years later he was made a Senator of 
France, an honor he owed to the friendship of the 
Empress Eugenie. He died at Cannes on the 23rd of 
September, 1870, at the age of sixty-seven. 

Prosper Merimee was a successful poet, translator, 
novelist, and short-story writer. His translations of the 
Russian novelists have been pronounced excellent. 
"G)lomba" is a romantic novelette of singular power 
and charm. His most famous short-stories are "The 
Taking of the Redoubt,'' "Tamango," "Federigo," 
"The Etruscan Vase," "The Vision of Charles XI," 
" The Venus of lUe," " The Pearl of Toledo," " Carmen " 
(on which Bizet's opera is founded), " Arsene Guillot," 
and " Mateo Falcone " ; which follows, in a translation 
by the editor of this volume. It was first published in 
the Revue de Paris, May, 1829. 

Among French masters of the short-story, Merimee 
easily holds place in the first rank. Both personality and 
genius are his, and both well repay careful study. He 



6 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

was an alert student of history, to whom its anecdotal 
side made strongest appeal. The detached, impersonal, 
unprejudiced attitude of the historian is seen in his short- 
stories, for he tells his narrative impartially, with a sort 
of take-it-or-leave-it air, allowing the story to make its 
own appeal without any special pleading on his part. 
His story-telling manner is, therefore, one of ironical 
coldness. He delighted to tell his tales in the matter-of- 
fact manner of the casual traveller who has picked up a 
good yarn and passes it on just as it was told him. And 
this literary attitude was a reflex of his personality. To 
him, to love deeply was to endure pain, to follow impulse 
was to court trouble, to cherish enthusiasms was to delude 
the mind, so he schooled himself to appear iippassive." 
Yet now and then in his lucid and clear-cut stories, as in 
his urbane life, a certain sweetness is revealed which 
speaks alluringly of the tender spirit within. 

All my life I have sought to free myself from prejudices, to 
be a citizen of the world before being a Frenchman, but now all 
these garments of philosophy are nothing to me. To-day I bleed 
•for the wounds of the foolish French, I mourn for their humilia- 
tions, and, however ungrateful and absurd they may be, I love 
them still. — Prosper M^rim^e, letter to Madame de Beaulain- 
court (Marquise de Castellane), written, ten days before his 
death, on hearing from his friend Thiers that the disaster of 
Sedan was irreparable and that the Empire was a thing of the 
past. 

A gallant man and a gentleman, he has had the reward he would 
have wished. He has been discreetly and intimately enjoyed by 
delicate tastes. ... It was his rare talent to give us those limpid, 
rapid, full tales, that one reads in an hour, re-reads in a day, 
which fill the memory and occupy the thoughts forever. — £mile 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE J 

Faguet, quoted by Grace King, in C D. Warner's Library of 
the World's Best Literature. 

Colomha, Mateo Falcone, La Double MSprise, La Vinus d'llle, 
L'Enlivement de la Redoute, Lokis, have equals, but no superiors, 
either in French prose fiction or in French prose. Grasp of 
human character, reserved but masterly description of scenery, 
delicate analysis of motive, ability to represent the supernatural, 
pathos, grandeur, simple narrative excellence, appear turn by 
turn in these wonderful pieces, as they appear hardly anywhere 
else. — George Saintsbury, A Short History of French Literature. 

While inferior to Stendhal as a psychologist, notwithstanding 
the keenness of his analysis, he excels him in opening out and 
developing action, and in composing a work whose parts hang 
well together. In addition he possesses a ** literary " style, — 'not 
the style of an algebraist, but that of an exact, self-sustained 
writer. He attains the perfection of form in his particular line. 
Nearly all his stories are masterpieces of that rather dry and 
hard, though forceful, nervous, and pressing style, which consti- 
tutes him one of the most original and most characteristic novel- 
ists of the century. — Georges Pellissier, The Literary Movement 
in France. 

I do not scruple to apply the word great to Merimee, a word 
which is not to be used lightly, but of which he is thoroughly 
deserving. His style is the purest and clearest of our century; 
no better model could possibly be found for our present genera- 
tion. His prose, to my mind, together with that of Musset, 
Fromentin, and Renan, is the most beautiful modern prose which 
has ever been written in the French language. Like the great 
classics of the 17th century, he never wrote a passage merely to 
please the eye or the ear; his sole aim was to express thought, 
and the colour of his language, which is so pre-eminently true to 
nature, is of a rare sobriety; he never studies effect, and, never- 
theless, invariably attains it. — Edouard Grenier, Literary Remi- 
niscences. 



8 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON M^RIMEE 

Miscellaneous Studies, Walter Pater (1895) ; Modern 
French Literature, Benjamin W. Wells (1896); Contes 
et Nouvelles, by Prosper Merimee, edited by J. E. Michell 
(1907); A Century of French Fiction, Benjamin W. 
Wells (1898) ; Prosper Merimee, Arthur Symonds, in A 
Century of French Romance, edited by Edmund W. 
Gosse (1901) ; Six Masters in Disillusion, Algar Therold 
(1909). 



MATEO FALCONE 

BY PROSPER MERIMEE 
Translation by The Editor 

Notb: The technical terms used in the marginal notes explanatory of 
the short-stories throughout this work follow the terminology used and 
treated fully in the present author's Writing the Short-Story, 



As one comes out of Porto- Vec- 
chio, and turns northwest toward the 
center of the island, the ground is 
seen to rise quite rapidly, and after 
three hours' walk by tortuous paths, 
blocked by large masses of rocks, and 
sometimes cut by ravines, the traveler 
findst himself on the edge of a very 
extensive maquis. This bush is the 
home of the Corsican shepherds, and 
of whomsoever has come into con- 
flict with the law. It is well known 
that the Corsican laborer, to spare 
himself the trouble of fertilizing his 
lands, sets fire to a certain stretch of 
forest; so much the worse if the 



A story of loca l-color be- 
cause the "Corsican clft- 
toms determine the desti- 
nies of the characters. It 
is equally a cha racter- 
study and a psyiEfiTogiQ^l 
study. Note how charac- 
ters har monize with 8 et> 
ting,~throughout, ^ ^ 

Setting js minutely ff iven. 
yet not diffuselxu 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURB 



flames spread further than is needed ; 
whatever happens, he is sure to have 
a good harvest by sowing upon this 
ground, enriched by the ashes of the 
very trees which it grows. When the 
com is plucked, he leaves the straw, 
because it is too much trouble to 
gather it The rqpts, which have re- 
mained in the ground without being 
harmed, sprout in *the following 
spring into very thick shoots, which 
in a few years attain a height of 
seven or eight feet This sort of un- 
der-wood it is that they call maquis. 
It is composed of different kinds of 
trees and shrubs, all mixed and tan- 
gled, just as they were planted by 
God. Only with the hatchet in hand 
can a man open a passage, and there 
are maquis so dense and so tufted 
that even the wild sheep can not 
penetrate them. 

2. If you have killed a man, go 
into the maquis of Porto- Vecchio, 
and with a good gun and powder 
and ball, you will live there in safety. 
Do not forget a brown cloak with a 
hood, which serves as a coverlet and 
a mattress. The shepherds will give 
you milk, cheese, and chestnuts, and 
you will have nothing to fear from 
justice, nor from the relatives of the 
dead man, unless it be when you 
have to go down into the town to 
renew your munitions. 

3. The house of Mateo Falcone, 
when I was in Corsica in 18 — , was 
half a league from this maquis. He 
was a comparatively rich man for 



'One of M^rim^*8 deft per- 
sonal touches, as though 
he were telling the story 
to Corsicans. 

Why "brown"? 



The vendetta. See Meri- 
m6e's novelette Colombo* 



Sense of reality. Setting 
b ecomes spec ific. Begins 

""witE social ^characteriza- 
tion. """' " """' 



lO 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



that country, living nobly, that is to 
say, without doing anything, on the 
products of his herds, which the 
shepherds, a species of nomads, led 
to pasture here and there on the 
mountains. When I saw him, two 
years after the event which I am 
about to relate, he seemed to me 
about fifty years of age at the most 
Picture a small, but robust man, witli 
curly hair black as jet, and aquiline 
nose, lips thin, large and animated 
eyes, and a deeply tanned complex- 
ion. His skill in shooting was con- 
sidered extraordinary, even in his 
country, where there were so many 
good shots. For example, Mateo 
would never fire on a sheep with 
buckshot, but at a hundred and 
twenty paces he would bring it down 
with a bullet in its head, or in the 
shoulder, as he chose. At night he 
could use his gun as easily as by day, 
and they told me the following ex- 
ample of his skill, which will perhaps 
seem incredible to those who have 
not traveled in Corsica. At eighty 
paces, a lighted candle was placed be- 
hind a transparent piece of paper as 
large as a plate. He took aim, then 
the candle was extinguished, and af- 
ter a moment in the most complete 
darkness, he shot and pierced the 
transparency three times out of four. 
4. With a talent so surpassing, 
Mateo Falcone had gained a great 
reputation. He was said to be as 
loyal a friend as he was dangerous 
an enemy. Otherwise obliging and 



Note force of "nobly.' 



Proceeds to physica l charafr 
terization. "'*"' 



Hint of climax. 



Illustrative anecdotes. 



Advances to moral charac- 
terization. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



II 



charitable, he lived at peace with 
everyone in the district of Porto- 
Vccchio. But they tell of him that 
when at Corte, where he had gotten 
a wife, he had very vigorously freed 
himself of a rival who was reputed 
to be as redoubtable in war as in 
love; at all events, people attributed 
to Mateo a certain gunshot which 
surprised this rival as he was shav- 
ing before a small mirror hung in 
his window. 

5. The affair having been hushed 
up, Mateo married. His wife Giu- 
seppa had first presented him with 
three daughters (which enraged 
him), but finally a son came, whom 
he named Fortunato: he was the 
hope of the family, the inheritor of 
the name. The girls were well mar- 
ried; their father could reckon, in 
case of need, upon the poniards and 
rifles of his sons-in-law. The son 
was only ten years old, but he was 
already showing signs of a promis- 
ing disposition. 

6. On a certain day in autumn, Ma- 
teo and his wife set out early to 
visit one of their flocks in a clearing 
of maquis. Little Fortunato wished 
to accompany them, but the clearing 
was too far-away; besides, someone 
must stay to guard the house ; so the 
father refused: we shall soon see if 
he had no occasion to repent 

7. He had been gone for some 
hours, and little Fortunato was tran- 
quilly stretched out in the sunshine, 
looking at the blue mountains, and 



Furtker aBCcdote. 



Priinitlve ideals. 

Central character introduced 
unobtrusively. 



Vendetta and clan spirit 



Introducticn ends. 

Action Begins. 
tion for crisis. 



Founda- 



FZKST Plot Incident. (A 
plot incident is essential 
to a plot; to change it 
would be to alter the plot 
materially.) 

An old-style literary device. 

Setting in contrast with 
crisis about to appear. 



12 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



All the footnotes are by 

Merimee. 
Action now s upersedes set- 
■ "ting. 



Note force of "irregular." 



Dramatic introduction of a 
leading character, and 
preparation for first crisis. 

Secohd Plot Ihcioent. 



thinking that on the next Sunday he 
would be going to town to dine with 
his uncle the corporal,^ when he was 
suddenly interrupted in his medita- 
tions by the firing of a gun. He got 
up and turned toward that side of 
the plain from which the sound had 
come. Other gunshots followed, 
fired at irregular intervals, and each 
time they came nearer and nearer. 
At last on the path which led from 
the plain to Mateo's house, appeared 
a man wearing a cap pointed like 
those worn by the mountaineers. He 
was bearded and covered with rags, 
and dragged himself along with dif- 
ficulty by leaning on his gun. He 
had just received a gunshot wound 
in the thigh. 

8. This man was a bandit,^ who 
having set out at night to get some 
powder from the town, had fallen on 
the way into an ambush of Corsican 
soldiers.* After a vigorous defense 
he had succeeded in making his re- 
treat, hotly pursued and skirmishing 
from rock to rock. But he had 
gained only a little on the soldiers, 
and his wound made it hopeless for 

* Author's Note. — Corporals were formerly the chief officers of the Cor- 
sican communes after they had rebelled against their feudal lords. To-day 
they still occasionally give the name to a man who — because of his prop- 
erty, his relationships, and his business — commands a certain influence, and 
a sort of effective magistracy over a parish or a canton. The Corsicans di- 
vide themselves, after ancient custom, into five caste?: gentlemen (of whom 
some, magnifiques, are of higher estate, and some of lower, signori), cor* 
porals, citizens, plebeians, and foreigners. 

2 Author's Notb.— This word is synonymous with outlaw. 

* Author's Notb. — VoUigeurs, that is, a body raised by the government 
of late years which acts in conjunction with the police to maintain order. 



STORIES OP ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



13 



Crisp dialogue gives feeling 
of intensity. 



him to reach the maquU before being 
overtaken. 

91 He approached Fortunato and 
said to him: 

la "You are the son of Mateo 
Falcone?" 

11. "Yes." 

12. "I am Gianetto Sanpiero. I 
am pursued by the yellow collars.^ 
Hide me, for I can go no further." 

13. "And what will my father say 
if I hide you without his permis- 
sion?" 

14. "He will say that you have 
done right" 

15. "How do you know?" 

16. "Hide me quickly; they are 
coming." 

17. " Wait till my father comes." 

18. "How can I wait! A curse 
upon it! They will be here in five 
minutes. Come, hide me, or I will 
kill you." 

ig. Forttmato answered him with 
the utmost coolness: 

20. " Your gun is empty, and there 
are no more cartridges in your car- 
chera/'^ 

21. " I have my stiletto." 

22. " But could you run as fast as 
I can?" 

23. He gave a leap, and put him- 
self out of reach. 

24. " You are no son of Mateo Fal- 

^ Author's Note. — The uniform of the voltigtuirs was at that period 
brown, with a yellow collar. 

"AvTHoa's NoTi. — A leather belt which served the joint purpose of a 
cartridge bojc and pocket for dispatches and orders. 



Note the lad's constant cool- 
ness, and sly calculation* 



14 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



cone ! Will you then allow me to be 
taken in front of your home? *' 

25. The child seemed to be touched. 

26. "What will you give me if I 
hide you?" he asked him, drawing 
nearer. 

27. The fugitive felt in the leather 
pouch that hung at his belt, and took 
out a five-franc piece, which he had 
reserved, no doubt, for powder. 
Fortunato smiled at sight of the piece 
of money, and seizing hold of it, he 
said to Gianetto: 

28. "Fear nothing!" 

29. He quickly made a large hole 
in a haystack which stood near by 
the house, ^Gianetto crouched down 
in it, and the child covered him up 
in such a way as to leave a little 
space for breathing, without making 
it possible for any one to suspect that 
the hay concealed a man. He acted, 
still further, with the cunning of a 
tricky savage. He went and brought 
a cat and her kittens, and set them 
on top of the haystack to make be- 
lieve that it had not been recently 
touched. Then noticing the blood- 
stains on the path near the house, he 
carefully covered them with dust 
This done, he lay down again in the 
sun with the utmost calmness. 

30. Some minutes later six men in 
brown uniforms with yellow collars, 
commanded by an adjutant, stood be- 
fore Mateo's door. This adjutant 
was a distant relative of Falcone — 
for in Corsica more remote degrees 
of relationship are recognized than 



The right of asylum to kin 
is sacred to primitive peo- 
ples. 

Note force of *' seemed." 



Crisis particularized. 

Plot Incident Particular- 

IZBD. 

Shows value of the reward. 



Revelation 'of character. 
Resolution of first crisis. 



Author's real 
the boy. 



estimate of 



Third Plot Incident. 
See K 12. 

A deputy in command. 



Note complication by this 
relationship. 



STORIES OP ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



15 



elsewhere. His name was Tidora 
Gamba; he was an energetic man, 
greatly feared by the banditti, many 
of whom he had already hunted 
down. 

31. "Good day, little cousin," he 
said, coming up to Fortunato. " How 
you have grown! Have you seen a 
man passing just now?" 

32. "Oh, I am not so tall as you, 
Cousin," the child replied with a fool- 
ish look. 

33. " That time's coming. But have 
you not seen a man pass by? — Tell 
me. 

34. "If I have seen a man pass 
by?" 

35. "Yes, a man with a pointed 
cap and a waistcoat embroidered in 
red and yellow?" 

36. "A man with a pointed cap 
and a waistcoat embroidered in red 
and yellow?" 

37. *^Yes; answer quickly, and 
don't repeat my questions." 

38. "This morning Monsieur le 
Cure passed our door on his horse 
Piero. He asked me how papa was, 
and I told him—" 

39. "Ah, you little rascal, you are 
making game of me! Tell me at 
once which way Gianetto went, for 
it is he that we are after, and I am 
certain he took this path." 

40. "How do you know that?" 

41. "How do I know that? I 
know you have seen him." 

42. "Does one see passers-by 
when one is asleep?" 



Critit recurs. 

Cunning in character fur* 
ther rerealed. 



Suspense. 



Child's crafty nature increas- 
ingly disclosed. 



i6 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



43. "You were not asleep, you lit- 
tle demon; the gunshots would have 
waked you." 

44. "You think, then, Cousin, that 
your guns make a great noise? My 
father's rifle makes much more." 

45. "May the devil confound you, 
you young scamp ! I am sure enough 
that you have seen Gianetto. Per- 
haps you have even hidden him. 
Here, comrades, go into this house, 
and see if our man is not there. 
He could walk only on one foot, and 
he has too much good sense, the ras- 
cal, to have tried to reach the ma- 
quis limping. Besides, the marks of 
blood stop here." 

46. " Whatever will papa say ! " 
asked Fortunato, with a chuckle; 
"what will he say when he finds out 
that his house has been entered while 
he was away ! " 

47. "Good-for-nothing!" cried the 
adjutant Gamba, taking him by the 
ear, " do you know that I am able to 
make you change your tune? Per- 
haps when I have given you a score 
or more thwacks with the flat of a 
sword, you will speak at last ! " 

48. But Fortunato still laughed de- 
risively. 

49. " My father is Mateo Falcone 1 " 
he said with energy. 

50. " Do you know, you little rogue, 
that I can carry you off to Corte, or 
to Bastia? I'll make you sleep in a 
dungeon, on a pallet of straw, your 
feet in irons, and I'll have you guillo- 



Sly appeal to the fear in- 
spired by Mateo's reputa- 
tion. 



Note use of suspens e 
throughout The Story is 
one long crisis. y 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTUKE 



17 



tined, if 3'ou don't tell me where 
Gianetto Sanpiero is." 

51. The child burst out laughing at 
this foolish threat/ He only re- 
peated : 

52. " My father is Mateo Falcone ! " 

53. "Adjutant," Whispered one of 
the voltigeurs, "we'd better not cm- 
broil ourselves with Mateo." 

54. Gamba seemed evidently em- 
barrassed. He talked in a low voice 
with his soldiers, who had already 
been through the house. It was not 
a lengthy operation, for the cabin of 
a Corsican consists of only a single 
square room. The furniture com- 
prises a table, some benches, a few 
boxes, and utensils for hunting and 
housekeeping. Meanwhile, little For- 
tunato caressed his cat, and seemed 
maliciously to enjoy the embarrass- 
ment of the voltigeurs and his cousin. 

55. One soldier came up to the hay- 
stack. He looked at the cat and care- 
lessly gave a dig at the hay with his 
bayonet, shrugging his shoulders as 
if he thought the precaution were 
ridiculous. Nothing stirred, and the 
face of the child did^not betray the 
least emotion. 

56. The adjutant and his troop 
were in despair; they were looking 
seriously toward the edge of the 
plain, as though disposed to return 
the way they had come; when their 
chief — convinced that threats would 
produce no effect upon the son of 
Falcone — thought he would make 



Compare with \ 4 and \ 49. 



Setting is thus interwoven 
with the atory, though 
slightly. 



Character revelation. 



Suspense augmented. 



More crafty coolness^ 



i8 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



one last effort by trying the power of 
cajoleries and presents. 

57. " Little Cousin," he said, " you 
seem to be a wide-awake young fel- 
low enough. You will get on! But 
you play a mean trick with me; and, 
if I did not fear to give pain to my 
cousin Mateo, devil take me, I'd carry 
you off with me ! " 

58. "Bah!" 

59. "But, when my cousin returns 
I shall relate to him the whole af- 
fair, and for your having gone to the 
trouble to tell me a lie, he will give 
you the whip till he draws blood." 

60. "Do you know that?" 

61. " You'll find out ! But, see here 
— be a good lad, and I'll give you 
something." 

62. " I, my Cousin, will give you 
some advice — it is, that if you delay 
any more Gianetto will reach the wo- 
quis, then it will take a cleverer fel- 
low to go and hunt for him." 

63. The adjutant drew from his 
pocket a silver watch worth quite ten 
crowns; and seeing how the little 
Fortunato's eyes sparkled when he 
looked at it, he said, as he hefd the 
watch suspended at the end of its 
steel chain : 

64. "You rogue! you would like 
very well to have such a watch as 
this hung round your neck, and to go 
and promenade the streets of Porto- 
Vecchio, proud as a peacock; people 
would ask you, 'What time is it?' 
and you would reply, 'Look at my 
watch!'" 



The turn in the plot. 

FoUNDATIOir VOK VAIIT 

otisis. 



Main crisis augmented. 



Plot Incident Pakticxjlar. 

IZED. 



Character appeal 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE I9 

65. "When I am grown up, my 
micle the corporal will give me a 
watch," 

66. " Yes ; but your uncle's son has 
one already — not such a fine one as 
this, it is true — of course, he is 
younger than you." 

67. The child sighed. 

68. "Well, would you like diis 
watch, little Cousin?" 

69. Fortunato, ogling the watch out Sni peose. 
of the corner of his eyes, looked just 

as a cat does when they suddenly of- 
fer it a chicken. Because it is afraid 
a joke is being played on it, it dares 
not pounce upon its prey, and from inottratioa. 
time to time it turns away its eyes so 
as not to succumb to the temptation; 
but it constantly licks its chope, as if 
to say to its master, " But your joke 
is a cruel one ! " 

70. However, the adjutant Gamba 
seemed to be offering the watch in 
good faith. Fortunato did not hold 
out his hand, but he said to him with 
a bitter smile: 

71. "Why do you jest with me?" 

72. "By Heaven, I am not joking! 
Only tell me where Gianetto is and 
this watch is yours." 

73. Fortunato allowed an incredu- Compare witfc f 67. 
lous sigh to escape him; and, fixing 

his black eyes on those of the adju- 
tant, he sought to find in them the 
faith he wished to have in his words. 

74. " May I lose my epaulets," cried 
the adjutant, "if I do not give you 
the watch on these terms ! My com- 



20 



STUDYING THE SHORTnSTORY 



rades are witnesses, and I cannot go 
back on my word ! " 

75. So speaking, he held the watch 
nearer and nearer until it almost 
touched the pale cheeks of the child, 
whose face showed plainly the com- 
bat going on in his heart* between 
covetousness and his respect for the 
laws of hospitality. His bare breast 
heaved violently, and he seemed to be 
almost stifling. All the time the 
watch dangled and turned, and some- 
times grazed the tip of his nose. At 
length, little by little, his right hand 
lifted toward the watch, the ends of 
his fingers touched it, and it rested 
wholly on his palm, except that the 
adjutant still loosely held the end of 
the chain. The face was blue, the 
case was newly polished — in the sun- 
shine it seemed to be all afire. The 
temptation was too strong. 

76. So Fortunate raised his left 
hand and with his thumb pointed 
over his shoulder to the haystack 
against which he was standing. The 
adjutant understood him immediately. 
He let go the end of the chain ; For- 
tunato felt himself sole possessor of 
the watch. He jumped up with the 
agility of a deer, and moved ten 
paces away from the stack, which the 
voltigeurs at once began to overturn. 

yy. It was not long before they saw 
the hay move, and a bleeding man, 
poniard in hand, came forth. But 
when he tried to rise to his feet, his 
stiffening wound would not permit 
him to stand. He fell down. The 



A typical Latin protest. 



A key to the plot. 



Main Crisis. 



Crisis resolved and Down- 
ward Action Begins: 
Henceforward we ^..^e 
THE Results of., crisis, 

LEADIITO- T5~^THE ClIVAX. 



Still sly. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



21 



adjutant threw himself upon him and 
snatched away his stiletto. Speedily, 
he was securely hound, in spite of his 
resistance. 

ySi Gianetto, laid on the ground 
and tied like a bundle of fagots, 
turned his head toward Forttmato, 
who had drawn nearer. 

79. **Son of^' he said to him 
with more contempt than anger. 

8a The boy threw to him the sil- 
ver-piece that he had received from 
him, feeling conscious that he no 
longer merited it; but the outlaw 
seemed not to notice this action. He 
said to the adjutant in a perfectly 
cool voice : 

81. " My dear Gamba, I am not able 
to walk; you will be obliged to carry 
me to the town." 

82. ** You could run as fast as a kid 
just now," retorted his cruel captor. 
"But be easy, I am so glad to have 
caught you that I could carry you for 
a league on my own back without be- 
ing tired. All the same, my friend, 
we are going to make a litter for you 
out of some branches and your cloak, 
and at the farm at Crespoli we shall 
find some horses." 

83. "Good!" said the prisoner. 
"You had better also put a little 
straw on your litter that I may travel 
more easily." 

84. While the voltigeurs were occu- 
pied, some making a sort of stretcher 
out of chestnut boughs, and others 
dressing Gianetto's wound, Mateo 
Falcone and his wife suddenly ap- 



FnsT CoMTmiB0TORT Inci- 
dent. (A contributory 
incident might be changed 
or eren omitted without 
▼itally changing the 
plot). 

Tardy attempt to appear 
sincere. 

His contempt is all for 
Fortunato. 

Second CoNnnuroxT Inci- 
dent. 



Character revelation. 

Let'down in tension. 



New and resultant ckisi^* 
FouBTH Plot Inc^dbnt. 



Z2 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



peared in a bend of the path which 
led from the maquis. The wife ad- 
vanced, bending laboriously under an 
enormous bag of chestnuts, while her 
husband came up jauntily, carrying in 
I his hand only a gun, while another 
was slung over his shoulder, for it is 
unworthy of a man to carry any other 
burden than his weapons. 

85. At sight of the soldiers, Mateo's 
first thought was that they had come 
to arrest him. But why that idea? 
Had he any qharrel with the law? 
No. ' He bore a good reputation. He 
was, as they say, particularly well 
thought of; but he was a Corsican, a 
mountaineer, and there are but few 
Corsican inountaineers who, if they 
scrutinize their memories well, cannot 
find ' some pecadillo — some gunshot, 
some dagger thrust, or some similar 
bagatelle. Mateo, more than most, 
had a clear conscience, for it was 
fully ten years since he had pointed 
his gun against a man; but all the 
same he was prudent, and he put 
himself in position to make a gopd 
defense, if need be. 

86. "Wife,** said he to Giuseppa, 
" put down your sack and keep your- 
self in readiness.** 

87. She obeyed on the instant. He 
gave her the gun that was slung over 
his shoulder, and which would likely 
cause him inconvenience. He cocked 
the one he had in his hand and ad- 
vanced slowly toward the house, 
skirting the trees which bordered the 
path, and ready at the least hostile 



Contrast to tragic spirit of 
the story. 

Local color. 



' Bagatelle " discloses 
Corsican attitude. 



the 



i 

J 



To reload his weapons, as. 
appears in If 87. 



Suspense. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



23 



demonstration to throw himself be- 
hind the largest trunk, whence he 
could fire from cover. His wife 
walked close behind him, holding his 
spare gun and his cartridge box. The 
duty of a good housewife, in case of 
conflict, is to reload her husband's 
weapons. 

8& On the other side, the adjutant 
was very uneasy at sight of Mateo 
advancing thus upon them with meas- 
ured steps, his gun forward and his 
finger on the trigger. 

89. " If it should chance," thought 
he, ''that Gianetto is related to Ma- 
teo, or that he is his friend, and he 
intends to protect him, the bullets of 
his two guns will come to two of us 
as sure as a letter to the post, and if 
he should aim at me, good-by to our 
kinship!" 

90. In this perplexity, he put on a 
courageous front and went forward 
alone toward Mateo to tell him of the 
matter, while greeting him like an old 
acquaintance ; but the brief space that 
separated him from Mateo seemed to 
him terribly long. 

91. " Hello ! Ah ! my old comrade," 
he called out, "How are you, old 
fellow? It's I, Gamba, your cousin." 

92. Mateo, without replying a word, 
stopped, and while the other was 
speaking he imperceptibly raised the 
muzzle of his rifle in such a manner 
that it was pointing heavenward by 
the time the adjutant came up to him. 

93. " Good day, brother," « said the 

• Author's Notk. — Buon giorno, fratelh - 
Corsicans. 



I.ocal color. 



Dcrelopment 
cident 



of fourth in* 



Key. 



A fight would ensue.- 



Note force of •* alone." 



Note constraint. 



Resolution of suspense. 



- the ordinary salutation of the 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



adjutant, holding out his hand " It's 
a very long time since I've seen 
you." 
94- " Cjood day, brother." 

95. " I just came in, while passing, 
to say 'good day* to you and my 
cousin Pepa. We have had a long 
journey to-day ; but we. must not com- 
plain of fatigue, for we have taken a 
famous prize. We have just got 
hold of Gianetto Sanpiero." 

96. " God be praised 1 " exclaimed 
Giuseppa^ "He stole one of our 
milch goats last week." 

97. These words rejoiced Gamba, 

98. " Poor devil ! " said Mateo. 
" He was hungry." 

99. "The fellow defended himself 
like a lion," pursued the adjutant, 
slightly mortified. "He killed one 
of the men, and, not content with 
that, he broke Corporal Chardon's 
arm ; but that is not such a great dis- 
aster, for he is nothing but a French- 
man. . . . Then he hid himself so 
cleverly that the devil would not 
have been able to find him. With- 
out my little cousin Fortunato, I 
should never have discovered him." 

100. " Fortunato 1 " cried Mateo, 
loi. " Fortunato ! " repeated Giu- 

seppa. 

102. "Yes, Gianetto was hidden 
way down in your haystack; but my 
little cousin showed me his trick. 
So I will speak of him to his uncle 
the corporal, that he may send him 
a fine present for his trouble. And 
his name and yours will be in the 



Diminutive for Giuseppa. 



There is something manlike 
in most of M6rim^'8 fe- 
male characters. 



Character contrast. 



New crisis. 

FOB CLIMAX. 



PmapABATioir 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



25 



report which I shall send to Mon- 
sieur Vavocai gSniral." 

103. "Malediction!'' said Mateo 
under his breath. 

104. They had now rejoined the 
detachment Gianetto was already 
laid on the litter and they were ready 
to leave. When he saw Mateo in the 
company of Gamba, he smiled a 
strange smile; then, turning himself 
toward the door of the house, he 
spat on the threshold as he cried out : 

105. " House of a traitor ! " 

106. No one but a man who had 
made up his mind to die would have 

. dared to utter the word " traitor " as 
applying to Falcone. One good stroke 
of the dagger, which would not need 
to be repeated, would have immedi- 
ately repaid the insult. But Mateo 
made no other gesture than that of 
putting his hand to his head like a 
dazed man. 

107. Fortunato had gone into the 
house upon seeing his father come 
up. He reappeared shortly with a 
jug of milk, which he offered with 
downcast eyes to Gianetto. "Keep 
away from me ! " cried the outlaw in 
a voice of thunder. 

108. Then turning to one of the 
voltigeurs, 

109. " Comrade, give me a( drink of 
water," he said. 

no. The soldier placed the gourd 
in his hands, and the bandit drank 
the water given him by a man with 
whom he had just exchanged gun- 
shots. He then asked that they 



Misunderstanding adds to 
complication. 

Key to plpt. Fifth Plot 
Incident. 



Third CoNTaiBUTOBV Iirct- 

0£NT. 

ts this repentance, fear, hy- 
pocrisy, or an attempt to 
placate his father? 



Delineation of mood by 
suggestion. 



26 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



would tie his hands across his breast 
instead of having them behind his 
back. 

111. "I prefer," he said, "to lie 
down at my ease." 

112. When they had adjusted them 
to his satisfaction, the adjutant gave 
the signal to start, said adieu to Ma- 
teo — who answered never a word — 
and went down at a quick pace to- 
ward the plain. 

113. Some ten minutes passed be- 
fore Mateo opened his mouth. The 
child looked with an uneasy eye first 
at his mother, then at his father, who, 
leaning on his gun, was gazing at 
him with a gaze of concentrated 
wrath. 

114. "You begin well," said Mateo 
at last, in a voice calm but terrifying 
to those who knew the man. 

115. " Father I " exclaimed the child 
with tears in his eyes, drawing near 
as if to fall upon his knees. 

116. But Mateo only cried out: 

117. "Away from me!" 

11& The child stopped and began 
to sob, standing motionless a few 
steps from his father. 

119. Giuseppa came near. She had 
just perceived the chain of the watch 
dangling about from Fortunato's 
blouse. 

120. "Who gave you that watch?" 
she asked him severely. 

121. "My cousin the adjutant." 

122. Falcone seized the watch, and, 
throwing it violently against a stone, 
broke it into a thousand pieces. 



FOUBTH CONTSIBUTOBT IlfCI> 
DENT. 



Suspense. 



Prepahatiow tor Climax, 
Sixth and Final Plot Iw* 



Contrast with f 114* 

sly use of 



Note the 
*• cousin.** 

Fifth Contkibutort 

CIOSNT. 



In- 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 



133. " Woman," he said, " this child 
— is he mine ? " 

124. Giuseppa's brown cheeks 
flamed brick-red. 

125. ** What are you saying, Mateo? 
Do you know to whom you are 
speaking? ** 

126. " Well, this child is the first of 
his race who has committed a trea- 



K^. 



127. Fortunato's sobs and hiccoughs 
redoubled, and Falcone kept his lynx- 
eyes always fixed upon him. At 
length he struck the ground with the 
butt of his gun; then he flung it 
across his shoulder and, calling to 
Fortunato to follow him, retook the 
way to the maquis. The child 
obeyed. 

128. Giuseppa ran after Mateo, and 
seized him by the arm. 

129. " He is your son," she said to 
him in a trembling voice, fixing her 
black eyes on those of her husband, 
as though to read what was passing 
through his mind. 

130. "Let me go," replied Mateo: 
- 1 am his father." 

131. Giuseppa embraced her son, 
and went back crying into the hut 
She threw herself on her knees be- 
fore an image of the Virgin, and 
prayed with fervor. 

132. Meanwhile, Falcone had 
walked about two-hundred yards 
along the path, and stopped at a little 
ravine, which he descended. He 
sounded the earth with the butt of 
his gun and found it soft and easy 



Dedaton, and foundation 
for final criiU. 



Full Rbsvltamt Caiiii. 



Note the double meaninf. 



28 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



to dig. The spot seemed suitable 
lor his design. 

I33« " Fortunato, go near to that 
large rock." 

134. The boy did as he was com- 
manded, then he knelt down. 

135. " Say your prayers." 

136. *' Father, Father, do not kill 
me!" 

137. " Say your prayers ! " repeated 
Mateo in a terrible voice. 

138. The child, all stammering and 
sobbing, repeated the Pater and the 
Credo, The father, in a firm voice 
responded Amen at the close of each 
prayer. 

139. "Are those all the prayers 
that you know?" 

140. "I also know the Ave Maria, 
and the Litany that my aunt taught 
me. Father." 

141. " It is rather long, but it does- 
n't matter." 

142. The child achieved the Litany 
in a faint voice. 

143. "Have you finished?" 

144. "Oh, Father, ' Father, mercy! 
Pardon me! I will never do it 
again ! I will beg my cousin the cor- 
poral with all my might for mercy 
for Gianetto ! " 

145. He went on speaking; Mateo 
loaded his rifie and took aim as he 
said: 

146. "May God forgive you!" 

147. The boy made a desperate ef- 
fort to get up and clasp his father's 
knees, but he had not time. Mateo 
fired, and Fortunato fell dead. 



Forecast. 
Suspense. 



'Our Father, etc.." ** I 
believe in God, etc.** 



••Hail Mary, etc.** A li- 
turgical prayer. 



Note force of "achieved." 



Contrast with his formet* 
vicious "coolness.** 



Full Climax and DzNOVfe' 

MENT. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 29 

148. Without throwing a single Note force of "throwing.** 
glance at the body, Mateo returned to 

his house to fetch a spade with which 
to bury his son. He had taken but a 
few steps when he met Giuseppa, 
who had run out, alarmed by the 
sound of the firing. 

149. "What have you done?" 

150. "Justice!" 

151. "Where is he?" 

152. "In the ravine; I am going to Sixth Coktributoit Ihct- 
bury him. He died a Christian; I '*"*'^* 

shall have a mass sung for him. Let ^wift conclusion, 
some one tell my son-in-law Tiodoro Character revelation, 
Bianchi to come and live with us." 



STEVENSON AND HIS WRITINGS 

Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson, as he was baptized, 
was bom November 13, 1850, at Edinburgh, Scotland, of 
Scotch parents. He entered Edinburgh University when 
he was seventeen, intending to learn his father's profes- 
sion, civil engineering — though he had always longed to 
be a writer, having dictated books at the precocious ages 
of six, seven, and nine. At twenty-one he decided to 
study law, and four years later passed the bar examina- 
tion in his native city. In 1880 he married Mrs. Os- 
bourne, with whose son, Lloyd, he collaborated in the 
writing of several stories. Stevenson's health, which was 
never robust, sent him on many journeys in search of 
strength -1- to the European continent, several times to 
the United States, and once on a two years* voyage to the 
South Seas. In 1890 he finally settled in Samoa, where 



30 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

he died at his home, Vailima, December 3, 1894. He 
was buried on the nearby summit of Mount Vaea. 

Stevenson was a brilliant novelist, essayist, poet, and 
short-story writer. Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The 
Master of BalJantrae, and Weir of Hermiston — the last 
of which he left unfinished — are his best novels. His 
journeys were chronicled by such delightful .traVel- 
sketches as An Inland Voyage, Travels With a Donkey, 
and The Silverado Squatters, A Child's Garden of 
Verse contains his best poems. His most noteworthy 
essays are found in Memories and Portraits, and Familiar 
Studies of Men and Books* Most famous among his 
short-stories are " The' Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and 
Mr. Hyde" (a novelette in length), "The Pavilion on 
the Links," " Thrawn Janet," " Will o' the Mill," " The 
Sire de Maletroit's Door," " The Merry Men," " Mark- 
heim," published first in Unwin's Annual, London, 1885, 
and given in this volume in full, and " A Lodging for the 
Night," which follows entire. It was first published in 
The Temple Bar magazine, October, 1877. 

Stevenson was a supreme craftsman. No writer of 
the short-story in English, except Edgar Allan Poe, 
was so conscious of his art and so gifted to create up to 
the measure of his orderly knowledge. In criticism of 
the story-teller's art, Poe was the greater originator, 
Stevenson the more brilliant generalizer; Poe was the 
deeper, Stevenson the broader ; Poe's opinions as to form 
grew largely out of his own consciousness, and shaped 
his practices — they were arrived at deductively : Steven- 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 3I 

son's Standards grew as his creations shaped themselves, 
and were measurably molded by his own writings — 
they were examples of inductive reasoning. Thus Stev- 
enson was doubly equipped to produce incomparably the 
greatest group of short-stories ever written by a Briton 
before the days of Kipling, and some sound critics will 
dispute even this reservation. In charm, in dash of style, 
in a sense of form, in pure romantic spirit, and in pene- 
trating human interest, Stevenson ranks among the ten 
greatest short-story-tellers of his era. 

I wonder if any one had ever more energy upon so little 
strength ? — R. L. Stevenson, Vailima Letters. 

In the highest achievements of the art of words, the dramatic 
and the pictorial, the moral and romantic interest, rise and fall 
together by a common and organic law. Situation is animated 
with passion, passion clothed upon with situation. Neither exists 
for itself, hut each inheres indissolubly with the other. This is 
high art; and not only the highest art possible in words, but the 
highest art of all, since it combines the greatest mass and 
diversity of the elements of truth and pleasure. Such are epics, 
and the few prose tales that have the epic weight. — R. L. 
Stevenson, A Gossip on Romance, 

The stories of Stevenson exhibit a double union, as admirable 
as it is rare. They exhibit the union of splendid material with 
the most delicate skill in language; and they exhibit the union of 
thrilling events with a remarkable power of psychological 
analysis.— William Lyon Phelps, Essays on Modern Novelists. 

Mr. Stevenson enjoys the reputation of being the modem rep- 
resentative of the romantic school of fiction. There are others 
of high repute, for romanticism is now the vogue, but there is 
hardly any other whose nahie we would care to link with that 
of Walter Scott — William H. Sheran, Handbook of Literary 
Criticism. 



32 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Perhaps the first quality in Mr. Stevenson's works, now so 
many and so various, which strikes a reader, is the buoyancy, the 
survival of the child in him. He has told the world often, in 
prose and verse, how vivid are his memories of his own infancy. 
. . . The peculiarity of Mr. Stevenson is not only to have been 
a fantastic child, and to retain, in maturity, that fantasy ripened 
into imagination: he has also kept up the habit of dramatising 
everything, of playing, half consciously, many parts, of making 
the world "an unsubstantial fairy place." ... It is the eternal 
child that drives him to seek adventures and to sojourn among 
beach-combers and savages. — Andrew Lang, Essays in Little, 

It has been stated that the finer qualities of Stevenson are 
called out by the psychological romance on native soil. He did 
some brilliant and engaging work of foreign setting and motive. 
. . . Judged as art, " The Bottle Imp " and " The Beach of 
Falesa" are among the triumphs of ethnic interpretation, let 
alone their more external charms of story. And another master- 
piece of foreign setting, "A Lodging for the Night," is further 
proof of Stevenson's ability to use other than Scotch motives for 
the materials of his art. . . . Few novelists of any race have 
beaten this wandering Scot in the power of representing char- 
acter and envisaging it, and there can hardly be successful 
characterization without this allied power of creating atmosphere. 
— Richard Burton, Masters of the English Novel, 

Not until 1877, and Robert Louis Stevenson's first pub- 
lished narrative, does any Englishman of real caliber show both 
desire and ability to do something new with the short story. 
This narrative was "A Lodging for the Night," published in 
Temple Bar for October. ..." A Lodging for the Night " is as 
clearly and consciously an impressionistic short story as George 
Meredith's contemporary novelettes are not of that category; 
the two stories which followed ("Will o' the Mill" and "The 
Sire dc Maletroit's Door") would assure the most timid critic 
of our generation that here was a master in this department of 
fiction. . . . There is "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. 
Hyde," that short story thrown over into the form of a detective 
romance. ... Or there is " Markheim," a story less powerful in 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 33 

execution, but more excellent in workmanship, and an almost 
ideal example of the impressionistic short story. Flaubert might 
have written the description of the curiosity shqp as the mur- 
derer saw it, with its accusing clock-voices, its wavering shadows, 
from the inner door "a long slit of daylight like a pointing 
finger." And Flaubert would have praised the skilful gradation 
of incident and description, whereby conscience gains and gains 
in the struggle for Markheim's mind. But Hawthorne would 
have been prouder still of the plot — a weak man with a remnant 
of high ideals suddenly realizing that his curve is plotted and 
can lead him only downwards. . • . How like to Hawthorne's 
usual way is Stevenson's determination to make, at all costs, a 
moral issue the outcome of his story! • . • "Will o' the Mill** 
b like a twice-told tale not only in theme; its whole effect is 
Hawthomesque. '' A Lodging for the Night " has for its kernel 
a question of ethics. — H. S. Canby, The Short Sto^y in English. 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON 
STEVENSON 

Mr. Stevenson*s Methods in Fiction, A. Conan Doyle 
(1890) ; Robert Louis Stevenson, An Elegy, Richard Lc 
Gallienne (1895) ; Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter 
Raleigh (1895); VaUima Letters, to Sidney Colvin 
(1895) ; Adventures in Criticism, A. T. Quiller-Couch 
(1896); Critical Kit-Kats, Edmund W. Gosse (1896); 
Studies in Two Literatures, Arthur S}rmons (1897); 
Life of Robert Louis Stevenson, Graham Balfour 
(1901); Stevenson's Attitude to Life, J. F. Genung 
(1901) ; Memories of Vailima, Isobel Strong and Lloyd 
Osboume (1903) ; Robert Louis Stevenson, W. R. NicoU 
and G. K. Chesterton. 



34 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

FOR ANALYSIS 
A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT 

BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 

It was late in November, 1456. 
The snow fell over Paris with rigor- 
ous, relentless persistence; sometimes 
the wind made a sally and scattered 
it in flying vortices; sometimes there 
was a lull, and flake after flake de- 
scended out of the black night air, si- 
lent, circuitous, interminable. To poor 
people, looking up under moist eye- 
brows, 'it seemed a wonder where it 
aH came from. Master Francis Vil- 
lon had propounded an alternative 
that afternoon, at a tavern window; 
was it only Pagan Jupiter plucking 
geese upon Olympus? or were the 
holy angels moulting? He was only 
a poor master of arts, he went on; 
and as the question somewhat 
touched upon divinity, he durst not 
venture to conclude. A silly old 
priest from Montargis, who was 
among the company, treated the 
young rascal to a bottle of wine in 
honor of the jest and grimaces with 
which it was accompanied, and 
swore on his own white beard that he 
had been just such another irreverent 
dog when he was Villon's age. 

2. The air was raw and pointed, 
but not far below freezing; and the 
flakes were large, damp, and ad- 
hesive. The whole city was sheeted up. 
An army might have marched from 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 35 

end to end and not a footfall given 
the alarm. If there were any belated 
birds in heaven, they saw the island 
like a large white patch, and the 
bridges like slim white spars, on the 
black ground of the river. High up 
overhead the snow settled among the 
tracery of the cathedral towers. 
Many a niche was drifted full ; many 
a statue wore a long white bonnet 
on its grotesque or sainted head. 
The gargoyles had been transform- 
ed into great false noses, drooping 
toward the point The crockets were 
like upright pillows swollen on one 
side. In the intervals of the wind, 
there was a dull sound of dripping 
about the precincts of the church. 

3. The cemetery of St John had 
taken its own share of the snow. 
All the graves were decently cover- 
ed; tall white housetops stood 
around in grave array; worthy 
burghers were long ago in bed, be- 
nightcapped like their domiciles; 
there was no light in all the neigh- 
borhood but a little peep from a 
lamp that hung swinging in the 
church choir, and tossed the shad- 
ows to and fro in time to its oscil- 
lations. The clock was hard on ten 
when the patrol went by with hal- 
berds and a lantern, beating their 
hands; and they saw nothing sus- 
picious about the cemetery of St 
John. 

4. Yet there was a small house, 
backed up against the cemetery wall, 
which was still awake, and awake 



36 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

to evil purpose, in that snoring dis- 
trict. There was not much to betray 
it from without; only a stream of 
warm vapor from the chimney-top, 
a patch where the snow melted on the 
roof, and a few half-obliterated foot- 
prints at the door. But within, be- 
hind the, shuttered windows. Master 
Francis Villon, the poet, and some 
of the thievish crew with whom he 
consorted, were keeping the night 
alive and passing round the bottle. 

5. A great pile of living embers 
diffused a strong and ruddy glow 
from the arched chimney. Before 
this straddled Dom Nicolas, the 
Picardy monk, with his skirts pick- 
ed up and his fat legs bared to the 
comfortable warmth. His dilated 
shadow cut the room in half ; and the 
firelight only escaped on either side 
of his broad person, and in a little 
pool between his outspread feet. His 
face had the beery, bruised appear- 
ance of the continual drinker's; it 
was covered with a network of con- 
gested veins, purple in ordinary cir- 
cumstances, but now pale violet, for 
even with his back to the fire the 
cold pinched him on the other side. 
His cowl had half fallen back, and 
made a strange excrescence on either 
side of his bull neck. So he strad- 
dled, grumbling, and cut the room in 
half with the shadow of his portly 
frame. 

6. On the right, Villon and Guy 
Tabary were huddled together over 
a scrap of parchment; Villon mak- 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 27 

ing a t>allad which he was to call the 
"Ballad of Roast Fish," and Tabary 
spluttering admiration at his shoul- 
der. The poet was a rag of a man, 
dark, little^ and lean, with hollow 
cheeks and thin black locks. He car- 
ried his four-and-twenty years with 
feverish animation. Greed had made 
folds about his eyes, evil smiles had 
puckered his mouth. The wolf and 
pig struggled together in his face* 
It was an eloquent, sharp, ugly, earth- 
ly countenance. His hands were 
small and prehensile, with fingers 
knotted like a cord; and they were 
continually flickering in front of him 
in violent and expressive pantomime. 
As for Tabary, a broad, complacent, 

admiring imbecility breathed from 

his squash nose and slobbering lips: 

he had become a thief, just as he 

might have become the most decent 

of burgesses, by the imperious chance 

that rules the lives of human geese 

and human donkeys. 
7. At the monk's other hand, Mon- 

tigny and Thevenin Pensete played 

a game of chance. About the first 

there clung some flavor of good birth 

and training, as about a fallen angel ; 

something long, lithe, and courtly 

in the person ; something aquiline and 

darkling in the face. Thevenin, poor 

soul, was in great feather: he had 

done a good stroke of knavery that 

afternoon in the Faubourg St. 

Jacques, and all night he had been 

gaining from Montigny. A flat smile 

illuminated his face; his bald head 



38 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

shone rosily in a garland of red 
curls; his little protuberant stomach 
shook with silent chucklings as he 
swept in his gains. 

a "Doubles or quits?" said The- 
venin. 

9. Montigny nodded grimly. 

10. "Some may prefer to dine in 
state/' wrote Villon, " On bread and 
cheese on silver plate. Or, or — help 
me out, Guidol " 

11. Tabary giggled. 

12. " Or parsley on, a golden dish," 
scribbled the poet. 

13. The wind was freshening with- 
out; it drove the snow before it, and 
sometimes raised its voice in a vic- 
torious whoop, and made sepulchral 
grumblings in the chimney. The cold 
was growing sharper as the night 
went on. Villon, protruding his lips, 
imitated the gust with something be- 
tween a whistle and a groan. It was 
an eerie, uncomfortable talent of the 
poet's, much detested by the Picardy 
monk. 

14. " Can't you hear it rattle in the 
gibbet?" said Villon. "They are all 
dancing the devil's jig on nothing, up 
there. You may dance, my gallants,^ 
you*ll be none the warmer ! Whew I 
what a gust! Down went somebody 
just now! A medlar the fewer on 
the three-legged medlar-tree ! — I say, 
Dom Nicolas, it'll be cold to-night 
on the St. Denis Road?" he asked. 

15. Dom Nicolas winked both his 
big eyes, and seemed to choke upon . 
his Adam's apple. Montfaucon, the 



STORIES OP ACTION AND ADVENTURE 39 

great grisly Paris gibbet, stood hard 
by the St Denis Road, and the pleas- 
antry touched him on the raw. As 
for Tabary, he laughed immoderately 
over the medlars ; he had never heard 
anything more light-hearted; and he 
held his sides and crowed. Villon 
fetched him a fillip on the nose, which 
turned his mirth into an attack of 
coughing. 

16. " Oh, stop that row," said Vil- 
lon, " and think of rhymes to * fish.' " 

17. "Doubles or quits," said Mon- 
tigny, doggedly. 

la " With all my heart," quoth 
Thcvenin. 

19. " Is there any more in that bot- 
tle?" asked the monk. 

20. "Open another," said Villon. 
"How do you ever hope to fill that 
big hogshead, your body, with little 
things like bottles ? And how do you 
expect to get to heaven ? How many 
angels, do you fancy, can be spared 
to carry up a single monk from Pic- 
ardy? Or do you think yourself an- 
other Elias — and they'll send the 
coach for you?" 

21. "Hominibus impossible," re- 
plied the monk, as he filled his gbss. 

22. Tabary was in ecstasies. 

23. Villon filliped his nose again. 

24. "Laugh at my jokes, if you 
like," he said. 

25. "It was very good," objected 
Tabary. 

26. Villon made a face at him. 
"Think of rhymes to 'fish,*" he 
said "What have you to do with 



40 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Latin? You'll wish you knew none 
of it at the great assizes, when the 
devil calls for Guido Tabary, clericus 
— the devil with the humpback and 
red-hot fingper-nails. Talking of the 
devil/' he added, in a whisper, 
"look at Montigny!" 

27. All three peered covertly at 
the gamester. He did not seem to 
be enjoying his luck. His mouth 
was a little to a side ; one ' nostril 
nearly shut, and the other much in- 
flated. The black dog was on his 
back, as people say in terrifying 
nursery metaphor; and he breathed 
hard under the grewsome burden. 

28. " He looks as if he could knife 
him," whispered Tabary, with round 
eyes. 

29. The monk shuddered, and 
turned his face and spread his open 
hands to the red embers. It was 
the cold that thus affected Dom 
Nicolas, and not any excess of mor- 
al sensibility. 

30. "Come, now," said Villon — 
"about this ballad. How does it 
run so far ? " And beating time with 
his hand he read it aloud to Tabary. 

31. They were interrupted at the 
fourth rh3mie by a brief and fatal 
movement among the gamesters. 
The round was completed, and The- 
venin was just opening his mouth to 
claim another victory, when Mon- 
tigny leaped up, swift as an adder, 
and stabbed him to the heart. The 
blow took effect before he had time 
to move. A tremor or two convulsed 



STORIES OF ACTION AND' ADVENTURE 

his frame ; his hands opened and shut, 
his heels rattled on the floor; then 
his head rolled backward over one 
shoulder with the eyes wide open; 
and Thevenin Pensete's spirit had re- 
turned to Him who gave it 

32. Everyone sprung to his feet; 
but the business was over in two 
twos. The four living fellows look- 
ed at each other in rather a ghastly 
fashion; the dead man contemplat- 
ing a comer of the roof with a sin- 
gular and ugly leer. 

33. •'My God I" said Tabary; and 
he began to pray in Latin. 

34. Villon broke oat into hysterical 
laughter. He came a step forward 
and ducked a ridiculous bow at The- 
venin, and laughed still louder. 
Then he sat down suddenly, all of a 
heap, upon a stool, and continued 
laughing bitterly as though he 
would shake himself to pieces. 

35. Montigny recovered his com- 
posure first. 

36. "Let's see what he has about 
him," he remarked; and he picked 
the dead man's pockets with a prap^ 
ticed hand, and divided the money 
into four equal portions on the table. 
"There's for you," he said. 

Z7. The monk received his share 
with a deep sigh, and a single 
stealthy glance at the dead Thevenin, 
who was beginning to sink himself 
and topple sideways off the chair. 

38. "We're all in for it," cried Vil- 
lon, swallowing his mirth. "It's a 
hanging job for every man jack of us 



42 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

that's here — not to speak of those 
who aren't" He made a shocking 
gesture in the air with his raised 
right hand, and put out his tongue 
and threw his head on one side, so 
as to counterfeit the appearance of 
one who has been hanged. Then he 
pocketed his share of the spoil, and 
executed a shuffle with his feet as if 
to restore the circulation. 

39, Tabary was the last to help 
himself; he made a dash at the 
money, and retired to the other end 
of the apartment 

4a Montigny stuck Thevenin up- 
right in the chair, and drew out a 
dagger, which was followed by a jet 
of blood. 

41. " You fellows had better be 
moving," he said, as he wiped the 
blade on his victim's doublet 

42. "I think we had," returned 
Villon, with a great gulp. "Damn 
his fat head!" he broke out "It 
sticks in my throat like phlegm. 
What right' has a man to have red 
hair when he is dead ? " And he fell 
all of a heap again upon the stool, 
and fairly covered his face with his 
hands. 

43. Montigny and Dom Nicolas 
laughed aloud, even. Tabary feebly 
chiming in. 

44. " Cry baby," said the monk. 

45. "I always said he was a wom- 
an," added Montigny, with a sneer. 
"Sit up, can't you?" he went on, 
giving another shake to the murder- 



STCmiES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 43 

ed body. ''Tread out that fire, 
Nickl" 

46. But Nick was better employed; 
be was quietly taking Villon's purse, 
as the poet sat, limp and trembling, 
on the stool where he had been mak- 
ing a ballad not three minutes before. 
Montigny and Tabary dumbly de- 
manded a share of the booty, which 
the mofik silently promised as he 
passed the little bag into the bosom 
of his gown. In many ways an ar- 
tistic nature unfits a man for prac- 
tical existence. 

47. No sooner had the theft been 
accomplished than Villon shook him- 
self, jumped to his feet, and began 
helping to scatter and extinguish the 
embers. Meanwhile Montigny open- 
ed the door and cautiously peered in- 
to the street. The coast was clear; 
there was no meddlesome patrol in 
sight Still it was judged wiser to 
slip out severally; and as Villon was 
himself in a hurry to escape from the 
neighborhood of the dead Thevenin, 
and the rest were in a still greater 
hurry to get rid of him before he 
should discover the loss of his 
money, he was the first by general 
consent to issue forth into the street 

48w The wind had triumphed and 
swept all the clouds from heaven. 
Only a few vapors, as thin as moon- 
light, fleeted rapidly across the stars. 
It was bitter cold ; and by a common 
optical effect, things seemed almost 
more definite than in the broadest 
daylight The sleeping city was ab- 



44 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

solutely still; a company of white 
hoods, a field full of little alps, below 
the twinkling stars. Villon cursed 
his fortune. Would it were still 
snowing! Now, wherever he went, 
he left an indelible trail behind him 
on the glittering streets ; wherever he 
went he was still tethered to the 
house by the cemetery of St John; 
wherever he went he must weave, 
with his own plodding feet, the rope 
that bound him to the crime and 
would bind him to the gallows. The 
leer of the dead man came back to 
him with a new significance. He 
snapped his fingers as if to pluck up 
his own spirits, and choosing a street 
at random, stepped boldly forward in 
the snow. 

49. Two things preoccupied him 
as he went; the aspect of the gallows 
at Montfaucon in this bright, windy 
phase of the night's existence, for 
one; and for another, the look of 
the dead man with his bald head and 
garland of red curls. Both struck 
cold upon his heart, and he kept 
quickening his pace as if he could 
escape from unpleasant thoughts by 
mere fleetness of foot. Sometimes 
he looked back over his shoulder 
with a sudden nervous jerk; but he 
was the only moving thing in the 
white streets, except when the wind 
swooped round a corner and threw 
up the snow, which was beginning to 

. freeze, in spouts of glittering dust. 

50. Suddenly he saw, a long way 
before him, a black clump and a 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 45 

couple of lanterns. The cltunp was 
in motion, and the lanterns swung as 
though carried hy men walking. It 
was a patroL And though it was 
merely crossing his line of march, he 
judged it wiser to get out of eyeshot 
as speedily as he could. He was not 
in the humor to he challenged, and 
he was conscious of making a very 
conspicuous mark upon the snow. 
Just on his left hand there stood a 
great hotel, with some turrets and a 
large porch hefore the door; it was 
half-ruinous, he remembered, and 
had long stood empty; and so he 
made three steps of it, and jumped 
into the shelter of the porch. It was 
pretty dark inside, after the glimmer 
of the snowy streets, and he was 
groping forward with outspread 
hands, when he stumbled over some 
substance which offered an inde- 
scribable mixture of resistances, hard 
and soft, firm and loose. His heart 
gave a leap, and he sprung two steps 
back and stared dreadfully at the 
obstacle. Then he gave a little laugh 
of relief. It was only a woman, and 
she dead. He knelt beside her to 
make sure upon this latter point. 
She was freezing cold, and rigid like 
a stick. A little ragged finery flut- 
tered in the wind about her hair, and 
her cheeks had been heavily rouged 
that same afternoon. Her pockets 
were quite empty; but in her stock- 
ing, undemeatii the garter, Villon 
found two of the small coins that 
went by the name of whites. It was 



46 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

little enough, but it was always some- 
thing, and the poet was moved with 
a deep sense of pathos that she 
should have died before she had 
spent her money. That seemed to 
him a dark and pitiful mystery; and 
he looked from the coins in his hand 
to the dead woman, and back again 
to the coins, shaking his head over 
the riddle of man's life. 

51. Henry V. of England, dying 
at Vincennes just after he had con- 
quered France, and this poor jade 
cut off by a cold draught in a great 
man's doorway, before she had time 
to spend her couple of whites — it 
seemed a cruel way to carry on the 
world. Two whites would have tak- 
en such a little while to squander; 
and yet it would have been one more 
good taste in the mouth, one more 
smack of the lips, before the devil got 
the soul, iand the body was left to 
birds and vermin. He would like to 
use all his tallow before the light 
was blown out and the lantern bro- 
ken. 

52. While these thoughts were 
passing through his mind, he was 
feeling, half mechanically, for his 
purse. Suddenly his heart stopped 
beating ; a feeling of cold scales pass- 
ed up the back of his legs, and a cold 
blow seemed to fall upon his scalp. 
He stood petrified for a moment; 
then he felt again with one feverish 
movement; and then his loss burst 
upon him, and he was covered at 
once with perspiration. To spend- 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 47 

« thrifts money is so living and actual 
— it is such a thin veil between them 
and their pleasures! There is only 
one limit to their fortune — that of 
time; and a spendthrift with only a 
few crowns is the Emperor of Rome 
until they are spent For such a 
person to lose his money is to suffer 
the most shocking reverse, and fall 
from heaven to hell, from all to noth- 
ing, in a breath. And all the more 
if he has put his head in the halter 
for it; if he may be hanged to-mor- 
row for that same purse, so dearly 
earned, so foohshly departed! Vil- 
lon stood and cursed; he threw the 
two whites into the street; he shook 
his fist at heaven; he stamped, and 
was not horrified to find himself 
trampling the poor corpse. Then he 
began rapidly to retrace his steps to- 
ward the house beside the cemetery. 
He had forgotten all fear of the 
patrol, which was long gone by at 
any rate, and had no idea but that 
of his lost purse. It was in vain 
that he looked right and left upon 
the snow; nothing was to be seen. 
He had not dropped it in the streets. 
Had it fallen in the house? He 
would have liked dearly to go in and 
see; but the idea of the grisly oc- 
cupant unmanned htm. And he saw 
besides, as he drew near, that their 
efforts to put out the fire had been 
unsuccessful; on the contrary, it had 
broken into a blaze, and a change- 
ful light played in the chinks of door 
and window, and revived his terror 



48 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

for the authorities and Paris gib- 
bet. 

53. He returned to the hotel with 
the porch, and groped about upon the 
snow for the money he had thrown 
away in his childish passion. But 
he could only find one white; the 
other had probably struck sideways 
and sunk deeply in. With a single 
white in his pocket, all his projects 
for a rousing night in some wild 
tavern vanished utterly away. And 
it was not only pleasure that fied 
laughing from his grasp; positive 
discomfort, positive pain, attacked 
him as he stood ruefully before the 
porch. His perspiration had dried 
upon him, and although the wind 
had now fallen, a binding frost was 
setting in stronger with every hour, 
and he felt benumbed and sick at 
heart. What was to be done? Late 
as was the hour, improbable as was 
success, he would try the house of 
his adopted father, the chaplain of 
St Benoit 

54. He ran there all the way, and 
knocked timidly. There was no an- 
swer. He knocked again and again, 
taking heart with every stroke; and 
at last steps were heard approach- 
ing from within. A barred wicket 
fell open in the iron-studded door, 
and emitted a gush of yellow light. 

55. "Hold up your face to the 
wicket," said the chaplain, from with- 
in. 

56. " It's only me," whimpe-^ 
Villon. 



STORIES OP ACTION AND ADVENTUU 49 

57. "Oh, it's only you, is it?" rc- 
turaed the chaplain; and he cursed 
him with foul unpriestly oaths for 
disturbing him at such an hour, and 
bade him be off to hell, where he 
came from. 

5& " My hands are blue to the 
wrist," pleaded Villon; "my feet are 
dead and full of twinges; my nose 
aches with the sharp air; the cold 
lies at my heart I may be dead be- 
fore morning. Only this once, fath- 
er, and before God, I will never ask 
again I " 

59. "You should have come ear- 
lier," said the ecclesiastic coolly. 
"Young men require a lesson now 
and then." He shut the wicket and 
retired deliberately into the interior 
of the house. 

60. Villon was beside himself; he 
beat upon the door with his hands 
and feet, and shouted hoarsely after 
the chaplain. 

61. "Wormy old fox!" he cried. 
" If I had my hand under your twist, 
I would send you flying headlong 
into thfe bottomless pit." 

62. A door shut in the interior, 
faintly audible to the poet down long 
passages. He passed his hand over 
his mouth with an oath. And then ' 
the humor of the situation struck 
him, and he laughed and looked light- 
ly up to heaven, where the stars seem- 
ed to be winking over his discom- 
fiture. 

6$. What was to be done? It 
looked very like a night in the frosty 



so STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

streets. The idea of the dead woman 
popped into his imagination, and 
gave him a hearty fright; what had 
happened to her in the early night 
might very well happen to him be- 
fore morning. And he so young I and 
with such immense possibilities of 
disorderly amusement before him I 
He felt quite pathetic over the notion 
of his own fate, as if it had been 
some one else's, and made a little 
imaginative vignette of the scene in 
the morning when they should find 
his body. 

64. He passed all his chances im- 
der review, turning tht white be- 
tween his thumb and forefinger. Un- 
fortunately he was on bad terms with 
some old friends who would once 
have taken pity on him in such a 
plight. He had lampooned them in 
verses; he had beaten and cheated 
them; and yet now, when he was in 
so close a pinch, he thought there 
was at least one who might perhaps 
relent. It was a chance. It was 
worth trying at least, and he would 
go and see. 

65. On the way two little accidents 
happened to him which colored his 
musings in a very different manner. 
For, first he fell in with the track of 
a patrol, and walked in it for some 
hundred yards, although it lay out 
of his direction. And this spirited 
him up; at least he had confused his 
trail; for he was still possessed with 
the idea of people tracking him all 
about Paris over the snow, and col- 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 5 1 

bring him next morning before he 
was awake. The other matter affect- 
ed him quite differently. He passed 
a street comer, where, not so long 
before, a woman and her child had 
been devoured by wolves. This was 
just the kind of weather, he reflect- 
ed, when wolves might take it into 
their heads to enter Parb again ; and 
a lone man in these deserted streets 
would run the chance of something 
worse than a mere scare. He stop- 
ped and looked upon the place with 
an unpleasant interest — it was a 
center where several lanes intersect- 
ed each other; and he looked down 
them all, one after another, and held 
his breath to listen, lest he should de- 
tect some galloping black things on 
the snow or hear the sound of howl- 
ing between him and the river. He 
remembered his mother telling him 
the story and pointing out the spot, 
while he was yet a child. His moth- 
er! If he only knew where she liv- 
ed, he might make sure at least of 
shelter. He determined he would in- 
quire upon the morrow; nay, he 
would go and see her too, poor old ' 

girl! So thinking, he arrived at his 
destination — his last hope for the 
night. 

66. The house was quite dark, like 
its neighbors; and yet after a few 
taps, he heard a movement overhead, 
a door opening, and a cautious voice 
asking who was there. The poet 
named himself in a loud whisper, and 
waited, not without some trepidation. 



52 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the result Nor had he to wait long. 
A window was suddenly opened, and 
a pailful of slops splashed down up- 
on the doorstep. Villon had not 
been unprepared for something of the 
sort, and had put himself as much in 
shelter as the nature of the porch 
admitted; but for all that, he was 
deplorably drenched below the waist. 
His hose began to freeze almost at 
once. Death from cold and exposure 
stared him in the face ; he remember- 
ed he was of phthisical tendency, and 
began coughing tentatively. But 
the gravity of the danger steadied his 
nerves. He stopped a few hundred 
yards from the door where he had 
been so rudely used, and reflected 
with his nose. He could only see 
one way of getting a lodging, and 
that was to take it He had noticed 
a house not far away, which looked 
as if it might be easily broken into, 
and thither he betook himself prompt- 
ly, entertaining himself on the way 
with the idea of a room still hot, with 
a table still loaded with the remains 
of supper, where he might pass the 
rest of the black hours and whence 
he should issue, on the morrow, with 
an armful of valuable plate. He even 
considered on what viands and what 
wines he should prefer ; and as he 
was calling the roll of his favorite 
dainties, roast fish presented itself to 
his mind with an odd mixture ' of 
amusement and horror. 

67. "I shall never finish that bal- 
lad," he thought to himself ; and then. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVBNTURB 53 

with another shudder at the recollec- 
tion, "Oh, damn his fat head I" he 
repeated fervently, and spat upon the 
snow. 

6& The house in question looked 
dark at first sight; but as Villon 
made a preliminary inspection in 
search of the handiest point of attack, 
a little twinkle of light caught his 
eye from behind a curtained window. 

69. " The devil ! " he thought 
''People awake! Some student or 
some saint, confound the crewt 
Can't they get drunk and lie in bed 
snoring like their neighbors! Whafs 
the good of curfew, and poor devils 
of bellringers jumping at a rope's end 
in bell-towers? What's the use of 
day, if people sit up all night! The 
gripes to them ! " He grinned as he 
saw where his logic was leading him. 

- " Every man to his business, after 
all," added he, ** and if they're awake, 
by the Lord, I may come by a supper 
honestly for once, and cheat the 
devil." 

70. He went boldly to the door and 
knocked with an assured hand. On 
both previous occasions, he had 
knocked timidly and with some dread 
of attracting notice; but now, when 
he had just discarded the thought of 
a burglarious entry, knocking at a 
door seemed a mighty simple and in- 
nocent proceeding. The sound of his 
blows echoed through the house with 
thin, phantasmal reverberations, as 
though the house were empty; but 
these had scarcely died away before 



54 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

a measured tread drew near, a couple 
of bolts were withdrawn, and one 
wing was opened broadly, as though 
no guile or fear of guile were known 
to those within. A tall figure of a 
man, muscular and spare, but a little 
bent, confronted Villon. The head 
was massive in bulk, but finely sculp- 
tured; the nose blunt at the bottom, 
but refining upward to where it join- 
ed a pair of strong and honest eye- 
brows ; the mouth and eyes surround- 
ed with delicate markings, and the 
whole face based upon a thick white 
beard, boldly and squarely trimmed. 
Seen as it was by the light of a flick- 
ering hand-lamp, it looked, perhaps, 
nobler than it had a right to do ; but 
it was a fine face, honorable rather 
than intelligent, strong, simple, and 
righteous. 

71. " You knock late, sir," said the 
old man, in resonant, courteous tones. 

^2. Villon cringed, and brought up 
many servile words of apology; at a 
crisis of this sort, the beggar was up- 
permost in him, and the man of 
genius hid his head with confusion. 

^Z. "You are cold," repeated the 
old man, "and hungry? Well, step 
in." And he ordered him into the 
house with a noble enough gesture. 

74. " Some great seigneur," thought 
Villon, as his host, setting down the 
lamp on the flagged pavement of the 
entry, shot the bolts once more into 
their places. 

75. " You will pardon me if I go in 
front," he said, when this was dohe: 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 55 

and he preceded the poet up-stairs 
into a large apartment, warmed with 
a pan of charcoal and lit by a great 
lamp hanging from the roof. It was 
very bare of furniture; only some 
gold plate on a sideboard; some 
folios ; and a stand of armor between 
the windows. Some smart tapestry 
hung upon the walls, representing the 
crucifixion of our Lord in one piece, 
and in another- a scene of shepherds 
and shepherdesses by a running 
stream. Over the chimney was a 
shield of arms. 

T^. "Will you seat yourself," said 
the old man, "and forgive me if I 
leave you? I am alone in my house 
to-night, and if you are to eat I must 
forage for you myself." 

*JT, No sooner was his host gone 
than Villon leaped from the chair on 
whith he had just seated himself, 
and began examining the room, with 
the stealth and passion of a cat. He 
weighed the gold flagons in his hand, 
opened all the folios, and investigat- 
ed the arms upon the shield, and the 
stuff with which the seats were lined. 
He raised the window curtains, and 
saw that the windows were set with 
rich stained glass in figures, so far 
as he could see, of martial import. 
Then he stood in the middle of the 
room, drew a long breath, and, retain- 
ing it with puffed cheeks, looked 
round and round him, turning on his 
heels, as if to impress every feature 
of the apartment on his memory. 

78. "Seven pieces of plate," he 



56 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

said. "If there had been ten, I 
would have risked it. A fine house, 
and a fine old master, so help me all 
the saints!" 

79. And just then, hearing the old 
man's tread returning along the cor- 
ridor, he stole back to his chair, and 
began humbly toasting his wet legs 
before the charcoal pan. 

8a His entertainer had a plate of 
meat in one hand and a jug of wine 
in the other. He sat down the plate 
upon the table, motioning Villon to 
draw in his chair, and, going to the 
sideboard, brought back two goblets, 
which he filled. 

81. " I drink your better fortune," 
he said, gravely touching Villon's cup 
with his own. 

82. "To our better acquaintance," 
said the poet, growing bold. A mere 
man of the people would have been 
awed by the courtesy of the old 
seigneur, but Villon was hardened in 
that matter; he Jiad made mirth for 
great lords before now, and found 
them as black rascals as himself. 
And so he devoted himself to the 
viands with a ravenous gusto, while 
the old man, leaning backward, watch- 
ed him with steady, curious eyes. 

83. " You have blood on your 
shoulder, my man," he said. 

84. Montigny must have laid his 
wet right hand upon him as he left 
the house. He cursed Montigny in 
his heart. 

85. " It was none of my shedding," 
Jbie stammered. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 57 

86. " I had not supposed so/* re- 
turned his host, quietly. " A brawl ? " 

87. " Well, something of that sort," 
Villon admitted with a quaver. 

88. " Perhaps a fellow murdered? ** 

89. "Oh, no, not murdered," said 
the poet, more and more confused. 
"It was all fair play — murdered by 
accident. I had no hand in it, God 
strike me dead I" he added, fervent-' 

ga "One rogue the' fewer, I dare 
say," observed the master of the 
house. 

91. "You may dare to say that," 
agreed Villon, infinitely relieved. " As 
big a rogue as there is between here 
and Jerusalem. He turned up his 
toes like a lamb. But it was a nasty 
thing to look at I dare say you've 
seen dead men in your time, my 
lord?" he added, glancing at the ar- 
mor. 

92. " Many," said the old man. " I 
have followed the wars, as you imag- 
ine." 

93. Villon laid down his knife and 
fork, which he had just taken up 
again. 

94. "Were any of them bald?" he 
* asked. 

95. "Oh, yes, and with hair as 
white as mine." 

96. "I don't think I should mind 
the white so much," said Villon. 
"His was red." And he had a re- 
turn of his shuddering and tendency 
to laughter, which he drowned with 
a great draught of wine. " I'm a lit- 



58 STUDYING THE SHCMIT-STORY 

tie put out when I think of it/* he 
went on. ** I knew him — damn him I 
And then the cold gives a man fan- 
cies — or the fancies give a man cold, 
I don't know which." 

97. " Have you any money? " asked 
the old man. 

99. "I have one white," returned 
the poet, laughing. " I got it out of 
a dead jade's stocking in a porch. 
She was as dead as Caesar, poor 
wench, and as cold as a, church, with 
bits of ribbon sticking in her hair. 
This is a hard world in winter for 
wolves and wenches and poor rogues 
like me." 

99. "I," said the old man, "am 
Enguerrand de la Feuillee, seigneur 
de Brisetout, bailly du Patatrac. 
Who and what may you be ? " 

100. Villon rose and made a suita- 
ble reverence. " I ani called Francis 
Villon," he said, "a poor master of 
arts in this university. I know some 
Latin, and a deal of vice. I can make 
chansons, ballads, lais, virelais, and 
roundels and I am very fond of wine. 
I was born in a garret and I shall 
not improbably die upon the gallows. 
I may add, my lord, that from this 
night forward I am your lordship's 
very obsequious servant to com- 
mand." 

loi. " No servant of mine," said 
the knight ; " my guest for this even- 
ing, and no more." 

102. "A very grateful guest," said 
Villon, politely, and he drank in 
dtmib show to his entertainer. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 59 

103. "You are shrewd," began the 
old man, tapping his forehead, ** very 
shrewd; you have learning; you are 
a clerk; and yet you take a small 
piece of money off a dead woman 
in the street Is it not a kind of 
theft?" 

104. ''It is a kind of theft much 
practiced in the wars, my lord." 

105. "The wars are the field of 
honor," returned the old man, proud- 
ly. " There a man plays his life upon 
the cast ; he fights in the name of his 
lord the king, his Lord God, and all 
their lordships the holy saints and 
angels." 

106. "Put it," said Villon, "that I 
were really a thief, should I not play 
my life also, and against heavier 
odds?" 

107. " For gain, but not for honor." 
loa " Gain ? " repeated Villon, with 

a shrug. "Gain! The poor fellow 
wants supper, and takes it. So does 
the soldier in a campaign. Why, 
what are all these requisitions we 
hear so much about? If they are not 
gain to those who take them, they are 
loss enough to the others. The men- 
at-arms drink by a good fire, while 
the burgher bites his nails to buy 
them wine and wood. I have seen a 
good many plowmen swinging on 
trees about the country; ay, I have 
seen thirty on one elm, and a very 
poor figure they made; and when I 
asked some one how all these came 
to be hanged, I was told it was be- 
cause they could not scrape together 



60 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

enough crowns to satisfy the men-at- 
arms." 

log. "These things are a necessity 
of war, which the low-born must en- 
dure with constancy. It is true that 
some ^captains drive ovcrhard ; there 
are spirits in every rank not easily 
moved by pity ; and indeed many fol- 
low arms who are no better than 
brigands." 

no. ** You see/' said the poet, "you 
cannot separate the soldier from the 
brigand; and what is a thief but an 
isolated brigand with circumspect 
manners ? I steal a couple of mutton 
chops, without so much as disturbing 
people's sleep ; the farmer grumbles a 
bit, but sups none the less whole- 
somely on what remains. You come 
up blowing gloriously on a trumpet, 
take away the whole sheep, and beat 
the farmer pitifully into the bargain. 
I have no trumpet; I am only Tom, 
Dick, or Harry; I am a rogue and a 
dog, and hanging's too good for me — 
with all my heart; but just ask the 
farmer which of us he prefers, just 
find out which of us he lies awake to 
curse on cold nights." 

III. "Look at us two," said his 
lordship. "I am old, strong, and 
honored. If I were turned from my 
house to-morrow, hundreds would be 
proud to shelter me. Poor people 
would go out and pass the night in 
the streets with their children, if I 
merely hinted that I wished to be 
alone. And I find you up, wandering 
homeless, and picking farthings off 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 6l 

dead women by the wayside I I fear 
no man and nothing ; I have seen you 
tremble and lose countenance at a 
word. I wait God's summons con- 
tentedly in my own house, or, if it 
please the king to call me out again, 
upon the field of battle. You look 
for the gallows ; a rough, swift death, 
without hope or honor. Is there no 
difference between these two?" 

112. •'As far as to the moon," Vil- 
lon acquiesced. •'But if I had been 
bom Lord of Brisetout, and you had 
been the poor scholar Francis, would 
the difference have been any the less? 
Should I not have been warming my 
knees at this charcoal pan, and would 
not you have been groping for far- 
things in the snow? Should not I 
have been the soldier and you the 
thief?" 

113. " A thief? " cried the old man. 
"la thief I If you understood your 
words you would repent them." 

114. Villon turned out his hands 
with a gesture of inimitable impu- 
dence. "If your lordship had done 
me the honor to follow my argu- 
ment ! " he said. 

115. "I do you too much honor in 
submitting to your presence," said the 
knight " Learn to curb your tongue 
when you speak with old and honor- 
able men, or some one hastier than I 
may reprove you in a sharper fash- 
ion." And he rose and paced the 
lower end of the apartment, strug- 
gling with anger and antipathy. Vil- 
lon surreptitiously refilled his cup. 



62 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

and settled himself more comfortably 
in the chair, crossing his knees and 
leaning his head upon one hand and 
the elbow against the back of the 
chair. He was now replete and 
warm, and he was in nowise fright- 
ened for his host, having gauged him 
as justly as was possible between two 
such different characters. The night 
was far spent, and in a very comfort- 
able fashion after all; and he felt 
morally certain of a safe departure 
on the morrow. 

ii6. "Tell me one thing," said the 
old man, pausing in his walk. "Are 
you really a thief?" 

117. "I claim the sacred rights of 
hospitality," returned the poet. " My 
lord, I am." 

118. "You are very young," the 
knight continued. 

119. "I should never have been so 
old," replied Villon, showing his fin- 
gers, "if I had not helped myself 
with these ten talents. They have 
been my nursing mothers and my 
nursing fathers." 

120. "You may still repent and 
change." 

121. " I repent daily,'* said the poet 
" There are few people more given to 
repentance than poor Francis. As 
for change, let somebody change my 
circumstances. A man must continue 
to eat, if it were only that he may 
continue to repent." 

122. "The change must begin in 
the heart," returned the old man sol- 
emnly. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 63 

123. " My dear lord," apswcred 
Villon, "do you really fancy that I 
steal for pleasure? I hate stealing, 
like any other piece of work or of 
danger. My teeth chatter when I see 
a gallows. But I must eat, I must 
drink, I must mix in society of some 
sort. What the devil I Man is not a 
solitary animal — Cut Deus foeminam 
iradit. Make me king's pantler — 
make me abbot of St Denis; make 
me bailly of the Patatrac ; and then I 
shall be changed indeed. But as long 
as you leave me the poor scholar 
Francis Villon, without a farthing, 
why, of course, I remain the same." 

124. " The grace of God is all-pow- 
erful." 

125. " I should be a heretic to ques- 
tion it," said Francis. " It has made 
you lord of Brisetout and bailly of 
the Patatrac ; it has given me nothing 
but the quick wits under my hat and 
these ten toes upon my hands. May 
I help myself to wine? I tliank you 
respectfully. By God's grace, you 
have a very superior vintage." 

126. The lord of Brisetout walked 
to and fro with his hands behind his 
back. Perhaps he was not yet quite 
settled in his mind about the parallel 
between thieves and soldiers ; perhaps 
Villon had interested him by some 
cross-thread of sympathy ; perhaps his 
wits were simply muddled by so much 
unfamiliar reasoning; but whatever 
the cause, he somehow yearned to 
convert the young man to a better 
way of thinking, and could not make 



64 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORV 

up his mind to drive him forth again 
into the street. 

127. "There is something more 
than I can understand in this/' he 
said at length. "Your mouth is full 
of subtleties, and the devil has led 
you very far astray; but the devil 
is only a very weak spirit before 
God*s truth, and all hi^ subtleties 
vanish at a word of true, honor, like 
darkness at morning. listen to me 
once more. I learned lotog ago that 
a gentleman should live ^chivalrously 
and lovingly to God, aiid the king, 
and his lady; and th|)ugh I have 
seen many strange thpgs done, I 
have still striven to jtommand my 
ways upon that rule, ^t is not only 
written in all noble histories, but in 
every man's heart, if he will take 
care to read. You speak of food 
and wine, and I know very well that 
hunger is a difficult trial to endure; 
but you do not speak of other wants ; 
you say nothing of honor, of faith 
to God and other men, of courtesy, 
of love without reproach. It may be 
that I am not very wise — and yet I 
am — but you seem to me like one 
who has lost his way and made a 
great error in life. You are attend- 
ing to the little wants, and you have 
totally forgotten the 'great and only 
real ones, like a ma]?i who should be 
doctoring toothache* on the Judg- 
ment Day. For such things as hon- 
or and love and faith are not only 
nobler than food and drink, but in- 
deed I think we desire them more. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 65 

and suffer more sharply for their 
absence. I speak to you as I think 
you will most easily understand me. 
Are you not while careful to fill 
your belly, disregarding another ap- 
petite in your heart, which spoils 
the pleasure of your life and keeps 
you continually wretched?" 

128. Villon was sensibly nettled 
under all this sermonizing. "You 
think I have no sense of honor!" 
he cried. "I'm poor enough, God 
knows! It's hard to see rich people 
with their gloves, and you blowing' 
in your hands. An empty belly is a 
bitter thing, although you speak so 
lightly of it If you had had as 
many as I, perhaps you would 
change your tune. Any way, Fm a 
thief — make the most of that — but 
I'm not a devil from hell, God strike 
me dead. I would have you to 
know Tve an honor of my own, as 
good as yours, though I don't prate 
about it all day long, as if it was 
a God's miracle to have any. It 
seems quite natural to me; I keep 
it in its box till it's wanted. Why, 
now, look you here, how long have 
I been in this room with you? Did 
you not tell me you were alone in 
the house? Look at your gold plate I 
You're strong, if you like, but you're 
old and unarmed, and I have my 
knife. What did I want but a jerk 
of the elbow and here would have 
been you with the cold steel in your 
bowels, and there would have been 
me, linking in the streets; with an 



66 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

armful of golden cups! Did you 
suppose I hadn't wit enough to see 
that? And I scorned the action. 
There ^re your damned gohlets as 
safe as in a church, there are you 
with your heart ticking as good as 
new, and here am I, ready to go out 
again as poor as I came in, with 
my one white that you threw in my 
teeth! And you think I have no 
sense of honor — God strike me 
dead!" 

129. The old man stretched out 
his right arm. " I will tell you what 
you are," he said. "You are a 
rogue, my man, an impudent and 
hlack-hearted rogue and vagabond, 
I have passed an hour with you. 
Oh! believe me, I feel myself dis- 
graced! And you have eaten and 
drunk at my table. But now I am 
sick at your presence; the day has 
come, and the night-bird should be 
off to his roost Will you go be- 
fore, or after?" 

130. "Which you please," return- 
ed the poet, rising. "I believe you 
to be strictly honorable." He 
thoughtfully emptied his cup. "I 
wish I could add you were intelli- 
gent," he went on, knocking on his 
head with his knuckles. " Age I iige ! 
the brains stiff and rheumatic" 

131. The old man preceded him 
from a point of self-respect; Villon 
followed, whistling, with his thumbs 
in his girdle. 

132. " God pity you! " said the lord 
of Brisetout at the door. 



STORIES OF ACTION AND ADVENTURE 67 

133. "Good-bye, papa/' returned 
Villon, with a yawn. " Many thanks 
for the cold mutton." 

134. The door closed behind him. 
The dawn was breaking over the 
white roofs. A chill, uncomfortable 
morning ushered in the day. Villon 
stood and heartily stretched himself 
in the middle of the road. 

I3S« "A very dull old gentleman," 
he thought "I wonder what his 
goblets may be worth." 



SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. Briefly write out the plot of the story. 

2. Which incidents are essential to the story (plot incidents)? 

3. Which incidents could be altered without vitally changing 
the story (developing incidents) ? For a discussion of these 
types of incidents see the present author's Writing the Short' 
Story, pp. 174-181. 

4. Show how one such change could be made. 

5. Does the external (visible or bodily) action stand out as 
clearly as the internal (invisible or soul) action? 

6. (a) Is the story probable? (b) Usual? (c) Convincing? 
— That is, does it seem real? 

7. What are its strongest points, to you? 

8. Criticise its weak points, if any. 

9. Can you suggest any improvements? 

10. (a) Do you know any stories similar in theme? (b) If 
so, which is the better story, to you, and why? 

11. Briefly write out the plots of three stories of action or 
adventure, taken from any book or magazine. 

12. Compare one of them with one of these two stories. 



68 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

TEN REPRESENTATIVE STORIES OF ACTION 
AND ADVENTURE 

'* After He was Dead," Melville Davisson Post. Atlantic 

Monthly, April, 191 1. 
" The Attack on the Mill," fimile Zola. Translated in 

Great Short Stories. 
"The Taking of the Redoubt," Prosper Merimee. 

Translated in Short-Story Masterpieces. 
"The Man Who Would be King," Rudyard Kipling. 

In The Phantom Rickshaw (and other stories). 
" The Sire de Maletroit's Door," Robert Louis Steven- 

son. In New Arabian Nights, 
"The Diamond Lens," Fitz-James O'Brien. In Short 

Story Classics, American. 
" The Young Man in a Hurry," Robert W. Chambers. 

Harper's Magazine, Aug., 1903. 
" A Fight for the Tsarina," Maurus Jokai. Translated 

in Masterpieces of Fiction, 
" The Window that Monsieur Forgot," Mary Imlay Tay- 
lor. The Booklovers Magazine, Jan., 1904. 
" Blood o' Innocence," George W. Knapp. Lippincotfs 

Magazine, Nov., 1907. 



II 

STORIES OF MYSTERY AND 
FANTASY 

The Purloined Letter. — Edgar Allan Poe 
■The Monkey's Paw. — W. W. Jacobs 



69 



The fact is , . . that, in jthe riddle s tory, the detective_ _w3&..an 
afterthought, or, more accuratelyTa deus ex tnachina to make the 
"^story go. The riddle had^ to be unriddled; a nd who could d o it 
so naturally and readily as a "detective? Tlie detective, as Poe 
saw ]5n^wa?"ll uicans lu lliir"en3X an d it was only afterwards 
^!l5t- y^^*^**^ pfff'pivV^ fiH ^k¥«ilahUity.^as acKaraCter; — Lec o q 
accordingly becomes a figure in fiction, and i5h6flOck;-while he 
was as yet a novelty, was nearly as attractive as the. complications 
in which he involved himself.— Julian Hawthorne, Introduction 
to The Lock and Key Library, 

The literature of ghosts is very ancient. In visions of the 
night, and in the lurid vapors of mystic incantations, figures rise 
and smile, or frown and disappear. The Witch of Endor mur- 
murs her spell, and **an old man cometh up, and he is covered 
with a mantle." Macbeth takes a bond of fate, and from Hecate*s 
caldron, after the apparition of an armed head and that of a 
bloody child, "an apparition of a child crowned, with a tree in 
his hand, rises." The wizard recounts to Lochiel his warning 
vision, and Lochiel departs to his doom. There are stories of 
the Castle of Otranto and of The Three Spaniards, and the 
infinite detail of '* singular experiences," which make our con- 
scious daily life the frontier and border-land of an impinging 
world of mystery. — George William Curtis, Introduction to 
Modern Ghosts. 



70 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 

Even more deeply seated and elemental than our love 
for the mysterious is our passion for undertaking its 
solution. It is this, doubtless, that challenges us to match 
our wits with the clever rogues of fiction, and to pit 
our resources of detection against the forces seen and 
unseen which play in tales of the weird, the mysterious, 
and the unexplained. 

Such stories readily fall into two classes, with as many 
sub-sorts as the invention of man may compass — those 
which are soluble and those which are not. Of the for- 
mer, the detective story is the more common, followed at 
no very great distance by the tale which seems to involve 
the supernatural, but whose mystery transpires quite 
plainly in the end. Of the latter are all those inexpli- 
cable wonder-fictions dealing with shapes that haunt the 
dream-dusk, the whole shadow-land of wraiths and 
spirits and presences and immaterialities which cross the 
borders of experience at the call of fantasy. They are 
all the inheritance of the credulous age in which romance 
was bom, and few of us are so engirded with the 
armor of stoicism that we cannot enjoy their gathering 
goose-flesh and creeping spinal chill. Hawthorne and 
Poe and Irving ^were masters here. 

The processes of inductive reasoning by which Vol- 

71 



72 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

taire's Zadig reconstructed actual occurrences from 
trivial clues have developed into modern detective stories 
of uncounted variety, in which the criminal is hunted 
down by a professional sleuth. Then, too, the "clever 
amateur " often takes a hand in the game, and even acci- 
dent plays at times, until there is no end to the possible 
combinations growing out of pure reasoning employed to 
unravel the tangle. 

Much the same processes are employed to discover the 
pseudo-supernatural mystery, like Fitz-James O'Brien's 
solved ghost-story, "What Was It? A Mystery," But 
when we enter the domain of the unexplained, the story 
tends to become a ^tudy of fear and of pure mystery, like 
Marion Crawford's "The Upper Berth," and "The 
Damned Thing," by Ambrose Bierce. 

Poe was the great American originator of the detective 
story, and to-day his " Purloined Letter," reproduced here 
in full, " The Mystery of Marie Roget," and " The Mur- 
ders in the Rue Morgue," are unsurpassed. 

POE AND HIS WRITINGS 

Edgar Allan Poe was bom in Boston, January 19, 
1809. His father, of a good Maryland family, was an 
actor, and his mother an actress of English extraction. 
Both parents dying before Edgar was three, he, with his 
brother William and sister Rosalie, was left homeless in 
Richmond, where each found a protector. Mrs. Allan 
adopted Edgar, giving him his middle name, and bestow- 
ing at the same time every opportunity that wealth could 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 73 

offer. He was sent to school at Stoke Newington, Eng- 
land, attended a private school in Richmond, and entered 
the University of Virginia, but remained there less than 
a year, for his reckless and erratic temperament champed 
under the restraints of routine. He was placed in Mr. 
Allan's counting-room, but ran away to enlist in the 
United States Army as " Edgar Allan Perry." After the 
death of Mrs. Allan, her husband secured Poe's discharge 
from the army and his appointment to West Point as a 
cadet, July i, 1830; but after six' months Poe contrived 
to be dismissed. He had already published his poems 
successfully, so he went to New York, in the early part 
of 183 1, to begin his professional literary life. For four 
years — 1833 *^ 1837 — he wrote brilliantly for The 
Southern Literary Messenger, in Baltimore. Then he 
went successively to New York and Philadelphia, where 
he worked on various literary enterprises for six years. 
In 1844 he returned to New York, and became assistant 
to N. P. Willis, in whose journal. The Mirror, " The 
Raven " appeared in 1845. Poe's literary reputation was 
now established both in America and abroad, most of his 
masterpieces having been created during the turbulent 
years of his wanderings. In 1835 he had been married 
to Virginia Clemm, his cousin, and her early death in 
1847 broke his spirit. His health had already succumbed 
to his morbid temperament — Which magnified every sor- 
row of his chaotic career — and to the excesses of drugs 
and drink. He died most unhappily, October 7, 1849, at 
the age of forty — a master spirit pitifully wrecked be- 
fore his prime. 



74, STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Pee .was a remarkable poet, essayist, critic, and short- 
story writer. "The Raven," "Lenore," "Ulalume," 
"The Bells," "Annabel Lee,'* "Israfel," and "To One 
in Paradise " are among his best poems. Probably the 
greatest of his stories are, "MS. Found in A Bpttle," 
"The Assignation," " Ligeia," "The Murders in The 
Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," "A 
Descent into The Maelstrom," " The Masque of The Red 
Death," " The Pit and the Pendulum," " The Gold Bug," 
" The Black Cat," " The Cask of Amontillado," " The 
Fall of the House of Usher," first published in Burton's 
Gentleman's Magazine, September^ 1839 — and "The 
Purloined Letter," first published in The Gift, an " an- 
nual," in 1845. 

Poe was the greatest conscious artist that American 
literature has ever known. He not only looked backward 
upon his own work and, as did Stevenson, clearly traced 
the operations of his mind in its production, but he built 
up a structure of literary theory which has been power- 
fully attacked, indeed, but whose walls remain sub- 
stantially whole to-day. To his constructive criticism of 
the short-story is directly due its present advanced form, 
for while current practice has widely departed from Poe's 
morbid, gloomy, extravagant themes and formal, abun- 
dant diction, his stories are still unsurpassed for vigor, 
atmosphere, invention, and thrill, and his laws of com- 
position are read everywhere with the respect due 
authority. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 75 

Ah, dream too bright to last! 
Ah, tUrry Hope, that didst arise 

But to be OTercastI 
A voice from out the Future cries, 

"Onward I"— but o'er the Paat 
(Dim gulf I) my spirit hovering lies, 

Mute — motionless — aghast I 

Edgak Alxan Pob, 7A# Assiffnaiion, 

Had you lived a generation later, honor, wealth, applause, 
success in Europe and at home, would all have been yours. — 
Andbew Lang, Letters to Dead Authors, 

There are literary evolutionists who, in their whim of seeing 
in every original writer a copy of some predecessor, have declared 
that Hawthorne is derived from Tieck, and Poe from Hoffmann. 
... If the adjective American has any meaning at all, it quali- 
fies Poe and Hawthorne. They were American to the core. 
They both revealed the curious sympathy with Oriental moods 
of thought which is often an American characteristic. Poe, with 
his cold logic and his mathematical analysis, and Hawthorne, 
with his introspective conscience and his love of the subtile and 
the invisible, are representative of phases of American character 
not to be mistaken by any one who has given thought to the 
influence of nationality. . . . Nothing better of its kind has ever 
been done than the " Pit and the Pendulum," or than the " Fall 
of the House of Usher'* (which has been compared aptly with 
Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" for its 
power of suggesting intellectual desolation). Nothing better of 
its kind has ever been done than the "Gold Bug," or than the 
" Purloined Letter," or than the " Murders in the Rue Morgue." 
— Brander Matthews, The Philosophy of the Short-story, 

The conception of gloomy terror which impregnates "The 
House of Usher" is as complete as the idea of medieval chiv- 
alry underlying Ivanhoe, ... To be sure, the terror in his 
stories, so he said in his preface to the Tales of the Grotesque 
and the Arabesque, was "not of Germany, but of the soul." . . . 
Yet one can readily believe that his Roderick in "The House 
of Usher," who pored over books which had the "character of 
phantasm," Morella, who was interested in the transcendentalism 



76 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

of Schelling and Fichte, JEgxus, whom "the realities of the 
world affected — as visions," are all identical with the Young 
Poe when he freed his mind and later his fancy in the fields 
where Novalis sought the blue flower and all the German ro- 
manticists wandered, ... To say that Poe was a creature of 
German influence would be absurd. To say that German thought 
and fancy were sympathetic to his genius, would be putting it 
too mildly. Between these extremes the truth must lie. — H. S. 
Canby, The Short Story in English. 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON POE 

Prose Writers of America, Rufus W. Griswold (1870) ; 
Short Studies of American Authors, Thomas W. Hig- 
ginson (1880) ; Letters to Dead Authors, Andrew Lang 
(1886); Criticisms on Contemporary Thought, Richard 
H. Hutton (1894) ; American Lands and Letters, Donald 
G. Mitchell (1897-99) ; Life of Edgar Allan Poe, R. H. 
Stoddard (1899) ; Poe and Some of His Critics, C. W. 
Hubner (1906) ; Life of Edgar Allan Poe, Personal and 
Literary, George E. Woodberry (1909); Edgar Allan 
Poe, A Critical Study, Arthur Ransome (1910). 

THE PURLOINED LETTER 

Nil sapientiae odlosius acumina nimio. — Sentca. 
(Nothing is more odious to wisdom than too great acumen.) 

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE 



At Paris, just after dark one gusty Formal Ihtroduction. 

evening in the autumn of 18—, I was Dupin appears a&. the dctec- 

enjoying the twofold luxury of medi- tive in Poe's oi^cr mys- 

tation and a meerschaum, in com- ^^"^ stories, "ijhic Mur- 

pany with my friend C Auguste Du- ^^" ?4he ^^h•^T''oi 

pin, in his little back library, or Marie Roget*,*-*^ 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



77 



book closet, au troisihne. No. $3 
Rue Dunot, Faubourg St. Germain, 
For one hour at least we had main- 
tained a profound silence ; while each, 
to any casual observer, might have 
seemed intently and exclusively oc- 
cupied with the curling eddies of 
smoke that oppressed the atmosphere 
of the chamber. For myself, how- 
ever, I was mentally discussing cer- 
tain topics which had formed matter 
for conversation between us at an 
earlier period of the evening; I mean 
the affair of the Rue Morgue, and 
the mystery attending the murder of 
Marie Roget I looked upon it, 
therefore, as something of a coinci- 
dence, when the door of our apart- 
ment was thrown open and admit- 
ted our old acquaintance, Monsieur 

G , the Prefect of the Parisian 

police. 

2. We gave him a hearty welcome ; 
for there was nearly half as much of 
the entertaining as of the contemp- 
tible about the man, and we had not 
seen him for several years. We had 
been sitting, in the dark, and Dupin 
now firose for the purpose of liglit- 
ing a lamp, but sat down again, 
without doing so, upon G ^'s say- 
ing that he had called to consult us, 
or rather to ask the opinion of my 
friend, about some official business 
which had occasioned a great deal 
of trouble. 

3. " If it is any point requiring re- 
flection," observed Dupin, as he for- 
bore to enkindle the wick, " we shall 



Au troitikmt — third flight, 
or fourth floor. / 



Compare thi« ftory with 
Sardou's «<A Scrap of 
Paper." 



J also appears in " The 

Mystery of Marie Roget" 



Careless English. 



78 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



examine it to better purpose in the 
dark." 

4. "That is another of your odd 
notions/' said the Prefect, who had 
a fashion of calling everything 
"odd" that was beyond his com- 
prehension, and thus lived amid an 
absolute legion of "oddities." 

5. "Very true," said Dupin, as he 
supplied his visitor with a pipe, and 
rolled towards him a comfortable 
chair. 

6. "And what is the difficulty 
now?" I asked. "Nothing more in 
the assassination way, I hope?" 

7. " Oh, no ; nothing of that nature. 
The fact is, the business is very 
simple, indeed, and I make no doubt 
that we can manage it sufficiently well 
ourselves; but then I thought Dupin 
would like to hear the details of it, 
because it is so excessively odd." 

8. " Simple and odd," said Dupin. 

9. "Why, yes; and not exactly 
that, either. The fact is, we have all 
been a good deal puzzled because the 
affair is so simple, and yet baffles us 
altogether." 

10. " Perhaps it is the very simplic- 
city of the thing which puts you at 
fault," said my friend. 

11. "What nonsense you do talk! " 
replied the Prefect, laughing heartily. 

12. " Perhaps the mystery is a little 
too plain," said Dupin. 

13. "Oh, good Heavens! who ever 
heard of such an idea ? " 

14. "A little too self-evident." 

15. "Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ho! 



Later writers of detective 
stories follow Poe's lead 
in sliowing contempt for 
police officials. 



Poe makes G to serve 

as a foil for Dupin, while 
the narrator plays Watson 
to Dupin's Sherlock — but 
Poe came first! 

Forecast of denotement. 
' Note how this pdint is 
emphasized. / 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



79 



ho\ ho ! " roared our visitor, pro- 
foundly amused. "Oh, Dupin, you 
will be the death of me yet! " 

i6. "And what, after all, is the 
matter on hand ? " I asked 

17. " Why, I will tell you,'* replied 
the Prefect, as he gave a long, steady, 
and contemplative puff, and settled 
himself in his chair. " I will tell you 
in a few words; but, before I begin, 
let me caution you that this is an af- 
fair demanding the greatest secrecy, 
and that I should most probably lose 
the position I now hold were it 
known that I confided it to any one." 

i& " Proceed," said I. 

19. " Or not," said Dupin. 

20. "Well, then; I have received 
personal information from a very 
high quarter that a certain document 
of the last importance has been pur- 
loined from the royal apartments. 
The individual who purloined it is 
Icnown; this beyond a doubt; he was 
seen to take it. It is known, also, 
that it still remains in his posses- 
sion." 

21. "How is this known?" asked 
Dupin. 

22. "It is clearly inferred," replied 
the Prefect, " from the nature of the 
document, and from the non-appear- 
ance of certain results which would 
at once arise from its passing out of 
the robber's possession ; that is to say, 
from his employing it as he must de- 
sign in the end to employ it." 

23. "Be a little more explicit," I 
said. 



Later imitators freely luc 
this •cheme of the au- 
perior pose of the police. 



This device has since been 
mach oTerworked. 



LxNGTRr iNTaoDucnoN 

Ends. 
Note that this is one unified 

story, with much philoso* 

phising, but no minor epi^ 

sodes.. 
The foundation laid; sum* 

MAaV OF PROBLEM. 



Development of problem. 



8o 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



24. " Well, I may venture so far as 
to say that the paper gives its holder 
a certain power in a certain quarter 
where such power is immensely valu- 
able." The Prefect was fond of the 
cant of diplomacy. 

25. " Still I do not quite under- 
stand/' said Dupin. 

26. "No? well; the disclosure of 
the document to a third person, who 
shall be nameless, would bring in 
question the honor of a personage 
of most exalted station ; and this fact 
gives the holder of the document an 
ascendency over the illustrious per- 
sonage whose honor and peace are so 
jeopardized." 

2,7, "But this ascendency," I inter- 
posed, "would depend upon the rob- 
ber's knowledge of the loser's knowl- 
edge of the robber. Who would 
dare—" 

28. "The thief," said G , "is 

the Minister D , who dares all 

things, those unbecoming as well as 
those becoming a man. [The method 
of the theft was not less ingenious 
than bold. The document in question 
— a letter, to be frank — had been 
received by the personage robbed 
while alone in the royal boudoir. 
During its perusal she was suddenly 
interrupted by the entrance of the 
other exalted personage, from whom 
especially it was her wish to conceal 
it. After a hurried and vain endeav- 
or to thrust it in a drawer, she was 
forced to place it, open as it was, up- 
on a table. The address, however, 



Impoxtanoe of problem 



PliiloBophy of problem. 



Unique situation: the thief 

is known. 
Method and circumstanoea 

of the theft related. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 8l 

was uppermost, and, the contents thus See note on 1 115, p. 104. 
unexposed, the letter escaped notice. 
At this juncture enters the Minister 

D . His lynx eye immediately 

perceives the paper, recognizes the 
handwriting of the address, observes 
the confusion of the personage ad- 
dressed, and fathoms her secret. Af- 
ter some business transactions, hur- 
ried through in his ordinary manner, 
he produces a letter somewhat similar 
to the one in question, opens it, pre- 
tends to read it, and then places it 
in close juxtaposition to the other. 
Again he converses for some fifteen 
minutes upon the public affairs. At Note "the.** 
length in taking leave he takes also 
from the table the letter to which he 
had no claim. Its rightful owner 
saw, but of course dared not call at- 
tention to the act, in the presence of 
the third personage, who stood at 
her elbow. The minister decamped, 
leaving his own letter — one of no 
importance — upon the table." 

29. " Here, then," said Dupin to me, 
" you have precisely what you demand 
to make the ascendency complete — 
the robber's knowledge of the loser's 
knowledge of the robber." 

30. " Yes," replied the Prefect ; Results of theft 
" and the power thus attained has, for 

some months past, been wielded, for 
political purposes, to a very danger- 
ous extent The personage robbed is 
more thoroughly convinced, every 
day, of the necessity of reclaiming her 
letter. But this, of course, cannot be 
done openly. In -fine, driven to des- 



82 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



pair, she has committed the matter to 
me. 

31. "Than whom," said Dupin, 
amid a perfect whirlwind of smoke, 
"no more sagacious agent could, I 
suppose, be desired, or even imagin- 
ed." 

32. " You flatter me," replied the 
Prefect ; " but it is possible that some 
such opinion may have been enter* 
tained." 

33. " It is clear," said I, " as you ob- 
serve, that the letter is still in pos- 
session of the minister ; since it is this 
possession, and not any employment 
of the letter, which bestows the pow- 
er. With the employment the power 
departs." 

34. "True," said G , "and up- 
on this conviction I proceeded. My 
first care was to make thorough 
search of the minister's hotel; and 
here my chief embarrassment lay in 
the necessity of searching without his 
knowledge. Beyond all things, I 
have been warned of the danger 
which would result from giving him 
reason to suspect our design." 

35. "But," said I, "you are quite 
au fait in these investigations. The 
Parisian police have done this thing 
often before." 

36. "Oh, yes; and for this reason 
I did not despair. The habits of the 
minister gave me, too, a great ad- 
vantage. He is frequently absent 
from home all night. His servants 
are by no means numerous. They 
sleep at a distance from their master's 



End of statement of case as 
a problem. 

Character development. 
Satire supports his attitude 
toward the i>oIice. 



Character delineation. 



Attempts at recovery r# 
the purloined letter. 
Second stage of the 

PLOT. 



Au fait — to the point; 
therefore, at home. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



83 



apartment, and being chiefly Nea- 
politans, are readily made drunk. I 
have keys, as you know, with which 
I can open any chamber or cabinet in 
Paris. For three months^ a night has 
not passed during the greater part 
of which I have not been engaged, 

personally, in ransacking the D 

Hotel. My honor is interested, and, 
to mention a great secret, the reward 
is enormous. So I did not abandon 
the search until I had become fully 
satisfied that the thief is a more as- 
tute man than myself. I fancy that 
I have investigated every nook and 
corner of the premises in which it is 
possible that the paper can be con- 
cealed." 

37. " But is it not possible," I sug- 
gested, " that although the letter may 
be in possession of the minister, as it 
unquestionably is, he may have con- 
cealed it elsewhere than upon his own 
premises?" 

38. "This is barely possible," said 
Dupin. " The present peculiar condi- 
tion of affairs at court, and especially 

of those intrigues in which D is 

known to be involved, would render 
the instant availability of the docu- 
ment — its susceptibility of being pro- 
duced at a moment's notice — a point 
of nearly equal importance with its 
possession." 

39. " Its susceptibility of being pro- 
duced ?" said I. 

4fX "That is to say, of being de- 
stroyed," said Dupin, 
41. " True," I observed ; " the paper 



Inferential reasoning. 



Note tke distinction. 



A just inference. 



84 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



is clearly then upon the premises. As 
for its being upon the person of the 
minister, we may consider that as out 
of the question/* 

42. " Entirely," said the Prefect. 
"He has been twice waylaid, as if 
by footpads, and his person rigor- 
ously searched under my own in- 
spection." 

43. " Ypu might have spared your- 
self this trouble," said Dupin. 

"D , I presume, is not altogether 

a fool, and, if not, must have antici- 
pated these waylayings as a matter of 
course." 

44. " Not altogether a fool," said 

G ; "but then he's a poet, which 

I take to be only one remove from a 
fool." 

45. "True," said Dupin, after a 
long and thoughtful whiff from his 
meerschaum, "although I have been 
guilty of certain doggerel myself." 

46. " Suppose you detail," said I, 
" the particulars of your search." 

47. " Why, the fact is, we took our 
time, and we searched everywhere. I 
have had long experience in these af- 
fairs. I took the entirfe building, 
room by room, devoting the nights of 
a whole week to each. We examined, 
first, the furniture of each apartment. 
We opened every possible drawer; 
and I presume you know that, to a 
properly trained police agent, such a 
thing as a secret drawer is impossible. 
Any man is a dolt who permits a 
•secret' drawer to escape him in a 
search of this kind. The thing is so 



The thoroughness of the 
search tends to interest 
the reader in the problem 
as a difficult one. 



On Poe's "police methods" 
most modern detective 
writers have drawn for 
material. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



8s 



plain. There is a certain amount of 
bulk — of space — to be accounted for 
in every cabinet Then we have ac- 
curate rules. The fiftieth {iart of a 
line could not escape us. After the 
cabinets we took the chairs. The 
cushions we probed with the fine long 
needles you have seen me employ. 
From the tables we removed the 
tops." 

4a "Why so?" 

49. ** Sometimes the top of a table, 
or other similarly arranged piece of 
furniture, is removed by the person 
wishing to conceal an article: then 
the leg is excavated, the article de- 
posited within the cavity, and the top 
replaced. The bottoms and tops of 
bed-posts are employed in the same 
way." 

so. "But could not the cavity be 
detected by sounding ? " I asked. 

51. "By no means, if, when the 
article is deposited, a sufficient wad- 
ding of cotton be placed around it 
Besides, in our case we were obliged 
to proceed without noise/' 

52. "But you could not have re- 
moved — you could not have taken 
to pieces all articles of furniture in 
which it would have been possible to 
make a deposit in the manner you 
mention. A letter may be compress- 
ed into a thin spiral roll, not differ- 
ing much in shape or bulk from a 
large knitting-needle, and in this 
form it might be inserted into the 
rung of a chair, for example. You 
did not take to pieces all the chairs ? " 



Doubtlcw 
•peaks. 



the 



nsmttif 



Note improper ■hifting ol 
tenses in question and 
answer. 



86 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



53. " Certainly not ; b.ut we did bet- 
ter — we examined the rungs of every 
chair in the hotel, and indeed, the 
jointings of every description of 
furniture, by the aid of a most power- 
ful microscope. Had there been any 
traces of recent disturbance we should 
not have failed to detect it instantly. 
A single grain of gimlet-dust, for ex- 
ample, would have been as obvious as 
an apple. Any disorder in the gluing 

— any unusual gaping in the joints 

— would have sufficed to insure de- 
tection." 

54. "I presume you looked to the 
mirrors, between the boards and the 
plates, and you probed the beds and 
the bedclothes, as well as the curtains 
and carpets?" 

55. ** That, of course ; and when we 
had absolutely completed every parti- 
cle of the furniture in this way, then 
we examined the house itself. We 
divided its entire surface into com- 
partments, which we numbered, so 
that none might be missed; then we 
scrutinized each individual square 
inch throughout the premises includ- 
ing the two houses immediately ad- 
joining, with the microscope, as be- 
fore." 

56. "The two houses adjoining!" 
I exclaimed; "you must have had a 
great deal of trouble." 

57. " We had ; but the reward offer- 
ed is prodigious." 

58. " You include the grounds about 
the houses^/ ' 

59. "All the grounds are paved 



Note how ingeniously Poe 
weaves his knowledge of 
detective methods into the 
actual search of the story. 



This seems to be a break in 
the chain of probability, 
as G — has already care- 
fully explained how he 
was able to go over 

D 's house with in» 

punity. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



87 



with brick. They gave us compara- 
tively little trouble. We examined 
the moss between the bricks, and 
found it undisturbed." 

60. "You looked among D ^'s 

papers, of course, and into the books 
of the library?" 

61. ** Certainly; we opened every 
package and parcel ; we not only open- 
ed every book, but we turned over 
every leaf in each volume, not con- 
tenting ourselves with a mere shake, 
according to the fashion of some of 
our police officers. We also measured 
the thickness of every hock-cover, 
with the most accurate admeasure- 
ment, and applied to each the most 
jealous scrutiny of the microscope. 
Had any of the bindings been recent- 
ly meddled with, it would have been 
utterly impossible that the fact should 
have escaped observation. Some five 
or six volumes, just from the hands 
of the binder, we carefully probed, 
longitudinally, with the needles." 

62. "You explored the floors be- 
neath the carpets?" 

63. "Beyond doubt. We removed 
every carpet, and examined the boards 
with the microscope." 

64. " And the paper on the walls ? " 

65. " Yes." 

66. " You looked into the cellars? " 

67. "We did." 

68. "Then," I said, "you have been 
making a miscalculation, and the let- 
ter is not on the premises, as you supr 
pose." 



Note unusual word. 



Dupin would not have said 
this. 



88 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



69. •'! fear you are right there," 
said the Prefect. "And now, Dupin, 
what would you advise me* to do ? " 

70 ** To make a thorough re-search 
of the premises." 

71. "That is absolutely needless," 

replied G . " I am not more sure 

that I breathe than I am that the let- 
ter is not at the Hotel." 

•72, "I have no better advice to 
give you," said Dupin. " You have, 
of course, an accurate description of 
the letter?" 

73. " Oh, yes." And here the Pre- 
fect, producing a memorandum-book, 
proceeded to read aloud a minute ac- 
count of the internal, and especially of 
the external, appearance of the miss- 
ing document. Soon after finishing 
the perusal of this description, he 
took his departure, more entirely de- 
pressed in spirits than I had ever 
known the good gentleman before. 

74. In. about a month afterwards 
he paid us another visit, and found 
us occupied very nearly as before. 
He took a pipe and a chair, and enter- 
ed into some ordinary conversation. 
At length I said: 

75. " Well, but G , what of the 

purloined letter? I presume you 
have at last made up your mind that 
there is no such thing as overreach- 
ing the minister ? " 

76. " Confound him, say I — yes ; I 
made the reexamination, however, as 
Dupin suggested — but it was all 
labor lost, as I knew it would be." 



FiSST DSDUCTIOK ReJECTSBi 

Third Stage op Plot. 



Preparation for denouement. 



Attempt to mislead reader. 



Note the patronizing 
gentleman." 



'good 



STORIES OF MYSTEkY AND FANTASY 



89 



Tj. " How much was the reward of- 
fered, did you say? " asked Dupin. 

7& "Why, a very great deal — a 
very liberal reward — I don't like to 
say how much precisely; but one 
thing I will say, that I wouldn't mind 
giving my individual check for fifty 
thousand francs to any one who 
would obtain me that letter. The 
fact is, it is becoming of more and 
more importance every day; and the 
reward has been lately doubled. If 
it were trebled, however, I could do 
no more than I have done." 

79. " Why, yes," said Dupin drawl- 
ingly, between the whiffs of his meer- 
schaum, "I really — think, G , 

you have not exerted yourself — to 
the utmost in this matter. You 
might — do a little more, I think, 
eh?" 

80. "How? — in what way?" 

81. "Why [puff, puff], you might 
[puff, puff] employ counsel in the 
matter, eh? [puff, puff, puff] Do 
you remember the story they tell of 
Abemethy?" 

82. " No; hang Abemethy! " • 

83. "To be surel hang him and 
welcome. But once upon a time, a 
certain rich miser conceived the de- 
sign of sponging upon this Abernethy 
for a medical opinion. Getting up, 
for this purpose, an ordinary conver- 
sation in a private company, he in- 
sinuated his case to the physician as 
that of an imaginary individual. 

84. "*We will suppose,' said the 
miser, 'that his symptoms are such 



Fourth Stags ov Plot* 



Illustrative anecdote of Dr. 
John Abernethy, the £ng« 
lish surgeon. 



90 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



and such; now, doctor, what would 
you have directed him to take?'* 

85. " * Take I ' said Abemethy, 
* why, take advice, to be sure/ " 

86. " But,'' said the Prefect, a lit- 
tle discomposed, " I am perfectly will- 
ing to take advice, and to pay for it 
I would really give fifty thousand 
francs to any one who would aid me 
in the matter." 

87. "In that case," replied Dupin, 
opening a drawer, and producing a 
check-book, "you may as well fill 
me up a check for t'"e amount men- 
tioned. When you nave signed it, I 
will hand you the letter." 

88. I was astounded. The Prefect 
appeared absolutely thunderstricken. 
For some minutes he remained 
speechless and motionless, looking 
incredulously at my friend with open 
mouth, and eyes that seemed start- 
ing from their sockets; then, ap- 
parently recovering himself in some 
measure, he seized a pen, and after 
several pauses and vacant stares, 
finally filled up and signed a check 
for fifty thousand francs, and hand- 
ed it across the table to Dupin, 
The latter examined it carefully and 
deposited it in his pocket; then, un- 
locking an escritoire, took thence a 
letter and gave it to the Prefect. 
This functionary grasped it in a per- 
fect agony of joy, opened it with a 
trembling hand, cast a rapid glance 
at its contents, and then, scrambling 
and struggling to the door, rushed at 
length unceremoniously from the 



Minos Climax. 
Character delineatioiv 



Cliicax. 

The plot seems to end here, 
for long reasoning and 
explanation follow. Ther« 
is, however, a second cli- 
max as Dupin*8 story 
reaches its denouement. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



91 



room and from the house, without 
having uttered a syllable since Dupin 
had requested him to fill up the 
check. 

89. When he had gone, my friend 
entered into some explanations. 

90. "The Parisian police," he said, 
''are exceedingly able in their way. 
They are persevering, ingenious, cun- 
ning, and thoroughly versed in the 
knowledge which their duties seem 
chiefly to demand. Thus, when 
G— ^detailed to us his mode of 
searching the premises at the Hotel 

D ^ 1 felt entire confidence in his 

having made a satisfactory investiga- 
tion — so far as his labors extended." 

91. ''So far as his labors extend- 
ed?" said I. 

92. "Yes," said Dupin. "The 
measures adopted were not only the 
best of their kind, but carried out to 
absolute perfection. Had the letter 
been deposited within the range of 
their search, these fellows would, be- 
yond a question, have found it" 

93. I merely laughed, but he 
seemed quite serious in all that he 
said. 

94. "The measures, then," he con- 
tinued, " were good in their kind, and 
well executed; their defect lay in 
their being inapplicable to the case, 
and to the man. A certain set of 
highly ingenious resources are, with 
the Prefect, a sort of Procrustean 
bed to which he forcibly adapts his 
designs. But he perpetually errs by 
being too deep or too shallow for 



Fixst Stags or Dutik's 
Account. This account 
placet Dupin's methods in 
artistic contrast with those 
of the Prefect. 



Not a precise statement. 



92 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



the matter in hand; and many a 
schoolboy is a better reasoner than 
he; I knew one about eight years of 
age, whose success at guessing in the 
game of 'even and odd' attracted 
universal admiration. This game is 
simple, and is played with marbles. 
One player holds in his hand a num- 
ber of these toys, and demands of an- 
other whether that number is even or 
odd. If the guess is right, the guess- 
er wins one; if wrong, he loses one. 
The boy to whom I allude won all the 
marbles of the school. Of course he 
had some principle of guessing; and 
this lay in mere observation and ad- 
measurement of the astuteness of his 
opponents. For example an arrant 
simpleton is his opponent, and, hold- 
ing up his closed hand asks, * Are they 
even or odd ? * Our schoolboy re- 
plies, * Odd,' and loses ; but upon the 
second trial he wins, for he then says 
to himself, *The simpleton had them 
even upon the first trial, and his 
amount of cunning is just sufficient to 
make him have them odd upon the 
second; I will therefore guess odd;' 
he guesses odd, and wins. Now, with 
a simpleton a degree above the first, 
he would have reasoned thus: 'This 
fellow finds tjiat in the first instance 
I guessed odd, and in the second he 
will propose to himself, upon the first 
impulse, a simple variation from even 
to odd, as did the first simpleton ; but 
then a second thought will suggest 
that this is too simple a variation, 
and finally he will decide upon put- 



Illustrative anecdote. 



Joint inductive-deductive 

method of reasoning. 



Inductive reasoning. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



93 



ting It even as before. I will there- 
fore guess even;* he guesses even, 
and wins. Now this mode of reason- 
ing in the schoolboy, whom his fel- 
lows term 'lucky' — what, in its last 
analysis, isjt?" 

95. "It is merely," I said, "an 
identification of the reasoner*s intel- 
lect with that of his opponent" 

96. " It is," said Dupin ; " and, upon 
inquiring of the boy by what means 
he effected the thorough identification 
in which his success consisted, I re- 
ceived answer as follows: 'When I 
wish to find out how wise, or how 
stupid, or how good, or how wicked 
is any one, or what are his thoughts 
at the moment, I fashion the expres- 
sion of my face, as accurately as pos- 
sible, in accordance with the expres- 
sion of his, and then wait to see what 
thoughts or sentiments arise in my 
mind or heart, as if to match or cor- 
respond with th^ expression.' This 
response of the schoolboy lies at the 
bottom of all the spurious profundity 
which has been attributed to Roche- 
foucauld, to La Bruyere, to Machia- 
velli, and to Campanella." 

97. "And the identification," I 
said " of the reasoner's intellect 
with that of his opponent's, depends, 
if I understand you aright, upon the 
accuracy with which the opponent's 
intellect is admeasured." 

98. "For its practical value it de- 
pends upon this," replied Dupin, 
"and the Prefect and his cohort fail 
so frequently, first, by default of this 



Reduced to untechnical 
guaget 



Compare with Barrie't state 
ment on p. 217. 



I and 2, French authors 
and moralists; 3, astute 
Italian statesman; 4, Ital- 
ian thinker. 



Analysis. 

Observe how fond Poe it of 
long paragraphs. 



94 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



identification, and secondly, by ill-ad- 
measurement, or rather through non- 
admeasurement, of the intellect with 
which they are engaged. They con- 
sider only their own ideas of inge- 
nuity; and, in searching for anything 
hidden, advert only to the modes in 
which they would have hidden it. 
They are right in this much — that 
their own ingenuity is a faithful rep- 
resentative of that of the mass; but 
when the cunning of the individual 
felon is diverse in character from 
their own, the felon foils them, of 
course. This always happens when 
it is above their own, and very usually 
when it is below. They have no 
variation of principle in their investi- 
gations ; at best, when urged by some 
unusual emergency, by some extraor- 
dinary reward, they extend or ex- 
aggerate their old modes of practice, 
without touching their principles. 
What, for example, in this case of 

D , has been done to vary the 

principle of action? What is all this 
boring, and probing, and sounding, 
and scrutinizing with the microscope, 
and dividing the surface of the build- 
ing into registered square inches — 
what is it ali but an exaggeration of 
the application of the one principle or 
set of principles of search, which are 
based upon the one set of notions 
regarding human ingenuity, to which 
the Prefect, in the long routine of his 
duty, has been accustomed? Do you 
not see he has taken it for granted 
that all men proceed to conceal a let- 



Astute comment. 



Note the length 
paragraph. 



of this 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



95 



ter — not exactly in a gimlet-hole 
bored in a chair leg — but, at least, 
Jn some out of the way hole or 
comer suggested by the same tenor 
of thought which would urge a 
man to secrete a letter in a gimlet- 
hole, bored in a chair leg? And 
do you not see, also, that such 
recherchis nooks for concealment 
are adapted only for ordinary occa- 
sions and wotild be adopted only by 
ordinary intellects; for, in all cases 
of concealment, a disposal of the ar- 
ticle concealed — a disposal of it in 
this recherchi manner — is,' in the 
very first instance, presumable and 
presumed; and thus its discovery de- 
pends, not at all upon the acumen, but 
altogether upon the mere care, pa- 
tience, and determination of the seek- 
ers; and where the case is of im- 
portance — or, what amounts to the 
same thing in policial eyes, when 
the reward is of magnitude — the 
qualities in question have never been 
known to fail You will now under- 
stand what I meant in suggesting 
that, had the purloined letter been 
hidden anywhere within the limits of 
the Prefect's examination — in other 
words, had the principle of its con- 
cealment been comprehended within 
the principles of the Prefect, its dis- 
covery would have been a matter al- 
together beyond question. This func- 
tionary, however, has been thoroughly 
mystified; and the remote source of 
his defeat lies in the supposition that 
the minister is a fool because he has 



A eumbenomely long wn* 
tencc 

Rtcherchis — carefully 
■ought out. 



Note force of ** hidden." 



96 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



acquired renown as a poet. All fools 
are poets ; this the Prefect feels; and 
he is merely guilty of a non distri- 
butio medii in thence inferring that all 
poets are fools." 

99. "But is this really the poet?" 
I asked. " There are two brothers, I 
know ; and both have attained reputa- 
tion in letters. The minister, I be- 
lieve, has written learnedly on the 
Differential Calculus. He is a mathe- 
matician and no poet" 

100. "You are mistaken; I know 
him well; he is both. As poet and 
mathematician he would reason well; 
as mere mathematician he could not 
have reasoned at all, and thus would 
have been at the mercy of the Pre- 
fect." 

loi. "You surprise me," I said, 
"by these opinions, which have been 
contradicted by the voice of the 
world. You do not mean to set at 
naught the well-digested idea of 
centuries. The mathematical reason 
has long been regarded as the rea- 
son par excellence" 

102. "'// ya d parier/" replied 
Dupfn, quoting from Chamfort, 
"'que toute idde publique, toute con- 
vention regue, est une sottise, car elle 
a convenue au plus grand nombre/ 
The mathematicians, I grant you, 
have done their best to promulgate 
the popular error to which you al- 
lude, and which is none the less an 
error for its promulgation as truth. 
With an art worthy a better cause, 
for example, they have insinuated the 



•• The undistributed mid- 
dle" is a form of logical 
fallacy. 

Note the following series of 
unusual statementa. 



* It may be said that every 
public idea, every received 
convention, is a niece of 
stupidity, for it has suit- 
ed the greater number." 
— Nicolas Chamfokt. 



This whole section of the 
story triumphs notwith- 
standing its undue length 



STORIES or MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



97 



term 'analysis' into application to 
algebra. The French are the origi- 
nators of this practical deception ; but 
if a term is of any importance — if 
words derive any value from ap- 
plicability — then 'analysis' conveys 
'algebra,' about as much as, in 
Latin, 'ambitus' implies 'ambition/ 
' religio/ ' religion/ or ' homines hon-> 
esti/ a set of honorable men." 

103. " You have a quarrel on hand, 
I see," said I, "with some of the 
algebraists of Paris; but proceed." 

104. " I dispute the availability, and 
thus the value of that reason which 
is cultivated in any especial form oth- 
er than the abstractly logical. I dis- 
pute, in particular, the reason educed 
by mathematical study. The mathe- 
matics are the science of form and 
quantity; mathematical reasoning is 
merely logic applied to observation 
upon form and quantity. The great 
error lies in supposing that even the 
truths of what is called pure algebra 
are abstract or general truths. And 
this error is so egregious that I am 
confounded at the universahty with 
which it has been received. Mathe- 
matical axioms are not axioms of 
general truth. What is true of re- 
lation — of form and >iuantity — is 
often grossly false in regard to 
morals, for example. In this latter 
science it is very usually ««true that 
the aggregated parts are equal to the 
whole. In chemistry, also, the axiom 
fails. In the consideration of motive 
it fails; for two motives, each of a 



of learned diicuMion and 
its formal diction. It 
must be admitted that in 
these respects the present- 
day short story is in ad- 
vance of Poe. A number 
of paragraphs here fail to 
advance the narration as 
ficHon, 



Unusual form. Throughout, 
note Poe's unusual choice 
of words. 



As a piece of pure reaspn- 
ing this long treatise is 
not without its defects. 



98 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



given value, have not, necessarily, a 
value when united equal to the sum 
of their values apart. There are 
numerous other mathematical truths 
which are only truths within the 
limits of relation. But the mathe- 
matician argues, from his finite 
truths, through habit, as if they 
were of an absolutely general ap- 
plicability — as the world indeed 
imagines them to be. Bryant, in his 
very learned 'Mythology,' mentions 
an analogous source of error, when 
he says that 'although the Pagan 
fables are not believed, yet we forget 
ourselves continually, and make in- 
ferences from them as existing reali- 
ties/ With the algebraists, however, 
who are Pagans themselves, the 
'Pagan fables' are believed and the 
inferences are made, not so much 
through lapse of memory as through 
an unaccoimtable addling of the 
brains. In short, I never yet en- 
countered the mere mathematician 
who could be trusted out of equal 
roots, or one who did not clandes- 
tinely hold it as a point of his faith 
that x^ -i-px was absolutely and un- 
conditionally equal to q. Say to one 
of these gentlemen, by way of ex- 
periment, if you please, that you be- 
lieve occasions may occur where 
x^-^-px is not altogether equal to q, 
and, having made him understand 
what you mean, get out of his reach 
as speedily as convenient, for be- 
yond doubt he will endeavor to 
knock you down. 



but it does bring out — 
though too laboriously to 
please — the point at 
which Dupin is driving. 



Jacob Bryant. 



He speaks figuratively. 



A striking satire. 



More satire. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



99 



105. " I mean to say," continued Du- 
pin, while I merely laughed at his 
last observations, "that if the minis- 
ter had been no more than a mathe- 
matician the Prefect would have been 
under no necessity of giving me this 
check. I knew him, however, as both 
mathematician and poet, and my 
measures were adapted to his capac- 
ity with reference to the circum- 
stances by which he was surrounded. 
I knew him as courtier, too, and as 
a bold intriguant. Such a man, I 
considered, could not fail to be aware 
of the ordinary policial modes of 
action. He could not have failed to 
anticipate — and events have proved 
that he did not fail to anticipate — 
the waylayings to which he was sub- 
jected. He must have foreseen, I 
reflected, the secret investigations of 
his premises. His frequent absences 
from home ^t night, which were hail- 
ed by the Prefect as certain aids to his 
success, I regarded only as ruses, to 
afford opportunity for thorough 
search to the police, and thus the 
sooner to impress them with the 

conviction to which G , in fact, 

did finally arrive — the conviction 
that the letter was not upon the 
premises. I felt, also, that the whole 
train of thought, which I was at some 
pains in detailing to you just now, 
concerning the invariable principle of 
policial action in searches for articles 
concealed — I felt that this whole 
train of thought would necessarily 
pass through the mind of the minis- 



Note the force of *« last.** 



A return from the special 
argument to the practical. 

Application of the foregoing 
principiet. 



A difficult point explained. 



Note the tmutual nse off 
••to," instead of ''at.'^ 



Is this probable? 



ICX) 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



Key. Compare H xo. 



ten It would imperatively lead him 
to despise all the ordinary nooks of 
concealment He could not, I re- Compare H 95. 
fleeted, be so weak as not to see that 
the most intricaj:e and remote recess 
of his hotel would be as open as his 
commonest closets to the eyes, to the 
probes, to the gimlets, and to the 
microscopes of the Prefect. I saw, 
in fine, that he would be driven, as a 
matter of course, to simplicity, if not 
deliberately induced to it as a mat- 
ter of choice. You will remember, 
perhaps, how desperately the Prefect 
laughed when I suggested, upon our 
first interview, that it was just pos- 
sible this mystery troubled him so 
much on account of its being so 
very self-evident." 

106. " Yes," said I, " I remember 
his merriment well. I really thought 
he would have fallen into convul- 
sions." 

107. " The material world," con- 
tinued Dupin, "abounds with very 
strict analogies to the immaterial; 
and thus some color of truth has 
been given to the rhetorical dogma, 
that metaphor, or simile, may be 
made to strengthen an argument, as 
well as to embellish a description. 

The principle of the vis inerti<B, for Force of inertia, 
example, seems to be identical in 
physics and metaphysics. It is not 
more true in the former, that a large 
body is with more difficulty set in 
motion than a smaller one, and that its 
subsequent momentum is commen- 
surate with this difficulty, than it 



A return to philosopliising. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



lOI 



is, in the latter, that intellects of the 
vaster capacity, while more forcible, 
more constant, and more eventful in 
their movements than those of in- 
ferior grade, are yet the less readily 
moved, and more embarrassed and 
full of hesitation in the first few steps 
of their progress. Again: have you 
ever noticed which of the street signs 
over the shop doors are the most 
attractive of attention?" 

108. " I have never given the mat- 
ter a thought," I said. 

109. " There is a game of puzzles," 
he resumed, ^ which is played upon a 
map. One party playing requires an- 
other to find a given word — the 
name of town, river, state, or empire 
— any word, in short, upon the mot- 
ley and perplexed surface of the 
chart A novice in the game general- 
ly seeks to embarrass his opponents 
by giving them the most minutely 
lettered names; but the adept selects 
such words as stretch in large char- 
acters from one end of the chart to 
the other. These, like the over- 
largely lettered signs and placards of 
the street, escape observation by dint 
of being excessively obvious; and 
here the physical oversight is precise- 
ly analogous with the moral inap- 
prehension by which the intellect suf- 
fers to pass unnoticed those con- 
siderations which are too obtrusively 
and too palpably self-evident. But 
this is a point, it appears, somewhat 
above or beneath the understanding 
of the Prefect. He never once 



This Inquiry Is the heart of 
the inference. 



lUustrati^e eicsmple. 



Note the diction. 



Compare f 94 and If 98. 



102 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



thought it probable, or possible, that 
the minister had deposited the letter 
immediately beneath the nose of the 
whole world, by way of best prevent- 
ing any portion of that world from 
perceiving it. 

no. "But the more I reflected up- 
on the daring, dashing, and dis- 
criminating ingenuity of D ; upon 

the fact that the document mus( al- 
ways have been at hand, if he intend- 
ed to use it to good purpose; and 
upon the decisive evidence, obtained 
by the Prefect, that it was not hidden 
within the limits of that dignitary's 
ordinary search — the more satisfied 
I became that, to conceal this letter, 
the minister had resorted to the com- 
prehensive and sagacious expedient 
of not attempting to conceal it at all. 

111. "Full of these ideas, I pre- 
pared myself with a pair of green 
spectacles, and called one fine morn- 
ing, quite by accident, at the ministe- 
rial hotel. I found D at home, 

yawning, lounging, and dawdling, as 
usual, and pretending to be in the 
last extremity of ennui. He is, per- 
haps, the most really energetic human 
being now alive — but that is only 
when nobody sees him. 

112. "To be even with him, I com- 
plained of my weak eyes, and lament- 
ed the necessity of the spectacles, un- 
der cover of which I cautiously and 
thoroughly surveyed the whole apart- 
ment, while seemingly intent only 
upon the conversation of my host. 

113. "I paid especial attention to 



SuminaiT of " accusation " 
against the Prefect's aii- 
gacity. 



Note the alliteration. 



Climax of Dupin's infer* 
ential reasoning. 

Beginning of Real Plot. 

Incident of Dupin's Story, 

From this point the narra- 
tion is free from the 
formalities of expression 
which mar the central 
section of the story. 
These, however, were a 
characteristic of Poe and 
his era. 

Note the use of "now." 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



103 



a large writing-table near which he 
sat, and upon which lay confusedly 
some miscellaneous letters and other 
papers, with one or two musical in- 
struments and a few books. Here, 
however, after a long and very de- 
liberate scrutiny, I saw nothing to 
excite particular suspicion. 

114. "At length my eyes, in going 
the circuit of the room, fell upon a 
trumpery filigree card-rack of paste- 
board, that hung dangling, by a dirty 
blue ribbon, from a little brass knob 
just beneath the middle of the mantel- 
piece. In this rack, which had three 
or four compartments, were five or 
six visiting cards and a solitary let- 
ter. This last was much soiled and 
crumpled. It was torn nearly in two, 
across the middle — as if a design, 
in the first instance, to tear it entirely 
up as worthless had been altered, or 
stayed, in the second. It had a large 

black seal, bearing the D cipher 

very conspicuously, and was address- 
ed, in a diminutive female hand, to 

D , the minister himself. It was 

thrust carelessly, and even, as it seem- 
ed, contemptuously, into one of the 
uppermost divisions of the rack. 

115. "No sooner had I glanced at 
this letter than I concluded it to be 
that of which I was in search. To 
be sure, it was, to all appearance, 
radically different from the one of 
which the Prefect had read us so 
minute a description. Here the seal 

was large and black, with the D 

cipher; there it was small and red, 



Dupin's reasoning sustained. 



Throughout, Poe used punc- 
tuation more freely than 
18 now the custom. 



104 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



with the ducal arms of the S 

family. Here the address, to the 
minister, was diminutive and femi- 
nine; there, the superscription, to a 
certain royal personage, was mark- 
edly bold and decided; the size alone 
formed a point of correspondence. 
But, then, the radicalness of these 
differences, which was excessive; the 
dirt, the soiled and 'torn condition of 
the paper, so inconsistent with the 

true methodical habits of D , and 

so suggestive of a design to delude 
the beholder into an idea of the 
worthlessness of the document; these 
things, together with the hyper-obtru- 
sive situation of this document, full 
in the view of every visitor, and thus 
exactly in accordance with the con- 
clusions to which I had previously 
arrived; these things, I say, were 
strongly corroborative of suspicion, 
in one who came with the intention 
to suspect. 

ii6. "I protracted my visit as long 
as possible, and while I maintained 
a most animated discussion with the 
minister, upon a topic which I knew 
well had never failed to interest and 
excite him, I kept my attention real- 
ly riveted upon the letter. In this 
examination, I committed to mem- 
ory its external appearance and ar- 
rangement in the rack ; and also fell, 
at length, upon a discovery which set 
at rest whatever trivial doubt I might 
have entertained. In scrutinizing the 
edges of the paper, I observed them 
in be more chafed than seemed nec- 



It was the custom in earlier 
times simply to fold a 
letter, seal it with a wafer, 
and address it on the back, 
which was allowed to re> 
main otherwise blank, 
This accounts for there 
being no reference to an 
envelope, and also fot 
the refolding of the letter. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



105 



essary. They presented the broken 
appearance which is manifested when 
a stiff paper, having been once folded 
and pressed with a folder, is refolded 
in a reversed direction, in the same 
creases or edges which had formed 
the original fold. This discovery 
was sufficient. It was clear to me 
that the letter had been turned, as a 
glove, inside out, re-directed, and re- 
sealed. I bade the minister good- 
morning, and took my departure at 
once, leaving a gold snuff-box upon 
the table. 

117. "The next morning I called 
lor the snuff-box, when we resumed, 
quite eagerly, the conversation of the 
preceding day. While thus engaged, 
however, a loud report, as if of a 
pistol, was heard immediately be- 
neath the windows of the hotel, and 
was succeeded by a series of fearful 
screams, and the shoutings of a mob. 
D — r- rushed to a casement, threw 
it open, and looked out. In the 
meantime, I stepped to the card-rack, 
took the letter, put it in my pocket, 
and replaced it by a facsimile (so far 
as regards externals) which I had 
carefully prepared at my lodgings — 
imitating the D cipher very 
readily by means of a seal formed of 
bread. 

118. "The disturbance in the street 
had been occasioned by the frantic 
behavior of a man with a musket. 
He had fired it among a crowd of 
women and children. It proved, 
however, to have been without ball. 



Note use of ** fold »* and itt 
derivatiTct. 



A good derioe. 



Apparent Full Climat- 

Concluding explanations. 

Note how the climax o« 
Dupin's story also serves 
as the climax of the Pre- 
fect's earlier statement of 
the problem and his ef- 
forts to solve it 



io6 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



and the fellow was suffered to go his 
way as a lunatic or a drunkard. 

When he had gone, D came from 

the window, whither I had followed 
him immediately upon securing the 
object in view. Soon afterwards I 
bade him farewell. The pretended 
lunatic was a man in my own pay." 

119. "But what purpose had you," 
I asked, " in replacing the letter by a 
facsimilef Would it not have been 
better, at the first visit, to have seiz- 
ed it openly and departed?" 

120. " D ," replied Dupin, " is a 

desperate man, and a man of nerve. 
His hotel, too, is not without attend- 
ants devoted to his interest. Had I 
made the wild attempt you suggest I 
might never have left the ministerial 
presence alive. The good people of 
Paris might have heard of me no 
more. But I had an object apart 
from these considerations. You 
know my political prepossessions. 
In this matter I act as a partisan of 
the lady concerned. For eighteen 
months the minister has had her in 
his power. She has now him in hers 
— since, being unaware that the let- 
ter is not in his possession, he will 
proceed with his exactions as if it 
was. Thus will he inevitably com- 
mit himself at once to his political 
destruction. His downfall, too, will 
not be more precipitate than awk- 
ward. It is all yery well to talk 
about the facilis descensus Averni; 
but in all kinds of climbing, as 
Catalani said of singing, it is far 



In the interest in Dupin's 
reasoning and its results 
we have lost sight of the 
real importance of the 
letter. 



Is "was" correct? 



The descent to Avemus (the 
fabled entrance to the 
Infernal Regions) is easy. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 



107 



more easy to get up than to come 
down. In the present instance I 
have no sympathy — at least no pity 
— for him who descends. He is that 
monstrum horrendutn, an unprin- 
cipled man of genius. I confess, 
however, that I should like very well 
to know the precise character of his 
thoughts, when, being defied by her 
whom the Prefect terms *a certain 
personage,' he is reduced to opening 
the letter which I left for him in the 
card-rack." 

121 " How ? Did you put anything 
particular in it?" 

122. "Why, it did not seem alto- 
gether right to leave the interior 
blank — that would have been insult- 
ing. D , at Vienna, once did 

me an evil turn, which I told him, 
quite good-humoredly, I should re- 
member. So, as I knew he would 
feel some curiosity in regard to the 
identity of the person who had out- 
witted him, I thought it a pity not 
to give him a clew. He is well ac- 
quainted with my MS., and I just 
copied into the middle of the blank 
sheet the words : — 



Monster to be shuddered at^ 



Real Climax* 



*— Un desscin si funeste, 
S*il n'cst dignc d'Atrce, est dignc de 
Thyeste.' 



A design so baleful , if not 
worthy of Atreus. is wor- 
thy of Thyestes. 



They are to be found in Crebillon's 
'Atree/" 



Io8 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

JACOBS AND HIS WRITINGS 

r 

William Wymark Jacobs was born in London, Sep- 
tember 8, 1863, the son of William Gage Jacobs. He 
was educated at private schools, and entered the employ 
of the Post OflSce Savings Bank at sixteen. Four years 
later he secured a regular clerkship there. He began his 
literary career at the age of twenty-one with a contribu- 
tion to the Blackfriars Magazine, a publication conducted 
by the clerks at the Post Office, and from that he was 
led to contributing articles to various London papers, 
though he retained his Civil Service position until 1899. 
His remarkable acquaintance with nautical subjects, and 
characters of the coasting trade and seaport wharves, 
was acquired during several years spent in Wappiilg, * 
while his father was wharfinger there, as during that 
period the younger Jacobs was brought into contact with 
many seamen and wharf hands, and came to know many 
of them very well. In 1900 he married Agnes Eleanor 
Williams. Some of Jacobs* most popular collections of 
stories are Many Cargoes; More Cargoes; Short Cruises; 
Odd Craft; Captains All; Light Freights; and The Lady 
of the Barge. His longer stories include A Master of 
Craft, Dialstone Lane; Salthaven, and At Sunwich Port. 

Mr. Jacobs is known mostly by his delightfully quaint 
and humorous character delineations of river, shore, and 
sea-faring folk. The remarkable short-story given here- 
with, however, is of a very different sort and discloses a 
mastery of the weird, of the supernatural, which is not 
surpassed in the whole short-story field. With a sureness 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY IO9 

of character-drawing which is nothing short of amazing 
in a humorist, he outlines scene and actors, and when 
the crises are reached — so completely is all visualized — 
we are able to infer the swift-moving climax with scarce 
the need of a word. " The Monkey's Paw " is one of 
the most dramatically poignant stories of the super- 
natural ever written, and invites us to a closer study of 
its gifted and versatile author. 

It [a sea- life] is a man's life. It teaches self-restraint and 
discipline and the art of governing men. It is a fine, healthy 
life that breeds men. All that I mean to say is that distance 
lends enchantment to the view, and that the essential romance 
and comedy of the life of those who go down to the sea in 
ships are intensified in the perspective of years. — W. W. Jacobs, 
London Daily Chronicle. 

Londoners, in particular, should hail him with applause, for 
he has done more than make them laugh ; he has added character 
to their river. Henceforward no one who has read Many Car- 
goes will look at a passing barge with an apathetic gaze. He 
will sec before him not merely a vehicle of porterage, but a hot- 
bed of liquorish and acceptable szTcsLsm,— Academy (London). 

Mr, Jacobs has two great gifts: one is the power to place a 
simple-minded man in a comer, excite our sympathies for him, 
magnify his embarrassments, and keep us engrossed all the time. 
. . . But we do not consider that herein lies Mr. Jacobs's special 
distinction. ... It is in his eye for character, his knowledge of 
a certain kind of human nature, his genius for the little touches, 
as we prefer to call them, that Mr. Jacobs stands out so notably. 
No one now writing can manage the little touches as Mr. Jacobs 
can, at once so naturally, so truthfully, so usefully, and so joy- 
ously. . . . None of them actually helps the plot, but every one 
of them is so much added to the characters and conditions of 
the story.— Ibidl 



no STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

We cannot think of any other books with which to compare 
Mr. Jacobs's, because there arc none just like them. To-day a 
number of the best and brightest English and American writers 
seem to be getting their inspiration from the sea. . . . Each one 
of these has his own particular field, and in presenting the hu- 
mour of the sailor's life and environment no one approaches Mr. 
Jacobs. — Bookman (New York). 

We are acquainted with one pronounced pessimist, who main- 
tains defiantly and aggressively that he never reads anything in 
the nature of modern fiction. " Except, of course," he adds, " the 
short stories of W. W. Jacobs, which certainly make me laugh." 
. . . We are inclined to believe that there are a nymber of men 
who are of the same mind in regard to the work of Mr. Jacobs. 
Yet we do not think that his most ardent admirer, after having 
laid aside one of his books for three days, would be able to give 
more than the vaguest description of the tales contained therein. 
To this rule there are, however, several exceptions. "The 
Monkey's Paw," as grewsome a story as has appeared for years, 
was one. — Ibid. 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON JACOBS 

Sketch of W. W. Jacobs, Current Literature, vol. 26, 
117; His Work, Academy, vol, 52, 496; Living Age, 
vol. 218, 366; Strand, vol. 16, 676; W. W. Jacobs, 
Book News, vol. 19 ; The Little Touches (Review of A 
Master of Craft), Academy, vol. 59; A New Humorist, 
Spectator, vol. 78; More Cargoes (Review), Public 
Opinion, vol. 25; The Skipper^ s Wooing (Review), Sat- 
urday Review, vol. 84. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY III 

FOR ANALYSIS 
THE MONKEY'S PAW* 

BY W. W. JACOBS 



Without, the sight was cold and 
wet, but in the small parlour of 
Labumam Villa the blinds were 
drawn and the fire burned brightly. 
Father and son were at chess, the 
former, who possessed ideas about 
the game involving radical changes, 
putting his king into such sharp and 
unnecessary perils that it even pro- 
voked comment from the white-hair- 
ed old lady knitting placidly by the 
fire. 

2. ''Hark at the wind," said Mr. 
White, who having seen a fatal mis- , 
take after it was too late, was ami- 
ably desirous of preventing his son 
from seeing it. 

3. "Tm listening," said the latter, 
grimly surveying the board as he 
stretched out his hand. " Check.** 

4. " I should hardly think that he'd 
come to-night," said his father, with 
his hand poised over the board. 

5. " Mate," replied the son. 

6. "That's the worst of living so 
far out," bawled Mr. White, with 
sudden and unlooked-for violence; 
" of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the- 

^ Copyright, 1902, by Dodd, Mead & Co., in the collection of short-storief. 
The Lady of the Barge. Used by permission. 



112 STUDYING THE SHORt-STORY 

way places to live in, this is the 
worst Pathway's a bog, and the 
road's a torrent. I don't know what 
people are thinking about. I sup- 
pose because only two houses in the 
road are let, they think it doesn't 
matter." 

7. "Never mind, dear," said his 
wife, soothingly; "perhaps you'll 
win the next one." 

8. Mr. White looked up sharply, 
just in time to intercept a knowing 
glance between mother and son. 
The words died away on his lips, and 
he hid a guilty grin in his thin grey 
beard. 

9. "There he is,*' said Herbert 
White, as the gate banged to loudly 
and heavy footsteps came toward 
the door. 

10. The old man rose with hospi- 
table haste, ' and opening the door, 
was heard condoling with the new 
arrival. The new arrival also con- 
doled with himself, so that Mrs. 
White said, "Tut, tut!" and cough- 
ed gently as her husband entered 
the room, followed by a tall, burly 
man, beady of eye and rubicund of 
visage. 

11. " Sergeant-Ma j or Morris," he 
said, introducing him. 

12. The sergeant-major shook 
hands, and taking the proffered seat 
by the fire, watched contentedly 
while his host got out whiskey and 
tumblers and stood a small copper 
kettle on the fire. 

13. At the third glass his eyes 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY IIJ 

got brighter, and he began to talk, 
the little family circle regarding with 
eager interest this visitor from dis- 
tant parts, as he squared his broad 
shoulders in the chair and spoke of 
wild scenes and doughty deeds; of 
wars and plagues and strange peo- 
ples. 

14. "Twenty-one years of it," said 
Mr. White, nodding at his wife and 
son. "When he went away he was 
a slip of a youth in the warehouse. 
Now look at him.'* 

15. "He don't look to have taken 
much harm," said Mrs. White, po- 
litely. 

16. "I'd like to go to India my- 
self," said the old man, "just to look 
round a bit, you know." 

17. "Better where you are," said 
the sergeant-major, shaking his head. 
He put down the empty glass, and 
sighing softly, shook it again. 

iS. " I should like to see those old 
temples and fakirs and jugglers/* 
said the old man. "What was that 
you started- telling me the other day 
about a monkey's paw or something, 
Morris?" 

19. "Nothing," said the soldier, 
hastily. "Leastways nothing worth 
hearing." 

2a "Monkey's paw?* said Mrs. 
White, curiously. 

21. "Well, it's just a bit of what 
you might call magic, perhaps," said 
the sergeant-major, offhandedly. 

22. His three listeners leaned for- 
ward eagerly. The visitor absent- 



114 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

mindedly put his empty glass to his 
lips and then set it down again. 
His host filled it for him. 

23. " To look at," said the ser- 
geant-major, fumbling in his pocket, 
'*it*s just an ordinary little paw, 
dried to a mummy." 

24. He took something out of his 
pocket and proffered it. Mrs. White 
drew back with a grimace, but her 
son, taking it, examined it curiously. 

25. "And what is there special 
about it?" inquired Mr. White as 
he took it from his son, and having 
examined it, placed it upon the table. 

2^, "It had a spell put on it by 
an old fakir," said the sergeant-ma- 
jor, "a very holy man. He wanted 
to show that fate ruled people's 
lives, and that those who interfered 
with it did so to their sorrow. He 
put a spell on it so that three sep- 
arate men could each have three 
wishes from it." 

27. His manner was so impressive 
that his hearers were conscious that 
their light laughter jarred some- 
what. 

28. "Well, why don't you have 
three, sir?" said Herbert White, 
cleverly. 

29. The soldier regarded him in 
the way that middle age is worit to 
regard presumptuous youth. "I 
have," he said, quietly, and his 
blotchy face whitened. 

30. "And did you really have the 
three wishes granted?" asked Mrs. 
White. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY II5 

31. "I did," said the sergeant-ma- 
jor, and his glass tapped against his 
strong teeth. 

32. "And has anybody else wish* 
ed?" persisted the old lady. 

33. "The first man had his three 
wishes. Yes," was the reply; "I 
llon't know what the first two were, 
>ut the third was for death. That's 
now I got the paw." 

34. His tones were so grave that 
a hush fell upon the group. 

35. "If you've had your three 
wishes, it's no good to you now, then* 
Morris/' said the old man at last. 
" What do you keep it for ? *• 

36. The soldier shook his head. 
"Fancy, I suppose," he said, slowly. 
"I did have some idea of selling it, 
but I don't think I will It has caused 
enough mischief already. Besides, 
people won't buy. They think it's 
a fairy tale, some of them ; and those 
who do think anything of it want to 
try it first and pay me afterward.'* 

27. "If you could have another 
three wishes," said the old man, eye- 
ing him keenly, "would you have 
them?" 

38. " I don't know," said the other. 
" I dont know." 

39. He took the paw, and dangling 
it between his forefinger and thumb, 
suddenly threw it upon the fire. 
White, with a slight .cry, stooped 
down and snatched it off. 

40. "Better let it bum," said the 
soldier, solemnly. 



Il6 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

41. " If you don't want it, Morris," 
said the other, ** give it to me." 

42. " I won't," said his friend dog- . 
gedly. "I threw it on the fire. If 
you keep it, don't blame me for what 
happens. Pitch it on the fire again 
like a sensible man." 

43. The other shook his head and 
examined his new possession closely. 
"How do you do it?" he inquired. 

44. " Hold it up in your right hand 
and wish aloud," said the sergeant- 
major, " but I *warn you of the con- 
sequences.'* 

45. " Soulnds like the Arabian 
Nights," said Mrs. White, as she rose 
and began to set the supper. " Don't 
you think you might wish for four 
pairs of hands for me?" 

46. Her husband drew the talisman 
from his pocket, and then all three 
burst into laughter as the sergeant- 
major, with a look of alarm on his 
face, caught him by the arm. 

47. "If you must wish," he said, 
gruffly, "wish for something sen- 
sible." 

48. Mr. White dropped it back in 
his pocket, and placing chairs, motion- 
ed his friend to the table. In the 
business of supper the talisman was 
partly forgotten, and afterward the 
three sat listening in an enthralled 
fashion to a second instalment of the 
soldier's adventures in India. 

49. " If the tale about the monkey's 
paw is not more truthful than those 
he has been telling us," said Herbert, 
as the door closed bdiind their guest. 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY II7 

just in time for him to catch the last 
train, "we shan't make much out of 
it" 

Sa •'Did you give him anything 
for it, father? " inquired Mrs. White, 
regarding her husband closely. 

51. "A trifle," said he, colouring 
slightly. "He didn't want it, but I 
made him take it And he pressed 
me again to throw it away." 

52. "Likely." said Herbert, with 
pretended horror. "Why, we're go- 
ing to be rich, and famous and hap- 
py. Wish to be an emperor, father, 
to begin with ; then you can't be hen- 
pecked.** 

53. He darted round the table, 
pursued by the maligned Mrs. White 
armed with an antimacassar. 

54. Mr. White took the paw from 
his pocket and eyed it. dubiously. " I 
don't know what to wish for, and 
that's a fact," he said, slowly. "It 
seems to me I've got all I want" 

55. "If you only cleared the house, 
you'd be quite happy, wouldn't you ? " 
said Herbert, with his hand on his 
shoulder. " Well, wish for two hun- 
dred pounds, then; that'll just do 
it" 

56. His father, smiling shamefaced- 
ly at his own credulity, held up the 
talisman, as his son, with a solemn 
face, somewhat marred by a wink at 
his mother, sat down at the piano 
and struck a few impressive chords. 

57. " I wish for two hundred 
pounds," said the old man distinctly. 

58. A fine crash from the piano 



Il8 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

greeted the words, interrupted by a 
shuddering cry from the old man. 
His wife and son ran toward him. 

59. "It moved," he cried, with a 
glance of disgust at the object as it 
lay on the floor. 

60. "As I wished, it twisted in my 
hand like a snake." 

6i. •' Well, I don't see the money," 
said his son as he picked it up and 
placed it on the table, "and I bet 
I never shall." 

62. " It must have been your fancy, 
father," said his wife, regarding him 
anxiously. 

63. He shook his head. " Never 
mind, though ; there's no harm, but it 
gave me a shock all the same." 

64. They sat down by the fire again 
while the two men finished their 
pipes. Outside, the wind was higher 
than ever, and the old man started 
nervously at the sound of a door 
banging upstairs. A silence unusual 
and depressing settled upon all three, 
which lasted until the old couple rose 
to retire for the night. 

65. "I expect you'll find the cash 
tied up in a big bag in the middle of 
your bed," said Herbert, as he bade 
them good-night, "and something 
horrible squatting up on top of the 
wardrobe watching you as you pocket 
your ill-gotten gains." 

66. He sat alone in the darkness, 
gazing at the dying fire, and seeing 
faces in it. The last face was so 
horrible and so simian that he gazed 
at it in amazement It got so vivid 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY IIQ 

that, with a little uneasy laugh, he 
felt on the .table for a glass contain- 
ing a little water to throw over it 
His hand grasped the monkey's paw, 
and with a little shiver he wiped his 
hand on his coat and went up to bed. 

II 

67. In the brightness of the wintry 
sun next morning as it streamed over 
the breakfast table he laughed at his 
fears. There was an air of prosaic 
wholesomeness about the room which 
it had lacked on the previous night, 
and the dirty, shrivelled little paw 
was pitched on the sideboard with a 
carelessness which betokened no great 
belief in its virtues. 

68. "I suppose all old soldiers are 
the same," said Mrs. White. "The 
idea of our listening to such non- 
sense ! How could wishes be granted 
in these days? And if they could, 
how could two hundred pounds hurt 
you, father?" 

69. ** Might drop on his head from 
the sky," said the frivolous Herbert. 

70. "Morris said the things hap- 
pened so naturally," said his father, 
"that you might if you so wished 
attribute it to coincidence." 

71. "Well, don't break into the 
money before I come back," said Her- 
bert as he rose from the table. " Tm 
afraid it'll turn you into a mean, 
avaricious man, and we shall have 
to disown you." 

72. His mother laughed, and fol- 



I20 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

lowing him to the door, watched him 
down the road; and returning to the 
breakfast table, was very happy at the 
expense of her husband's credulity. 
All of which did not prevent her from 
scurrying to the door at the postman's 
knock, nor prevent her from referring 
somewhat shortly to retired sergeant- 
majors of bibulous habits when she 
found that the post brought a tailor's 
bill. 

yZ' ''Herbert will have some more 
of his funny remarks, I expect, when 
he comes home," she said, as they 
sat at dinner. 

. 74- " I dare say," said Mr. White, 
pouring himself out some beer ; " but 
for all that, the thing moved in my 
hand; that Fll swear to." 

75, " You thought it did," said the 
old lady soothingly. 

76, " I say it did," replied the other. 
"There was no thought about it; I 
had just—What's the matter? " 

77, His wife made no reply. She 
was watching the mysterious move- 
ments of a man outside, who, peer- 
ing in an undecided fashion at the 
house, appeared to be trying to make 
up his mind to enter. In mental 
connection with the two hundred 
pounds, she noticed that the stranger 
was well dressed, and wore a silk 
hat of glossy newness. Three times 
he paused at the gate, and then walk- 
ed on again. The fourth time he 
stood with his hand upon it, and then 
with sudden resolution flung it open 
and walked up the path. Mrs. White 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 121 

at the same moment placed her hands 
behind her, and hurriedly unfastening 
the strings of her apron, put that use- 
ful article of apparel beneath the 
cushion of her chair. 

78. She brought the stranger, who 
seemed ill at ease, into the room. He 
gazed at her furtively, and listened in 
a preoccupied fashion as the old lady 
apologized for the appearance of the 
room, and her husband's coat, a gar- 
ment which he usually reserved for 
the garden. She then waited as pa- 
tiently as her sex would permit, for 
him to broach his business, but he 
was at first strangely silent. . 

79. "I — was asked to call," he said 
at last, and stooped and picked a 
piece of cotton from his trousers. " I 
come from Maw and Meggins.'* 

80. The old lady started. " Is any- 
thing the matter? *' she asked, breath- 
lessly. '^Has anything happened to 
Herbert ? What is it? What is it ? " 

81. Her husband interposed. 
"There, there, mother," he said, 
hastily. "Sit down, and don't jump 
to conclusions. YouVe not brought 
bad news, I'm sure, sir ; " and he eyed 
the other wistfully. 

82. "I'm sorry — ^" began the visit- 
or. 

83. "Is he hurt?" demanded the 
mother, wildly. 

84. The visitor bowed in assent. 
"Badly hurt," he said, quietly, "but 
he is not in any pain." 

85. " Oh. thank God! " said the old 



1^2 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

woman, clasping her hands, " Thank 
God for that! Thank—" 

86. She broke off suddenly as the 
sinister meaning of the assurance 
dawned upon her and she saw the 
awful confirmation of her fears in 
the other's averted face. She caught 
her breath, and turning to her 
slower-witted husband, laid her 
trembling old hand upon his. There 
was a long silence. 

87. " He was caught in the machin- 
ery," said the visitor at length in a 
low voice. 

88. " Caught in the machinery/' re- 
peated Mr. White, in a dazed fash- 
ion, "yes." 

89. He sat staring blankly out at 
the window, and taking his wife's 
hand between his own, pressed it as 
he had been wont to do in their old 
courting-days nearly forty years be- 
fore. 

90. " He was the only one left' to 
us," he said, turning gently to the 
visitor. " It is hard." 

91. The other coughed, and rising, 
walked slowly to the window. " The 
firm wished me to convey their 
sincere sympathy with you in your 
great loss," he said, without looking 
round. " I beg that you will under- 
stand I am only their servant and 
merely obeying orders." 

92. There was no reply; the old 
woman's face was white, her eyes 
staring, and her breath inaudible ; on 
the husband's face was a look such 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY I23 

as his friend the sergeant might have 
carried into his first action. 

93. "1 was to say that Maw and 
Meggins disclaim all responsibility," 
continued the other. "They admit 
no liability at all, but in consideration 
of your son's services, they wish to 
present you with a certain sum as 
compensation." 

94. Mr. White dropped his wife's 
hand, and rising to his feet, gazed 
with a look of horror at his visitor. 
His dry lips shaped the words. 
"How much?" 

95. "Two hundred pounds," was 
the answer. 

96. Unconscious of his wife's 
shriek, the old man smiled faintly, put 
out his hands like a sightless man, 
and dropped, a senseless heap, to the 
floor. 

HI 

97. In the huge new cemetery, some 
two miles distant, the old people bur- 
ied their dead, and came back to a 
house steeped in shadow and silence. 
It was all over so quickly that at first 
they could hardly realize it, and re- 
mained in a state of expectation as 
though of something else to happen 
— something else which was to 
lighten this load, too heavy for old 
hearts to bear. 

98. But the days passed, and ex- 
pectation gave place to resignation — 
the hopeless resignation of the old, 
sometimes miscalled, apathy. Some- 
times they hardly exchanged a word. 



124 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

for now they had nothing to talk 
about, and their days were long to 
weariness. 

99. It was about a week after that 
the old man, waking suddenly in the 
night, stretched out his hand and 
found himself alone. The room was 
in darkness, and the sound of subdued 
weeping came from the window. He 
raised himself in bed and listened. 

100. " Come back," he said, tender- 
ly. "You will be cold." 

Id. " It is colder for my son." said 
the old woman, and wept afresh. 

IQ2. The sound of her sobs died 
away on his ears. The bed was 
warm, and his eyes heavy with sleep. 
He dozed fitfully, and then slept until 
a sudden wild cry from his wife 
awoke him with a start. 

103. " The paw I " she cried wildly. 
" The monkey's paw ! " 

104. He started up in alarm. 
"Where? Where is it? What's the 
matter?" 

105. She came stumbling across the 
room toward him. "I want it," she 
said, quietly. " You've not destroyed 
it?" 

106. "It's in the parlour, on the 
bracket," he replied marvelling. 
"Why?" 

107. She cried and laughed to- 
gether, and bending over, kissed his 
cheek. 

108. " I only just thought of it," 
she said, hysterically. "Why didn't 
I think of it before? Why didn't you 
think of it?" \ 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 125 

109. "Think of what?" he ques- 
tioned. 

no. "The other two wishes," she 
replied, rapidly. "We've only had 
one." 

111. "Was not that enough?" he 
demanded, fiercely. 

112. " No," she cried, triumphantly ; 
" we'll have one more. Go down and 
get it quickly, and wish our boy alive 
again." 

113. The man sat up in bed and 
flung the bed-clothes from his quak- 
ing limbs. "Good God, you are 
mad ! " he cried, aghast. 

114. "Get it," she panted; "get it 
quickly, and wish — Oh, my boy, my 
boy!" 

115. Her husband struck a match 
and lit the candle. "Get back to 
bed," he said, unsteadily. "You 
don't know what you are saying." 

116. "We had the first wish grant- 
ed," said the old woman, feverishly; 
" why not the second ? " 

117. "A coincidence," stammered 
the old man. 

118. "Go and get it and wish," 
cricfd his wife, quivering with excite- 
ment. 

119. The old man turned and re- 
garded her, and his voice shook. 
" He has been dead ten days, and be- 
sides he — I would not tell you else, 
but — I could only recognize him by 
his clothing. If he was too terrible 
for you to see then, how now ? " 

120. "Bring him back," cried the 
old woman, and dragged him toward 



126 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the door. " Do you think 1 fear the 
child I have nursed?" 

121. He went down in the dark- 
ness, and felt his way to the parlour, 
and then to the mantelpiece. The 
talisman was in its place, and a hor- 
rible fear that the unspoken wish 
might bring his mutilated son before 
him ere he could escape from the 
room seized upon him, and he caugl^t 
his breath as he found that he had 
lost the direction of the door. His 
brow cold with sweat, he felt his 
way round the table, and groped along 
the wall until he found himself in 
the small passage with the unwhole- 
some thing in his hand. 

122. Even his wife's face seemed 
changed as he entered the room. It 
was white and expectant, and to his 
fears seemed to have an unnatural 
look upon it. He was afraid of her. 

123. "Wish!" she cried in a 
strong voice. 

124. •' It is foolish and wicked," he 
faltered. 

125. " Wish ! " repeated his wife. 

126. He raised his hand. "I wish 
my son alive again." 

127. The talisman fell to the floor, 
and he regarded it fearfully. Then 
he sank trembling into a chair as the 
old woman, with burning eyes, walk- 
ed to the window and raised the 
blind. 

128. He sat until he was chilled 
with the cold, glancing occasionally at 
the figure of the old woman peering 
through the window. The candle- 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY 12^ 

end, which had burned below the rim 
of the china candle-stick, was throw- 
ing pulsating shadows on the ceilings 
and walls, until, with a flicker larger 
than the rest, it expired. The old 
man, with an unspeakable sense of 
relief at the failure of the talisman, 
crept back to his bed, and a minute or 
two afterward the old woman came 
silently and apathetically beside him. 
I2g. Neither spoke, but lay silently 
listening to the ticking of the clock. 
A stair creaked, and a squeaky mouse 
scurried noisily through the walL 
The darkness was oppressive, and af- 
ter lying for some time screwing up 
his courage, he took the box of 
matches, and striking one, went 
downstairs for a candle. 

130. At the foot of the stairs the 
match went out, and he paused to 
strike another; and at the same 
moment a knock, so quiet and stealthy 
as to be scarcely audible, sounded on 
the front door. 

131. The matches fell from his 
hand and spilled in the passage. He 
stood motionless, his breath suspend- 
ed until the knock was repeated. 
Then he turned and fled swiftly back 
to his room, and closed the door be- 
hind him. A third knock sounded 
through the house. 

132. "What's that?" cried the old 
woman, starting up. 

133. **A rat," said the old man in 
shaking tones — "a rat. It passed 
me on the stairs." 

134. His wife sat up in bed listen- 



128 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

ing. A loud knock resounded 
through the house. 

135. "It's Herbert!" she screamed, 
"It's Herbert!" 

136. She ran to the door, but her 
husband was before her, and catch- 
ing her by the arm, held her tightly. 

137- "What are you going to do?" 
he whispered hoarsely. 

138. "It's my boy; it's Herbert!" 
she cried, struggling mechanically. 
"I forgot it was two miles away. 
What are you holding me for? Let 
go. 1 must open the door." 

139. "For God's sake don't let it 
in," cried the old man, trembling. 

140. " You're afraid of your own 
son," she cried, struggling. " Let mc 
go. I'm coming, Herbert; I'm com- 
mg. 

141. There was another knock, and 
another. The old woman with a sud- 
den wrench broke free and ran from 
the room. Her husband followed to 
the landing, and called after her ap- 
pealingly as she hurried downstairs. 
He heard the chain rattle back and 

the bottom bolt drawn slowly and - • 
stiffly from the socket. Then the old 
woman's voice, strained and panting. 

142. "The bolt," she cried, loudly. 
" Come down. I can't reach it." 

143. But her husband was on his 
hands and knees groping wildly on 
the floor in search of the paw. If he 
could only find it before the thing 
outside got in. A perfect fusillade of 
knocks reverberated through the 
house, and he heard the scraping of 



STORIES OF MYSTERY AND FANTASY I29 

a chair as his wife put it down in 
the passage against the door. He 
heard the creaking of the holt as it 
came slowly back, and at the same 
moment he found the monkey's paw, 
suid frantically breathed his third and 
last wish. 

144. The knocking ceased suddenly, 
although the echoes of it were still in 
the house. He heard the chair drawn 
back, and the door opened. A cold 
wind rushed up the staircase, and a 
long loud wail of disappointment and 
misery from his wife gave him 
courage to run down to her side, and 
then to the gate beyond. The street 
lamp flickering opposite shone on a 
quiet and deserted road. 

- ^ SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. D^es it add to the interest of a story, for you, when you are 
^ bafflea by its mystery up to the very end? 

2. What author's detective stories do you consider the best? 
Why? 

3. If possible, secure a copy of Voltaire's "Zadig," and write 
a short paper on Zadig's reasoning. 

^4715^8 the introduction of an element of the supernatural in- 
.Creasc^r lessen the interest of a story, for you? ---- 

5. Write about two-hundred words comparing (a) the work 
of Poe's Dupin with Doyle's Sherlock Holmes ; (b) with that of 
any other fictional detective — Chesterton's Father Brown, for 
example. 

6. Explain what is meant by inductive reasoning. 

7. Select from some magazine (a) a good detective story, and 
(b) a good story of the unexplained, or supernatural, (c) Dis- 
cuss the relative merits of each. 

8. Do you prefer Jacobs as a writer of humorous stories of 
sea- faring folk or as a writer of the weird ? 

g. Which of Poe's stories do you like best, and why? 



130 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

TEN REPRESENTATIVE STORIES OF MYS- 
TERY AND FANTASY 

" The Horla," Guy de Maupassant, translated in Modem 

Ghosts. 
" The Lost Duchess," Anonymous, in The Lock and Key 

Library. 
" The Golden Ingot," Fitz-James O'Brien, in The Lock 

and Key Library. 
" The Gold Bug," Edgar Allan Poe, in Tales. 
" The Black Spaniel," Robert Hichens, in volume of same 

title. 
"The Upper Berth," F. Marion Crawford, in Short- 
Story Classics, American., 
" The Adventure of the Dancing Men," A. Conan Doyle, 

in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. 
"The Venus of lUe," Prosper Merimee, translated in 

Little French Masterpieces. 
" The Pavilion on the Links," Robert Louis Stevenson, 

in New Arabian Nights. 
" The Damned Thing," Ambrose Bierce, in Short-Storj 

Classics, American. 



in 

STORIES OF EMOTION 

The Last Class. — Alphonse Daudet 
Without Benefit of Clergy. — Rudyard Kipling 



131 



In painting we may represent any fine figure we please; but 
we never can give it those enlivening touches which it may re- 
ceive from words. To represent an angel in a picture, you can 
only draw a beautiful young man winged: but what painting 
can furnish out any thing so grand as the addition of one word, 
"the angel of the Lordf" . . . Now, as there is a moving tone of 
voice, an impassioned countenance, an agitated gesture, which 
affect independently of the things about which they are exerted, 
so there are words, and certain dispositions of words, which 
being peculiarly devoted to passionate subjects, and always used 
by those who are under the influence of any passion, touch and 
move us more than those which far more clearly and distinctly 
express the subject-matter. We yield to sympathy what we re- 
fuse to description. — Edmund Burke, On the Sublime and 
Beautiful. 



132 



STORIES OF EMOTION 

Fictional plots deal with the inner man quite as j)f ten L 
as with the outer. Indeed, the action of the soul is more 
real, intense and interesting than mere visible action could 
possibly be. For this reason the master story-tellers 
nearly always interpret the inner life — whether of 
thought, of emotion, or of decision — by displaying the 
outer, instead of by merely analyzing and discussing the 
thoughts, feelings and decisions of their characters. 
The more clearly this outer action pictures the inner man, 
the more real does the character become to us and the 
more perfectly do we grasp the whole story. 

As a universal human experience, emotion^ mingles 
with all manifestations of life. In the short-story it finds 
various expression in the hilarious fun of " Pigs is Pigs," 
by Butler; the character humor of Barriers "Thrums" 
stories ; the mingled humor and pathos of Harte's " The 
Luck of Roaring Camp " ; the patriotic sentiment of 
Daudet's " The Siege of Berlin " ; the mystic sympathy 
of Kipling's "They"; the idyllic love of the Book of 
Ruth ; the incomparable psychological insight of Maupas- 
sant's "A Coward"; the cold, revengeful jealousy of 

^ Emotion is a broad word loosely used to embrace all the tones of inner 
feeling, from the palest sentiment depicted by a Jane Austen, to the darkest 
passion of a Werther. — Writing the Short-Story, p. i8i, which see for a 
fuller discussion of emotion in the short-story. 

133 



134 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Balzac's "La 'Grande Breteche"; the choking, super* 
natural terror of Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum"; 
the tragic passion of Merimee's "Mateo Falcone," and all 
the myriad shades and combinations of shades which lie 
between. • 

Naturally, each story in this entire collection illustrates 
one or another emotional phase, as even a cursory read- 
ing will make clear. What, for example, could be more 
intense than the emotions of those two parents, as de- 
picted in "The Monkey's Paw!" But for this group 
two stories have been selected as being typical examples 
of emotional expression, because in them human feeling 
predominates over all other characteristics and really 
makes the story. 

" The Last Class," which is here presented in a trans- 
lation by the editor of this volume, is rich in local color, 
in impressionism, and in character drawing, but as an 
unaffected picture of patriotic feeling it is unsurpassed 
in the literature of the short-story. There is not a single 
jarring emotional tone, not the slightest exaggeration of 
true emotional values. With singular repression, Daudet 
secures his effects by suggesting rather than fully express- 
ing the profound feelings of the school-master, his pupils, 
and the visitors ; and when the majestically simple climax 
is reached, we have accepted the reality of it all and have 
received a single effective and lasting impression. 

" Without Benefit of Clergy," the second specimen, is 
left for the reader to analyze and discuss. Surely this 
most sadly touching of all love-stories presents the 
poignant pity, the inevitable disaster, the final heart-break 



STORIES OF EMOTION 135 

of unsanctified love, as never before or since in the pages 
of fiction. 



DAUDET AND HIS WRITINGS 

Alphonse Daudet was bom at Nimes, France, May 
13, 1840. Here and at Lyons he received his education. 
At the age of seventeen he and his brother Ernest went 
to Paris, where Alphonse published his first long poem 
two years later. This began his literary success. From 
i860 to 1865 he served as secretary in the Cabinet of the 
Duke de Momy, and at the early age of twenty-five was 
decorated with the Cross of the Legion of Honor. He 
was profoundly impressed by the memories of his early 
life and frequently revisited his native Provence. The 
South-of-France tone is distinguishable in much of his 
work, just as the powerful feelings called forth by the 
Franco-Prussian war find expression in other of his 
writings. He died in Paris, December i6, 1897. 

Alphonse Daudet was a dramatist, poet, novelist, and 
short-story writer. The Nabob, Sappho, Jack, Kings in 
Exile, Numa Roumestan, Fromont and Risler, The 
Evangelist, and the " Tartarin " books are his best known 
novels. Among his best short-stories are " The Pope's 
Mule," " The Death of the Dauphin," " The Three Low 
Masses," " The Elixir of the Reverend Father Gaucher," 
" Old Folks," and " Master Cornille's Secret "—all from 
the collection. Letters from My Mill. The following 
little masterpieces are from his Monday Tales: "The 
Game of Billiards," " The Child Spy," " The Little Pies," 



i36 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

"Mothers," "The Siege of Berlin/' and "The Last 
Class." 

At the close of the Franco-Prussian war, in 1871, 
France was forced to cede to Germany almost all of 
Alsace, about nine thousand square miles of territory, in 
addition to an indemnity of one billion dollars. " The 
Last Class" was held, therefore, about 1872, and the 
story was first published in 1873. 

Daudet's literary genius sounded every note, from 
farce, delicate humor, and satire, to poetic pathos, dra- 
matic action, character analysis, and social criticism. He 
resembled Dickens in his humor, but displayed more 
emotional tenderness, and, in his later work, more satire, 
than did the English writer. Though he may be called 
the literary descendant of Balzac, whose novels system- 
atically depicted French society in all its phases, Daudet 
was less a social philosopher and more a man expressing 
his own personality through his work. Comparing him 
with Maupassant, we find his stories less perfect in form, 
but far richer in human feeling. Though at times he 
dealt with subjects which English readers consider broad, 
his sympathy unmistakably appears to be with his nobler 
characters. 

AVhen only ten years of age, I was already haunted at times 
by the desire to lose my own personality, and incarnate myself 
in other beings; the mania was already laying hold of me for 
observing and analyzing, and my chief amusement during my 
walks was to pick out some passer-by, and to follow him all over 
Lyons, through all his idle strollings or busy occupations, striv- 



STORIES OF EMOTION 137, 

ing to identify myself with his life, and to enter into his inner- 
most thoughts. — Alphonsb Daudet, Thirty Years of Paris. 

Daudet expresses many things; but he most frequently ex- 
presses himself — his own temper in the presence of life, his own 
feeling on a thousand occasions. — Henry James, Partial Par- 
traits. 

Life, as he knows it, is sad, full of disappointment, bitterness, 
and suffering; and yet the conclusion he draws from experience 
is that this life, with all its sadness, is well worth living. — RENi 
DouM ic. Contemporary French Novelists, 

The short stories are Daudet at his best, a style tense, virile, 
full of suppressed energy. . . . There is a nobler strain in these 
stories than speaks from the pages of Le Petit Chose ["Little 
What's-His-Name"], — the ring of passionate patriotism, no 
longer the voice of Provence, or of Paris, but the voice of 
France. . . • The touching story. La Dernidre Classe, might have 
come from the lips of an Alsatian, so true is it to the spirit of 
Alsace during those sorrowful days that followed the Franco- 
Prussian War. — Mamon McIntyre, Introduction to Works. 

Daudet's two main series of stories (Letters from My Mill and 
Monday Tales) contain between sixty and seventy pieces. . , . 
They represent Daudet the poet, with his exquisite fancy, his 
winning charm, his subtle, indescribable style, his susceptibility 
to all that is lovely and joyous in nature and in human life; 
in short, in his sunny, mercurial Provencal temperament. . . . 
But there wa^ another Daudet more or less superimposed upon 
this sunny, poetic Daudet, true child of Provence. Upon few- 
Frenchmen of a generation ago did the terrible years of the 
Franco- Prussian /War and the Commune produce a more sober- 
ing impression. The romanticist and poet deepened into a real- 
istic observer of human Hfe in all its phases. — W. P. Trent, 
Introduction to the volume on Daudet, in Little French Master- 
pieces. 

The charm reflected in his works lay in the man himself, and 



138 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

earned for him a host of friends and an unclouded domestic life 
— it lay in his open, sunny, inconsequent, southern nature, with 
his quick sympathies, his irony at once forcible and delicate, his 
ready tears. It lay in the spontaneousness of his talent, in 
his ProvencaJ gift of improvisation. . . . And it lay, too, in what 
was an essential characteristic of his nature, his rapid alternatioif 
of mood. Take even the slightest of his Contes [stories]. . . . 
Within a few pages he is in turn sad, gay, sentimental, ironical, 
pathetic, and one mood glides into the next without jar or fric- 
tion. — V. M. Crawford, Studies in Foreign Literature. 

His stories first of all amuse, excite, distress himself. . . , 
He never could, indeed, look on them disinterestedly, either whije 
they were making or when they were made. He made them 
with actual tears and laughter; and they are read with actual 
tears and laughter by the crowd. . . . But he had no philosophy 
behind his fantastic and yet only too probable creations. Caring, 
as he thought, supremely for life, he cared really for that sur- 
prising, bewildering pantomime which life seems to be to those 
who watch its coloured movement, its flickering lights, its chang- 
ing costumes, its powdered faces, without looking through the 
eyes into the hearts of the dancers. He wrote from the very 
midst of the human comedy; and it is from this that he seems 
at times to have caught the bodily warmth and the taste of the 
tears and the very ring of the laughter of men and womexL • . • 
»— Arthur Symons, Studies in Prose and Verse, 



FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON DAUDET 

Chats about Books, Mayo W. Hazeltine (1883); 
French Fiction of To-day, M. S. Van de Velde (1891) ; 
Alphonse Daudet; a Biographical and Critical Study, R. 
H. Sherard (1894) ; The Literary Movement in France, 
Georges Pellissier (1897); Literary Likings, Richard 



STORIES OF EMOTION 



139 



Burton (1898) ; The Historical Novel, Brander Matthews 
(1901); French Proxies, Edmund W. Gosse (1905); 
Short-Story Masterpieces, J. Berg Esenwein (1912). 

THE LAST CLASS 

(La Demiere Classe) 

The Story of a Little Alsatian 

by alphonse daudet 

Translation by The Editor 



That morning I was very late for 
school, so I was terribly afraid of a 
scolding — particularly since Master 
Hamel had said that he would ex- 
amine us on participles, and I knew 
not the first word about them! For 
a little while I thought of playing 
truant and wandering the fields. 

2. The day was so warm, so clear ! 

3. I could hear the blackbirds 
whistling on the border of the wood ; 
and back of the sawmill, in the Rip- 
pert field, the Prussian soldiers were 
drilling. All of this was much more 
tempting to me than participial rules 
— but I was strong enough to resist 
and away to school I ran, as fast as 
I could. 

4. As I passed by the mayor's office, 
I observed that a number of people 
were assembled before the little board 
on which notices were generally post- 
ed. For two years every piece of 
bad news had come from that board 



IiTTSODucTiON plunges us at 
once into the action. 
There is one main inci- 
dent throughout. The nar- 
rator is immediately seen 
to be a child, and sur- 
mised to be a boy. 



Setting. Note how the ru- 
ral community is sug- 
gested. 



Small municipalities 
mayors, in France. 



hky^ 



The tone is struck hert 
Forecast of crisis. 



I40 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



— defeats in battle, conscriptions, or- 
ders from headquarters — and, with- 
out stopping, I wondered: 

5. " What can it be this time ! " 

6. Just then, as I was running 
across the square, Wachter the black- 
smith, who with his apprentice stood 
reading the placard, called after me : 

7. "You needn't hurry so fast, 
my lad, you'll get to school soon 
enough ! " 

8. I thought he was making game 
of me, and I kept right on, reaching 
Master Hamel's little yard quite out 
of breath. 

9. Ordinarily, as school was open- 
ing, the uproar was so great that it 
could be heard clear out on the street 

— desk-lids opening and shutting, les- 
sons droned aloud in unison, pupils 
holding their ears shut to learn their 
lessons easier, while' the master's 
great ferrule beat upon the desks : 

10. "A little quietness I " 

11. I had counted on all this noise 
to enable me to reach my seat unno- 
ticed; but on that particular day 
everything was as quiet as a Sabbath 
morning.^ Through the open window 
I saw my schoolmates already rang- 
ed in their places, and Master Hamel 
pacing to and fro, his formidable iron 
ferrule under his arm. In the midst 
of that complete silence I had to 
open the door and go in! You can 
well imagine whether I blushed and 
was afraid! 

12. But, quite to the contrary, 
Master Hamel looked at me with no 



Franco-Prussian War. 



Forecasts a crisis. 

Note the Prussian name. 
Alsace was a border proy« 
ince. 

Hint of crisis to come. 

CONTKIBUTORY INCIDENT. 



The school was held in the 
master's house. 

Unusual air depicted by con* 

trast. 
The story proper begins. 

An old custom. 



Contrast. 



Contrast, 



STORIES OP EMOTION 



141 



ugn of anger, and then very gently 
said: 

13. *• Go directly to your scat, my 
little Frantz — we were about to be- 
gin without you." 

14. Immediately I stepped over the 
bench and sat down at my desk. 
Only then, when I had partly gotten 
over my fright, did 1 observe that 
our master was wearing his hand- 
some blue riding-coat, his plaited ruff, 
and his black silk embroidered 
breeches — worn only on inspection 
days or when prizes were awarded. 
Furthermore, there was something 
extraordinary, something solemm, 
about the whole school. But what 
astounded me more than anything 
else was to see a number of people 
from the village sitting, as silent 
as we, on the usually empty benches 
at the back of the room : old Father 
Hauser with his three-cornered hat, 
the ex-mayor, the former postman, 
besides a number of others. All 
seemed cast down, and Father Haus- 
er had brought with him an old 
primer, with chewed up leaves, 
which he held wide-open up-side- 
down on his knees, and lying on it 
his huge spectacles. 

15. While I was marvelling at all 
this. Master Hamel had mounted 
his platform, and in the same gentle 
and serious voice with which he had 
greeted me, he said to us : , 

16. "My children, this is the last 
day that I shall keep school. The 
order . has come from Berlin that 



Evidently a nnan achooL 



At which others were also 
seated. 

All the contrasts prepare us 
for the crisis. 



Prussian name. 



Dased. 



Foundation of Climax. 
Sununary of the theme. 
Compare with Longfel- 
low's Bvangelint, 



142 



STUDYING THE SHQRT-STORY 



nothing but German shall be taught 
in the schools of Alsace and Lor- 
raine. The new schoolmaster will 
arrive to-morrow. This is the last 
class in French — I beg of you to 
be very attentive I " 

17. His simple words overwhelmed 
me. This, then, was the notice they 
had posted at the mayor Is office. Oh, 
the scoundrels! 

18. My last lesson in French ! 

19. And I was scarcely able to 
write! Then I was never to learn! 
I must stop short just where I was! 
How angry with myself it made me 
to remember the time I had frittered 
away, and the lessons J had missed 
while hunting birds* nests or sliding 
on the Saar! My books now seem- 
ed to me like old comrades from 
whom it broke my heart to part, and 
only a moment since I had found 
them — my grammar, my sacred his- 
tory — so dull, and so heavy to carry ! 
It was just the same when I thought 
of Master Hamel. He was going 
away. I should never see him again 

— the thought made me forget all his 
punishments and strokes with the 
ferrule. 

20. Poor old man! So it was in 
honor of that last lesson in French 
that he had donned his Sunday best 

— and now I understood why those 
old folks from the village were seat- 
ed at the back of the room. It seem- 
ed to say they regretted that they had 
not visited the school oftener. Be- 
sides, it was a sort of way of thank- 



This law went -into effect 
July 1, 1870. 



The crisis becomes personal 



Scarcely a paragraph but ap- 
peals to emotion in some 
form. 



The Saar flows northward 
into the Moselle, 



Shift to 
Master. 



interest in the 



Now to the villagers. 



STORIES OF EMOTION 



143 



ing our teacher for his forty years 
of devoted service, and of showing 
their love for the fatherland which 
was passing away. 

21. Just at this point in my reflec- 
tions I heard my name called — it 
was my turn to recite. Oh, I would 
have given anything to be able to 
recite without a slip, in a strong, 
clear voice, that celebrated rule about 
participles; but at the very first 
words I grew confused and I only 
stood there at my bench swaying 
back and forward, my heart swelling, 
not daring to lift my head. At 
length I heard Master Hamel saying 
to me: 

22. " My little Frantz, I shall not 
scold you; you are punished enough, 
I think. It is so with all of us ; every 
day we reassure ourselves : ' Bah I I 
have plenty of time. To-morrow I 
shall learn.* Then you see what hap- 
pens. Alas! it has ever been, the 
great misfortune of our Alsace to de- 
fer its lessons until the morrow. 
And now these people are justified in 
saying to us, * What, you pretend to 
be French, and you are able neither 
to speak nor to write your language ! ' 
But in all this you are not the most 
guilty one, my poor Frantz — we are 
all worthy of a full measure of self- 
reproach. 

23. "Your parents have not taken 
enough care to see that you got an 
education. They preferred to save a 
few more sous by putting you to 
work in the fields or in the factories. 



Age indicated, thui adding 
to the pathos. 

Tkbsb aek thb key woios. 



Note how Daudet arousea 
our tympathies by avoid- 
ing generalities and cen- 
tering our interest upon 
persons. 



Ordinary rebuke is swal- 
lowed up in the great 
common sorrow. 



Daudet here teaches all 
France a lesson — and all 
nations as well. 



144 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



And I — have I nothing for which 
to blame myself? Have I not fre- 
quently sent you to water my garden 
instead of keeping you at your books? 
Or have I ever hesitated to dismiss 
school when I wanted to go trout- 
fishing?" 

24. So Master Hamel, passing from 
one theme to another, began to speak 
to us about our French language. 
He said that it was the most beauti- 
ful language in the whole world — 
the most clear, the most substantial; 
that we must ever cherish it among 
ourselves, and never forget it, for 
when a nation falls into bondage, just 
so long as it clings to its language, it 
holds the key of its prison.^ 

25. Then he took a grammar and 
read us our lesson. I was astonished 
to see how readily I understood! 
Everything he said seemed to me so 
easy — so very easy. I believe that 
never before had 1 listened so at- 
tentively, and that he, in turn, had 
never explained things with such 
infinite patience. It almost seemed as 
though the poor fellow wished to 
impart all his knowledge to us before 
he left us — to drive it all into our 
heads with one blow. 

26. The lesson ended, we went on 
to the exercises in penmanship. For 
that day Master Hamel had gotten 
ready some entirely new copies on 
which he had written in a neat, round 
hand: "France, Alsace, France, Al- 



Note M. Hamel's 
sincerity. 



The attention follows 
lead of the emotions. 



the 



So does the teacher's skilL 



Note the pathos of the ap* 
peal. 



< ** SMI tient sa laogue, il tient la cU qui de ses chaines le d^livre."— 
Fbedebic Mistbal. a poet friend of Daude^*^ 



STORIES OP EMOTION 



145 



sace/' The slips of paper looked like 
tiny flags, waving all about the room 
and hanging from the rods of our 
desks. You should have seen how 
diligently everyone worked, and how 
quiet it was ! Only the scratching of 
the pens over the paper could be 
heard. Once some beetles flew in, but 
nobody paid any attention to them — 
not even the very smallest chaps» who 
were struggling to draw their oblique 
lines with a will and an application 
as sincere as though even the lines 
themselves were French. . . . 
Pigeons cooed in low tones on the 
roof of the schoolhouse, and as I 
listened to them I thought to my- 
self 

27. " I wonder if they are going to 
make them coo in German too ! " 

28. Now and then, as I lifted my 
eyes from my task, I saw Master 
Hamel seated motionless in his chair, 
and staring at things about him as 
though in that look he would carry 
away with him the whole of his 
little schoolhouse. Think of it ! For 
forty years he had occupied that same 
place, his yard in front of him, and 
his school always unchanged. Only 
the benches and desks were rubbed by 
use until they were polished; the 
walnuts in the yard had grown large, 
and the hop-vine he himself had 
planted now hung in festoons from 
the windows clear to the roof. How 
heartbreaking it must have been for 
that poor man to leave all this — to 
hear his sister moving to and fro 



A proof of unusual ab- 
sorption. 



A picture. All of these con- 
tributory pictures stand 
in lieu of contributory in- 
cidents. The whole is 
highly unified. 



The lad reasons as a lad — 
to him the pathos is not 
for himself but for the 
old man. 



vi46 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



in the room overhead as she packed 
their trunks! Next day they were 
going away — to leave the fatherland 
forever. 

29. All the same, he had the cour- 
age to keep the school to the very, 
closing minute. The writing over, 
we had our lesson in history. Then 
the little ones sang in unison their 
ba, be, bi, bp, bu. Yonder, at the back 
of the room, old Father Hauser was 
holding his spelling-book with both 
hands, and with the aid of his great 
spectacles he spelled out the letters — 
one could see that even he too was 
applying himself. Emotion shook his 
voice, and to hear him was so droll 
that we all wanted to laugh — and to 
cry. Ah! I shall always remember 
that last class. 

30. Suddenly the church clock 
sounded twelve. Then the Angelus. 
At the same instant were heard under 
our very windows the trumpets of 
the Prussians returning from drill. 
Pale as death, Master Hamel rose 
from his chair. Never had he seemed 
so large. 

31. "My friends," he began; "my 
friends, I — I—" 

32. But something choked him. 
He could not end the sentence. 

33. Then he turned to the black- 
board, seized a piece of chalk, and, 
bearing with all his strength, he 
wrote in the largest letters he could 
make : 

34 ." VIVE LA FRANCE ! " 

— 'rh*n^ be stood there, his head 



PSEPAAATION FOR ClIMAX. 

Formal Crisis — the end 

approaches. 
Note the force of this. 



Moral qualities 
physical. 



affect thft 



Note the intensity 



Full Climax. 



STORIES OF EMOTION 147 

leaning against the wall, and without 
a word he signed to us with his 
hand : 
36. "It is the end . . . go!" 

KIPLING AND HIS WRITINGS 

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was bom in Bombay, India, 
December 30, 1865, of English parents, his father, J. 
Lockwood Kipling, an artist of ability, having been in 
the colonial Civil Service. He was educated at the 
United Services College, Devon, but returned to India in 
1882 and became an editorial writer and correspondent. 
In 1889 he began extensive travels. For several years 
he resided in Brattleboro, Vermont, but returned to Eng- 
land and settled in Rottingdean, Sussex. 

Rudyard Kipling has attained celebrity as poet, novel- 
ist, and short-story writer. His best-known poems are 
found in the collections entitled Departmental Ditties, 
Barrack-Room Ballads, The Seven Seas, and The Five 
Nations, Kim is his ablest novel. The two " Jungle 
Books " constitute a remarkable collection of connected 
tales of the jungle folk. His best short-stories are found 
in the following volumes : Soldiers Three (the " Mul- 
vaney " stories, " The Man Who Was," etc.), The Phan- 
tom Rickshaw C The Man Who Would be King," " The 
Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes," etc.), Wee Willie 
Winkie and Other Stories (" The Drtims Fore and Aft," 
** Under the Deodars," etc.), The Day's Work ("The 
Bridge Builders," "The Brushwood Boy,** etc.), and 
Traffic and Di^roveri^^ T'They," etc.). "Without. 



148 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY ^ 

Benefit of Clergy " first appeared in Macmillan's Maga- 
sine (London) in June, 1890, ^nd in the June 7th and 
14th, 1890, numbers of Harper's Weekly (New York). 
In the same year it was published in the volume. The 
Courting of Dinah Shadd, and Other Stories, but in 1891 
it was included in the volume Life's Handicap: being 
Stories of, Mine Own People.^ 

Rudyard Kipling is without doubt the greatest of liv- 
ing short-story writers, though in interest his later fiction 
does not equal his productions of the early nineties. His 
journalistic work drilled himjn compression; his pre- 
cocious intuitions and personal experience of life in 
India opened up a fresh and fascinating field ; his genius 
taught him how to tell his stories with unfailing variety, 
a robust humor, and an understanding of the human 
heart quite uncanny in one so young. In style, he is a 
master of the unexpected; in narration, he is by turns 
deliberate and swift; in atmospheric painting, he trans- 
ports us to real places, wherein real folk do real things. 

Tell them first of those things that thou hast seen and they 
have seen together. Thus their knowledge will piece out thy im- 
perfections. Tell them of what thou alone hast seen, then what 
thou hast heard, and since they be children tell them of battles 
and kings, horses, devils, elephants, and angels, but omit not to 
tell them of love and such like. All the earth is full of tales 
to him who listens and does not drive away the poor from his 
door. The poor are the best of tale-tellers; for they must lay 
their ear to the ground every night. — Rudyaiu) Kipling, Preface 
to Life's Handicap. 

The tremulous passion of Ameera, her hopes, her fears, and 



STORIES OF EMOTION I49 

her agonies of disai>pointment, combine to form by far the most 
tender page which Mr. Kipling has written. — Edmund Gosse, 
Questiofu at Issue, 

. . . The truly appreciative reader should surely have no quar- 
rel with the primitive element in Mr. Kipling's subject-matter, 
or with what, for want of a better name, I may call his love of 
low life. What is that but essentially a part of his freshness? 
And for what part of his freshness are we exactly more thankful 
than for just this smart jostle that he gives the old stupid super- 
stition that the amiability of a story-teller is the amiability of 
the people he represents — that their vulgarity, or depravity, or 
gentility, or fatuity are tantamount to the same qualities in the 
painter himself? — Henry James, Introduction to Works, 

It was not until "Without Benefit of Clergy" that he: came 
to his full strength in pathetic prose. The history of Ameera is 
one of the triumphs of the short story. Its characterization is 
vivid; its progress direct and poignant I do not wish even for 
an instant to seem to cheapen one of the most touching and 
beautiful stories in the world when I call it journalism. But 
the voice of the desolate mother breaking into the nursery rime 
of the wicked crow, 

" And the wild plums grow in the jangle, only a penny a pound. 
Only a penny a pound, baba — only — ," 

and every pathetic moment, is chosen by an inspired sense for 
what would most feelingly grasp the interest of the reader. This 
is high art, with intense feeling behind it — otherwise it would 
not be so excellent. But it is also good journalism, — Henry 
Seidel Canby, The Short-Story in English. 

For Mr. Kipling to write a story without some firm human 
touch, however slight, would be impossible. ... In his effects 
Mr. Kipling is usually photographic ("cinematographic" is bet- 
ter), but his methods are almost invariably, for want of a better 
word, "artistic." I mean that whereas the principle of selection, 
which is a vital principle of art, can operate but little in pho- 



150 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

tography, it is seen to be remarkably active in all Mr. Kipling's 
best* work. His stories, so to speak, represent the epigram of 
action, the epigram of a given situation. ... It is from the 
lives of such Englishmen . . . that Mr. Kipling has gathered so 
many of his vivid anecdotes. A great number of them . . . are 
the lesser lights and darks contributing to such more serious 
elements of the general picture as "At the End of the Passage," 
"Without Benefit of Clergy," "In Flood Time," "The Man Who 
Was," behind which looms vast in the background the image of 
that old Sphinx of the Plains complete in mystery as no other 
writer has ever been able to suggest her. . . . Also he had writ- 
ten at least one love-story ("Without Benefit of Clergy") that 
broke one's heart. . . . For all the humour and buoyancy of his 
writings, Mr. Kipling is at heart a pessimist, and, perhaps, his 
sincerest expression of opinion in regard to the government of 
the universe is contained in the fierce Omarian exclamation of 
Holden in "Without Benefit of Clergy," addressed to no one in 
particular, but evidently meant to reach far up into the skies: 
" O you brute I You utter brute ! " So Omar bade Allah " man's 
forgiveness give and take." — Richard Le Gallienne, Rudyard 
Kipling: A Criticism, 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON KIPLING 

Essays in Little, Andrew ^ Lang (1894) ; Cervantes, 
Zola, Kipling & Co,, in Aspects of Modern Fiction, 
Brander Matthews (1896) ; My Contemporaries in Fie- 
tion, J. D. C. Murray (1897) ; A Ken of Kipling, Will 
M. Clemens (1899) ; Victorian Novelists, James Oliphant 
(1899) ; A Kipling Primer, F. L. Knowles (1899) J T^A^ 
Religion of Mr. Kipling, W. B. Parker (1899) ; Rudyard 
Kipling, A Biographical Sketch, C. E. Norton (1899). 



STORIES OF EMOTION I5I 

FOR ANALYSIS 
WITHOUT BENEFIT OF CLERGY 

BY RUDYARD KIPLING 



3efore my Spring I garnered Autumn's 

gain. 
Out of her time my field was white with 
grain. 
The year gave up her secrets to my woe. 
Forced and deflowered each sick season lay. 
In mystery of increase and decay; 
I saw the sunset ere men saw the day. 
Who am too wise in that I should not 
know. 

Biii^ IVaiers. 

I 

"But if it be a girl?" 

2. "Lord of my life, it cannot be. 
I have prayed for so many nights, 
and sent gifts to Sheikh Badl's shrine 
so often, that I know God will give 
us a son — a man-child that shall 
grow into a man. Think of this and 
be glad. My mother shall be his 
mother till I can take him again, and 
the mullah of the Pattan mosque 
shall cast his nativity — God send he 
be born in an auspicious hour! — 
and then, thou wilt never weary of 
me, thy slave.*' 

3. "Since when hast thou been a 
slave, my queen?" 

4. "Since the beginning — till this 
mercy camp to me. How could I be 
sure of thy love when I knew that 
I had been bought with silver?" 



152 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

5. "Nay, that was the dowry. I 
paid it to thy mother." 

6. " And she has buried it, and sits 
upon it all day long like a hen. 
What talk is yours of dower ! I was 
bought as though I had been a Luck- 
now dancing>girl instead zl ** cniid." 

7. "Art thou sorry for the sale?" 

8. "I have sorrowed; but to-day 
I am glad. Thou wilt never cease to 
love me now ? — answer, my king." ' 

9. "Never — never., No." 

10. "Not even though the fnem- 
hg — iht white women of thy own 
blood — love thee? And remember, 
I have watched them driving Jn the 
evening; they are very fair." 

11. "I have seen fire-ballons by the 
hundred. I have seen the moon, and 
— then I saw no more fire-balloons." 

12. Ameera clapped her hands and 
laughed. " Very good talk," she said. 
Then with an assumption of great 
stateliness: "It is enough. Thou 
hast my permission to depart — if 
thou wilt." 

13. The man did not move. He 
was sitting on a low red-lacquered 
couch in a room furnished only with 
a blue and white floor-cloth, some 
rugs, and a very complete collection 
of native cushions. At his feet sat 
a woman of sixteen, and she was all 
but all the world in his eyes. By 
every rule and law she should have , 
been otherwise, for he was an Eng- 
lishman, and she a Mussulman's 
daughter bought two years before 
from her mother, who, being left 



STORIES 6F emotion I53 



without money, would have sold 
Ameera shrieking to the Prince of 
Darkness if the price had been suf- 
6cient. 

14. It was a contract entered into 
with a light heart; but even before 
the girl had reached her bloom she 
came to fill the greater portion of 
John Holden*s life. For her, and 
the withered hag, her mother, he had 
taken a little house overlooking the 
great red- walled city, and found — 
when the marigolds had sprung up by 
the well in the courtyard and Ame- 
era had established herself according 
to her own ideas of comfort, and her 
mother had ceased grumbling at the 
inadequacy of the cooking-places, the 
distance from the daily market, and 
at matters of housekeeping in gen- 
eral — that the house was to him his 
home. Any one could enter his 
bachelor's bungalow by day or night, 
and the life that he led there was an 
unlovely one. In the house in the 
city his feet only could pass beyond 
the outer courtyard to the women's 
rooms; and when the big wooden 
gate was bolted behind him he was 
king in his own territory, with Ame- 
era for queen. And there was going 
to be added to this kingdom a third 
person whose arrival Holden felt in- 
clined to resent. It interfered with 
his perfect happiness. It disar- 
ranged the orderly peace of the 
house that was his own. But Ame- 
era was wild with delight at the 
thought of it, and her mother not 



154 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORl^ 

less so. The love of a man, and 
particularly a white man, was at the 
best an inconstant affair, but it 
might, both women argued, be h6ld 
fast by a baby's hands. " And then," 
Ameera would always say, "then he 
will never care for the white mem- 
log, I hate them all — I hate them 
all." 

15. "He will go back to his own 
people in time,", said the mother; 
"but by the blessing of God that 
time is yet afar off." 

16. Holden sat silent on the couch 
thinking of the future, and his 
thoughts were not pleasant. The 
drawbacks of a double life are mani- 
fold. The Government, with singu- 
lar care, had ordered him out of the 

^station for a fortnight on special 
duty in the place of a man who was 
watching by the bedside of a sick 
wife. The verbal notification of the 
transfer had been edged by a cheerful 
remark that Holden ought to think 
himself lucky in being a bachelor 
and a free man. He came to break 
the news to Ameera. 

17. "It is not good," she said 
slowly, "but it is not all bad. 
There is my mother here, and no 
harm will come to me — unless in- 
deed I die of pure joy. Go thou to 
thy work and think no troublesome 
thoughts. When the days are done 
I believe ... nay, I am sure. And 
— and then I shall lay him in thy 
arms, and thou wilt love me forever. 
The train goes to-night, at midnight 



STORIES OF EMOTION I55 



is it no^? Go now, and do not let 
thy heart be heavy by cause of me. 
But thou wilt not delay in returning? 
Thou wilt not stay on the road to 
talk to the bold white mem-log. 
Come back to me swiftly, my life." 

18. As he left the courtyard to 
reach his horse that was tethered to 
the gate-post, Holden spoke to the 
white-haired old watchman who 
guarded the house, and bade him 
under certain contingencies despatch 
the filled-up telegraph-form that Hol- 
den gave him. It was all that could 
be done, and with the sensations of 
a man who has attended his own 
funeral Holden went away by the 
night mail to his exile. Every hour 
of the day he dreaded the arrival of 
the telegram, and every hour of the 
night he pictured to himself the death 
of Ameera. In consequence his work 
for the state was not of first-rate 
quality, nor was his temper towards 
his colleagues of the most amiable. 
The fortnight ended without a sign 
from his home, and, torn to pieces 
by his anxieties, Holden returned to 
be swallowed up for two precious 
hours by a dinner at the club, where- 
in he heard, as a man hears in a 
swoon, voices telling him how execra- 
bly he had performed the other man's 
duties, and how he had endeared 
himself to all his associates. Then 
he fled on horseback through the 
night with his heart in his mouth. 
There was no answer at first to his 
blows on the gate, and he had just 



156 --STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

wheeled his horse round to kick it in 
when Pir Khan appeared with a lan- 
tern and held his stirrup. 

19. "Has aught occurred?" said 
Holden, 

20. ** The news does not come from 
my mouth. Protector of the Poor, 
but — ** He held out his shaking 
hand as befitted the bearer of good 
news who is entitled to a reward. 

21. Holden hurried through the 
courtyard. A light burned in the up- 
per room. His horse neighed in the 
gateway, and he heard a shrill little 
wail that sent all the blood into the 
apple of his throat. It was a new 
voice, but it did not prove that 
Ameera was alive. 

22. "Who is there?" he called up 
the narrow brick staircase. 

23. There was a cry of delight from 
Ameera, and then the ^oice of the 
mother, tremulous with old age and 
pride — "We be two women and — 
•the man — thy — son." 

24. On the threshold of the room 
Holden stepped on a naked dagger, 
that was laid there to avert ill-luck, 
and it broke at the hilt under his im- 
patient heel. 

25. " God is great I " cooed Ameera 
in the half-light " Thou hast taken 
his misfortunes on thy head." 

26. "Ay, but how is it with thee, 
life of my life? Old woman, how is 
it with her?" 

27. " She has forgotten her suffer- 
ings for joy that the child is bom. 



STORIES OF EMOTION 1$^ 



There is no harm; hut speak softly/' 
said the mother. 

28. " It only needed thy presence to 
make me all well/' said Ameera. 
" My king, thou hast been very long 
away. What gifts hast thou for me? 
Ah, ah! It is I that bring gifts this 
time. Look, my life, look! Was 
there ever such a babe? Nay, I am 
too weak even to clear my arm from 
him/* 

29. "Rest then, and do not talk. 
I am here, bachari [little woman]." 

30. " Well said, for there is a bond 
and a heel-rope [peecharee] between 
us now that nothing can break. Look 
— canst thou see in this light? He 
is without spot or blemish. Never 
was such a man-child. Ya illah! he 
shall be a pundit-^ no, a trooper of 
the Queen. And, my life, dost thou 
love me as well as ever, though I am 
faint and sick . and worn ? Answer 
truly/' 

31. " Yea. I love as I have loved, 
with all my soul. Lie still, pearl, 
and rest/' 

32. "Then do not go. Sit by my 
side here — so. Mother, the lord of 
this house needs a cushion. Bring 
it." There * was an almost imper- 
ceptible movement on the part of the 
new life that lay in the hollow of 
Ameera's arm. " Aho ! " she said, 
her voice breaking with love. "The 
babe is a champion from his birth. 
He is kicking me in the side with 
mighty kicks. Was there ever such 
a babe! And he is ours to us — 



158 STUDYING THE SHORT-STOR-" 

thine and mine. Put thy hand on his 
head, but carefully, for he is very . 
young, and men are unskilled in such 
matters." 

33. Very cautiously Holden touched 
with the tips of his fingers the downy 
head. 

34. " He is of the faith," said Ame • 
era; "for lying here in the night* 
watches I whispered the Call to Pray* 
er and the Profession of Faith into 
his ears. And it is most marvellous 
that he was born upon a Friday, as 
I was born. Be careful of him, my 
life; but he can almost grip with his 
hands." 

35. Holden found one helpess little 
hand that closed feebly on his finger. 
And the clutch ran through his body 
till it settled about his heart. Till 
then his sole thought had been for 
Ameer a. He began to realise that 
there was some one else in the world, 
but he could not feel that it was a 
veritable son with a soul. He sat 
down to think, and Ameera dozed 
lightly. 

36. "Get hence, sahib," said her 
mother under her breath. " It is not 
good that she should find you here 
on waking. She must be still." 

37. "I go," said Holden submis- 
sively. "Here be rupees. See that 
my baba gets fat and finds all that 
he needs." 

38. The chink of the silver roused 
Ameera. "I am his mother, and no 
hireling," she said weakly. "Shall 
T look to him more or less for the 



STORIES OP EMOTION I59 



sake of money? Mother, give it 
back. I have borne my lord a son." 

39. The deep sleep of weakness 
came upon her before the sentence 
was completed. Holden went down 
to the courtyard very softly, with his 
heart at ease. Pir Khan, the old 
watchman, was chuckling with de- 
light. " This house is now complete," 
he said, and without further comment 
thrust into Holden's hands the hilt 
of a sabre worn many years ago 
when he, Pir Khan, served the Queen 
in the police. The bleat of a tethered 
goat came from the well-curb. 

4a "There be two," said Pir 
Khan, "two goats of the best. I 
bought them, and they cost much 
money; and since there is no birth- 
party assembled their flesh will be all 
mine. Strike craftily, sahib! Tis 
an ill-balanced sabre at the best. 
Wait till they raise their heads from 
cropping the marigolds." 

41. "And why?" said Holden, be- 
wildered. 

42. " For the birth-sacrifice. What 
else? Otherwise the child being un- 
guarded from fate may die. The 
Protector of the Poor knows the 
fitting words to be said." 

43. Holden had learned them once 
with little thought that he would ever 
speak them in earnest. The touch 
of the cold sabre-hilt in his palm turn- 
ed suddenly to the clinging grip of 
the child up-stairs — the child that 
was his own son — and a dread of 
loss filled him. 



l6o STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

44. " Strike ! " said Pir Khan. 
" Never life came into the world but 
life was paid for it. See, the goats 
have raised their heads« Now! 
With a drawing cut ! " 

45. Hardly knowing what he did, 
Holden cut twice as he muttered 
the Mohammedan prayer that runs: 
"Almighty! In place of this my son 
I offer life for life, blood for blood, 
head for head, bone for bone, hair 
for hair, skin for skin." The wait- 
ing horse snorted and bounded in 
his pickets at the smell of the raw 
blood that spirted over Holden's 
riding-boots. 

46. " Well smitten ! " said Pir 
Khan, wiping the sabre. " A swords- 
man was lost in thee. Go with a 
light heart, heaven-born. I am thy 
servant, and the servant of thy son. 
May the Presence live a thousand 
years and ... the flesh of the goats 
is all mine?" Pir Khan drew back 
richer by a month's pay. Holden 
swung himself into the saddle and 
rode off through the low-hanging 
wood-smoke of the evening. He was 
full of riotous exultation, alternating 
with a vast vague tenderness directed 
towards no particular object, that 
made him choke as he bent over the 
neck of his uneasy horse. " I never 
felt like this in my life," he thought 
"1*11 go to the club and pull myself 
together." 

47. A game of pool was beginning, 
and the room was full of men. 
Holden entered, eager to get to the 



STORIES OF EMOTION l6l 



light and the company of his fellows, 
singing at the top of his voice: 

"'In BiJtiiBor« a-walkinc» a lady I dM 



4& "Did you?" said the club- 
secretary from his corner. '* Did she 
happen to tell you that your boots 
were wringing wet ? Great goodness, 
man, it's blood I " 

49. " Bosh ! " said Holden, picking 
his cue from the rack. "May I cut 
in? It's dew. I've been riding 
through high crops. My faith, my 
boots are in a mess, though ! " 

"'And if it be a girl ih« shall wear • 

wedding-ring. 
And if it be a boy he ihall fight for hit 

king. 
With his dirk, and his cap, and his little 

jacket blue. 
He shaU walk the quarter-deck—'" 

51. "Yellow on blue — green next 
player,'' said the marker monoto- 
nously. 

52. "He shall walk the quarter-- 
deck '"^ Am I green, marker?-— 'H^ 
shall walk the quarter-deck*— ^\ 
thafs a bad shot— -'^x his daddy 
used to do!'" 

53. " I don't see that you have any- 
thing to crow about," said a zealous 
junior civilian acidly. "The Govern- 
ment is not exactly pleased with your 
work when you relieved Sanders." 

54. "Does that mean a wigging 
from headquarters?" said Holden 



l6^ STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

with an abstracted smile. " I think 
I can stand it/' 

55. The talk beat up round the 
ever- fresh subject of each man's 
work, and steadied Holden till it was 
time to go to his dark empty bun- 
galow, where his butler received him 
as one who knew all his affairs. 
Holden remained awake for the 
greater part of the night, and his 
dreams were pleasant ones. 

II 

56. " How old is he now ? " 

57. " Ya illah! What a man's 
question! He is all but six weeks 
old; and on this night I go up to 
the housetop with thee, my life, to 
count the stars. For that is auspi- 
cious. And he was born on a Friday 
under the sign of the Sun, and it has 
been told to me that he will outlive 
us both and get wealth. Can we 
wish for aught better, beloved?" 

58. " There ia nothing better. Let 
us go up to the roof, and thou shalt 
count the stars — but a few only, for 
the sky is heavy with cloud." 

59. " The winter rains are late, and 
maybe they come out of season. 
Come, before all the stars are hid. 
I have put on my richest jewels." 

60. "Thou hast forgotten the best 
of all." 

61. "Ai! Ours. He comes also. 
He has never yet seen the skies." 

62. Ameera climbed the narrow 
staircase that led to the Hat roof. 



STORIES OP EMOTION '163 



The child, placid and unwinking, lay 
in the hollow of her right arm, gor- 
geous in silver-fringed muslin with a 
small skull-cap on his head. Ameera 
wore all that she valued most. The 
diamond nose-stud that takes the 
place of the Western patch in draw- 
ing attention to the curve of the nos- 
tril, the gold ornament in the centre 
of the forehead studded with tallow- 
drop emeralds and flawed rubies, the 
heavy circlet of beaten gold that was 
fastened round her neck by the soft- 
ness of the pure metal, and the 
chinking curb-patterned silver anklets 
hanging low over the rosy ankle- 
bone. She was dressed in jade-green 
muslin as befitted a daughter of the 
Faith, and from shoulder to elbow 
and elbow to wrist ran bracelets of 
silver tied with floss silk, frail glass 
bangles slipped over the wrist in 
proof of the slendemess of the hand, 
and certain heavy gold braclets that 
had no part in her country's orna- 
ments but, since they were Holden's 
gift and fastened with a cunning 
European snap, delighted her im- 
mensely. 

63. They sat down by the low 
white parapet of the roof, overlook- 
ing the city and its lights. 

64. "They are happy down there," 
said Ameera. "But I do not think 
that they are as happy as we. Nor 
do I think the white mem-tog are as 
happy. And thou ? ** 

65. " I know they are not" 

66. "How dost thou know?** 



l64 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

67. " They give their children over 
to the nurses?' 

"I have never seen that/' said 
Ameera with a sigh, " nor do I wish 
to see. Ahi!"— -she dropped her 
head on Holden's shoulder — '* I have 
counted forty stars, and I am tired. 
Look at the child, love of my life, 
he is counting too." 

68w The baby was staring with 
round eyes at .the dark of the heavens. 
Ameera placed him in Holden's arms, 
and he lay there without a cry. 

69. " What shall we call him among 
ourselves?" she said. "Look! Art 
thou ever tired of looking? He car- 
ries thy very eyes. But the mouth 
ff 

70. "Is thine, most dear. Who 
should know better than I?" 

71. " 'Tis such a feeble mouth. Oh, 
so small I And. yet it holds my heart 
between its lips. Give him to me 
now*' He has been too long away." 

72. "Nay, let him lie; he has not 
yet begun to cry." 

73. " When he cries thou wilt give 
him back — eh? What a man of 
mankind thou art! If he cried he 
were only the dearer to me. But, my 
life, what little name shall we give 
him?" 

74. The small body lay close to 
Holden's heart It was utterly help- 
less and very soft He scarcely dared 
to breathe for fear of crushing it 
The caged green parrot that is re- 
garded as a sort of guardian spirit in 



STORIES OP EMOTION 165 



most native households moved on its 
perch and fluttered a drowsy wing. 

75. "There is the ansV^er/' said 
Holden. ''Mian Mittu has spoken. 
He shall be the parrot When he is 
ready he will talk mightily and run 
about Mian Mittu is the parrot in 
thy — in the Mussulman tongue, is it 
not?- 

76. ** Why put me so far off? " said 
Ameera fretfully. "Let it be like 
unto some English name — but not 
wholly. For he is mine." 

77. "Then call him Tota, for that 
is likest English." 

7& "Ay, Tota, and that is still the 
parrot Forgive me, my lord, for a 
minute ago, but in truth he is too 
little to wear all the weight of Mian 
Mittu for name. He shall be Tota — 
our Tota to us. Hear est thou, O 
small one? Littlest, thou art Tota.** 
She touched the child's cheek, and he 
waking, wailed, and it was necessary 
to return him to his mother, who 
soothed him with the wonderful 
rhyme of " Ari koko, Jari koko! ' 
which says : 

" Oh, crow! Go crow! Baby's sleeping 

sound. 
And the wild plums grow in the jungle, 

only a penny a pound, 
Only a penny a pound, baba, only a 

penny a pound.** 

79. Reassured many times as to 
the price of those plums, Tota cud- 
dled himself down to sleep. The two 
sleek, white well-bullocks in the 



l66 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

courtyard were steadily chewing the 
cud of their evening meal; old Pir 
Khan squatted at the head of Hold- 
en s horse, his police sabre across 
his knees, pulling drowsily at a big 
water-pipe that croaked like a bull- 
frog in a pond. Ameera's mother sat 
spinning in the lower veranda, and 
the wooden gate was shut and barred. 
The music of a marriage-procession 
came to the roof above the gentle 
hum of the city, and a string of fly- 
ing-foxes crossed the face of the low 
moon. 

80. "I have prayed," said Ameera, 
after a long pause, "I have prayed 
for two things. First that I may die 
in thy stead if thy death is demand- 
ed, and in the second that I may die 
in the place of the child. I have 
prayed to the Prophet and to Beebee 
Miriam [the Virgin Mary]. Think- 
est thou either will hear?" 

81. " From thy lips who would not 
hear the lightest word?" 

82. " I asked for straight talk, and 
thou hast given me sweet talk. Will 
my prayers be heard? " 

83. "How can I say? God is very 
good." 

84. "Of that I am not sure. Lis- 
ten now. Wh^ I die, or the child 
dies, what is thy fate? Living, thou 
wilt return to the bold white mem- 
log, for kind calls to kind." 

85. " Not always." 

86. "With a woman, no; with a 
man it is otherwise. Thou wilt in 
this life, later on, go back to thine 



STORIES OP EMOTION 167 



own folk. That I could almost en- 
dure for I should be dead. But in 
thy very death thou wilt be taken 
away to a strange place and a para- 
dise that I do not know." 

87. "Will it be paradise?" 

88. "Surely, for who would harm 
thee? But we two — I and the child 
— shall be elsewhere, and we can- 
not come to thee, nor canst thou come 
to us. In the old days, before the 
child was born, I did not think of 
these things; but now I think of 
them always. It is very hard talk." 

89. " It will fall as it will fall. To- 
morrow we do not know, but to-day 
and love we know well. Surely we 
are happy now." 

90. " So happy that it were well to 
make our happiness assured. And 
thy Beebee Miriam should listen to 
me; for she is also a woman. But 
then she would envy me! It is not 
seemly for men to worship a woman." 

91. Holden laughed aloud at Ame- 
era's little spasm of jealousy. 

92. "Is it not seemly? Why didst 
thou not turn me from worship of 
thee, then?" 

93. "Thou a worshipper! And of 
me? My king, for all thy sweet 
words, well I know that I am thy 
servant and thy slave, and the dust 
under thy feet. And I would not 
have it otherwise. See ! " 

94. Before Holden could prevent 
her she stooped and touched 
his feet; recovering herself with a 
little laugh she hugged Tota close to 



l68 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

her bosom. Then, almost savagely: 

95. " Is it true that the bold white 
mem-log live for three times the 
length of my life? Is it true that 
they make their marriages not before 
they are old women ? " 

96. " They marry as do others — 
when they are women." 

97. "That I know, but they wed 
when they are twenty-five. Is that 
true?" 

98. " That is true.** 

99. "Ffl illah! At twenty-five! 
Who would of his own will take a 
wife even of eighteen? She is a 
woman — aging every hour. Twenty- 
five! I shall be an old woman at 
that age, and — those mem-log re- 
main young forever. How I hate 
them!" 

100. "What have they to do with 
us?" 

1 01. "I cannot tell. I know only 
that there may now be alive on this 
earth a woman ten years older than 
I who may come to thee and take thy 
love ten years after 1 am an old 
woman, gray-headed, and the nurse 
of Tota's son. That is unjust and 
evil. They should die too." 

102. "Now, for all thy years thou 
art a child, and shalt be picked up 
and carried down the staircase." 

103. "Tota! Have a care for 
Tota, my lord ! Thou at least art as 
foolish as any babe ! " Ameera tuck- 
ed Tota out of harm's way in the hol- 
low of her neck, and was carried 



STORIES OF EMOTION I69 



downstairs laughing in Holden's 
arms, while Tota opened his eyes and 
smiled after the manner of the lesser 
angels. 

104. He was a silent infant, and al* 
most before Holden could realise that 
he was in the world, developed into 
a small gold-coloured little god and 
unquestioned despot of the house 
overlooking the city. Those were 
months of absolute happiness to 
Holden and Ameera — happiness 
withdrawn from the world, shut in 
behind the wooden gate that Pir 
Khan guarded. By day Holden did 
his work with an immense pity for 
such as were not so fortunate as 
himself, and a sympathy for small 
children that amazed and amused 
many mothers at the little station 
gatherings. At nightfall he returned 
to Ameera — Ameera, full of the 
wondrous doings of Tota; how he 
had been seen to clap his hands to- 
gether and move his fingers with in- 
tention and purpose — which was 
manifestly a miracle; how, later, he 
had of his own initiative crawled out 
of his low bedstead on to the floor 
and swayed on both feet for the 
space of three breaths. 

105. " And they were long breaths, 
for my heart stood still with de- 
light/' said Ameera. 

106. Then Tota took the beasts into 
his councils — the well-bullocks, the 
little gray squirrels, the mongoose 
that lived in a hole near the well, 
and especially Mian Mittu, the par- 



170 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

rot, whose tail he grievously pulled, 
and Mian Mittu screamed till Ame- 
era and Holden arrived. 

107. •' O villaui ! Child of strength ! 
This to thy brother on the house-top ! 
Tobah, tobah! Fie! Fie! But I 
know a charm to make him wise as 
Suleiman and Aflatoun [Solompn and 
Plato]. Now look/* said Ameera. 
She drew from an embroidered bag a 
handful of almonds. " See ! we 
count seven. In the name of God t " 

108. She placed Mian Mittu, very 
angry and rumpled, on the top of his 
cage, and seating herself between the 
babe and the bird she cracked and 
peeled an almond less white than her 
teeth. "This is a true charm, my 
life, and do not laugh. See! I give 
the parrot one half and Tota the 
other." Mian Mittu with careful 
beak took his share from between 
Ameera's lips, and she kissed the 
other half into the mouth of the 
child, who ate it slowly with wonder- 
ing eyes. "This I will do each day 
of seven, and without doubt he who 
is ours will be a bold speaker and 
wise. Eh, Tota, what wilt thou be 
when thou art a man and I am 
gray-headed?" Tota tucked his fat 
legs into adorable creases. He 
could crawl, but he was not going 
to waste the spring of his youth in 
idle speech. He wanted Mian 
Mittu*s tail to tweak. 

109. When he was advanced to the 
dignity of a silver belt — which, with 
a magic square engraved on silver 



STORIES OF EMOTION I7I 



and hung round his neck, made up 
the greater part of his clothing — he 
staggered on a perilous journey 
down the garden to Pir Khan and 
proffered him all his jewels in ex- 
change for one little ride on Hold- 
en's horse, having seen his mother*s 
mother chaffering with peddlers in 
the veranda. Pir Khan wept and set 
the untried feet on his own gray 
head in sign of fealty, and brought 
the bold adventurer to his mother's 
* arms, vowing that Tota would be a 
leader of men ere his beard was 
grown. 

no. One hot evening, while he sat 
on the roof between his father and 
mother watching the never-ending 
warfare of the kites that the city boys 
flew, he demanded a kite of his own 
with Pir Khan to fly it, because he 
had a fear of dealing with anything 
larger than himself, and when Hold- 
en called him a " spark " he rose to 
his feet and answered slowly in de- 
fence of his new-found individuality : 
** Hum' park nahin hau Hum admi 
hat [I am no spark, but a man]." 

III. The protest made Holden 
choke and devote himself very se- 
riously to a consideration of Tota's 
future. He need hardly have taken 
the trouble. . The delight of that life 
was too perfect to endure. There- 
fore it was taken away as many 
things are taken away in India — 
suddenly and without warning. The 
little lord of the house, as Pir Khan 
called him, grew sorrowful and com- 



172 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

plained of pains who had never 
known the meaning of pain. Ame- 
era, wild with terror, watched him 
through the night, and in the dawn- 
ing of the second day the life was 
shaken out of him by fever — the 
seasonal autumn fever. It seemed 
altogether impossible that he could 
die, and neither Ameera nor Holden 
at first believed the evidence of the 
little body on the bedstead. Then 
Ameera beat her head against the 
wall and would have flung herself 
down the well in the garden had 
Holden not restrained her by main 
force. 

112. One mercy only was granted 
to Holden. He rode to his office in 
broad daylight and found waiting 
him an unusually heavy mail that 
demanded -concentrated attention and 
hard work. He was not, however, 
alive to his kindness of the gods. 

Ill 

113. The first shock of a bullet is 
no more than a brisk pinch. The 
wrecked body does not send in its 
protest to the soul till ten or fifteen 
seconds later. Holden realised his 
pain slowly, exactly as he had realis- 
ed his happiness, and with the same 
imperious necessity for hiding all 
traces of it. In the beginning he only 
felt that there had been* a loss, and 
that Ameera needed comforting 
where she sat with her head on her 
knees shivering as Mian Mittu from 



STORIES OF EMOTION \ 173 



the buOMtop called: Total Total 
Total Later, all his world and the 
daily life of it rose up to hurt him. 
It was an outrage that any one of the 
children at the band-stand in the 
evening should be alive and clamor- 
ous, when his own child lay dead. It 
was more than mere pain when one of 
them touched htm, and stories told by 
over-fond fathers of their children's 
latest performances cut him to the 
quick. He could not declare his pain. 
He had neither help* comfort, nor 
sympathy ; and Ameera at the end of 
each weary day would lead him 
through the hell of self-questioning 
reproach which is reserved for those 
who have lost a child, and believe 
that with a little — just a little — 
more care it might have been saved. 

114. "Perhaps,'* Ameera would 
say, "I did not take sufficient heed. 
Did I, or did I not? The sun on the 
roof that day when he played so long 
alone and I was — a/it/ braiding my 
hair — it may be that the sun then 
bred the fever. If I had wsCmed him 
from the sun he might have lived. 
But oh, my life, say that I am guilt- 
less ! Thou knowest that I loved him 
as I love thee. Say that there is no 
blame on me, or I shall die — I shall 
die!" 

115. "There is no blame — before 
God, none. It was written, and how 
could we do aught to save? What 
has been, has been. Let it go, be- 
loved." 

116. *'He was all my heart to me. 



^174 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

How can I let the thought go when 
my arm tells me every night that he 
is not here? Ahif Ahi! O Tota, 
come back to me — come back again, 
and let us be all together as it was 
before!" 

117. " Peace, peace! For thine own 
sake, and for mine also, if thou lovest 
me — rest/' 

118. " By this 1 know thou dost 
not care; and how shouldst thou? 
The white men have hearts of stone 
and souls of iron. Oh, that I had 
married a man of mine own people 
— though he beat me — and had 
never eaten the bread of an alien ! " 

119. "Am I an alien — mother of 
my son ? " 

120. ''What tXst — sahihf ... Oh, 
forgive me — forgive! The death 
has driven me mad. Thou art the 
life of my heart, and the light of 
my eyes, and the breath of my life, 
and — and I have put thee from me, 
though it was but for a moment If 
thou goest away, to whom shall I 
look for help ? Do not be angry. In- 
deed, it was the pain that spoke and 
not thy slave/* 

121. " I know, I know. We be 
two who were three. The greater 
need therefore that we should be 
one." 

122. They were sitting on the roof 
as of custom. The night was a warm 
one in early spring, and sheet-light- 
ning was dancing on the horizon 
to a broken tune played by far-off 



STORIES OF EMOTION Z75 



thunder. Ameera settled herself in 
Holden*s arms. 

123. " The dry earth is lowing like 
a cow for the rain, and I — 1 am 
afraid. It was not like this when we 
counted the stars. But thou lovest 
me as much as before, though a bond 
is taken away ? Answer ! " 

124. *'l love more because a new 
bond has come out of the sorrow that 
we have eaten together, and that 
thou knowest.*' 

125. "Yea, I knew,*' said Ameera 
in a very small whisper. "But it is 
good to hear thee say so, my life, 
who art so strong to help. I will 
be a child no more but a woman and 
an aid to thee. Listen! Give me 
my sitar and I will sing bravely." 

126. She took the light silver-stud- 
ded sitar and began a song of the 
great hero Rajah Rasalu. The hand 
failed on the strings, the tune halted, 
checked, and at a low note turned off 
to the poor little nursery-rhyme 
about the wicked crow : 

** * And the wild plums grow in the jungle, 
only a penny a pound. 
Only a penny a pound, baba — 
only . . .' " 

127. Then came the tears and the 
piteous rebellion against fate till she 
slept, moaning a little in her sleep, 
with the right arm thrown clear of 
the body as though it protected some- 
thing that was not there. It was 
after this night that life became a 
little easier for Holden. The ever- 



176 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

present pain of loss drove him into 
his work, and the work repaid him 
by filling up his mind for nine or ten 
hours a day. Ameera sat alone in 
the house and brooded, but grew 
happier when she understood that 
Holden was more at ease, according 
to the custom of women. They 
touched happiness again, but this 
time with caution. 

128. "It was because we loved 
Tota that he died. The jealousy of 
God was upon us," said Ameera. " I 
have hung up a large black jar before 
our window to turn the evil eye from 
us, and we must make no protesta- 
tions of delight, but go softly under- 
neath the stars, lest God find us out 
Is that not good talk, worthless 
one?" 

129. She had shifted the accent on 
the word that means "beloved," in 
proof of the sincerity of her purpose. 
But the kiss that followed the new 
christening was a thing that any deity 
might have envied. They went 
about henceforward saying: "It is 
naught, it is naught"; and hoping 
that all the Powers beard. 

13a The Powers were busy on 
other things. They had allowed 
thirty million people four years of 
plenty wherein men fed well and the 
crops were certain, and the birth- 
rate rose year by year; the districts 
reported a purely agricultural popula- 
tion varying from nine hundred to 
two thousand to the square mile of 
the overburdened earth; and the 



STORIES OF EMOTION VJf 



Member for Lower Tooting, wander- 
ing about India in pot-hat and frock- 
coat, talked largely of the benefits 
of British rule and suggested as the 
one thing needful the establishment 
of a duly qualified electoral system 
and a general bestowal of the fran- 
chise. His long-suffering hosts smil- 
ed and made him welcome, and when 
he paused to admire, with pretty 
picked words, the blossom of the 
blood-red dhak-tree that had flower- 
ed untimely for a sign of what was 
coming, they smiled more than ever. 

131. It was the t)eputy Conwnis- 
sioner of Kot-Kumharsen, staying at 
the club for a day, who lightly told 
a tale that made Holden's blood run 
cold as he overheard the end. 

132. "He won't bother any one 
any more. Never saw a man so 
astonished in my life. By Jove, I 
thought he meant to ask a question 
in the House about it Fellow pas- 
senger in his ship — dined next him 
— bowled over by cholera and died 
in eighteen hours. You needn't 
laugh, you fellows. The Member for 
Lower Tooting is awfully angry 
about it; but he's more scared. I 
think he's going to take his enlight- 
ened self out of India." 

133. "I'd give a good deal if he 
were knocked over. It might keep 
a few vestrymen of his kidney to 
their own parish. But what's this 
about cholera? It's full early for 
anything of that kind," said the war- 
den of an unprofitable salt-lick. 



178 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

134. " Don't know," said the Depu- 
ty Commissioner reflectively. " We've 
got locusts with us. There's sporadic 
cholera all along the north — at least 
we're calling it sporadic for decen- 
cy's sake. The spring crops are 
short in five districts, and nobody 
seems to know where the rains are. 
It's nearly March now. I don't want 
to scare anybody, but it seems to me 
that Nature's going to audit her ac- 
counts with a big red pencil this 
summer." 

135' "Just when I wanted to take • 

leave, too ! " said a voice across the 
room. 

136. "There won't be much leave 
this year, but there ought to be a 
great deal of promotion. I've come 
in to persuade the Government to 
put my pet canal on the list of 
famine-relief works. It's an ill 
wind that blows no good. I shall 
get that canal finished at last." 

137. "Is it the old programme 
then," said Holden; "famine, fever, 
and cholera?" 

138. "Oh, no. Only local scarcity 
and an unusual jwevalence of sea- 
sonal sickness. You'll find it all in 
the reports if you live till next year. 
You're a lucky chap. You haven't got 
a wife to send out of harm's way. 
The hill stations ought to be full of 
women this year." 

139. "I think you're inclined to ex- 
aggerate the talk in the basars" said 
a young civilian in the secretariat. 
"Now I have observed — " 



STORIES OF EMOTION 179 



140. ''I daresay you have," said 
the Deputy Commissioner, "but 
you've a great deal more to observe, 
my son. In the meantime, I wish to 
observe to you — ** and he drew him 
aside to discuss the construction of 
the canal that was so dear to his 
heart Holden went to his bungalow 
and began to understand that he was 
not alone in the world, and also that 
he was afraid for the sake of another 
— which is the most soul-satisfying 
fear known to man. 

141. Two months later, as the 
Deputy had foretold. Nature began to 
audit her accounts with a red pencil. 
On the heels of the spring reapings 
came a cry for bread, and the Gov- 
ernment, which had decreed that no 
man should die of want, sent wheat 
Then came the cholera from all four 
quarters of the compass. It struck 
a pilgrim-gathering of half a million 
at a sacred shrine. Many died at 
the feet of their god; the others 
broke and ran over the face of the 
land carrying the pestilence with 
them. It smote a walled city and 
killed two hundred a day. The peo- 
ple crowded the trains, hanging on 
to the foot-boards and squatting on 
the roofs of the carriages, and the 
cholera followed them, for at each 
station they dragged out the dead 
and the dying. They died by the 
roadside, and the horses of the Eng- 
lishmen shied at the corpses in the 
grass. The rains did not come, and 
the earth turned to iron lest man 



l8o STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

should escape death by hiding in her. 
The English sent their wives away to 
the hills and went about their work, 
coming forward as they were bidden 
to fill the gaps in the fighting-line. 
Holden, sick with fear of losing his 
chiefest treasure on earth, had done 
his best to persuade Ameera to go 
away with her mother ^o the Hima- 



142. "Why should I go?" said she 
one evening on the roof. 

143. " There is sickness, and people 
are dying, and all the white mem-log 
have gone." 

144. "All of them?" 

145. ''AH — unless perhaps there 
remain some old scald-head who 
vexes her husband's heart by running 
risk of death." 

146. " Nay ; who stays is my sister, 
and thou must not abuse her, for I 
will be a scald-head too. I am glad 
all the bold mem-log are gone." 

147. " Do I speak to a woman, or a 
babe? Go to the hills and I will see 
to it that thou goest like a queen'^ 
daughter. Think, child. In a red- 
lacquered bullock-cart, veiled and cur- 
tained, with brass peacocks upon the 
pole and red cloth hangings. I will 
send two orderlies for guard, and — " 

148. " Peace I Thou art the babe in 
speaking thus. What use are those 
toys to me. He would have patted 
the bullocks and played with the 
housings. For his sake, perhaps — 
thou hast made me very English-— 



STORIES OF EMOTION X8l 



I might have gone. Now, I will not 
Let the mem-log run.** 

I49. ''Their husbands are sending 
them, beloved." 

isa ** Very good talk. Since when 
hast thou been my husband to tell me 
what to do? I have but borne thee 
a son. Thou art only all the desire of 
my soul to me. How shall I depart 
when I know that if evil befall thee 
by the breadth of so much as my 
littlest finger-nail — is that not 
small? — I should be aware of it 
though I were in paradise. And 
here, this summer thou mayest die — 
ai, janee, die! and in dying they 
might call to tend thee a white 
woman, and she would rob me in 
the lastof thy love!" 

151. " But love is not bom in a mo- 
ment or on a death-bed 1" 

152. "What dost thou know of 
love, stone-heart? She would take 
thy thanks at least and, by God and 
the Prophet and Beebee Miriam 
the mother of thy Prophet, that I 
will never endure. My lord and my 
love, let there be no more foolish 
talk of going away. Where thou 
art, I am. It is enough." She put 
an arm round his neck and a hand on 
his mouth. 

153. There are not many happi- 
nesses so complete aa those that are 
snatched under the shadow of the 
sword. They sat together and 
laughed, calling each other openly 
by every pet name that could move 
the wrath of the gods. The city be- 



l82 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

low them was locked up in its own 
torments. Sulphur fires blazed in the 
streets; the conches in the Hindu 
temples screamed and bellowed, for 
the gods were inattentive In those 
days. There was a service in the 
great Mohammedan shrine, and the 
call to prayer from the minarets was 
almost unceasing. They heard the 
wailing in the houses of the dead, 
and once the shriek of a mother 
who had lost a child and was call- 
ing for its return. In the gray 
dawn they saw the dead borne out 
through the city gates, each litter 
with its own little knot of mourn- • 

ers. Wherefore they kissed each 
other and shivered. 

154. It was a red and heavy audit, 
for the land was very sick and 
needed a little breathing space ere 
the torrent of cheap life should flood 
it anew. The children of immature 
fathers and undeveloped mothers 
made no resistance. They were 
cowed and sat still, waiting till the 
sword should be sheathed in Novem- 
ber if it were so willed. There 
were gaps among the English, but 
the gaps were filled. The work of 
superintending famine-relief, cholera- 
sheds, medicine-distribution, and 
what little sanitation was possible, 
went forward because it was so or- 
dered. 

155. Holden had been told to keep 
himself in readiness to move to re- 
place the next man who should fall. 
There were twelve hours in each day 



STORIES OF EMOTION I83 



when he could not see Ameera, and 
she might die in three. He was 
considering what his pain would be 
if he could not see her for three 
months, or if she died out of his 
sight He was absolutely certain 
that her death would be demanded — 
so certain that when he looked up 
from the telegram and saw Pir Khan 
breathless in the doorway, he 
laughed aloud. "And?" said he — 

156. ''When there is a cry in the 
night and the spirit flutters into the 
throat, who has a charm that will re- 
store? Come swiftly, heaven-bom I 
It is the black cholera." 

157. Holden galloped to his home. 
The sky was heavy with clouds, for 
the long-deferred rains were near 
and the heat was stifling. Ameera's 
mother met him in the courtyard, 
whimpering : " She is dying. She is 
nursing herself into death. She is 
all but dead. What shall I do, sa- 
hibr' 

158. Ameera was lying in the room 
in which Tota had been bom. She 
made no sign when Holden entered, 
because the human soul is a very 
lonely thing and, when it is getting 
ready to go away, hides itself in a 
misty borderland where the livmg 
may not follow. The black cholera 
does its work quietly and without ex- 
planation. Ameera was being thrust 
out of life as though the Angel of 
Death had himself put his hand 
upon her. The quick breathing 
seemed to show that she was either 



l84 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

afraid or in pain, but neither eyes 
nor mouth gave any answer to Hold- 
en's kisses. There was nothing to be 
said or done. Holden could only 
wait and suffer. The first drops of 
the rain began to fall on the roof, 
and he could hear shouts of joy in 
the parched city. 

159. The soul came back a little 
and the lips moved. Holden bent 
down to listen. "Keep nothing of 
mine," said Ameera. "Take no hair 
from my head. She would make 
thee bum it later on. That flame I 
should feel. Lower! Stoop lower! 
Remember only that I was thine 
and bore thee a son. Though thou 
wed a white woman to-morrow, the 
pleasure of receiving in thy arms 
thy first son is taken from thee for- 
ever. Remember me when thy son 
is bom — the one that shall carry 
thy name before all men. His mis- 
fortunes be on my head. I bear wit- 
ness — I bear witness "— the lips 
were forming the words on his ear 
—"that there is no God but — thee, 
beloved!" 

i6a Then she died. Holden sat 
still, and all thought was taken from 
him — till he heard Ameera*s mother 
lift the curtain. 

161. "Is she dead, sahib f** 

162. " She is dead." 

163. "Then I will mourn, and 
afterwards take an inventory of the 
furniture in this house. For that will 
be mine. The sahib does not mean to 
resume it? It is so little, so very lit- 



STORIES OF EMOTION I85 



Ue, sahib, and I am an old woman. 
I would like to lie softly." 

164. *• For the mercy of God be si- 
lent a while. Go out and mourn 
wbeHj cannot hear." 

165^ Sahib, she will be buried in 
four hours." 

166. '*! know the custom. I shall 
go ere she is taken away. That mat- 
ter is in thy hands. Look to it, that 
the bed on which — on which she 
lies—" 

167. "Aha! That beautiful red- 
lacquered bed. I have long desired 

»» 

i6a "That the bed is left here un- 
touched for my disposal. All else 
in the house is thine. Hire a cart, 
take everything, go hence, and be- 
fore sunrise let there be nothing in 
this house but that which I have or- 
dered thee to respect." 

169. *'I am an old woman. I 
would stay at least for the days of 
mourning and the rains have just 
broken. ^Whither shall I go?" 

170. " What is that to me ? My or- 
der is that there is a going. The 
house-gear is worth a thousand ru- 
pees, and my orderly shall bring thee 
a hundred rupees to-night." 

171. " That is very little. Think of 
the cart-hire." 

172. "It shall be nothing unless 
thou goest, and with speed. O 
woman, get hence and leave me with 
my dead ! " 

173 The mother shuffled down the 
staircase, and in her anxiety to take 



l86 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Stock of the house-fittings forgot to 
mourn. Holden stayed by Ameera's 
side and the rain roared on the roof. 
He could not think connectedly by 
reason of the noise, though he made 
many attempts to do so. Then four 
sheeted ghosts glided dripping into 
the room and stared at him through 
their veils. They were the washers 
of the dead. Holden left the room 
and went out to his horse. He had 
come in a dead, stifling calm 
through ankle-deep dust. He found 
the courtyard a rain-lashed pond 
alive with frogs ; a torrent of yellow 
water ran under the gate, and a roar- 
ing wind drove the bolts of the rain 
like buckshot against the mud walls. 
Pir Khan was shivering in his little 
hut by the gate, and the horse was 
stamping uneasily in the water. 

174. " I have been told the sahib's 
order," said Pir Khan. "It is well. 
This house is now desolate. I go 
also, or my monkey face would be a 
reminder of that which has been. 
Concerning the bed, I will bring 
that to thy house yonder in the morn- 
ing; but remember, sahib, it will be 
to thee a knife turning in a green 
wound. I go upon a pilgrimage, and 
I will take no money. I have grown 
fat in the protection of the Presence 
whose sorrow is my sorrow. For the 
last time I hold his stirrup." 

175. He touched Holden*s foot 
with both hands, and the horse sprang 
out into the road, where the creaking 
bamboos were whipping the sky and 



STORIES OF EMOTION iSj 



all the frogs were chuckling. Hold- 
en could not see for the rain in his 
face. He put his bands before his 
eyes and muttered: 

176. "Oh, you brute I You utter 
brute!" 

177. The news of his trouble was 
already in his bungalow. He read 
the knowledge in his butler's eyes 
when Ahmed Khan brought in food, 
and for the first and last time in his 
life laid a hand upon his master's 
shoulder, saying: "Eat, sahtb, eat. 
Meat is good against sorrow. I also 
have known. Morever the shadows 
come and go, sahib; the shadows 
come and go. These be curried 
eggs." 

178. Holden could neither eat nor 
sleep. The heavens sent down 
eight inches of rain in that night and 
washed the earth clean. The waters 
tore down walls, broke roads, and 
scoured open the shallow graves on 
the Mohammedan burying-ground. 
All next day it rained, and Holden 
sat still in his house considering his 
sorrow. On the morning of the 
third day he received a telegram 
which said only: "Ricketts, Myn- 
donie. Dying. Holden relieve. Im- 
mediate.'* Then, he thought that be- 
fore he had departed he would look 
at the house wherein he had been 
master and lord. There was a break 
in the weather, and the rank earth 
steamed with vapour. 

179. He found that the rains had 
torn down the mud pillars of the 



l88 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

gateway, and the heavy wooden gate 
that had guarded his life hung lazily 
from one hinge. There was grass 
three inches high in the courtyard; 
Pir Khan's lodge was empty, and 
the sodden thatch sagged between the 
beams. A gray squirrel was in pos- 
session of the veranda, as if the 
house had been untenanted for thirty 
years instead of three days. 
Ameera's mother had removed every- 
thing except some mildewed matting. 
The tick-tick of the little scorpions 
as they hurried across the floor was 
the only sound in the house. 
Ameera*s room and the other one 
where Tota had lived were heavy 
with mildew; and the narrow stair- 
case leading to the roof was streaked 
and stained with rain-borne mud. 
Holden saw all these things, and 
came out again to meet in the road 
Durga Dass, his hndlord — portly, 
affable, clothed in white muslin, and 
driving a C-spring buggy. He was 
overlooking his property to see how 
the roofs stood the stress of the first 
rains. 

i8o. " I have heard," said he, " you 
will not take this place any more, 
sahib f" 

i8i. "What are you going to do 
with it?" 

182. " Perhaps I shall let it again." 

183. "Then I will keep it on while 
I am away." 

184. Durga Dass was silent for 
some time. "You shall not take it 
on, sahib," he said. " When I was a 



STORIES OF EMOTION I89 

young man I also — But to-day I 
am a member of the Municipality. 
Ho! Hoi No. When the birds 
have gone, what need to keep the 
nest? I will have it pulled down — 
the timber will sell for something 
always. It shall be pulled down^ 
and the Municipality shall make a 
road across as they desire, from the 
burning-ghaut to the city wall, so 
that no man may say where this 
house stood." 

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. Using the term " Emotion " * broadly, make a list of all the 
emotions you can. 

2. Which of these are displayed in "The Last Class"? 

3. Which in "Without Benefit of Clergy"? 

4. Cite different passages, by referring to the numbered para- 
graphs, in which certain specific emotions are displayed. 

5. Do you notice any emotional expressions which seem to you 
to be either extravagant, or weak, or in any way untrue to life ? 

6. Point out how the author conveys the ideas of emotion, 
such as by emotional words, gestures, attitudes, etc. 

7. Write five short original paragraphs expressing five different 
emotions, using varied means of conveying the impressions of ' 
strong feeling. 

8. Select from some magazine a story of the emotional type, 
and point out in a few words why you consider it to be a typically 
emotional story. 

* Note. — Any good psychology ii likely to help you understand the nature 
of emotion in generaL 



190 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

TEN REPRESENTATIVE STORIES OF EMO- 
TION OR SENTIMENT 

" A Dpctor of The Old School/' Ian Maclaren, in Th^ 
Days of Auld Lang Syne. 

" A Descent into the Maelstrom," Edgar Allan Poe, in 
Tales. 

"The Duchess at Prayer," Edith Wharton, in Crucial 
Instances. 

" A Lear of the Steppes," Ivan Turgeneff, translated in 
The Book of The Short-Story. Jessup and Canby. 

" The Death of the Dauphin," Alphonse Daudet, trans- 
lated in Little French Masterpieces. 

** The Birthmark," Nathaniel Hawthorne, in Mosses From 
an Old Manse. 

"Tennessee's Partner," Bret Harte, in The Luck of 
Roaring Camp and Other Stories. 

" The Death of Olivier Becaille," ifimile Zola, translated 
in Masterpieces of Fiction. 

" They," Rudyard Kipling, in Traffic and Discoveries. 

" Juggler to * Our Lady,' " Anatole France, in Short- 
Story Masterpieces. 



IV 
HUMOROUS STORIES 

The Ransom of Red Chief. — O. Henry 
The Courting of T'Nowhead's Bell.— ]. M. Barrie 



191 



Sydney Smith uses this word [humor] to cover any thing that 
is ridiculous and laughable. So the epithet comic is quite indis- 
criminately applied. But we ought not to submit to this loose 
application; for there are plenty of other words to make proper 
distinctions for us amid our pleasurable moods, and permit us to 
reserve humor for something which is neither punning, wit, 
satire, nor comedy. Humor may avail itself of all these mental 
exercises, but only as a manager casts his stock company to set 
forth the prevailing spirit of a play. Comedy, for instance, rep- 
resents sorrows, passions, and anno)rances, but shows them with- 
out the sombre purpose of tragedy to enforce a supreme will at 
any cost. All our weaknesses threaten in comedy to result in 
serious embarrassments, but there is such inexhaustible material 
for laughter in the whims and follies with whi6h we baffle our- 
selves and others, that the tragic threat is collared just in time 
and shaken into pleasure. All kinds of details of our life are 
represented, which tragedy could never tolerate in its main drift 
towards the pathos of defeated human wills and broken hearts. 
Tricks, vices, fatuities, crotchets, vanities, play their game for a 
stake no higher than the mirth of outwitting each other; and 
they all pay penalties of a light kind which God exacts smilingly 
for the sake of keeping our disorders at a minimum. Comedy 
also finds a great deal of its charm in the unconsciousness of 
an infirmity. We exhibit ourselves unawares: each one is per- 
fectly understood by everybody but himself; so we plot and 
vapor through an intrigue with placards on each back, where all 
but the wearers can indulge their mirth at seeing us parading so 
innocently with advertisements of our price and quality. — JoHn 
Weiss, Wit, Humor, and Shakespeare. 



192 



HUMOROUS STORIES 

There are as many kinds of humorous stories as there 
are kinds of humor, ranging from gentle mirth, comedy, 
fun, and farce, to burlesque, ridicule, satire and irony. 
Some stories are typically humorous in their central situ- 
ation, as Mark Twain's "The Jumping Frog of Cala- 
veras " ; others abound in a whole series of funny situ- 
ations, as '* The King of Boyville," by William Allen 
White ; others, again, are rich in the humorous sayings by 
the writer, rather than revealed in himiorous plot, as in 
Artemas Ward's sketch, "Horace Greeley's Ride to 
Placerville '* ; still others put the humor into the speech 
of the characters, as in " The Phonograph and the Graft,** 
by O. Henry; while yet others exhibit two or more of 
the foregoing kinds, and are by turns gay, or whimsical, 
or satirical, as the characters and happenings may per- 
mit, mingling humor of plot with mirth of word and in- 
cident, ^s 

The two chief ingredients of humor — though for the 
mosT pai L it defies aiialyj^lji — if e i ^uipi ise, an d a fe e ling of 
incollgruiiy. — But llliifee must beaccompanied by no higher' 
emotion. It would surprise us to meet the incongruous 
sight of a half-clad child struggling in the snow, but the 
vision would not be humorous — the higher emotion oi 

193 



194 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

pity would preclude that. But to see an arrogant fop 
stripped of his finery and floundering and spluttering in 
a snow drift into which he had been tossed, would be 
funny — to others. 

Merely for a story to possess humor would not war- 
rant our classing it as a humorous story, for humor is a 
sunny ray gleaming often through literature and life, but 
when the typical spirit and prevailing treatment of the 
story are humorous, it may properly be so entitled. 

HENRY AND HIS WRITINGS 

William Sidney Porter, otherwise known as "O. 
Henry," was born in 1867, in Greensboro, N. C. — the 
descendant of several governors of that state, it may be 
remarked in passing. While still very young he went to 
Texas and received his education at an academy there. 
Because of poor health he was unable to attend college, 
so he spent two and a half years of his early manhood 
on a cattle ranch. Following that period came his jour- 
nalistic work on the Houston Post, and a little ten-page 
weekly story-paper of his own, The Iconoclast — after- 
wards renamed The Rolling Stone — most of the stories 
for which he wrote himself. After several years in 
Houston, he visited Central America with a friend — a 
trip which, later, yielded rich material for his first book. 
Then followed a short period as a drug clerk in Austin, 
Texas. Next we see him in New Orleans, again em- 
barked upon literary work } and there it was that he first 
showed real promise as a short-story writer, and there 



HUMOROUS STORIES 195 

also that he adopted his unique pseudonym — the sur* 
name of which was selected at random from a newspaper 
account of a social f unction, and the initial letter because 
it was the "easiest letter written/' About eight years 
before his death he came to New York, in response to an 
offer from one of the magazine editors there, and after 
that his name became well-known and his success assured. 
He died in New York City, June 5, 1910, at the age of 
forty-twa His three earliest books are perhaps the ones 
by which he is best known; Cabbages and Kings, The 
Four Million, and The Trimmed Lamp. Eleven volumes 
of short-stories comprise his literary output The later 
stories do not enhance his reputation, though some of 
them are in his best vein — notably " The Ransom of Red 
Chief," contained in the volume Whirligigs, published the 
year of his death. His last book, Sixes and Sevens, was 
issued posthumously, in 191 1. 

Of all short-story writers O. Henry was easily first as 
a masterM_sur2rise. The sudden and often astounding 
reversals at the end of his stories became delightfully 
characteristic, and the reader with the O. Henry habit 
played a happy though always losing game with himself 
in trying to forecast the denouement of each new story. 
Sometimes the yarn-spinner would delight in leading us 
to curl our lip, and say, " Pshaw, O. Henry is employing 
a rather old device — in fact, this is quite trite — " and 
then all in an instant the sly phrase would peep forth to 
show that we had been caught from ambush; for O. 
Henry had scant reverence for the reader's dignity — he 



196 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

poked fun at him as laughingly as could Shakespeare him- 
self, on occasion. 

No other writer ever made slang so really funny, yet 
few knew better the richness of serious English diction 
for really literary ends. Not that he embellished his 
sentences, but that he appraised every word at its true 
value before uttering it as literary coin. When he said 
that one of his characters was " denounced by the name 

of '* (I have forgotten what), he extracted the full 

essence from those six words, and that is art. 

Other short-story writers have been as trenchant in 
wit, others as keen in observation, but none has known 
so wide a variety of common-folk as O. Henry. Four 
great types he understood with rare completeness : The 
Texan (Heart of the West), the Central American {Cab- 
bages and Kings), the middle- and lower-class New 
Yorker {The Four Million), — and Everybody Else {all 
of his eleven books of short-stories). 

O. Henry's advice to young writers as to the secret of short- 
story writing is well known, "There are two rules," he said. 
"The first rule is to write stories that please yourself. There 
is no second rule." He was once facetiously asked if there were 
a second rule, what that rule would be. "Sell the story," he 
answered. — G. J. Nathan, O. Henry in His Own Bagdad. The 
Bookman, vol. 31. 

O. Henry has often been called " the Yankee Maupassant," and 
up to a certain point the characterization is suggestive. His 
stories have the swiftness and point of the anecdote, as Maupas- 
sant's have. He employs just enough art to keep alive the read- 



HUMOROUS STORIES 197 

er's interest for the laugh or the gasp to which everything else 
leads up. ... As a humorist he was American to the finger tips. 
That is to say, he secured his effects by over-statement, which is 
the salient characteristic of American humor. . . . Mark Twain 
was a world humorist; O. Henry was an American humorist."— 
A Typically American Short^tory Writer (Current Literature, 
vol. 49). 

The author seems to know almost every type of man — the 
rich and portly financier, the "fly" newsboy or district mes- 
senger, the denizens of the great hotels, the "salesladies," the 
chorus girls, the women in the shop, the raffish hangers-on of the 
saloons, the gamblers, and the grafters. . . . Mr. Porter is a real 
Mneur of the American type, only, he confines himself to no 
boulevard, to no city, to no state, nor even to a single country. 
The world, in fact, is his oyster, and he has learned almost un- 
consciously to open it and to extract from it alike the meat and 
the salty juices. ... He gets down to the very heart of things. 
He sees the humour and the pathos blended; yet, on the whole, 
he is an optimist • . . who believes that in every human being 
there is to be found something good, however mixed it may be 
with other qualities; and, like a true American, he can see and 
chuckle at the humour of it all.— Harry Thurston Peck, Some 
Representative American Story-Tellers, The Bookman, vol. 31. 



FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON O. HENRY 

Some American Story-Tellers, Frederic Taber Cooper 
(1911); Life of 0. Henry, Peyton Steger (1911); 0. 
Henry Biography, C. Alphonso Smith (1916). Magazine 
articles: The Bookman: The Personal O. Henry, 29, 
345 ; 29, 579 ; O. Henry's Shorter Stories, Justus Miles 
Forman, 31, 131; Sketch of O, Henry, 31, 456; Repre- 
sentative American Story-Tellers, Harry Thurston Peck, 
31, 477; O. Henry in His Own Bagdad, G. J. Nathan, 31, 
477. North American Review, 187, 781. 



198 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF* 

BY O. HENRY 



It looked like a good thing; but 
wait till I tell you. We were down 
South, in Alabama — Bill DriscoU 
and myself — when this kidnapping 
idea struck us. It was, as Bill after- 
ward expressed it, " during a moment 
of temporary mental apparition"; 
but we didn't find that out till later. 

2. There was a town down there, 
as fiat as a flannel-cake, and called 
Summit, of course. It contained in- 
habitants of as undeleterious and 
self-satisfied a class of peasantry as 
ever clustered around a Maypole. 

3. Bill and me had a joint capital 
of about six hundred dollars, and 
we needed just two thousand dollars 
more to pull off a fraudulent town- 
lot scheme in Western Illinois with. 
We talked it over on the front steps 
of the hotel. Philoprogenitiveness, 
says we, is strong in semi-rural com- 
munities; therefore, and for other 
reasons, a kidnapping project ought 
to do better there than in the radius 
of newspapers that send reporters 
out in plain clothes to stir up talk 
about such things. We know that 
Summit couldn't get after us with 

'^Copyright, 19 10, by Doubleday, Page and Co., and used by permissiofu 



IirTsomrcTiOir. 

Setting and characters. 



A fayorite form of humor 
with O. Henry. 

Setting more specific 
Satire of contrast — fre- 
quent with author. 



The narrator is not con 
sistently ungrammatical. 



The introduction develops 
the foundation of the 
Plot Situation gradually. 



HUMOBOUS STORIES 



199 



anything stronger than constables 
and, maybe, some lackadaisical blood- 
hounds and a diatribe or two in the 
Weekly Farmers' Budget. So, it 
looked good. 

4. We selected for our victim the 
only child of a prominent citizen 
named Ebenezer Dorset. The father 
was respectable and tight, a mort- 
gage fancier and a stem, upright col- 
lection-plate passer and forecloser. 
The kid was a boy of ten, with bas- 
relief freckles, and hair the color of 
the cover of the magazine you buy 
at the news-stand when you want to 
catch a train. Bill and me figured 
that Ebenezer would melt down for 
a ransom of two thousand dollars to 
a cent. But wait till I tell you. 

5. About two miles from Summit 
was a little mountain, covered with 
a dense cedar brake. On the rear 
elevation of this mountain was a 
cave. There we stored provisions. 

6. One evening after sundown, we 
drove in a buggy past old Dorset's 
house. The kid was in the street, 
throwing rocks at the kitten on the 
opposite fence. 

7. "Hey, little boy!" says Bill, 
"would you like to have a bag of 
candy and a nice ride?" 

8. The boy catches Bill neatly in 
the eye with a piece of brick. 

9. "That will cost the old man an 
extra five hundred dollars," says 
Bill, climbing over the wheel. 

10. That boy put up a fight like a 
welterweight cinnamon bear; but, at 



The humor takes the form 
of situation, diction, sat- 
ire, and sly little surprises 
throughout. 



Setting for main action. 



Main Action Begins: 
FiasT Plot Incident. 



CoNTMBUToar Incident. 

As a matter of technique, 
note that contributory in- 
cidents might be varied of 
omitted without altering 
the plot 'essentially. These 
are not all specifically 
noted in this story. 



200 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



last, we got him down in the bottom 
of the buggy and drove away. We 
took him up to the cave, and I hitched 
the horse in the cedar brake. After 
dark I drove the buggy to the little 
village, three miles away, where we 
had hired it, and walked back to the 
mountain. 

11. Bill was pasting court-plaster 
over the scratches and bruises on his 
features. There was a fire burning 
behind the big rock at the entrance 
of the cave, and the boy was watch- 
ing a pot of boiling coffee, with two 
buzzard tail-feathers stuck in his red 
hah*. He points a stick at me when 
I come up, and says: 

12. "Hal cursed paleface, do you 
dare to enter the camp of Red Chief, 
the terror of the plains? " 

13. " He's all right now," says Bill, 
rolling up his trousers and examin- 
\pg some bruises on his shins. 
" We're playing Indian. We're mak- 
ing Buffalo Bill's show look like 
magic-lantern views of Palestine in 
the town hall. I'm Old Hank, the 
Trapper, Red Chief's captive, and I'm 
to be scalped at daybreak. By Ger- 
onimo! that kid can kick hard." 

14. Yes, sir, that kid seemed to be 
having the time of his life. The fun 
of camping out in a cave had made 
him forget that he was a captive 
himself. He immediately christened 
me Snake-eye, the Spy, and announc- 
ed that, when his braves returned 
from the warpath, I was to be broil- 



•*BiU" and "the Kid" 
serve as the contesting 
characters. 



Note title of the story. 
"Bill'' never smiles. 



Note how the author uses 
swift changes to humor* 
ous effect. 

EssENTiAi., or Plot, Sztua- 

TIOH. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



201 



ed at the stake at the rising of the 
sun. 

15. Then we had supper; and he 
filled his mouth full of bacon and 
bread and gravy, and began to talk. 
He made a during-dmner speech 
something like this: 

16. " I like this fine. I never camp- 
ed out before; but I had a pet 'pos- 
sum once, and I was nine last birth- 
day. I hate to go to school. Rats 
afe up sixteen of Jimmy Talbot's 
aunt's speckled hen's eggs. Are 
there any real Indians in these 
woods? I want some more gravy. 
Does the trees moving make the wind 
blow? We had five puppies. What 
makes your nose so red, Hank? My 
father has lots of money. Are the 
stars hot? I whipped Ed Walker 
twice, Saturday. I don't like girls. 
You dasent catch toads unless with 
a string. Do oxen make any noise? 
Why are oranges round? Have you 
got beds to sleep on in this cave? 
Amos Murray has got six toes. A 
parrot can talk, but a monkey or a 
fish can't How many does it take 
to make twelve?" 

17. Every few minutes he would 
remember that he was a pesky red- 
skin, and pick up his stick rifle and 
tiptoe to the mouth of the cave to 
rubber for the scouts of the hated 
paleface. Now and then he would 
let out a war-whoop that made Old 
Hank the Trapper, shiver. That boy 
had Bill terrorized from the start 



Somewhat overdone, but we 
must judge the story not 
as comedy but as farce, 
which blithely assumes the 
improbable as true. 



ESSINTIAL SlTUATIOir, 



202 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



la " Red Chief," says I to the kid, 
* would you like to go home ? " 

19. "Aw, what for?" says he. "I 
don't have any fun at home. I hate 
to go to school. I like to camp out. 
You won't take me back home again, 
Snake-eye, will you ? " 

20. "Not right away," says I. 
"We'll stay here in the cave a 
while." 

21. " All right ! " says he. " That'll 
be fine. I never had such fun in all 
my life." 

22. We went to bed about eleven 
o'clock. We spread down some wide 
blankets and quilts and put Red Chief 
between us. We weren't afraid he'd 
run away. He kept us awake for 
three hours, jumping up and reach- 
ing for his rifle and screeching: 
" Hist I pard," in mine and Bill's ears, 
as the fancied crackle of a twig or 
the rustle of a leaf revealed to his 
young imagination the stealthy ap- 
proach of the outlaw band. At la§t, 
I fell into a troubled sleep, and 
dreamed that I had been kidnapped 
and chained to a tree by a ferocious 
pirate with red hair. 

23. Just at daybreak, I was awaken- 
ed by a series of awful screams from 
Bill They weren't yells, or howls, 
or shouts, or whoops, or yawps, such 
as you'd expecte from a manly set 
of vocal organs — they were simply 
indecent, terrifying, humiliating 
screams, such as women emit when 
they see ghosts or caterpillars. It's 
an awful thing to hear a strong, des- 



Key. 

Use of the unexpected 



A tribute throughout to the 
dime dreadful. 



Narrator lapses now and 
then into "better" Ian- 
guage. 



Contrast 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



203 



perate, fat man scream incontinently 
in a cave at daybreak. 

24. I jumped up to see what the 
matter was. Red Chief was sitting 
cm Bill's chest, with one hand twined 
in Bill's hair. In the other he had the 
sharp case-knife we used for slicing 
bacon; and he was industriously and 
realistically trying to take Bill's 
scalp, according to the sentence that 
had been pronounced upon him the 
evening before. 

25. I got the knife away from the 
kid and made him lie down again. 
But, from that moment. Bill's spirit 
was broken. He laid down on his 
side of the bed, but he never closed 
an eye again in ^leep as long as that 
boy was with us. I dozed off for a 
while, but along toward sun-up I re- 
membered that Red Chief had said 
I was to be burned at the stake at 
the rising of the sun. I wasn't nerv- 
ous or afraid; but I sat up and lit 
my pipe and leaned against a rock. 

2l^, " What you getting up so soon 
for, Sam?" asked Bill. 

^. "Me?" says I. "Oh, I got a 
kind of a pain in my shoulder. I 
thought sitting up would rest it." 

28. "You're a liar!" says Bill. 
"You're afraid. You was to be 
burned at sunrise, and you was afraid 
he'd do it And he would, too, if 
he could find a match. Ain't it 
awful, Sam? Do you think anybody 
will pay out money to get a little imp 
like that back home?" 

29. " Sure," said I. " A rowdy kid 



Plot Sxtuatiom. 

Note that the author deveN 
opi bis story by the tMe 
of progressive plot situa- 
tions and contributory 
(non-essential) incidents. 



204 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



like that is just the kind that parents 
dote on. Now, you and the Chief 
get up and cook breakfast, while I go 
up on the top of this mountain and 
reconnoitre." 

30.- 1 went up on the peak of the 
little mountain and ran my eye over 
the contiguous vicinity. Over toward 
Summit I expected to sec the sturdy 
yeomanry of the village armed with 
scythes and pitchforks beating the 
countryside for the dastardly kid- 
nappers. But what I saw was a 
peaceful landscape dotted with one 
man ploughing with a dun mule. 
Nobody was dragging the creek; no 
couriers dashed hither and yon, 
bringing tidings of no news to the 
distracted parents. There was a 
sylvan altitude of somnolent sleepi- 
ness pervading the section of the ex- 
ternal outward surface of Alabama 
that lay exposed to my view. *' Per- 
haps," says I to myself, "it has not 
yet been discovered that the wolves 
have borne away the tender lambkin 
from the fold. Heaven help the 
wolves ! " says I, and I went down 
the mountain to breakfast. ' 

31. When I got to the cave I found 
Bill backed up against the side of it, 
breathing hard, and the boy threat- 
ening to smash him with a rock half 
as big as a cocoanut 

32. "He put a red-hot boiled po- 
tato down my back," explained Bill, 
"and then mashed it with his foot; 
and I boxed his ears. Have you got 
a gun about you, Sam? " 



Note the humorous use of 
the language of "Htera- 
tttiTC " — spariogly. 



Plot Situatioit. 



Kbt. 



Contrast of unexpected. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



«>S 



33. I took the rock away from the 
boy and kind of patched up the argu- 
ment " rU fix you," says the kid to 
Bill. "No man ever yet struck the 
Red Chief but what he got paid for 
it You better beware I" 

34. After breakfast the kid takes a 
piece of leather with strings wrapped 
around it out of his pocket and goes 
outside the cave unwinding it 

35. "What's he up to now?" says 
Bill, anxiously. "You don't thjnk 
hell run away, do you, Sam ? " 

36. "No fear of it," says I. "He 
don't seem to be much of a home 
body. But we've got to fix up some 
plan about the ransom. There don't 
seem to be much excitement around 
Summit on account of his disappear- 
ance; but maybe they haven't realiz- 
ed yet that he's gone. His folks may 
think he's spending the night with 
Aunt Jane or one of the neighbors. 
Anyhow, he'll be missed to-day. To- 
night we must get a message to his 
father demanding the two thousand 
dollars for his return." 

37. Just then we heard a kind of 
warwhoop, such as David might have 
emitted when he knocked out the 
champion Goliath. It was a sling 
that Red Chief had pulled out of his 
pocket, and he was whirling it around 
his head. 

38. I dodged, and heard a heavy 
thud and a kind of a sigh from Bill, 
like a horse gives out when you take 
his saddle off. A niggerhead rock 
the size of an egg had caught Bill 



Return to firtt ftyle of nar- 
ration. 



A Frank R. 
prestion. 



Stockton ex- 



Plot situation 
tion halts. 



hidden. 



206 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



just behind the left ear. He loosen- 
ed himself all over and fell in the fire 
across the frying pan of hot water 
for washing the dishes. I dragged 
him out and poured cold water on 
his head for half an hour. 

39. By and by, Bill sits up and 
feels behind his ear and says : " Sam, 
do you know who my favorite Biblical 
character is?" 

40. "Take it easy," says I. 
" You'll come to your senses present- 
ly" 

41. " King Herod," says he. " You 
won't go away and leave me here 
alone, will you, Sam?" 

42. I went out and caught that boy 
and shook him until his freckles rat- 
tled. 

43. "If you don't behave," says I, 
"I'll take you straight home. Now, 
are you going to be good, or not?" 

44. "I was only funning," says he 
sullenly. " I didn't mean to hurt Old 
Hank. But what did he hit me for? 
I'll behave. Snake-eye, if you won't 
send me home, and if you'll let me 
play the Black Scout to-day." 

45. " I don't know the game," says 
I. " That's for you and Mr. Bill to 
decide. He's your playmate for the 
day. I'm going away for a while, on 
business. Now, you come in and 
make friends with him and say you 
are sorry for hurting him, or home 
you go, at once." 

46. I made him and Bill shake 
hands, and then I took Bill aside and 
told him I was going to Poplar Cove, 



This expression is more 
clever than natural to 
" Bill." 



Slaughter of the Innocents. 



See tl 4. 



Note the use of the incon- 
gruous. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



207 



Do these men seem like 
actual criminals? See com- 
ment on If 16. 



a little village three miles from the 
cave, and find out what I could about 
how the kidnapping had been regard- 
ed in Summit Also, I thought it Pw>t Ixcidsmt. 
best to send a peremptory letter to 
old man Dorset that day, demanding 
the ransom and dictating how it 
should be paid. 

47. "You know, Sam," says Bill, 
** I've stood by you without batting 
an eye in earthquakes, fire and flood 
— in poker games, dynamite outrag- 
es, police raids, train robberies and 
cyclones. I never lost my nerve yet 
till we kidnapped that two-legged 
skyrocket of a kid. He's got me go- 
ing. You won't leave me long with 
him, will you, Sam ? " 

48. "ril be back some time this 
afternoon," says I. " You must keep 
the boy amused and quiet till I re- Irony, 
turn. And now we'll write the letter 
to old Dorset." 

49. Bill and I got paper and pencil 
and worked on the letter while Red 
Chief, with a blanket wrapped around 
him, strutted up and down, guarding 
the mouth of the cave. Bill begged 
me tearfully to make the ransom fif- 
teen hundred dollars instead of two 
thousand. " I ain't attempting," says 
he, "to decry the celebrated moral 
aspect of parental affection, but we're 
dealing with humans, and it ain't 
human for anybody to give up two Key. 
thousand dollars for that forty- 
pound chunk of freckled wildcat. 
I'm willing to take a chance at fifteen 



208 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



hundred dollars. You can charge the 
difference up to me." 

50. So, to relieve Bill, I acceded, 
and we collaborated a letter that 
ran this way : 



PUEPAKATION FOa CrISII. 



Ebenezer Dorset, Esq.: 

We have your boy concealed in a 
place far from Summit. It is use- 
less for you or the most skilful 
detectives to attempt to find him. 
Absolutely, the only terms on which 
you can have him restored to you are 
these: We demand fifteen hundred 
dollars in large bills for his return; 
the money to be left at midnight at 
the same spot and in the same box 
as your reply — as hereinafter de- 
scribed. If you agree to these terms, 
send your answer in writing by a 
solitary messenger to-night at half- 
past eight o'clock. After crossing 
Owl Creek, on the road to Poplar 
Cove, there are three large trees, 
about a hundred yards apart, close 
to the fence of the wheat field on 
the right-hand side. At the bottom 
of the fence-post, opposite the third 
tree, will be found a small paste- 
board box. 

The messenger will place the an- 
swer in this box and return im- 
mediately to Summit. 

If you attempt any treachery or 
fail to comply with our demand* as 
stated, you will never see your boy 
again. 

If yog pay the money as demanded, 
he will be returned to you safe and 
well within three hours. These 
terms are final, and if you do not 
accede to them no further communi- 
cation will be attempted. 

Two Desperate Men. 



In intelligence of expres- 
sion, does tiiis letter cor- 
respond to the general 
style of the narrator? 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



209 



51. I addressed this letter to Dor- 
set, and put it in my pocket As I 
was about to start, the kid comes up 
to me and says : 

52. "Aw, Snake-eye, you said I 
could play the Black Scout while 
you was gone." 

53. "Play it, of course," says I. 
" Mr. Bill will play with you. What 
kind of a game is it?" . 

54. " Fm the Black Scout," says 
Red Chief, " and I have to ride to the 
stockade to warn the settlers that the 
Indians are coming. I'm so tired of 
playing Indian myself. I want to be 
the Black Scout" 

55. " All right," says I. " It sounds 
harmless to -me. I guess Mr. Bill 
will help you foil the pesky savages." 

56. " What am I to do? " says Bill, 
looking at the kid suspiciously. 

57. " You are the boss," says Black 
Scout. "Get down on your hands 
and knees. How can I ride to the 
stockade without a boss ? " 

58. "You'd better keep him in- 
terested," said I, "till we get the 
scheme going. Loosen up." 

59. Bill gets down on his all fours, 
and a look comes in his eye like a 
rabbit's when you catch it in a trap. 

60. " How far is it to the stockade. 
Kid?" he asks, in a husky manner 
of voice. 

61. " Ninety miles," says the Black 
Scout. "And you have to hump 
yourself to get there on time. Whoa, 
now!" 



Character 
byplay. 



delineation and 



''he two are typically in 
character . in the»e para- 
graphs. 



210 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

62. The Black Scout jumps on Bill's 
back and digs his heels in his side. 

63. ** For Heaven's sake/' says Bill, 
"hurry back, Sam, as soon as you 
can. I wish we hadn't made the ran- 
som more than a thousand. Say, 
you quit kicking me or I'll get up 
and warm you good." 

64. I walked over to Poplar Cove 
and sat around the post-office and 
store, talking with the chawbacons 
that came in to trade. One whisker- 
ando says that he hears Summit is all 
upset on account of Elder Ebenezer 

Dorset's boy having been lost or stol- Plot SixtrATioif. 
en. That was all I wanted to know. 
I bought some smoking tobacco, re- 
ferred casually to the price of black- 
eyed peas, posted my letter sur- 
reptitiously and came away. The 
postmaster said the mail-carrier 
would come by in an hour to take the 
mail on to Summit. 

65. When I got back to the cave 
Bill and the boy were not to be 
found. I explored the vicinity of the 
cave, and risked a yodel or two, but 
there was no response. 

66. So I lighted my pipe and sat 
down on a mossy bank to await de- 
velopments. 

67. In about half an hour I heard 
' the bushes rustle, and Bill wabbled 

out into the little glade in front of 

the cave. Behind him was the kid, . ^ 

stepping softly like a scout, with a 

broad grin on his face. Bill stopped, 

took off his hat and wiped his face 



HUMOROUS STORIES 211 

with a red handkerchief. The kid 
stopped about eight feet behind 
him. 

6a "Sam," says Bill, "I suppose 
you'll think I*m a renegade, but I 
couldn't help it. Vm a grown person 
with masculine proclivities and habits 
of self-defence, but there is a time 
when all systems of egotism and 

predominance fail The boy is gone. Typical O. Henry gpeech in 
I have sent him home. All is off. *^» P«-a«>^«ph. 
There was martyrs in old times," 
goes on Bill, "that suffered death 
rather than give up the particular / 

graft they enjoyed. None of 'em 
ever was subjugated to such super- 
natural tortures as I have been. I 
tried to be faithful to our articles of 
depredation; but there came a 
limit." 

69. "What's the trouble, Bill?" I 
asks him. 

70. " I was rode," says Bill, " the 
ninety miles to the stockade, not bar- 
ring an inch. Then, when the set- 
tlers was rescued, I was given oats. 
Sand ain't a palatable substitute. 
And then, for an hour I had to try to 
explain to him why there was noth- 
in' in holes, how a road can run 
both ways and what makes the grass 
green. I tell you, Sam, a human can 
only stand so much. I takes him by 
the neck of his clothes and drags him 
down the mountain. On the way he 
kicks my legs black-and-blue from 
the knees down; and I've got to 
have two or three bites on my thumb 
and hand cauterized. 



212 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



71. "But he's gone" — continues 
Bill — ^**gone home. I showed him 
the road to Summit and kicked him 
ahout eight feet nearer there at one 
kick. I'm sorry we \6se the ransom; 
hut it was either that or Bill DriscoU 
to the madhouse." 

72. Bill is puffing and blowing but 
there is a look of ineffable peace 
and growing content on his rose-pink 
features. 

73. "Bill," says I, "there isn't any 
heart disease in yotu: family, is 
there?" 

74. "No," says Bill, "nothing 
chronic except malaria and accidents. 
Why?" 

75. " Then you might turn around," 
says I, " and have a look behind you." 

76. Bill turns and sees the boy, and 
loses his complexion and sits down 
plump on the ground and begins to 
pluck aimlessly at grass and little 
sticks. For an hour I was afraid for 
his mind. And then I told him that 
my scheme was to put the whole job 
through immediately and that we 
would get the ransom and be off with 
it by midnight if old Dorset fell in 
with our proposition. So Bill braced 
up enough to give the kid a weak 
sort of a smile and a promise to play 
the Russian in a Japanese war with 
him as soon as he felt a little better. 

77. I had a scheme for collecting 
that ransom without danger of being 
caught by counterplots that ought to 
commend itself to professional kid- 
nappers. The tree under which the 



Note the stage trick of a 
character in ignorance 
while the audience enjoys 
hit delusion. The sur- 
priae if his, not oura. 



Suggestion. 

Straight delineation. The 
former is the better art. 



Plot Situation. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



. 213 



answer was to be left — and the 
money later on — was close to the 
road fence with big, bare fields on 
all sides. If a gang of constables 
should be watching for any one to 
come for the note they could see 
him a long way off crossing the fields 
or in the road. But no sirree! At 
half-past eight I was up in that tree 
as well hidden as a tree toad, waiting 
for- the messenger to arrive. 

78. Exactly on time, a half-grown 
boy rides up the road on a bicycle, 
locates the pasteboard box at the 
foot of the fence-post, slips a folded 
piece of paper into it and pedals 
away again back toward Summit. 

79. I waited an hour and then con- 
cluded the thing was square. I slid 
down the tree, got the note, slipped 
along the fence till I struck the 
woods, and was back at the cave in 
another half an hour. I opened the 
note, got near the lantern and read 
it to Bill. It was written with a pen 
in a crabbed hand, and the sum and 
substance of it was this: 



Plot Ihciobitt. 



Two Desperate Men, 

Gentlemen: I received your letter 
to-day by post, in regard to the ran- 
som you ask for the return of my 
son. I think you are a little high 
In your demands, and I hereby make 
you a counter-proposition, which I 
am inclined to believe you will ac- 
cept. You bring Johnny home and 
pay me two hundred and fifty dollars 
in cash, and I agree to take him off 
your hands. You had better come at 
night for the neighbors believe he is 



Main Plot Ikciosnt. 



Clxicaz. 



214 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



lost, and I« couldn't be responsible for 
what they would do to anybody they 
saw bringing him back. 

Very respectfully, 
Ebbnezer Dorset. 



8a " Great pirates of Penzance ! " 
says I, "of all the impudent — " 

8i. But I glanced at Bill, and hes- 
itated. He had the most appealing 
look in his eyes I ever saw on the face 
of a dumb or a talking brute. 

82. " Sam," says he, " what's two 
hundred and fifty dollars, after all? 
WeVe got the money. One more 
night of this kid will send me to a 
bed in Bedlam. Besides being a 
thorough gentleman, I think Mr. 
Dorset is a spendthrift for making 
us a liberal offer. You ain't going 
to let the chance go, are you?" 

83. " Tell you the truth, Bill," says 
I, " this little he ewe lamb has some- 
what got on my nerves, too. We'll 
take him home, pay the ransom, and 
make our get-away." 

84. We took him home that night. 
We got him to go by telling him that 
his father had bought a silver-mount- 
ed rifle and a pair of moccasins for 
him, and we were going to hunt 
bears the next day. 

85. It was just twelve o'clock when 
we knocked at Ebenezer's front door. 
Just at the moment when I should 
have been abstracting the fifteen hun- 
dred dollars from the box under the 
tree, according to the original prop- 
osition, Bill was counting out two 



Suggestion. 



Serio-comic* 



Extreme of contrast 



Denoueicbnt. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 



215 



hundred and fifty dollars into Dor- 
set's hand. 

86. When the kid found out we 
were going to leave him at home he 
started up a howl like a calliope and 
fastened himself as tight as a leech 
to Bill's leg. His father peeled him 
away gradually, like a porous plas- 
ter. 

87. "How long can you hold 
him ?"^sks Bill 

88. "I'm not as strong as I used 
to he," says old Dorset "But I 
think I can promise you ten minutes." 

89. " Enough," says BilL " In ten 
minutes I shall cross the Central, 
Southern and Middle Western States, 
and he legging it trippingly for the 
Canadian border." 

90. And, as dark as it was, and as 
fat as Bill was, and as good a runner 
as I am, he was a good mile and 
half out of Summit before I could 
catch up with him. 



CONTIASTING PLOT SITUA- 
TION — Summary of the 
plot-outcome. 

Note free use of simile. 



Humor of hyperbole. 



Resultant Climax. 



BARRIE AND HIS WRITINGS 

James Matthew Barrie was born at Kirriemuir 
("Thrums")* Scotland, on the 9th of May, i860. He 
IS the son of a physician, whom he has lovingly embodied 
as " Dr. McQueen " ; his mother and sister also will live 
as " Jess " and " Leeby." He was educated at Dumfries 
Academy, entering the University of Edinburgh at eight- 
een, from which he was graduated in 1882 with the 
degree of M.A., taking honors in English literature. He 
began writing literary criticisms for the Edinburgh Cou- 



ai6 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

rant at this period. Several months after his graduation 
Barrie took a position on a Nottingham newspaper, leav- 
ing that city for London in 1885, where his literary career 
commenced in earnest; but success did not come until 
after the customary struggles and hindrances to which 
young literary aspirants are ever subject. In 1893 
he married Miss Ansell, an actress, whom he divorced 
in 1909. Some of his best-known books are Auld 
Licht Idylls; A Window in Thrums; Margaret Ogilvy; 
My Lady Nicotine; The Little Minister (afterwards 
dramatized) ; Sentimental Tommy; Tommy and Grizel 
(a sequel), and The Little White Bird. He also wrote 
several plays, the most notable of which are The Pro- 
fessor's Love Story; Peter Pan (a partial dramatization 
of The Little White Bird) ; Quality Street; and What 
Every Woman Knows. It is interesting to note that Mr. 
Barrie did not succeed in securing the magazine publica- 
tion of " The Courting of T'Nowhead's Bell," which is 
given herewith ; if was first issued between book covers, 
in 1888. 

Barrie is a versatile story-teller, though he deals mostly 
with Scotch characters. His early work exhibits his 
short-story ability at its best. The warm hunian interest 
of A Window in Thrums and Auld Licht Idylls, is 
matched only by Ian Maclaren's Beside the Bonnie Briar 
Bush and The Days of Auld Lang Syne. A quaint 
character-humor, with swift flashes of pathos, pervades 
all his work, which for local-color and insight into the 
character of the Scotch rural dweller has won a place of 



HUMOROUS STORIES 21^ 

distinction among the stories of present-day writers. 
With Barrie, realism is rarely unpleasant; he sees all 
things with a gentle eye. Even when in his keen ability 
to penetrate to the heart of things he discovers the weak- 
nesses pf humanity, he also finds redeeming virtues. 
Thus his characters are continually disclosing their true 
natures underneath the garb and custom of picturesque 
life, and we feel ourselves to be kin to them, every one. 
His dialect in itself is masterly and often deliciously hu- 
morous, so that actions and dialogue in themselves com- 
monplace take on an extraordinary interest. No modern 
writer has a greater gift of character-drawing, and none 
is more s}mipathetically human in his interpretations of 
the Scotch commoner. 

It is my contemptible weakness that if I say a character smiled 
vacuously, I must smile vacuously ; if he frowns or leers, I frown 
or leer; if he is a coward or given to contortions, I cringe, or 
twist my legs until I have to stop writing to undo the knot. 
I bow with him) eat with him, and gnaw my moustache with 
him. If the character be a lady with an exquisite laugh, I sud- 
denly terrify you by laughing exquisitely. One reads of the 
astounding versatility of an actor who is stout and lean on the 
same evening, but what is he to the novelist who is a dozen 
persons within the hour ? — J. M. Barrie, Margaret OgUvy, 

There are writers who can plan out their story beforehand as 
clearly as though it were a railway journey, and adhere through- 
out to their original design — they draw up what playwrights 
call a scenario — but I was never one of those. I spend a great 
deal of time indeed in looking for the best road in the map and 
mark it with red ink, but at the first bypath off my characters 
go. " Come back," I cry, " you are off the road." " We prefer 
this way," they reply. I try bullying. " You are only people in 
a book," I shout, ** and it is my book, and I can do what I like 



2l8 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

with you, so come back ! " But they seldom come, and it ends 
with my plodding after them. — J. M. Basbie, Introduction to 
When a Man's Single. 

The chief features of Barrie's style are a quaintness of expres- 
sion, a simple directness of narrative, and an unfailing sense of 
humor — often as though the author were chuckling to himself 
as he wrote. His gift for descriptive writing — probably the 
best test of " style " — is very marked, though he makes little of 
it— -J. A. Hammekton, /. M. Barrie and His Books. 

Auld Licht Idylls is a set of regular descriptions of the 
life of "Thrums," with special reference to the ways and char- 
acter of the "Old Lights," the stubborn conservative Scotch 
Puritans; it contains also a most amusing and characteristic 
love story of the sect ("The Courting of T'Nowhead's Bell"), 
and a satiric political skit, — Charles Dudley Warner*s Library 
of the World's Best Literature. 

By the time "Auld Licht Idylls" appeared, he had achieved 
a. reputation, — at least a local one. This book had an immediate 
success, and ran rapidly through several editions. His mother 
had been an Auld Licht in her youth. . . . Mrs. Barrie, knowing 
them from the inside, could tell all sorts of quaint and marvel'- 
lous tales about them, whose humor was sure to please. It was 
from her stories that the Idylls were mainly drawn, so she was 
in a sense a collaborator with her son in their production. — 
Hattie T. Griswold, Personal Sketches of Recent Authors, 

As a literary artist he belongs in the foremost rank, He has 
that sense of the typical in incident, of the universal in feeling, 
and of the suggestive in language, which mark the chiefs of 
letters. No one can express an idea with fewer strokes; he 
never expands a sufficient hint into an essay. His management 
of the Scotch dialect is masterly: he uses it sparingly, in the 
nearest form to English compatible with retaining the flavor; 
he never makes it so hard as to interfere with enjoyment; in 
few dialect writers do we feel so little alienncss. — Charles 
DuwxY Warner's Library of the World's Best Literature. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 219 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON BARRIE 

My Contemporaries in Fiction, by J. D. C Murray 
(1897) ; Theology of Modern Literature, by S. Law Wil- 
son (1899) ; Fame and Fiction, by E. A. Bennett (1901) ; 
/. M. Barrie and His Books, by J. A. Hammerton (1902). 

FOR ANALYSIS 
THE COURTING OF T'NOWHEAD'S BELL 

BY JAMES MATTHEW BARRIE 

For two years it had been notori- 
ous in the square that Sam'l Dickie 
was thinking of courting T'nowhead's 
Bell, and that if little Sanders Elsh- 
ioner (which is the Thrums pronun- 
ciation of Alexander Alexander) 
went in for her he might prove a 
formidable rival. Sam*l was a weav- 
er in the Tenements, and Sanders a 
coal-carter whose trade-mark was a 
bell on his horse's neck that told 
when coals were coming. Being 
something of a public man, Sanders 
had not so high a social position as 
Sam'l, but he had succeeded his fath- 
er on the coal-cart, while the weaver 
had already tried several trades. It 
had always been against Sam'l, too, 
that once when the kirk was vacant 
he had advised the selection of the 
third minister who preached for it 
on the ground that it came expensive 
to pay a large number of candidates. 



220 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

The scandal of the thing was hushed 
up, out of respect for his father, who 
was a God-fearing man, but Saml 
was known by it in Lang Tammas' 
circle. The coal-carter was called 
LTttle Sanders to distinguish him 
from his father, who was not much 
more than half his size. He had 
grown up with the name, and its 
inapplicability now came home to no- 
body. SamTs mother had been more ' 
far-seeing than Sanders*. Her man 
had been called Sammy all his life 
because it was the name he got as a 
boy, so when their eldest son was 
bom she spoke of him as Saml while 
still in his cradle. The neighbours 
imitated her, and thus the young man 
had a better start in life than had 
been granted to Sammy, his father. 

2. It was Saturday evening — the 
night in the week when Auld Licht 
young men fell in love. Sam'l 
Dickie, wearing a blue glengarry bon- 
net with a red ball on the top. came 
to the door of a one-story house in 
the Tenements and stood there 
wriggling, for he was in a suit of 
tweeds for the first time that week, 
and did not feel at one in them. 
When his feeling of being a stran- 
ger to himself wore off, he looked up 
and down the road, which straggles 
between houses and gardens, and 
then, picking his way over the pud- 
dles, crossed to his father's henhouse 
and sat down on it. He was now on 
his way to the square. 

3. Eppie Fargus was sitting on an 



HUMOROUS STORIES 221 



adjoining * dike knitting stockings, 
and Saml looked at her for a time. 

4. "Is't ycrscl, Eppic?" he said at 
last 

S- " It's a' that." said Eppie. 

6. "Hoo's a wi' ye? '* asked Sam! 

7. "We're juist aff an* on/' re- 
plied Eppie cautiously. 

8. There was not much more to 
say, but as Sam'l sidled off the hen- 
house he murmured politely, "Ay, 
ay." In another minute he would 
have been fairly started, but Eppie 
resumed the convei*sation. 

9. " Sam'l," she said, with a twinkle 
in her eye, " ye can tell Lisbeth Far- 
gus rU likely be drappin' in on her 
aboot Munday or Teisday." 

la Lisbeth .was sister to Eppie, and 
wife of Tammas McQuhatty, better 
known as T nowhead, which was the 
name of his farm. She was thus 
Bells mistress. 

11. Sam'l leaned against the hen- 
house as if all his desire to depart 
had gone. 

12. "Hoo d'ye kin I'll be at the 
T'nowhead the nicht?" he asked, 
grinning in anticipation. 

13. " Ou, I'se warrant ye*ll be after 
Bell," said Eppie. 

14. "Am no sure o* that," said 
Sam'l, trying to leer. He was en- 
joying himself now. 

15. "Am no sure o' that," he re- 
peated, for Eppie seemed lost in 
stitches. 

16. "Sam!-" 

17. "Ay." 



222 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

18. " Ye*l] be spierin* her sune noo. Asking her. 
I dinna doot?" 

19. This took Satn'l, who had only 
been courting Bell for a year or two, 
a little aback. 

2a "Hoo d'ye mean, Eppie?" he 
asked. 

21. " Maybe ye'U do't the nicht." 

22. " Na, there's ii'ae hurry," said 
Sam'l. 

23. "Weel, we're a' coontin' on't, 
Sam'l. 

24. "Gae wa wi' ye." 

25. "What for no?" 

26. "Gae wa wi* ye," said Sam! 
again. 

27. "Bells gie an' fon o' ye. 
Sam'l.-' 

28. " Ay." said Sam'l. 

29. " But am dootin' ye're a fell 
billy wi' the lasses." 

30. "Ay, oh, I d'na kin, moderate, 
moderate," said Sam'l, in high de- 
light. 

31. "I saw ye," said Eppie, speak- 
ing with a wire in her mouth, " gaein' 
on terr'ble wi' Mysy Haggart at the 
pump last Saturday." 

32. "We was juist amoosin' oor- 
sels," said Saml. 

S3, "It'll be nae amoosement to 
Mysy," said Eppie, "gin ye brak her 
heart." 

34. " Losh, Eppie," said Sam'l, " I 
didna think o' that." 

35. "Ye maun kin weel, Sam*l, 'at 
there's mony a lass wid jump at ye." 

36. "Ou, weel," said Sam'l, imply- 



HUMOROUS STORIES 223 

ing that a man must take these things 
as they come. 

37. "For ye're a dainty chield to 
look at, Sam'l." 

38. **Do ye think so, Eppie? Ay, 
ay; oh, I d'na kin am onything by 
the ordinar." 

39. "Ye mayna be," said Eppie, 
"but lasses doesna do to be ower 
partikler." 

40. Sami resented this, and pre- 
pared to depart again. 

41. "Ye'U no teU Bell that?" he 
asked anxiously. 

42. "Tell her what?" 

43. "Aboot me an* Mysy." 

44. "We'll see hoo ye behave 
yersel, Sam*L" 

45. " No *at I care, Eppie ; ye can 
tell her gin ye like. I widna think 
twice o* tellin' her mysel." 

46. "The Lord forgie ye for leein*, 
Sam'l,'* said Eppie, as he disappeared 

down Tammy Tosh's close. Here he Alley, or court, 
came upon Renders Webster. 

47' " Ye're late, Sam'l," said Hen- 
ders. 

48. "What for?" 

49. "Ou, I was thinkin* ye wid be 
gaen the length o' T'nowhead the 
nicht, an' I saw Sanders Elshioner 
makkin's wy there an oor syne." 

50. " Did ye ? " cried Sam'l, adding 
craftily, "but it's naelhing to me." 

51. "Tod, lad," said Renders, "gin 
ye dinna buckle to, Sanders'll be 
carryin* her off." 

52. Sam'l flung back his head and 
passed on. 



224 STUDYING THE SHORT*STORY 

53. "Sam'll" cried Hcndcrs after 
him. 

54. "Ay," said Sam'l, wheeling 
round. 

55. " Gie Bell a kiss frae me." 

56. The full force of this joke 
struck neither all at once. Saml be- 
gan to smile at it as he turned down 
the school-wynd, and it came upon 
Renders while he was in his garden 
feeding his ferret. Then he slapped 
his legs gleefully, and explained the 
conceit to WilFum Byars. who went 
into the hous&and thought it over. 

57. There were twelve or twenty 
little groups of men in the square, 
which was lit by a flare of oil sus- 
pended over a cadgers cart. Now 
and again a staid young woman pass- 
ed through the square with a basket 
on her arm, and if she had lingered 
long enough to give them time, some 
of the idlers would have addressed 
her. As it was. they gazed after her, 
and then grinned to each other. 

58. "Ay, Sam'l/' said two or three 
young men as Sam'l joined them be- 
neath the town clock. 

59. "Ay, Davit," replied Sara'l. 

60. This group was composed of 
some of the sharpest wits in Thrums, 
and. it was not to be expected that 
they would let this opportunity pass. 
Perhaps when Sam'l joined them he 
knew what was in store for him. 

61. "Was ye lookin' for T'now- 
head*s Bell, Saml?" asked one. 

62. "Or mebbe ye was wantin' the 
minister?" suggested another, the 



HUMOROUS STORIES 225 



same who had walked out twice with 
Christy Duff and not married her 
after all. 

63. Sam'l could not think of a good 
reply at the moment, so he laughed 
good-naturedly. 

64. '' Ondoohtedly she's a snod hit 
crittur," said Davit archly. 

65. "An' michty clever wi' her 
fingers," added Jamie Deuchars. 

66. " Man, I've thocht o' makkin' 
up to Bell mysel," said Peter Ogle. 
•* Wid there be ony chance, think ye, 
Sam'l?" 

(fj, "I'm thinkin* she widna hac 
ye for her first, Pete,'' replied Sam'l, 
in one of those happy flashes that 
come to some men, "but there's nae 
sayin' bht what she micht tak ye to 
finish up wi'." 

68. The unexpectedness of this sal- 
ly startled every-one. Though Sam'l 
did not set up for a wit, however, 
like Davit, it was notorious that he 
could say a cutting thing once in a 
way. 

69. "Did ye ever see Bell reddin' 
up? " asked Pete, recovering from his 
overthrow. He was a man who bore 
no malice. 

70. " It's a sicht," said Sam'l sol- 
emnly. 

71. "Hoo will that be?" asked 
Jamie Deuchars. 

72. " It's well worth yer while," 
said Pete, "to ging atower to the 
T'nowhead an' see. Ye'll mind the 
closed'in beds i' the kitchen? Ay, 
well, they're a fell spoilt crew, 



226 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

T'nowhead's litlins, an' no that aisy LitUe osieti 

to manage. Th' ither lasses Lisbeth's 

hae'n had a michty trouble wi' them. 

When they war i* the middle o' their 

reddin' vp the bairns wid come tum- 

lin' about the floor, but, sal, I assure 

ye, Bell didna fash lang wi' them. 

Did she, Sam'l?" 

7Z' " She did not,'* said Saml, 
dropping into a fine mode of speech 
to add emphasis to his remark. 

74. " ril tell ye what she did," 
said Pete to the others. *' She juist 
lifted up the litlins, twa at a time, 
an* flung them into the coffin-beds. 
Syne she snibbit the doors on them, 
an* keepit them there till the floor 
was dry." 

75. "Ay, man, did she so?** said 
Davit admiringly. 

y6. "Fve seen her do't mysel," 
said Saml. 

yj, " There's no a lassie makes bet- 
ter bannocks this side o' Fetter 
Lums," continued Pete. 

78. "Her mither tocht her that," 
said Sam'l ; '' she was a gran' han' at 
the bakin', Kitty Ogilvy." 

79. "I've heard say." remarked 
Jamie, putting it this way, so as not 
to tie himself down to anything, " 'at 
Bell's scones is equal to Mag Lu- 
nan's." 

80. " So they are," said Saml, al- 
most fiercely. 

81. "I kin she's a neat han* at 
singein' a hen," said Pete. 

82. "An' wi't a'," said Davit, " she's 



HUMOROUS STORIES 22j^ 



a snod, canty bit stocky in hdr Sab- 
bath claes." 

83. " If onything, thick in the 
waist/' suggested Jamie. 

84. "I dinna see that/* said SamX 

85. "I d'na care for her hair 
cither/* continued Jamie, who was 
very nice in his tastes; "something 
mair yallowchy wid be an improve- 
ment. 

86. "A*body kins/' growled Sam*l, 
** 'at black hair's the bonniest/' 

87. The others chuckled. 

88. "Puir Sam'l!" Pete said. 

89. Sam'l not being certain whether 
this should be received with a smile 
or a frown, opened his mouth wide as 
a kind of compromise. This was 
position one with him for thinking 
things over. 

90. Few Auld Lichts, as I have 
said, went the length of choosing a 
helpmate for themselves. One day a 
young man's friends would see him 
mending the washing-tub of a maid- 
en's mother. They kept the joke 
until Saturday night, and then he 
learned from them what he had been 
after. It dazed him for a time, but 
in a year or so he grew accustomed 
to the idea, and they were then mar- 
ried. With a little help he fell in 
love just like other people. 

91. Sam'l was going the way of the 
others, but he found it difficult to 
<:ome to the point. He only went 
courting once a week, and he could 
never take up the running at the 
place where he left off the Saturday 



228 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

before. Thus he had not, so far, 
made great headway. His method of 
making up to Bell had been to drop 
in at T'nowhead on Saturday nights 
and talk with the farmer about the 
rinderpest 

92. The farm kitchen was Bell's 
testimonial. Its chairs, tables, and 
stools were scoured by her to the 
whiteness of Rob Angus's sawmill 
boards, and the muslin blind on the 
window was starched like a child's 
pinafore. Bell was brave, too, as 
well as energetic. Once Thrums had 
been overrun with thieves. It is now 
thought that there may have been 
only one, but he had the wicked 
cleverness of a gang. Such was his 
repute that there were weavers who • 

spoke of locking their doors when 
they went from home. He was not 
very skilful, however, being generally 
caught, and when they said they knew 
he was a robber he gave them their 
things back and went away. If they 
had given him time there is no doubt 
that he would have gone off with his 
plunder. One night he went to 
T nowhead, and Bell, who slept in the 
kitchen, was wakened by the noise. 
She knew who it would be, so she 
rose and dressed herself and went to 
look for him with a candle. The 
thief had not known what to do 
when he got in, and as it was very 
lonely he was glad to see Bell. 
She told him he ought to be ashamed 
of himself, and would not let him 
out by the door until he had taken 



HUMOROUS STORIES 22g 



off his boots SO as not to soil the 
carpet 

93. On this Saturday evening 
Saml stood his ground in the 
square, until by and by he found him- 
self alone. There were other groups 
there still, but his circle had melted 
away. They went separately, and no 
one said good-night. Each took him- 
self off slowly, backing out of the 
group until he was fairly started. 

94. Sahi'l looked about him, and 
then, seeing that the others had gone, 
walked round the townhouse into the 
darkness of the brae that leads down 
and then up to the farm of T'now- 
head. 

95. To get into the good graces of 
Lisbeth Fargus you had to know her 
ways and humour them. Sam'l, who 
was a student of women, knew this, 
and so, instead of pushing the door 
open and walking in, he went 
through the rather ridiculous cere- 
mony of knocking. Sanders El- 
shioner was also aware of this weak- 
ness of Lisbeth's, but, though he 
often made up his mind to knock, 
the absurdity of the thing pre- 
vented his doing so when he reached 
the door. T'nowhead himself had 
never got used to his wife's refined 
notions, and when any one knocked 
he always started to his feet, think- 
ing there must be something wrong. 

96. Lisbeth came to the door, her 
expansive figure blocking the way in. 

97. " Sam1,*' she said 



1230 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

g8. " Lisbeth," said Sam'l. 

99. He shook hands with the farm- 
er's wife, knowing that she liked it, 
but only said, "Ay, Bell," to his 
sweetheart, " Ay, T'nowhead," to Mc- 
Quhatty, and "It*s yersel, Sanders," 
to his rival 

100. They were sitting round the 
fire, T*nowhead, with his feet on the 
ribs, wondering why he felt so warm, 
and Bell darned a stocking, while 
Lisbeth kept an eye on a goblet full 
of potatoes. 

loi. " Sit into the fire, Sam'l," said 
the fanner, not, however, hiaking 
way for him. 

102. " Na, na," said Sam'l, " I'm 
to bide nae time." Then he sat into 
the fire. His face was turned away 
from Bell, and when she spoke he 
answered her without looking round. 
Saml felt a little anxious. Sanders 
Elshioner, who had one leg shorter 
than the other, but looked well when 
sitting, seemed suspiciously at home. 
He asked Bell questions out of his 
own head, which was beyond Sam*l, 
and once he said something to her 
in such a low voice that the others 
could not catch it. T'nowhead 
asked curiously what it was, and 
Sanders explained that he had only 
said, "Ay, Bell, the morn's the Sab- 
bath." There was nothing startling 
in this, but Sam'l did not like it. He 
began to wonder if he was too late, 
and had he seen his opportunity 
would have told Bell of a nasty 
rumour that Sanders intended to go 



HUMOROUS STORIES 23I 



over to the Free Church if they 
would make him kirk-officer. 

103. Saml had the good-will of 
T'nowhcad's wife, who liked a polite 
man. Sanders did his best, but from 
want of practice he constantly made 
mistakes. To-night, for instance, he 
wore his hat in the house because he 
did not like to put up his hand and 
take it off. T*nowhead had not taken 
his oflF either but that was because he 
meant to go out by and by and lock 
the byre door. It was impossible to 
say which of her lovers Bell pre- 
ferred. The proper course with an 
Auld Licht lassie was to prefer the 
man who proposed to her. 

104. " Ye'll bide a wee, an* hae 
something to eat?" Lisbeth asked 
Sam'l, with her eyes on the goblet. 

105. " No, I thank ye," said Sami, 
with true gentility. 

106. "Ye'U better?" 

107. " I dinna think it." 

108. "Hoots aye; what's to bender 
ye?" 

109. " Weel, since ye're sae pressing 
ril bide." 

iia No one asked Sanders to stay. 
Bell could not, for she was but the 
servant, and T'nowhead knew that 
the kick his wife had given him 
meant that he was not to do so either. 
Sanders whistled to show that he was 
not uncomfortable. 

111. " Ay then, I'll be stappin* ower 
the brae," he said at last. 

112. He did not go, however. 
There was sufficient pride in him to 



2^2 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

get him off his chair, but only slowly, 
for he had to get accustomed to the 
notion of going. At intervals of 
two or three minutes he remarked 
that he must now be going. In the 
same circumstances Sam'l would have 
acted similarly. For a Thrums man 
it is one of the hardest things in life 
to get away from anywhere. 

113. At last Lisbeth saw that some- 
thing must be done. The potatoes 
were burning, and T'nowhead had an 
invitation on his tongue. 

114. "Yes, I'll hae to be movin'/' 
said Sanders, hopelessly, for the fifth 
time. 

115. "Guid nicht to ye, then, San- 
ders," said Lisbeth. "Gie the door 
a fling-to, ahent ye." 

116. Sanders, with a mighty effort, 
pulled himself together. He looked 
boldly at Bell, and then took off his 
hat carefully. Sam'l saw with mis- 
givings that there was something in 
it which was not a handkerchief. It 
was a p^per bag glittering with gold 
braid, and conts^ihed such an assort- 
ment of sweets as lads bought for 
their lasses on th§ Muckle Friday. 

117. "Hae, Bell," said Sanders, 
handing the bag to Bell in an off- 
hand way as if it were but a trifle. 
Nevertheless he was a little excited, 
for he went off without saying good- 
night 

n8. No one spoke. Bell's face was 
crimson. T'nowhead fldgetted on his 
chair, and Lisbeth looked at Sam'l. 
The weaver was strangely calm and 



HUMOROUS STORIES 233 



collected, though he would have liked 
to know whether this was a proposal. 

119. " Sit in by to the table, Sam'l," 
said Lisbeth, trying to look as if 
things were as they had been be- 
fore. 

120. She put a saucerful of butter, 
salt, and pepper near the fire to melt, 
for melted butter is the shoeing-hora 
that helps over a meal of potatotes. 
Sami, however, saw what the hour 
required, and jumping up, he seized 
his bonnet. 

121. "King the tatties higher up 
the joist, Lisbeth," he said with 
dignity; "I'se be back in ten 
meenits." 

122. He hurried out of the house, 
leaving the others looking at each 
other. 

123. "What do ye think?" asked 
Lisbeth. 

124. " I d*na kin," faltered Bell. 

125. ** Thae tatties is lang o' comin' 
to the boil," said T'nowhead. 

126. In some circles a lover who 
behaved like Saml would have been 
suspected of intent upon his rival's 
life, but neither Bell nor Lisbeth did 
the weaver that injustice. In a case 
of this kind it does not much matter 
what T'nowhead thought. 

127. The ten minutes had barely 
passed when Sam'l was back in. the 
farm kitchen. He was too flurried to 
knock this time, and, indeed, Lisbeth 
did not expect it of him. 

128. " Bell, hae ! " he cried, handing 



234 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

his sweetheart a tinsel bag twice the 
size of Sander's gift. 

129. "Losh preserve's!" exclaimed 
Lisbeth; "Fse warrant there's a 
shillin's worth." 

130. "There's a* that, Lisbeth — 
an' mair," said Sam*l, firmly. 

131. " I thank ye, Sam'l," said Bell, 
feeling an unwonted elation as she 
gazed at the two paper bags in her 
lap. 

132. "Ye're ower extravegint, 
Sam'l," Lisbeth said. 

133. " Not at all," said Sam'l ; " not 

at all. But I widna advise ye to eat ' 

thae ither anes, Bell — they're second 
quality." 

134. Bell drew back a step from 
Sam'l. 

135. "How, do ye kin?" asked the 
farmer shortly, for he liked Sanders. 

136. " I spiered i* the shop," said 
Sam'l. 

137. The goblet was placed on a 
broken plate on the table with the 
saucer beside it, and Sam'l, like the 
others, helped himself. What he did 
was to take potatoes from the pot 
with his fingers, peel ofiF their coats, 
and then dip them into the butter. 
Lisbeth would have liked to pro- 
vide knives and forks, but she knew 
that beyond a certain point T'now- 
head was master in his own house. 
As for Sam'l, he felt victory in his 
hands, and began to think that he 
had gone too far. 

138. In the meantime Sanders, 
little witting that Sam'l had trump- 



HUMOROUS STORIES 235 



ed his trick, was sauntering along 
the kirk-wynd with his hat on the 
side of his head. Fortunately he 
did not meet tlie minister. 

139. The courting of T'nowhead's 
Bell reached its crisis one Sabbath 
about a month after the events above 
recorded. The minister was in great 
force that day, but it is no part of 
mine to tell how he bore himself. I 
was there, and am not likely to for- 
get the scene. It was a fateful Sab- 
bath for T'nowhead*s Bell and her 
swains, and destined to be remem- 
bered for the painful scandal which 
they perpetrated in their passion. 

140. Bell was not in the kirk. 
There being an infant of six months 
in the house it was a question of 
either Lisbeth or the lassie's stay- 
ing at home with him, and though 
Lisbeth was unselfish in a general 
way, she could not resist the de- 
light of going to church. She had 
nine children besides the baby, and 
being but a woman, it was the pride 
of her life to march them into the 
T'nowhead pew, so well watched 
that they dared not misbehave, and 
so tightly packed that they could not 
fall. The congregation looked at 
that pew, the mothers enviously, 
when they sang the lines — 

"Jerusalem like a city is 
Compactly built together." 

141. The first half of the service 
had been gone through on this par- 



236 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

tictilar Sunday without anything re- 
markable happening. It was at the 
end of the psalm which preceded the 
sermon that Sanders Elshioner, who 
sat near the door, lowered his head 
until it was no higher than the pews, 
and in that attitude, looking almost 
like a four-footed animal, slipped out 
of the church. In their eagerness 
to be at the sermon many of the 
congregation did not notice him, and 
those who did put the matter by in 
their minds for future investigation. 
Sam'l, however, could not take it 
so coolly. From his seat in the gal- 
lery he saw Sanders disappear, and 
his mind misgave him. With the 
true lover's instinct he understood 
it all. Sanders had been struck' by 
the fine turn-out in the T'nowhead's 
pew. Bell was alone at the farm. 
What an opportunity to work one's 
way up to a proposal. T'nowhead 
was so overrun with children that 
such a chance seldom occurred, ex- 
cept on a Sabbath. Sanders, doubt- 
less, was off to propose, and he, 
Sam'l, was left behind. 

142. The suspense was terrible. 
Saml and Sanders had both known 
all along that Bell would take the 
first of the two who asked her. 
Even those who thought her proud 
admitted that she was modest. Bit- 
terly the weaver repented having 
waited so long. Now it was too late. 
In ten minutes Sanders would be at 
T'nowhead; in an hour all would be 
ov*»r. Saml rose to his feet in a daze. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 237 



His mother pulled him down by the 
coat-tail, and his father shook him, 
thinking he was walking in his sleep. 
He tottered past them, however, 
hurried up the aisle, which was so 
narrow that Dan'l Ross could only 
reach his seat by walking sideways, 
and was gone before the minister 
could do more than stop in the mid- 
dle of a whirl and gape in horror 
after him. 

143. A number of the congregation 
felt that day the advantage of sit- 
ting in the loft. What was a mys- 
tery to those downstairs was reveal- 
ed to them. From the gallery win- 
dows they had a fine open view to 
the south; and as Sam*l took the 
common, which was a short cut 
though a steep ascent, to T'nowhead, 
he was never out of their line of 
vision. Sanders was not to be seen, 
but they guessed rightly the reason 
why. Thinking he had ample time, 
he had gone round by the main road 
to save his boots — perhaps a little 
scared by what was coming. SamTs 
design was to forestall him by taking 
the shorter path over the bum and 
up the common. 

144. It was a race for a wife, and 
several onlookers in the gallery brav- 
ed the minister's displeasure to see 
who won. Those who favoured 
SamTs suit exultingly saw him leap 
the stream, while the friends of 
Sanders fixed their eyes on the top of 
the common where it ran into the 
road. Sanders must come into sight 



238 STUDYING THE SttORT-STORY 

there, and the one who reached this 
point first would get Bell. 

145. As Atild Lichts do not walk 
abroad on the Sabbath, Sanders 
would probably not be delayed. The 
chances were in his favour. Had it 
been any other day in the week Sam'l 
might have run. So some of the 
congregation in the gallery were 
thinking, when suddenly they saw 
him bend low and then take to his 
heels. He had caught sight of San- 
der's head bobbing over the hedge 
that separated the road from the 
common, and feared that Sanders 
might see him. The congregation 
who could crane their necks sufficient- 
ly saw a black object, which they 
guessed to be the carter's hat, crawl- 
ing along the hedge-top. For a 
moment it was motionless, and then 
it shot ahead. The rivals had seen 
each other. It was now a hot race. 
Sam'l, dissembling no longer, clatter- 
ed up the common, becoming smaller 
and smaller to the onlookers as he 
neared the "top. More than one per- 
son in the gallery almost rose to their 
feet in their excitement. Sam'l had 
it. No, Sanders was in front. Then 
the two figures disappeared from 
view. They seemed to run into each 
other at the top of the brae, and no 
one could say who was first. The 
congregation looked at one another. 
Some of them perspired. But the 
minister held on his course. 

146. Sam*l had just been in time to 
cut Sanders out. It was the weaver's 



HUMOROUS STORIES 239 



saving that Sanders saw this when 
his rival turned the comer; for 
Sam'l was sadly blown. Sanders 
took in the situation and gave in at 
Once. The last hundred yards of 
the distance he covered at his leisure, 
and when he arrived at his destina- 
tion he did not go in. It was a fine 
afternoon for the time of the year, 
and he went round to have a look 
tt the pig, about which T nowhead 
was a little sinfully puffed up. 

147. "Ay," said Sanders, digging 
his fingers critically into the grunt- 
ing animal; "quite so." 

148. "Grumph," said the pig, get- 
ting reluctantly to his feet. 

149. "Ou ay; yes," said Sanders, 
thoughtfully. 

150. Then he sat down on the edge 
of the sty, and looked long and 
silently at an empty bucket. But 
whether his thoughts were of T'now- 
head*s Bell, whom he had lost for 
ever, or of the food the farmer fed 
his pig on. is not known. 

151. "Lord preserve's! Are ye no 
at the kirk? " cried Bell, nearly drop- 
ping the baby as Sam*l broke into the 
room. 

152. "Bell!" cried Sam! 

153. Then T'nowhead's Bell knew 
that her hour had come. 

154. " Sami," she faltered. 

155. "Will ye hae's. Bell?" de- 
manded Sam*l, glaring at her sheep- 
ishly. 

156. **Ay," answered Bell. 

157. Sam'l fell into a chair. 



240 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

15a " firing's drink o' water, Bell," 
he said. But Bell thought the oc- 
casion required milk, and there was 
none in the kitchen. She went out 
to the byre, still with the baby in her 
arms, and saw Sanders Eishioner 
sitting gloomily on the pigsty. 

159. "Weel, Bell," said Sanders. 

160. "I thocht ye'd been at the 
kirk, Sapders," said Bell. 

161. Then there was a silence be- 
tween them. 

162. "Has Sami spiered ye, Bell? " 
asked Sanders, stolidly. 

163. " Ay," said Bell again, and this 
time there was a tear in her eye. 
Sanders was little better than an 
"orra man," and Saml was a weav- 
er, and yet — But it was too 
late now. Sanders gave the pig a 
vicious poke with a stick, and when 
it had ceased to grunt. Bell was back 
in the kitchen. She had forgotten 
about the milk, however, and Sam'l 
only got water after all. 

164. In after days, when the story 
of Bell's wooing was told, there were 
some who held that the circumstances 
would have almost justified the lassie 
in giving Sam'l the go-by. But these 
perhaps forgot that her other lover 
was in the same predicament as the 
accepted one — that of the two, in- 
deed, he was the more to blame, for 
he set off to T*nowhead on the Sab- 
bath of his own accord, while Saml 
only ran after him. And then there 
is no one to say for certain whether 
Bell heard of her suitors' delin- 



HUMOROUS STORIES 24X 



quencies until Lisbeth's return from 
the kirk. Sam'l could never remem- 
ber whether he told her, and Bell 
was not sure whether, if he did, she 
took it in. Sanders was greatly in 
demand for weeks after to tell what 
he knew of the affair, but though he 
was twice asked to tea to the manse 
among the trees, and subjected there- 
after to ministerial cross-examina- 
tions, this is all he told He re- 
mained at the pigsty until Sam'l left 
the farm, when he joined him at the 
top of the brae, and they went home 
together. 

165. "It's yersel, Sanders," said 
Sam'l. 

166. "It is so, Sam'l," said San- 
ders. 

167. " Very cauld," said Sam'l. 

168. " Blawy," assented Sanders. 

169. After a pause — 

170. "Sam'l," said Sanders. 

171. "Ay." 

172. " I'm hearin* yer to be mairit" 

173. "Ay." 

174. " Weel, Sam'l she's a snod bit 
lassie." 

17s. "Thank ye," said Sam'l. 

176. "I had ance a kin* o* notion 
o' Bell mysel," continued Sanders. 

177. "Ye had?" 

i;^. "Yes, Sam'l; but I thocht 
better o't." 

179. "Hoo d'ye mean?" asked 
Sam'l, a little anxiously. 

180. **Weel, Sam'l, mairitch is a 
terrible responsibeelity." 

181. " It is so," said Sami, wincing. 



242 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

182. "An' no the thing to tak up 
withoot conseederation." 

183. "But it's a blessed and hon- 
ourable state, Sanders; ye've heard 
the minister on't." 

184. "They say," continued the 
relentless Sanders, "'at the minister 
doesn^ get on sair wi' the wife him- 
seL" 

185. " So they do," cried Sam'l, 
with a sinking at the heart. 

. 186. " I've been telt," Sanders 
went on, " 'at gin ye can get the up- 
per han* o* the wife for a while at 
first, there's the mair chance o' a 
harmonious exeestence." 

187. " Bell's no the lassie," said 
Sam'l, appealingly, "to thwart her 
man." 

188. Sanders smiled. 

189. "D'ye ye think she is, San- 
ders?" 

190. "Weel, Sam'l, I d'na want to 
fluster ye, but she's been ower lang 
wi' Lisbeth Fargus no to hae learnt 
her ways. An a'body kins what a 
life T'nowhead has wi' her." 

191. "Guid sake, Sanders, hoo did 
ye no speak o' this afore ? " 

192. " I thocht ye kent o't, Sam'l." 

193. They had now reached the 
square, and the U. P. kirk was com- 
ing out. The Auld Licht kirk would 
be half an hour yet. 

194. " But, Sanders," said Sam'l, 
brightening up, " ye was on yer wy to 
spier her yersel." 

195. " I was, Sam'l," said Sanders, 



HUMOROUS STORIES 243 



" and I canna but be thankfu' ye was 
ower quick for's." 

ig6. "Gin't hadna been you," said 
Sam'l, " I wid never hae thocht o'f ' 

197. " I*m sayin' naething agin 
Bell," pursued the other, "but, man 
Sam'l, a body should be mair de- 
leeberate in a thing o' the kind." 

198. " It was michty hurried," said 
Sam*l, woefully. 

199. "It's a serious thing to spier 
a lassie," said Sanders. 

200. "Ifs an awfu' thing," said 
Sam'l. 

201. " But we'll hope for the best," 
added Sanders, in a hopeless voice. 

202. They were close to the Tene- 
ments now, and Sam'l looked as if 
he were on his way to be hanged. 

203. "Sarnl?" 

204. "Ay, Sanders." 

205. "Did ye — did ye kiss her, 
Sam'l?" 

206. "Na." 

207. "Hoo?" 

208. "There was varra little time, 
Sanders." 

209. "Half an 'oor," said Sanders. 

210. "Was there? Man Sanders, 
to tell ye the truth, I never thoct 
o't." 

211. Then the soul of Sanders 
Elshioner was filled with contempt 
for Sami Dickie. 

212. The scandal blew over. At 
first it was expected that the minis- 
ter would interfere to prevent the 
union, but beyond intimating from 
the pulpit that the souls of Sabbath- 



244 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

breakers were beyond praying for, 
and then praying for Sam'l and San- 
ders at great length, with a word 
thrown in for Bell, he let things take 
their course. Some said it was be- 
cause he was always frightened lest 
his young men should intermarry 
with other denominations* but San- 
ders explained it differently to Sam'l. 

213. "I hav'na a word to say agin 
the minister," he said, "they're gran' 
prayers, but, Sam'l, he's a mairit man 
himsel." 

214. " He's a' the better for that, 
Sanders, isna he?" 

215. "Do ye no see," asked San- 
ders, compassionately, "'at he's try- 
in' to mak the best o't ? " 

216. "Oh, Sanders, manl" said 
Sam'l. 

217. "Cheer up, Sam'l," said San- 
ders, "it'll sune be ower." 

218. Their having been rival suit- 
ors had not interfered with their 
friendship. On the contrary, while 
they had hitherto been mere ac- 
quaintances, they became inseparables 
as the wedding-day drew near. It 
was noticed that they had much to 
say to each other, and that when they 
could not get a room to themselves 
they wandered about together in the 
churchyard. When Sam'l had any- 
thing to tell Bell he sent Sanders to 
tell it, and Sanders did as he was 
bid. There was nothing that he 
would not have done for Sam'l. 

219. The more obliging Sanders 
was, however, the sadder Sam'l grew. 



HUMOROUS STORIES 245 



He never laughed now on Saturdays, 
and sometimes his loom was silent 
half the day. Sam*l felt that San- 
ders's was the kindness of a friend 
for a dying man. 

220. It was to be a penny wedding, 
and Lisbeth Fargus said it was del- 
icacy that made Sam'l superintend the ^ 
fitting-up of the bam by deputy. 
Once he came to see it in person, 
but he looked so ill that Sanders had 
to see him home. This was on the 

. Thursday afternoon, and the wed- 
ding was fixed for Friday. 

221. "Sanders, Sanders," said 
Sam'l, in a voice strangely unlike his 
own, "it'll a' be ower by this time 
the mom." 

222. "It will," said Sanders. 

223. "If I had only kent her lang- 
er," continued Sam*l. 

224. "It wid hae been safer," said 
Sanders. 

225. "Did ye see the yallow floor Flower, 
in Beirs bonnet?" asked the accept- 
ed swain. 

226. " Ay," said Sanders, reluctant- 
ly. 

227. " I'm dootin'— I'm sair dootin' 
she's but a flichty, licht-hearted crit- 
tur after a'." 

228. "I had ay my suspeecions 
o't," said Sanders. 

229. " Ye hae kent her langer than 
me," said Sam'l. 

230. " Yes," said Sanders, " but 
there's nae gettin' at the heart o* 
women. Man Sam'l they're desper- 
ate cunnin'." 



246 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

231. "Fin dootin't; I'm sair doot- 

232. "Itll be a warnin* to ye, 
Satn'l, no to be in sic a hurry i' the 
futur/' said Sanders. 

233. Sam'l groaned. 

234. "Ye'U be gaein up to the 
manse to arrange wi' the minister 
the mom's mominV' continued San- 
ders, in a subdued voice. 

235. Sam'l looked wistfully at his 
friend. 

236. "I canna do't, Sanders," he 
said, "I canna do't" 

237. " Ye maun," said Sanders. 

238. "It's aisy to speak," retorted 
Sam'l, bitterly. 

239. "We have a' oor troubles, 
Sam*l," said Sanders, soothingly, 
"an' every man maun bear his ain 
burdens. Johnny Davie's wife's 
dead, an' he's no repinin*." 

240. "Ay." said Sam'l, "but a 
death's no a mairitch. We hae haen 
deaths in our family too." 

241. "It may a' be for the best," 
added Sanders, "an' there wid be a 
michty talk i' the hale country-side 
gin ye didna ging to the minister 
like a man." 

242. "I maun hae langer to think 
o't," said Sam'l. 

243. "Bell's mairitch is the morn," 
said Sanders, decisively. 

244. Sam'l glanced up with a wild 
look in his eyes. 

245. "Sanders," he cried. 

246. "Sam'l?" 

347. " Ye hae been a guid friend to 



HUMOROUS STORIES ^A7 



me, Sanders, in this sair affliction." 

248. " Nothing ava," said Sanders ; 
"dount mention'd." 

249. " But, Sanders, ye canna deny 
but what your rinnin oot o* the kirk 
that awfu' day was at the bottom o'd 
a'." 

250. "It was so," said Sanders, 
bravely. 

251. "An* ye used to be fond o' 
Bell, Sanders." 

i52. " I dinna deny't" 

253. "Sanders laddie," said Sam'l, 
bending forward and speaking in a 
wheedling voice, " I aye thocht it was 
you she likeit." 

254. "I had some sic idea mysel," 
said Sanders. 

255. " Sanders, I canna think to 
pairt twa fowk sae weel suited to 
ane anither as you an' Bell." 

256. "Canna ye, Sam'l?" 

257. " She wid mak ye a guid wife, 
Sanders. I hae studied her weel, and 
she's a thrifty, douce, clever lassie. 
Sanders, there's no the like o' her. 
Mony a time, Sanders, I hae said to 
mysel. There's a lass ony man micht 
be prood to tak. A'body says the 
same, Sanders. There's nae risk 
ava, man : nane to speak o'. Tak her, 
laddie, tak her, Sanders ; it's a grand 
chance, Sanders. She's yours for the 
spierin. I'll gie her up, Sanders." 

25a "Will ye, though?" said San- 
ders. 

259. " What d'ye think ? " said 
Sam'l. 



248 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

260. *' If yc wid raythcr," said San- 
ders, politely. 

261. " There's my han' on*t," said 
Saml. "Bless ye, Sanders; yc'vc 
been a true frien* to mc." 

262. Then they shook hands for 
the first time in th^ir lives ; and soon 
afterwards Sanders struck up the 
brae to T'nowhead. 

263. Next morning Sanders Elsh- 
ioner, who had been very busy the 
night before, put on his Sabbath 
clothes and strolled up to the manse. 

264. "But — but where is Sam'l?" 
asked the minister ; " I must see him- 
self." 

265. "It's a new arrangement," 
said Sanders. 

266. "What do you mean, San- 
ders?" 

^. " Bell's to marry me," explain- 
ed Sanders. 

268. "But — but what does Saml 
say?" 

269. " He's willin'," said Sanders. 

270. "And Bell?" 

271. "She's willin', too. She pre- 
fcrs't." 

272. "It is unusual," said the 
minister. 

2^Z. "It's a' richt," said Sanders. 

274. "Well, you know best," said 
the minister. 

275. " You see the hoose was taen, 
at ony rate," continued Sanders. 
"An ril juist ging in til't instead o' 
Sam'l." 

276. "Quite so." 



HUMOROUS STORIES 249 



277. "An' I cudaa think to disap- 
point the lassie." 

278. "Your sentiments do you 
credit, Sanders," said the minister; 
"but I hope you do not enter upon 
the blessed state of matrimony with- 
out full consideration of its respon- 
sibilities. It is a serious business, 
marriage." 

279. "It's a' that," said Sanders, 
" but Tm willin* to stan' the risk." 

280. So, as soon as it could be 
done, Sanders Elishioner took to 
wife T'nowhead's Bell, and I remem- 
ber seeing Sami Dickie trying to 
dance at the penny wedding. 

281. Years afterwards it was said 
in Thrums that Sam'l had treated 
Bell badly, but he was never sure 
about it himself. 

282. "It was a near thing — a 
michty near thing," he admitted in 
the square. 

283. " They say," some other weav- 
er would remark, "'at it was you 
Bell liked best." 

284. " I d*na kin," Sami would re- 
ply, "but there's nae doot the lassie 
was fell fond o' me. Ou, a mere 
passin' fancy's ye micht say." 



SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. In a few sentences, state whether the humor of this story 
centers in the central situation, the several incidents, the dia- 
logue, the character, or in the climax.' 

2. If in more than one element, name them in the order of 
their interest, or humor, to you. 



2SO STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

3. Does the humor go to the limit of silliness at any point? 

4. Point out any passages which are serio-comic. 

5. Define (a) Farce, (b) Burlesque, (c) Comedy, (d) Wit, 
(e) Satire. 

6. Point out passages in this or any other stories which illus^ 
trate the foregoing types. 

7. Name other humorous stories by O. Henry and J. M. 
Barrie. 

8. Name the best humorous story you know. * 



TEN REPRESENTATIVE HUMOROUS STORIES 

" The Jumping Frog of Calaveras," Mark Twain, in 
Short Stories and Sketches, Vol. I. 

" Mike Grady's Safety," Will Lewis, Everybody's Maga- 
zine, Aug., 1905. 

" Their First Formal Call," Grace MacGowan Cooke, in 
volume of same title. 

"The Day of the Dog," George Barr McCutcheon, in 
volume of same title. 

" Edgar, the Choir-Boy Uncelestial," McClure's Maga- 
zine, Jan., 1902. 

"The Pope's Mule," Alphonse Daudet, translated in 
Short-Story Masterpieces. 

" Colonel Starbottle for the Plaintiff," Bret Harte, Har- 
per's Magazine, Mar., 1901. 

" The Phonograph and the Graft," O. Henry, in Cabbages 
and Kings, 

" The King of Boyville," William Allen White, in Tales 
from McClure's. 

" The Bob-tailed Car," Brander Matthews, in The Family 
Tree. 



V 
STORIES OF SETTING 

The Outcasts of Poker Flat. — Bret Harte 
Moonlight. — Guy de Maupassant 



251 



^ 



It is the habit of my imagination to strive after as full a vision 
of the medium in which a character moves as of the character 
itself. The psychological causes which prompted me to give 
such details of Florentine life and history as I have given [in 
Romola] are precisely the same as those which determined me 
in giving the details of English village life in Silxu Marner or 
the "Dodson" life, out of which were developed the destinies 
of poor Tom and Maggie. — George Euot, quoted in her Life by 
J. W. Cross. 






252 



STORIES OF SETTING 

" Setting consists of the circumstances, material and 
immaterial, in which tne c haractefa are-seen rtgiwftvyii^ 
the story . Its elements are time, pla ce, occupations, and 
(I lack a more expressive word) conditions."^ ^ "^^^ 

To be classified properly as a story of setting, a nar- 
rative must be more than "i?rftly ^^^^ ^" inral-mlnr — ^c 
the chara cteristic envirQ ni| ^^p^ ni n r r rt^in fli il i i i 1 , . i i i i t 
forth in fiction, is often called . The true story of setting 
is one in which t he setting has a vital beari ng on the 
n ^ttures or the destimVg nf the characters. To fce'sure, 
the setting of a story, like the staging of a play, has an 
important part in the realistic presentation of the scene, 
but setting assumes a predominating part when it actually 
moves the characters to certain deciding actions, as do the 
snow-storm in " The Outcasts of Poker Flat," and the 
soft light of the moon in " Moonlight." 

Th e local-color story is one whi ch could not have been 
set elsewhere with^ u^ | yi t?^ ^y ^hang in g, that is to say 
d estroying, the story. For example, Balzac's " The Un- 
known Masterpiece " is set almost entirely in an artist's 
studio. The story would be slain by dragging it away 
from that atmosphere. But it is also a story of setting, 
because, whatever internal influences also affected ^the 

1 From the author's Writing the Short-Story, p. 149. which see for a chap- 
ter on •• The Setting of the Story.'* 




254 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

characters, the setting influences their destinies — the 
men and the woman live lives as determined by their sur- 
roundings. " Mateo Falcone," too, is a story of setting, 
but not primarily so; for while it could have happened 
only in Corsica, and the local-color is singularly vivid, it 
it primarily a story of human motive and action. 

Because of the powerful effect of environment upon 
character — in fiction just as in real life — the reader 
often judges of coming events by the feeling of the set- 
ting. The stage manager knows this, too, and accom- 
panies, or even forecasts, a moral crisis by having lights, 
music, sounds, and other stage accessories harmonize with 
the mood of the actors. Or, contrariwise, the tone of the 
piece may best be brought out by a setting in contrast. 

Observe how in the two stories illustrating this type 
the authors never draw pictures of costumes and scenery 
just for the sake of description, as beginners might do. 
The setting, to Harte and Maupassant, is vitally a part 
of the story, and any unnecessary detail would mar the 
harmony of the whole. Too much were worse than too 
little. 

" When the characters live, move, and have their being 
in the setting, the result is ' atmosphere.' Atmosphere is 
thus an effect. It is felt, not seen. Through its medium 
the reader must see all the action, yes, all the details of 
the story. Atmosphere gives value to the tones of fic- 
tion as in real life it does to landscape. The hills are 
actually the same in cloud and in sunshine, but the eye 
sees them as different through the mediate atmosphere. 
And so setting and characters, perfectly adjusted, make 



STORIES OP SETTING 255 

the reader, that is to say the beholder, see the story in 
the very tones the literary artist desires. A story of the 
sea has an atmosphere of its own, but the atmosphere 
does not consist merely of the accurately colored picture 
of sea and strand and sailor and ship and sky. The 
whole story is informed with the spirit of the sea — its 
tang clings to the garments, its winds breathe through 
every passage, its wonderful lights and glooms tone the 
whole story. Without it the story would be a poor thing, 
bloodless and inert." ^ 

HARTE AND HIS WRITINGS 

Francis Bret Harte was born in Albany, New York, 
August 25, 1839, of gentle parents. Abandoning his 
common-school education at the age of fifteen, he fol- 
lowed the lure of the gold craze to California, but neither 
teaching nor mining enriched him, so in 1857 ^^ became 
a compositor on the Golden Era, San Francisco. He then 
edited the Calif or nian, and in 1864 was appointed secre- 
tary of the branch Mint, remaining until 1870. Two 
years before, however, he had become editor of the new 
Overland Monthly, where some of his best work ap- 
peared. This position did not prove permanent, and even 
less so was that of the professorship of " recent litera- 
ture " in the University of California, for in 1871 he 
removed to New York. In 1878 he became United States 
Consul at Crefeld, Germany, and in 1880 was transferred 
to Glasgow, Scotland, holding this post until 1885. His 

* Writing the Shori-Story, pp. 151-152. 



256 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

later life was spent chiefly in London, where his brilliant 
talents brought him the full recognition of litterateurs. 
He died in London, May 6, 1902. 

Bret Harte was a poet, critic, novelist, and short-story 
writer. His novels give him no such claim to fame as 
do his other writings. His best-known dialect verses 
are " The Society Upon the Stanislaus," " Jim," *' Dick- 
ens in Camp," " Dow's Flat," and " Plain Language 
From Truthful James" (often called "The Heathen 
Chinee"). His best sketches and short-stories include 
" The Luck of Roaring Camp," " An Heiress of Red 
Dog," "Miggles," "Tennessee's Partner," " Mliss," 
" The Idyl of Red Gulch," " Brown of Calaveras," and 
"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" — >vhich was first pub- 
lished in The Overland Monthly, January, 1869. 

If artistic repression, dramatic feeling, mingled humor 
and pathos, deft character drawing, a sure sense of a 
" good story," and the ability to win the reader in spite 
of himself — if the certain possession of all these are 
marks of fictional genius, surely Bret Harte deserves the 
name. For themes, he chose — and doubtless over- 
colored at times — the people and the happenings of '49 
during the gold craze, and not a few have charged him 
with a fondness for heroes and heroines of undoubted 
reputations — for evil. Social outcasts, they say, he 
treated too tenderly. But Bret Harte himself eflFectively 
answered this criticism when he said : 

" When it shall be proven to him that communities are 
degraded and brought to guilt and crime, suffering or 



STORIES OF SETTING 257 

destitution, from a predominance of this quality [too 
much mercy] ; when he shall see pardoned ticket-of -leave 
men 'elbowing men of austere lives out of situation and 
position, and the repentant Magdalen supplanting the 
blameless virgin in society, then he will lay aside his 
pen and extend his hand to the new Draconian discipline 
in fiction. But until then he will, without claiming to be 
a religious man or a moralist, but simply as an artist, 
reverently and humbly conform to the rules laid down by 
a Great Poet, who created the parable of the * Prodigal 
Son ' and the * Good Samaritan,' whose works have lasted 
eighteen hundred years, and will remain when the present 
writer and his generation are forgotten." 

The secret of the American short story is the treatment of 
characteristic American life, with absolute knowledge of its 
peculiarities and sympathy with its methods; with no fastidious 
ignoring of its habitual expression, or the inchoate poetry that 
may be found even hidden in its slang; with no moral deter- 
mination except that which may be the legitimate outcome of 
the story itself; with no more elimination than may be necessary 
for the artistic conception, and never from the fear of the fetich 
of conventionalism. Of such is the American short story of to- 
day — the germ of American literature to come. — Bret Harte, 
The Rise of the Short Story, Cornhill Magazine, July, 1899. 

He expounds an important half-truth which has been too much 
neglected: that as being is greater than seeming, appearances 
are often deceitful; under the most repellent exterior a soul of 
goodness may'exist. But if we study him over much, we may 
become victims of the delusion that any person whose dress and 
manners are respectable, is, to say the least, a suspicious char- 
acter, while drunken and profane ruffians are the saints of the 
earth. — Walter Lewin, The Abuse of Fiction. 

Mr. Kipling is a great man at sentiment (though we hear 



258 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

more of his anti-sentimental side), but has he written a child- 
story we can remember as long as " The Luck of Roaring CampP,** 
or anything we shall remember as long as "The Outcasts of 
Poker Flat/* or "Tennessee's Partner"? These things are not 
so exact in their "business** (to borrow a term from still an- 
other art), but, perhaps on that very account, they remain sym- 
bols of the human heart They have the simplicity of classics, 
a simplicity in which all unnecessary subtleties are dissolved. — 
RiCHAju> Le Gallienne, Rudyard Kipling: A Criticism. 

His own style, as finally formed, leaves little to be desired; 
it is clear, flexible, virile, laconic and withal graceful. Its full 
meaning is given to every word, and occasionally, like all orig- 
inal masters of prose, he imparts into a familiar word a raciei- 
significance than it had possessed before. His genius is no- 
where more unmistakable than in the handling of his stories, 
which is terse to the point of severity, yet wholly adequate; 
everything necessary to the matter in hand is told, but with an 
economy of word and phrase that betokens a powerful and radi- 
cal conception. — Julian Hawthorne and Leonard Lemmon, 
American Literature. 

Tennessee's Partner, John Oakhurst, Yuba Bill, Kentucky, are 
as long-lived, seemingly, as any characters in nineteenth cen- 
tury fiction. . . . What gives these characters their lasting power? 
Why does that highly melodramatic tragedy in the hills above 
Poker Flat, with its stagy reformations, and contrasts of black 
sinner and wliite innocent, hold you spellbound at the thirtieth 
as at the first reading? Why does Tennessee's Partner make 
you wish to grasp him by the hand? Bret Harte believed, ap- 
parently, that it was his realism which did it. . . . But we do 
not wait to be told by Californians, who still remember the red- 
shirt period, that Roaring Camp is not realism. . . . Not the 
realism, but the idealization, of this life of the Argonauts was 
the prize Bret Harte gained.— Henry S. Canby, The Short Story 
in English. 



STORIES OF SETTING 



259 



FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON HARTE 

Early Recollections of Bret Harte, C. W. Stoddard, 
Atlantic Monthly, vol. 78; Bret Harte in California, 
Noah Brooks, Century Magazine, vol. 58 ; American Hu- 
mor and Bret Harte, G. K. Chesterton, Critic, vol. 41 ; 
Life of Bret Harte, T. E. Pemberton (1903) ; Bret Harte, 
H. W. Boynton, in Contemporary Men of Letters series 
(1905) ; Life of Bret Harte, H. C. Merwin (1911). 

THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT 

BY BRET HARTE 



As Mr. John Oakhurst, gambler, 
stepped into the main street of Pok- 
er Flat on the morning of the 
twenty-third of November, 1850, he 
was conscious of a change in its 
moral atmosphere since the preced- 
ing night Two or three men, con-: 
versing earnestly together, ceased as 
he approached, and exchanged sig- 
nificant glances. There was a Sab- 
bath lull in the air, which, in a 
settlement unused to Sabbath in- 
fluences, looked ominous. 

2. Mr. Oakhurst's calm, handsome 
face betrayed small concern of these 
indications. Whether he was con- 
scious of any predisposing cause, 
was another question. "I reckon 
they're after somebody," he reflected ; 
"likely it's me." He returned to his 



Central character. 



Crisis at once forecasted. 



Preliminary setting. 



Phjrsical delineation int«r- 
woven with the progress 
of the story. 



Summary of tone of the 
fundamental situation. 
Foundation Crisis. 



26o 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



pocket the handkerchief with which 
he had been whipping away the red 
dust of Poker Flat from his neat 
boots, and^ -quietly discharged his 
mind of any further conjecture. 

3. In point of fact, Poker Flat was 
"after somebody." It had lately 
suffered the loss of several thousand 
dollars, two valuable horses, and a 
prominent citizen. It was experi- 
encing a spasm of virtuous reaction, 
quite as lawless and ungovernable as 
any of the acts that had provoked it. 
A secret committee had determined 
to rid the town of all improper per- 
sons. This was done permanently in 
regard to two men who were then 
hanging from the boughs of a syca- 
more in the gulch, and temporarily in 
the banishment of certain other ob- 
jectionable characters. I regret to 
say that some of these were ladies. 
It is but due to the sex, however, to 
state that their impropriety was 'pro- 
fessional, arfd it was only in such 
easily established standards of evil 
that Poker Flat ventured to sit in 
judgment. 

4. Mr. Oakhurst was right in sup- 
posing that he was included in this 
category. A few of the committee 
had urged hanging him as a possible 
example, and a sure method of 
reimbursing themselves from his 
pockets of the sums he had won 
from them. "It's agin justice," said 
Jim Wheeler, "to let this yer young 
man from Roaring Camp — an entire 
stranger — carry away our money." 



Situation explained. 



Foundation Plot Incxoxnt. 



Euphemism. 



Note the author's slight 
ironic tone, which later 
gives way to simple 
pathos. 



STORIES OF SETTING 



261 



But a crude sentiment of equity re- 
siding in the breasts of those who had 
been fortunate enough to win from 
Mr. Oakhurst overruled this nar- 
rower local prejudice. 

5. Mr. Oakhurst received his sen- 
tence with philosophic calmness, none 
the less coolly that he was aware of 
the hesitation of his judges. He was 
too much of a gambler not to accept 
Fate. With him life was at best an 
uncertain game, and he recognized 
the usual percentage in favor of the 
dealer. 

6. A body of armed men accom- 
panied the deported wickedness of 
Poker Flat to the outskirts of the 
settlement. Besides Mr. Oakhurst, 
who was known to be a coolly des- 
perate man, and for whose intimida- 
tion the armed escort was intended, 
the expatriated party consisted of a 
young woman familiarly known as 
"The Duchess"; another, who had 
gained the infelicitous title of *' Moth- 
er Shipton"; and "Uncle Billy," a 
suspected sluice-robber and confirm- 
ed drunkard. The cavalcade provok- 
ed no comments from the spectators, 
nor was any word uttered by the 
escort. Only, when the gulch which 
marked the uttermost limit of Poker 
Flat was reached, .the leader spoke 
briefly and to the point. The exiles 
were forbidden to return at the peril 
of their live^. 

7. As the escort disappeared, their 
pent-up feelings found vent in a few 
hysterical tears from the Duchess, 



Character dclineatiexu 



First group of charaetera. 



First group »f characters. 



Climax of first crisis. 

End of Introduction and 
groundwork. 

' Thikd Stack of First Plot 
Incident. 

Is "their" well used? 



262 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



some bad language from Mother 
Shipton, and a Parthian volley of ex- 
pletives from Uncle Billy. The phil- 
osophic Oakhurst alone remained 
silent He listened calmly to Mother 
Shipton's desire to cut somebody's 
heart out, to the repeated statements 
of the Duchess that she would die in 
the road, and to the alarming oaths 
that seemed to be bumped out of 
Uncle Billy as he rode forward. 
With the easy good-humor character- 
istic of his class, he insisted upon 
exchanging his own riding-horse, 
"Five Spot." for the sorry mule 
which the Duchess rode. But even 
this act did not draw the party into 
any closer sympathy. The young 
woman readjusted her somewhat 
draggled plumes with a feeble, fad- 
ed coquetry; Mother Shipton eyed 
the possessor of '*Five Spot" with 
malevolence, and Uncle Billy includ- 
ed the whole party in one sweeping 
anathema. 

a The road to Sandy Bar — a 
camp that, not having as yet ex- 
perienced the regenerating influences 
of Poker Flat, consequently seemed 
to offer some invitation to the emi- 
grants — lay over a steep mountain 
range. It was distant a day*s severe 
journey. In that advanced season, 
the party soon passed out of the 
moist, temperate regions of the foot- 
hills into the dry, cold, bracing air 
of the Sierras. The trail was nar- 
row and difficult. At noon the 
Duchess, rolling out of her saddle 



Paragraph of character de* 
lineatiott. 



Second preliminary setting. 



STORIES OF SETTING 



263 



upon the ground, declared her inten- 
tion of going no further, and the 
party halted. 

9. The spot was singularly wild 
and impressive. A wooded amphi- 
theatre, surrounded on three sides 
by precipitous cliffs of naked granite, 
sloped gently toward the crest of 
another precipice that overlooked the 
valley. It was, undoubtedly, the 
most suitable spot for a camp, had 
camping been advisable. But Mr. 
Oakhurst knew that 'scarcely half 
the journey to Sandy Bar was ac- 
complished, and the party were not 
equipped or provisioned for delay. 
This fact he pointed out to his com- 
panions curtly, with a philosophic 
commentary on the folly of " throw- 
ing up their hand before the game 
was played out." But they were 
furnished with liquor, which in this 
emergency stood them in place of 
food, fuel, rest, and prescience. In 
spite of his remonstrances, it was 
not long before they were more or 
less under its influence. Uncle Billy 
passed rapidly from a bellicose state 
into one of stupor, the Duchess be- 
came maudlin, and Mother Shipton 
snored. Mr. Oakhurst alone remain- 
.ed erect, leaning against a rock, 
calmly surveying them. 

10. Mr. Oakhurst did not drink. 
It interfered with a profession which 
required coolness, impassiveness and 
presence of mind, and, in his own 
language, he ''couldn't afford it." 
As he gazed at his recumbent fellow- 



FOVMDATION POt MaIN CeI- 

818. 

Main Setting. 



Character contrasts. 



264 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



exiles, the loneliness begotten of his 
pariah-trade, his habits of life, his 
very vices, for the first time serious- 
ly oppressed him. He bestirred him- 
self in dusting his black clothes, 
washing his hands and face, and 
other acts characteristic of his 
studiously neat habits, and for a 
moment forgot his annoyance. The 
thought of deserting his weaker and 
more pitiable companions never per- 
haps occurred to him. Yet he could 
not help feeling the want of that ex- 
citement which, singularly enough, 
was most conducive to that calm 
equanimity for which he was notori- 
ious. He looked at the gloomy walls 
that rose a thousand feet sheer above 
the circling pines around him; at the 
sky, ominously clouded; at the valley 
below, already deepening into shad- 
ow. And, doing so, suddenly he 
heard his own name called. 

II. A horseman slowly ascended 
the trail. In the fresh, open face of 
the newcomer Mr. Oakhurst recog- 
nized Tom Simson, otherwise known 
as "The Innocent" of Sandy Bar. 
He had met him some months before 
over a "little game," and had, with 
perfect equanimity, won the entire 
fortune — amounting to some forty 
dollars — of that guileless youth. 
After the game was finished, Mr. 
Oakhurst drew the youthful specu- 
lator behind the door and thus ad- 
dressed him: "Tommy, you're a 
good little man, but you can't gamble 
worth a cent. Don't try it over 



Setting in harmony 
tone of story. 



with 



Second group of characters. 
Opening of Matw Plot 
Situation. 



STORIES OF SETTING 



265 



again." He then handed him his 
money back, pushed him gently from 
the room, and so made a devoted 
slave of Tom Simson. 

12. There was a remembrance of 
this in his boyish and enthusiastic 
greeting of Mr. Oakhurst. He had 
started, he said, to go to Poker Flat 
to seek his fortune. " Alone? " No, 
not exactly alone; in fact (a giggle), 
he had run away with Piney Woods. 
Didn't Mr. Oakhurst remember 
Piney? She that used to wait on the 
table at the Temperance House? 
They had been engaged a long time, 
but old Jake Woods had objected, 
and so they ran away, iind were go- 
ing to Poker Flat to be married, and 
here they were. And they were 
tired out, and how lucky it was they 
had found a place to camp, and com- 
pany. All this the Innocent deliver- 
ed rapidly, while Piney, a stout, 
comely damsel of fifteen, emerged 
from behind the pine-tree, where she 
had been blushing unseen, and rode 
to the side of her lover. 

13. Mr. Oakhurst seldom troubled 
himself with sentiment, still less with 
propriety; but he had a vague idea 
that the situation was not felicitous. 
He retained, however, his presence of 
mind sufficiently to kick Uncle Billy, 
who was about to say something; and 
Uncle Billy was sober enough to 
recognize in Mr. Oakhurst's kick a 
superior power that would not bear 
trifling. He then endeavored to dis- 
suade Tom Simson from delaying 



Character Contrasti. 



First effect of the 
comers on the tone of the 
first group of characters. 
This furnishes the motif 
for the story. 



266 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

further, but in vain. He even point- 
ed out the fact that there was no 
provision, nor means of making a 
camp. But, unluckily, the Innocent 
met this objection by assuring the 
party that he was provided with an 
extra mule loaded with provisions, 
and by the discovery of a rude at- 
tempt at a log-house near the trail. 
"Piney can stay with Mrs, Oak- 
hurst," said the Innocent, pointing 
to the Duchess, " and I can shift for 
myself." 

14. Nothing but Mr. Oakhurst's Farther effect, 
admonishing foot saved Uncle Billy 
from bursting into a roar of laughter. 
As it was, he felt compelled to retire 
up the canon until he could recover 
his gravity. There he confided the 
joke to the tall pine-trees, with many 
slaps of his leg, contortions of his 
face, and the usual profanity. But 
when he returned to the party, he 
found them seated by a fire — for the 
air had grown strangely chill and the 
sky overcast — in apparently ami- 
cable conversation. Piney was actu- 
ally talking in an impulsive, girlish 
fashion to the Duchess, who was 
listening with an interest and ani- 
mation she had not shown for many 
days. The Innocent was holding 
forth, apparently with equal effect, to 
Mr. Oakhurst and Mother Shipton, 
who was actually relaxing into 
amiability. ' Is this yer a d— d 
picnic ? ** said Uncle Billy, with in- 
ward scorn, as he surveyed the 
sylvan group, the glancing firelight, 



STORIES OF SETTING 



267 



and the tethered animals in the fore- 
ground. Suddenly an idea mingled 
with the alcoholic fumes that dis- 
turbed his brain. It was apparently 
of a jocular nature, for he felt im- 
pelled to slap his leg again and cram 
his fist into his mouth. 

15. As the shadows crept slowly 
up the mountain, a slight breeze 
rocked the tops of the pine-trees, and 
moaned through their long and 
gloomy aisles. The ruined cabin, 
patched and covered with pine- 
boughs, was set apart for the ladies. 
As the lovers parted, they unaffected- 
ly exchanged a parting kiss, so honest 
and sincere that it might have been 
heard above the swaying pines. The 
frail Duchess and the malevolent 
Mother Shipton were probably too 
stunned to remark upon his last evi- 
dence of simplicity, and so turned 
without a word to the hut. The fire 
was replenished, the men lay down 
before the door, and in a few min- 
utes were asleep. 

16. Mr. Oakhurst was a hght sleep- 
er. Toward morning he awoke be- 
numbed and cold. As he stirred the 
dying fire, the wind, which was now 
blowing strongly, brought to his 
cheek that which caused the blood to 
leave it — snow! 

17. He started to his feet with the 
intention of awakening the sleepers, 
for there was no time to lose. But 
turning to where Uncle Billy had 
been lying, he found him gone. A 
suspicion leaped to his brain and a 



Foundation foi Main Cri* 
818 — mot ybt appakxht. 



Local color. 



Change — approach of main 
crisis. 



Forecasted in f 14. 



268 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



curse to his lips. He ran to the spot 
where the mules had been tethered; 
they were no longer there. The 
tracks were already rapidly disap- 
pearing in the snow. 

i8. The momentary excitement 
brought Mr. Oakhurst back to the 
fire with his usual calm. He did not 
waken the sleepers. The Innocent 
slumbered peacefully, with a smile on 
his good-humored, freckled face; the 
virgin Piney slept beside her frailer 
sisters as sweetly as though attended 
by celestial guardians, and Mr. Oak- 
hurst, drawing his blanket over his 
shoulders, stroked his mustaches and 
waited for the dawn. It came slow- 
ly in a whirling mist of snow-flakes, 
that dazzled and confused the eye. 
What could be seen of the landscape 
appeared magically changed. He 
looked over the valley, and summon- 
ed up the present and future in two 
words,— " snowed in!" 

19 A careful inventory of the 
provisions, which, fortunately for the 
party, had been stored within the 
hut, and so escaped the felonious 
fingers of Uncle Billy, disclosed the 
fact that with care and prudence they 
might last ten days longer. " That 
is," said Mr. Oakhurst, sotto voce to 
the Innocent, "if you're willing to 
board us. If you ain't — and perhaps 
you'd better not — you can wait till 
Uncle Billy gets back with provi- 
sions." For some occult reason, Mr. 
Oakhurst could not bring himself to 
disclose Uncle Billy's rascality, and 



Tone of character. 



Contrast with crisis. 
Note casual physical 
scription. 



de. 



Maiw Plot Incident — 
WEar Tollows ' (rils ' ouT.'" 
growth. 



Crisis acute. 

As the story progresses note 
how the physical crises 
and the moral crises keep 
pace. 



STORIES OF SETTING 



«69 



SO offered the hypothesis that he had 
wandered from the camp and had ac- 
cidentally stampeded the animals. 
He dropped a warning to the 
Duchess and Mother Shipton, who of 
course knew the facts of their as- 
sociate's defection. " They'll find out 
the truth about us all when they find 
out anything," he added, significantly, 
"and there's no good frightening 
them now." 

2a Tom Simson not only put all 
his worldly store at the disposal of 
Mr. Oakhurst, but seemed to enjoy 
the prospect of their enforced seclu- 
sion, "We'll have a good camp for 
a week, and then the snow'll melt, 
and we'll all go back together." The 
cheerful gayety of the young man, 
and Mr. Oakhurst's calm infected 
the others. The Innocent, with the 
aid of pine-boughs, extemporized a 
thatch for the roofless cabin, and the 
Duchess directed Piney in the re- 
arrangement of the interior with a 
taste and tact that opened the blue' 
eyes of that provincial maiden to 
their fullest extent "I reckon now 
you* re used to fine things at Poker 
Flat," said Piney. The Duchess 
turned away sharply to conceal 
something that reddened her cheek 
through its professional tint, and 
Mother Shipton requested Piney not 
to "chatter." But when Mr, Oak- 
hurst returned from a weary search 
for the trail, he heard the sound of 
happy laughter echoed from the 
rocks. He stopped in some alarm, 



Lull in crisis. 

From this point the story 
develops gradually and by 
closely knit incidents in 
direct succession, all 
growing out of the set- 
ting, which furnishes the 
physical crisis. 



Pseudo crisis. 



270 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



and his thoughts first naturally 
reverted to the whiskey, which he 
had prudently cached. "And yet it 
don*t somehow sound like whiskey,'* 
said the gambler. It was not until 
he caught sight of the blazing fire 
through the still blinding storm and 
the group around it that he settled to 
the conviction that it was "square 
fun." 

21. Whether Mr. Oakhurst had 
cached his cards with the whiskey as 
something debarred the free access 
of the community, I cannot say. It 
was certain that, in Mother Ship- 
ton's words, he "didn't say cards 
once " during the evening. Haply the 
time was beguiled by an accordion, 
produced somewhat ostentatiously by 
Tom Simson from his pack. Not- 
withstanding some fiifficulties attend- 
ing the manipulation of his instru- 
ment, Piney Woods managed to 
pluck several reluctant melodies from 
its keys, to an accompaniment by the 
Innocent on a pair of bone castanets. 
But the crowning festivity of the 
evening was reached in a rude camp- 
meeting hymn, which the lovers, join- 
ing hands, sang with great earnest- 
ness and vociferation. I fear that a 
certain defiant tone and Covenater's 
swing to its chorus, rather than any 
devotional quality, caused it speedily 
to infect the others, who at last join- 
ed in the refrain : — 



Resolution of pseudo crifii. 



Contrast with the actual 
danger. 

Contrast is the author's 
main reliance in this 
story. 



Contrast with character- 
habits. A hint of char- 
acter change. 



Is *' Covenater's ' 

used? 



weU 



•• I'm proud to live in the service of the 
Lord. 
And I'm bound to die in His army." 



STORIES OF SETTING 2.*Jt 

22. The pines rocked, the storm 
eddied and whirled above the miser- 
able group, and the flames of their 
ahar leaped heavenward, as if in 
token of the vow. 

2^» At midnight the storm abated, Hope. 
the rolling clouds parted, and the 
stars glittered keenly above the sleep- 
ing camp. Mr. Oakhurst, whose pro- 
fessional habits had enabled him to 
live on the smallest possible amount 
of sleep, in dividing the watch with 
Tom Simson, somehow managed to 
take upon himself the greater part of 
that duty. He excused himself to 
the Innocent, by saying that he had 
"often been a week without sleep." Character revelation. 
" Doing what? " asked Tom. " Pok- 
er ! " replied Oakhurst, sententiously ; 
"when a man gets a streak of luck, 
— nigger-luck,— he don't get tired. 
The luck gives in first. Luck," con- 
tinued the gambler, reflectively, "is 
a mighty queer thing. AH you know 
about it for certain is that it's bound 
to change. And it's finding out when 
it's going to change that makes you. - 
We've had a streak* of bad luck since 
we left Poker Flat.-— you come along, 
and slap you get into it, too. If you 
can hold your cards right along, 
you're all right. For." added the 
gambler, with cheerful irrelevance : — 

'* • I'm proud to live in the service of the 
Lord, 
And I*m bound to die in His army.' *' 

24. The third day came, and the 
Stm, looking through the white- 



272 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



curtained valley, saw the outcasts 
divide their slowly decreasing store 
of provisions for the morning meal. 
It was one of the peculiarities of that 
mountain climate that its rays diffus- 
ed a kindly warmth over the wintry 
landscape, as if in regretful com- 
miseration of the past But it reveal- 
ed drift on drift of snow piled high 
around the hut, — a hopeless, unchart- 
edt trackless sea of white lying below 
the rocky shores to which the cast- 
aways still clung. Through the 
marvellously clear air the smoke of 
the pastoral village of Poker Flat 
rose miles away. Mother Shipton 
saw it, and from a remote pinnacle 
of her rocky fastness, hurled in that 
direction a final malediction. It was 
her last vituperative attempt, and 
perhaps for that reason was invested 
with a certain degree of sublimity. 
It did her good, she privately in- 
formed the Duchess. "Just you go 
DUt there and cuss, and see." She 
then set herself to the task of amus- 
ing "the child," as she and the 
Duchess were pleased to call Piney. 
Piney was no chicken, but it was a 
soothing a|id ingenious theory of the 
pair thus to account for the fact that 
she didn't swear and wasn't im- 
proper. 

25. When night crept up again 
through the gorges, the reedy notes 
of the accordion rose and fell in fit- 
ful spasms and long-drawn gasps by 
the flickering camp-fire. But music 
failed to fill entirely the aching void 



Note the union of setting 
with the progress of the 
story. 



Contrast, 



Key to Sbtting. 



Character 
passage. 



change -^ a kef 



Contributory incident* 



STORIES OF SETTING 



273 



left by insufficient food, and a new 
diversion was proposed by Piney, — 
stpry-telling. Neither Mr. Oakhurst 
nor his female companions caring to 
relate their personal experiences, this 
plan would have failed, too, but for 
the Innocent, Some months before 
he had chanced upon a stray copy of 
Mr. Pope's ingenious translation of 
the Iliad. He now proposed to nar- 
rate the principal incidents of that 
ooem — having thoroughly mastered 
the argument and fairly forgotten the 
words — in the current vernacular of 
Sandy Bar. And so for the rest of 
that night the Homeric demigods 
again walked the earth. Trojan 
bully and wily Greek wrestled in the 
winds, and the great pines in the 
canon seemed to bow to the wrath 
of the son of Peleus. Mr. Oakhurst 
listened with quiet satisfaction. 
Most especially was he interested in 
the fate of " Ash-heels," as the Inno- 
cent persisted in denominating the 
" swift-footed Achilles." 

26. So with small food and much 
of Homer and the accordion, a week 
passed over the heads of the outcasts. 
The sun again forsook them, and 
again from leaden skies the snow- 
flakes were sifted over the land. Day 
by day closer around them drew the 
snowy circle, until at last they look- 
ed from their prison over drifted 
walls of dazzling white, that tow- 
ered twenty feet above their heads. 
It became more and more difficult to 
replenish their fires, even from the 



Developing or contributory 
incident. 



Note upward and downward 
movement — alternations 
of hope and despair, but a 
gradual deepening of the 
crisis. 

Note the contrast between 
the epithet *' outcasts " 
and the feeling with 
which they are now in- 
vested. 



274 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



Hint of later character rev- 
elation. 



fallen trees beside them, now half 
hidden in the drifts. And yet no one Character progresi. 
complained. The lovers turned from 
the dreary prospect and looked into 
each other *s eyes, and were happy. 
Mr. Oakhurst settled himself coolly 
to the losing game before him. The 
Duchess, more cheerful than she had 
been, assumed the care of Piney, 
Only Mother Shipton — once the 
strongest of the party — seemed to 
sicken and fade. At midnight on the 
tenth day she called Oakhurst to her 
side. " I*m going," she said, in a 
voice of querulous weakness, "but 
don't say anything about it. Don't 
waken the kids. Take the bundle 
from under my head and open it." 
Mr. Oakhurst did so. It contained 
Mother Shipton's rations for the last 
week, untouched. " Give 'em to the 
child," she said, pointing to the sleep- 
ing Piney. " You've starved your- 
self," said the gambler. "That's 
what they call it," said the woman, 
querulously, as she lay down again, 
and, turning her face to the wall, 
passed quietly away. 

27. The accordion and the bones 
were put aside that day, and Homer 
was forgotten. When the body of 
Mother Shipton had been committed 
to the snow, Mr. Oakhurst took the 
Innocent aside, and showed him a 
pair of snow-shoes, which he had 
fashioned from the old pack-saddle. 
* There's one chance in a hundred to Plot Ihcideht. 
save her yet," he said, pointing to 
Piney; "but it's there," he added. 



FiKST Chaxactbi Clzkaz. 



STORIES OF SETTING 



275 



pointing toward Poker Flat. " If you 
can reach there in two days she's 
safe." "And you?" asked Tom 
Simson. "I'll stay here," was the 
curt reply. 

28. The lovers parted with a long 
embrace. " You are not going, too? " 
said the Duchess, as she saw Mr. 
Oakhurst apparently waiting to ac- 
company him. "As far as the can- 
on," he replied. He turned suddenly, 
and kissed the Duchess, leaving her 
pallid face aflame, and her trembling 
limbs rigid with amazement. 

29. Night came, but not Mr. Oak- 
hurst. It brought the storm again 
and the whirling snow. Then the 
Duchess, feeding the fire, found that 
some one had quietly piled beside 
the hut enough fuel to last a few days 
longer. The tears rose to her eyes, 
but she hid them from Piney. 

30. The women slept but little. In 
the morning, looking into each other's 
faces, they read their fate. Neither 
spoke; but Piney, accepting the posi- 
tion of the stronger, drew near and 
placed her arm around the Duch- 
ess's waist. They kept this attitude 
for the rest of the day. That night 
the storm reached its greatest fury, 
and, rending asunder the protecting 
pines, invaded the very hut 

31. Toward morning they found 
themselves unable to feed the fire, 
which gradually died away. As the 
embers slowly blackened, the Duch- 
ess crept closer to Piney, and broke 
the silence of many hours : " Piney, 



Preparation for climax. 



Characters in full change. 

Note the repression of 
this entire climax. Sim- 
ple, quiet sentences are 
enough. 



r 



276 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



can you pray?" "No, dear," said 
Piney, simply. The Duchess, with- 
out knowing exactly why, felt re- 
lieved, and putting her head upon 
Piney's shoulder, spoke no more. 
And so reclining, the younger and 
purer pillowing the head of her soil- 
ed sister upon her virgin breast, they 
fell asleep. 

32. The wind lulled as if it feared 
to waken them. Feathery drifts of 
snow, shaken from the long pine- 
boughs, flew like white-winged birds, 
and settled about them as they slept. 
The moon through the rifted clouds 
looked down upon what had been 
the camp. But all human stain, all 
trace of earthly travail, was hidden 
beneath the spotless inantle merci- 
fully flung from above. 

33. They slept all that day and the 
next, nor did they waken when voices 
and footsteps broke the silence of 
the camp. And when pitying fingers 
brushed the snow from their wan 
faces, you could scarcely have told 
from the equal peace that dwelt upon 
them, which was she that had sinned. 
Even the law of Poker Flat recog- 
nized this, and turned away, leaving 
them stili locked in each other's 
arms. 

34. But at the head of the gulch, 
on one of the largest pine-trees, they 
found the deuce of clubs pinned to 
the bark with a bowie-knife. It bore 
the following, written in pencil, in 
a firm hand: — 



No melodrama here. 



Second Character Climax. 

Local color in harmony with 
spirit of story. 



Symbolism of physical na- 
ture. 

Poetic euphemism. 



Main Character Climax, 
AND Denouement. 



STORIES OF SETTING 277 

BBN£ATH THIS TXEE 

LIES THE BODY 

OP 

JOHN OAKHURST, 

WHO STRUCK A STREAK OF BAD LUCK 

ON THE 230 OF NOVEMBER, 185O, 

AND 

HANDED IN HIS CHECKS 

ON THE 7TH DECEMBER, 185O. 

And pulseless and cold» with a der- Swirr Conclusion. 
ringer by his side and a bullet in his 
heart, though still calm as in life, be- 
neath the snow lay he who was at 
once the strongest and yet the weak- 
est of the outcasts of Poker Flat. 

MAUPASSANT AND HIS WRITINGS 

Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant was born in 
Normandy, France, in 1850. In that picturesque region 
he passed his youth, and returned thither for frequent 
sojourns in later life. Having finished his studies, he 
became an employe in the government service in Paris. 
This experience, his love for athletics, and his recollec- 
tions of the Franco-Prussian war, he turned to good 
account in his fictional work. His literary education was 
conducted by Gustave Flaubert, his uncle and god- father, 
under whom he served so rigid an apprenticeship that 
when he produced his first short-story, " Tallow Ball " 
(Boule de Suif), his preceptor pronounced it a master- 
piece, as indeed it is. He died in 1893, at the age of 
43, by his own hand, his reason having failed after some 
years of increasing depression and gloom. 



278 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Though his productive period covered only ten years, 
Guy de Maupassant has left several notable novels, some 
fair poetry, and a large number of remarkable short- 
stories. Most of his work deals more frankly with the 
sordid side of life than American society approves, but 
many of his short-stories are unexceptionable. Among 
the best of these are "The Necklace," "The Horla," 
" Happiness," " Vain Beauty," " A Coward." " A Ghost," 
" Little Soldier," " The Wolf," " Moonlight," and " The 
Piece of String." 

Technically, Maupassant was the most finished short- 
story writer of all ; but he lacked spiritual power, and so 
he himself missed much of the world's beauty, and dis- 
closed but little to others. Rarely can the r ead er feel the 
feast throb of sv mpathv of the aut hor ^^^ ^^^ ^^'^nrtfrf 
Technically flawless, his work is too often cold, and the 
warm ideals of a tender heart are chiefly absent. An 
inflexible realist, he pressed his method farther than did 
Flaubert, a really strong novelist. From life's raw ma- 
terials Maupassant wove incomparably brilliant fiction- 
fabrics, equally distinguished for plot, characterization, 
and style; but it c annot be said tha tji e interpreted l ife 
with a wholesome, uplif ting spirit. 

Happy are they whom life satisfies, who can amuse themselves, 
and be content . . . who have not discovered, with a vast dis- 
gust, . . . that 9]] things are a weariness. — Guy de Maupassant. 

He who destroys the ideal destroys himself. In art and in 
life Maupassant lived in the lower order of facts, the brutal 
world of events unrelated to a spiritual order. He drained his 
senses of the last power of sensation and reaction; he plunged 



STORIES OF SETTING 279 

headlong inlo the sensual life upon which they opened when 
the luminous heaven above the material world was obliterated. 
Madness always lies that way as a matter of physiology as well 
as of morals, and Maupassant went the tragic way of the sensual- 
ist since time began. — Hamilton W. Mabix, in The Outlook, 

Maupassant saw life with his senses, and he reflected on it in 
a purely animal revolt, the recoil of the hurt animal. His obser- 
vation is not, as it has been hastily assumed to be, cold; it is 
as superficially emotional as that of the average sensual man, 
and its cynicism is only another, not less superficial, kind of feel- 
ing. He saw life in all its details, and his soul was entangled 
in the details. He saw it without order, without recompense, 
without pity; he saw it too clearly to be duped by appearances, 
and too narrowly to distinguish any light beyond what seemed 
to him the enclosing bounds of darkness. — Arthur Symons, 
Studies in Prose and Verse, 

He has produced a hundred short tales and only four regular 
novels; but if the tales deserve the first place in any candid 
appreciation of his talent it is not simply because they are so 
much the more numerous: they are also more characteristic; 
they represent him best in his originality, and their brevity, ex- 
treme in some cases, does not prevent them from being a col- 
lection of masterpieces. . . . What they have most in common 
is their being extremely strong, and after that their being ex- 
tremely bVutal. . . . M. de Maupassant sees human lif6«as a 
terribly ugly business relieved by the comical, but even the 
comedy is for the most part the comedy of misery, of avidity, 
of ignorance, helplessness, and grossness. — Henry James, Par- 
tial Portraits. 

His short-stories are masterpieces of the art of story-telling, 
because he had a Greek sense of form, a Latin power of con- 
struction, and a French felicity of style. They are simple, most 
of them; direct, swift, inevitable, and inexorable in their straight- 
forward movement If art consists in the suppression of non- 
essentials, there have been few greater artists in fiction than 



28o STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Maupassant. In his Short-stories there is never a word wasted, 
and there is never an excursus. Nor is there any feebleness or 
fumbling. What he wanted to do he did, with the unerring 
certainty of Leatherstocking, hitting the bull's-eye again and 
again. He had the abundance and the ease of the very great 
artists; and the half-dozen or the half-score of his best stories 
are among the very best Short-stories in any language. — 
Brander Matthews, The Philosophy of the Short-Story. 

His firm, alert prose is so profoundly French, free from neolo- 
gisms, strong in verbs, sober in adjectives, every sentence stand- 
ing out with no apparent effort, no excess, like a muscle in the 
perfect body of a young athlete. ... He has that sense of the 
real which so many naturalists .lack, and which the care for 
exact detail does not replace. . . . His predilection for ordinary 
scenes and ordinary types is everywhere evident; he uses all 
kinds of settings, — a cafe, a furnished room, a farmyard, seen 
in their actual character without poetic transfiguration, with all 
their vulgarity, their poverty, their ugliness. And he uses, too, 
all kinds of characters, — clerks, peasants of Normandy, petty 
bourgeois of Paris and of the country. They live the empty, 
tragic, or grotesque hours of their lives; are sometimes touching, 
sometimes odious; and never achieve greatness either in hero- 
ism or in wickedness. 

They are not gay, these stories; and the kind of amusement 
they afford is strongly mixed with irony, pity, and contempt 
Gayety, whether brutal, frank, mocking, or delicate, never leaves 
this bitter taste in the heart. How pitiful in its folly, in its 
vanity, in its weakness, is the humanity which loves, weeps, or 
agitates in the tales of Maupassant! There, virtue if awkward 
is never recompensed, nor vice if skillful punished; mothers are 
not always saints, nor sons always grateful and respectful; the 
guilty are often ignorant of remorse. Then are these beings 
immoral? To tell the truth, they are guided by their instincts, 
by events, submissive to the laws of necessity, and apparently 
released by the author from all responsibility.— Firm in Roz, 
Guy de Maupassant, in Warner's Library of the World's Best 
Literature. 



STORIES OF SETTING 28l 



FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON 
MAUPASSANT 

French Fiction of To-day, M. S. Van de Velde (1891) ; 
Some French Writers, Edward Delille (1893); Studies 
in Two Literatures, Arthur Symons (1897); French 
Literature of To-day, Yetta Blaze de Bury (1898); A 
Century of French Fiction, Benjamin W. Wells (1898) ; 
Contemporary French Novelists, Rene Douraic (1899). 

FOR ANALYSIS 
MOONLIGHT 

(CLAIR DE LUNE) 
BY GUY DE MAUPASSANT 
Translation by The Editor^ 

The Abbe Marignan bore well his 
title of Soldier of the Church. He 
was a tall priest, and spare ; fanatical, 
perpetually in a state of spiritual ex- 
altation, but upright of soul. His 
every belief was settled, without even 
a thought of wavering. He im- 
agined sincerely that he understood 
his God thoroughly, that he pene- 
trated His designs, His will. His 
purposes. 

2. As with long strides he prom- 
enaded the garden walk of his little 
country presbytery, sometimes a ques- 
tion would arise in his mind : " Why 
did God create that?" And, men- 
tally taking the place of God, he 

^Copyright, 191 z, by J. B. Lippincott Co., and used by permission. 



282 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

searched obstinately for the answer 
— and nearly always found it. It 
would not have been like him to mur- 
mur, in an outburst of pious humility : 
" O Lord, thy designs arc impenetra- 
ble ! '* Rather might he say to him- 
self: "I am the servant of God; I 
ought to know the reasons for what 
He does, or, if I know them not, I 
ought to divine them." 

3. To him all nature seemed created 
with a logic as absolute as it was ad- 
mirable. The "wherefore" and the 
"because" always corresponded per- 
fectly. Dawn, was made to gladden 
our waking, the day to ripen the 
crops, the rain to water them, the 
evening to prepare for slumber, and 
the night was darkened for sleep. 

4. The four seasons met perfectly 
all the needs of agriculture; and to 
the priest it was quite inconceivable 
that nature had no designs, and that, 
on the contrary, all living things were 
subjects of the same inexorable laws 
of period, climate, and matter. 

5. But he did hate woman! He 
hated her unconscionably, and by in- 
stinct held her in contempt Often 
did he repeat the words of Christ, 
"Woman, what have I to do with 
thee?" And he would add, "One 
might think that God Himself did 
not feel quite content with this one 
work of his hands ! " To him, in- 
deed, woman was the child twelve 
times unclean of whom the poet 
speaks. She was the temptress who 
had ensnared the first man, and who 



STORIES OF SETTING 283 



constantly kept up her work of dam- 
nation — she was a feeble, dangerous, 
and mysteriously troublous creature. 
And even more than her accursed 
body did he hate her loving spirit. 

6. He had often felt that women 
were regarding him tenderly, and 
even though he knew himself to be 
invulnerable, it exasperated him to 
recognize that need for loving which 
fluttered ever-present in their hearts. 

7. In his opinion, God had created 
woman only to tempt man and to test 
him. She should never be even ap- 
proached without those defensive 
measures which one would take, and 
those fears which one would harbor, 
when nearing a trap. In fact, she 
was precisely like a trap, with her 
lips open and arms extended towards 
man. 

8. Only toward nuns did he exercise 
any indulgence, for they were ren- 
dered harmless by their vow. But 
he treated them harshly just the same, 
because, ever-living in the depths of 
their pent-up and humble hearts, he 
discerned that everlasting tenderness 
which constantly surged up toward 
him, priest though he was. 

9. Of all this he was conscious in 
their upturned glances, more limpid 
with pious feeling than the looks of 
monks; in the spiritual exaltations in 
which their sex indulged; in their 
ecstasies of love toward Christ, 
which made the priest indignant be- 
cause it was really woman's love, 
carnal love. Of this detestable ten- 



284 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

demess he was conscious, too, in 
their very docility, in the gentleness 
of their voices when they addressed 
him, in their downcast eyes, and in 
their submissive tears when he rudely 
rebuked them. 

10. So he would shake his cassock 
when he left the cpnvent door, and 
stride off, stretching his legs as if 
fleeing before some danger. 

11. Now the abbe had a niece who 
lived with her mother in a little 
house near by. He was determined 
to make of her a sister of charity. 

12. She was pretty, giddy, and a 
bom tease. When he preached at her, 
she laughed; and when he became 
angry with her, she kissed him ve- 
hemently, pressing him to her bosom, 
while he would instinctively seek to 
disengage himself from this embrace 
— which, all the same, gave him a 
thrill of exquisite joy, awaking deep - 
within his soul that feeling of father- 
hood which slumbers in every man. 

13. Often as they walked together 
along^ the foot-paths through the 
fields, he would talk with her of 
God, of his God; but she scarcely 
heard him, for she was looking at 
the sky, the grass, the flowers, with 
a joy of life which beamed from her 
eyes. Sometimes she would dart 
away to catch some flying creature, 
crying as she brought it back : " See, 
my uncle, how pretty it is; I should 
like to kiss it." And that passion to 
kiss insects, or lilac flowers, dis- 
turbed, irritated, and repelled the 



STORIES OF SETTING 285 



priest, who recognized even in that 
longing the ineradicable love which 
blooms perennial in the heart of 
woman. 

14. And now one day the sacristan's 
wife, who was the Abbe Marignan's 
housekeeper, cautiously told him that 
his niece had a lover 1 

15. He was dreadfully shocked, and 
stood gasping for breath, lather all 
over his face, for he was shaving. 

16. When at length he was able to 
think and speak, he cried : " It is not 
true. You are lying, Melanie ! " 

17. But the peasant woman laid her 
hand over her heart: "May our 
Lord judge me if I am lying, mon^ 
sieur le cure. I tell you she goes out 
to meet him every night as soon as 
your sister is in bed. They meet each 
other down by the river. You need 
only go there between ten o'clock and 
midnight to see for yourself." 

18. He stopped rubbing his chin 
and began pacing the room violently, 
as was his custom in times of serious 
thought When at length he did try 
to finish his shaving he cut himself 
three times, from nose to ear. 

19. All day long he was silent, 
though almost exploding with indig- 
nation and wrath. To his priestly 
rage against the power of love was 
now added the indignation of a spirit- 
ual father, of a teacher, of the guard- 
ian of souls, who has been deceived, 
robbed, and trifled with by a mere 
child. He felt that egotistical suf- 
focation which parents experience 



286 STUDYING THE SHORT-STCmV 

when their daughter tells them that 
she has selected a husband without 
their advice and in defiance of their 
wishes. 

20. After dinner he tried to read a 
little, but he could not — he grew 
more and more exasperated. When 
the clock struck ten, he grasped his 
cane, a formidable oaken club which 
he always carried when he went out 
at night to visit the sick. With a 
smile he examined this huge cudgel, 
gripped it in his solid, countryman's 
fist, and flourished it menacingly in 
the air. Then, suddenly, with grind- 
ing teeth, he brought it down upon 
a chair-back, which fell splintered to 
the floor. 

21. He opened his door to go out ; 
but paused upon the threshold, sur- 
prised by such a glory of moonlight 
as one rarely sees. 

22. And as he was endowed with 
an exalted soul of such a sort as the 
Fathers of the Church, those poetic 
seers, must have possessed, he became 
suddenly entranced, moved by the 
grand and tranquil beauty of the pale- 
faced night. 

23. In his little garden, all suffused 
with the tender radiance, his fruit- 
trees, set in rows, outlined in shadows 
upon the paths their slender limbs of 
wood, scarce clothed with verdure. 
The giant honeysuckle, clinging to the 
house wall, exhaled its delicious, 
honeyed breath — the soul of perfume 
seemed to hover about in the warm., 
clear night. 



STORIES OF SETTING 287 



24. He began to breathe deep» 
drinking in the air as drunkards drink 
their wine; and he walked slowly, 
ravished, amazed, his niece almost 
forgotten. 

25. When he reached the open 
country he paused to gaze upon the 
broad sweep of landscape, all del- 
uged by that caressing radiance, all 
drowned m that soft and sensuous 
charm of peaceful night. Momently 
the frogs sounded out their quick 
metallic notes, and distant nightin- 
gales added to the seductive moon- 
light their welling music, which 
charms to dreams without thought 
— that gossamer, vibrant melody 
bom only to mate with kisses. 

26. The Abbe moved again, his 
courage unaccountably failing. He 
felt as though he were enfeebled, 
suddenly exhausted — he longed to 
sit down, to linger there, to glorify 
God for all His worksu 

27. A little farther on, following 
the winding of the little river, curved 
a row of tall poplars. Suspended 
about and above the banks, enwrap- 
ping the whole sinuous course of the 
stream with a sort of light, transpar- 
ent down, was a fine white mist, 
shot through by the moon-rays, and 
transmuted by them into gleaming 
silver. 

28. The priest paused once again, 
stirred to the deeps of his soul by a 
growing, an irresistible feeling of 
tenderness. 

29. And a doubt, an undefined dis- 



288 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

quietude, crept over him; he dis- 
cerned the birth of one of those ques- 
tions which now and again came to 
him. 

3a Why had God made all this? 
Since the night was ordained for 
slumber, for unconsciousness, for re- 
pose, for forgetfulness of everything, 
why should He make it lovelier than 
the day, sweeter than dawn and sun- 
set? And that star, slow-moving, 
seductive, more poetic than the sun, 
so like to destiny, and so delicate 
that seemingly it was created to ir- 
radiate things too subtle, too re- 
fined, for the greater orb — why was 
it come to illumine all the shades? 

31. Why did not the most accom- 
plished of all singing birds repose 
now like the others, but sing in the 
unquiet dark? 

32. Why was this semi-veil cast 
over the world? Why this sighing 
of the heart, this tumult of the soul, 
this languor of the flesh? 

33. Why this show of charms, 
never seen by men because they are 
asleep? For whose eyes was all this 
sublime spectacle designed, all this 
wealth of poetic loveliness diffused 
from heaven over the earth? 

34. And the Abbe did not under- 
stand it at all. 

35. But there below, at the very 
edge of the field, under the arching 
trees wet with luminous mist, two 
shadows appeared, walking side by 
side. 

36. The man was the taller, and 



STORIES OF SETTING 289 



had his arm about his sweetheart's 
neck; and from time to time he bent 
to kiss her forehead They ani- 
mated suddenly the lifeless landscape, 
which enveloped their figures like a 
divine frame fashioned expressly for 
them. They seemed, those two, like 
a single being, the being for whom 
was created this tranquil, silent 
night. Like a living answer, the an- 
swer which his Master had sent to 
his question, they moved toward the 
priest. 

37. Overwhelmed, his heart throb- 
bing, he stood still, and it seemed 
as though there spread before him 
some Biblical scene, like the loves 
of Ruth and Boaz, the working out 
of the Lord's will in one of those 
majestic dramas set forth in the 

. lives of the saints. The verses of 
the Song of Songs, the ardent cries, 
the call of the body — all the glow- 
ing romance of that poem so aflame 
with tenderness and love, began to 
sing itself into his mind. 

38. And he said to himself: 
" Perhaps God made nights such as 
this in order to cast the veil of the 
ideal over the loves of men." 

39. He withdrew before this pair, 
who went on arm in arm. True, 
it was his niece; but now he asked 
himself if he had not been upon the 
verge of disobeying God. And, in- 
deed, if God did not permit love, why 
did he visibly encompass it with glory 
such as this? 



290 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

4a And he fled, bewildered, al- 
most ashamed, as if he had pene- 
trated in a temple wherein he had 
no right to enter. 

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. Precisely why do our surroundings affect our moods and 
actions? Give examples from your own experience. 

2. Which seems to you to be the more frequent in fiction : har- 
mony, or contrast of character with setting? 

3. Which seems to you to be the more effective? Why? 

4. Outline the motives which actuated at least three of the 
characters in " The Outcasts of Poker Flat." 

5. Is the story overdrawn? 

6. Is the influence of the moonlight enough to ' account for 
the change in the priest in " Moonlight," or must we allow some- 
thing for romance? 

7. Trace the several physical crises of Harte's story from the 
very beginning. 

8. Do the same for the moral crises. 

9. Show their inter-relation. 

10. Select from a magazine a story in which setting influences 
In some way the actions of the characters, and point out pre- 
cisely how. 

TEN REPRESENTATIVE STORIES OF SETTING 

"A Leaf in the Storm," Ouida, in Stories by English 

Authors. 
" Mrs. Knollys," F. J. Stimson, Century Magazine, Nov., 

1883. 
**Up the Coulee," Hamlin Garland, in Main Travelled 

Roads. 
** The Girl at Duke's," James W. Linn, McClure's Maga* 

zine, Aug., 1903. 



STORIES OF SETTING 29I 

" The Dancin' Party at Harrison's Cove," Charles Eg- 
bert Craddock, Atlantic Monthly, May, 1878. 

' Twenty-Six and One," Maxim Gorky, translated in vol- 
ume of same title. 

" The Unknown Masterpiece," Honore de Balzac, trans- 
lated in Little French Masterpieces, Balzac. 

"Red Bird," Elizabeth Maury Coombs, Lippincotfs 
Magazine, Dec, 1911. 

" The Wall Opposite," Pierre Loti, translated in Short 
Story Classics, Foreign. 

" The End of the Tether," Joseph Conrad, in youth. 



VI 
IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 

The White Old Maid. — Nathaniel Hawthorke 
The Fall of the House of Usher. — Edgar Allan Poe 



293 



I prefer commencing with the consideration of an efFect. 
Keeping originality always in view — for he is false to himself 
who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so easily attain- 
able a source of interest — I say to myself, in the first place, " Of 
the innumerable effects or impressions of which the heart, the 
intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what one 
shall I, on the present occasion, select?" Having chosen a 
novel first, and secondly, a vivid effect, I consider whether it 
can be best wrought by incident or tone, or the converse, or by 
peculiarity both of incident and tone — afterwards looking about 
me (or rather within) for such combinations of event or tone 
as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect. — Edgar 
Allan Poe, The Philosophy of Composition, 



294 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 

The value of a literary term lies in the comprehensive 
and precise picture which it calls up in the mind of him 
who reads it. So we must seek to limit, as well as seize 
upon, the meaning of this word " impressionistic." 

Tlie first purpose in telling a story w ould seem to be the 
pleasure or the pro fit of the hearer -^f we exclude the 
bore who tells a yarn chieny to plta^'e himself. But a 
closer scrutiny of certain stories discloses other objects 
of the narrator, and these may be either subordinate or 
paramount to considerations of benefit or entertainment. 
The most important of these artistic purposes is to repro - 
du ce in the hearer the full eff^^yt whj^-h a ^^rtain mnfi^j 
the me, character, situation, incident, or chain of inciden ts, 
ori ginally made upon the story-teller himself. When he 
succeeds in reproducing in others his own feeling, by 
such means as we shall presently study, he does so by 
impressionistic means. 

Poe, writing in Graham's Magazine, May, 1842, says: 
" A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, 
he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his 
incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a 
certain unique or single effect to be wr ought out, he then 
invents such incidents — he then combineTiuch events — 
as may best aid him in establishing the preconceived ef- 

^95 



296 STUDYING THE* SHORT-STORY 

feet. If his very initial sentence tend not to the out- 
bringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. 
In the whole composition there should be no word writ- 
ten, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to 
the one preestablished design." 

It does not seem probable that Poe meant to speak of 
impressionism as constituting so much a distinct type of 
story as to point out its importance as a method in all 
story-telliiig ; and we must not overlook its usefulness in 
this respect. Indeed, nearly all good short-stories begin, 
in the mind of the author, and end, in the spirit of the 
reader, with a more or less clear and unified impression. 
Still, certain little fictions are, alike in theme and treat- 
ment, so decidedly conceived and told with the purpose 
of leaving the reader under the spell of a mood, a feeling, 
a character, or a situation, that they are impressionistic 
stories, rather than impressionistic stories. 

The natural tendency for the impressionistic writer is 
to subordinate incident and plot to tone — in a word, to 
emphasize a picture, whether internal or external, rather 
than a set of happenings, which in dealing with fiction 
we call the action. So an impressionistic narrative may 
really tell a story of situation, crisis, and denouement, or, 
as is more likely to be the case, it may tend decidedly 
toward the sketch. All depends upon the nature of the 
theme. Thus, the beauty of sacrifice demands an action 
to illustrate that abnegation, and all the accessories must 
serve as high-lights and shadows to bring out this motive 
in strong relief ; but the tone of gloom may be conveyed 
without even the semblance of a plot. 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 297 

Now a story may produce a gloomy effect without de- 
liberately picturing an atmosphere of gloom — it may 
leave the reader with a vague, pessimistic distaste for joy, 
and yet present no such picture. Or it may marvellously 
delineate loneliness, without leaving that as the final im- 
pression of the story. This is not impressionism, though 
it may be very good story-telling. Impressionism is con- 
scious art, art prepense, and, as will be seen in the two 
stories presented as examples in this section, subordinates 
everything to tonal effect ; in other words, thejmpression- 
i stic story symbolizes in human ac tion some human^ood 
or condit ion. For this reason such stories are often 
called stories of symbolism. 

HAWTHORNE AND HIS WRITINGS 

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachu- 
setts, July 4, 1804. His New England ancestors bore the 
name Hathorne, as did the author's sea-captain father — 
also a Nathaniel — who died at Surinam, Dutch Guiana, 
when his son was four years old. In 1818 the family 
moved to Raymond, Maine, but most of the youth's edu- 
cation was gotten at Salem, and there his family returned 
in 1820. The following year he entered Bowdoin Col- 
lege, from which he was graduated in 1825. At this time 
— when he was twenty-one — he had already begun 
Twice-Told Tales; it was then, too, that he inserted the 
w into his name. He was now writing industriously, 
often under a pseudonym ; he also did considerable hack 
and editorial work. During 1839 and a part of 1840 he 



298 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

served in the Boston Custom House; then he joined the 
Brook Farm Community in 1841, but remained there only 
a short time. He married Sophia Peabody in 1842. In 
1846 he returned to the Customs service, in Salem, re- 
maining this time about three years. In 1853 he was 
appointed by his classmate. President Pierce, as United 
States Consul at Liverpool. During the more than three 
years of his consulship he traveled widely in Great Brit- 
ain, and later spent much time in Italy, where some of 
his best work was accomplished. During the last years 
of his life he wrote but intermittently, being a prey to 
depression and ill health. He died at Plymouth, New 
Hampshire, May 19, 1864, and is buried in the Sleepy 
Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Mass. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a remarkable novelist, essay- 
ist, and short-story writer. The Scarlet Letter and The 
Marble Faun, are his greatest novels. The House of 
the Seven Gables is a series of related sketches rather 
than a romance. Probably his best short-stories are 
"The Birth-mark," " Rappaccini's Daughter," and 
"Drown's Wooden Image" in Mosses From An Old 
Manse; " The Gray Champion," " The Minister's Black 
Veil," " The Gentle Boy," " The Great Carbuncle," " Dr. 
Heidegger's Experiment," " The Ambitious Guest," 
"Wakefield," and "The White Old Maid," from Twice- 
Told Tales; and "The Great Stone Face," "Ethan 
Brand" and "The Snow-Image," in The Snow-Image 
and other Twice-Told Tales, These three collections 
contain also many charming sketches, while The Wonder 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 299 

Book, and Tanglewood Tales are rich in interest for 
younger readers. 

"The White Old Maid," given herewith in full, was 
first published in the New England Magazine for July, 
1835, and was entitled "The Old Maid in the Winding 
Sheet, by the Author of The Gray Champion." 

Hawthorne enjoyed the distinction of winning in his 
day the almost unanimous approval of critics both at 
home and abroad, and this in a period when criticism was 
not a gentle art. Time, moreover, has only added to his 
praises. As a fiction writer he had depth, breadth, and 
height. Hawthorne alone among the fictionists of his era 
may justly be said to have a philosophy of his own ; his 
themes cover a wide range ; and the loftiness of his ideals 
is well recognized. As Longfellow discerned, and gen- 
erously announced as early as .1837, Hawthorne was a 
poet who wrote prose. He knew a mood in nature to 
match every human emotion, and in her multiform life 
he saw images to enforce a thousand striking compari- 
sons. He was a student of the soul, too, albeit a gloomy 
one, for the most part. But while the sombreness of 
lives beset by stern problems oppressed him, and but 
little humor brightens his pages, one searches in vain for 
a pessimistic spirit — Hawthorne's knowledge of the hu- 
man heart saddened him, but it did not make him mis- 
anthropic. One feels the reality, the vital bearing, of 
the things he writes about. It is impossible to read him 
appreciatively and not realize the sincerity of the man, 



300 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

and the fine earnestness, the upright though severe just- 
ness, with which he viewed life. Sweetness, beauty — 
haunting beauty, indeed — and a certain airy lightness, 
were not wanting in his work ; but the big tones — reso- 
nant, solemn at times, and inspiring always — were poetic 
insight, fervid intensity, and lofty purpose. Hawthorne 
was a seer. The inside of things was disclosed to him. 
That which he could not see, he felt. And with a classic 
purity of style he worded the fantastic, gloomy, light- 
some, or tragic pageantry of his creations in sentences 
that live and live. 

I wish God had given me the faculty of writing a sunshiny 
book. — Nathaniel Hawthorne, Letter to James T. Fields, 

Soon to be all spirit, I have already a spiritual sense of human 
nature, and see deeply into the hearts of mankind, discovering 
what is hidden from the wisest. . . . My glance comprehends 
the crowd, and penetrates the breast of the solitary man. — Na- 
thaniel Hawthorne, My Home Return, in Tales and Sketches. 

He uses his characters, like algebraic symbols, to work out 
certain problems with; they are rather more, yet rather less, 
than flesh and blood, — H. A. Beers, quoted in Tappan's 'To/>fVa/ 
Notes on American Authors. 

Hawthorne's style, at its best, is one of the most perfect media 
employed by any writer using the English language. Dealing, 
as it usually does, with an immaterial subject-matter, with dream- 
like impressions, and fantastic products of the imagination, it is 
concrete without being opaque, — luminously concrete, one might 
say. No other writer that I know of has the power of making 
his fancies visible and tangible without impairing their delicate 
immateriality. If any writer can put the rainbow into words, 
and yet leave it a rainbow, surely that writer is Hawthorne.— 
Richard Le Gallienne, Attitudes and Avowals, 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 301 

In all his most daring fantasies Hawthorne is natural; and 
though he may project his vision far beyond the boundaries of 
fact, nowhere does he violate the laws of nature. ... A brutal 
misuse of the supernatural is perhaps the very lowest degrada- 
tion of the art of fiction. But ** to mingle the marvellous rather 
as a slight, delicate, and evanescent flavour than as any actual 
portion of the substance," to quote from the preface to the 
House of the Seven Gables, this is, or should be, the aim of the 
writer of Short-stories whenever his feet leave the firm ground 
of fact as he strays in the unsubstantial realms of fantasy. — 
Brander Matthews, The Philosophy of the Short-story, 

Hawthorne has been called a mystic, which he was not, — and 
a psychological dreamer, which he was in very slight degree. 
He was really the ghost of New England. I do not mean the 
"spirit,** nor the "phantom," but the ghost in the older sense 
in which that term is used, the thin, rarefied essence which is 
to be found somewhere behind the physical organization; em- 
bodied, indeed, and not by any means in a shadowy or diminu- 
tive earthly tabernacle, but yet only half embodied in it, endowed 
with a certain painful sense of the gulf between his nature and 
its organization, always recognizing the gulf, always trying to 
bridge it over, and always more or less un^ccessful in the 
attempt His writings are not exactly spiritual writings, for 
there is no dominating spirit in them. They are ghostly writ- 
ings* ... I may, perhaps, accept a phrase of which Hawthorne 
himself was fond, — ^**the moonlight of romance," — and compel it 
to explain something of the secret of his characteristic genius. — 
R. H. HuTTON, Essays in Literary Criticism. 

This, too ["The White Old Maid"], is a story, in the sense 
that something happens ; and yet the real story, by which I mean 
the narrative which would logically connect and develop these 
events, is just hinted at, and is not very important. It is sub- 
ordinated, indeed, to a new aim. "The White Old Maid" is 
narrative for a purpose, and this purpose is to suggest an im- 
pression, and to leave us with a vivid sensation rather than a 
number of remembered facts. In short, it is contrived, not 



302 ^ STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

to leave a record of such and such an old woman who did this 
or that, but rather to stamp upon our minds the impression of 
a mystery-haunted house, mysterious figures entering, strange 
words, and a terrible sorrow behind all. Towards such a result 
the structure of the plot, every bit of description, every carefully 
chosen word, directly tends. — Henry Seidel Canby, The Book 
of the Short Story. 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON 
HAWTHORNE 

Hours in a Library, Leslie Stephen ( 1874) ; Study of 
Hawthorne, George Parsons Lathrop (1876); Life, in 
the English Men of Letters series, Henry James (1880) ; 
Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, Julian Hawthorne 
(1885) ; Life, in the Great Writers series, Moncure D. 
Conway ( 1890) ; Personal Recollections of Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, Horatio Bridge (1893) ; Memories of Haw- 
thorne, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1897); Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, Anne Fields (1899) ; Life, in the American 
Men of Letters series, George Edward Woodberry 
(1902). 

THE WHITE OLD MAID 

BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE 



The moonbeams came through Introduction of setting, glv 
two deep and narrow windows, and »"« atmosphere of story, 
showed a spacious chamber richly 
furnished in an antique fashion. 
From one lattice the shadow of the 
diamond panes was thrown upon 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



303 



the floor; the ghostly light, through 
the other, slept upon a bed, falling be- 
tween the heavy silken curtains, and 
illuminating the face of a young man. 
But, how quietly the slumberer lay! 
how pale his features ! and how like a 
shroud the sheet was wound about 
his frame! Yes; it was a corpse, in 
its burial clothes. 

2. Suddenly, the fixed features 
seemed to move with dark emotion.. 
Strange fantasy! It was but the 
shadow of the fringed curtain wav- 
ing betwixt the dead face and the 
moonlight, as the door of the cham- 
ber opened and a girl stole softly 
to the bedside. Was there delusion 
in the moonbeams, or did her ges- 
ture and her eye betray a gleam of 
triumph, as she bent over the pale 
corpse — pale as itself — and pressed 
her living lips to the cold ones of 
the dead? As she drew back from 
that long kiss, her features writhed 
as if a proud heart were fighting 
with its anguish. Again it seemed 
that the features of the corpse had 
moved responsive to her own. Still 
an illusion! The silken curtain had 
waved, a second time, betwixt the 
dead face and the moonlight, as an- 
other fair young girl unclosed the 
Hoor, and glided, ghostlike, to the 
bedside. There the two maidens 
stood, both beautiful, with the pale 
beauty of the dead between them. 
But she who had first entered was 
proud and stately, and the other a 
soft and fragile thing. 



First Plot Situation. 



This uncertainty strikes the 
tone of the story, which 
trembles constantly be- 
tween the real and the 
fancied, the physical and 
the spirit world, keeping 
the reader in doubt as to 
whether he is witnessing 
a manifestation of the 
supernatural or is deceived 
by the mysterious atmo* 
sphere of the unusual. ' 



Two MAIN CHABACTSRS IN- 
TROOCrCED. 



304 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



3. "Away I*' cried the lofty one. 
''Thou hadst him living! The dead 
is mine!" 

4. "Thine r* returned the other, 
shuddering. "Well hast thou 
spoken ! The dead is thine I " 

5. The proud girl started, and 
stared into her face with a ghastly 
look. But a wild and mournful ex- 
pression passed across the features 
of the gentle one; and weak and 
helpless, she sank down on the hed, 
her head pillowed beside that of the 
corpse, and her hair mingling with 
his dark locks. A creature of hope 
and joy, the first draught of sorrow 
had bewildered her. 

6. "Edith!" cried her rival. 

7. Edith groaned, as with a sudden 
compassion of the heart ; and remov- 
ing her cheek from the dead youth's 
pillow, she stood upright, fearfully 
encountering the eyes of the lofty 
girl. 

a "Wilt thou betray ipe?" said 
the latter calmly. 

9. "Till the dead bid me speak, I 
will be silent," answered Edith. 
"Leave us alone together! Go, and 
live many years, and then return, and 
tell me of thy life. He, too, will 
be here! Then, if thou tellest of 
sufferings more than death, we will 
both forgive thee." 

10. "And what shall be the 
token?" asked the proud girl, as if 
her heart acknowledged a meaning in 
these wild words. 

11. "This lock of hair," said 



Note the archaic, formal 
language, which sets the 
period in the long ago. 

Motif of itory. 



Note "of the heart," 



Full statement of the motif, 
ending with If 12. Foun- 
dation OP Main Cfcisis. 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



305 



Edith, lifting one of the dark» clus- 
tering curls that lay heavily on the 
dead man's brow. 

12. The two maidens joined their 
hands over the bosom of the corpse, 
and appointed a day and hour, far, 
far in time to come, for their next 
meeting in that chamber. The 
statelier girl gave one deep look at 
the motionless countenance, and de- 
parted — yet turned again and 
trembled ere she closed the door, al- 
most believing that her dead lover 
frowned upon her. And Edith, too! 
Was not her white form fading into 
the moonlight? Scorning her own 
weakness she went forth, and per- 
ceived that a negro slave was wait- 
ing in the passage with a wax-light, 
which he held between her face and 
his own, and regarded her, as she 
thought, with an ugly expression of 
merriment. Lifting his torch on 
high, the slave lighted her down the 
staircase, and undid the portal of 
the mansion. The young clergyman 
of the town had just ascended the 
steps, and bowing to the lady, passed 
in without a word. 

13. Years, many years, rolled on; 
the world seemed new, again, so 
much older was it grown since the 
night when those pale girls had 
clasped their hands across the 
bosom of the corpse. In the interval, 
a lonely woman had passed from 
youth to extreme age, and was 
known by all the town as the "Old 
Maid in the Winding Sheet." A 



End of first part of story. 



Second stage. 



Hawthorne's first title foff 
this story 



3o6 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



taint of insanity had affected her 
whole life» but so quiet, sad, and 
gentle, so utterly free from violence, 
that she was suffered to pursue her 
harmless fantasies, unmolested by 
the world, with whose business or 
pleasure she had nought to do. She 
dwelt alone, and never came into the 
daylight, except to follow funerals. 
Whenever a corpse was borne along 
the street in sunshine, rain, or 
snow; whether a pompous train of 
the rich and proud thronged after it, 
or few and humble were the mourn- 
ers, behind them came the lonely 
woman in a long white garment 
which the people called her shroud. 
She took no place among the kin- 
dred or the friends, but stood at the 
door to hear the funeral prayer, and 
walked in the rear of the procession, 
as one whose earthly charge it was 
to haunt the house of mourning, and 
be the shadow of affliction, and see 
that the dead were duly buried. So 
long had this been her custom that 
the inhabitants of the town deemed 
her a part of every funeral, as much 
as the coffin pall, or the very corpse 
itself, and augured ill of the sinner's 
destiny unless the " Old Maid in the 
Winding Sheet" came gliding, like 
a ghost, behind. Once, it is said, she 
affrighted a bridal party with her 
pale presence, appearing suddenly in 
the illuminated hall, just as the priest 
was uniting a false maid to a wealthy 
man, before her lover had been dead 
a year. Evil was the omen to that 



Character delineation, larger 
ly mental and moraL 



Key. 



Contributory incident 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



307 



marriage! Sometimes she stole 
forth by moonlight and visited the 
graves of venerable Integrity, and 
wedded Love, and virgin Innocence, 
and every spot where the ashes of a 
kind and faithful heart were moul- 
dering. Over the hillocks of those 
favored dead would she stretch out 
her arms, with a gesture, as if she 
were scattering seeds; and many be- 
lieved that she brought them from 
the garden of Paradise; for the 
graves which she had visited were 
green beneath the snow, and covered 
with sweet flowers from April to 
November. Her blessing was bet- 
ter than a holy verse upon the tomb- 
stone. Thus wore away her long, 
sad, peaceful, and fantastic life, till 
few were so old as she, and the peo- 
ple of later generations wondered 
how the dead had ever been buried, 
or mourners had endured their 
grief, without the "Old Maid in the 
Winding Sheet." 

14. Still years went on, and still 
she followed funerals, and was not 
yet summoned to her own festival 
of death. One afternoon the great 
street of the town was all alive with 
business and bustle, though the sun 
now gilded only the upper half of the 
church spire, having left the house- 
tops and loftiest trees in shadow. 
The scene was cheerful and ani- 
mated, in spite of the sombre shade 
between the high brick buildings. 
Here were pompous merchants, in 
white wigs and laced velvet; the 



Note language 
bolism. 



of syin- 



K^. 



Third stage. 

Preparation for main crisis. 
Opening of Main Plot In- 
cident. 



3o8 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



bronzed faces of sea-captains; the 
foreign garb and air of Spanish Cre- 
oles; and the disdainful port of na- 
tives of Old England; all contrasted 
with the rough aspect of one or two 
back settlers, negotiating sales of 
timber from forests where axe had 
never sounded. Sometimes a lady 
passed, swelling roundly forth in an 
embroidered petticoat, balancing her 
steps in high-heeled shoes, and 
courtesying with lofty grace to the 
punctilious obeisances of the gentle- 
men. The life of the town seemed 
to have its very centre not far from 
an old mansion, that stood somewhat 
back from the pavement, surrounded 
by neglected grass, with a strange air 
of loneliness, rather deepened than 
dispelled by the throng so near. Its 
site would have been suitably occu- 
pied by a magnificent Exchange or 
a brick block, lettered all over with 
various signs; or the large house 
itself might have made a noble tav- 
ern, with the " King's Arms " swing- 
ing before it, and guests in every 
chamber, instead of the present soli- 
tude. But owing to some dispute 
about the right of inheritance, the 
mansion had been long without a 
tenant, decaying from year to year, 
and throwing the stately gloom of its 
shadow over the busiest part of the 
town. Such was the scene, and 
such the time, when a figure unlike 
ahy that have been described was 
observed at a distance down the 
street. 



Local-color. 



Central setting! 
original setting. 



return to 



Development of setting, and 

TONS 09 AH SMPTY K0USJB» 



IMPRESSIONISTIC S'K)RIES 



309 



15. "I espy a strange sail, yon- 
der," remarked a Liverpool captain; 
"that woman in the long white gar- 
ment!" 

16. The sailor seemed much struck 
by the object, as were several others 
who, at the same moment, caught 
a glimpse of the figure that had at- 
tracted his notice. Almost imme- 
diately the various topics of conver- 
sation gave place to speculations, in 
an undertone, on this unwonted oc- 
currence. 

17. " Can there be a funeral so late 
this afternoon?" inquired some. 

18. They looked for the signs of 
death at every door — the sexton, 
the hearse, the assemblage of black- 
clad relatives — all that makes up the 
woful pomp of funerals. They 
raised their eyes, also, to the 
sun-gilt spire of the church, and 
wondered that no clang proceeded 
from its bell, which had always 
tolled till now when this figure ap- 
peared in the light of day. But none 
had heard that a corpse was to be 
borne to its home that afternoon, 
nor was there any token of funeral, 
except the apparition of the "Old 
Maid in the Winding Sheet." 

19. "What may this portend?" 
asked each man of his neighbor. 

20. All smiled as they put the 
question, yet with a certain trouble 
in their eyes, as if pestilence or some 
other wide calamity were prognosti- 
cated by the untimely intrusion 
among the living o^ one whose pres- 



First main character. 



Key. 



Contrast 



310 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



ence had always been associated with 
death and woe. What a comet is to 
the earth was that sad woman to the 
town. Still she moved on, while the 
hum of surprise was hushed at her 
approach, and the proud and the 
humble stood aside, that her white ^ 
garment might not wave against 
them. It was a long, loose robe, of 
spotless purity. Its wearer appeared 
very old, pale, emaciated, and feeble, 
yet glided onward without the un- 
steady pace of extreme age. At one 
point of her course a little rosy boy 
burst forth from a door, and ran, 
with open arms, towards the ghostly 
woman, seeming to expect a kiss from 
her bloodless lips. She made a slight 
pause, fixing her eye upon him with 
an expression of no earthly sweet- 
ness, so the child shivered and stood 
awe-struck, rather than affrighted, 
while the Old Maid passed on. Per- 
haps her garment might have been 
polluted even by an infant's touch; 
perhaps her kiss would have been 
death to the sweet boy within a year. 

21. " She is but a shadow," whis- 
pered the superstitious. "The child 
put forth his arms and could not 
grasp her robe ! " 

22. The wonder was increased when 
the Old Maid passed beneath the 
porch of the deserted mansion, as- 
cended the moss-covered steps, lifted 
the iron knocker, and gave three raps. 
The people could only conjecture that 
some old remembrance, troubling her 
bewildered brain, had impelled the 



ImprcMionism vivid. 



Direct 
tion. 



diameter deaer^ 



Contrast. 



by 



Character delineation 
suggestion. 

Tone of story summarized. 



Crisis approaches. 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



311 



poor woman hither to visit the 
friends of her youth; all gone from 
their home long since and forever, 
unless their ghosts still haunted it — 
fit company for llie " Old Maid in the 
Winding Sheet." An elderly man ap- 
proached the steps, and, reverently 
uncovering his gray locks, essayed to 
explain the matter. 

23. "None, Madam," said he, 
"have dwelt in this house these fif- 
teen years agone — no, not since the 
death of old Colonel Fenwicke, whose 
funeral you may remember to have 
followed. His heirs, being ill agreed 
among themselves, have let the man- 
sion-house go to ruin." 

24. The Old Maid looked slowly 
round with a slight gesture of one 
hand, and a finger of the other upon 
her lip, appearing more shadow-like 
than ever in the obscurity of the 
porch. But again she lifted the ham- 
mer, and gave, this time, a single 
rap. Could it be that a footstep was 
now heard coming down the stair- 
case of the' old mansion, which all 
conceived to have been so long un- 
tenanted? Slowly, feebly, yet heavi- 
ly, lik^ the pace of an aged and 
infirm person, the step approached, 
more distinct on every downward 
stair, till it reached the portal. The 
bar fell on the inside ; the door open- 
ed. One upward glance towards the 
church spire, whence the sunshine 
had just faded, was the last that the 
people saw of the " Old Maid in the 
Winding Sheet" 



The house mentioned in 
paragraphs z, 12 and 14. 



Note "None — have.- 

Contributory incident. 
First mention of name. 



Note atmosphere of vague* 
ness. 



312 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



25. "Who undid the door?" asked 
many. 

26. This question, owing to the 
depth of shadow beneath the porch, 
no one could satisfactorily answer. 
Two or three aged men, while pro- 
testing against an inference which 
might be drawn, affirmed that the 
person within was a negro, and bore 
a singular resemblance to old Caesar, 
formerly a slave in the house, but 
freed by death some thirty years be- 
fore. 

27. "Her summons has waked up 
a servant of the old family," said 
one, half seriously. 

28. "Let us wait here," replied 
another. "More guests will knock 
at the door, anon. But the gate of 
the graveyard should be thrown 
open ! " 

29. Twilight had overspread the 
town before the crowd began to 
separate, or the comments on this 
incident were exhausted. One after 
another was wending his way home- 
ward, when a" coach — no common 
spectacle in those days — drove slow- 
ly into the street. It was an old- 
fashioned equipage, hanging close to 
the ground, with arms on the panels, 
a footman behind, and a grave, cor- 
pulent coachman seated high in front 
— the whole giving an idea of solemn 
state and dignity. There was some- 
thing awful in the heavy rumbling of 
the wheels. The coach roiled down 
the street, till, coming to the gate- 
way of the deserted mansion, it 



Tone of mystery. 



See t ij. 



Preparation for climax. 



No indication 
came. 



Setting. 



whence it 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



313 



drew up, and the footman sprang to 
the ground. 

30. " Whose grand coach is this ? " 
asked a very inquisitive body. 

31. The footman made no reply, 
but ascended the steps of ' the old 
house, gave three raps with the iron 
hammer, and returned to open the 
coach door. An old man, possessed 
of the heraldic lore so common in 
that day, examined the shield of arms 
on the panel. 

32. "Azure, a lion's head erased, 
between three flower-de-hices," said 
he; then whispered the name of the 
family to whom these bearings be- 
longed. The last inheritor of his 
honors was recently dead, after a 
long residence amid the splendor of 
the British court, where his birth 
and wealth had given him no mean 
station. "He left no child," con- 
tinued the herald, "and these arms, 
being in a lozenge, betoken that the 
coach appertains to his widow." 

33. Further disclosures, perhaps, 
might have been made had not the 
speaker suddenly been struck dumb 
by the stern eye of an ancient lady 
who thrust forth her head from the 
coach, preparing to descend. As she • 
emerged, the people saw that her 
dress was magnificent, and her figure 
dignified, in spite of age and infirm- 
ity — a stately ruin but with a look, 
at once, of pride and wretchedness. 
Her strong and rigid features had an 
awe about them, unlike that of the 
white Old Maid, but as of some- 



Three raps signify a formal 
demand for entrance. 



Setting. 



Sbcokd Maih Charactei. 



3H 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



thing evil. She passed up the steps, 
leaning on a gold-headed cane; the 
door swung open as she ascended 
— and the light of a torch glittered 
on the embroidery of her dress, and 
gleamed on the pillars of the porch. 
After a momentary pause — a glance 
backwards — and then a desperate 
effort — she went in. The decipherer 
of the coat of arms had ventured up 
the lowest step, and shrinking back 
immediately, pale and tremulous, af- 
firmed that the torch was held by 
the very imag^ of old Caesar. 

34. " But such a hideous grin," ad- 
ded he, " was never seen on the face . 
of mortal man, black or white! It 
will haunt me till my dying day." 

35. Meanwhile, the coach had 
wheeled round, with a prodigious clat- 
ter on the pavement, and rumbled up 
the street, disappearing in the twi- 
light, while the ear still tracked its 
course. Scarcely was it gone, when 
the people began to question whether 
the coach and attendants, the an- 
cient lady, the spectre of old Caesar, 
and the Old Maid herself, were not 
all a strangely combined delusion, 
with some dark purport in its mys- 
tery. The whole town was astir, so 
that, instead of dispersing, the crowd 
continually increased, and stood gaz- 
ing up at the windows of the man- 
sion, now silvered by the brightening 
moon. The elders, glad to indulge 
the narrative propensity of age, told 
of the long-faded splendor of the 
family, the entertainments they had 



Contributory incident. 



Subordinate character ol 
central action. 



Compare K la. 



Note the use of shadows 
and twilights as accesso- 
ries. 



Key. 

Atmosphere — a sense of 
something about to occur. 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



3^^ 



given, and the guests, the greatest of 
the land, and even titled and noble 
ones from abroad, who had passed 
beneath that portal. These graphic 
reminiscences seemed to call up the 
ghosts of those to whom they refer- 
red. So strong was the impression 
on some of the more imaginative 
hearers, that two or three were seiz- 
ed with trembling fits, at one and the 
same moment^ protesting that thev 
had distinctly heard three other raps 
of the iron knocker. 

36. " Impossible I " exclaimed oth- 
ers, "See! The moon shines be- 
neath the porch, and shows every part 
of it, except in the narrow shade of 
that pillar. There is no one there ! " 

Z7' "Did not the door open?" 
whispered one of these fanciful per- 
sons. 

38. "Didst thou see it, too?" said 
his companion, in a startled tone. 

39. But the general sentiment was 
opposed to the idea that a third 
visitant had made application at the 
door of the deserted house. A few, 
however, adhered to this new marvel, 
and even declared that a red gleam 
like that of a torch had shone through 
the great front window, as if the 
negro were lighting a guest up the 
staircase. This, too, was pronounced 
a mere fantasy. But at once the 
whole multitude started, and each 
man beheld his own terror painted 
in the faces of all the rest. 

40. " What an awful thing is this ! ** 
"cried they. 



Contributory material 



Vaguenesa. 



Tone. 



3X6 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



41. A shriek too fearfully distinct 
for doubt had been heard within the 
mansion, breaking forth suddenly, 
and succeeded by a deep stillness, as 
if a heart had burst in giving it utter- 
ance. The people knew not whether 
to fly from the very sight of the 
house, or to rush trembling in, and 
search out the strange mystery. 
Amid their confusion and affright, 
they are somewhat reassured by the 
appearance of their clergyman, a 
venerable patriarch, and equally a 
saint, who had taught them and their 
fathers the way to heaven for more 
than the space of an ordinary life- 
time. He was a reverend figure, with 
long, white hair upon his shoulders, 
a white beard upon his breast, and a 
back so bent over his staff that he 
seemed to be looking downward con- 
tinually, as if to choose a proper 
grave for his weary frame. It was 
some time before the good old man, 
being deaf and of impaired intellect, 
could be made to comprehend such 
portions of the affair as were com- 
prehensible at all. But, when pos- 
sessed of the facts, his energies 
assumed unexpected vigor. 

42. "Verily," said the old gentle- 
man, "it will be fitting that I enter 
the mansion-house of the worthy 
Colonel Fenwicke, lest any harm 
should have befallen that true Chris- 
tain woman whom ye call the 'Old 
Maid in the Winding Sheet* " 

43. Behold, then, the venerable 
clergyman ascending the steps of the 



Minor climax — preparatioii 
for main climax. 



Note shifting of 



Contributory inddeat. 



Again a shift in the maanet 
of narration. 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 31/ 

mansion* with a torch-bearer behind 
him. It was the elderly man who 
had spoken to the Old Maid, and the 
same who had afterwards explained 
the shield of arms and recognized the 
features of the negro. Like their 
predecessors, they gave three raps 
with the iron hammer, 

44. "Old Caesar cometh not," ob- 
served the priest. "Well I wot he 
no longer doth service in this man* 
sion." 

45. "Ass^iredly, then, it was some- 
thing worse, in old Caesar's like- 
ness I " said the other adventurer. One who ▼entwct. 

46. " Be it as God wills," answer- 
ed the clergyman. " See ! my 
strength,' though it be much decayed, 
hath sufficed to open this heavy door. 
Let us enter and pass up the stair- 
case." 

47. Here occurred a singular ex- Key to tone further devel- 
emplification of the dreamy state of oped. 

a very old man's mind. As they 
ascended the wide flight of stairs, 
the aged clegyman appeared to move 
with cautron, occasionally standing 
aside, and oftener bending his head, 
as it were in salutation, thus practis- 
ing all the gestures of one who 
makes his way through a throng. 
Reaching the head of the staircase, 
he looked around with sad and 
solemn benignity, laid aside his staff, 
bared his hoary locks, and was evi- 
dently on the point of commencing a 
prayer. 

48. " Reverend Sir," said his at- 
tendanty who conceived this a very 



3i8 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



suitable prelude to their further 
search, "would it not be well that 
the people join with us in prayer?" 

49. "Welladayl" cried the old 
clergyman, staring strangely around 
him. "Art thou here with me, and 
none other? Verily, past times were 
present to me, and I deemed that I 
was to make a funeral prayer, as 
many a time heretofore, from the 
head of this staircase. Of a truth, 
I saw the shades of many that are 
gone. Yea, I have prayed at their 
burials, one after another, and the 
'Old Maid in the Winding Sheet' 
hath seen them to their graves!" 

5a Being now more thoroughly 
awake to their present purpose, he 
took his staff and struck forcibly on 
the floor, till there came an echo 
from each deserted chamber, but no 
menial to answer their summons. 
They therefore walked along the 
passage, and again paused, opposite 
to the great front window through 
which was seen the crowd, in the 
shadow and partial moonlight of the 
street beneath. On their right hand 
was the open door of a chamber, and 
a closed one on their left. The cler- 
gyman pointed his cane to the carved 
oak panel of the latter. 

51. "Within that chamber," ob- 
served he, "a whole life-time since, 
did I sit by the death-bed of a good- 
ly young man, who, being now at 
the last gasp" — 

52. Apparently there was some 
powerful excitement in the ideas 



Confusion between real and 
unreal further illustrated 
by contributory material. 



Deft introduction ot central 
character. 



Tone. 



Key. 



Foundation situation. 



Atmospheret 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 



319 



which had now flashed across his 
mind. He snatched the torch from 
his companion's hand, and threw 
open the door with such sudden 
violence that the flame was extin- 
guished, leaving them no other light 
than the moonbeams, which fell 
through two windows into the spa- 
cious chamber. It was sufficient to 
discover all that could be known. 
In a high-backed oaken arm-chair, 
upright, with her hands clasped 
across her heart, and her head 
thrown back, sat the "Old Maid in 
the Winding Sheet" The stately 
dame had fallen on her knees, with 
her forehead on the holy knees of the 
Old Maid, one hand upon the floor 
and the other pressed convulsively 
against her heart. It clutched a lock 
of hair, once sable, now discolored 
with a greenish mould. As the 
priest and layman advanced into the 
chamber, the Old Maid's features 
assumed such a semblance of shift- 
ing expression that they trusted to 
hear the whole mystery explained by 
a single word. But it was only the 
shadow of a tattered curtain waving 
betwixt the dead face and the moon- 
light. 

53. "Both dead!" said the vener- 
able man. "Then who shall divulge 
the secret? Methinks it glimmers to 
and fro in my mind, like the light 
and shadow across the Old Maid's 
face. And now 'tis gone I " 



Note author's devict. 



The decision must be in- 
ferred. 



Tone of vagueness to the 
end. 



Climax. 



Vague denouement 



320 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

FOR ANALYSIS 
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER 

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Son cceur est un luth suspendu; 
Sitot qu'on le touche il resonne. 

Beianguu 

During the whole of a dull, 
dark, and soundless day in the 
autumn of the year, when the clouds 
hung oppressively low in the heavens, 
I had been passing alone, on horse- 
back, through a singularly dreary 
tract of country ; and at length found 
myself, as the shades of the evening 
drew on, within view of the melan- 
choly House of Usher. I know not 
how it was, but, with the first glimpse 
of the building, a sense of insuffer- 
able gloom prevaded my spirit. I 
say insufferable; for the feeling was 
unrelieved by any of that half-pleas- 
urable, because poetic, sentiment 
with which the mind usually receives 
even the sternest natural images of 
the desolate or terrible. I looked up- 
on the scene before me — upon the 
mere house, and the simple land- 
scape features of the domain, upon 
the bleak walls, upon the vacant eye- 
like windows, upon a few rank sedg- 
es, and upon a few white trunks of 
decayed trees — with an utter de- 
pression of soul which I can compare 
to no earthly sensation more prop- 
erly than to the after-dream of the 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 32I 



reveler upon opium: the bitter lapse 
into every-day life, the hideous drop- 
ping off of tiie veil There was an 
iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the 
heart, an unredeemed dreariness of 
thought, which no goading of the 
imagination could torture into aught 
of the sublime. What was it — I 
paused to think — what was it that 
so unnerved me in the contemplation 
of the House of Usher? It was a 
mystery all insoluble; nor could I 
grapple with the shadow fancies that 
crowded upon me as I pondered. I 
was forced to fall back upon the un- 
satisfactory conclusion that while, be- 
jrond doubt, there are combinations 
of very simple natural objects which 
have the power of thus affecting us, 
still the anaylsis of this power lies 
among considerations beyond our 
depth. It was possible, I reflected, 
that a mere different arrangement of 
the particulars of the scene, of the 
details of the picture, would be suffi- 
cient to modify, or perhaps to an- 
nihilate, its capacity for sorrowful 
impression, and, acting upon this idea, 
I reined my horse to the precipitous 
brink of a black and lurid tarn that 
lay in unruffled lustre by the dwell- 
ing, and gazed down — but with a 
shudder even more thrilling than be- 
fore — upon the remodeled and in- 
verted images of the gray sedge, and • 
the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant 
and eye-like windows. 

2, Nevertheless, in this mansion of 
gloom I now proposed to myself a so- 



322 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

journ of some weeks. Its proprietor, 
Roderick Usher, had been one of my 
boon companions in boyhood; but 
many years had elapsed since our last 
meeting. A letter, however, had 
lately reached me in a distant part 
of the country — a letter from him 
— which in its wildly importunate 
nature had admitted of no other than 
a personal reply. The MS. gave 
evidence of nervous agitation. The 
writer spoke of acute bodily illness, 
of a mental disorder which oppressed 
him, and of an earnest desire to see 
me, as his best and indeed his only 
personal friend, with a view of at- 
tempting, by the cheerfulness of my 
society, some alleviation of his mal- 
ady. It was the manner in which all 
this, and much more, was said — it 
was the apparent heart that went 
with his request — which allowed me 
no room for hesitation ; and I accord- 
ingly obeyed forthwith what I still 
considered a very singular summons. 
3. Although as boys we had been 
even intimate associates, yet I really 
knew little of my friend. His re- 
serve had been always excessive and 
habitual. I was aware, however, that 
his very ancient family had been not- 
ed, time out of mind, for a peculiar 
sensibility of temperament, display- 
ing itself, thrpugh long ages, in many 
works of exalted art, and manifest- 
ed of late in repeated deeds of 
munificent yet unobtrusive charity, 
as well as in a passionate devotion to 
the intricacies, perhaps even more 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 3^3 



than to the orthodox and easily 
recognizable beauties, of musical 
science. I had learned, too, the very 
remarkable fact that the stem of the 
Usher race, all time-honored as it 
was, had put forth at no period any 
enduring branch; in other words, 
that the entire family lay in the direct 
line of descent, and had always, with 
a very trifling and very temporary 
variation, so lain. It was this de- 
ficiency, I considered, while running 
over in thought the perfect keeping 
of the character of the premises with 
the accredited character of the people, 
and while speculating upon the pos- 
sible influence which the one, in the 
long lapse of centuries, might have 
exercised upon the other, — it was 
this deficiency, perhaps, of collateral 
issue, and the consequent undeviat- 
ing transmission from sire to son of 
the patrimony with the name, which 
had at length so identified the two 
as to merge the original title of the 
estate in the quaint and equivocal 
appellation of the " House of Usher," 
— an appellation which seemed to 
include, in the minds of the peas- 
antry who used it, both the family 
and the family mansion. 

4. I have said that the sole effect 
of my somewhat childish experiment, 
that of looking down within the tarn, 
had been to deepen the first singular 
impression. There can be no doubt 
that the consciousness of the rapid 
increase of my superstition — for why 
should I not so term it?— served 



324 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

mainly to accelerate the increase it- 
self. Such, I have long known, is 
the paradoxical law of all sentiments 
having terror as a basis. And it 
might have been for this reason 
only, that, when I again uplifted my 
eyes to the house itself from its 
image in the pool, there grew in my 
mind a strange fancy, — a fancy so 
ridiculous, indeed, that I but men- 
tion it to show the vivid force of the 
sensations which oppressed me. I 
had so worked upon my imagination 
as really to believe that about the 
whole mansion and domain there 
hung an atmosphere peculiar to 
themselves and their immediate 
vicinity : an atmosphere which had no 
affinity with the air of heaven, but 
which had reeked up from the de- 
cayed trees, and the gray wall, and 
the silent tarn ; a pestilent and mystic 
vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discern- 
ible, and leaden-hued. 

5. Shaking off from my spirit what 
must have been a dream, I scanned 
more narrowly the real aspect of the 
building. Its principal feature seem- 
ed to be that of an excessive antiq- 
uity. The discoloration of ages had 
been great. Minute fungi overspread 
the whole exterior, hanging in a fine 
tangled web-work from the eaves. 
Yet all this was apart from any ex- 
traordinary dilapidation. No portion 
of the masonry had fallen; and there 
appeared to be a wild inconsistency 
between its still perfect adaptation 
of parts and the crumbling condition 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 325 



of the individual stones. In this 
there was much that reminded me of 
the specious totality of old wood- 
work which has rotted for long years 
in some neglected vault, with no dis- 
turbance from the breath of the ex- 
ternal air. Beyond this indication of 
extensive decay, however, the fabric 
gave little token of instability. Per- 
haps the eye of a scrutinizing ob- 
server might have discovered a 
barely perceptible fissure, which, ex- 
tending from the roof of the building 
in front, made its way down the wall 
in a zigzag direction, until it became 
lost in the sullen waters of the tarn. 
6. Noticing these things, I rode 
over a short causeway to the house. 
A servant in waiting took my horse, 
and I entered the Gothic archway of 
the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, 
thence conducted me in silence 
through many dark and intricate 
passages in my. progress to the 
studio of his master. Much that I 
encountered on the way contributed, 
I know not how, to heighten the 
vague sentiments of which I have 
already spoken. While the objects 
around me — while the carvings of 
the ceiling, the sombre tapestries of 
the walls, the ebon blackness of the 
floors, and the phantasmagoric ar- 
morial trophies which rattled as I 
strode, were but matters of which, 
or to such as which, I had been ac- 
customed from my infancy, — while 
I hesitated not to acknowledge how 
familiar was all this, I still wondered 



326 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

to find how tnifan^iliar were the 
fancies which ordinary images were 
stirring up. On one of the stair- 
cases I met the physician of the 
family. His countenance, I thought, 
wore a mingled expression of low 
cunning and perplexity. He accost- 
ed me with trepidation and passed 
on. The valet now threw open a 
door and ushered me into the pres- 
ence of his master. 

7. The room in which I found my- 
self was very large and lofty. The 
windows were long, narrow, and 
pointed, and at so vast a distance 
from the black oaken floor as to be 
altogether inaccessible from within. 
Feeble gleams of encrimsoncd light 
made their way through the trellised 
panes, and served to render suffi- 
ciently distinct the more prominent 
objects around; the eye, however, 
struggled in vain to reach the re- 
moter angles of the chamber, or the 
recesses of the vaulted and fretted 
ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon 
the walls. The general furniture was 
profuse, comfortless, antique, and 
tattered. Many books and musical 
instruments lay scattered about, but 
failed to give any vitality to the 
scene. I felt that I breathed an 
atmosphere of sorrow. An air of 
stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom 
hung over and pervaded all. 

8. Upon my entrance, Usher arose 
from a sofa on which he had been ly- 
ing at full length, and greeted me 
with a vivacious warmth which had 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES JflfJ 



much in it, I at first thought, of an 
overdone cordiality, — of the con- 
strained effort of the ennuyi man of 
the world. A glance, however, at his 
countenance, convinced me of his 
perfect sincerity. We sat down ; and 
for some moments, while he spoke 
not, I gazed upon him with a feeling 
half of pity, half of awe. Surely 
man had never before so terribly 
altered, in so brief a period, as had 
Roderick Usher! It was with diffi- 
culty that I could bring myself to 
admit the identity of the wan being 
before me with the companion of my 
early boyhood. Yet the character 
of his face had been at all times re- 
markable. A cadaverousness of com- 
plexion; an eye large, liquid, and 
luminous beyond comparison; lips 
somewhat thin and very pallid, but of 
a surpassingly beautiful curve ; a nose 
of a delicate Hebrew model, but with 
a breadth of nostril unusual in sim- 
ilar formations; a finely-moulded 
chin, speaking, in its want of prom- 
inence, of a want of moral energy; 
hair of a more than web-like soft- 
ness and tenuity, — these features, 
with .an inordinate expansion above 
the regions of the temple, made up 
altogether a countenance not easily 
to be forgotten. And now in the 
mere exaggeration of the prevailing 
character of these features, and of 
the expression they were wont to 
convey, lay so much of change that 
I doubted to whom I spoke. The 
now ghastly pallor of the skin, and 



32B STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the now miraculous lustre of the eye, 
above all things startled and even 
awed me. The silken hair, too, had 
been su£fered to grow all unheeded, 
and as, in its wild gossamer texture, 
it floated rather than fell about the 
face, I could not, even with e£fort, 
connect its arabesque expression 
with any idea of simple humanity. 

9. In the manner of my friend I 
was at once struck with an incoher- 
ence, an inconsistency; and I soon 
found this to arise from a series of 
feeble and futile struggles to over- 
come an habitual trepidancy, an ex- 
cessive nervous agitation. For some- 
thing of this nature I had indeed 
been prepared, no less by his letter 
than by reminiscences of certain 
boyish traits, and by conclusions de- 
duced from his peculiar physical 
conformation and temperament. His 
action was alternately vivacious and 
sullen. His voice varied rapidly 
from a tremulous indecision (when 
the animal spirits seemed utterly in 
abeyance) to that species of ener- 
getic concision — that abrupt, weigh- 
ty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding 
enunciation, that leaden, self-bal- 
anced, and perfectly modulated gut- 
tural utterance — which may be 
observed in the lost drunkard, or 
the irreclaimable eater of opium, 
during the periods of his most in- 
tense excitement 

10. It was thus that he spoke of 
the object of my visit, of his earnest 
desire to see me. and of the solace 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 329 



he expected me to afford him. He 
entered at some length into what he 
conceived to be the nature of his 
malady. It was, he said, a constitu- 
tional and a family evil, and one for 
which he despaired to find a remedy, 
— a mere nervous affection, he im- 
mediately added, which would un- 
doubtedly soon pass off. It display- 
ed itself in a host of unnatural 
sensations. Some of these, as he de» 
tailed them, interested and bewilder- 
ed me; although, perhaps, the terms 
and the general manner of the nar- 
ration had their weight. He suffered 
much from a morbid acuteness of the 
senses; the most insipid food was 
alone endurable; he could wear only 
garments of certain texture; the 
odors of all flowers were oppressive; 
his eyes were tortured by even a faint 
light; and there were but peculiar 
sounds, and these from stringed in- 
struments, which did not inspire him 
with horror. 

II. To an anomalous species of ter- 
ror I found him a bounden slave. 
**I shall perish," said he, "I must 
perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, 
thus, and not otherwise, shall I be 
lost. I dread the events of the fu- 
ture, not in themselves, but in their 
results. I shudder at the thought of 
any, even the most trivial, incident, 
which may operate upon this intoler- 
able agitation of souL I have, in- 
deed, no abhorrence of danger, ex- 
cept in its absolute effect, — in terror. 
In this unnerved, in this pitiable con- 



330 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

dition, I feel that the period will 
sooner or later arrive when I must 
abandon life and reason together in 
some straggle with the grim phan- 
tasm, Feab." 

12. I learned moreover at intervals, 
and through broken and equivocal 
hints, another singular feature of his 
mental condition. He was enchain- 
ed hy certain superstitious impres- 
sions in regard to the dwelling which 
he tenanted, and whence for many 
years he had never ventured forth, in 
regard to an influence whose sup- 
posititious force was conveyed in 
terms too shadowy here to be restat- 
ed, — an influence which some peculi- 
arities in the mere form and 
substance of his family mansion had, 
by dint of long sufferance, he said, 
obtained over his spirit; an effect 
which the physique of the gray walls 
and turrets, and of the dim tarn in- 
to which they all looked down, had 
at length brought about upon the 
morale of his existence. 

13. He admitted, however, although 
with hesitation, that much of the 
peculiar gloom which thus afflicted 
him could be traced to a more nat- 
ural and far more palpable origin, — 
t« the severe and long-continued ill- 
ness, indeed to the evidently ap- 
proaching dissolution, of a tenderly 
beloved sister, his sole companion 
for long years, his last and only rela- 
tive on earth. "Her decease," he 
said, with a bitterness which I can 
never forget, ''would leave him 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 33^ 



(him, the hopeless and the frail) the 
last of the ancient race of the Ush- 
ers.** While he spoke, the lady 
Madeline (for so was she called) 
passed slowly through a remote por- 
tion of the apartment, and, without 
having noticed my presence, disap- 
peared. I regarded her with an utter 
astonishment not unmingled with 
dread, and yet I found it impossible 
to account for such feelings. A 
sensation of stupor oppressed me, as 
my eyes followed her retreating 
steps. When a door, at length, clos- 
ed upon her, my glance sought in- 
stinctively and eagerly the counte- 
nance of the brother ; but he had bur- 
ied his face in his hands, and I could 
only perceive that a far more than 
ordinary wanness had overspread the 
emaciated fingers through which 
trickled many passionate tears. 

14. The disease of the lady Made- 
line had long baffled the skill of her 
physicians. A settled apathy, a grad- 
ual wasting away of the person, and 
frequent although transient affections 
of a partially cataleptical character, 
were the unusual diagnosis. Hither- 
to she had steadily borne up against 
the pressure of her malady, and had 
not betaken herself finally to bed: 
but, on the closing-in of the evening 
of my arrival at the house, she suc- 
cumbed (as her brother told me at 
night with inexpressible agitation) 
to the prostrating power of the de- 
stroyer; and I learned that the 
glimpse I had obtained of her per- 



332 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

son would thus probably be the last 
I should obtain,— that the lady, at 
least while living, would be seen by 
me no more. 

1$. For several days ensuing, her 
name was unmentioned by' either 
Usher or myself; and during this 
period I was busied in earnest en- 
deavors to alleviate the melancholy of 
my friend. We painted and read to- 
gether ; or I listened, as if in a dream, 
to the wild improvisation of his 
speaking guitar. And thus, as a 
closer and still closer intimacy ad- 
mitted me more unreservedly into 
the recesses of his spirit, the more 
bitterly did I perceive the futility of 
all attempt at cheering a mind from 
which darkness, as if an inherent 
positive quality, poured forth upon 
all objects of the moral and physical 
universe, in one unceasing radiation 
of gloom. 

i6. I shall ever bear about me a 
memory of the many solemn hours 
I thus spent alone with the master of 
the House of Usher. Yet I should 
fail in any attempt to convey an idea 
of the exact character of the studies, 
or of the occupations, in which he 
involved me, or led me the way. An 
excited and highly distempered ideal- 
ity threw a sulphureous lustre over 
all. His long, improvised dirges will 
ring forever in my ears. Among 
other things, I hold painfully in mind 
a certain singular perversion afid am- 
plification of the wild air of the last 
waltz of Von Weber. From the 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 333 



paintings over which his elaborate 
fancy brooded, and which grew, touch 
by touch, into vaguenesses at which 
I shuddered the more thrillingly be- 
cause I shuddered knowing not why, 
— from these paintings (vivid as 
their images now are before me) I 
would in vain endeavor to educe more 
than a small portion which should 
lie within the compass of merely 
written words. By the utter sim- 
plicity, by the nakedness of his de- 
signs, he arrested and overawed at- 
tention. If ever mortal painted an 
idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. 
T'or me at least, in the circumstances 
then surrounding me, there arose, 
out of the pure abstractions which 
the hypochondriac contrived to throw 
upon his canvas, an intensity of in- 
tolerable awe, no shadow of which 
felt I ever yet in the contemplation 
of the certainly glowing yet too con- 
crete reveries of Fuseli. 

17. One of the phantasmagoric con- 
ceptions of my friend, partaking not 
so rigidly of the spirit of abstrac- 
tion, may be shadowed forth, al- 
though feebly, in words. A small 
picture presented the interior of an 
immensely long and rectangular vault 
or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, 
white, and without interruption or 
device. Certain accessory points of 
the design served well to convey the 
idea that this excavation lay at an 
exceeding depth below the surface of 
the earth. No outlet was observed in 
any portion of its vast extent, and 



334 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

no torch, or other artificial source of 
light, was discernible; yet a flood 
of intense rays rolled throughout, and 
bathed the whole in a ghastly and 
inappropriate splendor. 

i8L I have just spoken of that 
morbid condition of the auditory 
nerve which rendered all music in- 
tolerable to the sufferer, with the 
exception of certain effects of 
stringed instruments. It was, per- 
haps, the narrow limits to which 
he thus confined himself upon the 
guitar, which gave birth, in great 
measure, to the fantastic character 
of his performances. But the fer- 
vid facility of his impromptus could 
not be so accounted for. They 
must have been, and were, in the 
notes as well as in the words of 
his wild fantasias (for he not un- 
frequently accompanied himself 
with rhymed verbal improvisa- 
tions), the result of that intense 
mental coUectedness and concentra- 
tion to which I have previously 
alluded as observable only in par- 
ticular moments of the highest ar- 
tificial excitement. The words of 
one of these rhapsodies I have 
easily remembered. I was, per- 
haps, the more forcibly impressed with 
it as he gave it, because, in the 
under or mystic current of its 
meaning, I fancied that I perceived, 
and for the first time, a full con- 
sciousness, on the _ part of Usher, of 
the tottering of his lofty reason 
upon her throne. The verses, which 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 335 



were entitled "The Haunted Pal- 
ace," ran very nearly, if not ac- 
curately, thus: — 

I. 
In the greenest of our valleys 

By good angels tenanted. 
Once a fair and stately palace — 

Radiant palace — reared its head. 
In the monarch Thought's dominion* 

It stood there; 
Never seraph spread a pinion 

Over fabric half so fair. 

n. 

Banners yellow, glorious, golden. 

On its roof did float and flow 
(This — all this — was in the olden 

Time long ago). 
And' every gentle air that dallied. 

In that sweet day. 
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid» 

A winged odoi: went away. 

III. 
Wanderers in that happy valley 

Through two luminous windows saw 
Spirits moving musically 

To a lute's well-tuned law, 
Round about a throne, where sitting, 

Porphyrogene, 
In state his glory well befitting. 

The ruler of the realm was seen. 

IV. 
And all with pearl and ruby glowing 

Was the fair palace door. 
Through which came flowing, flowing, flow- 
ing, 

And sparkling evermore, 
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty 

Was but to sing. 
In voices of surpassing beauty. 

The wit and wisdom of their king. 

V. 

But evil things, in robes of sorrow. 
Assailed the monarch's high estate; 



336 STUDYING THE SHORT-ST(»y 

(Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow " 

Shall dawn upon him, desolate I) 
And, round about his home, the glory 

That blushed and bloomed 
Is but a dim-remembered story 

Of the old time entombed. 

VI. 

And travellers now within that valley 

Through the red-Htten windows see 
Vast forms that move fantastically 

To a discordant melody; 
While, like a ghastly rapid river. 

Through the pale door, 
A hideous throng rush out forever. 

And laugh — but smile no more. 

19. I well remember that sugges- 
tions arising from this ballad led us 
into a train of thought, wherein 
there became manifest an opinion 
of Usher's which I mention, not so 
much on account of its novelty (for 
other men have thought thus) as 
on account of the pertinacity with 
which he maintained it. This opin- 
ion, in its general form, was that 
of the sentience of all vegetable 
things. But in his disordered fancy, 
the idea had assumed a more daring 
character, and trespassed, under cer- 
tain conditions, upon the kingdom 
of inorganization. I lack words to 
express the full extent or the ear- 
nest abandon of his persuasion. 
The belief, however, was connected 
(as I have previously hinted) with 
the gray stones of the home of his 
forefathers. The conditions of the 
sentience had been here, he imag- 
ined, fulfilled in the method of col- 
location of these stones, — in the or* 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 337 



dcr of their arrangement, as well 
as in that of the many fungi which 
overspread them, and of the decayed 
trees which stood around; above 
all, in the long undisturbed endur- 
ance of this arrangement, and in its 
reduplication in the still waters of 
the tarn. Its evidence — the evi- 
dence of the sentience — was to be 
seen, he said (and I here started 
as he spoke), in the gradual yet cer- 
tain condensation of an atmosphere 
of their own about the waters and 
the walls. The result was discov- 
erable, he added, in that silent yet 
importunate and terrible influence 
which for centuries had moulded the 
destinies of his family, and which 
made him what I now saw him, — 
what he was. Such opinions need 
no comment, and I will make none. 
20. Our books — the books which 
for years had formed no small por- 
tion of the mental existence of the 
invalid — ^^were, as might be sup- 
posed, in strict keeping with this 
character of phantasm. We pored 
together over such works as the Ver- 
vert and Chartreuse of Cresset; the 
Belphegor of Machiavelli; the 
Heaven and Hell of Swedenborg; 
the Subterranean Voyage of Nicholas 
Klimm by Holberg; the Chiromancy 
of Robert Flud, of Jean D'lndaginc, 
and of De la Chambre ; the Journey 
into the Blue Distance of Tieck ; and 
the City of the Suri of Campanella. 
One favorite volume was a small oc- 
tavo edition of the Directorium In- . 



'338 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

quisitorum, by the Dominican Ey- 
meric de Gironne; and there were 
passages in Pomponius Mela, about 
the old African Satyrs and ^Egipans, 
over which Usher would sit dreaming 
for hours. His chief delight, how- 
ever, was fqund in the persusal of 
an exceedingly rare and curious book 
in quarto Gothic, — the manual of a 
forgotten church,— the Vigila Mor- 
tuorum secundum Chorum Ecclesia 
Maguntina, 

21. I could not help thinking of the 
wild ritual of this work, and of its 
probable influence on the hypochon- 
driac, when one evening, having in- 
formed me abruptly that the lady 
Madeline was no more, he stated his 
intention of preserving her corpse for 
a fortnight (previously to its final in- 
terment), in one of the numerous 
vaults within the main walls of the 
building. The worldly reason, how- 
ever, assigned for this singular pro- 
ceeding was one which I did not feel 
at liberty to dispute. The brother had 
been led to his resolution (so he told 
me) by consideration of the unusual 
character of the malady of the de- 
ceased, of certain obtrusive and eager 
inquiries on the part of her medical 
men, and of the remote and exposed 
situation of the btirial-ground of the 
family. I will not deny that when 
I called to mind the smister counte- 
nance of the person whom I met upon 
the staircase, on the day of my arrival 
at the house, I had no desire to op- 
pose what I regarded as at best but 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 339 



a harmless, and by no means an un- 
natural, precaution. 

22. At the request of Usher, I per- 
sonally aided him in the arrange- 
ments for the temporary entomb- 
ment. The body having been en- 
coffined, we two alone bore it to 
its rest. The vault in which we 
placed it (and which had been so 
long unopened that our torches, half 
smothered in its oppressive atmos- 
phere, gave us little opportunity for 
investigation) was small, damp, and 
entirely without means of admission 
for light; lying,- at great depth, im- 
mediately beneath that portion of the 
building in which was my own sleep- 
ing apartment. It had been used 
apparently, in remote feudal times, 
for the worst purposes of a donjon- 
keep, and in later days as a place 
of deposit for powder, or some other 
highly combustible substance, as a 
portion of its floor, and the whole 
interior of a long archway through 
which we reached it, were carefully 
sheathed with copper. The door, 
of massive iron, had been also 
similarly protected. Its immense 
weight caused an unusually sharp 
grating sound as it moved tipon its 
hinges. 

23. Having deposited our mourn- 
ful burden upon tressels within this 
region of horror, we partially turned 
aside the yet unscrewed lid of the 
coffin, and looked upon the face of 
the tenant. A striking similitude 
between the brother and sister now 



340 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

first arrested my attention; and 
Usher, divining, perhaps, my 
thoughts, murmured out some few 
words from which I learned that the 
deceased and himself had been 
twins, and that sympathies of a 
scarcely intelligible nature had al* 
ways existed between them. Our 
glances, however, rested not long 
upon the dead, for we could not re- 
. gard her unawed. The disease which 
had thus entombed the lady in the 
maturity of yoyth, had left, as usual 
in all maladies of a strictly catalep- 
tical character, the mockery of a 
faint blush upon the bosom and the 
face, and that suspiciously lingering 
smile upon the lip which is so terri- 
ble in death. We replaced and 
screwed down the lid, and having 
secured the door of iron, made our 
way, with toil, into the scarcely less 
gloomy apartments of the upper por- 
tion of the house. 

24. And now, some days of bitter 
grief having elapsed, an observable 
change came over the features of 
the mental disorder of my friend. 
His ordinary manner had vanished. 
His ordinary occupations were neg- 
lected or forgotten. He roamed 
from chamber to chamber with hur- 
ried, unequal, and objectless step. 
The pallor of his countenance had 
assumed, if possible, a more ghastly 
hue, but the luminousness of his eye 
had utterly gone out The once oc- 
casional huskiness of his tone was 
heard no more; and a tremulous 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 34I 



quaver, as if of extreme terror, ha- 
bitually characterized his utterance. 
There were times, indeed, when I 
thought his unceasingly agitated 
mind was laboring with some oppres- 
sive secret, to divulge which he 
struggled for the necessary courage. 
At times, again, I was obliged to 
resolve all into the mere inexplica- 
ble vagaries of madness, for I be- 
held him gazing upon vacancy for 
long hours, in an attitude of the 
profoundest attention, as if listening 
to some imaginary sound. It was 
no wonder that his condition ter- 
rified — that it infected me. I felt 
creeping upon me, by slow yet cer- 
tain degrees, the wild influences of 
his own fantastic yet impressive su- 
perstitions. 

25. It was, especially, upon retir- 
ing to bed late in the night of the 
seventh or eight day after the plac- 
ing of the lady Madeline within the 
donjon, that I experienced the full 
power of such feelings. Sleep came 
not near my couch, while the hours 
waned and waned away. I strug- 
gled to reason off the nervousness 
which had dominion over me. I en- 
deavored to believe that much if not 
all of what I felt was due to the 
bewildering influence of the gloomy 
furniture of the room, — of the dark 
and tattered draperies which, tor- 
tured into motion by the breath of a 
rising tempest, swayed fitfully to 
and fro upon the walls, and rustled 
uneasily about the decorations of 



342 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the bed. But my efforts were fruit- 
less. An irrepressible tremor grad- 
ually pervaded my frame; and at 
length there sat upon my very heart 
an incubus of utterly causeless 
alarm. Shaking this off with a gasp 
and a struggle, I uplifted myself 
upon the pillows, and, peering ear- 
nestly within the intense darkness 
of the chamber, hearkened — 1 know 
not why, except that an instinctive 
spirit prompted me — to certain low 
and indefinite sounds which came, 
through the pauses of the storm, 
at long intervals, I knew not whence. 
Overpowered by an intense senti- 
ment of horror, unaccountable yet 
unendurable, I threw on my clothes 
with haste (for I felt that I should 
sleep no more during the night), 
and endeavored to arouse myself 
from the pitiable condition into 
which I had fallen, by pacing rap- 
idly to and fro through the apart- 
ment. 

26. I had taken but a few turns 
in this manner, when a light step 
on an adjoining staircase arrested 
my attention. I presently recog- 
nized it as that of Usher. In an 
instant afterward he rapped with a 
gentle touch at my door, and en- 
tered, bearing a lamp. His counte- 
nance was, as usual, cadaverously 
wan — but, moreover, there was a 
species of mad hilarity in his eyes, 
— an evidently restrained hysteria 
in his whole demeanor. His air ap- 
palled me — but anything was pref- 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 343 



erable to the solitude which I had 
so long endured, and I even wel- 
comed his presence as a relief. 

27. "And you have not seen it?** 
he said abruptly, after having stared 
about him for some moments in si- 
lence, — "you have not then seen it? 
— but, stay! you shall." Thus 
speaking^, and having carefully 
shaded his lamp, he hurried to one 
of the casements, and threw it freely 
open to the storm. 

28. The impetuous fury of the en- 
tering gust nearly lifted us from our 
feet. It was, indeed, a tempestuous 
yet sternly beautiful night, and one 
wildly singular in its terror and its 
beauty. A whirlwind had apparently 
collected its force in our vicinity, for 
there were frequent and violent alter- 
ations in the direction of the wind; 
and the exceeding density of the clouds 
(which hung so low as to press upon 
the turrets of the house) did not pre- 
vent our perceiving the life-like ve- 
locity with which they flew career- 
ing from all points against each 
other, without passing away into the 
distance. I say that even their ex- 
ceeding density did not prevent our 
perceiving this ; yet we had no 
glimpse of the moon or stars, nor 
was there any flashing forth of the 
lightning. But the under surfaces 
of the huge masses of agitated va- 
por, as well as all terrestrial objects 
immediately around us, were glow- 
ing in the unnatural light of a faintly 
luminous and distinctly visible gas- 



344 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

eous exhalation which hung about 
and enshrouded the mansion. 

29. ''You must not — you shall 
not behold this ! " said I shudder- 
ingly, to Usher, as I led him with a 
gentle violence from the window to 
a seat. "These appearances, which 
bewilder you, are merely electrical 
phenomena not uncommon — or it 
may be that they have their ghastly 
origin in the rank miasma of the 
tarn. Let us close this casement; 
the air is chilling and dangerous to 
your frame. Here is one of your 
favorite romances. I will read, and 
you shall listen; — and so we will 
pass away this terrible night to- 
gether." 

30. The antique volume which I 
had taken up was the "Mad Trist" 
of Sir Launcelot Canning; but I 
had called it a favorite of Usher's 
more in sad jest than in earnest; 
for, in truth, there is little in its 
uncouth and unimaginative prolix- 
ity which could have had interest 
for the lofty and spiritual ideality 
of my friend. It was, however, the 
only book immediately at hand; and 
I indulged a vague hope that the 
excitement which now agitated the 
hypochondriac might find relief (for 
the history of mental disorder is 
full of similar anomalies) even in 
the extremeness of the folly which 
I should read. Could I have 
judged, indeed, by the wild, over- 
strained air of vivacity with which 
he hearkened, or apparently heark- 



IMPRESSIONISTIC ST0&IS8 345 



cned, to the words of the tale, I 
might well have congratulated > my- 
self upon the success of my design. 

31. I had arrived at that well- 
known portion of the story where 
Ethelred, the hero of the Trist, hav- 
ing sought in vain for peaceable ad- 
mission into the dwelling of the her- 
mit, proceeds to make good an en- 
trance by force. Here, it will be 
remembered, the words of the nar- 
rative run thus: — 

32. "And Ethelred, who was by 
nature of a doughty heart, and who 
was now mighty withal on account 
of the powerfulness of the wine 
which he had drunken, waited no 
longer to hold parley with the her- 
mit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate 
and maliceful turn, but, feeling the 
rain upon his shoulders, and feairing 
the rising of the tempest, uplifted 
his mace outright and with blows 
made quickly room in the plankings 
of the door for his gauntleted hand; 
and now, pulling therewith sturdily, 
he so cracked, and ripped, and tore 
all asunder, that the noise of the 
dry and hollow-sounding wood 
alarumed and reverberated through- 
out the forest." 

33. At the termination of this sen- 
tence I started, and for a moment 
paused; for it appeared to me (al- 
though I at once concluded that 
my excited fancy had deceived me) 
— it appeared to me that from some 
very remote portion of the mansion 
there came, indistinctly, to my ears. 



346 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

what might have been in its exact 
similarity of character the echo (but 
a stifled and dull one certainly) of 
the very cracking and ripping 
sound which Sir Launcelot had so 
particularly described. It was, be- 
yond doubt, the coincidence alone 
which had arrested my attention; 
for, amid the rattling of the sashes 
of the casements, and the ordinary 
commingled noises of the still in- 
creasing storm, the sound, in itself, 
had nothing, surely, which should 
have interested or disturbed me. I 
continued the story: — 

34. "But the good champion Eth- 
elred, now entering within the door, 
was so enraged and amazed to per- 
ceive no signal of the maliceful her- 
mit; but. in the stead thereof, a 
dragon of a scaly and prodigious 
demeanor, and of a fiery tongue, 
which sate in guard before a palace 
with a floor of silver; and upon the 
wall there hung a shield of shining 
brass with this legend enwritten: — 

Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin; 
Who ftlayeth the dragon, the shield he shall 
win. 

And Ethelred uplifted his mace, 
struck upon the head of the dragon, 
which fell before him, and gave up 
his pesty breath, with a shriek so 
horrid and harsh, and withal so 
piercing, that Ethelred had fain to 
close his ears with his hands against 
the dreadful noise of it, the like 
whereof was never before heard." 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 347 



35. Here again I paused abruptly, 
and now with a feeling of wild 
amazement, for there could be no 
doubt whatever that, in this instance, 
I did actually hear (although from 
what direction' it proceeded I found 
it impossible to say) a low and ap- 
parently distant, but harsh, pro- 
tracted, and most unusual screaming 
or grating sound, — the exact counter- 
part of what my fancy had already 
conjured up for the dragon's un- 
natural shriek as described by the 
romancer. 

36. Oppressed as I certainly was, 
upon the occurrence of this second 
and most extraordinary coincidence, 
by a thousand conflicting sensations, 
in which wonder and extreme terror 
were predominant, I still retained 
sufficient presence of mind to avoid 
exciting, by any observation, the sen- 
sitive nervousness of my compan- 
ion. I was by no means certain 
that he had noticed the sounds Jn 
question; although, assuredly, a 
strange alteration had during the 
last few minutes taken place in his 
demeanor. From a position fronting 
my own, he had gradually brought 
round his chair, so as to sit with 
his face to the door of the chamber; 
and thus I could but partially per- 
ceive his features, although I saw 
that his lips trembled as if he were 
murmuring inaudibly. His head 
had dropped upon his breast; yet I 
knew that he was not asleep, from 
the wide and rigid opening of the 



348 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

eye as I caught a glance of it in 
profile. The motion of his hody, 
too, was at variance with this idea, 
for he rocked from side to side 
with a gentle yet constant and uni- 
form sway. Having rapidly taken 
notice of all this, I resumed the nar- 
^rative of Sir Launcelot, which thus 
proceeded : — 

^7, "And now the champion, hav- 
ing escaped from the terrible fury 
of the dragon, bethinking himself 
of the brazen shield, and of the 
breaking up of the enchantment 
which was upon it, removed the car- 
cass from out of the way before him, 
and approached valorously over the 
silver pavement of the castle to 
where the shield was upon the wall; 
which in sooth tarried not for his 
full coming, but fell down at his feet 
upon the silver floor, with a mighty 
great and terrible ringing sound." 

38. No sooner had these syllables 
passed my lips than — as if z, shield 
of brass had indeed, at the mo- 
ment, fallen heavily upon a floor of 
silver — I became aware of a dis- 
tinct, hollow, metallic, and clangor- 
ous yet apparently muffled rever- 
beration. Completely unnerved, I 
leaped to my feet; but the measured 
rocking movement of Usher was un- 
disturbed. I rushed to the chair in 
which he sat His eyes were bent 
fixedly before him, and throughout 
his whole countenance there reigned 
a stony rigidity. But, as I placed 
my hand upon his shoulder, there 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 349 



came a strong shudder over his 
whole person; a sickly smile quiv- 
ered about his lips; and I saw that 
he spoke in a low, hurried, and gib- 
bering murmur, as if unconscious 
of my presence. Bending closely 
over him, I at length drank in the 
hideous import of his words. 

39. "Not hear it? — yes, I hear 
it, and have heard it. Long — long 
— long — many minutes, many 
hours, many days, have 1 heard it, 
yet 1 dared not — oh, pity me, miser- 
able wretch that I am! — I dared 
not — I dared not speak! We have 
put her living in the tomb! Said 
I not that my senses were acute? 
I now tell you that I heard her first 
feeble movements in the hollow cof- 
fin. I heard them — many, many 
days ago — yet I dared not — / 
dared not speak! And now — to- 
night — Ethelred — ha! ha! — the 
breaking of the hermit's door, and 
the death-cry of the dragon, and 
the clangor of the shield! — say 
rather, the rending of her coffin, and 
the grating of the iron hinges of her 
prison, and her struggles within the 
coppered archway of the vault! 
Oh, whither shall I fly? Will she 
not be here anon? Is she not hur- 
rying to upbraid me for my haste? 
Have I not heard her footsteps on 
the stair? Do I not distinguish that 
heavy and horrible beating of her 
heart? Madman!" — here he sprang 
furiously to his feet, and shrieked 
out his syllables, as if in the effort 



350 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

he were giving up his soul — "^ad^ 
man! I tell you that she now stands 
without the door!" 

4a As if in the superhuman energy 
of his utterance there had been 
found the potency of a spell, the 
huge antique panels to which the 
speaker pointed threw slowly back, 
upon the instant, their ponderous 
and ebony jaws. It was the work 
of the rushing gust — but then 
without those doors there did stand 
the lofty and enshrouded figure of 
the lady Madeline of Usher! There 
was blood upon her white robes, 
and the evidence of some bitter 
struggle upon every portion of her 
emaciated frame. For a moment 
she remained trembling and reeling 
to and fro upon the threshold — 
then, with a low moaning cry, fell 
heavily inward upon the person of 
her brother, and, in her violent and 
now final death agonies, bore him 
to the floor a corpse, and a victim 
to the terrors he had anticipated. 

41. From that chamber and from 
that mansion I fled aghast. The 
storm was till abroad in all its wrath 
as I found myself crossing the old 
causeway. Suddenly there shot 
along the path a wild light, and 1 
turned to see whence a gleam so 
unusual could have issued; for the 
vast house and its shadows were 
alone behind me. The radiance was 
that of the full, setting, and blood- 
red moon, which now shone vividly 
through that once barely discernible 



IMPRESSIONISTIC STORIES 351 



fissure, of which I have before 
spoken as extending from the roof 
of the building, in a zigzag direc- 
tion, to the base. While 1 gazed, 
this fissure rapidly widened — there 
came a fierce breath of the whirl- 
wind — the entire orb of the satellite 
burst at once upon my sight — my 
brain reeled as I saw the mighty 
walls rushing asunder — there was 
a long, tumultuous shouting sound 
like the voice of a thousand waters 
— and the deep and dank tarn at my 
feet closed sullenly and silently over 
the fragments of the "House of 
Usher," 



SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. State as briefly as possible the impression made upon you 
by the story under consideration. 

2. Cite passages which are most effective in making this im- 
pression. 

3. Do you find any jarring elements which tend to mar the 
single impression? 

4. Does the story approach any types besides that of the im- 
pressionistic ? 

5. Mention any weak points you discover. 

6. Write about three hundred words on the merits of the story. 

7. Try to find an impressionistic story in some present-day 
magazine. 

8. Criticise Poe*s language, in general and in particular. 

9. Would either of these stories be popular if written to-day 
by an unknown author? 

10. Would cutting improve either of these stories? If so, say 
where. 

11. Compare Hawthorne's style with that of Poe. 

12. Which story do you prefer, and why? 



35^ STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

TEN REPRESENTATIVE IMPRESSIONISTIC 
STORIES 

" The Luck of Roaring Camp," Bret Harte, in The Luck 

of Roaring Camp and Other Stories. 
"The Father," Bjomstjeme Bjornson, translated in 

Stories by Foreign Authors, Scandinavian. 
" A Journey," Edith Wharton, in The Greater Inclina- 
tion. 
" The Brushwood Boy," Rudyard Kipling, in The Day's 

Work. 
"The Great Stone Face," Nathaniel Hawthorne, in The 

Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales. 
" A Passion in the Desert," Honore de Balzac, translated 

in Little French Masterpieces, Balsac. 
" The Pit and the Pendulum," Edgar Allan Poe, in Tales. 
"The Silent Woman," Leopold Kompert, translated in 

Modern Ghosts. 
" Jesus Christ in Flanders," Honore de Balzac, translated 

in Little French Masterpieces, Balzac. 
" Silence," Leonid Andreyev, translated in Short-Story 

Masterpieces. 



VII 
CHARACTER STUDIES 

The Piece of String. — Guy de Maupassant 
The Substitute. — Francois CoppiE 



353 



Most of us, in actual life, are accustomed to distinguish people 
who are worth our while from people who are not ; and those of 
us who live advisedly are accustomed to shield ourselves from 
people who cannot, by the mere fact of what they are, repay us 
for the expenditure of time and energy we should have to make 
to know them. And whenever a friend of ours asks us delib- 
erately to meet another friend of his, we take it for granted that 
our friend has reasons for believing that the acquaintanceship 
will be of benefit or of interest to both. Mnw tViA nnvf>lig^ «^»anHQ 
in the pr gjtinn ^f n -f**^"^ who afH iie i^Tm^^f rrrtain pmplr 
whom he knowsj and he runs the risk of our losing faith in his 
judgment unless we find his people worth our while. ... He 
. . . owes us an assurance that they shall be even more worth 
while than the average actual person. — Clayton Hamilton, Ma* 
terials and Methods of Fiction. 



354 



CHARACTER STUDIES 

A character-study, whether in the form of a sketch, a 
tale, or a short-story, ^^^'^mfitl? t^ rpv^^' ftir^iviHiiai-hntnan 
nature bv the unfoldmy of the storv. 

Tn the, slcpfrh it w^^ be a photograph of ch ^f-^cterJ n a 
"trjlrinff mttrii nnrlfjir stress of emotion, or just before, 
r>r^/^itYJI^g ^r o^f^t- g ,rofiis„that is peculiarty suited't0 
showing either the full character or one of its interesting 
phases. Some photographs consist of bold masses of 
light and shade, others are so handled as to bring out a 
multitude of details. The sketch allows in a literary way 
the same methods of treatment, but the typical sketch 
avoids unnecessary minutiae. 

Th^ tak ^Vi S\hu f!, .P ^^i^ff^P^y ^^^ instead of being a 

sp gle sta ti on arY pict ure^ it is a moving-picture, delinea- 
tin '^ charac t er by a ch ain of inciden ts wfiTch allow ..usItQ 
see what the characters are by what they do. True to 
the type of the tale, it does not deal with character crisis, 
but merely rev eals character in a series of "Illuminating 
deeds. 

In the character short-story the author's method is 
more complicated, for the whole mechanism of the story 
—rtntro'duftiori, plot, dialogue, and conclusio! T7»- are de- 
signed tcTsKow'uFlKe WaTacters under stress of emotion 
and th?7esillts 6f 1ffla*t iSSiotiond arousement. We learn 



356 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the characters of the characters — for there is a distinc* 
tion here — by seeing how they act upon each other, how 
they solve problems, how they meet the crises of life — 
what effect trouble or joy has upon them — and the final 
outcome of it all. It is like studying a human being 
while he is being subjected to a test, and observing the 
development of his character, or its failure to stand the 
test, in that critical moment. 

By this it will be seen that a rfiarart^^r-y^fnHy ic q ctnry 

with a purpose — a p urpose deeper thanj hat of nffording 
entertainment from th e plo t. The finest stories are those 
whlcTT so" interest us in the action, or plot, of the story 
proper that the profound character disclosures and 
changes are borne in upon us while we are watching the 
progress of the story. It is this subtle balance of narra- 
tive and character-study which presents the story-teller's 
art at its best. 



THE PIECE OF STRING 

(la ficelle) 

by guy de maupassant 

Translation by The Editor 

On all the roads around Coder- Introduction, 
ville the peasants and their wives EstaWishcs the general set- 
were coming towards the town, for ^»"«' •'^^ »***^^" »«* *i^« 

,"-«,, of the characteri. 
It was market-day. The men swung 

along at an easy gait, their whole 
bodies swaying forward with every 



CHARACTER STORIES 



357 



movement of their long, twisted legs 

— legs misshapen by hard work: by 
holding down the plough, which 
throws up the left shoulder while 
it deforms the figure; by mowing 
grain, the effort of which spreads 
the knees too wide apart to permit 
them to stand quite steady; by all 
the tedious and laborious tasks of 
the fields. Their blue blouses, 
starched and glossy as though var- 
nished, and decorated at collar and 
cuffs with neat designs in white 
stitching, puffed out about their 
bony forms just like balloons all 
ready to rise, from which protruded 
a head, two arms, and two legs. 

2. Some of the men were leading 
a cow or a calf at the end of a rope. 
Following close behind, the wives 
switched the animals over the back 
with branches still covered with 
leaves, in order to quicken their 
pace. The women carried on their 
arms great baskets from which the 
heads of chickens and ducks pro- 
truded, and they walked with a 
shorter, quicker step than the men 

— each withered figure erect and 
wrapped in a scanty little shawl 
pinned across her fiat bosom, each 
head done up in a white cloth, 
bound close about the hair and sur- 
mounted by a cap. 

3. Now a wagonette passed, drawn 
by a nag at a fitful trot, grotesquely 
shaking up the two men seated side 
by side, and the woman in the back 



Minute observation. 



Characterization. 



Local-color by character de- 
scription. 



358 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



Af the vehicle, who clutched its sides 
to lessen the rough jolting. 

4. In the Goderville market-place 
there was a great crowd — a med- 
ley of man and beast. The horns 
of the cattle, the high, long-napped 
hats of the prosperous peasants, and 
the head-dresses of the women, rose 
above the level of the throng. And 
the voices — sharp, shrill, squawk- 
ing — rose in a wild, incessant 
clamor, which was dominated now 
and then by a great guffaw of laugh- 
ter emitted from the robust chest 
of some sturdy bumpkin, or by the 
long-drawn-out lowing of a cow 
tethered to the wall of a house. 

5. Everything there smclled of 
the stable — the milk, the manure, the 
hay, the sweat, gave forth that acrid, 
offensive odor of man and animal 
so peculiar to dwellers of the fields. 

6. Master Hauchecorne, of 
Breaute, had just arrived at Goder- 
ville, and was moving toward the 
square, when he observed a little 
piece of string on the ground. 
Economical, like a true Norman, 
Master Hauchecorne thought that 
everything which could be used was 
worth saving; so he stooped down 
painfully, for he suffered from rheu- 
matism, picked up from the dirt 
the insignificant scrap of twine, 
and was just about to roll it 
up with care when he noticed Mas- 
ter Malandin, the harness-maker, 
standing on his doorstep looking at 
him. Once the two men had had 



Local'Color. 



Chisv Chaiacti 



The Normans are said to be 
typically " ambitious, pos* 
itivc, bold, tricky, eco- 
nomical." 

FouNDATioir Plot iNaosNT. 



Chief CoiiPLicATioir. 



CHARACTER STORIES 359 

a difference over the matter of a hal- 
ter, and ever since they had re- 
mained angry with each other, cher- 
ishing their spite. Master Hauche- 
corne was seized with a sort of 
shame at having his enemy thus see 
him searching in the mud for a mere 

scrap of string. He therefore has- Resultant Complication. 
tily hid away his find in his blouse, 
and then in his breeches-pocket. 
At the same time he pretended to 
be still searching in the dirt for 
something which he had not been 
able to find. Finally he moved on 
toward the market-place, his head 
thrust forward, his body bent double 
by his pains. 

7. In a moment he was lost in 
the slowly shifting, noisy throng, 
agitated by its own constant chaffer- 
ings. The peasants felt of the cows, 

turned away, came back again, Local-color. 

much puzzled — always fearful of 

being over-reached in the bargain, 

never reaching a decision, watching 

the eye of the vendor, seeking ever See note on 1 d. 

to unmask the ruse of the man and 

the defect in his animal. 

8. The women, having set their 
huge baskets at their feet, took out 
their poultry, which they laid on 
the ground with legs tied together, 
terror-stricken . eyes, and scarlet 
combs. 

9. They listened to offers, main- 
taining their price with a keen air 
but impassive face, or else suddenly 
deciding to take the counter offer, 



36o 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



crying out to the slowly retreating 
customer : 

10. "It's settled. Master Anthime, 
IT! give them to you I" 

11. At length, little by little, the 
square became empty, and when the 
Angelus sounded noon, those who 
lived too far away to go home re- 
paired to the inns. 

12. At Jourdain's, the large hall 
was crowded with diners, while the 
great court-yard was full of vehicles 
of every sort — carts, gigs, wagon- 
ettes, tilburies, traps, nameless car- 
riages, yellow with mud, shapeless, 
patched, shafts pointing to heaven 
like two arms, or with noses in the 
ground and backs in the air. 

13. Right opposite the diners at 
table, the immense fireplace, all 
brightly aflame, cast a lively warmth 
on the backs of those ranged along 
the right. Three spits were turn- 
ing, laden with chickens, pigeons, and 
legs of mutton ; and a delectable odor 
of roasting meat, and of juices 
streaming over the browned skin, 
rose from the hearth, kindled good 
humor and made everyone's mouth 
water. 

14. All the aristocracy of the 
plough were eating there, at Mdif 
Jourdain's, inn-keeper and horse- 
trader — a sly fellow who had made 
money. 

15. The dishes went round, and, 
like the jugs of yellow cider, were 
emptied. Everyone told of his af- 
fairs: his sales and his purchases. 



Setting for main crisis. 



Note how the author gath- 
ers the people to witness 
the crisis. 

Mdit* — colloquial abbreWa* 
tion for M&itre, equal 
here to " Mine Host" 



CHARACTER STORIES 



361 



They exchanged news of the crops 

— the weather was good for vegeta- 
bles, but a trifle wet for wheat. 

16. Suddenly the roll of a drum 
sounded in the court-yard before 
the house. Instantly everyone was 
on his feet, save a few indifferent 
ones, and ran to the door or to 
the windows, with mouth still full 
and napkin in hand. 

17. After the public crier had 
ended his tattoo, he shouted out in a 
jerky voice, making his pauses at 
the wrong time: 

18. "Be it known to the people 
of Goderville, and in general to all 

— persons present at the market, that 
there was lost this morning, upon 
the Beuzeville road between — 
nine and ten o'clock, a black leather 
pocketbook, containing five hundred 
francs and some business papers. 
You are requested to return it — to 
the mayor's office, without delay, or 
to Master Fortune Houlbr^que of 
Manneville. There will be twenty 
francs reward." 

19. Then the man went away. 
Once again was heard afar the muf- 
fled roll of the drum and the faint 
voice of the crier. 

20. Then they began to talk over 
the incident, estimating the chances 
Master Houlbr^que had of recover- 
ing or of not recovering his pocket- 
book. Meanwhile the meal went on. 

21. They were finishing coffee 
when the corporal of gendarmes ap- 
peared in the doorway. 



Approach of crisli. 



Typical of their class. 



Preparation for crisis. 



Z62 



STUDYING TH£ SHORT-STORY 



22. He asked: 

23. " Master Hauchecorne 
Breaut6 — is he here?*' 

24. Master Hauchecorne, who was 
seated at the other end of the table, 
replied : 

25. "That's me," 

26. And the corporal replied: 

27. " Master Hauchecorne, will you 
have the goodness to go with me to 
the mayor's office. Monsieur le 
maire would like to speak with 
you." 

28. The peasant — surprised, dis- 
turbed — drained his glass at a 
gulp, got up, and, more doubled up 
than, in the morning, because the 
first steps after a rest were always 
particularly difficult, he started off, 
repeating: 

29. *' That's me, that's me," and 
he followed the corporal. 

30. The mayor was awaiting him, 
seated in an armchair. He was the 
notary of the place, a large man, 
grave, and pompous in speech. 

31. "Master Hauchecorne," said 
he, "you were seen to pick up this 
morning, on the Beuzevilie road, 
the pocketbook lost by Master 
Houlbrequc, of Manneville." 

32. The countryman, speechless, 
stared at the mayor, already terri- 
fied by this suspicion which rested 
upon him without his understanding 
why. 

33. "Me, me, I picked up that 
pocketbook ? " 

34- " Yes, exactly you." 



of Clofer approach of crisis 



Note how tbroiighout the 
author emphasizes physical 
characteristics as indicat- 
ing character. 



Minute obaenration. 



FvLL Caisia. 



CHARACTER STORIES 



3^3 



35. "Word of honor, I ain't even 
so much as seen it" 

36. "You were seen." 

Z7' "They saw me, me? Who's it 
as seen me?" 

38. "Monsieur Malandin, the har- 
ness-maker." 

39. Then the old man remembered, 
and understood. Reddening with 
rage, he cried: 

40. "Ah! he saw me, that cad! 
He saw me pick up this here string^ 
— look, tn'sieu le maire." 

41. And, fumbling at the bottom 
of his pocket, he pulled out the 
httle bit of cord. 

42. But the mayor, incredulous, 
shook his head. 

43. "You will not make me be- 
lieve. Master Hauchecorne, that 
Monsieur Malandin, who is a man 
worthy of belief, has mistaken that 
bit of string for a pocketbook." 

44. The peasant, furious, raised 
his hand and spat to one side, thus 
to attest his honor, repeating: 

45. " All the same it's the truth of 
the good God, the holy truth, m*sieu 
le maire. There ! Upon my soul and 
my salvation, I say it again." 

46. The mayor replied: 

47. "After having picked the thing 
up, you even hunted a long time in 
the mud to see if some piece of 
money had not fallen out." 

48. The good man choked with in- 
dignation and fear. 

49. "How can anyone tell — how 
can anyone tell — lies like that Xq 



Note how the compHcfttion 
is involved by personal 
prejudice. 



Circumstantial evidence. The 
miser's character helps 
condemn him unjustly. 



364 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



misrepresent an honest man! How 
can anyone tell — " 

50. However he might protest, no 
one believed him. 

51. He was confronted with Mon- 
sieur Malandin, who repeated and 
sustained his affirmation. They rail- 
ed at each other for a whole hour. 
At his own request. Master Hauche- 
come was searched. They found 
nothing upon him. 

52. At last, the mayor, greatly 
perplexed, sent him away, with the 
warning that he would advise the 
public prosecutor, and ask for orders. 

53. The news had spread. When 
he came out of the mayor's office the 
old man was surrounded and ques- 
tioned with a curiosity either serious 
or bantering, but into which not the 
least indignation entered. And he 
began to recount the history of the 
piece of string. No one believed 
him. They laughed. 

54. He went on, halted by every- 
one, stopping his acquaintances, re- 
newing endlessly his recital and his 
protestations, showing his pockets 
turned inside out to prove that he 
had nothing. 

55. They said to him: 

56. " Glong, you old rascal ! " 

57. And he grew angry, working 
himself into exasperation, into a 
fever, desperate at not being believ- 
ed, not knowing what to do, and al- 
ways repeating his story. 

58. Night came on. He must go 
home. He started out with three 



Sttspenitt, 



Tone of ttoiy. 



Note Maupassant's use of 
the short paragraph. 



CHARACTER STORIES 



365 



neighbors to whom he showed the 
place where he had picked up 
the piece of string; and all along the 
road he kept talking of his adventure. 

59. That evening, he made a round 
of the village of Breaute, in order to 
tell everyone of the matter. He en- 
countered none but unbelievers. 

60. He was ill of it all night 

61. The next day, about one o'clock 
in the afternoon, Marius Paumelle, 
a farm-hand of Master Breton's, the 
market-gardener at Ymauville, re- 
turned the pocketbook and its con- 
tents to Master Houlbreque, of 
Manneville. 

62. This man asserted, in substance, 
that he had found the article on the 
road; but, not being able to read, 
he had carried it home and given it 
to his employer. 

63. The news spread to the suburbs. 
Master Hauchecome was informed 
of it. He set himself at once to 
journeying about and commenced to 
narrate his story as completed by 
the denouement. He was triumphant 

64. " Wha' made me feel bad," he 
said, "wasn't the thing itself, you 
understand, but it was the lies. 
There's nothing hurts you like being 
blamed for a lie." 

65. All day long he talked of his 
adventure, he recounted it on the 
roadways to the people who passed, 
at the tavern to the folks who drank, 
at the dismissal of church on the fol- 
lowing Sunday. He even button- 
holed strangers to tell it to them. 



Apparent resolution of the 
complication. 



Tone of story. 



FouxDATioir POK Climax. 



366 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



Now, he was tranquil, and yet some- 
thing else bothered him without his 
being able to tell precisely what. 
People did not seem to be convinced. 
He felt as if they gossiped behind 
his back. 

66. On Tuesday of the following 
veek, he went to the Goderville 
market, solely impelled by the desire 
to relate his story. Malandin, stand- 
ing in his doorway, began to laugh 
when he saw him pass. Why? 

67. He accosted a farmer of Cri- 
quetot who would not let him finish, 
but giving him a dig in the pit of 
the stomach, cried out in his face. 
" G'long, you great rogue ! *' Then 
he turned on his heel. 

68. Master Hauchecome stood 
speechless, growing more and more 
disturbed. Why had he called him 
"great rogue"? 

69. When seated at table at Jour- 
dain's tavern, he again began to ex- 
plain the affair: 

70. A Montivilliers horse-dealer 
called out to him: 

71. " Go on, go on, you old tricks- 
ter, I know you, and your piece of 
string!" 

^2, Hauchecorne stammered, "But 
— they — found it, the pocketbook!" 
•JZ. But the other retorted: 

74. "Be quiet, daddy! There's 
one who finds it, and one who takes 
it back. No one sees it, no one recog- 
nizes it, no one is the wiser for it." 

75. The peasant sat dumbfounded. 
He understood at last They accused 



RUULTAHT COXPLXCATIOIC. 



Peasant simplicity. 



Denouement as to the 

resultant complication. 
Final Complication. 



CHARACTER STORIES 367 

him of having returned the pocket- 
book by a confederate, an accomplice. 

76. He tried- to protest. Every- 
one at the table began to laugh. 

^T, He could not finish his dinner, 
and left amidst their mockeries. 

78. He returned home, ashamed 
and indignant, strangled by his 
anger, by his confusion, and all the 
more thunderstruck because, with his 
Norman cunning, he was quite ca- 
pable of having done the thing of 
which they had accused him, and 
even of boasting of it as a good trick. 
It appeared to him confusedly as im- 
possible to prove his innocence, for Key. 
his trickery was well known. And 

he felt struck to the heart with the 
injustice of the suspicion. 

79. Again he began to tell of his Tone, 
adventure, every day lengthening his 
recital, advancing each time new 
proofs, more energetic protestations, 

and more solemn oaths which he 
conjured up in his hours of solitude 
— his mind wasr occupied solely by 
the story of the piece of string. Key. 
They believed him all the less as 
his defense became more compli- 
cated and his reasoning more fine- 
spun. 

80. " Ha, they are liar's reasons ! " CompUcation summarized, 
they said behind his back. 

81. He realized it; he fretted over 
it; he exhausted himself in futile 
efforts. 

82. He visibly wasted away. 

83. The wags now made him recite 
"The Piece of String" for thei» 



368 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

amusement, as one persuades a soldier 
who has been through a campaign, 
to tdl the story of his battles. His 
mind, attacked at its foundations, 
began to totter. 

84. Towards the end of December 
he took to his bed. 

85. During the first days of Jan- 
uary he died, and, in the delirium of 
his mortal agony he protested his in- 
nocence, repeating: 

86. "— a HT piece of string . . . Cumax. 
a HT piece of string . . . see, here 

it is, m'sieu' le maire," 



COPPftE AND HIS WRITINGS 

FranQois Edouard Joachim Coppee was born in Paris, 
January 12, 1842. He was educated at the Lycee St. 
Louis, and early attracted attention by his poetic gifts. 
He held office as Librarian of the Senate, and also 
Guardian of the Archives at the ComSdie Frangaise, 
The honors of membership in the French Academy and 
that of being decorated with the Cross of the Legion of 
Honor were given him in 1883 ^ind 1888 rc^ectively. 
He died May 23, 1908. 

Francois Coppee was a poet, dramatist, and short-story 
writer. The collection Poimes Modernes, published at 
the age of twenty-seven, contains some remarkable work 
which well represents his talent. The plays Madame de 
Maintenon and Le Luthier de Cremorne rank with his 
best dramatic work. Among his short-story gems are 
"The Sabots of Little Wolff," "At Table," "Two 



CHARACTER STORIES 369 

Clowns," " The Captain's Vices," " My Friend Meutrier." 
" An Accident," and " The Substitute." 

As a novelist, Coppee left no permanent mark upon 
his times, for in this field he was far surpassed by his 
contemporaries ; but as a. writer of little prose fictions, he 
stands well forward among that brilliant group which 
includes those immortals of the short-story — Maupas- 
sant, Daudet, and Merimee. From the work of these 
masters, Coppee's is well distinguished. The Norman 
Maupassant drew his lines with a sharper pencil, and, by 
the same token, an infinitely harder one; Daudet, child 
of Provence though he was, dipped his stylus more often 
in the acid of satire; and the Parisian Merimee, though 
nearer than any other to Coppee in his manner of work, 
was less in sympathy with his own characters than the 
warmer-hearted author of " The Sabots of Little Wolff " 
and "The Substitute" — which follows in a translation 
by the author of this volume. Coppee was almost an 
idealist — certainly he was quick to respond to the call 
of the ideal in his themes. Amidst so much that is 
sordid and gross in French fiction, how refreshing it is 
to read a master who could be truthful without wallow- 
ing, moral without sermonizing, compassionate without 
sniveling, humorous without buffooning, and always dis- 
close in his stories the spirit of a sympathetic lover of 
mankind. Like Dickens, he chose the lowly for his char- 
acters, and like Dickens, he found poetry in their simple 
lives. 



370 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

In common with other modern French writers, with Daudet, 
Maupassant, and others, Coppee excels in the writing of tales. 
His prose is remarkable for the same qualities that appear in 
his poetical works: sympathy, tenderness, marked predilection 
for the weak, the humble, and especially a masterly treatment of 
subjects essentially Parisian and modem. — Robert Sanderson, 
Francois Coppie, in Warner's Library of the World's Best 
Literature, 

Compassion is the chief quality of this little masterpiece, — 
compassion and understanding of a primitive type of character. 
The author shows us the good in a character not altogether bad ; 
and he almost makes us feel that the final sacrifice was justifi- 
able. He succeeds in doing this chiefly because he shows us the 
other characters only as they appeared to Jean Frangois, thus 
focusing the interest of the reader on this single character. — 
Brander Matthews, The Short-story. 

More than Daudet, Coppee deserves the title of the French 
Dickens. A fellow member of the French Academy, Jose de 
Heredia, calls him "the poet of the humble, painting with sin- 
cere emotion his profound sympathy for the sorrows, the mis- 
eries, and the sacrifices of the meek." As an artist in fiction, 
says Heredia, "Coppee possesses preeminently the gift of pre- 
senting concrete fact rather than abstraction," and a "great 
grasp of character," enabling him "to show us the human heart 
and intellect in full play and activity" — both of which endow- 
ments were the supreme characteristics of the author of Nicho^ 
las Nickleby and David CopperHeld, — Merion M. Miller, Intro- 
duction to The Guilty Man, 

Contrast the touching pathos of the " Substitute," poignant in 
his magrnificent self-sacrifice, by which the man who has con- 
quered his shameful past goes back willingly to the horrible life 
he has fled from, that he may save from a like degradation and 
from an inevitable moral decay the one friend he has in the 
world, all unworthy as this friend is — contrast this with the 
story of the gigantic deeds " My Friend Meutrier " boasts about 
unceasingly, not knowing that he has been discovered in his 



CHARACTER STORIES 3/1 

little round of daily domestic duties — making the coffee of his 
good old mother, and taking her poodle out for a walk. . . . 
No doubt M. Coppee's contes [stories] have not the sharpness 
of Maupassant's nor the brilliancy of M. Daudet's. But what of 
it? They have qualities of their own. They have sympathy, 
poetry, and a power of suggesting pictures not exceeded, I think, 
by those of either Maupassant or M. Daudet. M. Coppee*s street 
views in Paris, his interiors, his impressionist sketches of life 
under the shadow of Notre Dame, arc convincingly successful. — 
Brander Matthews, Aspects of Fiction. 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON COPPfe 

Introduction to Ten Tales by Copp^, Brander Mat- 
thews ( 1890) ; Books and Play-Books, Brander Matthews 
(1895) 'y Literary Movement in France during the Nine- 
teenth Century, Georges PelHssier (1897); Hours with 
Famous Parisians, Stuart Henry (1897). 

FOR ANALYSIS 

THE SUBSTITUTE 

(le remplacant) 

BY FRANgOIS COPPEE 
Translation by The Editor 1 

He was scarcely ten years old 
when he was first arrested as a vaga- 
bond. 

2. Thus he spoke to the judges: 

3. I am called Jean Francois Lc- 
turc, and for six months now I've 
been with the man who sings between 
two lanterns on the Place de la Bas- 

* Copyright, 19x1, by J. B. Lippincott Co., and used by permission. 



37^ STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

tille, while he scrapes on a string of 
catgut I repeat the chorus with him, 
and then I cry out, ' Get the collection 
of new songs, ten centimes, two 
sous!' He was always dnink and 
beat me; that's why the police found 
me the other night, in the tumble- 
down buildings. Before that, I used 
to be with the man who sells brushes. 
My mother was a laundress ; she call- 
ed herself Adele. At one time a 
gentleman had given her an establish- 
ment, on the ground-floor, at Mont- 
martre. She was a good worker and 
loved me well. She made money be- 
cause she had the clientele of the 
cafe waiters, and those people use 
lots of linen. Sundays, she would 
put me to bed early to go to the ball ; 
but week days, she sent me to the 
Brothers' school, where I learned to 
read. Well, at last the sergent-de- 
vUle whose beat was up our street, 
began always stopping before her 
window to talk to her — a fine fel- 
low, with the Crimean medal. They 
got married, and all went wrong. 
He didn't take to me, and set mam- 
ma against me. Every one boxed 
my ears ; and it was then that, to get 
away from home, I spent whole days 
on the Place Clichy, where I got to 
know the mountebanks. My step- 
father lost his place, mamma her 
customers; she went to the wash- 
house to support her man. It was 
there she got consumption — from 
the steam of the lye. She died at 
Lariboisiere. She was a good worn- 



CHARACTER STORIES 373 



an. Since that time I've lived with 
the brush-seller and the catgut-scrap- 
er. Are you gobg to put me in 
prison?" 

4. He talked this way openly, cynic- 
ally, like a man. He was a ragged 
little rascal, as tall as a boot, with his 
forehead hidden under a strange mop 
of yellow hair. 

5. Nobody claimed him, so they 
sent him to the Reform School. 

6. Not very intelligent, lazy, above 
all maladroit with his hands, he was 
able to learn there only a poor trade 
— the reseating of chairs. Yet he 
was obedient, of a nature passive and 
taciturn, and he did not seem to have 
been too profoundly corrupted in that 
school of vice. But when, having 
come to his seventeenth year, he was 
set free again on the streets of Paris, 
he found there, for his misfortune, 
his prison comrades, all dreadful 
rascals, exercising their low call- 
ings. Some were trainers of dogs, 
for catching rats in the sewers; 
some shined shoes on ball nights 
in the Passage de TOpera; some 
were amateur wrestlers, who let 
themselves be thrown by the Hercules 
of the side-shows; some fished from 
rafts out in the river, in the full 
sunlight. He tried all these things 
a little, and a few months after he 
had left the house of correction he 
was arrested anew for a petty theft: 
a pair of old shoes lifted from out an 
open shop-window. Result: a year 
of prison at Sainte-Pelagie, where he 



374 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



served as valet to the political prison- 
ers. 

7. He lived, astonished, among this 
group of prisoners, all very young 
and negligently clad, who talked in 
loud voices and carried their heads 
in such a solemn way. They used to 
meet in the cell of the eldest of them, 
a fellow of some thirty years, already 
locked up for a long time and ap- 
parently settled at Sainte- Pelagic : a 
large cell it was, papered with colored 
caricatures, and from whose win- 
dows one could see all Paris — its 
roofs, its clock-towers, and its domes, 
and far off, the distant line of the 
hills, blue and vague against the sky. 
There were upon the walls several 
shelves filled with books, and all the 
old apparatus of a salle d'armes^ 
broken masks, rusty foils, leather 
jackets, and gloves that were losing 
their stuffing. It was there that the 
"politicians" dined together, adding 
to the inevitable "soup and beef" 
some fruit, cheese, and half-pints of 
wine that Jean Frangois went out to 
buy in a can — tumultuous repasts, 
interrupted by violent disputes, 
where they sang in chorus at the 
dessert the Carmagnole and fa ira. 
They took on, however, an air of 
dignity on days when they made place 
for a newcomer, who was at first 
gravely treated as " citizen," but who 
was the next day tutoyed, and called 
by his nickname. They used big 
words there — Corporation, Solidar- 
ity, and phrases all quite unintelli- 



RevoluHonary songs of 1793. 



Tu — thou — used only 
familiar address. 



in 



CHARACTER STORIES 



375 



gible to Jean Francois, such as this, 
for example, which he once heard 
uttered imperiously by a frightful lit- 
tle hunchback who scribbled on paper 
all night long: 

a " It is settled. The cabinet is to 
be thus composed: Raymond in the 
Department of Education, Martial in 
the Interior, and I in Foreign Af- 
fairs." 

9. Having served his time, he wan- 
dered again about Paris, under the 
surveillance of the police, in the fash- 
ion of beetles that cruet children keep 
flying at the end of a string. He had 
become one of those fugitive and 
timid beings whom the law, with a 
sort of coquetry, arrests and releases, 
turn and turn about, a little like those 
platonic fishermen who, so as not 
to empty the pond, throw back into 
the water the fish just out of the net. 
Without his suspecting that so much 
honor was done to his wretched 
personality, he had a special docket 
in the mysterious archives of la rue 
de Jerusalem, his name and sur- 
names were written in a large back- 
hand on the gray paper of the cover, 
and the notes and reports, carefully 
classified, gave him these graded ap- 
pellations : " the man named Leturc," 
"the prisoner Leturc," and at last 
"the convicted Leturc." 

10. He stayed two years out of 
prison, dining d la Calif ornie, sleeping 
in lodging-houses, and sometimes in 
lime-kilns, and taking part with his 
fellows in endless games of pitch- 



Police headquarters. 



The California, a cheap eat- 
ing-house in Paris. 



376 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



penny on tbe boulevards near the 
city gates. He wore a greasy cap 
on tbe back of his head, carpet sfip- 
pers, and a short white Uonse. 
When he had five sons, he had his 
hair curled. He danced at Gmstant's 
at Montpamasse; bought for two 
sous the jack-of-hearts or the ace- 
of-spadeSy which were used as return 
checks, to resell them for four sous 
at the door of Bobino; opened car- 
riage-doors as occasion offered; led 
about sorry nags at the horse^market 
Of all the bad luck — in the conscrip- 
tion he drew a good number. Who 
knows whether the atmosphere of 
honor which is breathed in a regi- 
ment, whether military discipline, 
might not have saved him? Caught 
in a haul of the police-net with the 
younger vagabonds who used to rob 
the drunkards asleep in the streets, 
he denied very energetically having 
taken part in their expeditions. It 
was perhaps true. But his anteced- 
ents were accepted in lieu of proof, 
and he was sent up for three years 
to Poissy. There he had to make 
rough toys, had himself tattooed on 
the chest, and learned thieves' slang 
and the penal code. A new libera- 
tion, a new plunge into the Parisian 
sewer, but very short this time, for 
at the eiid of hardly six weeks he 
was again compromised in a theft 
by night, aggravated by violent en- 
try, a doubtful case in which he 
played an obscure role, half dupe 
and half fence. On the whole, his 



In dnwinc lots for militmfy 
•enrice tlie higher aam- 
hers giTC exemption, and 
this he secured by draw- 
ing "a good number.** 



A receiver of stolen goods. 



CHARACTER STORIES 



377 



complicity seemed evident, and he 
was condemned to five years' hard 
labor. His sorrow in this adventure 
was, chiefly, to be separated from an 
old dog which he had picked up on 
a heap of rubbish and cured of the 
mange. This beast loved him. 

11. Toulon, the ball on his ankle, 
the work in the harbor, the blows 
from the staves^ the wooden shoes 
without straw, the soup of black 
beans dating from Trafalgar, no 
money for tobacco, and the horrible 
sleep on the filthy camp-bied of the 
galley slave, that is what he knew 
for five torrid summers and five win- 
ters blown upon by the Mistral, He 
came out from there stunned, and 
was sent under surveillance to Ver- 
non, where he worked for some time 
on the river; then, an incorrigible 
vagabond, he broke exile and re- 
turned again to Paris. 

12. He had his savings, fifty-six 
francs — that is to say, time enough 
to reflect During his long absence, 
his old and horrible comrades had 
been dispersed. He was well, hidden, 
and slept in a loft at an old woman's, 
to whom he had represented himself 
as a sailor weary of the sea, having 
lost his papers in a recent shipwreck, 
and who wished to essay another 
trade. His tanned face, his calloused 
hands, and a few nautical terms he 
let fall one time or another, made 
this story sufficiently probable. 

13. One day when he had risked a 
saunter along the streets, and when 



Straw was stuffed into the 
sabots to cushion the feet. 



The northwest storm-wind 
from the Mediterranean. 



378 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the chance of his walk had brought 
him to Montmartre, where he had 
been bom, an unexpected memory 
arrested him before the door of the 
Brothers' school in which he had 
learned to read. Since it was very 
warm, the door was open, and with 
a single glance the passing incor- 
rigible could recognize the peaceful 
schoolroom. Nothing was changed: 
neither the bright light shining in 
through the large windows, nor the 
crucifix over the desk, nor the rows 
of seats furnished with leaden ink- 
stands, nor the table of weights and 
measures, nor the map on which 
pins stuck in still pointed out the 
operations of some ancient war. 
Heedlessly and without reflecting, 
Jean Franqois read on the black- 
board these words of the Gospel, 
which a well-trained hand had traced 
as an example of penmanship: 

Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner 
that repenteth, more than over ninety and 
nine just persons which need no repentance. 

14. It was doubtless the hour for 
recreation, for the Brother professor 
had left his chair, and, sitting on the 
edge of a table, he seemed to be 
telling a story to all the gamins who 
surrounded him, attentive and rais- 
ing their eyes. What an innocent 
and gay countenance was that of the 
beardless young man, in long black 
robe, with white necktie, with coarse, 
ugly shoes, and with badly cut brown 
hair pushed up at the back. All 
those pallid faces of children of the 



CHARACTER STORIES 379 



populace which were looking at him 
seemed less childlike than his, above 
all when, charmed with a candid, 
priestly pleasantry he had made, he 
broke out with a good and frank peal 
of laughter, which showed his teeth 
sound and regular — laughter so con- 
tagious that all the scholars broke 
out noisily in their turn. And it was 
simple and sweet, this group in the 
Joyous sunlight that made their clear 
eyes and their blonde hair shine. 

15. Jean Francois looked at the 
scene some time in silence, and, for 
the first time, in that savage nature 
all instinct and appetite, there awoke 
a mysterious and tender emotion. 
His heart, that rude, hardened heart, 
which neither the cudgel of the gal- 
ley-master nor the weight of the 
watchman's heavy whip falling on his 
shoulders was able to stir, beat almost 
to bursting. Before this spectacle, in 
which he saw again his childhood, 
his eyes closed sadly, and, restraining 
a violent gesture, a prey to. the tor- 
ture of regret, he walked away with 
great strides. 

16. The words written on the 
blackboard came back to him. 

17. "If it were not too late, after 
all!'* he murmured. "If I could 
once more, like the others, eat my 
toasted bread honestly, sleep out my 
sleep without nightmare? The police 
spy would be very clever to recognize 
me now. My beard, that I shaved off 
down there, has grown out now thick 
and strong. One can borrow some- 



380 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

where in this big ant-heap, and work 
is not lacking. Whoever does not go 
to pieces soon in the hell of the gal- 
leys comes out agile and robust ; and 
I have learned how to climb the rope- 
ladders with loads on my back. 
Building is going on all around here, 
and the masons need helpers. Three 
francs a day, — I have never earned 
so much. That they should forget 
me, that is all I ask." 

18. He followed his courageous 
resolution, he was faithful to it, and 
three months afterward he was an- 
other man. The master for whom 
he labored cited him as his best work- 
man. After a long day passed on the 
scaffolding, in the full sun, in the 
dust, constantly bending and straight- 
ening his back to take the stones 
from the hands of the man below him 
and to pass them to the man above 
him, he went to get his soup, at the 
cheap eating house, tired out, his legs 
numb, his hands burning, and his eye- 
lashes stuck together by the plaster, 
but content with himself, and carry- 
ing his well-earned money in the knot 
of his handkerchief. He went out 
without fear, for his white mask 
made him unrecognizable, and, then, 
he had observed that the suspicious 
glance of the policeman seldom falls 
on the real worker. He was silent 
and sober. He slept the sound sleep 
of honest fatigue. He was free. 

19. At last — supreme recompense! 
— he had a friend. 



CHARACTER STORIES 38I 



20. It was a mason's helper like 
himself, named Savinien, a little peas- 
ant from Limoges, red-cheeked, who 
had come to Paris with his stick over 
his shoulder and his bundle on the 
end of it, who fled from the liquor- 
dealers and went to mass on Sundays. 
Jean Francois loved him for his 
piety, for his candor, for his honesty, 
for all that he himself had lost, and 
so long ago. It was a passion pro- 
found, reserved, disclosing itself in 
the care and forethought of a father. 
Savinien, himself easily moved and 
self-loving, let things take their 
course, satisfied only in that he had 
found a comrade who shared his hor- 
ror of the wine-shop. The two 
friends lived together in a furnished 
room, fairly clean, but their resources 
were very limited; they had to take 
into their room a third companion, an 
old man from Auvergne, sombre and 
rapacious, who found a way of 
economizing out of his meagre wages 
enough to buy some land in his own 
province. 

21. Jean Franqois and Savinien 
scarcely left each other. On days of 
rest they took long walks in the en- 
virons of Paris and dined in the open 
air in one of those little country inns 
where there are plenty of mushrooms 
in the sauces and innocent enigmas 
on the bottoms of the plates. There 
Jean Frangois made his friend tell 
him all those things of which those 
born in the cities are ignorant. He 
learned the names of the trees, the 



382 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

flowers, the plants; the seasons for 
the different harvests; he listened 
avidly to the thousand details of a 
farmer's labors : the autumn's sowing, 
the winter's work, the splendid fetes 
of harvest-home and vintage, and the 
flails beating the ground, and the 
noise of the mills by the borders of 
the streams, and the tired horses led 
to the trough, and the morning hunt- 
ing in the mists, and. above all, the 
long evenings around the fire of vine- 
branches, shortened by tales of won- 
der. He discovered in himself a 
spring of imagination hitherto un- 
suspected, finding a singular delight 
in the mere recital of these things, 
so gentle, calm, and monotonous. 

22. One anxiety troubled him. how- 
ever, that Savinien should not come 
to know his past. Sometimes there 
escaped him a shady word of thieves' 
slang, an ignoble gesture, vestiges of 
his horrible former existence; and 
then he felt the pain of a man whose 
old wounds reopen, more especially as 
he thought he saw then in Savinien 
the awakening of an unhealthy 
curiosity. When the young man, al- 
ready tempted by the pleasures which 
Paris offers even to the poorest, 
questioned him about the mysteries of 
the great city, Jean Francois feigned 
ignorance and turned the conversa- 
tion; but he had now conceived a 
vague inquietude for the future of 
his friend. 

23. This was not without founda- 
tion, and Savinien could not long re- 



CHARACTER STORIES 383 



main the naive rustic he had been on 
his arrival in Paris. If the«gross and 
noisy pleasures of the wine-shop al- 
ways were repugnant to him, he was 
profoundly troubled by other desires 
full of danger for the inexperience 
of his twenty years. When the 
spring came, he began to seek 
solitude, and at first he wandered be- 
fore the gayly lighted entrances to 
the dancing-halls, through whidi he 
saw the girls going in couples, with- 
out bonnets — and with their arms 
around each other's waists, whisper- 
ing low. Then, one evening, when 
the lilacs shed their perfume, and the 
appeal of the quadrilles was more en- 
trancing, he crossed the threshold, 
and after that Jean Francois saw him 
change little by little in manners and 
in visage. Savinien became more 
frivolous, more extravagant ; often he 
borrowed from his friend his miser- 
able savings, which he forgot to re- 
pay. Jean Frangois, feeling himself 
abandoned, was both indulgent and 
jealous; he suffered and kept silent 
He did not think he had the right to 
reproach ; but his penetrating friend- 
ship had cruel and insurmountable 
presentiments. 

24. One evening when he was 
climbing the stairs of his lodging, ab- 
sorbed in his preoccupations, he 
heard in the room he was about to 
enter a dialogue of irritated voices, 
and he recognized one as that of the 
old man from Auvprgne, who lodged 
with him and Savinien. An old 



384 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

habit of suspicion made him pause 
on the landing, and he listened to 
learn the cause of the trouble. 

25. " Yes," said the man from Au- 
vergne angrily, " I am sure that some 
one has broken open my trunk and 
stolen the three louis which I had hid- 
den in a little box ; and the man who 
has done this thing can only be one of 
the two companions who sleep here, 
unless it is Maria, the servant. This 
concerns you as much as me, since 
you are the master of the house, and 
- I will drag you before the judge if 
you do not let me at once open up 
the valises of the two masons. My 
poor hoard ! It was in its place only 
yesterday ; and I will tell you what it 
was, so that, if we find it, no one can 
accuse me of lying. Oh, I know 
them, my three beautiful gold pieces, 
and I can see them as plainly as I see 
you. One was a little more worn 
than the others, of a slightly greenish 
gold, and that had the portrait of the 
great Emperor; another had that of 
a fat old fellow with a queue and 
epaulets; and the third had a Phil- 
ippe with side^whiskers. I had mark- 
ed it with my teeth. No one can trick 
me, not me. Do you know that I 
needed only two others like those to 
pay for my vineyard? Come on, let 
us look through the things of these 
comrades, or I will call the poHce. 
Make haste!" 

26. "All right," said the voice of 
the householder; "well search with 
Maria. So much the worse if you 



CHARACTER STORIES 385 



find nothing, and if the masons get 
angfry. It is you who have forced me 
to it." 

2,T, Jean Frangois felt his heart fill 
with fear. He recalled the poverty 
and the petty borrowings of Savinien, 
the sombre manner he had borne the 
last few days. Yet he could not be- 
lieve in any theft. He heard the 
panting of the man from Auvergne 
in the ardor of his search, and he 
clenched his fists against his breast as 
if to repress the beatings of his heart 

28. ** There they are ! '* suddenly 
screamed the victorious miser. 
"There they are, my louis, my dear 
treasure ! And in the Sunday waist- 
coat of the little hypocrite from 
Limoges. Look, landlord! they are 
just as I told you. There's the Na- 
poleon, and the man with the queue, 
and the Philippe I had dented with 
my teeth. Look at the mark. Ah, 
the little rascal with his saintly look ! 
I should more likely have suspected 
the other. Ah, the villain! He will 
have to go to the galleys ! " 

29. At this moment Jean Frangois 
heard the well-known step of Savin- 
ien, who was slowly mounting the 
stairs. 

30. "He is going to his betrayal," 
thought he. "Three flights. I have 
time!" 

31. And, pushing open the door, he 
entered, pale as death, into the room 
where he saw the landlord and the 
stupefied servant in a corner, and 
the man from Auvergne on his knees 



386 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

amid the disordered clothes, lovingly 
kissing his gold pieces. 

32. '* Enough of this," he said in a 
thick voice. '* It is I who have taken 
the money and who have put it in 
my comrade's trunk. But that is too 
disgusting. I am a thief and not a 
Judas. Go hunt for the police. Ill 
not try to save myself. Only, I must 
say a word in private to Savinien, 
who is here." 

33. The little man from Limoges 
had, in fact, just arrived, and, seeing 
his crime discovered, and believing 
himself lost, he stood still, his eyes 
fixed, his arms drooping. 

34. Jean Francis seized him vio- 
lently about the neck as though to 
embrace him; he pressed his mouth 
to Savinien's ear and said to him in 
a voice low and supplicating: 

35. "Be quiet!" 

36. Then, turning to the others: 

37. "Leave me alone with him. I 
shall not go away, I tell you. Shut 
us up, if you wish, but leave us 
alone." 

38. And, with a gesture of com- 
mand, he showed them the door. 
They went out. 

39. Sa\dnien, broken with anguish, 
had seated himself on a bed, and 
dropped his eyes without compre- 
hending. 

40. "Listen," said Jean Francois, 
who approached to take his hands. 
" I understand you have stolen three 
gold pieces to buy some trifle for a 
girl. That would have cost six 



CHARACTER STORIES 387 



months of prison for you. But one 
does not get out of that except to go 
back again, and you would have be- 
come a pillar of the police tribunals 
and the courts of assizes. I know 
all about them. I have done seven 
years in the Reform School, one year 
at Sainte-Pelagie, three years at 
Poissy, and five years at Toulon. 
Now, have no fear. All is arranged. 
I have taken this affair on my shoul- 
ders." 

41. " Unhappy fellow ! " cried Sa- 
vinien; but hope was already coming 
back to his cowardly heart 

42. "When the elder brother is 
serving under the colors, the younger 
does not go," Jean Frangois went on. 
" Fm your substitute, that's all. You 
love me a little, do you not? I am 
paid. Do not be a baby. Do not re- 
fuse. They would have caught me 
one of these days, for I have broken 
my exile. And then, you see, that life 
out there will be less hard for me 
than for you ; I know it, and shall not 
complain if I do not render you 
this service in vain and if you swear 
to me that you will not do it again. 
Savinien, I have loved you well, and 
your friendship has made me very 
happy, for it is thanks to my know- 
ing you that I have kept honest and 
straight, as I might have been, per- 
haps, if I had had, like you, a fath- 
er to put a tool in my hands, a moth- 
er to teach me my prayers. My only 
regret was that I was useless to you 
and that I was deceiving you about 



388 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

my past To-day I lay aside the 
mask in saving you. It is all right. 
Come, good-bye ! Do not weep ; and 
embrace me, for already I hear the 
big boots on the stairs. They are 
returning with the police; and we 
must not seem to know each other 
so well before these fellows." 

43. He pressed Savinien hurriedly 
to his breast, and then he pushed 
him away as the door opened wide. 

44. It was the landlord and the 
man from Auvergne, who were 
bringing the police. Jean Frangois 
started forward to the landing and 
held out his hands for the handcuffs 
and said, laughing: 

45. " Forward, bad lot ! " 

46. To-day he is at Cayenne, con- 
demned for life, as an incorrigible. 

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. Write a paragraph showing how character is affected (a) 
unfavorably and (b) favorably by the two tests, as shown by 
these two stories. 

2. In your opinion, was each character changed or merely 
revealed by the crisis which occurred in each instance? 

3. Which of these stories seems the more real to you? 

4. Have you ever heard of a similar instance in real life? If 
so, cite it. 

5. Write a paragraph contrasting the trivial and the important 
crisis in each story, though both led to important results. 

6. Set down all the traits of character exhibited by the two 
leading actors in each story. 

7. Select a character-study from some book or magazine and 
write a brief discussion of it* 

8. Do the same for another character-study by (a) Maupas« 
sant, and (b) Coppee. 



CHARACTER STORIES 389 

TEN REPRESENTATIVE CHARACTER STUDIES 

"The Captain's Vices," Frangois Coppee, translated in 
Ten Tales by Coppee, 

" The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney," JRudyard Kip- 
ling, in Soldiers Three. 

" A New England Nun," Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, in 
volume of same title. 

" The Old Gentleman of the Black Stock," Thomas Nel- 
son Page, Harper's Magazine, Oct., 1894. 

"The Sick-a-Bed Lady," Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, in 
volume of same title. 

"The Insurgent," Ludovic Halevy, translated in Short- 
Story Masterpieces. 

" Caybigan," James Hopper, in volume of same title. 

"The Liar," Henry James, in Short-Story Classics, 
American. 

" Editha," W. D. Howells, in Harper's Novelettes. 

"Our Sermon Taster," Ian Maclaren, in Beside the 
Bonnie Briar Bush. 



VIII 
PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES 

Markheitn. — Robert Louis Stevenson 
On the Stairs. — Arthur Morrison 



391 



He [the authorl can sometimes rouse our intense curiosity 
and eagerness by the mere depiction of a psychological state, as 
Walter Pater has done in the case of Sebastian Storck and other 
personages of his Imaginary Portraits. The fact that "nothing 
happens" in stories of this kind may be precisely what most 
interests us, because we are made to understand what it is that 
inhibits action. — Buss Pekry, A Study of Prose Fiction, 



392 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES 

A subtle distinction is to be observed between the char- 
acter-study and the psychological study, but it will not 
be supposed that writers of short-stories plainly label the 
distinction, or that the two types are frequently, if ever, 
found entirely separate. In the character-study more 
attention is paid to the true natures of the actors, and 
the demonstration of their natures is shown in the action 
of the story; in the psychological study more stress is 
laid upon the actual operation of thought, feeling and 
purpose — it is a laboratory study of what goes on in the 
hum an heart, to use a somewhat vague but necessary 
term, u nder stre ss of crisis. 

The psychological study is the most difficult because 
the most penetrating of all short-story forms, and in con- 
sequence the most rare in its perfect presentation. To 

show the prnrpssPR nf rpa^s^niPgi ^^^ inforplay r>f mnfivf>, 

the power of feeling acting upon feeling, and the intri- 
cate combinations of theseTcalls for the most clear- 
sighted understanding of man, and the utmost skill in 
literary art, lest the story be lost in a fog of tiresome 
analysis and discussion. In " Markheim " and " On the 
Stairs," two master story-tellers are easily at their best, 
for they never obtrude their own opinions, but swiftly and 

393 



394 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



with a firm onward movement the stories disclose the 
true inward workings of the unique characters, while 
from moody speech, and action we infallibly infer all the 
80ul«processes by which their conclusions are reached. 

MARKHEIM 

BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 



*• Yes," said the dealer, " our wind- 
falls are of various kinds. Some 
customers are ignorant, and then I 
touch a dividend on my superior 
knowledge. Some are dishonest,*' 
and here he held up the candle, so 
that the light fell strongly on his 
visitor, "and in that case," he con- 
tinued, ** I profit by my virtue." 

2. Markheim had but just entered 
from the daylight streets, and his 
eyes had not yet grown familiar with 
the mingled shine and darkness in the 
shop. At these pointed words, and 
before the near presence of the flame, 
he blinked painfully and looked aside. 

3. The dealer chuckled. "You 
come to me on Christmas-day," he 
resumed, " when you know that I am 
alone in my house, put up my shut- 
ters, and make a point of refusing 
business. Well, you will have to pay 
for that ; you will have to pay for my 
loss of time, when I should be balanc- 
ing my books; you will have to pay, 
besides, for a kind of manner that I 
remark in you to-day very strongly. 
I am the essence of discretion, and 



iNTaODUCTIOH. 

Rcmtrkable became it at 
once touches upon the ex- 
ternal crisii of the story. 



Note doable 



See how daringly the author 
plays with the reader witli- 
out arousing suspicioii. 
Compare Stevenson's rea- 
soning as to the reader's 
suspicions with Dupin's 
reasoning in '* The Pur- 
loined Letter," pp. 91, 
9a. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIBS 



395 



ask no awkward questions ; but when 
a customer can not look me in the 
eye, he has to pay for it." The 
dealer once more chuckled ; and then, 
changing to his usual business voice, 
though still with a note of Irony, 
" You can give, as usual, a clean ac- 
count of how you came into posses- 
sion of the object?" he continued. 
" Still your uncle's cabinet? A re- 
markable collector, sir ! " 

4. And the little, pale, round-shoul- 
dered dealer stood almost on tip-toe, 
looking over the top of his gold 
spectacles, and nodding his head with 
every mark of disbelief. Markheim 
returned his gaze with one of infinite 
pity, and a touch of horror. 

5. "This time," he said, "you are 
in error. I have not come to sell, but 
to buy. I have no curios to dispose 
of; my uncle's cabinet is bare to the 
wainscot; even were it still intact, I 
have done well on the Stock Ex- 
change, and should more likely add 
to it than otherwise, and my errand 
to-day is simplicity itself. I seek a 
Christmas-present for a lady," he 
continued, waxing more fluent as he 
struck into the speech he had pre- 
pared ; " and certainly I owe you 
every excuse for thus disturbing you 
upon so small a matter. But the 
thing was neglected yesterday ; I must 
produce my little compliment at din- 
ner; and, as you very well know, 
a rich marriage is not a thing to be 
neglected." 



Markheim has been th«r« 
before. 



Forecast. 



Insincerity evident. 



396 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



6. There followed a pause, during 
which the dealer seemed to weigh 
this statement incredulously. The 
ticking of many clocks among the 
curious lumber of the shop, and the 
faint rushing of the cabs in a near 
thoroughfare, filled up the interval of 
silence. 

7. *• Well, sir," said the dealer, "be 
it so. You are an old customer after 
all; and if, as you say, you have the 
chance of a good marriage, far be 
it from me to be an obstacle. Here 
is a nice thing for a lady now," he 
went on, "this hand-glass — fifteenth 
century, warranted; comes from a 
good collection, too; but I reserve 
the name, in the interests of my cus- 
tomer, who was just like yourself, 
my dear sir, the nephew and sole heir 
of a remarkable collector." 

8. The dealer, while he thus ran on 
in his dry and biting voice, had 
stooped to take the object from its 
place; and, as he had done so, a 
shock had passed through Markheim, 
a start both of hand and foot, a sud- 
den leap of many tumultugus pas- 
sions to the face. It passed as 
swiftly as it came, and left no trace 
beyond a certain trembling of the 
hand that now received the glass. 

9. " A glass," he said, hoarsely, and 
then paused, and repeated it more 
clearly. "A glass? For Christmas? 
Surely not?" 

10. "And why not?" cried the 
dealer. " Why not a glass ? " 

11. Markheim was looking upon 



Compare this setting, as it 
is gradually unfolded, 
with that of Gautier*a 
"The Mummy's Foot." 



Analyse its nature. 



Contributory incident. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



397 



hitn with an indefinable expression. 
"You ask me why not?" he said. 
"Why, look here — look in it — look 
at yourself! Do you like to see it? 
No ! nor I — nor any man/* 

12. The little man had jumped back 
when Markheim had so suddenly 
confronted him with the mirror; but 
now, perceiving there was nothing 
worse on hand, he chuckled. "Your 
future lady, sir, must be pretty hard 
favoured,'* said he. 

13. "I ask you," said Markheim, 
"for a Christmas-present, and you 
give me this — this damned reminder 
of years, and sins and follies — this 
hand-conscience! Did you mean it? 
Had you a thought in your mind? 
Tell. me. It wiH be better for you 
if you do. Come, tell me about your- 
self. I hazard a guess now, that 
you are in secret a very charitable 
man?" 

14. The dealer looked closely at 
his companion. It was very odd, 
Markheim did not appear to be laugh- 
ing; there was something in his face 
like an eager sparkle of hope, but 
nothing of mirth. 

I5i "What are you driving at?" 
the dealer asked. 

16. "Not charitable?" returned the 
other, gloomily. "Not charitable; 
not pious; not scrupulous; unloving, 
unbeloved; a hand to get money, a 
safe to keep it. Is that all? Dear 
God, man, is that all?" 

17. "I will tell you what it is," be- 
gan the dealer, with some sharpness. 



Forecast. 



Note the working of Mark- 
heim's morbid conscience, 
not yet understood by 
himself. 



First Moral Crisis. 



398 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



and then broke off again into a 
chackle. ''But I see this is a love 
match of yours, and you have been 
drinking the lady's health." 

la '^ Ah! " cried Markheim, with a 
strange curiosity. ''Ah, have you 
been in love? Tell me about that" 

19. "I," cried the dealer. "I in 
love! I never had the time, nor 
have I the time to-day for all this 
nonsense. Will you take the glass? " 

20. "Where is the hurry?" re- 
turned Markheim. '* It is very pleas- 
ant to stand here talking; and life is 
so short and insecure that I would not 
hurry away from any pleasure — no, 
not even from so mild a one as this. 
We should rather cling, cling to 
what little we can get, like a man 
at a cliff's edge. Every second is 
a cliff, if you think upon it — a cliff 
a mile high*- high enough, if we 
fall, to dash us out of every feature 
of humanity. Hence it is best to talk 
pleasantly. Let us talk of each 
other; why should we wear this 
mask? Let us be confidential. Who 
knows, we might become friends?" 

21. " I have just one word to say to 
you," said the dealer. " Either make 
your purchase, or walk out of my 
shop." 

22. "True, true," said Markheim. 
"Enough fooling. To business. 
Show me something else." 

23. The dealer stooped once more, 
this time to replace the glass upon 
the shelf, his thin blonde hair 
falling over his eyes as he did sa 



Note change of attitude 

Analyse the forces back of 
Markheim's parleying. 



Note how quickly Markheim 
follows the unconscious 
lead. 

Fust Exteanal Crisis. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



399 



Markheiin moved a little nearer, with 
one hand in the pocket 6f his great- 
coat; he drew himself up and filled 
his lungs; at the same time many 
different emotions were depicted to- 
gether on his face — terror, horror 
and resolve, fascination and a physi- 
cal repulsion; and through a haggard 
lift of his upper lip, his teeth looked 
out 

24. "This, perhaps, may suit," ob- 
served the dealer; and then, as he 
began to re-arise, Markheim bounded 
from behind upon his victim. The 
long, skewerhke dagger flashed and 
fell The dealer struggled like a hen, 
striking his temple on the shelf, and 
then tumbled on the floor in a heap. 

25. Time had some score of small 
voices in that shop, some stately and 
slow as was becoming to their great 
age; others garrulous and hurried. 
All these told out the seconds in an 
intricate chorus of tickings. Then 
the passage of a lad's feet, heavily 
running on the pavement, broke in 
upoA these smaller voices and star- 
tled Markheim into the conscious- 
ness of his surroundings. He looked 
about him awfully. The candle stood 
oq the counter, its flame solemnly 
wagging in a draught; and by that 
inconsiderable movement, the whole 
room was filled with noiseless bustle 
and kept heaving like a sea: the 
tall shadows nodding, the gross blots 
of darkness swelling and dwindling 
as with respiration, the faces of the 
portraits and the china gods chang- 



Notc all thcM. 



He wai |»reiMired for the 
crime. 



First Minoi Climax. 

Beginning of the internal 
action. Note how all ex- 
ternal things now begin to 
play upon the internal 



Throughout, note Steren- 
son's rich imagery, and 
also his unusual vocabu- 
lary. 



400 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



ing and wavering like images in wa- 
ter. The inner door stood ajar, and 
peered into that leaguer of shadows 
with a long slit of daylight like a 
pointing finger. 

26. From these fear-stricken rov- 
ings, " Markheim's eyes returned to 
the body of his victim, where it lay 
both humped and sprawling, incredi- 
bly small and strangely meaner than 
in life. In these poor, miserly 
clothes, in that ungainly attitude, the 
dealer lay like so much sawdust 
Markheim had feared to see it, and, 
lo! it was nothing. And yet, as he 
gazed, this bundle of old clothes and 
pool of blood began to find eloquent 
voices. There it must lie ; there was 
none to work the cunning hinges 
or direct the miracle of locomotion 
— there it must lie till it was found. 
Found! ay, and then? Then would 
this dead flesh lift up a cry that 
would ring over England, and fill 
the world with the echoes of pur- 
suit. Ay, dead, or not, this was still 
the enemy. *'Time was that when 
the brains were out," he thought; 
and the first word struck into his 
mind. Time, now that the deed was 
accomplished — time, which had 
closed for the victim, had become 
instant and momentous for the slay- 
er. 

27. The thought was yet in his 
mind, when, first one and then an- 
other, with every variety of pace 
and voice — one deep as the bell 
from a cathedral turret, another 



An unusual word. 



Picture. 



Eyidence of premeditation. 



Note the interplay of the 
outward picture and Mark- 
heim*8 mind. Keep before 
you always the double 
movement of this study as 
both progress side by side, 
finally resulting in the 
predominance of the spir- 
ituaU 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



4fn 



ringing on its treble notes the 
prelude of a waltz — the clocks be- 
gan to strike the hour of three in 
the afternoon. 

28. The sudden outbreak of so 
many tongues in that dumb chamber 
staggered him. He began to bestir 
himself, going to and fro with the 
candle, beleaguered by moving 
shadows, and startled to the soul 
by chance reflections. In many rich 
mirrors, some of home designs, some 
from Venice or Amsterdam, he saw 
his face repeated and repeated, as 
it were an army of spies; his own 
eyes met and detected him; and the 
sound of his own steps, lightly as 
they fell, vexed the surrounding 
quiet. And still as he continued to 
fill his pockets, his mind accused 
him, with a sickening iteration, of 
the thousand faults of his design. 
He should have chosen a more quiet 
hour; he should have prepared an 
alibi; he should not have used a 
knife; he should have been more 
cautious, and only bound and gagged 
the dealer, and not killed him; he 
should have been more bold, and 
killed the servant also; he should 
have done all things otherwise; 
poignant regrets, weary, incessant 
toiling of the mind to change what 
was unchangeable, to plan what was 
now useless, to be the architect of 
the irrevocable past. Meanwhile, 
and behind all this activity, brute 
terrors, like scurrying of rats in a 
deserted attic, filled the more re- 



Thc old motive reasserts It- 
self. 
Plot Incident. 



As fear subsides craft re- 
turns. 



A significant expresaion. 

Contrast physical and morai 
fear. Consider how \}ir 
two are related 



403 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



mote chambers of his brain with 
riot; the hand of the constable would 
fall heavy on his shoulder, and his 
nerves would jerk like a hooked 
fish; or he beheld, in galloping de* 
file, the dock, the prison, the gallows, 
and the black coffin. 

29. Terror of the people in the 
street sat down before his mind like 
a besieging army. It was impossible, 
he thought, but that some rumor of 
the struggle must have reached their 
ears and set on edge their curiosity; 
and now, in all the neighboring 
houses, he divined them sitting mo- 
tionless and with uplifted ear — sol- 
itary people, condemned to spend 
Christmas dwelling alone on memo- 
ries of the past, and now startlingly 
recalled from that tender exercise; 
happy family parties, struck into 
silence round the table, the mother 
still with raised finger: every degree 
and age and humor, but all, by their 
own hearths, prying and hearkening 
and weaving the rope that was to 
hang him. Sometimes it seemed to 
him he could not move too softly; 
the clink of the tall Bohemian gob- 
lets rang out loudly like a bell ; and 
alarmed by the bigness of the tick- 
ing, he was tempted to stop the 
clocks. And then, again, with a 
swift transition of his terrors, the 
very silence of the place appeared a' 
source of peril, and a thing to strike 
and freeze the passerby; and he 
would step more boldly, and bustle 
aloud among the contents of the 



Note the primary use of the 
word " rumor.** 



Contrast. 



Study of fear. 
Tmpressionism. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



403 



shop, and imitate, with elaborate 
bravado, the movements of a busy 
man at ease in his own house. 

JO. But he was now so pulled 
about by different alarms that, while 
one portion of his mind was still 
alert and cunning, another trembled 
on the brink of lunacy. One hal- 
lucination in particular took a strong 
hold on his credulity. The neighbor 
hearkening with white face beside 
his window, the passerby arrested 
by a horrible surmise on the pave- 
ment — these could at worst suspect, 
they could not know; through the 
brick walls and shuttered windows 
only sounds could penetrate. But 
here, within the house, was he alone? 
He knew he was; he had watched 
the servant set forth sweethearting, 
in her poor best, " out for the day " 
written in every ribbon and smile. 
Yes, he was alone, of course; and 
yet, in the bulk of empty house 
above him, he could surely hear a 
stir of delicate footing — he was 
surely conscious, inexplicably con- 
scious of some presence. Ay, sure- 
ly; to every room and corner of the 
house his imagination followed it; 
and now it was a faceless thing, and 
yet had eyes to see with; and again 
it was a shadow of himself; and yet 
again behold the image of the dead 
dealer, reinspired with cunning and 
hatred. 

31. At times, with a strong effort, 
he would glance at the open door 
which still seemed to repel his eyes. 



An impertant observatioiu 



Note how his reasoning be- 
comes hyper-acute* 



Forecttt, 



404 



STUDYING THE SHORT-SJORY 



The house was tall, the skylight 
small and dirty, the day blind with 
fog; and the light that filtered down 
to the ground story was exceedingly 
faint, and showed dimly on the 
threshold of the shop: And yet, in 
that strip of doubtful brightness, did 
there not hang wavering a shadow? 

32. Suddenly, from the street out- 
side, a very jovial gentleman began 
to beat with a staff on the shop- 
door, accompanying his blows with 
shouts and railleries in which the 
dealer was continually called upon 
by name. Markheim, smitten into 
ice, glanced at the dead man. But 
no! he lay quite still; he was fled 
away far beyond earshot of these 
blows and shoutings; he was sunk 
beneath seas of silence; and his 
name, which would once have caught 
his notice above the howling of a 
storm, had become an empty sound. 
And presently the jovial gentleman 
desisted from his knocking and de- 
parted. 

33. Here was a broad hint to hurry 
what remained to be done, to get 
forth from this accusing neighbor- 
hood, to plunge into a bath of Lon- 
don multitudes, and to reach, on 
the other side of day, that haven of 
safety and apparent innocence — his 
bed. One visitor had come: at «ny 
moment another might follow and 
be more obstinate. To have done 
the deed, and yet not to reap the 
profit, would be too abhorrent a 
failure. The money, that was now 



Note force of " blind.*^ 



Pseudo crisis. 
Contributory incident. 



Note "apparent.'* 



Key. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



4^5 



Markheim's concern ; and as a means 
to that, the keys. 

34. He glanced over his shoulder 
at the open door, where the shadow 
was still lingering and shivering; 
and with no conscious repugnance 
of the mind, yet with a tremor of the 
belly, he drew near the body of his 
victim. The human character had 
quite departed. Like a suit half- 
stuffed with bran, the limbs lay scat- 
tered, the trunk doubled, on the 
floor ; and yet the thing repelled him. 
Although so dingy and inconsider- 
able to the eye, he feared it might 
have more significance to the touch. 
He took the body by tlie shoulders, 
and turned it on its back. It was 
strangely light and supple, and the 
limbs, as if they had been broken, 
fell into the oddest postures. The 
face was robbed of all expression; 
but it was as pale as wax, and shock- 
ingly smeared with blood about one 
temple. That was, for Markheim, 
the one displeasing circumstance. It 
carried him back, upon the instant, to 
a certain fair day in a fisher's vil- 
lage: a gray day, a piping wind, a 
crowd upon the street, the blare of 
brasses, the booming of drums, the 
nasal voice of a ballad singer; and 
a boy going to and fro, buried over 
head in the crowd and divided be- 
tween interest and fear, until, com- 
ing out upon the chief place of con- 
course, he beheld a booth and a 
great screen with pictures, dismally 
designed, garishly colored: Brown- 



Note subsidence of acu«* 
fears and rise of his tru* 
mood. 



Carefully consider the 
tion of Markheim*s sanity, 
judging only from CIm 
story as thus far told- 



4i06 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

rigg with her apprentice; the Man- 
nings with their murdered guest; 
Weare in the death-grip of Thurtell; 
and a score besides of famous crimes. 
The thing was as clear as an illu- 
sion; he was once again that little 
boy; he was looking once again, and 
with the same sense of physical re- 
volt, at these vile pictures; he was 
still stunned by the thumping of the 
drums. A bar of that day*s music 
returned upon his memory; and at 
that, for the first time, a qualm came 
over him, a breath of nausea, a sud- 
den weakness of the joints, which 
he must instantly resist and conquer. 
35. He judged it more prudent to 
confront than to flee from these 
considerations; looking the more 
hardily in the dead face, bending his 
mind to realize the nature and great- 
ness of his crime. So little a while 
ago that face had moved with every 
change of sentiment, that pale mouth 
had spoken, that body had been all 
on fire with governable energies ; and 
now, and by his act, that piece of 
life had been arrested, as the horol- 
ogist, with interjected finger, ar- 
rests the beating of the clock. So 
he reasoned in vain; he could rise 

to no more remorseful conscious- Key. What caused this be- 
ness ; the same heart which had numbed conacience? 
shuddered before the painted effigies 
of crime, looked on its reality un- 
moved. At best, he felt a gleam of 
pity for one who had been endowed 
in vain with all those faculties that 
can make the world a garden of en- 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



4or 



chantment, one who had never lived 
and who was now dead. But of 
penitence, no, not a tremor. 

j6. With that, shaking himself 
clear of these considerations, he 
found the keys and advanced toward 
the open door of the shop. Out- 
side, it had begun to rain smartly; 
and the sound of the shower upon 
the roof had banished silence. Like 
some dripping cavern, the chambers 
of the house were haunted by an in* 
cessant echoing, which filled the ear 
and mingled with the ticking of the 
clocks. And, as Markheim approach- 
ed the door, he seemed to hear, in 
answer to his own cautious tread, 
the steps of another foot withdraw- 
ing up the stair. The shadow still 
palpitated loosely on the threshold. 
He threw a ton's weight of resolve 
upon his muscles, and drew back the 
door. 

Z7. The faint, foggy daylight glim- 
mered dimly on the bare floor and 
stairs; on the bright suit of armor 
posted, halbert in hand, upon the 
landing; and on the dark wood- 
carvings, and framed pictures that 
hung against the yellow panels of 
the wainscot. So loud was the beat- 
ing of the rain through all the house 
that, in Markheim*s ears, it began to 
be distinguished into many different 
sounds. Footsteps and sighs, the 
tread of regiments marching in the 
distance, the chink of money in the 
counting, and the creaking of doors 
held stealthily ajar, appeared to 



Plot IweiDBirT, 



Forecast of moral criiis. 



Note harmony of setting 
with tone of approaching 
crisis. 



.Compare Stevenson's com- 
bination of fact and fan- 
tasy with Hawthorne*s in 
"The White Old Maid." 



4o8 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



mingle with the patter of the drops 
upon the cupola and the gushing of 
the water in the pipes. The sense 
that he was not alone grew upon 
him to the verge of madness. On 
every side he was haunted and be- 
girt by presences. He heard them Rise toward crisis, 
moving in the upper chambers ; from 
the shop, he heard the dead nian 
getting to his legs; and as he began 
with a great effort to mount the 
stairs, feet fled quietly before him 
and followed stealthily behind. If 
he were but deaf, he thought, how 
tranquilly he would possess his soul. Body and spirit 
And then again, and hearkening with 
every fresh attention, he blessed 
himself for that unresisting sense 
which held the outposts and stood 
a trusty sentinel upon his life. His 
head turned continually on his neck; 
his eyes, which seemed starting from 
their orbits, scouted on every side, 
and on every side were half-reward- 
ed as with the tail of something 
nameless, vanishing. The four-and- A notable passage, 
twenty steps to the first floor were 
four-and-twenty agonies. 

j8. On that first story, the doors 
stood ajar, three of them like three 
ambushes, shaking his nerves like 
the throats of cannon. He could 
never again, he felt, be sufficiently 
immured and fortified from men's 
observing eyes; he longed to be 
home, girt in by walls, buried among 
bedclothes, and invisible to all but 
God. And at that thought he won- Note the exception, 
dered a little, recollecting tales of 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



409 



Other murderers and the fear they 
were said to entertain of heavenly 
avengers. It was not so, at least, 
with him. He feared the laws of 
nature, lest, in their callous and im- 
mutable procedure, they should pre- 
serve some damning evidence of his 
crime. He feared tenfold more, with 
a slavish, superstitious terror, some 
scission in the continuity of man's 
experience, some willful illegality of 
nature. He played a game of skill, 
depending on the rules, calculating 
consequence from cause; and what 
if nature, as the defeated tyrant 
overthrew the chess-board, should 
break the mold of their succession? 
The like had befallen Napoleon (so 
writers said) when the winter chang- 
ed the time of its appearance. The 
like might befall Markheim: the 
solid walls might become transparent 
and reveal his doings Uke those of 
bees in a glass hive ; the stout planks 
might yield under his foot like quick- 
sands and detain him in their clutch ; 
ay, and there v^ere soberer accidents 
that might destroy him ; if, for, in- 
stance, the house should fall and 
imprison him beside the body of his 
victim; or the house next door 
should fiy on fire, and the firemen 
invade him from all sides. These 
things he feared; and, in a sense, 
these things might be called the 
hands of God reached forth against 
sin. But about God himself he was 
at ease ; his act was doubtless ex- 
ceptional, but so were his excuses. 



Note how suspense in the 
reader is maintained by 
disclosing Markheim*8 sus- 
pense. 



Key. 



4IO 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



which God knew; it was there, and 
not among men, that he felt sure of 
justice. 

39. When he had got safe into the 
drawing-room, ^ and shut the door 
behind him, he was aware of a re- 
spite from alarms. The room was 
quite dismantled, uncarpeted besides, 
and strewn with packing caises and 
incongruous furniture; several great 
pier-glasses, in which he beheld 
himself at various angles, like an 
actor on the stage; many pictures, 
framed and unframed, standing with 
their faces to the wall ; a fine Sheraton 
sideboard, a cabinet of marquetry, 
and a great old bed, with tapestry 
hangings. The windows opened to 
the floor; but by great good fortune 
the lower part of the shutters had 
been closed, and this concealed him 
from the neighbors. Here, then, 
Markheim drew in a packing case be- 
fore the cabinet, and began to search 
among the keys. It was a long busi- 
ness, for there were many; and it 
was irksome, besides; for, after all, 
there might be nothing in the cabinet, 
and time was on the wing. But the 
closeness of the occupation sobered 
him. With the tail of his eye he 
saw the door — even glanced at it 
from time to time directly, like a 
besieged commander pleased to verify 
the good estate of his defenses. But 
in truth he was at peace. The rain 
falling in the street sounded natural 
and pleasant. Presently, on the 
other side, the notes of a piano were 



Is this normal? 



Note action of Auto-suggea- 



Remarkable relief 
penie period. 



in ttts- 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



4H 



wakened to the music of a hymn, 
and voices of many children took up 
the air and words. How stately, 
how comfortable was the melody! 
How fresh the youthful voices! 
Markheim gave ear to it smilingly, 
as he sorted out the keys; and his 
mind was thronged with answerable 
ideas and images; church-going 
children and the pealing of the high 
organ; children afield, bathers by 
the brookside, ramblers on the 
brambly common, kite-flyers in the 
windy and cloud-navigated sky; and 
then, at another cadence of the hymn, 
back again to church, and the som- 
nolence of summer Sundays, and the 
high genteel voice of the parson 
(which he smiled a little to recall) 
and the painted Jacobean tombs, and 
the dim lettering of the Ten Com- 
mandments in the chancel. 

40. And as he sat thus, at once 
busy and absent, he was startled to 
his feet. A flash of ice, a flash of 
fire, a bursting gush of blood, went 
over him, and then he stood trans- 
fixed and thrilling. A step mounted 
the stair slowly and steadily, and 
presently a hand was laid upon the 
knob, and the lock clicked, and the 
door opened. 

41. Fear held Markheim in a vice. 
What to expect he knew not, wheth- 
er the dead man walking, or the 
official ministers of human justice, 
or some chance witness blindly 
stumbling in to consign him to the 
gallows. But when a face was thrust 



Powerful contrast. 



Approach of moral crisis. 



Markheim perceives only a 
physical danger. Note 
how long he remains dead 
to any moral judgment of 
himself. 



412 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



into the aperture, glanced round the 
room, looked at him, nodded and 
smiled as if in friendly recognition, 
and then withdrew again, and the 
door closed behind it, his fear broke 
loose from his control in a hoarse 
cry. At the sound of this the visitant 
returned. 

42. "Did you call me?" he asked, 
pleasantly, and with that he entered 
the room and closed the door behind 
him. 

43. Markheim stood and gazed at 
him with all his eyes. Perhaps there 
was a film upon his sight, but the 
outlines of the newcomer seemed to 
change and waver like those of the 
idols in the wavering candle-light of 
the shop; and at times he thought 
he knew him; and at times he 
thought he bore a likeness to him- 
self; and always, like a lump of liv- 
ing terror, there lay in his bosom the 
conviction that this thing was not 
of the earth and not of God. 

44. And yet the creature had a 
strange air of the common-place, as 
he stood looking on Markheim with 
a smile ; and when he added : " You 
are looking for the money, I be- 
lieve?" it was in the tones of every- 
day politeness. 

45. Markheim made no answer. 

46. "I should warn you," resum- 
ed the other, ** that the maid has left 
her sweetheart earlier than usual and 
will soon be here. If Mr. Markheim 
be found in this house, I need not 
describe to him the consequences." 



Here is a real though iin« 
recognized moral crisis. 
Fear eventually leads to 
his moral triumph. 



Note the sjrmbolism of the 
closed door. 



Kkt. 



This lUtes the proUen. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



413 



47. "You know mc?" cried the 
murderer. 

48. The visitor smiled. " You have 
long been a favorite of mine," he 
said ; " and I have long observed and 
often sought to help you/* 

49. " What are you ? " cried Mark- 
heim; "the devil?" 

50. "What I may be," returned 
the other, "cannot affect the service 
I propose to render you." 

51. "It can," cried Markheim; "it 
does! Be helped by you? No, 
never; not by you! You do not 
know me yet, thank God, you do 
not know me ! " 

52. "I know you," replied the 
visitant, with a sort of kind severity 
or rather firmness. "I know you to 
the soul." 

53. " Know me ! " cried Markheim. 
"Who can do so? My life is but a 
travesty and slander on myself. I 
have lived to belie my nature. All 
men do; all men are better than this 
disguise that grows about and stifles > 
them. You see each dragged away 
by life, like one whom bravos have 
seized and muffled in a cloak. If 
they had their own control — if you 
could see their faces, they would be 
altogether different, they would shine 
out for heroes and saints! I am 
worse than most; myself is more 
overlaid; my excuse is known to me 
and God. But, had I the time, I 
could disclose myself." 

54. " To me ? " inquired the visitant 



This is an important passage^ 



Forecast 
struggle 
self. 



of Markheim*s 
with his better 



Does Markheim really know 
himself? 



414 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



55. "To you before all," returned 
the murderer. ''I supposed you 
were intelligent I thought — since 
you exists you would prove a read- 
er of the heart. And yet you would 
propose to judge me by my acts! 
Think of it; my acts! I was born 
and I have lived in a land of giants ; 
giants have dragged me by the 
wrists since I was born out of my 
mother — the giants of circumstance. 
And you would judge me by my 
acts! But can you not look within? 
Can you not understand that evil is 
hateful to me? Can you not see 
within me the clear writing of con- 
science, never blurred by any will- 
ful sophistry, although too often dis- 
regarded? Can you not read me for 
a thing that surely must be com- 
mon as humanity — the unwilling 
sinner?" 

56. "All this is very feelingly ex- 
pressed/* was the reply. " But it re- 
gards me not. These points of con- 
sistency are beyond my province, and 
I care not in the least by what com- 
pulsion you may have been dragged 
away, so as you are but carried in 
the right direction. But time flies; 
the servant delays, looking in the 
faces of the crowd and at the pictures 
on the hoardings, but still she keeps 
moving nearer; and remember, it is 
as if the gallows itself was striding 
toward you through the Christmas 
streets! Shall I help you; I, who 
know all? Shall I tell you where to 
find the money?" 



Note the aathor't 
Markhetm. 



for 



Seek a cause for auch rea- 
soning. 



Note the distinction between 
the final importance of 
cause and effect 



Contrast 

MiMoa MoBAL Crisis. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 4l5 

57. "For what price?" asked A test of Markheim's con- 
Markheim, _ listcncy. 

58. "I offer you the service for a 
Christmas gift," returned the other, 

59. Markheim could not refrain 
from smiling with a kind of bitter 
triumph. "No," said he, "I will 
take nothing at your hands ; if I 
were dying of thirst, and it was your 
hand that put the pitcher to my lips, 
I should find the courage to refuse. 
It may be credulous, but I will do 
nothing to commit myself to evil." 

60. "I have no objection to a 
death-bed repentance," observed the 
visitant. 

61. " Because you disbelieve their 
efficacy ! " Markheim cried. 

62. " I do not say so," returned 
the other; "but I look on these 
things from a different side, and 
when the life is done my interest 
falls. The man has lived to serve 
me, to spread black looks under 
color of religion, or to sow tares in 
the wheat-field, as you do, in a 
course of weak compliance with de- Key. 
sire. Now that he draws so near to 

his deliverance, he can add but one 
act of service — to repent, to die 
smiling, and thus to build up in con- . 
fidence and hope the more timorous is this irony? 
of my surviving followers. I am not 
so hard a master. Try me. Accept 
my help. Please yourself in life as 
you have done hitherto; please your- 
self more amply, spread your elbows 
at the board; and when the night 
begins to fall and the curtains to be 



4i6 



STUDYING THB SHORT-STORY 



drawn, I tell you, for your greater 
comfort, that you will find it even 
easy to compound your quarrel with 
your conscience, and to make a 
truckling peace with God. I came 
but now from such a death bed, and 
the room was full of sincere mourn- 
ers, listening to the man's last words : 
and when I looked into that face, 
which had been set as a flint against 
mercy, I found it smiling with hope." 

63. " And do you, then, suppose me 
such a creature?'' asked Markheim. 
"Do you think I have no more gen- 
erous aspirations than to sin, and 
sin, and sin, and, at last, sneak into 
heaven? My heart rises at the 
thought. Is this, then, your experi- 
ence of mankind? or is it because 
you find me with red hands that 
you presume such baseness? and is 
this crime of murder indeed so 
impious as to dry up the very springs 
of good?" 

64. " Murder is to me no special 
category." replied the other. "All 
sins are murder, even as all life is 
war. I behold your race, like starv- 
ing mariners on a raft, pluckmg 
crusts out of the hands of famine 
and feeding on each other's lives. 
I follow sins beyond the moment of 
their acting; I find in all that the 
laist consequence is death : and to my 
eyes, the pretty maid who thwarts 
her mother with such taking graces 
on a question of a ball, drips no less 
visibly with human gore than such 
a murderer as yourself. Do I say 



Markheim hat judged the 
example. 



Is this true reasoning? 



Note the detached attitude. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 



417 



that I follow sins? I follow virtues 
also ; they differ not by the thickness 
of a nail, they are both scythes for 
the reaping angel of Death. Evil, 
for which I live, consists not in 
action but in character. The bad 
man is dear to me; not the bad act, 
whose fruits, if we could follow them 
far enough down the hurtling cat- 
aract of the ages, might yet be found 
more blessed than those of the rarest 
virtues. And it is not because you 
have killed a dealer, but because you 
are Markheim, that I offered to for- 
ward your escape." 

65. " I will lay my heart open to 
you," answered Markheim. "This 
crime on which you find me is my 
last On my way to it I have learn- 
ed many lessons; itself is a lesson, 
a momentous lesson. Hitherto I 
have been driven with revolt to what 
I would not; 1 was a bond-slave to 
poverty, driven and scourged. There 
are robust virtues that can stand in 
these temptations; mine was not so: 
I had a thirst of pleasure. But to- 
day, and out of this deed, I pluck 
both warning and riches — both the 
power and a fresh resolve to be my- 
self. I become in all things a free 
actor in the world; I begin tp see 
myself all changed, these hands the 
agents of good, this heart at peace. 
Something comes over me out of the 
past; something of what I have 
dreamed on Sabbath evenings to the 
sound of the church organ, of what 
I forecast when I shed tears over 



Note paradox. 



An unusual exprcayioo 



Note use of *' of/' 



Could that have been? 



4i8 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



noble books, or talked, an innocent 
child, with my mother. There lies 
my life; I have wandered a few 
years, but now I see once more my 
city of destination." 

66. "You are to use this money 
on the Stock Exchange, I think?" 
remarked the visitor; "and there, if 
I mistake not, you have already lost 
some thousands?" 

^. "Ah," said Markheim, "but 
this time I have a sure thing." 

68. "This time, again, you will 
lose," replied the visitor, quietly. 

69. "Ah, but I keep back the 
half ! " cried Markheim. 

yo, " That also you will lose," said 
the other. 

71. The sweat started upon Mark- 
heim's brow. "Well, then, what 
matter?" he exclaimed. "Say it be 
lost, say I am plunged again in 
poverty, shall one part of me, and 
that the worse, continue until the 
end to override the better? Evil and 
good run strong in me, haling me 
both ways. I do not love the one 
thing, I love all. I can conceive 
great deeds, renunciations, martyr- 
doms ; and though I be fallen to such 
a crime as murder, pity is no strang- 
er to my thoughts. I pity the poor; 
who knows their trials better than 
myself? I pity and help them; I 
prize love, I Ibve honest laughter; 
there is no good thing nor true thing 
on earth but 1 love it from my heart. 
And are my vices only to direct my 
life, and my virtues to lie without 



Self-deception isncovered. 



Moral crisis begins to appear 
to Markheim. 



Self-deception 
gling. 



still Strug. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 419 

effect, like some passive lumber of 
the mind? Not so; good, also, is 
a spring of acts." 

72. But the visitant raised his fin* 
ger. "For six-and-thirty years that 
you have been in this world," said 
he, "through many changes of for- 
tune and varieties of humor, I have 
watched you steadily fall. Fifteen 

years ago you would have started at Here the story is plainly 
a theft. Three years back you would didactic 
have blenched at the name of mur- 
der. Is there any crime, is there any 
cruelty or meanness, from which you 
still recoil? — five years from now I 
shall detect you in the fact I Down- 
ward, downward, lies your way; nor 
can anything but death avail to stop 
you." 

73. "It is true," Markheim said, 
huskily, " I have in some degree com- 
plied with evil. But it is so with 
all: the very saints, in the mere ex- 
ercise of living, grow less dainty, 
and take on the tone of their sur- 
roundings." 

74. "I will propound to you one |^ 
simple question," said the other; 
"and as you answer, I shall read to 
you your moral horoscope. You 
have grown in many things more lax ; 
possibly you do right to be so; and 

at any account, it is the same with 
all men. But granting that, are 
you in any one particular, however 
trifling, more difficult to please with 
your own conduct, or do you go in 
all things with a looser rein?" 

75. " In any one ? " repeated Mark- 



420 



STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 



heim, with an anguish of considera- 
tion. " No/' he added, with despair, 
** in none I I have gone down in alL*' 

76. '• Then," said the visitor, ** con- 
tent yourself with what you are, for 
you will never change ; and the words 
of your part on this stage are irrevo- 
cably written down." 

77. Markheim stood for a long 
while silent, and indeed it was the 
visitor who first broke the silence. 
"That being so," he said, "shall I 
show you the money?" 

;a " And grace ? " cried Mark- 
heim. 

79. "Have you not tried it?" re- 
turned the other. "Two or three 
years ago, did I not see you on the 
platform of revival meetings, and 
was not your voice the loudest in 
the hymn?" 

80. "It is true," said Markheim; 
"and I see clearly what remains for 
me by way of duty. I thank you for 
these lessons from my soul: my eyes 
are opened, and I behold myself at 
last fer what I am." 

81. At this moment, the sharp note 
of the door-bell rang through the 
house; and the visitant, as though 
this were some concerted signal for 
which he had been waiting, chang- 
ed at once in his demeanor. 

82. "The maid I" he cried. "She 
has returned, as I forewarned you, 
and there is now before you one 
more difficult passage. Her master, 
you must say, is ill; you must let 
her in, with an assured but rather 



MiHOK MoiAi. Climax. 

Markheim at laat ■eat 
aeU. 



Full Mobal Caisis. 
Physical Resultant Caxaij. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 421 

serious cotmtenance — no smiles, no 

overacting, and I promise you sue- ^^^ *«•*• 

cess! Once the girl within* and the 

door closed, the same dexterity that 

has already rid you of the dealer will 

relieve you of this last danger in 

your path. Thenceforward you have 

the whole evening — the whole night, 

if needful — to ransack the treasures 

of the house and to make good your 

safety. This is help that comes to 

you with the mask of danger. Up ! " 

he cried: "up, friend; your life 

hangs tremhling in the scales; up, 

and act ! " 

83. Markheim steadily regarded his 
counsellor. "If I he condemned to 
evil acts," he said, "there is still 
one door of freedom open — I can 
cease from action. If my life be an 
ill thing, I can lay it down. Though 
I be, as you say truly, at the beck 
of every small temptation, I can yet, 
by one decisive gesture, place myself 
beyond the reach of all. My love 
of good is damned to barrenness; it 
may, and let it, be! But I have still 
my hatred of evil ; and from that, to 
your galling disappointment, you 
shall see that I can draw both energy 
and courage." 

84. The features of the visitor be- Who was the visitant? 
gan to undergo a wonderful and 

lovely change; they brightened and 
softened with a tender triumph ; and, 
even as they brightened, faded and 
dislimned. But Markheim did not 
pause to watch or understand the 
transformation. He opened the door 



422 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

and went down-stairs very slowly, 
thinking to himself. His {Mist went 
soberly before him; he beheld it as 
it was, ugly and strenuous like a 
dream, random as chance-medley — 
a scene of defeat. Life, as he thus 
reviewed it, tempted him no longer; 
but on the further side he perceived 
a quiet haven for his bark. He 
paused in the passage, and looked into 
the shop, where the candle still burn- 
ed by the dead body. It was strange- 
ly silent Thoughts of the dealer 
swarmed into his mind, as he stood 
gazing. And then the bell once more 
broke out into impatient clamor. 

85. He confronted the maid upon 
the threshold with something like a 
smile. 

86. "You had better go for the Moral Climax. Denoub- 
police," said he : "I have killed your >««»»• ' 

master." 



MORRISON AND HIS WRITINGS 

Arthur Morrison was bom in Kent, England, in 1863. 
After some experience as a clerk in the civil service, as 
the secretary of a charity trust in the East End of Lon- 
don, and as a journalist on the editorial staff of an even- 
ing paper, he settled down definitely to his career as 
novelist and writer on oriental art. He is best known as 
a journalist, however, and his familiarity with the East 
End has largely contributed to his success in depicting 
the sordid life of London's " mean streets,*' as the " re- 
morseless realism" of his pictures testify. Mr. Morri- 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 423 

son's literary work was in the nature of prose and 
verse panegyrizing bicycles and bicycling. His principal 
works, apart from several plays and magazine contribu- 
tions, are Tales of Mean Streets; the several Martin 
Hewitt (detective) books; A Child of the J ago; To 
London Town; The Hole in the Wall; The Red Triangle; 
The Green Eye of Goona (published in America as The 
Green Diamond) ; and The Painters of Japan, 

Mr. Morrison's best fiction is not large in bulk, for his 
detective stories are surpassed both in merit and in popu- 
lar appeal by more than one writer on similar themes; 
but in his Tales of Mean Streets, which contains the ap- 
pended study, " On the Stairs," he has attained a com- 
pressed power equalled only by the French realists and 
scarcely surpassed even by them. He has brought the 
art of suggestion to a high pass, his swiftness and firm- 
ness of delineation are equally effective, and though his 
subjects are sordid and often depressing they live before 
us as real folk. 

The introduction to Tales of Mean Streets appeared in Mac- 
millan's Magazine in October, 1891, where it was called simply, 
"A Street." This sketch attracted the attention of Mr. W. E. 
Henley, who gave the young writer the benefit of his own 
knowledge and criticism; and it is to Henley and to Walter 
Besant tha^ Mr. Morrison makes special acknowledgment for 
help in the technicalities and mechanism of his tales. Most of 
these Tales of Mean Streets appeared in the National Observer 
(while Henley was the editor), and a few in the Pall Mall 
Budget.-— Book Buyer (London), vol. 12. 

If the modern novel about the slums, such as novels of Mr. 
Arthur Morrison, or the exceedingly able novels of Mr. Somerset 



424 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

Maugham, are intended to be sensational, I can only say that that 
is a noble and reasonable object, and that they attain it ... It 
may be ... it is necessary to have in our fiction the image of tbe 
horrible and hairy East-ender, merely to keep alive in us a fear- 
ful and childlike wonder at external peculiarities. ... To sum- 
marize, our slum fiction is quite defensible as aesthetic fiction; it 
is not defensible as spiritual fact— Gilbert K. Chistirion» 
Herttics, 

Ever seeking the clean-cut, picturesque phrase and the vivid 
word, he produced a very striking picture of the East End. But, 
nevertheless, it was not quite satisfactory and convincing. Hu- 
man nature does not alter so much with conditions as he seems 
to think. A little less or a little more morality does not affect 
its elements. . . . Mr. Morrison's strongest gift in writing is a 
cynicism that is almost brutal. With it he elaborates the features 
of all his characters till the impression is produced that one 
savage, hideous, ugly coster and one gaudy-feathered, bedizened 
"Jonah" have acted as models for all his studies of Jagodom. 
Moreover, his success has been achieved in pictures of the brutal. 
^Academy (London), vol. 52. 

The "mean streets" are streets in London. . . . [They] have 
found in Arthur Morrison an interpreter who lifts them out of 
their meanness upon the plane of a just claim to human sym- 
pathy. He lets us see the relief. Bill Napper, the drunken 
kerb- whacker, come into property and defending it against the 
rascally labor agitator, Scuddy Lond, mixing religious fervor and 
till-tapping with entire sincerity, Simmons and Ford, victims of 
their joint wife's "jore" and mania for trouser-making, even 
the Anarchists of the Red Cow group, appeal to us with a sense 
almost of kinship because we feel that the figures are real. 
They are capital character-studies besides. Dickens never made 
a finer than the thief Scuddy Lond, or than Billy Chope. . . . 
The art of these stories seems flawless. Mr. Morrison's gift 
amounts to genius.— Jacob Riis, Romances of " The Other Half" 
The Book Buyer, vol. 12. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 425 

FURTHER REFERENCES FOR READING ON 
MORRISON 

Methods of Arthur Morrison, Academy, vol. 50, 531 ; 
His Work, Academy, vol. 52, 493; Blackwood's Maga- 
zine, vol. 163, 734; How to Write a Short Story, Book- 
man, vol. 5, 45 ; Morrison as a Realist, H. D. Traill, Fort- 
nightly, vol. 67, 65; Reply, A. Morrison, New Review, 
vol. 16, 326; Child of the J ago: True to Facts, A. O. Jay, 
Fortnightly, vol. 67, 324, 

FOR ANALYSIS 
ON THE STAIRS 

BY ARTHUR MORRISON 



The house had been "genteel." 
When trade was prospering in the 
East End,- and the ship-fitter or 
block-maker thought it no shame to 
live in the parish where his work- 
shop lay, such a master had lived 
here. Now, it was a tall, solid, 
well-bricked, ugly house, grimy and 
paintless in the joinery, cracked and 
patched in the windows: where the 
front door stood open all day long; 
and the womankind sat on the steps, 
talking of sickness and deaths and 
the cost of things; and treacherous 
holes lurked in the carpet of road- 
soil on the stairs and in the passage. 
For when eight families live in a 
house, nobody buys a door-mat, and 



426 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

the Street was one of those streets 
that are always muddy. It smelt, 
too, of many things, none of them 
pleasant (one was fried fish) ; but 
for all that it was not a slum. 

2. Three flights up, a gaunt wom- 
an with bare forearms stayed on her 
way to listen at a door which, open- 
ing, let out a warm, fetid wa/t from 
a close sick-room. A bent and tot- 
tering old woman stood on the thres- 
hold, holding the door behind her. 

3. "An' is 'c no better now, Mrs. 
Curtis ?** the gaunt woman asked, 
with a nod at the opening. 

4. The old woman shook her head, 
and pulled the door closer. Her jaw 
waggled loosely in her withered 
chaps: "Nor won't be; till 'e*s 
gone." Then after a certain pause, 
"'E's goin'," she said. 

5. "Don't doctor give no 'ope?" 

6. "Lor' bless ye, I don't want to 
ast no doctors," Mrs. Curtis replied, 
with something not unlike a chuckle. 
"I've seed too many on 'em. The 
boy's a-gqin', fast; I can see that 
An' then" — she gave the handle an- 
other tug, and whispered — "he's 
been called." She nodded amain; 
" Three seprit knocks at the bed-head 
las* night; an' I know what that 
means ! " 

7. The gaunt woman raised her 
brows, and nodded. "Ah, well," 
she said, "we all on us comes to it 
some day, sooner or later. An' it's 
often a 'appy release." 

8. The two looked into space be- 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 427 



yond each other, the elder with a 
nod and a croak. Presently the oth- 
er pursued, "'E's been a very good 
son, ain't 'e?" 

9. "Ay, ay, well enough son to 
me," responded the old woman, a lit- 
tle peevishly ;" an* I'll 'ave 'im put 
away decent, though there's on'y the 
Union for me after. I can do that, 
thank Gawd ! " she added, meditative- 
ly, as chin on fist she stared into 
the thickening dark over the stairs. 

la "When I lost my pore 'us- 
band," said the gaunt woman with a 
certain brightening, "I give 'im a 
'ansome funeral. '£ was a Oddfel- 
ler, an' I got twelve pound. I *ad 
a oak caufin an' a open 'earse. There 
was a kerridge for the fam'ly an' one 
for 'is mates — two 'orses each, an' 
feathers, an* mutes; an* it went the 
furthest way round to the cimitry. 
'Wotever 'appens, Mrs. Mandcrs,' 
says the undertaker, 'you'll feel as 
you've treated 'im proper; nobody 
can't reproach you over that.' An* 
they couldn't 'E was a good 'us- 
band to me, an' I buried 'im respect- 
able.'* 

II. The gaunt woman exulted. 
The old, old story of Manders's 
funeral fell upon the other one's ears 
with a freshened interest, and she 
mumbled her gums ruminantly. 
" Bob'U 'ave a 'ansome buryin', too," 
she said. "I can make it up. with 
the insurance money, an* this, an* 
that. On'y I dunno about mutes. 
It's a expense." 



428 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

la. In the East End, when a wom- 
.an has not enough money to buy a 
thing much desired, she does not say 
so in plain words ; she says the thing 
is an "expense," or a "great ex- 
pense." It means the same thing, 
but it sounds better. Mrs. Curtis 
had reckoned her resources, and 
found that mutes would be an "ex- 
pense." At a cheap funeral mutes 
cost half-a-sovereign and their liquor. 
Mrs. Manders said as much. 

13. " Yus, yus, 'arf-a-sovereign," the 
old woman assented. Within, the 
sick feebly beat the floor with a stick. 
"I*m a-cominV she cried shrilly; 
"yus, 'arf-a-sovereign, but it's a lot, 
an' I don't see 'ow I'm to do it — 
not at present." She reached for 
the door-handle again, but stopped 
and added, by after-thought, "Un- 
less I don't 'ave no plooms." 

14. "It 'ud be a pity not to 'ave 
plooms. I 'ad — " 

15. There were footsteps on the 
stairs: then a stumble and a testy 
word. Mrs. Curtis peered over in- 
to the gathering dark. "Is it the 
doctor, sir ? " she asked. It was the 
doctor's assistant; and Mrs. Man- 
ders tramped up to the next landing 
as the door of the sick-room took 
him in. 

16. For five minutes the stairs 
were darker than ever. Then the 
assistant, a very young man, came 
out again, followed by the old wom- 
an with a candle. Mrs. Manders 
listened in the upper dark. "He's 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 429 



sinking fast/' said the assistant. " He 
must have a stimulant. Dr. Mansell 
ordered port wine. Where is it?" 
Mrs. Curtis mumbled dolorously. ** I 
tell you he must have it/' he 
averred with unprofessional emphasis 
(his qualification was only a month 
old). "The man can't take solid 
food, and his strength must be kept 
up somehow. Another day may 
make all the difference. Is it be- 
cause you can't afford it?" "It's a 
expense — sich a expense, doctor/' 
the old woman pleaded. "An' wot 
with 'arf-pints o' milk an'—" She 
grew inarticulate, and mumbled dis- 
mally. ' 

17. "But he must have it, Mrs. 
Curtis, if it's your last shilling: it's 
the only way. If you mean you ab- 
solutely haven't the money — " and 
he paused a little awkwardly. He 
was not a wealthy yo^ung man — 
wealthy young men do not devil for 
East End doctors — but he was con- 
scious of a certain haul of sixpences 
at nap the night before; and, being 
inexperienced, he did not foresee the 
career of persecution whereon he 
was entering at his owii expense and 
of his own motioii. He produced 
five shillings: "If you absolutely 
haven't the money, why — take this 
and get a bottle — good: not at a 
public-house. But mind, at once. 
He should have had it before." 

18. It would have interested him, 
as a matter of coincidence, to know 
that his principal had been guilty 



430 STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

of the selfsame indiscretion — even 
the amount was identical — oh that 
landing the day before. But, as Mrs. 
Curtis said nothing of this, he 
floundered down the stair and out 
into the wetter mud, pondering 
whether or not the beloved son of 
a Congregational minister might take 
full credit for a deed of charity on 
the proceeds of sixpenny nap. But 
Mrs. Curtis puffed her wrinkles, and 
shook her head sagaciously as she 
carried in her candle. From the 
room came a clink as of money fall- 
ing into a teapot And Mrs. Man- 
ders went about her business. 

19. The door was shut, and the 
stair a pit of blackness. Twice a 
lodger passed down, and up and 
down, and still it did not open. Men 
and women walked on the lower 
flights, and out at the door, and in 
again. From the street a shout or 
a snatch of laughter floated up the 
pit. On the pavement footsteps rang 
crisper and fewer, and from the bot- 
tom passage there were sounds of . 
stagger and sprawL A demented old 
clock buzzed divers hours at random, 
and was rebuked every twenty min- 
utes by the regular tread of a police- 
man on his beat. Finally, somebody 
shut the street-door with a great 
bang, and the street was muffled. A 
key turned inside the door on the 
landing, but that was all. A feeble 
light shone for hours along the 
crack below, and then went out. The 
crazy old clock went buzzing on, but 



PSYCHOLOGICAL STORIES 43^ 



nothing left that room all night. 
Nothing that opened the door. . • • 

20. When next the key turned, it 
was to Mrs. Manders's knoc^, in the 
full morning; and soon the two 
women came out on the landing to- 
gether, Mrs. Curtis with a shapeless 
clump of bonnet. "Ah, 'e's a lovely 
corpse," said Mrs. Manders. "Like 
wax. So was my 'usband." 

21. **I must be stirrinV' croaked 
the old woman, "an* go about the 
insurance an' the measurin' an' that. 
There's lots to do." 

22. **Ah, there is. 'Oo arc you 
goin* to 'ave,— Wilkins? I *ad Wil- 
kins. Better than Kedge, / think: 
Kedge's mutes dresses rusty, an* 
their trousis is frayed. If you was 
thinkin* of 'avin' mutes — *^ 

23. "Yus, yus,"— with a palsied 
nodding,— "Pm a-goin' to 'ave 
mutes : I can do it respectable, thank 
Gawd!" 

24. "And the plooms?" 

25. "Ay, yus, and the plooms too. 
They ain't sich a great expense, after 
alL" 



SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 

1. What are the points of similarity between the Character- 
Study and the Psychological Study? 

2. Define (a) Psychology, (b) Realism. 

3. Does Markheim's change of heart seem to you to be genu- 
ine? Give your reasons. 

4. Analyze his motives fully. 

5. Is the supernatural element convincing? 



43^ STUDYING THE SHORT-STORY 

6. G>uld conscience produce the same effect as the Visitant? 

7. What impression did Stevenson seek to convey by ** Mark- 
heim"? 

& Fully analyze the thoughts, feelings, and motives of the 
mother. 

9. Gin you detect Morrison's motive in writing "On the 
Stairs"? 

la Fully analyze one other psychological study, from any 
source. 



TEN REPRESENTATIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL 
STUDIES 

"A Coward," Guy de Maupassant, translated in The 

Odd Number. 
" Another Gambler," Paul Bourget, translated in Stories 

by Foreign Authors. 
"La Bretonne," Andre Theuriet, translated in Short- 
Story Masterpieces. 
" The Song of Death," Hermann Sudermann, translated 

in The Indian Lily. 
" The Recovery," Edith Wharton, in Crucial Instances. 
" Billy-Boy," John Luther Long, in volume of same title. 
'*The Executioner," Honore dc Balzac, translated in 

Masterpieces of Fiction. 
" The Revolt of ' Mother,' " Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 

Harper's Magazine, vol. 81, 553. 
'* The Lady or the Tiger," Frank R. Stockton, in volume 

of same title. 
" The Man Without a Country," Edward Everett Hale, 

in Short Story Classics, American. 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

An extended list of books and magazine articles on the short- 
story will be found on pages 375-37^9 426-431 of the present 
author's Writing the Short-Story, New York, Hinds, Hayden and 
Eldredge (1909), xiv+441 pp. Most of the bibliographical ref- 
erences here appended also appear in the revised edition of Writ- 
ing the Short-Story (1918). Magazine articles have not been 
included, as they may be found listed in the cumulative periodical 
indexes. For several years, The Writer^s Monthly, Springfield^ 
Mass., a periodical for literary workers, has printed mon&ly a 
list of magazine articles of interest to writers. 

Notes on the Influence of E, T, A, Hoffman on Edgar AlUm 
Poe, G. Gruener, Modern Language Association of America 
(1904). 

How to Write, Charles Sears Baldwin. Macmlllan (1906). 
Chapters on "How to Tell a Story," and "How to Describe." 
Based upon Bible narratives. 

The Art qf the Short-Story, George W. Gerwig. Werner 
(1909). A brief general study. Out of print. 

The Short Story in English, Henry Seidel Canby. Holt 
(1909). An exhaustive examination into the origin and develop- 
ment of the form. 

A History of Story Telling, Arthur Ransome. Stokes (1909). 

Studies in Several Literatures, Harry Thurston Peck. Dodd. 
Mead (1909). Chapters on "Poe," and "The Detective Story.'* 

The Art of Writing (also issued under the title. The Art of 
Short Story Writing) ^ George Randolph Chester. The Pub- 
lishers Syndicate (1910). A collection of brief notes on all 
phases of the title-subject. 

The Fiction Factory, John Milton Edwards (pseudonym). 
Editor Co. (ion). "The author tells how he conceived, planned, 
wrote and sold $100,000 worth of manuscripts." 

The Craftsmanship of Writing, Frederic Taber Cooper. Dodd, 
Mead (1912). These papers appeared serially in The Bookman, 
New York. 

The Plot of the Short Story, Henry Albert Phillips. Stanhope- 
Dodge (1912). The technique and mechanics of plot 

The American Short Story, C. Alphonso Smith. Ginn (1912). 
An American reprint of one of the author's lectures delivered as 
Roosevelt Professor at the University of Berlin. 

433 



434 



BIBUOGRAPHICiiL MOTS 



The Art and Business of Story Writing, W. B. Pitkin. Mac* 

millan (1912). 

The American Short Story, Elias Lieberman. Editor Co. 
(1012). 

The Art of Story Writing, J. Berg Esenwein and Mary 
Davoren Chambers. Home Correspondence School (1913). A 
study of the shorter fictional forms — ^the anecdote, fable, parable, 
tale, sketch, and short-story — ^wtth outlines for study and 
instruction. 

The Technique of the Mystery Story, Carolyn Wells. Home 
Correspondence School (1913). 

Art in Short Story Narration, Henry Albert Phillips. Stanhope- 
Dodge (1913). 

The Art of Writing, Preface to "The Nigger of the Narcissus," 
Joseph Conrad. Doubleday (1914). 

Short Stories in the Making, Robert Wilson Ncal. Oxford 
University Press (1914). 

The Author's Craft, Arnold Bennett. Doran (1914) 

The Art of the Short Story, Carol Grabo. Scribiwr (1914). 

The Modem Short-Story, Lilian Notestein and Waldo H. 
Dunn. Barney (1914). 

On the Art of Writing, A. Quiller-Couch. Putnam (1916). 

The Contemporary Short Story, Harry T. Baker. Heath 
(1916), 

The Short-Story, Barry Pain. Doran (1916). Reprint of an 
earlier English edition. 

The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations, Georges Polti. Editor 
Co. (1916). 

A Handbook of Story Writing, Blanche Colton Williams. 
Dodd, Mead (1917). 

Children's Stories and How to Tell Them, J. Berg Esenwein 
and Marietta Stockard. Home Correspondence School (1917). 

Helps for Student-Writers, Willard E. Hawkins. The Stu- 
dent-Writer Press (1917). 

The Technique of Fiction Writing, Robert Saunders Dowst. 
Editor Co. (1917). 

Besides the edited collections of miscellaneous short-stories 
included in the first edition of Writing the ^hort-Story, which 
need not be reproduced here, are the following. In most instances 
the collections are prefaced by introductory it>tes by the editors 
named. 

The Best American Tales, W. P. Trent and John Bell Henne- 
man. Crowell (1907). 

International Library of Fiction, (3 vols.)» William Patten. 
Collier (1910). 



BIBLIOCatAPHICAL NOTE 



435 



The Great English Shori-Siory Writers (2 vols.), William J. 
and Coningsby W. Dawson. Harper (1910). 

The Lock and Key Library (10 vols.), Julian Hawthorne. This 
is an expansion of the six-volume edition of Mystery and De- 
tective Stories (6 vols.). Review of Reviews Co. (1912). 

Shortest ory Masterpieces, French (2 vols.), J, Berg Esenwein. 
Home Correspondence School (1912). 

Short-Story Masterpieces, Russian (2 vols.). J. Berg Esenwein. 
Home Correspondence School (1913). 

A Collection of Short Stories, L A. Pittenger. Macmillan 

(1913). 

A Study of the Short Story, Henry S. Canby. Holt (1913). 

A Book of Short Stories, Stuart r. Sherman. Holt (1914). 

Types of the Short-Story, Benjamin A. Heydrick. Scott, Fores- 
man (1914). 

The Short-Story, E. A. Cross. McClurg (1914). 

Modem Short Stories, Margaret Ashmun. Macmillan (1914). 

Short Stories, Leonard Moulton. Houghton, Mifflin (1915). 

Short Stories for High Schools, Rosa M. R. Mikels. Scribner 

(1915). 

Elements of the Shdrt Story, E. R Hale, Jr, and F. T. Dawson. 
Holt (1915). 

Short Stories from "Life," T. L. Masson. Doubleday (1916). 

Short Stories and Selections, for Use in Secondary Schools, 
Emilie K. Baker. Macmillan (1916). 

Representative Short Stories, Nina Hart and Edna M. Perry. 
Macmillan (1917). 

The Best Short Stories of 1915, and The Yearbook of the 
American Short Story, E. T. O'Brien. Small, Maynard (1916). 

Similar collections by the san>e editor have been issued for 
1916 and 191 7, and others for later years are to follow. 

Atlantic Narratives, Charles Swain Thomas. Atlantic Monthly 
Press (1918). 

Index to Short Stories, Ina TenEyck Firkins. Wilson. 



INDEX 



In this index, names of authors are printed in small capitals and 
titles of books in italics; titles of short-stories are enclosed in 
quotations, and general persons and subjects are in Roman type. 
It has not seemed necessary to index titles and authors which are 
merely included in biographical and bibliographical notes. 



Action, 2, 3. 
Addison, Joseph, xix. 
Adventure (see Action), xvi, 3. 
Anecdote, xvi, xvii, xx. 
Arabian Nights, xviii. 

B 

Baldwin, Charles S., xxiv. 
Balzac, Honors de, xx, 134, 

253. 
Barrie, James M., 133, 215- 

^^' 
Barrett, Charles Raymond, 

xxiii. 
Beers, H. A., 300. 
Beranger, 320. 
Bibliography of Short-Story, 

xxi, 433. 
BiERCE, Ambrose, 72. 
Boccaccio, xviii ; Decameron, 

xvii; Rinaldo, xvii. 
BuiLKE, Edmund, 132. 
Burton, Richard, $2. 
Butler, Ellis Parker, 133. 



Canby, H. S., xxiv, 32, 33, 75, 

76, I49» 258, 301, 302. 
Characters, 4, 354, 355, 356, 
Character Studies, 353-389. 



Chaucer, Gfoffrey, xviii, Can- 
terbury Tales, xvii; Pardon- 
er's Tale, xvii. 

Chesterton, Gilbert K., 424. 

Cody, Sherwin, xxiii. 

Comedy, 192. 

Conte devot, xvi, xvii. 

Contributory incident, 21, 199, 

CoppfeE, Francois, 134, 368- 
388. 

** Courting of T'Nowhead's 
Bell. The," 219-249. 

Crawford, F. Marion, 72. 

Crawford, V. M., 137, 138. 

Crisis, xxvi, 355. 

Cross, J. W., 252. 

Curtis, George Wiluam, 70. 



Daudet, Alphonse, 133-147. 
Defoe, Daniel, xix. 
Denouement, xxvi. 
Detective Story, xix. 
Developing incident (see con- 
tributory incident). 
Dye, Charity, xxiii. 



£ 

Edgeworth, Maria, 

Tales, xix. 
Egyptian talcs, xv, xvL 



Moral 



437 



438 



INDEX 



EuoT, Gbokge, 253. 
Emotion, Stories of, 131-190- 
Episode, xvii, xix. 
Essay-Stories, xix. 
Esther, Book of, xvi. 
Exercises, xxxi, 67, lag, 189, 
249i 290, 351. 388* 431. 



Fabliau, xviit. 

Faguet, Smile, 6. 

" Fall of the House of Usher, 

The," 320-351. . 
Fiction, Art of, xiii. 
Flaubert, Gustave, 32, 33. 



Ghosts, 70. 

Golden Ass, The, Apuleius, xvi. 
Graham's Magazine, xxii, 295. 
Grenier, Edouard, 7- 
Griswold, Hattie T., 218. 
Guardian, xix. 

H 

Hamilton, Clayton, 354. 

Hammerton, J. A., 218. 

Handbook of Literary Criti- 
cism, 31. 

Harte, Bret, 133, 253, 254. 

Hawthorne, Julian, 70, 258, 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, xix, 
xxii, xxiii, 33, 71, 75, 297- 
319. 

Henry, O., 193-215. 

Higginson, Thomas Went- 
worth, xxiii. 

Hoffman, E. A., xix, 75. 

Homeric stories, xv. 

Humorous Stories, 191-250. 

HuTTON, R. H., 301. 



Idler, xix. 

Impressionistic Stories, 293- 
352. 



Indbfekdekt, xxiiL 
Irving, Washington, xix, 71; 
Rip Van Winkle, xviii. 



Jacobs, W. W., 108-129. 
James, Henry, 137, 149, 279. 
Jessup, Alexander, xxiv. 
Johnson, Samuel, xix. 

K 



King, Grace, 6, 7. 
Kipling, Rudyard, 31, 
147-189* 258. 



133, 



Lang, Andrew, 32, 75. 

"Last Class, The," 134, 136, 

139-147. 

Le Gallienne, Richard, 150, 
258, 300. 

Lemmon, Leonard, 258. 

Lewin, Walter, 257, 258. 

Lewis, E. H., xxiii. 

LippincotVs Magazine, xxiii. 

Local color, 8^ 254 (see set- 
ting). 

"Lodging for the Night, A," 
32, 34-67. 

Longfellow, H. W., 299. 



M 
Hamilton 



Wright, 



Mabie, 
279. 
McIntyre, Marion, 137. 
Maclaren, Ian, 216. 
"Mateo Falcone," 8-29, 134, 

254. 
Matthews, Brander, xxiii, 75, 

280i 370. 371. 
" Markheim," 32, ZZ* 393-422. 
Maupassant, Guy de, vii, 

xxix, 133, 196, 254. ^77-2^. 

356-368. 
MiRiMtE, Prosper, xix, xx« 

4, 8-29. 



INDEX 



439 



Milesian Tales, xvi. 
Miller, Mehion M., 37o. 
" Moonlight," 253, ^^ 281-290. 
''Monkey's Paw, The/' 110- 

129, 134- ^ 
MoRWSON, Arthur, 4^2-431- 
Mystery and Fantasy Stones, 

6^130. 

N 

Nathan, G, J., 196. 
NoDiER, Charles, xix. 
Novel, xiii: 
Novelette, xx, xxvii. 
Novella, xvii, xviii. » 



O'Brien, Fitz- James, 72. 
" On the Stairs," 393. 425-431- 
•^ Outcasts of Poker Flat, The," 
253, 258-277. 



Pater, Walter, 392. 
Peck, Harry Thurston, 197. 
Pellissier, Georges, 7. 
Perry, Bliss, 2, 392. 
Phelps, William Lyon, 31. 
"Piece of String, The," 356- 
368 

Plot, XXV. 

Plot incident, ii. 

PoE, Edgar Allan, xix, xx, 
xxi, xxii, XXV, 30, 72-10?$ 
134, 294, 295, 29(5, 320-351. 

Psychological Studies, 391-432- 

"Purloined Letter, The," 72, 
75-107. 

Pushkin, xix. 



Questions, see Exercises. 



Rambler, xix. 

" Ransom of Red Chief, The," 

198-215. 
Representative Stories, Lists 

of, 68, 130, 190, 250, 290, 351, 

389, 432. 
Riis, Jacob, 424. 
Romanticism, 31. 
Roz, FiRMiN, 280. 
Ruth, Book of, 133. 



Sadness in Stories, viii. 

Saintsbury, George, 7. 

Sanderson, Robert, 370. 

Saturday Review, xxiii. 

Scenario, xvi, xxvii. 

Scott, Sir Walter, xix. 

Setting, Stories of, 251-290. 

Sheran, William H., 31. 

Short History of French Liter- 
ature, 7* 

Short-Story, origin of, xx; 
defined, xxv, xxvi ; Study of, 
xiii, xiv. 

Sketch, xxviii, 355- 

Smith, C Alfonso, xxiii. 

Smith, Lewis W., xxiii. 

Spectator, xix. 

Spielhagen, Friedrich, xxiii. 

Steele, Richard, xix. 

Stevenson, Robert Louis, 29- 
67, 393-422. 

Story-tellers, xv, xvl 

" Substitute, The," 371-388. 

Symons, Arthur, 138, 279. 



Tale, XV, xvii, xx, xxvii, 355* 

Tatler, xix. 

TiECK, J. L., xix, 75- 

To Teachers, vii. 

Trent, W. P., 137. 

Twain, Mark, 193. 



440 



INDEX 



VOLTAIBK, Xix, 73. 
W 

Wabo, Aktsmas, 193. 
IVamer Library, &, 7, fli8^ a8o, 

370. 
Weiss, John, 193. 
"White Old Maid, The," 302- 

319L 



White, William Allek, 19^ 
•'Without Benefit of Clergy," 

134, 148-189. 
Writinf^ the ShortStoryt vii, 

ix, XI, XXVI, 133, 253. 255. 



Zadig, xix^ 7a. 




I 



This book should be returned to 
the Library on or before the last date 
stamped below. 

A fine is incurred by retaining it 
beyond the specified time. 
Please return promptly. 



4