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In a Little Town   By: (1872-1956)

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First Page:

[Illustration: cover]

IN A LITTLE TOWN

BOOKS BY

RUPERT HUGHES

IN A LITTLE TOWN Illustrated. Post 8vo

THE THIRTEENTH COMMANDMENT Illustrated. Post 8vo

CLIPPED WINGS. Frontispiece. Post 8vo

WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY? Illustrated. Post 8vo

THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER. Frontispiece. 16mo

EMPTY POCKETS. Illustrated. Post 8vo

HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK

[Illustration: Frontispiece]

In a Little Town

[Illustration: Title page decoration]

BY

RUPERT HUGHES

[Illustration: Publisher's mark]

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

NEW YORK AND LONDON

IN A LITTLE TOWN

Copyright, 1917, by Harper & Brothers

Printed in the United States of America

Published March, 1917

TO FREDERICK ATHERTON DUNEKA AS AN I O U OF HEARTFELT ESTEEM

CONTENTS

PAGE

DON'T YOU CARE! 1

POP 42

BABY TALK 73

THE MOUTH OF THE GIFT HORSE 106

THE OLD FOLKS AT HOME 141

AND THIS IS MARRIAGE 173

THE MAN THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN 191

THE HAPPIEST MAN IN IOWAY 222

PRAYERS 224

PAIN 232

THE BEAUTY AND THE FOOL 262

THE GHOSTLY COUNSELORS 267

DAUGHTERS OF SHILOH 285

"A" AS IN "FATHER" 356

FOREWORD

There are two immortal imbecilities that I have no patience for.

The other one is the treatment of little towns as if they were essentially different from big towns. Cities are not "Ninevehs" and "Babylons" any more than little towns are Arcadias or Utopias. In fact we are now unearthing plentiful evidence of what might have been safely assumed, that Babylon never was a "Babylon" nor Nineveh a "Nineveh" in the sense employed by poets and praters without number. Those old cities were made up of assorted souls as good and as bad and as mixed as now.

They do small towns a grievous injustice who deny them restlessness, vice, ostentation, cruelty; as they do cities a grievous injustice who deny them simplicity, homeliness, friendship, and contentment. It is one of those undeniable facts (which everybody denies) that a city is only a lot of small towns put together. Its population is largely made up of people who came from small towns and of people who go back to small towns every evening.

A village is simply a quiet street in the big city of the world. Quaint, sweet happenings take place in the avenues most thronged, and desperate events come about in sleepy lanes. People are people, chance is chance.

My novels have mainly concerned themselves with New York, and I have tried therein to publish bits of its life as they appear to such eyes and such mind as I have. Though several of my short stories have been published in single volumes, this is the first group to be issued. They are all devoted to small town people. In them I have sought the same end as in the city novels: to be true to truth, to observe with sympathy and explain with fidelity, to find the epic of a stranger's existence and shape it for the eyes of strangers to pass the throb of another heart through my heart to your heart.

The scene of these stories lies pretty close to the core of these United States, in the Middle West, in the valley of the Mississippi River. I was born near that river and spent a good deal of my boyhood in it.

Though it would be unfair, false, and unkind to fasten these stories on any definite originals, they are centered in the region about the small city of Keokuk, Iowa, from which one can also see into Illinois, and into Missouri, where I was born. Comic poets have found something comic in the name of Keokuk, as in other town names in which the letter "K" is prominent. Why "K" should be so humorous, I can't imagine... Continue reading book >>




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