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Life at High Tide   By: (1836-1919)

Book cover

First Page:

LIFE AT HIGH TIDE

Harper's Novelettes

Edited By

William Dean Howells and Henry Mills Alden

CONTENTS:

THE IMMEDIATE JEWEL ........ MARGARET DELAND

"AND ANGELS CAME ........... ANNE O'HAGAN

KEEPERS OF A CHARGE ........ GRACE ELLERY CHANNING

A WORKING BASIS ............ ABBY MEGUIRE ROACH

THE GLASS DOOR ............. MARY TRACY EARLE

ELIZABETH AND DAVIE ........ MURIEL CAMPBELL DYAR

BARNEY DOON, BRAGGART ...... PHILIP VERRILL MIGHELS

THE REPARATION ............. EMERY POTTLE

THE YEARLY TRIBUTE ......... ROSINA HUBLEY EMMET

A MATTER OF RIVALRY ........ OCTAVE THANET

PREFACE

There is a tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

Thus the poet and poetry, of the old order at least, always waiting upon great events, has found in the high tide flotations of masterful heroes to fortune themes most flatteringly responsive to its own high tension.

The writer of fiction has no such afflatus, no such high pitch of life, as to outward circumstance, in his representation of it, as the poet has; and therefore his may seem to the academic critic the lesser art but it is nearer to the realities of common human existence. He deals with plain men and women, and the un majestic moments of their lives.

"Life at High Tide" the title selected for this little volume of short stories, and having a real significance for each of them, which the reader may find out for himself does not reflect the poet's meaning, and, least of all, its easy optimism. In every one of these stories is presented a critical moment in one individual life sometimes, as in "The Glass Door" and in "Elizabeth and Davie," in two lives; but it leads not to or away from fortune it simply discloses character; also, in situations like those so vividly depicted in "Keepers of a Charge" and "A Yearly Tribute," the tense strain of modern circumstance. In all these real instances there are luminous points of idealism of an idealism implicit but translucent.

The authors here represented have won exceptional distinction as short story writers, and the examples given of their work not only are typical of the best periodical fiction of a very recent period all of them having been published within five years but illustrate the distinctive features, as unprecedented in quality as they are diversified in character, which mark the extreme advance in this field of literature.

H. M. A.

THE IMMEDIATE JEWEL

BY MARGARET DELAND

" Good name, in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls." Othello .

I

When James Graham, carpenter, enlisted, it was with the assurance that if he lost his life his grateful country would provide for his widow. He did lose it, and Mrs. Graham received, in exchange for a husband and his small earnings, the sum of $12 a month. But when you own your own very little house, with a dooryard for chickens (and such stray dogs and cats as quarter themselves upon you), and enough grass for a cow, and a friendly neighbor to remember your potato barrel, why, you can get along somehow. In Lizzie Graham's case nobody knew just how, because she was not one of the confidential kind. But certainly there were days in winter when the house was chilly, and months when fresh meat was unknown, and years when a new dress was not thought of. This state of things is not remarkable, taken in connection with an income of $144 a year, and a New England village where people all do their own work, so that a woman has no chance to hire out.

All the same, Mrs. Graham was not an object of charity. Had she been that, she would have been promptly sent to the Poor Farm. No sentimental consideration of a grateful country would have moved Jonesville to philanthropy; it sent its paupers to the Poor Farm with prompt common sense.

When Jonesville's old school teacher, Mr. Nathaniel May, came wandering back from the great world, quite penniless, almost blind, and with a faint mist across his pleasant mind, Jonesville saw nothing for him but the Poor Farm... Continue reading book >>




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