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Second Book of Tales   By: (1850-1895)

Book cover

First Page:

The Works of Eugene Field

Vol. X

The Writings in Prose and Verse of Eugene Field

SECOND BOOK OF TALES

[Frontispiece: Eugene Field. Etched by W. H. W. Bicknell.]

Charles Scribner's Sons New York 1911

Copyright, 1896, by Julia Sutherland Field.

NOTE

The tales down to and including "The Werewolf" in this volume have been selected from those which remained unpublished in book form at the time of Mr. Field's death. It was also thought desirable to take from "Culture's Garland," and to incorporate in this volume, such sketches as seemed most likely to prove of permanent value and of interest as illustrating Mr. Field's earlier manner; and these, eight in number, form the latter part of the book.

INTRODUCTION

Of all American poets Field, it seems to me, best understood the heart of a child. Other sweet singers have given us the homely life of the Western cabin, the unexpected tenderness of the mountaineer, the loyalty and quaint devotion of the negro servant, but to Field alone, and in preëminent degree, was given that keen insight into child nature, that compassion for its faults, that sympathy with its sorrows and that delight in its joyous innocence which will endear him to his race as long as our language is read.

His poems too always kindle afresh that spark of child life which still lies smouldering in the hearts of us all, no matter how poor and sorrowful our beginnings. As we read, how the old memories come back to us! Old hopes, rosy with the expectation of the indefinite and unknowable. Old misgivings and fears; old rompings and holidays and precious idle hours. We know them all, and we know how true they are. We remember in our own case the very hour and day, and how it all happened and why, and what came of it, joys and sorrows as real as our keenest experiences since.

This is a heritage plentiful and noble, and this heritage is Field's.

In the last paragraphs of that tender prose poem of "Bill the Lokil Editor" one of the Profitable Tales Bill "alluz fond uv children 'nd birds 'nd flowers" Bill, who was like the old sycamore that the lightning had struck, with the vines spread all around and over it, covering its scars and splintered branches occurs this passage:

" That's Bill perhaps as he stands up f'r jedgment a miserable, tremblin', 'nd unworthy thing, perhaps, but twined about, all over, with singin' and pleadin' little children and that is pleasin' in God's sight, I know."

If Field had nothing else to bring he could say truthfully as he faced his Master:

"I followed in your footsteps. I loved the children and the children loved me."

F. HOPKINSON SMITH.

The Tales in this Book

HUMIN NATUR' ON THE HAN'BUL 'ND ST. JO.

THE MOTHER IN PARADISE

MR. AND MRS. BLOSSOM

DEATH AND THE SOLDIER

THE 'JININ' FARMS

THE ANGEL AND THE FLOWERS

THE CHILD'S LETTER

THE SINGER MOTHER

THE TWO WIVES

THE WOOING OF MISS WOPPIT

THE TALISMAN

GEORGE'S BIRTHDAY

SWEET ONE DARLING AND THE DREAM FAIRIES

SWEET ONE DARLING AND THE MOON GARDEN

SAMUEL COWLES AND HIS HORSE ROYAL

THE WEREWOLF

A MARVELLOUS INVENTION

THE STORY OF XANTHIPPE

BAKED BEANS AND CULTURE

MLLE. PRUD'HOMME'S BOOK

THE DEMAND FOR CONDENSED MUSIC

LEARNING AND LITERATURE

"DIE WALKÜRE" UND DER BOOMERANGELUNGEN

THE WORKS OF SAPPHO

HUMIN NATUR' ON THE HAN'BUL 'ND ST. JO

Durin' war times the gorillas hed torn up most uv the cypress ties an' used 'em for kindlin' an' stove wood, an' the result wuz that when the war wuz over there wuz n't anythink left uv the Han'bul 'nd St. Jo but the rollin' stock 'nd the two streaks uv rails from one end uv the road to the other. In the spring uv '67 I hed to go out into Kansas; and takin' the Han'bul 'nd St. Jo at Palmyry Junction, I wuz n't long in findin' out that the Han'bul 'nd St. Jo railroad wuz jist about the wust cast of rollin' prairer I ever struck... Continue reading book >>




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