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Southern Lights and Shadows   By: (1837-1920)

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First Page:

SOUTHERN LIGHTS AND SHADOWS

Harper's Novelettes

Edited By William Dean Howells And Henry Mills Alden

1907

Table of Contents

Grace MacGowan Cooke THE CAPTURE OF ANDY PROUDFOOT

Abby Meguire Roach THE LEVEL OF FORTUNE

Alice MacGowan PAP OVERHOLT

Mrs. B.F. Mayhew IN THE PINY WOODS

William L. Sheppard MY FIFTH IN MAMMY

Sarah Barnwell Elliott AN INCIDENT

M.E.M. Davis A SNIPE HUNT

J.J. Eakins THE COURTSHIP OF COLONEL BILL

Maurice Thompson THE BALANCE OF POWER

Introduction

The most noticeable characteristic of the extraordinary literary development of the South since the Civil War is that it is almost entirely in the direction of realism. A people who, up to that time, had been so romantic that they wished to naturalize among themselves the ideals and usages of the Walter Scott ages of chivalry, suddenly dropped all that, and in their search for literary material could apparently find nothing so good as the facts of their native life. The more "commonplace" these facts the better they seemed to like them. Evidently they believed that there was a poetry under the rude outside of their mountaineers, their slattern country wives, their shy rustic men and maids, their grotesque humorists, their wild religionists, even their black freedmen, which was worth more than the poetastery of the romantic fiction of their fathers. In this strong faith, which need not have been a conscious creed, the writers of the New South have given the world sketches and studies and portraits of the persons and conditions of their peculiar civilization which the Russians themselves have not excelled in honesty, and hardly in simplicity. To be sure, this development was on the lines of those early humorists who antedated the romantic fictionists, and who were often in their humor so rank, so wild, so savage, so cruel, but the modern realism has refined both upon their matter and their manner. Some of the most artistic work in the American short story, that is to say the best short story in the world, has been done in the South, so that one may be reasonably sure of an artistic pleasure in taking up a Southern story. One finds in the Southern stories careful and conscientious character, rich local color, and effective grouping, and at the same time one finds genuine pathos, true humor, noble feeling, generous sympathy. The range of this work is so great as to include even pictures of the more conventional life, but mainly the writers keep to the life which is not conventional, the life of the fields, the woods, the cabin, the village, the little country town. It would be easier to undervalue than to overvalue them, as we believe the reader of the admirable pieces here collected will agree.

W.D.H.

The Capture of Andy Proudfoot

By GRACE MACGOWAN COOKE

A dry branch snapped under Kerry's foot with the report of a toy pistol. He swore perfunctorily, and gazed greedily at the cave opening just ahead. He was a bungling woodsman at best; and now, stalking that greatest of all big game, man, the blood drummed in his ears and his heart seemed to slip a cog or two with every beat. He stood tense, yet trembling, for the space in which a man might count ten; surely if there were any one inside the cave if the one whose presence he suspected were there such a noise would have brought him forth. But a great banner of trumpet creeper, which hid the opening till one was almost upon it, waved its torches unstirred except by the wind; the sand in the doorway was unpressed by any foot.

Kerry began to go forward by inches. He was weary as only a town bred man, used to the leisurely patrolling of pavements, could be after struggling obliquely up and across the pathless flank of Big Turkey Track Mountain, and then climbing to this eyrie upon Old Yellow Bald Old Yellow, the peak that reared its "Bald" of golden grass far above the ranges of The Big and Little Turkey Tracks... Continue reading book >>




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