WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS and HENRY MILLS ALDEN
Harper & Brothers Publishers
New York and London
1895, 1896, 1897, 1904, 1905, 1906
RICHARD LE GALLIENNE
"THE LITTLE JOYS OF MARGARET"
"KITTIE'S SISTER JOSEPHINE"
"THE WIZARD'S TOUCH"
CHARLES B. DE CAMP
"THE BITTER CUP"
MARY APPLEWHITE BACON
ELEANOR A. HALLOWELL
"THE PERFECT YEAR"
WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS
"THE STOUT MISS HOPKINS'S BICYCLE"
MARY M. MEARS
"THE MARRYING OF ESTHER"
"CORDELIA'S NIGHT OF ROMANCE"
E. A. ALEXANDER
"THE PRIZE FUND BENEFICIARY"
It is many years now since the American Girl began to engage the
consciousness of the American novelist. Before the expansive period
following the Civil War, in the later eighteen sixties and the earlier
eighteen seventies, she had of course been his heroine, unless he went
abroad for one in court circles, or back for one in the feudal ages.
Until the time noted, she had been a heroine and then an American girl.
After that she was an American girl, and then a heroine; and she was
often studied against foreign backgrounds, in contrast with other
international figures, and her value ascertained in comparison with
their valuelessness, though sometimes she was portrayed in those poses
of flirtation of which she was born mistress. Even in these her
superiority to all other kinds of girls was insinuated if not asserted.
The young ladies in the present collection are all American girls but
one, if we are to suppose Mr. Le Gallienne's winning type to be of the
same English origin as himself. We can be surer of him than of her,
however; but there is no question of the native Americanness of Mrs.
Alexander's girl, who is done so strikingly to the life, with courage to
grapple a character and a temperament as uncommon as it is true, which
we have rarely found among our fictionists. Having said this, we must
hedge in favor of Miss Jordan's most autochthonic Miss Kittie, so young
a girl as to be still almost a little girl, and with a head full of the
ideals of little girlhood concerning young girlhood. The pendant to her
pretty picture is the study of elderly girlhood by Octave Thanet, or
that by Miss Alice Brown, the one with its ideality, and the other with
its humor. The pathos of "The Perfect Year" is as true as either in its
truth to the girlhood which "never knew an earthly close," and yet had
its fill of rapture. Julian Ralph's strong and free sketch contributes a
fresh East Side flower, hollyhock like in its gaudiness, to the garden
of American girls, Irish American in this case, but destined to be
companioned hereafter by blossoms of our Italian American,
Yiddish American, and Russian American civilization, as soon as our
nascent novelists shall have the eye to see and the art to show them.
Meantime, here are some of our Different Girls as far as they or their
photographers have got, and their acquaintance is worth having.
The Little Joys of Margaret
BY RICHARD LE GALLIENNE
Margaret had seen her five sisters one by one leave the family nest, to
set up little nests of their own. Her brother, the eldest child of a
family of seven, had left the old home almost beyond memory, and settled
in London. Now and again he made a flying visit to the small provincial
town of his birth, and sometimes he sent two little daughters to
represent him for he was already a widowed man, and relied occasionally
on the old roof tree to replace the lost mother. Margaret had seen what
sympathetic spectators called her "fate" slowly approaching for some
time particularly when, five years ago, she had broken off her
engagement with a worthless boy. She had loved him deeply, and, had she
loved him less, a refined girl in the provinces does not find it easy to
replace a discarded suitor for the choice of young men is not
excessive. Her sisters had been more fortunate, and so, as I have said,
one by one they left their father's door in bridal veils... Continue reading book >>