SUNDAY NOVEIBIR 25, 1923.
"Movement, after , all, seemed futilel travagant, absurd desire by a. subtle
W him. Helettthat imagination could subterfuge, by a slight modification
easily. be substituted- for the, vulgar of the- object of one's wishes."
realities of things. It was possible, -from "Against The -Grain"
in his opinion, to gratify the. most ex- by Jorts Karl Huysmans.
YUwill be more
W - . * ya
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- A LastiBook
DONALD E. L. SNYDER
THE .-DOVE'8 NESTT AND- OTIhEI close t6her sister. But now she had
STOMIES, by Eatherine Mansfield. forgotten the cross lady. She put out
Alftred A. Kaopf, 1125, $2.30. a finger and stroked her sister's
Katherine Manslteld's stories, all quill; she smiled her rare smile.
that remain of them unpublished, are I 'I seen the little lamp,' she said,
put into a reliquary ,of emerald and softly.
magenta-labeled wil the inseription Then both were silent once more.'
Dove's Nest and Other Stories, and II
the sarcophagus offered to the world. ; Almost all the stories are tiny enig-
Within Uts cardboard walls lie frag mas challenging the reader to an ex-
*ments of the greatest tale she ever planation of words and deeds. In this
* wrote.- way Miss Mansfield secures her ef-
There Ias a- kind of elegiac melan- fects-by plaeing the abstruse sent-
choly, in the very physical structure ence at the end of the story. In The
of, the volume that symbolizes her Canary, a' spinster (she must have
abortive existence. 'ior it contains been a spinster) had a little song bird,
two-groups, of stories:; the first finish- The last sentence:. .
ed, but- sad and pessimistic, the seec- "-But isn't it extraordinary that
ond group of= tales- end upon minors under his sweet, joyful little singin.
and sevenths---broken in the middle it was just the sadness-Oh, what was
of a paragraph, even in the midst of it-that I heard?" Well, we are not
a sentence. Aa.one trails off upon the sure, but perhaps it Is that the lady
row of dota such as in Six Year After has-missed romance?
he senses an ironic pathos- in the Justly, one shpuld call, these pieces
words, character studies-admirable indeed-
"-And the -little steamer growing rather than cones, for there is an en.
determined, throbbed on, pressed on, tire- absence of plot which after-all is
. as if at the end of the journey there a mere literary device.
waited..." One striking element of the prose
The story which has- the title role is the manner in which a curious Sim-
belongs to the latter unfinished divis- ile or metaphor thrusts its head out
ion-a curious mixture of the trivial unexpectedly. In the Dove's Nest a
3 that beats with life and goes out in- Mr. Prodger has presented his card
explicably while the heroine nibbles a at the villa of two ladies, mother and
lump of sugar. daughter,
- Miss Mansfield might obviously "-Mother looked from the card to
enough be compared to Emily Bronte. Milly.
She never moves out of her own hori- 'Prodger, dear?' she asked mildly,
zon, beyond her own observation -Into as though helping Milly to_ a never
the perilous country of Conjectures. before tasted pudding.
And as her life was that of the aver- And Milly seemed to be holding her
i age English girl of the educated mid- plate back in the way she answered
I dIe class, the specious reader might 'I- don't-know, mother?"'
easily receive the impression of insig- But the entire tone of her stories
nificance of -sdbject. But there is a is inveterately feminine; and for a man
A redundance of imagination in her her ideas are sometimes distasteful.
;lcharacter sketches, and in her selec- The language frequently descends to
tion from the ordinary which lies so mere boudoir. chat and petty co1o-
close t- the eyes that it Is Seldom qualisms that arepositively fiat. B
seen or thought of. example, a 'darling' butterfly sails int
A very rich girl Is accosted on a the room, and the heroine exclaims:
darkFebruary evening (just as in the "'-He is a duck, isn't he? I love
novels of- Dostoevski, she thinks) by butterflies. I think they are great-
a very poor girl who asks the price of lambs."
a cup of tea. Absolutely nothing ro- The description, and the Ideas, and
mantic occurs. the imagination-in fact everyhing Is
Or, a newly married couple visit a feminine.
cafe in th Riviera- where a strapge But; over, beyond, and above all
man sings a touching ballad wretched- these faults towers the Journal which
ly. I believe will go down as the greatest
Or, a man dips a- fly into-ink three of Katherine Mansfield's short stories.
or four times to try its courage, The It Is the lovely short story of her own
fly is dead after the fourth bath, All last days. She could not be artificial
of them are bits seized from life, laid here in her own personal diary. Too
down as part of that great heritage poignant are le sorrows of the strug
of experience which art keeps forus. gle between ambition and failing
The Doll's House opens the volume. I health. She threw away the petty
Being a bit of child psychology the 1,boudoir and looked only at the vital
structure is more or less simple, nar- nucleus of her own life. She writes:
rative straightforward, and characters "-Well, I must confess I have had
delineated with a naive directness. an idle day-God knows why. All was
Miss Mansfield preserves the Greek to be written, but I just didn't write
ideal that simplicity of matter must be it. I thought I would, but I felt tired
accompanied by simple form; and her after tea and rested instead. Next
stories vary in complexity according day, Yet take this morning for in-
to this rule. The Doll's House has stance. I don't want to write any-
for its theme the inception of caste. thing- It's heavy and dull. And short
The three daughters of the town's stories seem unreal, and not write
most influential citizens receive as a doing. I don't want to write. I want
gift a splendid little puppet domicile I to live. What does one mean by that?
There is only one school in town . . . . The last few days, what one
which all the children attend' Of I notices more than anything is the
course great excitement arises in tell- blue. Blue sky, blue mountains-all
ing about the new toy at recess. And is a heavenly bluenees .
so all the little girls are told, and in ICBut in any case I shan't write any
vited to view the marvel except the stories for three months, and I'll not
Kelveys whom nobody speaks to be- have a book ready before the spring.
cause their mother is a washwoman It doesn't matter ...."
and their father a nonentity. She was seized by a sudden and fa
Well, every girl in town has seen tal hemorrhage on tife evening of Jan-
the house except the Kelveys, and one uary 9, 1922. She is buried in the
day Kezia, the-youngest of the most communal cemetery of Avon near
influential citizen's children, commits Fontainbleau. On her gravestone are
a faux pas by exhibiting the house to inscribed the words of Shakespeare
them-everything, even to the minia- she chose fortthe title page of Bliss,
ture lamp. Kezia's aunt chases them words which had long been cherished
away and they trudge along the road by her and were to prove prophetic:
again. They-Lil and Else Kelvey- "But I tell you, my lord fool, out
sit down by the road side. . . . of this nettle, danger, we p,,cK this
"-Presently our Else nudged op flower, safety."
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