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on almost every page. No imaginable child who has been thrown out of an automobile, whose clothing has been torn to pieces, whose eye has been so badly bruised that it looks like a "prizefighter's," and whose father has been suddenly killed, is likely to exclaim : "Is n't it fun!" and then to add as an afterthought: "But I had n't exactly planned to have him dead." A trained nurse who sees a man crushed under an automobile may conceivably ask herself: "What's the dose for a man under a car?" But a nurse who proposes to release the crushed man by “beginning at the beginning and taking the automobile all apart" is so foolish as to be unimaginable.

The straining after effect, which is characteristic of "The White Linen Nurse" as a whole, is particularly noticeable in what Macaulay has called the "Turkey carpet style." Take, for example, the treatment of the soul. Locke has described the human



soul as an immaterial spirit," but in Miss Abbott's narrative the soul turns pale, "sweats" like a hard-working stevedore, and "creaks" like a rusty door-hinge. But other animate and inanimate things behave in ways that are equally surprising. Nerves "rattle," glory "crackles," laughter "scuds" and 'zigzags," smiles "tug," "whang," and "twitter"; hearts plunge," "pitch," and "lurch"; gloom gets "stale," campfires become "conscious," paths "falter " and "wistful," footsteps "crackle" through wet leaves, threats "zigzag," fangs "snarl," locks "bite," hurdygurdies "romp," and even a fountain pen dallies daringly."


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As for Miss Abbott's trees, plants, and flowers, there is hardly anything that they cannot do. Willows "yearn," pine trees "guzzle," phlox "clamors," pansies "tiptoe velvet-footed across the grass," and even "the mild old grass totters palsiedly down to watch some skittish young violets and bluets frolic in and out of a giggling brook." In the next revised edition of "How to Tell the Birds from the Wild Flowers" attention should certainly be called to these floral idiosyncrasies. No one is likely to

mistake a pine tree for a pine warbler if he will only remember that one "guzzles" while the other sings.

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Some of Miss Abbott's verbal combinations are so bizarre as to be puzzling, if not unintelligible. What, for example, is a romantic smell"? Is it the "metallic scent of the stars? This seems probable, but one is left in doubt. "Phosphorescent breeze" is another puzzler. To visualize in imagination a luminous zephyr is extremely difficult; but it is no harder, perhaps, than to imagine a conscientious" towel; a "scented" star; a "browsing" spoon; a "leaf-green voice," "indomitable roof-top," or a "square



toed year."

In the invention of extraordinary metaphors and similes the author of "The White Linen Nurse" stands without a rival. No other literary contortionist has ever dared to liken a moving automobile to "a huge portentous pill floating on smoothest syrup." It sounds like the recital of a trained nurse's nightmare. But why "portentous"? Apparently for no other reason than that both words begin with "p." Writers of the contortionist school rely chiefly upon incongruous adjectives and frenzied metaphors, but they do not wholly disdain such effects as may be produced by alliteration or assonance, and all through "The White Linen Nurse" are scattered such alliterative combinations as "portentous pill," "pranks and posies," "pinkiness of passing," "passion primitive, protective, proprietary," "glad glow," "vaporous vigil," "listless lake," "breasted birdlings," "hurled hopefully," dallied daringly," "murky mystery," and "chasm of crankiness."

One would suppose that with unlimited freedom to change arbitrarily the meaning of adjectives, adverbs and nouns, the literary contortionist would find the dictionary supply of words amply large to meet all his wants; but he never does. In "The White Linen Nurse" the author has enriched her vocabulary by coining a lot of such new and expressive words as "temperish," "wanly." "edginess," "craggedly," "worriedly," "wincingly," "courtingly," "scarily,"

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A characteristic specimen of the literary style affected by writers of the contortionist school is to be found in the description of the break of dawn in the mountains of Canada, which opens the third part of "The White Linen Nurse," and which is short enough, perhaps, to quote :

"Dank and white with its vaporous vigil, the listless lake kindled wanly to the new day's breeze. Blue with cold, a precipitous mountain peak lurched craggedly home through a rift in the fog. Drenched with mist. bedraggled with dew, a green

feathered pine tree lay guzzling insatiably at a leaf-brown pool. As monotonous as a sob, the waiting birch canoe slosh-sloshed against the beach."

When Miss Abbott wrote that paragraph, she must have been to adopt her own expression "goose-fleshed with starin"." Only by extraordinary effort could even the most experienced contortionist have imag

ined a precipitous mountain turning blue with cold, after an all-night spree, and lurching craggedly home through a rift in the fog, while its companion in dissipation, the bedraggled pine tree, still lay on the dank ground, guzzling insatiably.

Macaulay once said of Robert Montgomery's poems:

"Such writing bears the same relation to poetry which the Turkey carpet bears to a picture. There are colors in a Turkey carpet out of which a picture might be made. There are words in Mr. Montgomery's writing which, when disposed in certain orders and combinations, have made, and will again make, good poetry. But as they now stand they seem to be put together, on principle, in such a manner as to give no image of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth."

One wonders what the distinguished essayist would have thought of "The White Linen Nurse." George Kennan.

The New York Times.


There is no such word as "alright," although we have the precedent of "almighty," "altogether," and "already." It is important, by the way, to distinguish "already," and "all ready," and "altogether" and all together.

"Perpendicular" and "vertical" are not synonymous, as many seem to think. "Vertical" is an absolute term and means upright in the direction of gravity. "Perpendicular" is a relative term, that means rightangled to something else. A horizontal line is perpendicular to a vertical line.

We often see the word "nor-easter" in print, but nobody ever heard an old sailor use it. The old sailors say "no'th-easter."

To write of a man as, for instance, "the well known poet," So-and-So, implies that he is not well known. If he really is well

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gether in any way. Editors in reading manuscripts like to transfer the top sheet as it is read to the bottom of the package, or to lay the sheets singly upside down on the desk, so that when they have finished reading the manuscript will be in proper order. Sometimes they like to read holding but a single sheet at a time. It is well to humor editors. If, in spite of this, writers feel that they must fasten the sheets of a manuscrip together, the least offensive way is to use the wire clips that may be easily slipped on and off. The chances are good that the first editor who gets a manuscript so adorned will slip off the clip before he begins to read and lose it in the waste basket, but if the manuscript is returned the writer can slip on a new clip, if he likes. Ribbons, and tape and thread (no matter how neat the stitches are) never should be used. As for pins, listen to a postal clerk: "I must get about a hundred digs a day," he says, "from pins that systematic people use in their correspondence, and that stick through the envelopes. I have come to the conclusion that many writers so mail their manuscript with malicious intent. We fellows in the postoffice may not be the ones against whom they hold a grudge, but we are the ones that usually get the benefit of those pins."

The justice of Mr. Kennan's criticism of the style of Fleanor Hallowell Abbott, which he analyzes in the article reprinted in this number of THE WRITER, will be evident to those who have read only the opening paragraph of her story, "The White Linen Nurse," which is as follows: :

"The White-Linen Nurse was so tired that her noble expression ached. Incidentally her head ached and her shoulders ached and her lungs ached and the ankle bones of both feet ached quite excruciatingly. But nothing of her felt permanently incapacitated except her noble expression. Like a strip of lip-colored lead suspended from her poor little nose by two tugging wire-grey wrinkles her persistently conscientious sick-room smile seemed to be whanging aimlessly against her front teeth. The sensation certain was very unpleasant."

Is it true, as a correspondent of the New York Times says, that "although Miss Ab

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for Short Stories." The Light Within,' he says, "represents the sort of work I like to do, as it deals with real, human people. I detest the popular stories about Gibson girls, shop girls who never existed, alleged society stories, Western stories in which every character uses the word 'plumb,' and stories about smart Alecks. I believe in serious work, and I think the American public (always excepting impossible New York City) is soon going to revolt and demand serious work. 'The Light Within' was rejected by a vast number of magazines, but that did n't worry me a bit. You can't keep a good story down."

Faith Baldwin, whose poem, "Unmasked," was printed in Ainslee's for November, is the daughter of Stephen C. Baldwin, the lawyer, and for the past fourteen years her home has been in Brooklyn. She was educated at the Packer Institute Training School for Girls, at the Brooklyn Heights Seminary, and at Briarcliff School for Girls. Miss Baldwin's first poem was published in the Cavalier, shortly after her eighteenth birthday. Since then she has had fifty poems published and two short stories. Most of her poems have been printed in Munsey's and the Cavalier; others have appeared in Lippincott's, the New York Sun, Town Topics, the French Bull Dog Magazine of America, the Kansas City Star, Current Opinion, the International, Ainslee's, and Brooklyn Life. Recently the Smart Set has bought several of her verses. Miss Harriott Ware, the composer, is setting to music several of Miss Baldwin's poems, and also a put Miss Baldwin has also song cycle of hers. done work for Henry T. Marshall, the song writer.

Eugene A. Clancy, whose story, "The Light Within," appeared in Harper's Magazine for November, is a graduate of Xavier College, New York City, class of 1905. Mr. Clancy says he has devoted himself to the writing of short stories ever since he left college, and that although his stories have been rejected by every magazine in the country time and time again, he is now beginning to have some success. He has sold in all thirteen stories to the old Harper's Weekly, to Short Stories, to Harper's Magazine, to Young's Magazine, and to one or two others. Mr. Clancy has traveled in Spain, France, and Italy, and has spent considerable time in Morocco the scene of the stories which he is writing

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M. Gauss, who wrote the story, "The Other Girl," in the Youth's Companion for October 9, is Miss Marianne Gauss. When she began to write some years ago, Miss Ganss had the habit, common young She writers, of trying on different names. had various pen names, one or two of which strayed into print, and she also signed "M. Gauss," and her full name, Marianne Gauss." So it happened that she got into McClure's Magazine and the Youth's Companion as "M. Gauss," and into Collier's Weekly as "Marianne Gauss," and her outwhich she says has been meager enough at best, - has been divided ever since between two literary persons. "The Other Girl" is one of many stories which have been the outgrowth of a request from the Companion for stories touching the different phases of girl life. It is founded on the experiences of girls she knew - and often of herself while earning her living in Kansas City. Miss Gauss has written more working-girl stories than anything else, and has had difficulty with them from the fact that she often keeps too close to the literal truth of what happened, so that old friends recognize the characters.

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Erwald Stuart Hinton, whose story, "Jackman," was printed in the Popular Magazine for October 15, is a sculptor, and has little time to give to writing, although he is fond of character studies and enjoys

writing. He is at present at work on a large piece of sculpture that absorbs most of his thoughts, but he has found time to make notes and collect sketches of odd happenings and people matter picked up on various fishing and hunting trips — which he hopes to put in shape for publication. Mr. Hinton says that the same principles of construction and the same motives of design apply to both sculpture and literature, just as the vitality of either must depend on a deep and intimate love for human life. The story,

"Jackman," was created from an incident told to him some years ago when he was in the West, by the poet, John Vance Cheney. One evening as they were swapping yarns the talk turned from the queer, odd characters they had met to hunting experiences, and thence to strange feats of human endurance, and Mr. Cheney told him of the man, frightfully injured in a terrible fight with an elk, who made ten miles of mountain trail.

Frazier Hunt, who has had two newspaper stories published in recent issues of Collier's -"Littie Mrs. Lindstrom's Pull" in the issue for October 25, and “The Cub Reporter Again," in the issue for November 5— is at present a country newspaper editor in the little town of Alexis in Western Illinois. After graduating from the University of IIlinois, Mr. Hunt worked on the Chicago newspapers for a couple of years. Then, on account of a breakdown in health, he went to Southern Mexico. After two years and a half of plantation life below Vera Cruz, he was driven off his ranch by the rebels and bandits, and forced to return to the States. An opportunity to acquire a little country sheet presented itself at this time, and Mr. Hunt took it. His present position not only allows him to devote a good part of his time to his chosen profession of writing, but it opens up a great mass of interesting smalltown short-story material. At the present time Mr. Hunt is working on a number of Mexican stories built around his own exciting experiences with the revolutionists and Mexican bad men. Incidentally, he is filling

notebooks with village types, characters, and plots for future use.

Frederick Niven, who had a story, “Making an Example," in the Popular Magazine for October 15. was born in Valparaiso, Chile, and was educated at Glasgow, Scotland. He now makes his home in England, a little way out of London, in a neighborhood of picturesque villages such as Chalfont Saint Giles, where Milton's cottage is still standing, and Jordans, where Penn's Meeting House attracts many American visitors. Mr. Niven has traveled in the western part of this country and worked in the camps there by the way of experience. During the past year the London Daily News has published several of his travel-sketches written throughout the Canadian Northwest. He is much interested in the Indian, as his Making an Example" suggests, and an article of his relating to the Indian Rights Association recently appeared in the British edition of the World's Work. The Popular Magazine first introduced Mr. Niven to American readers, and his long adventure serials, "The Lost Cabin Mine" and "Hands Up!" appeared in that magazine. In England he is known as well for studies of modern manners, temperament, and environment, such as his novel, "Ellen Adair," which has been highly spoken of in England, but has not been published in America as yet.

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David Potter, author of the novelette, "The Unspeakable Turk," published in Lippincott's for November, first attracted attention as a writer by his verses, "Songs of the Sulu Sea," which appeared in the Century. Mr. Potter was born in Bridgton, New Jersey, and was graduated from Princeton University in 1896. He was appointed an assistant paymaster in the navy not long before the war with Spain. He served in the Philippines throughout the Philippine insurrection, and has lately returned to this country after two years' additional service in the islands. Mr. Potter's first novel was published in 1910. "The Lady of the

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