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What You Should Know
About American Authors XII.?Joseph Hergesheimer. THE first paper In this series of sketches dealing with Mr. Booth Tarkington pictured the subject fig- i uratively "sitting for seven years on a rail fence in Indiana," like the hero of his novel "The Gentleman from Indiana." Fully twice that number of years Mf. Jo seph Hergeshelmer had to wait before win ning appreciable recognition. He was writing industriously with the dawn of the present century. Yet it was not until the summer of 1914 that his first novel, "The Lay Anthony," was published. The talent was always there; the long battle against discouragement indicates a courage of the finest order. As Llwellyn Jones has said: "The first demand that the larger public makes upon a novelist is that His personal life shall be as romantic a3 his novels. Fortunately Mr. Hergesheimer can meet that demand certainly any one who can recognize ro mance when he sees it will recognize it in Mr. Herge3heimer's life." ^As the name in dicates. he is Pennsylvania Dutch. Born February 15, 1380; brought up in a Presby terian home, his youth was passed in a state of ill health which interfered with systematic study but, which gave him * time for the profitable reading of many paper covered novels. After very little schooling he entered the Philadelphia' Academy of Fine Arts at the age of 17 to study painting. At 21 he came into some money and went to Italy, living in Venice until his funds were exhausted. Again at home, he went off on a walking tour in the course of which he fell In with a woman novelist who en listed his aid in her proof reading. A cer tain hostility to what he read planted in him the seeds of authorship. He did not like what she had written and determined to try fiction himself. In a village in the Virginia mountains he went seriously to work, writing and rewriting one story from beginning to end twenty times, part of it a hundred times. For fourteen years he worked in this spirit. Then he sold his first tale. Mr. Hergesheimer has always found par ticular joy In the reconstruction of earlier periods of American life, and before writ ing he has literally drenched himself in the atmosphere of the particular time and en vironment in mind. For example, before a line of "Java Head" was penned he had read nearly a hundred books dealing with old Salem as it was in the days of the clipper ships and the town's maritime su premacy. The result was, as Mr. Jones has pointed out, that the author felt while writing, and the reader feels while reading, that it Is not the twentieth century but the I Concerning "THE LADIES!" A shining constellation or . wit and beauty. By E. Harrington. The Atlantic Monthly Press. FROM out of the books and the social "record of England the writer of this sentimentally entitled volume has plucked nine women as the heroines Of seven essays graced with broad and imita tive humor. Thus the patient and long suffering wife of the great diarist Samuel Pepys is made to write such a "diurnal" as she might have penned had she read her husband's diary, the humor being sup p.ied by Mrs. Pepys having engaged a master of shorthand to unravel one pas sage of the great Diary of Mr. Pepys which read: "Took occasion to fall out with my wife very highly about her ribbands being very 111 matcht and of two colors, and t.. very high words, so that I did call her Beaste." Written In Imitation of Pepys's familiar style, the "diurnal" gives his wife's impressions of his vanities and follies ai answers the question the author raises himself in his preface. "What would Eliza beth Pepys have felt if she had read th< j secrets of the Diary?" A scene Is also contrived of a meeting between the famous Stella and Vanessa o Joseph Hei early nineteenth, that the life about is the life of old Salem, that "the odor of Chi nese cargoes almost lingers in the physical nostrils and the eye is filled with peacock blue and other royal colors and dazzled with the reflection! of silk." To which comment Mr. H. W. Boynton adds: "His ? ; the Ladies Dean Swift, very pathetic and tragic: of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's writing another of her famous letters telling why she left England in 1739 and of how much her dissipated son's marriage with a dls- I rrputable woman had to do with it; and a tale of those two famous Irish beauties, ; the Gunnings, one of whom, became the Countess of Coventry and the other the Duchess of Hamilton and Argyll, and who.-e beauty Is preserved in Catherine Heed's lovely portrait. There is also a tale of "The Walpole Beauty," who became Countess of Walde grave and mother of the three famous beauties known to us through Reynolds's i lovely portrait: another of why Fanny Burney retired from court in 1791; and of ! the "Dareys of Rosing," which serves as a reintroduction to some of the characters of Miss Austen's novels. These essays tell us things we would liked to have known about these heroines; and if historical exactitude is not in them, in the author's phrase, he has at least succeeded in setting them "in other circumstances than those we know." Likewise he will have suc ceeded in amusing, interesting and hugely delighting his readers, who deserve to be j many. | gesheimer. saturation with the atmosphere of the Pennsylvania of the early 'iron masters' had a plain enough basis in his birth there and descent frofn a foundryman. But how does he come to know Salem, in Mas sachusetts, with its altogether different stock, and traditions, and color of the past? . . . What inner sympathy enabled him to distill a human story out of It?" But in "The Three Black Pennys," which many regard as his finest novel thus far, it was not a picture of one period that Mr. I Hergesheimer attempted but pictures of three. Three men of three different gen erations move through the tale, yet In a sense the three men are one, in youth, in early maturity and in old age, for it is a story of one blood, for though the in dividual may pass it is in the blood that the essential identity lies. Three sharply outlined backgrounds are flung before the reader: the American Wilderness which Howat Penny knew in 1750, the Philadel phia in which Jasper Penny lived in 1840 or thereabouts and the New York of the 1880s where Jasper's grandson, another Hcwat, plays with opera programs and dawdles over rare chin^. Mr. Hergesheimer's life in the mountains has been reflected in several of his stories, notably in "Mountain Blood." It is the story of Gordon Makimmon, a middle aged stage driver, who is squeezed out of his property by a local skinflint, who marries for her money the daughter of a local "capitalist" and treats her abominably, speedily transferring his affections to Meta Beggs, a discontented school teacher, who at heart belongs to the oldest profession in the world. What reader can forget Mr. Hergesheimer's description of this woman, revolting at the monotony of the life al>nut her, hating her pupils and the bare walls of the school house and dreaming of wild, sensual life in some European capital. Boldly she offers herself to Jdakimmoo; but she must have her price. Meta Beggs was the mask, smooth and sterile, of the hunger for adornment, for gold bands and jewels and perfume, and draperies of silk and scarlet. She waa the naked idler stained with antimony in the clay courts of Sumaria; the Paphian with painted feet loitering on the roofs of Memphis while the blocks of red sand stone floated sluggishily down the Nile for the pyramid of Khufu the King; she was the flushed voluptuousness relaxed in the scented spray of pagan baths; the woman with white piled and powdered hair in a gold shift of Louis XIV.; the prostitute with a pinched waist and great flowing sleeves of the Maison Doree. She was as old as the first vice, as the first lust budding like a black blossom in the morbidity of men* ?successful, satiated. In considering Mr. Hergesheimer's novels his shorter stories mu3t not be overlooked. There is found an occasional reader who, professing not to care for "The Three Black Pennys," or "Java Head," or "The Lay Anthony," has found stimulating delight in "Tol'able David," or "The Dark Fleece," or "Wild Orangea," or '"Tubal Gain." "The Dark Fleece" is a story of a Forty-niner who returns to his New England home. "Wild Oranges" tells of a man and a woman in an orange grove of the Georgia coast. The background of "Tubal Cain" is the blast furnace district of Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century. Seldom has Mr. Hergeshelmer attained a greater dramatic height than in depicting the encounter between the relentless -hero of "Tubal Cain," as hard as his own iron, and the bullying duelist from New Orleans. To sum up briefly, here is the order In which Mr. HoTgesheimer's longer books have appeared: "The Lay Anthony," 1914; "Mountain Blood," 1915; "The Three Black Pennys," 1917; "Gold and Iron," 1918; "Java Head." 1919; "Linda Condon," 1919; "Cytherea," 1922. Mr. Hergesheimer's new novel, "The Bright Shawl," a tale of Havana in the last days of Spanish rule, is announced for publication this autumn. Old Ir;sh Glass OLD TRTSH GLASS. By Mrs. Graydoa Stannus. Frederick A. Stokes Company. TO the Connoisseur Series of books for collectors there is now added this very complete little handbook on Irish glass by a writer who may have been spid to be born to the subject since on her ancestral estates in Ireland glass making was once practiced. Moreover, Mrs. Stan nus is an authority on the subject, is a collector of Irish glass and has a back ground of family possessions of this kind that are very rare and exquisite specimens of a craft no longer practiced in Irelahd. In her text, which runs to twelve pages, she tells the history of glass making in her native country, describes Irish gild ing, the characteristics of Irish glass (with a clear explanation of its curious color and the various shades), the revival of in terest in this ware with its inevitable trail of fakes, and a complete list of all the famous Irish factories, with the dates of their beginnings and endings. With this brief introduction there are also included in the book fifty-three plates containing several hundred illustrations of pieces of Irish glass of every conceivable form, twenty-three plates of "rubbings" of cuttings and also several illustrations of pendants and ornaments, implements used in blowing glass and sketches of factory interiors. The illustrations for the most part are of pieces in private English col lections as well as those in the collection of the author, thus affording the amateur of Irish glass in this country to see ex amples that only special privilege would enable him to study abroad. Mr. Dudley Westropp's very important work on this subject treats it more from the historical viewpoint and his illustrations ;we chiefly from Ireland's public collections of glass, so that the American amateur now has at his disposal two works that form a com plete library on an Irish craft the fruit of which occasionally comes to public sale here in limited numbers. The pictorial material in both of these books is of first importance to the amateur collector and he student of arts and crafts.