A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays
238 pages
English

A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays

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238 pages
English
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays, by Willa Cather This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays Author: Willa Cather Release Date: May 24, 2008 [EBook #25586] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A COLLECTION OF STORIES *** Produced by Suzanne Shell, Barbara Tozier and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays by Willa Cather CONTENTS Part I: Stories Peter On the Divide Eric Hermannson’s Soul The Sentimentality of William Tavener The Namesake The Enchanted Bluff The Joy of Nelly Deane The Bohemian Girl Consequences The Bookkeeper’s Wife Ardessa Her Boss Part II: Reviews and Essays Mark Twain William Dean Howells Edgar Allan Poe Walt Whitman Henry James Harold Frederic Kate Chopin Stephen Crane Frank Norris When I Knew Stephen Crane On the Art of Fiction Part I Stories T o C Peter o, Antone, I have told thee many times, no,“N thou shalt not sell it until I am gone.” “But I need money; what good is that old fiddle to thee? The very crows laugh at thee when thou art trying to play. Thy hand trembles so thou canst scarce hold the bow.

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Publié le 08 décembre 2010
Nombre de lectures 29
Langue English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays, by
Willa Cather
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays
Author: Willa Cather
Release Date: May 24, 2008 [EBook #25586]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A COLLECTION OF STORIES ***
Produced by Suzanne Shell, Barbara Tozier and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
A
Collection
of
Stories, Reviews and
Essays
by
Willa CatherCONTENTS
Part I: Stories
Peter
On the Divide
Eric Hermannson’s Soul
The Sentimentality of William Tavener
The Namesake
The Enchanted Bluff
The Joy of Nelly Deane
The Bohemian Girl
Consequences
The Bookkeeper’s Wife
Ardessa
Her Boss
Part II: Reviews and Essays
Mark Twain
William Dean Howells
Edgar Allan Poe
Walt Whitman
Henry James
Harold Frederic
Kate Chopin
Stephen Crane
Frank Norris
When I Knew Stephen Crane
On the Art of Fiction
Part I
Stories
T o C
Peter
o, Antone, I have told thee many times, no,“N thou shalt not sell it until I am gone.”
“But I need money; what good is that old fiddle
to thee? The very crows laugh at thee when thou art
trying to play. Thy hand trembles so thou canst
scarce hold the bow. Thou shalt go with me to the
Blue to cut wood to-morrow. See to it thou art up
early.”
“What, on the Sabbath, Antone, when it is so
cold? I get so very cold, my son, let us not go to-
morrow.”
“Yes, to-morrow, thou lazy old man. Do not I cut
wood upon the Sabbath? Care I how cold it is? Wood
thou shalt cut, and haul it too, and as for the fiddle, I
tell thee I will sell it yet.” Antone pulled his ragged
cap down over his low heavy brow, and went out.
The old man drew his stool up nearer the fire, and
sat stroking his violin with trembling fingers and
muttering, “Not while I live, not while I live.”
Five years ago they had come here, Peter
Sadelack, and his wife, and oldest son Antone, and
countless smaller Sadelacks, here to the dreariest
part of south-western Nebraska, and had taken up a
homestead. Antone was the acknowledged master
of the premises, and people said he was a likely
youth, and would do well. That he was mean and
untrustworthy every one knew, but that made little
difference. His corn was better tended than any in
the county, and his wheat always yielded more than
other men’s.
Of Peter no one knew much, nor had any one a
good word to say for him. He drank whenever he
could get out of Antone’s sight long enough to pawn
his hat or coat for whiskey. Indeed there were but
two things he would not pawn, his pipe and his
violin. He was a lazy, absent minded old fellow, who
liked to fiddle better than to plow, though Antone
surely got work enough out of them all, for that
matter. In the house of which Antone was master
there was no one, from the little boy three years
old, to the old man of sixty, who did not earn his
bread. Still people said that Peter was worthless,
and was a great drag on Antone, his son, who never
drank, and was a much better man than his father
had ever been. Peter did not care what people said.
He did not like the country, nor the people, least ofall he liked the plowing. He was very homesick for
Bohemia. Long ago, only eight years ago by the
calendar, but it seemed eight centuries to Peter, he
had been a second violinist in the great theatre at
Prague. He had gone into the theatre very young,
and had been there all his life, until he had a stroke
of paralysis, which made his arm so weak that his
bowing was uncertain. Then they told him he could
go. Those were great days at the theatre. He had
plenty to drink then, and wore a dress coat every
evening, and there were always parties after the
play. He could play in those days, ay, that he could!
He could never read the notes well, so he did not
play first; but his touch, he had a touch indeed, so
Herr Mikilsdoff, who led the orchestra, had said.
Sometimes now Peter thought he could plow better
if he could only bow as he used to. He had seen all
the lovely women in the world there, all the great
singers and the great players. He was in the
orchestra when Rachel played, and he heard Liszt
play when the Countess d’Agoult sat in the stage
box and threw the master white lilies. Once, a
French woman came and played for weeks, he did
not remember her name now. He did not
remember her face very well either, for it changed
so, it was never twice the same. But the beauty of
it, and the great hunger men felt at the sight of it,
that he remembered. Most of all he remembered
her voice. He did not know French, and could not
understand a word she said, but it seemed to him
that she must be talking the music of Chopin. And
her voice, he thought he should know that in the
other world. The last night she played a play in
which a man touched her arm, and she stabbed
him. As Peter sat among the smoking gas jets down
below the footlights with his fiddle on his knee, and
looked up at her, he thought he would like to die
too, if he could touch her arm once, and have her
stab him so. Peter went home to his wife very drunk
that night. Even in those days he was a foolish
fellow, who cared for nothing but music and pretty
faces.
It was all different now. He had nothing to drink
and little to eat, and here, there was nothing but
sun, and grass, and sky. He had forgotten almost
everything, but some things he remembered well
enough. He loved his violin and the holy Mary, and
above all else he feared the Evil One, and his son
Antone.
The fire was low, and it grew cold. Still Peter sat
by the fire remembering. He dared not throw morecobs on the fire; Antone would be angry. He did not
want to cut wood tomorrow, it would be Sunday,
and he wanted to go to mass. Antone might let him
do that. He held his violin under his wrinkled chin,
his white hair fell over it, and he began to play “Ave
Maria.” His hand shook more than ever before, and
a t last refused to work the bow at all. He sat
stupefied for a while, then arose, and taking his
violin with him, stole out into the old sod stable. He
took Antone’s shot-gun down from its peg, and
loaded it by the moonlight which streamed in
through the door. He sat down on the dirt floor, and
leaned back against the dirt wall. He heard the
wolves howling in the distance, and the night wind
screaming as it swept over the snow. Near him he
heard the regular breathing of the horses in the
dark. He put his crucifix above his heart, and folding
his hands said brokenly all the Latin he had ever
known, “Pater noster, qui in cælum est.” Then he
raised his head and sighed, “Not one kreutzer will
Antone pay them to pray for my soul, not one
kreutzer, he is so careful of his money, is Antone, he
does not waste it in drink, he is a better man than I,
but hard sometimes. He works the girls too hard,
women were not made to work so. But he shall not
sell thee, my fiddle, I can play thee no more, but
they shall not part us. We have seen it all together,
and we will forget it together, the French woman
and all.” He held his fiddle under his chin a moment,
where it had lain so often, then put it across his
knee and broke it through the middle. He pulled off
his old boot, held the gun between his knees with
the muzzle against his forehead, and pressed the
trigger with his toe.
In the morning Antone found him stiff, frozen
fast in a pool of blood. They could not straighten
him out enough to fit a coffin, so they buried him in
a pine box. Before the funeral Antone carried to
town the fiddle-bow which Peter had forgotten to
break. Antone was very thrifty, and a better man
than his father had been.
The Mahogany Tree, May 21, 1892
T o C
On the Divide
ear Rattlesnake Creek, on the side of a littleN draw stood Canute’s shanty. North, east, south,
stretched the level Nebraska plain of long rust-red
grass that undulated constantly in the wind. To the
west the ground was broken and rough, and a
narrow strip of timber wound along the turbid,
muddy little stream that had scarcely ambition
enough to crawl over its black bottom. If it had not
been for the few stunted cottonwoods and elms that
grew along its banks, Canute would have shot
himself years ago. The Norwegians are a timber-
loving people, and if there is even a turtle pond with
a few plum bushes around it they seem irresistibly
drawn toward it.
As to the shanty itself, Canute had built it without
aid of any kind, for when he first squatted along the
banks of Rattlesnake Creek there was not

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