"And, oh, look at her frock!" said Mrs. Trescott, brokenly.
[Illustration: "'LOOK!' SHE DECLAIMED"]
The words turned the mind of the mother of the angel child. She looked up, her eyes blazing. "Frock!" she repeated. "Frock! What do I care for her frock? Frock!" she choked out again from the depths of her bitterness. Then she arose suddenly, and whirled tragically upon her husband. "Look!" she declaimed. "All--her lovely--hair--all her lovely hair--gone--gone!" The painter was apparently in a fit; his jaw was set, his eyes were glazed, his body was stiff and straight. "All gone--all--her lovely hair--all gone--my poor little darlin'--my--poor--little--darlin'!" And the angel child added her heart-broken voice to her mother's wail as they fled into each other's arms.
In the mean time Trescott was patiently unravelling some skeins of Jimmie's tangled intellect. "And then you went to this barber's on the hill. Yes. And where did you get the money? Yes. I see. And
These are stories set in a small Northern town, Whilomville, after the Civil War. They concern the children of the town, mostly, and are told from a child's "eye-level." For the most part they are trivial; the two best are "Hunting Lynx" and "The Stove." Crane uses dialect a lot.
The story, "The Knife," is unfortunate. It concerns two adult black men, each plotting to steal . . . watermelons. The English used by blacks in the stories is permissible in small doses--it's likely there were not too many Harvard educated black men in small towns and they probably talked the way Crane records. But a story done entirely in Stepin Fetchit dialect is excruciating, and hardly less insulting to black culture than gangsta' rap.
Crane died the same year this was published. It has the feel of minor stories knocked together in a book and rushed to print. It isn't very good.