On the Stairs contrasts the lives of two men. Johnny McComas is practical, ambitious, and methodical. His rise in the business world to the presidency of the Mid-Continent National Bank seems predestined. Raymond Prince is idealistic, dreamy, and cultured. His economic failure seems as certain as Johnny McComas' success, for his interests are legion, but he does nothing well. From their student days at Grant's Private Academy through some forty years of their adult lives their dramas are acted before a splendid Chicago setting. Yet, Fuller is more interested in development of the human character than in the development of the city. While he has created a graphic view of Chicago society from 1873 to 1916, it comes as a by-product of his in-depth analyses of McComas and Prince, and sometimes lacks the perspective needed for a novel of this scope.-- Book Review Digest, 1918
he method applies: I make myself an attendant there, and I place my age midway between the ages of the other two.
As I say, we liked Raymond well enough, yet did not quite feel that he coalesced. "Coalesced" was hardly the word we used--such verbal grandeurs were reserved for our "compositions"; but you know what I mean. Another point to be made clear without delay is this: that when Johnny appeared at the Academy, he had lately left behind him the previous condition of servitude involved in a lodgment above the landau, the phaeton, and sometimes the cow. His father and mother, as I saw them and remember them, appeared to be rather nice people. Perhaps they had lately come from some small country town and had not been able, at first, to realize themselves and their abilities to the best advantage in the city. Assuredly his father knew how to drive horses and to care for them; and he had an intuitive knack for safeguarding his self-respect. And Johnny's mother was perfectly competent to cook and to keep
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