An Open-Eyed Conspiracy

An Idyl of Saratoga

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Published: 1897
Language: English
Wordcount: 38,629 / 110 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 51.9
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 832
mnybks.net#: 3672
Origin: gutenberg.org

It is a far cry from Mr. W. D. Howells's early book to his later ones, and admirers of that author ought to leave An Open-Eyed Conspiracy severely alone if they wish to preserve any still lingering taste for his stories. The scene of this colorless work is laid in Saratoga, but it might as well have been laid in a railroad station for all the dreary waste spread before the reader. As we write this we remember what a wonderful scene Tolstoi makes in a railway station when we first meet Anna Karenina, and we feel in an instant the difference between the man of imagination and the man whose mind dwells on commonplace and sordid images. There is little or no plot to Mr. Howells's story, and the character drawing is weak and purposeless.

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was quite perfectly beautiful, and of such classic mould that she might well have been the tutelary goddess of that temple (if it was a temple, and not a kiosk), in the white duck costume which the goddesses were wearing that summer. Her features were Greek, but her looks were American; and she was none the less a goddess, I decided, because of that air of something exacting, of not quite satisfied, which made me more and more willing to be elderly and grey-bearded. I at least should not be expected to supply the worship necessary to keep such a goddess in good humour.

I do not know just how I can account for a strain of compassion which mingled with this sense of irresponsibility in me; perhaps it was my feeling of security that attuned me to pity; but certainly I did not look at this young girl long without beginning to grieve for her, and to weave about her a web of possibilities, which grew closer and firmer in texture when she was joined by a couple who had apparently not left her a great while be

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