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THE AUTHOR OF “IF WINTER COMES”1

BY HENRY C. SHELLEY

A

PILE of letters is lying before me. They range in date from

the fall of 1912 to the present time. In nearly every case they are signed: "A. S. M. H.”.

Recent events have deepened the interest of those letters. For they were written by the novelist whose name is now so familiar and so endeared to innumerable thousands as the author of "If Winter Comes."

On re-reading those letters my mind goes back to my first interview with A. S. M. Hutchinson. He was living then in a northern suburb of London, close to the Hampstead Heath, on which, as he told me, he took "prodigious walks." His study was an attic room with sloping walls, notable chiefly for its writing-table and several odd bookcases. "That,” he said, pointing to one taller than the rest, “is my favorite bookcase." And two of his favorite authors were fully represented there: Fielding, "whom I know by heart," and Meredith, who was his next master in fiction. For the rest, he spoke most affectionately of the British essayists

Keystone Addison and Steele and the like.

A. S, M, HUTCHINSON In those days Mr. Hutchinson was surprisingly boyish looking for his tioned in despatches. Then his elder upon his own experience to note that his thirty-two years. Slight of build, of sister is the wife of a soldier.

age and that of his hero correspond to a average stature, but upright as a dart, Belonging thus to a family all of year. But the novelist has not yet comas became his soldier ancestry, he had whose sons naturally went into the mitted to print any adequate description then that spirit of sympathy and that army, Mr. Hutchinson was distraught of the suffering he endured ere he was at interest in humanity which the passing that his defective eyesight had pre- last able to take his part in “the show." years have developed and deepened. vented him from adopting the army as For those friends who have an inti.

All those outward traits are much the a profession. “I think soldiering is the mate knowledge of his career each of same to-day—he is upright as ever, and only career for a man," he once told me, Mr. Hutchinson's novels is replete with more soldierly in his carriage; but the and then added: “I would gladly change autobiographical interest. There is decade that has gone has left him older places with every smart private I see, much of himself and his experiences in seeming than the ten years it represents. and I curse the short sight which robbed all. Take the George of "Once Aboard Although not looking more than his me of a red tunic."

the Lugger-," He, it will be recalled, forty-two years, still the war plowed so Three days before war was declared was a medical student. So was Mr. deeply into his spirit that all his inti- he, knowing that war was certain, tried Hutchinson. When his defective eyemate friends note the change. I doubt, to enlist in the Territorials for foreign sight prevented him from entering the indeed, whether any other young Eng- service, but was turned down because of combatant arm of the army, his parents lishman suffered so keenly from the war his defective eyesight. But towards the decided that he might still enter via the as Mr. Hutchinson.

end of October he wrote me in great Indian Medical Service. But he was as of military ancestry and breeding, it glee: “I have managed to enlist in a much a failure as his own George. Not was natural that at the first rumor of corps—of sorts—at last. The United through lack of ability; but because, war he should have striven to take his Arts Force has its headquarters at the like Keats, his heart was more set upon part in the conflict. His father is a

Royal Academy, and consists of artists literature than physic. It was during retired general, who has to his record and actors and authors and useless peo- his brief days as a medical student that much campaigning on the northwest ple of that kind. It has not yet been he began, as he has told me, "to give frontier of India, during which he officially recognized by the War Office; editors the bother of returning my raised a new Gurkha battalion. Then but we are about fifteen hundred strong manuscripts." Not all those manuhe held the important post of Director and drill with immense zeal, so I think scripts came back, however. "I had two of Staff Appointments at the War Office, will do our bit before the show is over- poems accepted by a monthly magazine, and between whiles had written many please God. I plug at it every morning which printed them and never smiled military text-books which still remain and look a wonderful ass—then to the again-it went smash almost immein popular use. The elder brother of the office."

diately." novelist saw much hard service in West All this will be full of meaning to But his heart was so averse from and South Africa, and died from the readers of "If Winter Comes.” They medicine and so set upon writing that, after-effects of his Boer War service. Mr. will recall that Mark Sabre tried again despite the faithful return of most of Hutchinson's younger brother served all and again to "do his bit." There is, in- his manuscripts, there came a day when through the Great War and was men- deed, a close relation between the ex- he made a great decision-a decision “to

periences of Mark Sabre and the novel- 'chuck' medicine and concentrate on an 1 The Novels of A. S. M. Hutchinson: "The Happy Warrior," "Once Aboard the Lugger-' ist. It is a significant example of the assault on Fleet Street." "The Clean Heart," and "If Winter Comes.' Little, Brown & Co., Boston. $2.50 each.

way in which Mr. Hutchinson has drawn "Then began," he confessed, "four

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months of desperate grinding out of all not to be broken until "The Happy War. love,” it is Mr. Braithwaite's annual sorts and conditions of stuff-'mugged rior" saw the light towards the end of anthology of American verse. For nine up' articles for the penny weeklies, 1912. That delay was due to two causes. years he has devoted much of his time verses, short stories--anything to get a One was journalistic, the other tempera- to the preparation of these surveys of footing and earn a badly needed guinea. mental. The journalistic cause con- American poetry as it is represented in Very few stuck. A regular source of in- sisted in the fact that he had become our magazines. The last decade has come (!) 'was five shillings a week for the editor of a London daily, thus leav- seen a great change in the attitude of some four or five comic verses in a ing him little time for fiction. “Well, the poetry-reading public towards magaweekly paper. But they thrilled me to good-by," he ejaculated to me one day zine verse, and Mr. Braithwaite has had the core, those 5 shilling postal orders- as I left him at the door of his office; no little share in the work of effecting it was the beginning!”

“I must get in now to be caught up in this change. In due time all this experience was to the swirl of things!” The temperamen- His anthologies have shown a steady be useful as local color for his novels. tal cause is that he is, as he admits, improvement year by year. In the pres. Turn to "The Clean Heart," for exam- "appallingly, vilely conscientious." ent volume he has perhaps reached a ple, and re-read how Mr. Wriford became Begun in 1909, “The Happy Warrior” point beyond which, with the natural a part of the Gamber establishment, was virtually finished in 1911.

But limitations upon his time and resources, turning out "copy" for all kinds of when he had completed the book, into he will be unable to go. ephemeral publications. Wriford is Mr. which he had put "absolutely all I have The general interest which has been Hutchinson writing and writing and in me," he was dismayed to realize that shown in his volumes suggests that he writing for the various weeklies and the book would not do! He decided that should be given also the active support monthlies of the house of Pearson. And it must be wholly rewritten. There

some organization interested in what happened to Wriford happened to were times when he despaired of getting poetry. We think that active co-operahim. As Wriford told the head of Gam- the story into a form satisfactory to tion and assistance in the improvement ber's, it was not more money he wanted, himself. Many of the scenes were writ- of his annual anthology would be fully but more time to himself. "I'm writing ten a dozen times. In all, virtually four as great a service to poetry as the offera novel." And so he was, writing "Once years had passed before he was able to ing of prizes to individuals. Aboard the Lugger-.”

write "The End" with any sense of satis- Assistance could be extended in the It was “The Lugger,” as Mr. Hutchin- faction.

shape of subscriptions to all the magason always calls that delectable comedy, Why? Let him explain: "I envy zines with literary standards--Mr. which prompted the novelist to take his authors who have the courage to snap Braithwaite's anthology is not as repsecond big plunge. So he left the house their fingers at little improbabilities of resentative or as inclusive as it should of Pearson for free-lance journalism and time and place and character. Time be—and also in the employment of time to write fiction. Once more, as he and again when writing I find myself editorial aid to help in the preparation always insists, he was "lucky, extraor- floored by a little unlikelihood that, if of an adequate and accurate bibliog. dinarily lucky.” Two jobs came his way persisted in, I believe no one would no- raphy. With such help these antholoat once. One to write a daily leaderette tice. But I cannot make my pen do it. gies could be made into indispensable for a London morning newspaper, and If needs be, whole chapters must be re- reference books for the student of curthe other to run a funny column for a written to remove the obstacle."

rent poetry. London evening newspaper. Those were To this should be added that Mr. The thought and enthusiasm which indeed "busy days," as he reflects. Like Hutchinson is a slow worker. He envies made these review volumes possible and Wriford, he left his lodgings at seven in the authors who can go for a long walk, the credit for attempting them belong the morning to do his evening news- plan out a chapter in their minds, and exclusively to Mr. Braithwaite. He paper column, and, like Wriford, he had then come home to rush it down onto should emphatically be helped to bring to be in his morning-newspaper office at paper. At the.time when he was writing his ideas to complete fruition. ten at night. The rest of the day was “The Happy Warrior” he was able to free for the writing of “The Lugger." think only when he was actually sitting HISTORY AND POLITICAL ECONOMY All through 1907, and later, these with pen in hand. Indeed, unless he had a

ASIA AT THE CROSSROADS: JAPAN: KO"busy days" went on. At last "The good nib and good paper and was writ- REA; CHINA; PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. By

E. Alexander Powell. Illustrated. Lugger" was finished, but the first pub- ing neatly he could not make any prog

The

Century Company, New York. $3. lisher to whom it was submitted sent it ress. But his methods have changed of back with high praise and the remark late. Taking a fancy to a type-machine

This is an entertaining presentation that "humor is out of my line." How which I affected when I worked with

of the political problems of the Far East it was published in the fall of 1908 and him in journalism, he has now developed

rather than a book of travel. Nevertheits enthusiastic reception in the United the typewriting habit. He found this an

less it is based on personal investigation States as well as in England is known. enormous advantage when writing "If

of those problems in Japan, 'China, Then came the long silence which was Winter Comes."

Korea, and the Philippines. The author is extremely well informed, he writes in

a dispassionate way on matters that are THE NEW BOOKS

often dealt with in a spirit of partisan

ship, and his style is remarkably readFICTION unsympathetic though keen. The minor

able. ROMANTIC LADY (THE). By Michael Arlen. characters are well done and there are Dodd, Mead & Co., New York. $1.90. humorous bits and graphic writing.

MODERN CITY AND ITS GOVERNMENT The ladies who figure in these deli

(THE). By William Parr Capes. E. P. cately wrought and carefully written WAYS OF LAUGHTER (THE). By Harold

Dutton & Co., New York. $5.

Begbie. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. r'omances are somewhat short on morals,

$2.

A thoroughly well informed student of but they are compensatingly long on The eccentric English lawyer who city affairs here presents the latest resubtlety. Despite one's genuine admira- tries to make the world happy by mak- sults of his investigations in the science tion for the author's style and manner ing it laugh is well conceived by the of municipal government. The commisof writing, one is pained to note that he author, but his humor in actual practice sion plan, the commission-manager plan, occasionally lapses into that form of is heavy, the gayety is forced, and the city charters, and such quesi:50s as, Is grammatical error which belongs to humorous note is kept up too long. city government a business? How should F. P. A.'s “ 'Whom are you,' said Cyril."

city officials be elected? How should

POETRY TORQUIL'S SUCCESS. By Muriel Hine. Dodd,

city school systems be managed?-all ANTHOLOGY OF MAGAZINE VERSE FOR Mead & Co., New York. $2.

1921. By William Stanley Braithwaite.

are discussed with insight, full knowlA study of the troubles and anxieties Small, Maynard & Co., Boston.

edge, and an open mind. A valuable of an unsuccessful novelist. The anal- If there ever was a book which de- book for all thoughtful citizens and all ysis of poor Torquil's deficiencies is served the characterization "a labor of progressive officials.

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THE FORGOTTEN FIRESIDE

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Often a bridesmaid but never a bride

TWAS really pathetic. Most of

THE case of Geraldine Proctor

the girls in her set were married, or about to be. Yet not one of them possessed more grace or charm or beauty than she.

And as Miss Proctor's birthdays crept gradually toward that tragic thirty-mark, marriage seemed farther away from her life than ever.

She was often a bridesmaid but never a bride. * * *

Your mirror can't tell you when your breath is not right. And even your most intimate friends probably won't.

That's the insidious thing about halitosis (the medical term for unpleasant breath). Halitosis creeps upon you unawares. You may even have it for years without knowing so yourself.

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HAT something has happened to home building and home adornment

the American home is an ines- with the sums then spent on horses and capable fact which we all recog.

carriages, we would certainly see a sitenize. Its old-time social dominance is ation diametrically opposed to that of obviously in eclipse, and the reasons the present. In fact, we need not ze which have been adduced to explain this

far back into the previous century to obvious lessening in its importance are

find a sufficient contrast-a period when many and varied.

a man's business success and his famA recently published statement bear- ily's social standing were measurable ing on this subject halted me abruptly, almost solely by the residence occupied; not merely because it translated this that is, by its neighborhood, its size, and National tendency into dollars and cents,

its apparent luxury. but rather because it pointed out a nota

So long as the home was thus socially ble parallel. There is thought-provoking emphasized, it was almost automatic material in the sentences quoted below, that a heavy percentage of a family's here reproduced for brevity's sake with.

income should go into the home. Even out their context: the newly wedded couple just breaking

1 “Last year they [the people of the

out of their teens felt the social urge United States] spent over $3,500,000,000

of immediate home-ownership.

To-day [wholesale prices) for the purchase of

in many communities this urge from automobiles and accessories. . . It is the outside is virtually non-existent. A interesting to note that the building family feels, and correctly too, that it in shortage a year ago (1919) was esti- no way endangers its social acceptance mated at $3,500,000,000.”

to be residence-renters or apartmentWithout attempting any exhaustive

dwellers. check-up of the accuracy of the two

But what about the automobile? figures (in fact, disregarding wholly

Bald as the statement may sound, the

1 their almost suspicious coincidence), we

motor car has stolen into the vantage must all of us accept the basic fact that point formerly occupied by the home; they mirror a fundamental National it has become the most widely accepted ! truth that the American home in tine symbol of a man's ability to purchase past twenty years has decreased in its luxuries, and, as such, furnishes a far relative importance. At the same time,

more convenient and definite yardstick we cannot argue against our clear reali- than any previous gauge. zation that these same two decades have Jewelry carries no price tag, can be seen an astonishing industry, the manu- cheaply imitated without serious risk of facture of motor cars, start from abso- detection, and can be seen by comparalute zero and climb into a position of tively few. A home is more visible; but major industrial importance. These it does not accompany its owner from facts are so self-evident that we need not point to point, and its cost can only be tire our brains to prove the accuracy of roughly approximated by a layman. the quoted statistics nor dispute the

An automobile, on the other hand, acpros and cons of whether there is a companies its owner in public and is a cause and effect to be traced between commodity whose cost is no secret; its the two.

value can be and is known by men and Ministers have deplored the passing women far above or below the particular of home life; reformers have harangued

financial stratum which forms its maiagainst it; magazines have pointed to it ket. Your grocery-boy is quite probably with alarm; teachers have testified to a connoisseur on motor values.

My the handicaps which it imposes upon

wife's four-year-old godson recently their efforts. And simultaneously auto- pointed out to her an equally youthful mobile rows, the country over, have neighbor in order to pass on the (erigone merrily on with the sale of pas- dently) important information that "her senger cars so long as there was money father owns two C-s." in the family purses to cover the initial Ignoring all the ethical and social asdown payments.

pects of this condition, and studying it Too often the commentator on Ameri. solely from its business aspect, one fact can life breaks out into an unjust philip- juts uncompromisingly out of the picpic against the automobile, ascribing to ture: It is an advertised product which it a series of ills for which it is wholly has thus come to dominate the Nation's blameless, for which, in many cases, it thoughts and modify its habit. is simply a means and in no way the By advertising—and more particularly cause. That printing disseminates lies by continual advertising of prices—the as well as truth is not held to be an motor car has been made this accepted impeachment of the printing-press. standard, and the public has in turn, by

If, however, there can be traced out adopting it as a measure of financial of the two simultaneous developments standing, accorded the automobile a any other parallels which possess eco- marginal value, an increased desira nomic or social application, then it is bility, over and above the inherent worth while to delve deeper into the worth it holds as merchandise and the subject for the sake of the lessons that value of the service it affords. may be disclosed.

Now for a paragraph of contrastsCould we go back into colonial days and explanations. and compare the yearly investments in In a period when manufacturers of

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bling at the advertising pages of our publications the motor-car manufacturer was purchasing full pages and double spreads in magazines and newspapers, and employing color where available, with a freedom which seemed foolhardy, even criminal, to old-timer industries.

He was reversing the usual manufacturting process by first shouldering a pree determined production quota, and then s.applying whatever sales energy was

necessary in order to save himself from 2: being smothered by unsold parts. If 3. motor cars were to be made possible for

the masses, standardized quantity pro3. duction was primarily imperative, but i quantity sales were equally necessary. i. Advertising on a scale never previously

attempted for commodities of high-unit

selling price offered the one hope of & solution.

Hence it was that new makes of motor cars, even in their first year, were often heralded in campaigns more extensive, more expensive, than the older and

larger manufacturers of home-building I material, more tradition-bound, had ever

considered. The pleasure, the profit, and the pride of automobile ownership were dramatized in illustration and reading matter. A baby industry developed into a giant long before it had passed its teens.

And the result?

By 1919–20 the automobile had so usurped the interest of the American family that in thousands of instances a family preferred to squeeze itself into, a cramped apartment rather than live more expansively and forego. its motor car. The joke about the mortgage on the house to buy an automobile had simultaneously developed into a standby of the humorous magazines.

I recall one instance of a few years back where a family of five adults and two children slept in a $32.50 six-room apartment, but rode in a seven-passenger, $6,000 car. I can show you a suburban garage, very nearly as large as the cottage in front of it, which houses a world-famous passenger car de luxe. From Indianapolis comes a story of a family which had three times saved the money for installing a bathroom in its home, only to spend the hoardings elsewhere for commodities forced to its attention by more aggressive sales tactics. Among the possessions of this bathroomless family is an $1,800 motor car. Such paradoxes are commonplace that every reader can probably duplicate or outstrip these samples.

In my own home city the volume of recent building similarly reflects this willingness to accept less spacious living quarters. Construction has swung heavily to apartments offering “two rooms with the efficiency of five." Under such construction, the same amount of building material formerly required to house one family now roofs three, and the building-material industry suffers cordingly.

What are the business lessons to be drawn from all this?

(('ontinued on page 610)

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