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[390] Jewett, Cable, Page; second, the exhibitors of strange material objectively presented,—Charles Egbert Craddock, Octave Thanet, and the dialect recorders of the eighties; and third, the veritists of the nineties who told what they considered to be the unidealized truth concerning the life they knew,— Garland, Miss Wilkins, Frank Norris,1 and the rest. This third group approached its task scientifically, stated its doctrines with clearness,—as for example in Hamlin Garland's Crumbling Idols,—and then proceeded to work out its careful pictures with deliberate art. Garland's Main-Travelled Roads, stories of the settlement period of the Middle Border, have no golden light upon them. They tell the truth with brutal directness and they tell it with an art that convinces. They are not mere stories; they are living documents in the history of the West. So with the Maupassant-like pictures of later New England conditions by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, in A Humble Romance (1887) and A New England Nun (1891). If the florid, sentimental school of the mid-century went to one extreme, she went to the other. Nowhere in English may one find more of repression, more pitiless studies of repressed lives, more bare searchings into the soul of a decadent social system. She wrote with conviction and a full heart of the life from which she herself had sprung, yet she held herself so firmly in control that her pictures are as sharp and cold as engravings on steel.

With the nineties came the full perfection of short story art. Within their limited field A New England Nun and Main-Travelled Roads may not be surpassed. In another area of the short story James Lane Allen's Flute and violin stands by itself, and in still another such work as Margaretta Wade Deland's Old Chester tales, Grace King's Monsieur Motte, and Alice Brown's Meadow Grass. No more exquisite work, however, may be found in the whole range of the local colour school than that in Kate Chopin's (1851-1904) Bayou Folks (1894). She was of Celtic blood and spontaneously a storyteller. She wrote with abandon, yet always it was with the restrained art that we have got into the habit of calling French. Such stories as Desiree's Baby, the final sentence of which grips one by the throat like a sudden hand out of the dark, and

1 See also Book III, Chap. XI.

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