story which was destined to make him famous in the East
and to release him from California
It was The luck of Roaring camp
He had been writing romantic sketches in prose and verse for years; he had steeped himself in Dickens
, like everybody else in the eighteen-sixties; and now he saw his pay-gravel shining back into his own shining eyes.
It was a pocket, perhaps, rather than a lead, but Bret Harte
worked to the end of his career this material furnished by the camps, this method of the short story.
He never returned to California
after his joyous exit in 1871.
For a few years he tried living in New York, but from 1878 until his death in 1902 Bret Harte
lived in Europe
, still turning out California
stories for an English and American public which insisted upon that particular pattern.
That the pattern was arbitrary, theatrical, sentimental, somewhat meretricious in design, in a word insincere like its inventor, has been repeated at due intervals ever since 1868.
The charge is true; yet it is far from the whole truth concerning Bret Harte
In mastery of the technique of the short story he is fairly comparable with Poe
, though less original, for it was Poe
who formulated, when Bret Harte
was a child