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The Christmas Story from David Harum
ave done the thing his own way," said Aunt Polly to the Widow Cullom. "Kind o' fetched it round fer a merry Chris'mus, didn't he?" This is the story which is reprinted here from Mr. Westcott's famous book. It was David Harum's nature to do things in his own way, and the quaintness of his methods in raising the Widow Cullom from the depths of despair to the heights of happiness frame a story which is read between laughter and tears, and always with a quickening of affection for the great-hearted benefactor. David Harum's absolute originality, his unexpectedness, the dryness of his humor, the shrewdness of his insight, and the kindliness and generosity beneath the surface, have made him a permanent figure in literature. Moreover, the individual quality of David Harum is so distinctively American that he has been recognized as the typical American, typical of an older generation, perhaps, in mere externals, but nevertheless an embodiment of characteristics essentially national. While only Mr. Westcott's complete book can fully illustrate the personality of David Harum, yet it is equally true that no other episode in the book presents the tenderness and quaintness, and the full quality of David Harum's character, with the richness and pathos of the story which tells how he paid the "int'rist" upon the "cap'tal" invested by Billy P. Fortunately this story lends itself readily to separate publication, and it forms an American "Christmas Carol" which stands by itself, an American counterpart of the familiar tale of Dickens, and imbued with a simplicity, humor, and unstudied pathos peculiarly its own. The difference between the written and the acted tale is illustrated in the use made of the Christmas story in the play. In the book David tells John Lenox the story of the Widow Cullom and her dealings with 'Zeke Swinney, and reveals the truth to her in his office, and the dinner which follows at his house is prolonged by his inimitable tales. In the play action takes the place of description. In the first act we see 'Zeke Swinney obtaining blood-money from the widow, and the latter makes the acquaintance of Mary Blake, newly entered upon her career of independence as Cordelia Prendergast. In the second act we see the widow giving the second mortgage to David, and thereby strengthening Mary Blake's suspicions, and in the third act David pictures his dreary youth and Billy P.'s act of kindness, and brings the widow to her own, the climax coming with the toast which opens the dinner and closes the play. It was a delicate and difficult task for even so distinguished an actor as Mr. Crane to undertake a part already hedged about by conflicting theories; but his insight and his devotion to the character have succeeded in actually placing before us the David Harum created by Mr. Westcott. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 25927
Author: Westcott, Edward Noyes
Release Date: Jun 29, 2008
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