Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/20

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30th, and December 31st. The committee from the Society of Arts and Sciences have read with peculiar interest the winning stories which have been published and have found—as may be seen by reference to the lists below—Fleta Campbell Springer's "Legend" among the best thirty-six of the year.

"The Tie That Binds," by George Pattullo ("The Metrolopus by Moonlight" Ethel Watts Mumford joyously suggests for sub-title) the committee liked for its humour and management of group psychology. Anchored in the Grecian port, Young America uses its fists three times on an evening ashore, then rows back to the boat and sleeps—after carefully removing automatics and stowing them under pillows. In 4,000 words this sunburst of merriment epitomizes, to the reader's chuckles, the preferred way of declaring oneself patriotic. And it offers other causes for smiles. One judge recommended that this account of America in a foreign country be placed, for the gain in contrast, alongside the drama of Greeks and Portuguese and Russians on Cape Cod. "What Do You Mean—Americans?" by the way, will meet approval for being not so much a lesson in patriotism as an instance of "The King Is Dead! Long Live the King!" With sympathy for the last of the old-timers on the Cape, Mr. Steele welcomes the foreigners who also speedily become Americans. The emergence of his idea compels admiration. The story takes shape as a statue hewn out of granite; at first but dimly owning the likeness of a human being, it grows in counterfeit, and stands revealed at length a particular portrait only when the final touches are bestowed. Or, rather as a ship sails in through harbour mist, vaguely, then more clearly, and with the lifting of the mist appears as herself and no other, so in the last words the story becomes succinct and wholly rounded.

The challenge of "Progress," by Harriet Welles, is so individual as to have drawn these opposing comments. Number One: "Unreal, affected." Number Two: "Seems to me the best of the entire lot." For the one, theme is too dominant and too artificially conveyed through the story medium. For the other, theme develops logically with the successive epochs of progress that mark Jem Brown's life. Perhaps, too, in the rush of to-day he agrees with Jem that progress is