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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

The "play-girl" in fiction,   pp. 217-223 PDF (2.6 MB)


Page 218


THE "PLAY-GIRL" IN FICTION
W. Chambers, the most popular writer of American fiction today.
   All lovers of American fiction, all people who long to have their
imagination pricked to feel a response of the spirit to a man's ecstasy,
have read with happiness never-to-be-forgotten, Robert Chambers'
early stories, "The Maker of Moons," "The King in Yellow,"
"The
Messenger," and others. These are the stories of Mr. Chambers' lyric
days, when his pen thrilled to his spirit, when he was writing of ab-
stract wonders, of the things of the soul, of the joys and hopes and
ideals of the human heart. They are a glorious contribution to the
writing of this country and they have left all the lovers of this period
of his literary achievement with a vast debt of gratitude to this man
who was a poet in his early days, a seer of visions.
   While some lovers of these early tales lament the passing of this
phase of Mr. Chambers' art, the fact remains that his stories today
reaches a vastly wider audience and supplies a more searching com-
mentary upon our complex, shifting, fascinating civilization.
A FEW weeks ago THE CRAFTSMAN had the valued opportunity
       of visiting Mr. Robert Chambers at his Revolutionary home at
       the foothills of the Catskills, the countryside where he played
as a little boy, where as a young man he lived in "rose mists and clung
to the stars," where his father and great-grandfather before him were
born and spent joyous or sad days in the woods on the hilltops at this
beautiful countryside. Here in America we so seldom expect a man
who has done much for us to have lived his life against a background.
Almost all American lives are facing an interesting perspective, but
they are moving swiftly forward, and their thought, their art is seldom
ever touched with the memory of beautiful surroundings for genera-
tions, of great deeds back of them, of homes filled with records of the
bright lives of people bearing the same name.
   Mr. Chambers' home at Broadalbin is an estate of many hundreds
of acres. And the house, which until recently sat near the gateway,
as all houses did in our early days, has been moved back so that a
stately drive extends from the gate to the beautiful, massive, white
building with great pillars in front of the doorway. The opening of
the door reveals a huge fireplace at the end of an exquisitely arranged
and hospitable room. The house is many times the size that it was
originally, the furnishing so perfect that it is several days before one
realizes that it is a combination of Jacobean brought to this country
centuries ago, old carved Italian with painted leather, beautiful
Colonial pieces belonging to the old homestead and rare works of art
telling the romance and history of countries all over the world. At
first one just realizes that it is gracious and beautiful and satisfying
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