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What is the chief occupation of its inhabitants? Describe the interior of the shepherd's room. How many people were in the party? Describe them and their aims. How does Hardy artistically present the general fact, “It rained hard”? Why are not three such words in regard to the rain all that are necessary? Is there a difference in the conduct of the first stranger before he enters the cottage and after? How did the second stranger reveal his business? Does the fact that he was well dressed and jovial make his trade seem more or less dreadful? How does he affect the others? Would the third stranger have been so much overcome by the situation at any other time in the evening?
What convinces the shepherd and his friends that the third stranger is the escaped prisoner? What happens to deepen this belief? Why did the first two strangers return to the house? Does the return of the second affect the first in any way? Did you actually know who was the real fugitive when you had read no farther than the disappearance of the third stranger?
As you look back, how many suspicious acts of the guilty person do you recall? From one point of view, this story of the time of George IV (1820–1830) is a chapter in the social history of England. For centuries property holders alone had made the laws, and any offense against property was terrible in their eyes. Death was still the penalty for small thefts. What was the prisoner's offense? Would you have been willing to live on mere bread for a week if that had been a condition of his escape? Do you feel sympathy for him because you like his personality, or resent such punishment, or for both reasons? How many touches of humor do you find during the progress of the story?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL AND WRITTEN ENGLISH
You have read stories by three of the best writers of the modern short story, Kipling, O. Henry, and Thomas Hardy, and two of the best earlier short-story writers, Hawthorne and Poe. Which have been strong in character portrayal? Which in plot development? Can you find any trait that is common to Hawthorne, Poe, and Hardy? Reread each story and note where the scene is laid. Do the characters in Wee Willie Winkie and The Chaparral Prince, for example, speak alike? Does the old stage driver in the latter story differ in speech from the robbers ? In The Ambitious Guest and The Three Strangers, what resemblances and what differences do you find? The comment of one of the shepherds on
the hands of the first stranger explains the effect of a man's trade upon him. How does a factory boy differ in appearance from a farmer's boy? Our geographical location determines largely what we do for a living. These two — location and business — combined, affect our appearance, customs, speech, and opinions. When one community differs from another in these respects, we call this difference “local color." A very amusing story on this subject is A Local Colorist by Annie Trumbull Slosson. Give examples of local color from other selections that you have read; and also from what you have seen. Narrate an incident showing local color, the class deciding what points illustrate this. Write one side of a telephone conversation in which you show, without naming it, the business of the person at the other end of the line.
Tell a story of some guilty person, in which you throw the hearer off the scent until the conclusion. Some one has taken your umbrella; write your efforts at detective work. Send a telegram describing a man whom you have seen picking a pocket, but who escaped. You have seen two strangers who appear suspicious; tell your reasons for thinking so, as if to a detective. A servant has been wrongly suspected of taking some money. Defend him by showing what he has done under similar circumstances. Explain away what others think looks suspicious, such as his blushing and his silence.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS The Withered Arm (in Wessex Tales). Thomas Hardy.
A Double-Barreled Detective Story (in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg). Samuel L. Clemens.
My Disreputable Friend, Mr. Raegen (in Gallegher). Richard Harding Davis.
The Ship of Stars. A. T. Quiller-Couch.
LAUGH AND BE MERRY 1
John Masefield (1875- ), born in Shropshire, England, is a realistic poet who often paints life in dull, gray tones. Some of his short lyrics, like Laugh and be Merry, are tonic with hope and cheerfulness. See also:
Halleck's New English Literature, pp. 601, 602, 623.
John Masefield, Seaman-Author, by Milton Bronner in Bookman, 33 : 584-591 (August, 1911).
A Visit to John Masefield, by John Cournos in The Independent, Vol. LXXIII, pp. 533-538.
LAUGH and be merry, remember, better the world with a song,
Laugh and be merry: remember, in olden time,
So we must laugh and drink from the deep blue cup of the
sky, . Join the jubilant song of the great stars sweeping by, Laugh, and battle, and work, and drink of the wine outpoured In the dear green earth, the sign of the joy of the Lord.
1 From The Story of a Round House and Other Poems, copyright, 1912, by The Macmillan Company. Used by special arrangement with the publishers.
Laugh and be merry together, like brothers akin,
“Better," in lines 1 and 2, means “make better.” Line 2, of stanza 2, means that God made Heaven and Earth belong together as two words that rime.
Memorize at least one stanza and recite it in a spirited way, so that those who hear you will feel the splendid vigor of the poetry.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS
THE LONDON VISITS OF A COUNTRY LORD
IN THE TIME OF CHARLES II 1
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) was born in Leicestershire, England. As a small boy, he was a great reader and picked up thereby an unusual and large vocabulary. His memory was also remarkable. He studied law and was elected a member of Parliament. While he was valuable to his country in this capacity, he is best known on account of his writings. His Essays retain their popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. His style is clearness itself, and frequently so brilliant that his History of England, for example, is thought by many to be as interesting as a novel. He is buried in Westminster Abbey. See also:
Halleck's New English Literature, pp. 466-472, 581.
Only very great men were in the habit of dividing the year between town and country. Few esquires came to the capital thrice in their lives. Nor was it yet the practice of all citizens in easy circumstances to breathe the fresh air of the fields and woods during some weeks of every summer. A cockney, in a rural village, was stared at as much as if he had intruded into a Kraal of Hottentots. On the other hand, when the lord of a Lincolnshire or Shropshire manor appeared in Fleet Street, he was as easily distinguished from the resident population as a Turk or a Lascar. His dress, his gait, his accent, the manner in which he stared at the shops, stumbled into the gutters, ran against the porters, and stood under the waterspouts, marked him out as an 1 From History of England, Vol. I, Chapter III.