The Ragged Edge eBook

Harold MacGrath
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 269 pages of information about The Ragged Edge.

He drew her away from this thought.  “I read those stories.”

“Are they good?”

“He can write; but he hasn’t found anything real to write about.  He hasn’t found himself, as they say.  He’s rewriting Poe and De Maupassant; and that stuff was good only when Poe and De Maupassant wrote it.”

“How do you spell the last name?”

He spelt it.  He wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw a faint shudder stir her shoulders.  “Not the sort of stories young ladies should read.  Poe is all right, if you don’t mind nightmares.  But De Maupassant—­sheer off!  Stick to Dickens and Thackeray and Hugo.  Before you go I’ll give you a list of books to read.”

“There are bad stories, then, just as there are bad people?”

“Yes.  Sewn on that button yet?”

“I’ve been afraid to take the coat from under the pillow.”

“Funny, about that coat.  You told him there wasn’t anything in the pockets?”


“How did he take it?”

“He did not seem to care.”

“There you are, just as I said.  We’ve got to get him to care.  We’ve got to make him take up the harp of life and go twanging it again.  That’s the job.  He’s young and sound.  Of course, there’ll be a few kinks to straighten out.  He’s passed through some rough mental torture.  But one of these days everything will click back into place.  Great sport, eh?  To haul them back from the ragged edge.  Wouldn’t it be fun to see his name on a book-cover some day?  He’ll go strutting up and down without ever dreaming he owed the whole shot to us.  That would be fun, eh?”

“I wonder if you know how kind you are?  You are like somebody out of a book.”

“There, now!  You mustn’t get mixed.  You mustn’t go by what you read so much as by what you see and hear.  You must remember, you’ve just begun to read; you haven’t any comparisons.  You mustn’t go dressing up Tom, Dick, and Harry in Henry Esmond’s ruffles.  What you want to do is to imagine every woman a Becky Sharp and every man a Rawdon Crawley.”

“I know what is good,” she replied.

“Yes; but what is good isn’t always proper.  And so, here we are, right back from where we started.  But no more of that.  Let’s talk of this chap.  There’s good stuff in him, if one could find the way to dig it out.  But pathologically, he is still on the edge.  Unless we can get some optimism into him, he’ll probably start this all over again when he gets on his feet.  That’s the way it goes.  But between us, we’ll have him writing books some day.  That’s one of the troubles with young folks:  they take themselves so seriously.  He probably imagines himself to be a thousand times worse off than he actually is.  Youth finds it pleasant sometimes to be melancholy.  Disappointed puppy-love, and all that.”


“A young fellow who thinks he’s in love, when he has only been reading too much.”

Project Gutenberg
The Ragged Edge from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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