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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Old Creole Days

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OLD CREOLE DAYS, a collection of short stories published in 1879 by George W. Cable, then a young man living in New Orleans. The setting of the stories is that of the picturesque old French and Spanish city in the early years of the 19th century just as it was merging into the American city of later years. Against the background of the Rue Royale with its balconies, cafés and gardens, or the historic mansions on the bayous and the Mississippi, charming types of Creole men and women, with now and then picturesque backwoodsmen or more practical Americans, are portrayed in these stories, that may challenge comparison with the best short stories of modern literature. Mr. Cable is as supreme a master of style as he is of delicate characterization and romantic incidents. One cannot praise too highly the atmosphere of charm and distinction that he has thrown about one of the outstanding human situations in American history. While the author now and then reveals a tendency, so marked in his later writings, to suggest his own interpretation of social problems engendered by certain caste feelings, these stories have the freshness and the charm of a master artist. While it is difficult to speak too highly of the ‘Cafe des Exiles,’ ‘Tite Poulette,’ or ‘Madame Delicieuse,’ there is something more elemental in ‘Posson Jone’ and ‘Jean-Ah Poquelin.’ The last-named story, in its revelation of the hero's resistance to the American invasion and of a brotherly love that knows no limit in its self-sacrifice, is one of the moving tragic stories of modern times.

Edwin Mims.