It’s a Great World–Illustrated!

Emilie Loring’s Washington, D.C. novels are on my mind this week, as I visit the nation’s capital. One year after its first publication, It’s a Great World! was syndicated in U.S. newspapers, complete with illustrations. They’re not how I imagine Jeff and Eve to look, but it’s fun to have pictures!  

(If you haven’t read this one yet, find the Detroit Free Press for October 11, 1936. The entire book is published there in a single, Sunday supplement.) 

it's a great world illustrated
The entire book was published in a single, Sunday supplement.

“It’s a big country, isn’t it?”

“Very big, South America.”

“And frightfully lonesome?”

“Sometimes lonesome.”

“I can’t bear to think of you down there alone. Take me.”

“Of course I can’t take you.”

“You could if we were married.”

“Married!” His eyes brimmed with laughter.

“Don’t laugh at me! M-a-r-r-i-e-d. That’s the way to spell it. You’ll find the word in the dictionary. It’s an old custom but it’s still being done.”

… “Look at me, Eve. Do you mean this to be a real marriage or am I to be shunted off as soon as you secure your money?”

Soft color stained her face.

“My goodness, I–I didn’t think of it that way, but if–if you think it should be a real marriage, all right. Ever known me to be a cheat, Mister Kilburn?”

… She wouldn’t know for a while that there would be but a few shreds of property, if any, to transfer. Would she blame him for not telling her the truth at once?

… “If you had seen Jeff’s face, heard his voice when Annie told him that Moya was unhurt–” She choked back a sob–“You wouldn’t go to South America with him or anywhere else.”… She paused on her way to the door. “Good-bye, Jeff, happy landings.”

“So you are a cheat, after all.”

1936 it's a great world not a cheat jeff kilburn
“I’m not a cheat, Jeff Kilburn. To prove it I’ll sail with you tonight.” Jeff laughed, “That’s noble of you, but to be quite honest, I don’t want you.”

Three months passed…

1936 it's a great world eve leaped to her feet
Her mind went into a merry-go-round. Beside the Senator, regarding her with steady eyes, stood Jeff Kilburn.
1936 it's a great world tell him to keep his mouth off
“And while you are talking with Señor Alvarez, Senator, tell him to keep his mouth off of my wife’s hand.”
1936 it's a great world don't spoil our evening seth
“Don’t spoil our marvelous evening, Seth. Please don’t spoil it. I have told you a dozen times that now that I can come and go as I please, I won’t give up my freedom for anyone. Goodnight.”
1936 it's a great world jeff you're a dear
“Jeff, you’re a dear. I don’t know how I lived all these months without you to talk to.”
1936 it's a great world jeff jeff it's you
“Jeff! Jeff! It’s you! The relief of it! I thought I was being married to Alvarez!”
1936 it's a great world that chocolate smells delicious
“That chocolate smells delicious. Do set the tray down, Jeff,” said Lady Hyatt. “You and Eve are always having your little jokes, aren’t you? As if you were sharing a secret.”
1936 it's a great world you took that file, miss skinner
“Less than two hours ago you took that note-book from the office of Senator Holden’s secretary, didn’t you, Miss Skinner?”
1936 it's a great world where's the gangster
Jeff put his hand on the door of the roadster. “Alone, Eve?” he demanded. “Where’s the gangster?” Eve asked: “The w-what?”
1936 it's a great world what will i do
Holden swung round in his chair and scowled at Eve… “Don’t be afraid to tell him. Don’t be afraid of anything. You’ll find it’s a great world to the valiant…”

The broad deck was deserted. Passengers were settling their belongings in their cabins for the long voyage. A long voyage. Why hadn’t he gone by plane? Why had he allowed Jock Holden to make arrangements for him? That answer was easy. He had been too sick at heart about Eve to care how he went. It would be a perfect night. If only Eve were with him. He’d better sign off on that line of thought.

A uniformed boy touched his shoulder.

“Mr. Kilburn? Radio for you, sir.”

His throat tightened. Was it a message from Eve? He waited until the boy had vanished into a companionway before he opened it. He frowned down at the words;


… “I couldn’t let you go alone, Jeff. I–I was afraid that a man-eating widow–

… He whispered incredulously: “Eve! Eve!”

“Are you sorry I’m here, Jeff? You’re white as a sheet. Have I crashed in on your life a second time and spoiled it?… I’ve scattered Eve–Eve Kilburn cheques all over New York.”

“Eve Kilburn.” He cleared his voice. “Nice name. Don’t be so breathless, darling.”

… “You’ve never told me that you love me, Jeff.”

He flung an arm around her shoulders and laughed.

“Haven’t I?” He drew her close. “You’re going to hear a lot about that on this trip, Mrs. Kilburn.”



12 thoughts on “It’s a Great World–Illustrated!

    1. That bridesmaid get-up looks like a pretty good depiction of her description. But Eve doesn’t look as young as she should. Skinner’s suit looks just right, hard-boiled, business-minded woman of her era. I think of Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday” perhaps as a model.

      I also have wondered what movie actresses might fit some EL heroines? Young Kate Hepburn had the liveliness. Adventurous. She was great with a comeback. I can just see her waving the lantern like mad on the train tracks in “Trail of Conflict” or taking in the midnight ride to Nogi’s in “Gay Courage.” Is Dorothy Maguire too serene and quiet? Or Donna Reed too “nice”? Teresa Wright (Best Years of Our Lives) seems like a good fit in some cases?

      I can’t picture any contemporary actresses in such roles…

      Fun to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good choices. I LOVE Maureen O’Hara!

        For men: Gable and Bogart have the look (from book cover paintings) and the stoicism. The Duke also? Cary Grant is too comical, I think. (But he and Hepburn were great together!) Myrna Loy and William Powell were the quintessential couple of the prosperous pre WW2 era films. They were comical sleuths but were in the social set EL’s books are set in.


      2. Oh, yes! I love old movies. I’d watch AMC (when that was THE classic movie channel) while doing econ equations on weekends in grad school. Maybe some EL books could be The Thin Man without all the drinking by Myrna Loy and William Powell. Randolph Scott maybe so…Brains thinking now of too many old movie actors/actresses!


  1. These are very neat to see. Yes, the characters have “sharp” features. Not much warmth. The mouths are small and tightly drawn. It is neat to see the clothing styles.

    Liked by 1 person

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