Welcome to The Emilie Loring Collection’s 201st post!
I had no idea it would go this long or far, nor that a community of Emilie readers would be the result. Whether you are a longtime reader or new, thank you for being here.
It’s summer, and I’m making changes here as I do in my garden–a little snip here, tuck in a little something extra there.
I have tweaked the categories in our Finder and changed the order of helps in the sidebar and footers, so you have a better chance of finding your way through our content.
You will also see a new, “sticky post” at the top of the blog listing that describes what’s here and directs you to it. If you haven’t toured the rest of the website in awhile, take a meander sometime, and see what you find.
In the spirit of tweaking, today’s post looks at “complete” Emilie Loring novels that were published in the newspapers–and why it’s still a good idea to read the hard copies.
#201: Romance, Edited for the Newspapers
During the Great Depression, people still bought books, but many more checked out novels at the local library and read stories in their local newspaper. The practice harkened back to Emilie’s childhood, when penny-papers brought literature to people who couldn’t afford to buy books.
Syndicated printings of Emilie Loring’s stories weren’t, as claimed, her complete novels. Dialogues, side stories, songs, and inner thoughts were expunged, maintaining the overall plot but losing some of the magnetism and charm of her originals. In some cases, they even got rid of her dog–and you know how Emilie Loring loved dogs!
“I never see a dog anywhere, on the street, at a window, running across a field, but I feel a desire to drop on my knees and hug him!” ~ Emilie Loring
I wonder if it wasn’t a little like what happens when a novel is adapted for the movies. The truest of fans notices, but likely, many did not.
In some cases, the pacing was improved, as on the first page of With Banners (book, 1934) as it appeared in the Detroit Free Press in 1936. Brooke Reyburn falls as she crosses the street, and a man lifts her to the sidewalk.
“Hurt?” a voice demanded.
She was conscious of the sticky dampness of one knee even as she shook her head and dazedly looked about. The gold dome of the State House shone in the afternoon sun; boys were calling the headlines of the evening papers; an autogiro was crawling like a huge spider across the blue ceiling of the sky. She was still in the world. For one horrible instant she had thought she might be passing out of it; her heart beat like a tom-tom.
She looked up into the eyes blazing down at her. She must have had a narrow escape to have wiped the color from the man’s face. It was chalky.
Even the lips below his clipped dark mustache were colorless.
But improved pacing came at the cost of nuanced feelings. Gone are Mark Trent’s sincere concern and Brooke Reyburn’s sense of embarrassment.
“Why wear such fool heels? If you’re not hurt, why did you wince?”
The man’s voice was husky; his eyes had a third-degree intentness which roused a little demon of opposition. Brooke retorted crisply:
“If you insist upon probing the secrets of my young life, I think I’ve skinned my knee.”
“Perhaps that skinned knee will teach you not to sprint across the street against the traffic light.
I almost lost my mind when I saw you go down just as that car cut around the corner Don’t you know better than to try such a foolish stunt?“ Even making allowance for his fright and for the fact that a man usually roared at the nearest woman when frightened, he had no right to speak to her as if she were a dumbbell. Wasn’t it maddening enough to fall in the middle of a city street without being lectured for it? Brooke’s eyes flashed up to his.
“At least I know better than to stand on a street corner talking to a stranger,” she retorted in a voice which was fiercely satisfying to the tumult within her.
The result was a tighter narrative, but it had less emotion. The story was less vibrant, humorous, and heartwarming. Gone is the gentle sparring that creates and holds their attraction to each other. This entire sequence was omitted from With Banners:
“If I sit back to the dancers I shan’t appear so like a jumping-jack.”
“That jumping-jack idea is all yours. I was being noble, setting you free to dance with someone else.”
“Thanks for the consideration, but the only girl with whom I care to dance is sitting at this table. You wouldn’t encourage a host to leave his guest of honor, would you?”
It’s hard to imagine Emilie Loring making these changes herself. More likely, an editor at the Western Newspaper Union (WNU) doctored the copy, and the public was none the wiser.
I wonder how many people read an Emilie Loring story in the newspaper and then read it again in the book? I wonder if they noticed the changes that I do?
In fairness, I might have made a few of the changes myself, if it had been my story.
But what possessed someone to change the final scene of the book? “Don’t apologize / I’m not apologizing, I’m explaining” is a hallmark of this story, a bit of humorous dialogue that binds the Reyburn family and, symbolically, brings Mark Trent into their inner circle when he uses it.
Brooke said breathlessly:
“Is it real?
Will you trail along with me? Do you love me, Mark?”
His hand tightened on hers. Something in his eyes took hold of something deep in her soul.
“Love you! That’s a slight understatement, but we’ll let it pass–for the present.
Are we going to New York in that plane?” We are going to New York in that plane–“ “I’m sorry. I–“ Mark Trent’s laugh was young and buoyant. “Don’t apologize.” “I’m not apologizing. I’m just explaining,” Brooke retorted gayly,
Brooke laughed gaily, as hand in hand they raced toward the great winged gray
monster plane already quivering into life.
I really enjoy the illustrations in the newspaper versions, and I’ll keep sharing them, but for the text, I’m sticking to Emilie Loring’s books.
Off I go to the north country. I’ll be lakeside when I visit with you next.