How Can the Heart Forget was the first Emilie Loring book I read, and I’ve been a little nervous to write about it here, because it’s one of the partially ghostwritten books. As a group, they represent Emilie poorly, because, simply, she didn’t write them. But this one is special to me. It was the one that started me on the long relationship with her books. What if it suffered on new reading?
Luckily, that wasn’t the case. The story is both absorbing and fun, with plenty of recognizable, Emilie Loring qualities.
How Can the Heart Forget is the sum of three unpublished stories stitched together with additional prose by Elinore Deniston. I haven’t given it a thorough analysis, but it seems to be better than seventy percent Emilie Loring.
Some portions are striking in their similarity to the “100% Emilie” books. Emilie Loring borrowed from her unpublished stories when she wrote her novels, and Miss Denniston may have borrowed from the same sources without recognizing the duplication.
She smiled as her eyes rested on the Cadell edition of Scott. How she had revelled in the stories in those small volumes. Every valiant knight had been Tony. Every lovely lady in distress had been her mother.The Solitary Horseman (1927)
Even in the darkness she could have laid her hand directly on the elaborately bound volumes of Sir Walter Scott. How she once reveled in his stately romances. Every lovely lady in distress became Ann Jerome, and every valiant knight was Myles Langdon galloping to her rescue.How Can the Heart Forget (1960)
How Can the Heart Forget was based on “Home is the Fighter,” “Most Men Like Blue,” and “Tonight at 12.” I haven’t read these stories, but Emilie wrote a flurry of them in the aftermath of World War I. I’m guessing that Myles Langdon’s return was borrowed from “Home is the Fighter,” updating a soldier’s return to an engineer’s. His injured arm, which recovers when he saves Ann from pitching into a ravine in a wrecked vehicle, is very much like Dick Marlowe’s in Beyond the Sound of Guns, which recovers when he saves Sally Carter from a runaway horse.
It’s easy to see contributions from “Most Men Like Blue:”
“That’s a mighty attractive proposition. The blue dress and the matching what-cha-call-it ribbon on your hair are a masterpiece of harmony–almost as blue as your eyes! My favorite color.”
“Most men like blue. A handy thing for a girl to know.”
“Sort of a hunting costume, is it?” He laughed softly at her indignant denial. “All right, but I did hope you wore it just to enchant me.”How Can the Heart Forget
Henry’s “snappy sports car” is even blue.
“Like it?” Henry asked. “It’s a nice blue, I think. As you said, ‘Most men like blue.’ Say, wouldn’t you in your snappy outfit look swell in it!”How Can the Heart Forget
He leaned forward, elbow on the desk, to inspect her. “Ann Jerome, you are a sight for sore eyes at any time, but in that–that cornflower-blue suit and perky hat you–you look delectable!”
… “Imagine a mere man knowing the name of this color!” she murmured. “Another proof that men like blue!”How Can the Heart Forget
Just a little aside: Did you know that blue was for girls and pink for boys in earlier days? Bold red was often used for military uniforms, and its pastel shade retained the association. Smithsonian Magazine (2011) quoted a June 1918 article from Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department that explained, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Remember this description from Uncharted Seas?
Philippe Rousseau, in pink evening dress differing a little in cut from that worn by Nicholas Hoyt, stopped on the threshold… It was a marvelous ball. Lovely ladies in gorgeous frocks; a tropical setting of palms and ferns and shrubs in every conceivable shade of green for a background; men in hunt pink…Uncharted Seas
“American Beauty” roses make an appearance in How Can the Heart Forget–another sign that you are reading an Emilie Loring portion. Introduced when Emilie was in her teens, the rose was fabulously expensive–two dollars per stem and fifty dollars for a hand bouquet. Large, deep pink, and fragrant, it was the best-selling rose well into the 1920s, a specialty of the florist’s stand on the corner of Tremont & Beacon in Boston (remember the scene at the beginning of With Banners?). It was also adopted as the official rose of Washington, D.C.
The glass of the picture window reflected her white sports suit and the American Beauty hue of her cardigan…How Can the Heart Forget
(Don’t be fooled by the hybrid tea, “Miss All American Beauty;” it’s not the same.)
You can tell you’re not reading an Emilie Loring portion, though, when Ann receives a bouquet of roses from Henry Little and comments only on their number, not a hint of color anywhere.
Ann snapped the string, lifted the cover and parted the green tissue paper. “Roses–the lovely things! Goodness though–six, twelve–why, there must be two dozen of them! Who in the world–?”
… “There’s too many for a single vase.” Sarah caressed the brilliant petals. “Real pretty, aren’t they! Never seen so many in one bouquet; your Pa’d have a fit if somebody picked that many out of his garden. Real pretty, though.”How Can the Heart Forget
The stitches show in Elinore Denniston’s “seams,” but taken as a whole, How Can the Heart Forget shows the strength of Emilie Loring’s original creations. Download a copy and see for yourself.
Friends, a dear and honorable soul has left this world since last I wrote. I need to give myself a little time before writing about “Captain Bob” Slaven, whose contributions to me and to Emilie Loring’s biography have been so significant. For now, I’ll leave you with this photo of the “Sleeping Giant” from the shore of Bob’s Blue Hill property and this quote from the start of Here Comes the Sun!
“The sense of the world is short, –
Long and various the report,-
To love and be beloved;
Men and gods have not outlearned it;
And, how oft soe’er they’ve turned it,
‘Tis not to be improved.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy Holidays and Happy Landings!