Habits die hard, especially when they are reinforced, as my research habit was recently. I had a few minutes to myself and thought, “I wonder if there are any newly digitized pages in the Maine newspaper database.” (You know, like everyone thinks sometimes.)
And there were!
The danger of finding new information, of course, is possible regret for not finding it in time to include in Happy Landings. On the other hand, I have no illusions about completeness in a biography. I’m still happy to look.
The first bit I found was an 1899 article in the Phillips Phonograph that reported happenings at Maine’s Rangeley Lakes. We already know quite a lot about Emilie Loring’s vacations there (see “In Her Footsteps: Vacation at the Rangeley Lakes”), but this added the names of her sister Rachel’s cabin (Camp Karl) and that of their mother, Mrs. Baker (The Wigwam). Better yet, Emilie had a good day fishing!
“Saturday, Mrs. Loring caught a fine one weighing 3 pounds and there have been other good catches.”
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to give her credit in the biography. We’ll mentally add it, okay?
Next, I looked up Blue Hill in the tourist guide Motoring Through Maine, from the 1960s and 70s. Emilie Loring was one of only four people listed in the town’s short description.
BLUE HILL… Farming, fishing, vacation town on Blue Hill Bay. Beautiful coastal scenery. Small industries, craft work. Rowantrees Pottery. Wood products. Art Colony. Bluehill, East Bluehill, North Bluehill and Bluehill Falls village centers. Tourist inns, restaurants, stores, gift shops, service trades. Blue Hill Country Club, Kneisel Hall summer music colony. Hospital, modern library. Mary Ellen Chase birthplace. Summer home of Ethelbert Nevin, Emilie Loring. Blue Hill historic landmark. Indian shellheaps on Blue Hill Neck. Rev. Jonathan Fisher house.
It’s not a big find, but it makes me wonder. Why had Emilie Loring’s memory faded in the village by the 1990s?
I hopped over to The Courier-Gazette from Rockland, Maine and found Lighted Windows running from January through February, 1942. Think of that. Pearl Harbor had just been attacked. Articles like “Headed for the Army” and “Air Raid Dangers” flanked the story, which was not a new one. Lighted Windows was the first of Emilie’s “resilience” novels, published in 1930.
These newspaper serials were distributed by “W. N. U.,” the Western Newspaper Union, to thousands of weeklies. Lighted Windows sold briskly, but just think how many people read it in the newspaper instead.
I love the ads for it:
I’ve read Lighted Windows dozens of times, yet still, my curiosity was whetted. I quickly skimmed the text, watching for illustrations–an extra benefit of the newspaper version.
I appreciate that the illustration of the “H House” looks like it really might be H-shaped.
Janice Trent fled her engagement to Ned Paxton and put as much distance as she could between herself and him by going to Alaska. It didn’t take long, however, for her secret to catch up with her.
Hale’s suave voice broke into her reflections. “So, you ran away from marriage. Kiss and run type, yes?”
Janice’s blood sang in her ears from fury. She managed to keep her voice steady.
“Go on with your dictation, Mr. Hale. I have left important work at the office.”
… “Efficient, aren’t you” I’d thought of letting the deserted bridegroom know where you were, but we need you here.”
She looked steadily back at him as she snapped the rubber band on her notebook.
“May I suggest that you mind your own business?”
The force with which she closed the door behind her relieved her overcharged spirit.
The scene when Bruce Harcourt comes to the Samp sisters’ cabin is one of my favorites in an Emilie Loring novel–all of it, not only this part. At first, I thought the illustration made Janice look old, but then I realized it was Martha Samp, not Janice.
Miss Martha rose stiffly, pattered forward in her stockinged feet Her voice was warm with affection. “It just does my old eyes good to see you here, Mr. Bruce. You haven’t dropped in for the evening for weeks an’ weeks, now I come to think of it, since Janice came. Mary, bring out the bowl an’ crack er with the nuts we’ve been savin’ for him.”
… Janice turned her back on Harcourt and bent over her papers. Why had he appeared tonight for the first time, as Miss Martha reminded him, since she had come? Anything to do with that “plan” of which he had spoken? Tubby Grant straddled a chair beside his chief. Jimmy Chester took his place at the desk.
“Give these to the lady who turned her back on us, Tubby.” There was laughter in Harcourt’s voice. Beginning to be friendly, was he? A trifle late in the day, Janice resented indignantly.
“Thank you, I don’t eat nuts.”
Grant paused in the act of setting down a saucer full of meats. “Says you! Who gobbled all that walnut fudge Miss Mary made for me? All right. We’ll keep these for them that likes ’em, eh, Chief?”
Harcourt laid down his hammer and rose. He crossed to the desk, gently lifted Janice’s chin.
“Hows the scratch, dear?”
The color flamed to the girl’s hair. Her heart seemed to stop. What did he mean by speaking to her in that possessive voice, touching her with fingers that sent a tingling warmth from feet to head. The room was so still, she could hear furtive rustling in the moss chinking.
Hale makes good on his threat to notify Ned, who shows up to win Janice back. What was supposed to be a sightseeing trip turns dangerous when a glacier calves, forcing Ned and Janice to seek shelter on an island–with wolves.
She tried to call a warning. Her tongue dried to the roof of her mouth. Her body prickled with horror. The animal took a stealthy step toward the man on the stump. Stopped. Not a muscle rippled under its skin. Ned would have no chance to save himself.
Eyes on the motionless creature, Janice backed to the table, seized the revolver. On the doorsill she dropped to one knee. “Steady! Steady! Remember Jimmy’s instructions,” she warned herself. She took careful aim. Fired.
Man and beast leaped simultaneously.
I smiled to see Janice attired pleasantly in a dress, her hair still carefully done, as she fired at the wolf.
Bruce Harcourt takes to the air to search for Janice and Ned.
Harcourt strained his eyes till they seemed starting from their sockets, flew low over it. Not a sign of life. No smoke rising from the woods near. That wrecked boat didn’t mean necessarily that Jan had been in it when it struck…
“She’s safe! I know she’s safe!” Harcourt told himself savagely and climbed into the air… Pasca, who had been leaning over, looking down, clutched his arm. Pointed. Above a clearing on the shore hung a blue haze. Wood smoke! No mistaking that.
I don’t see the artist’s name on any of these illustrations or attached to the article anywhere, but I enjoy his/her artwork. It’s a little like hearing a book instead of reading it, to have a feature not present in the original. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Lighted Windows as a movie?
My final stop in the Digital Maine database was the Maine State Library and correspondence with Emilie Loring as a Maine Author. She donated inscribed copies of her books to their collection, each receiving a cordial thanks. Here is the last of them.
Notice the date. This thank you letter was written on March 14, 1951, one day after Emilie Loring’s death. At first, that seemed sad, but I read again:
It is an exciting story, which sweeps the reader along from one romantic or adventurous crisis to another.
Your feeling for color and sense of the dramatic has never been more evident.
That’s a nice way for an author finish, don’t you think?