I couldn’t let Labor Day and “official” summer pass by without posting this delicate and relatively unknown pen-and-ink gem by Howard Pyle. It’s the headpiece for his story, “A Thread Without a Knot,” published in Harper’s Weekly for September 3, 1892. It shows the hero of the story, Jack Sylvester, and his temporary love interest, Miss Lannon, at an unidentified seashore...
Then she raised her parasol, and they went slowly down to the beach together. They sat just behind a little bank of sand that half hid them from the board walk. Sylvester lay beside her, stretched at length in the hot sand. “What are you reading?” said he; and he took up the book that she had brought with her. It was Howells’s Lady of the Aroostook. “Oh yes!” said he, without awaiting her reply.
“Have you ever read it?” said she.
Sylvester laughed. “Well, rather,” he said. “Lovely, isn’t it? Wonderful how he holds the interest centred in just those few characters and bounded by the narrow rails of the sailing ship!”
She did not make an instant response. “I don’t know,” said she, presently. “I haven’t got that far in the book. Yes, I think it’s a very nice story. Mamma brought a lot of books down with her, and I just began reading this this morning.”
Sylvester looked up quickly. Then he looked down again and began idly turning over the pages. “Did you ever read Silas Lapham?” said he, after a little while.
“No,” said she. “Who was it wrote it?”
“Howells wrote that too,” said he, a little dryly; and then he closed the book and gave it back to Miss Lannon.