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The Light of Western Stars (1913)

03 Jul

Munsey’s Magazine, May – December 1913
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1914
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine, November 1949 (RGL)
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Jul 1951, Sep 1958
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (UK) v1 #6 195? (Galactic Central)

The Light of Western Stars was first published as a serial in Munsey’s magazine in 1913 then published as a novel in 1914. Its backdrop is most likely the beginnings of the Mexican revolution. Set to somewhere around 1912 in the San Bernardino Valley in Arizona and the Peloncillo Mountains in New Mexico the musings about interesting times in the novel do seem to indicate that incursions of guerilla had started. (ZGWS) Because of this forts were built along the border just in case.

Francisco-I-Madero-contra-Porfirio-Diaz-Historia-de-la-Revolucion-MexicanaMadeline (Majesty) Hammond had come to El Cajon in New Mexico to visit her brother, Alfred. She longed to see him again and to get away from the life of a socialite back East. Socialiting had lost its appeal and Madeline now longed for a life with greater meaning than the one she had lived. Once she arrives in El Cajon Madeline discovers that all is not well. For one thing her brother has not received notice of her coming, and for another she meets trouble in the form of Gene Stewart.

Ochard in El Cajon ca. time of novel

Ochard in El Cajon ca. time of novel

Her brother is not doing as well financially as he had intimated in his letters to his sister. Indeed, his financial situation is rather dire. Madeline steps in and supports him both financially and by trying to become part of the life he leads. She buys land for herself and discovers that the West is both wilder and tamer than she had thought and that people were not always what they first seemed.

“He’s sure going to feel the ground,” said Florence, smiling at Madeline. “Miss Hammond, I suppose that prize horse of yours—White Stockings—would spoil his coat if he were heah to roll in this greasewood and cactus.”

During lunch-time Madeline observed that she was an object of manifestly great interest to the three cowboys. She returned the compliment, and was amused to see that a glance their way caused them painful embarrassment. They were grown men—one of whom had white hair—yet they acted like boys caught in the act of stealing a forbidden look at a pretty girl.

“Cowboys are sure all flirts,” said Florence, as if stating an uninteresting fact. But Madeline detected a merry twinkle in her clear eyes. The cowboys heard, and the effect upon them was magical. They fell to shamed confusion and to hurried useless tasks. Madeline found it difficult to see where they had been bold, though evidently they were stricken with conscious guilt. She recalled appraising looks of critical English eyes, impudent French stares, burning Spanish glances—gantlets which any American girl had to run abroad. Compared with foreign eyes the eyes of these cowboys were those of smiling, eager babies.

“Haw, haw!” roared Stillwell. “Florence, you jest hit the nail on the haid. Cowboys are all plumb flirts. I was wonderin’ why them boys nooned hyar. This ain’t no place to noon. Ain’t no grazin’ or wood wuth burnin’ or nuthin’. Them boys jest held up, throwed the packs, an’ waited fer us. It ain’t so surprisin’ fer Booly an’ Ned—they’re young an’ coltish—but Nels there, why, he’s old enough to be the paw of both you girls. It sure is amazin’ strange.”

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The Light of Western Stars available on Gutenberg

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Review:

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Films/movies

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Translations:

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Border War (1910-19)

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Posted by on 2014-07-03 in Books

 

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