Best American Humorous Short Stories
Gideon (April, 1914, Century), by Wells Hastings (1878- ), the story with which this
volume closes, calls to mind the large number of notable short stories in American
literature by writers who have made no large name for themselves as short story writers,
or even otherwise in letters. American literature has always been strong in its "stray"
short stories of note. In Mr. Hastings' case, however, I feel that the fame is sure to come.
He graduated from Yale in 1902, collaborated with Brian Hooker (1880- ) in a novel, The
Professor's Mystery (1911) and alone wrote another novel, The Man in the Brown Derby
(1911). His short stories include: The New Little Boy (July, 1911, American), That Day
(September, 1911, American), The Pick-Up (December, 1911, Everybody's), and Gideon
(April, 1914, Century). The last story stands out. It can be compared without
disadvantage to the best work, or all but the very best work, of Thomas Nelson Page, it
seems to me. And from the reader's standpoint it has the advantage--is this not also an
author's advantage?--of a more modern setting and treatment. Mr. Hastings is, I have
been told, a director in over a dozen large corporations. Let us hope that his business
activities will not keep him too much away from the production of literature--for to rank
as a piece of literature, something of permanent literary value, Gideon is surely entitled.