Sunday, January 13, 2013
Short Story: "Shaming the Devil" by Mary Sergeant
a short story
Illustrated by Norstrand
from WOMAN MAGAZINE, August 10, 1955, pg 9
First Sentence: "The india-rubber tip of the elephant's trunk nibbled Joanna's palm, then with an insolent swing her threepenny bit was merely one more jingle in the keeper's pocket."
Last Sentence: "And to me," he whispered. "The most beautiful sense in the world."
Author: I can't find anything about the author, but I have found two books written by a Mary Sergeant in the early 1950s published in England (as was this magazine). I can't find any information about the books either but from the titles they sound like romances, perhaps Gothic romance. Certainly a good chance this is the same author in question.
I actually really enjoyed this story even though it was quite trite. An orphan brought up by a widowed aunt who suddenly dies at age sixty. Now the nineteen year old is forced to move to the city and fend for herself. She has conflicting ideas. A modern woman of the mid-fifties, she is quite capable of taking care of herself and working and yet, of course, her ultimate goal is to get married. She finds herself in a desperate situation as she's been fired from her current position as housekeeper for "stealing" and has no where to live. Fuming, ruminating, planning at the zoo she encounters a man. The man is jobless also as he's just told his boss what he thinks of him. A fun little whirlwind of banter as they meet and fall in love. Quite frivolous and old-fashioned but well written and enjoyable.