Marjorie Bartholomew ParadisThe Caddis, New York, The Century Co., 1929.

The caddises built their houses with silk and glue. Very fanciful ladies they were; none of them would keep to the same materials for a day. One would begin with some pebbles; then she would stick on a piece of green wood; then she found a shell, and stuck it on too; and the poor shell was alive, and did not like at all being taken to build houses with: but the caddis did not let him have any voice in the matter, being rude and selfish, as vain people are apt to be; then she stuck on a piece of rotten wood, then a very smart pink stone, and so on, till she was patched all over like an Irishman’s coat. Then she found a long straw, five times as long as herself, and said, « Hurrah! my sister has a tail, and I’ll have one too; » and she stuck it on her back, and marched about with it quite proud, though it was very inconvenient indeed.

Charles Kingsley : « Water-Babies. »

Chapter I

Mrs. Thornton’s boarding-house was an institution in Pleasantville. An ugly box of a building, for over thirty years it had huddled behind two cottonwood poplars on the corner of Elm Street and a nameless lane. The shabby paint was of unrelieved brown, and a knobby scroll dripping from the gutters of the exceeding narrow porch was its one feeble attempt at ornamentation. Because of the insatiable thirst of those poplars there was never any grass. In the spring the bare ground was covered with worm like blossoms, and scarcely was the summer spent before the withrered leaves began to fall. This was the home of the village beauty ; it was here amid these sordid surroundings Marion Thornton shed her radiance, as an exquisite water-lily floats on a stagnant pool.

Few of the villagers remembered her mother’s sky-rocket romance. Plump, gullible, overworked Hannah McCaffery had been wooed on that shelf of a porch, by Frederic Thornton, a Nordic Apollo, who had thought it the easiest way to settle his board-bills. Soon after the mariage, however, his free bed irked him, and he deserted his wife two months before Marion was born.

Marion had inerited her father’s Scandinavian blondness. Her checks were the tint and texture of a Bety rose, flushing to a deep Crimson under excitement. The silver-gold haïr, seen against the boarding-house gas-jet, shone like a ahalo. But the soft curls, that added much to her beauty, were Celtic ; from her mother, also, had she inherited the expressive blue eyes, so different from her father’s, which were hard as china. When her lashes were webbed with the ready tears, Marion looked like an aggrieved Easter Angel……..

Voir également le compte rendu de lecture de Mary Shirley, « Money and Marriage », (à propos du livre The Caddis de Marjorie Bartholomew Paradis ,New York , Century 1929), The Outlook, 16 october 1929, p. 269.