This is a change from the usual content from the pulp magazines – a story from one of the slick magazines – Country Gentleman. This magazine was a sister publication of the Saturday Evening Post, aimed at farmers.
This particular story is one of a series about Scipio Mather, written by Clarence Budington Kelland
. The author is not particularly well known today, and if at all remembered, it is as the author of the story behind the Frank Capra movie “Mr. Deeds goes to Washington”, and also apparently the originator of this quote about fathers “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
I was put on to the track of these stories by Walker Martin, who mentioned it in passing as a series that he sought out to read – similar to the Alexander Botts stories by William Hazlett Upson that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. Well, I like the Botts stories a lot, and i recently found out that the public library near me has a complete run of the magazine from 1920ish to 1954. I went and dusted off the volumes (literally blew about 20 years of dust off the top) and read one story, probably the first in the series.
The story is a rags to riches tale told with considerable humor, with a good slice of Yankee ingenuity added. The dialogue between Scipio Mather and the heroine is of the sparkling, charming variety that can be found in good screwball comedies. In the course of this story, Scipio goes from being a wandering man owning a sheep to being a part owner of the local bank, never selling or buying anything, instead bartering his way up the economic and social ladder.
You can read the story here
. The complete story’s there, but due to my limited success in copying the bound pages, i was unable to keep the illustrations by James C. McKell
. The story is from the January 1931 issue of the Country Gentleman
If you like the story, leave a note in the comments and i’ll consider adding more of them.