The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter

  144.36 valley of the pyramids] In Teotihuacan, 30 miles north of Mexico City.

  147.18 Oaxaca earthquake] The major earthquake in Oaxaca on January 14, 1931, measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and left 70 percent of the city uninhabitable.

  152.17 Porfirio Díaz] Díaz (1830–1915), president of Mexico in 1876–80 and 1884–1911, was forced from office by the popular revolution of 1910–11. He died in exile in Paris.

  153.2 present régime] Administration of Pascual Ortiz Rubio (1877–1963), president of Mexico in 1930–32.

  158.8 Ay, Sandunga. . . por Diós!”] From “La Sandunga” by Máx-imo Ramón Ortiz (1816–1855), popular song in the voice of a Zapotec woman grieving over the body of her dead mother. Sandunga means “elegance,” “charm,” “grace,” words that describe the dead woman.

  163.30 repartition of land] Seizure and redistribution of privately owned land by the government began almost immediately after the Mexican revolution of 1910. It was accelerated with Article 27 of the Constitution, ratified in 1917, which declares that all land within Mexico is the property of the state, which has the right to transfer ownership as it sees fit: “Hence, private property is a privilege created by the Nation.”

  163.36 aguacate] Avocado.

  164.35 Puss Moth] Three-seat single-wing airplane, built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1929–33.

  167.26 corrido] See note 102.15.

  170.14 Agrarians] Peasants and others sympathetic to the repartition of land and hostile to the wealthy hacendados or land-owning class.

  172.16 charro] See note 101.22.

  175.35 hacendados] See note 170.14.

  176.32 like Rivera’s] In the style of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957).

  182.22–23 And the greatest . . . charity.] 1 Corinthians 13:13.

  184.16–17 Ruin hath taught . . . away.] See Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64 (“When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defaced. . .”).

  186.26 Vita Nuova] La Vita Nuova (“The New Life,” 1295) by Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), collection of poems with prose commentary centered on Beatrice Portinari, the idealized object of Dante’s unrequited love.

  186.27 Wedding Song of Spenser] “Epithalamion” (1595) by Edmund Spenser (1552–1599).

  186.28–29 Her tantalized spirit. . . roses. . .”] Cf. “For Annie” (1849) by Edgar Allan Poe.

  186.35–36 Mother of God. . . Child;] Madonna and Child on a Grassy Bench (1505–7), woodcut by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528).

  186.36–37 Death. . . knight;] The Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), engraving by Dürer.

  186.38–39 Sir Thomas More’s household,] Painting (1593) by Rowland Lockey (1565–1616) in the style of Hans Holbein the Younger.

  187.3 play with Mary. . . in it] Maria Stuart (1800) by Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805).

  188.5 Sic semper tyrannis,”] Latin: “Thus always to tyrants,” motto of the state of Virginia.

  194.37–38 melancholy farewell. . . Granada] “La Golondrina” (“The Swallow”), Mexican song of farewell by Narciso Serradel Sevilla (1843–1910).

  200.31 Proteus Ball] The Krewe of Proteus, a New Orleans social club that parades during Mardi Gras, sponsors an annual masquerade ball.

  205.15 Tod Sloan] American jockey (1874–1933) who, in the 1890s, revolutionized riding technique by leaning forward in his stirrups, out of his saddle, and onto the neck of the horse. His “forward mount,” or “monkey crouch,” is used by all jockeys today.

  206.10 Over the River”] “(Let Us Cross) Over the River” (1876), song by Septimus Winner (1827–1902).

  206.19 serpent’s teeth] See Shakespeare, King Lear, I.iv.287–88: “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child!”

  207.15–16 Whoa, you heifer] Song (1904) by New Orleans ragtime musician Al Verger (1879–1924).

  210.21 Elysian Fields] Street in the New Orleans neighborhood of Gentilly, in the northeastern quadrant of the city.

  211.18 St. Charles] Grand hotel on Canal Street, New Orleans, a center of the city’s social and political life from 1837 to 1974.

  221.20 Calcasieu Parish] Parish (county) in southwestern Louisiana, on the Texas border; its seat is Lake Charles.

  241.32 stranger. . . land] See Exodus 2:21–22.

  243.38 roup and wryneck] In poultry, roup is a respiratory illness, wryneck a congenital deformity in which the bird’s neck is twisted at an angle to the body.

  246.6 meeching] Cowardly, retiring.

  259.7 hand-runnin’] In unbroken succession.

  267.26 Halifax] A creek in Hays County, Texas.

  274.39 gallus] Suspender.

  281.1 Pale Horse, Pale Rider] See Revelation 6:8: “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

  283.14 Liberty Bond] Bond issued by the U.S. Treasury during World War I to help finance the war effort.

  283.26 Lusk Committeeman] Member of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activities (1919–20), headed by State Senator Clayton R. Lusk (1877–1959). For a year the so-called Lusk Committee, working with police and private investigators, raided the headquarters of suspected radical organizations in search of evidence that they advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government.

  285.7–8 Belleau Wood] The four-week Battle of Belleau Wood, near Chateau-Thierry, France (June 1–26, 1918), was the first in which chiefly American forces suffered heavy casualties.

  285.9 Boche] Derisive French slang term for the German Army.

  295.25 sapping party] Group of combat engineers that advances with the front-line infantry and prepares the field of battle by digging trenches, building bridges, clearing mines, etc.

  297.17 The Angel of Mons] According to a legend fabricated by the Welsh writer Arthur Machen in his tale “The Bowmen” (1914), St. George and an angelic army assisted the British Expeditionary Force at Mons, France, during its first engagement with the German Army (August 22–23, 1914).

  298.29 Hut Service] One of many civilian support groups that provided comfort and entertainment to servicemen during World War I, establishing the model for the modern USO.

  303.4–5 explosive. . . pits] Peach pits are a rich natural source of hydrogen cyanide, the gas of which, when mixed with air at concentrations over 5.6%, is a powerful explosive.

  303.28–29 Stella Mayhew] American singer and comic actress (1875–1934) often paired, in blackface, with Al Jolson.

  303.30–31 O the blues. . . disease] First line of “Ev’rybody’s Crazy ’bout the Doggone Blues” (1918), popular song by Turner Layton, words by Henry Creamer.

  305.33 Over There] The European front in World War I, a usage made popular by George M. Cohan’s song “Over There” (1917).

  305.33–34 Big Berthas] Series of six powerful howitzers manufactured by Krupp arms works and used by the German Army at the outset of the war. Each fired a 420-mm. shell and had a range of about eight miles.

  305.38–39 In Flanders Field. . . row”] Cf. “In Flanders Fields” (1915), poem by Canadian Army surgeon Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872–1918).

  306.11 “Tipperary” or “There’s a Long, Long Trail”] Popular anthems of World War I: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” (1912), British music-hall song by Harry Williams, words by Jack Judge; “There’s a Long, Long Trail A-winding” (1915), song by Yale undergraduates Alonzo “Zo” Elliott and Stoddard King.

  308.6–7 Pack Up Your Troubles”] “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag (And Smile, Smile, Smile)” (1915), marching song by “Charles Asaf” (the English Brothers Felix and George Henry Powell).

  308.17 Madelon”] “Quand Madelon” (1918), French popular song by Camille Robert, words by Louis Bosquet, about a Breton barmaid who refuses to kiss any one soldier because “she is true to the whole regiment.”

  309.28 Mumm’s Extry] Mumm Carte Classique, an extra-dry white Champagne.

  315.22–23 I confess. . . Paul] The Con
fiteor (“I confess”), spoken by the celebrant at the beginning of the Roman Rite of Mass.

  315.30 Blessed. . . mild] Cf. “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild,” in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739) by Charles Wesley (1701–1788).

  325.38 Armistice] On November 11, 1918, at Compiègne, France, the Germans signed an armistice agreement prepared by the Allied powers, ending World War I.

  329.21 Bois d’Hiver] “Winter wood,” a heavy, spicy French perfume.

  329.32 Lazarus, come forth] See John 11:43.

  334.34 bois d’arc] Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera); also known as the bodock or hedge-apple tree.

  344.27 from San Marcos to Austin] About 30 miles.

  403.26–27 Little Tammany Association] The Tammany Society (1789–1961)—better known, after its headquarters on 14th Street, as Tammany Hall—was the political machine that controlled Democratic Party politics in New York City in 1850–1930. In its heyday, Tammany was led by Irish Catholic immigrants who did much to advance their people’s interests through political nominations, municipal contracts, influence, and intimidation. The “Boss” of the Tammany machine was a kingmaker and a popular symbol of political corruption. The Little Tammany Association was the machine’s organization in the Bronx.

  409.24 G-men] “Government men”; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  417.10–11 St. Veronica’s] Former Roman Catholic parish in the West Village, with a church on Christopher Street.

  418.7 riding. . . on the Tiger’s back] Tammany Hall (see note 403.26–27) was nicknamed “The Tiger” and depicted as such in political cartoons of the day. To “ride on the Tiger’s back” was to benefit from Tammany’s political influence.

  422.17–19 The Duchess. . . poems] The Duchess (1887) by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (1855–1897), Irish novelist who wrote under the name “The Duchess”; Ouida, pen name of English novelist Maria Louise Ramé (1839–1908); Mrs. E.D.E.N. (Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte) Southworth (1819–1899), American novelist whose stories were set in the South during Reconstruction; Poems of Passion (1883), collection by the American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919).

  427.4–6 songs of Heine’s] Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), German Romantic poet whose verses were set to music by Franz Schubert (1797–1828) and Robert Schumann (1810–1856).

  427.6 Low German] Regional dialect of German spoken in the flat coastal and plains area of northern Germany; the dialect and those who speak it are also called Platt Deutsch.

  433.8 Turnverein] German-style athletic club and community hall with auditorium, dance floor, restaurant, and perhaps a bowling alley.

  436.27 Das Kapital] Three-volume critique of capitalism (1867–1894) by German philosopher and economist Karl Marx (1818–1883), edited and completed by his friend and fellow-Communist Friedrich Engels (1820–1895).

  446.1–2 Mutterchen, Mutti, Mutti] Little Mother, Mommy, Mommy.

  456.4 Heilige Nacht,”] The Austrian carol “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (“Silent Night, Holy Night,” 1818) by Josef Mohr, words by Franz Xavier Gruber.

  456.5 Martin Luther’s “Cradle Song,”] The melody of “Away in a Manger” is traditionally attributed to Luther.

  456.32 Brother. . . dime?”] “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1931), popular song of the Great Depression by Jay Gorney, words by E. Y. “Yip” Harburg.

  461.12 shot-silk] Chatoyant silk, woven with strands of two or more colors to produce an iridescent effect.

  466.33 Tiergarten] Large park in the heart of Berlin, the east side of which faces the Brandenburg Gate.

  470.22 Jawohl!”] “Yes indeed!”

  474.31 Low-German] See note 427.6.

  477.24 Platt Deutsch] See note 427.6.

  481.21 Dance of Death] Der Totentanz (1538), series of 41 wood engravings by Hans Holbein the Younger.

  483.9 boîte] Nightclub.

  485.24 mensur] Duel fought between university students over a point of honor.

  504.31–505.6 Ich armes. . . du verloren hast—”] German marching song: “What a poor devil am I, / I can’t march any longer, / I can’t march any longer./ / I’ve lost my piccolo / From out of my coat bag / From out of my coat bag. / / I’ve found, I’ve found the thing, / The thing that you lost, / The thing that you lost. . . .”

  505.8 The Peanut Vendor”] “El Manisero,” Cuban rumba by Havana bandleader Don Azpiazu (1893–1943), popularized by the Hollywood musical The Cuban Love Song (1931).


  515.3 The Days Before, by Katherine Anne Porter] The Days Before (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1952) is Porter’s selection from her essays, reviews, and other nonfiction writings, 1922–1952. She dedicated the book to her older sister, Gay Porter Holloway, and organized the contents as follows (variant titles used in the present volume are set off in brackets): Foreword [“I needed both. . .”]; CRITICAL: “The Days Before,” “On a Criticism of Thomas Hardy,” “Gertrude Stein: Three Views” (“‘Everybody Is a Real One,’” “Second Wind,” “The Wooden Umbrella”), “Reflections on Willa Cather,” “‘It Is Hard to Stand in the Middle,’” “The Art of Katherine Mansfield,” “Orpheus in Purgatory,” “‘The Laughing Heat of the Sun,’” “Eudora Welty and A Curtain of Green,” “Homage to Ford Madox Ford [“Ford Madox Ford”],” “Virginia Woolf,” “E. M. Forster”; PERSONAL AND PARTICULAR: “Three Statements About Writing” (“The Situation in American Writing,” “Introduction to Flowering Judas” [“The only reality. . .”], “Transplanted Writers”), “No Plot, My Dear, No Story,” “The Flower of Flowers, with A Note on Pierre-Joseph Redouté,” “Portrait: Old South,” “Audubon’s Happy Land,” “A House of My Own,” “The Necessary Enemy,” “‘Marriage Is Belonging,’” “American Statement: 4 July 1942” [“Act of Faith: 4 July 1942”], “The Future Is Now”; MEXICAN: “Notes on the Life and Death of a Hero,” “Why I Write About Mexico,” “Leaving the Petate,” “The Mexican Trinity,” “La Conquistadora,” “Quetzalcoatl,” “The Charmed Life.”

  523.13–15 Mr. James. . . and liked him.”] These words are not by Thomas Carlyle; they are from a letter to him by the English writer John Sterling, dated December 7, 1843, published in Carlyle’s Life of John Sterling (1897).

  523.17–18 odd legend”] See Chapter 6 of Notes of a Son and Brother (1914) by Henry James (1843–1916). All quotations from James used in this essay are taken from his memoirs A Small Boy and Others (1913), Notes of a Son and Brother, and the posthumous fragment The Middle Years (1917).

  524.16–17 Revue des Deux Mondes] Critical monthly, published in Paris since 1829.

  525.19–20 his fragment of autobiography] “Autobiography,” in The Literary Remains of the Late Henry James (1884), edited by his eldest son, the psychologist William James (1842–1910). All quotations from Henry James Sr. (1811–1882) used in this essay are taken from this volume.

  525.33–34 faute de mieux] For lack of something better.

  527.6 Uncle Gus] Augustus James (1807–1866), brother of Henry James Sr.

  527.20 Mr. Emerson] Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).

  528.18 his mother’s sister] Catherine Walsh (1812–1889), “Aunt Kate” to the James children.

  528.25 Charm] The Charm: A Book for Boys and Girls, monthly magazine published in London, 1852–54.

  529.12 Mr. Thackeray] William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863).

  529.33 Mr. Brady’s] Studio of Mathew Brady (1822–1896), known for his portraits and Civil War photographs.

  531.3–5 Alice. . . whim.”] Alice James (1848–1892), sister of Henry James; journal entry dated November 18, 1889, from Alice James: Her Brothers—Her Journal (1934), edited by Anna R. Burr.

  534.16 Mr. Jenks’s school] In 1853–54, Henry and William James attended a boys’ school, on Broadway near Fourth Street, established by one Richard Pulling Jenks (1808?-1871).

  538.1–2 Minnie Temple] Mary Temple (1845–1870), first cousin of Henry James.

  539.23–25 Benjamin Paul Blood. . . in
regard to it?”] Blood (1832–1919), American poet and philosopher, was a longtime correspondent with William James, whose essay on Blood’s work, “A Pluralistic Mystic” (1910), concludes with the words quoted here, taken from a personal letter to James.

  540.1 Reflections on Willa Cather] This essay is a revised, expanded version of a review of Willa Cather on Writing (1949), a posthumous collection of Cather’s literary essays edited by Stephen Tennant. The quotations from Cather used in this piece are drawn from that collection.

  540.24 Steichen’s] Portrait of Cather by Edward Steichen (1879–1973), taken in 1926.

  541.26 Mrs. Auld] Jessica Cather Auld (1881–1968), younger sister of Willa Cather, in Willa Cather: A Biographical Sketch (c. 1949), a pamphlet created by the Knopf publicity department to accompany review copies of Willa Cather on Writing.

  544.35–36 young Mexican painter] Adolfo Best-Maugard (1892–1965), whom Porter met in New York City in 1919.

  549.23 Nude. . . Staircase] Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), painting by Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968).

  550.17–18 Maxwell. . . Provincials] The Last of the Provincials: The American Novel 1915–1925 (1947) by Maxwell David Geismar (1909–1979).

  551.9–12 We must not. . . hungry roots?] Cf. “Goblin Market” (1862) by Christina Rossetti (1830–1894).

  551.13 E. K. Brown. . . Cather] Willa Cather: A Critical Biography (1953) by E. K. Brown, completed by Leon Edel.

  555.17 Jacob Boehme] Jakob Böhme (1575–1624), German alchemist and Christian mystic.

  558.21 Everybody’s Autobiography] Prose work by Gertrude Stein (1937) recounting her visit to America following the success of her Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933); it is the source of all quotations from Stein used in this essay.

  558.22 Kahnweiler] Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884–1979), Paris galleryowner and champion of Cubism.

  559.13 Alice B. Toklas] Toklas (1877–1967) met Stein in 1907 and was her devoted partner until Stein’s death in 1947.

  559.20 Leo] Leo Stein (1872–1947), art collector and critic.

  559.21 Sir Francis Rose] English painter (1909–1979) and illustrator of Gertrude Stein’s First Reader (1947).

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