Hudson Valley Squire

ByC. Blackburn Miller
THIS is an addition to the already extensive list of Life-with-Father books by persons who have an impressive talent for experiencing nostalgic recollections, with a slight and amateurish talent for writing them. Mr. Miller’s reminiscences of a Hudson Valley boyhood in the cast-iron-stag era run principally to farce and slapstick and a remarkable precision in the apportionment of poetic justice. The motor launch with unspeakable bores in the party is predestined to spend the day stuck fast in a mudbank under a broiling sun; the obstinate horse with a fire built under him is sure to go into reverse and put the carriage down a gully; the runaway cow just naturally heads for the nearest neighbor’s cold frames. Because this is the sort of affair that the author delights in remembering, because his sporting father and the whole variegated household exist almost solely to have grotesque misadventures and be a collective scream, the book does not get far as a total picture, though the manner of life of which it betrays involuntary glimpses had some historical importance and large social implications. Its episodes are just funny, rather in the way of Peck’s Bad Boy.
W. F.