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"East is West and West is West and never the twain shall meet," declared Mr. Kipling and promptly made an exception. He should at the same time have made another exception for the benefit of American novelists. For if the poet were right what would become of the Western novel? Hamlet with Hamlet left out would be complete compared to the Western novel if East and West could not meet. The play thus robbed would still have a plot but the novel would have neither plot nor character.
Perhaps we shouldn't have classed Mrs. Loring's book as a "Western novel". That may condemn it yet unread to many a reader. But it will commend it to as many more; so we will not retract.
Besides perhaps we can persuade those who feel that they have insulted their intellects by reading a story which treats the West other than as a pool of stagnation that Mrs. Loring's book may be an exception. Because there have been bad novels written with the West for a locale is no proof that they are all bad.
Of course "The Trail of Conflict" does not go back to the West of wild Indians and promiscuous shooting. It is a story told of life on a ranch today. But there is still enough opportunity for bad men it seems, to make that life interesting and not without thrills. Mrs. Loring has made the most of that opportunity, and avoiding the conventionalities of most novels of the West, has told her story originally and with effect. The fact that she considers that if she has told a story well she can let psychology and realism go is not the least of the merits of "The Trail of Conflict."
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