Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 1) >> William Gilmore Simms and John Donald Wade >> Page 23

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Page 23

Secondary Scholarship | 1999
Transcription He insists on the captain courting her but captain himself
(Porgy) is unable to decide whether he loves Widow Everleigh or
Widow Griffin. Meantime McKewn, to whom Porgy's estate was
mortgaged, forecloses, and Porgy keeps his residence only by
capturing and terrorizing everything that comes around looking
like a sheriff. Widow Everleigh continues kind. She and Porgy
are both iritrested in young Dorothy Bostwick, & give her high
wages for little work.-- Now Bostwick comes home, having
escaped from his captors, he forces more money from McKewn,
intending to keep this up indefinitely. However, seeing Arthur
Everleigh and his daughter Dorothy together, he decides to force
one great sum from McK. settling it on Dorothy so that she can
marry to advantage. Bostwick, being sick, sends for McKewn to
come to his house. McKewn is about to pay B for the papers,
when he decides to take advantage of B's illness and takes paper,
at same time saving his money. A great struggle ensues, which is
interrupted by Porgy and Pinchney, who have witnessed whole
business. Pinchney declared Bostwick suffering from smallpox,
where upon Bostwick gives a sworn confession. McK is arrested,
but suicides, amidst great anquish of mind. Bostwick dies with
characteristic Sims torture and screams. – Porgy now courts
widow Everleigh, and is turned down; then widow Griffin, only to
learn of her engagement to Fordham. He declared then his
decision to remain single. Porgy is very fat. Much talk of Tom,
Capt's slave cook. Negro dialect ample. "comprehend" being
favorite word of Toms. p. 397.
Wade cites examples of Tom's patterns of speech, including from p. 197 the
phrase "Dance juba" and the sentence from p. 317 "Sich a man! he's got no
more ambition than a dirt eater with agy [ague] on him." Wade also notes
Simms's "[f]ondness for alliterative Chapt[e]r Headings"—e.g. "Brew of Bitter
Beverage" and copies out the following sentence, from p. 504 of his edition of
Woodcraft, which apparently struck a resonant chord in the student and
developing writer's own literary consciousness:
"We continually do mischief to morals by assuming too low a
standard of virtue for the poor."
The second notebook containing evidence of Wade's dependence upon
Simms is labeled "Van Doren / American Literature II / Notes"—clearly, these
comprise class notes taken during the Spring Semester (1916) follow-up course on
American Literature. The numeral "12" appears in the top corner of the
notebook's front cover, and the notes contained therein seem to begin in the
middle of a series of notes. No other class notes are known to survive Wade's
Columbia graduate career.
However, This notebook is invaluable, providing insight not only into the
formation of Wade's intellect but also giving a glimpse into the mind of Carl Van Doren.
Doren. Columbia might seem an odd place for the Georgian, John Wade, to learn