putterings       275   <   276   >   277       index

all the valves out, something on impulse; a more engaging occupation

      The Wreck had never driven the like of it, although he was confident of his ability, as always. But Timothy had all the valves out, and with a prospect of idle weeks ahead of him, was puttering over the grinding job, in no hurry to complete it.

      Later, he had a perfunctory session with one of the books; but he found that puttering around the cars was a more engaging occupation, because it gave him free rein to think. He had discovered that he could easily spend hours thinking about the Kilbourne family, himself, and the situation that had been created by his coming to Kilbourne Heights.
      Rawlins was not habitually introspective, but there were angles of the matter that needed thinking about. He did not yet clearly see his way through to the end, nor did he discern any necessity for haste; but it was not in human nature — certainly not in his own — to put his mind in charge of a writer of books when there was something else that challenged it in a more personal and portentous way. ₂

      She stood in the doorway until he had driven out of sight. An odd feeling of serenity enveloped her. At last, right in the heart of the East, she had done something on impulse. Perhaps she had smashed the hoodoo. She felt her pulse and it seemed to her that it was certainly beating faster than sixty-five. Things were looking up; she did not know why, but she divined it.
      Charley was puttering at something under the hood of the Carvel, and she called to him.
      “Do you remember what you said you would do if you had my money, Charley?”
      He thought for a few seconds.
      “It was what I’d do if I had your money and what you know about cars, too,” he said, carefully.
      “All right. What was it?”
      I said I’d buy the place.”
      “Well, I’ve taken your tip, Charley.”
      “I’ve bought it.” ₃

      “Yeah?” drawled Franz. “More psychology? Going to wish a win on him and then tell him it’s you done it?”
      “I’m going to hold up that baby when he comes puttering around here to-morrow and tell him we can make him win if he wants to, if I have to tie him to a string piece and set on him to make him listen.”
      Sandy did not have to do that. Luck was with him. He found the millionaire Burton just after he had discharged every man who was working on the boat he hoped would win his race.
      It was Sandy’s psychological moment. ₄

sources, all E. J. Rath

  1. The Nervous Wreck by E. J. Rath, author of Too Much Efficiency, Etc. / “Illustrated with scenes from the play”
    (Grosset & Dunlap; copyright G. Howard Watt, 1923) : 194 : link
    same (via hathitrust) : link
    (both University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but better reproduction of photos in hathitrust version)
  2. The Dark Chapter : A Comedy of Class Distinctions by E. J. Rath, author of The Nervous Wreck, Etc. / (1921, 1922; Copywright G. Howard Watt, 1924) : 93 : link
    same (via hathitrust) : link
    (both Ohio State University copy (3rd edn); hathitrust shows title page)
    from front dj flap :
          Kilbourne Height was a paradise for tramps. The generous wife of its rich owner had on frequent occasions manifested a fine sympathy for the gentry of restless feet.
          Wade Rawlings heard of this good Samaritan. Presto. He appears at the door of the sactuary to all intents and purposes “down and out.”
          This is the Dark Chapter in the life of the leading character who straighway began a most hilarious existence as an adjunct in that most extraordinary family in the rare atmosphere of the Heiths. The warp and woof of his intricate entanglements, his social conquests and numerous other dark chapters of which he became a part, serve to bring about a grand finale which threatens to collapse and detroy forever the masquerading Rawlin’s partnership with a certain bewildered Marian, and his alliance with the beautiful “Queen of Sheba.”
          No more riotously scintillating comedy has thus far appeared from the pen of E. J. Rath. It is a twin triumph with “The Nervous Wreck.”
  3. Gas---Drive in : A High-powered Comedy-romance that Hits on every cylinder, by E. J. Rath, author of The Nervous Wreck, The Dark Chapter, etc.
    (Grosset & Dunlap, 1921; copyright G. Howard Watt, 1925) : link
    same (Ohio State University copy) via hathitrust : link
    from front dj flap :
          Vivian Norwood loves her automobile. And yet when the car is stolen in the first chapter of this amazing romance-comedy, it isn’t the car that she mourns so much, it’s the loss of a letter marked Personal and Confidental that she had left in a secret pocket.
          Vivian discovers some information that puts her on the trail of the thieves. And then she buys and begins to operate a garage in the vicinity where the repainted racing car is being run by its mysterious possessor. Regaining that letter becomes the most important thing in Vivian’s life. She meets Richard Hunter, the car’s present master. And she discovers to her horror that she has lost the key to the secret compartment. Where is it?
  4. Let’s Go, by E. J. Rath, author of The Nervous Wreck, Etc.
    (Copyright by G. Howard Watt, 1930) : 22 : link (Ohio State University copy, via hathitrust)


E.J. Rath is the pseudonym of Edith Rathbone Jacobs Brainerd (1885-1922) and her husband Chauncey Corey Brainerd (1874-1922)
wikipedia : link
Both were writing independently before their partnership (and marriage), he as a journalist. Several of their stories were made into films.

Both died in 1922 (when the roof of a theater in Washington, D.C. collapsed under heavy snow). And yet numerous titles appeared thereafter, all published — or issued under the copyright held — by G. Howard Watt (?-1940).

William Lampkin (at the Pulp.net) has done some research on the pair, see his “A Fateful Blizzard for two Fictioneers” at ThePulp.Net (January 27, 2023) : link

Some further information at their respective find-a-grave pages : link for Edith, and link for Chauncey. The latter source quotes a Louisville Times tribute, which characterizes their working method as : “she the diviser of the plot and property man, he the literary spinner.” Impossible to know. Am reminded of the Viña / Eugene Delmar partnership.

E. J. Rath at the Online Books Page : link

23 titles are listed at LC (some of them adaptations by others) : link.
The earliest of these is
The sixth speed (frontispiece by C. Weber-Ditzler; Moffat, Yard & Company, 1908)

This was followed by several published by W. J. Watt : wikipedia : link.
Sam (illustrations by Will Grefe; 1915).
“Mister 44” (illustrations by George W. Gage; 1916)
Too Much Efficiency (frontispiece by Will Foster; 1917)
Too Many Crooks (frontispiece by Paul Stahr; 1918)
Mantle of silence (frontispiece by George W. Gage; 1920)
Good References ((wonderful) frontispiece by Paul Stahr; 1921)

Thereafter, the (posthumous) books are Grosset & Dunlap or G. H. Watt (son of W. J. Watt?).

I would like to know of W. J. and G. Howard Watt, the latter having published (in addition to popular fiction, westerns, mysteries, books about dogs, &c., &c., these huge undetakings in particular —

Karl Köhler, A History of Costume
Edited and augmented by Emma von Sichart
translated by Alexander K. Dallas M. A.
with sixteen plates in colour and about 600 other illustrations and patterns.
New York : G. Howard Watt (copyright 1928, published 1930)
Wellesley College copy, via archive.org : link


Corey Lewis (Louis C. Fraina), his The house of Morgan; a social biography of the masters of money (1930)
borrowable at archive.org : link

what a tangled thread,
Corey Lewis was Louis C. Fraina (1892-1953), autodidact, brilliant writer, founding member of the Communist Part of the USA, organizer...
wikipedia : link

This post has metastasized beyond all sense of order, and will likely be separated out into two entries at the html archive — in due course.

14 March 2023