it was no mere curiosity, however
Sometimes he would spend the whole night puttering about the barn, startling the drowsy beasts in their stalls with the sudden ghostly nimbus of his lantern; or mending broken implements in the wagon shed where his fingers would become cracked and swollen with cold. His ear would be ever alert to catch a sound, a footfall, a voice.
ex Martha Ostenso, The Dark Dawn (1926) : 61 : link
first encountered in Hearst’s International Combined with Cosmopolitan (July 1926), thus —
Sometimes he would spend the whole night puttering about the barn , startling the drowsy beasts in their stalls with the ... It was no mere curiosity, however, that brought Peter Strand and Karen from their farm to the east, nearly a...
page 50 : link
(the search was for “puttering” + “strand”)
the novel ran in six issues, June through November 1926, under the head (in the first installment) :
“Dark Dawn, A New Novel by Martha Ostenso who won fame overnight with her first novel ‘Wild Geese’”
Illustrations by W. Smithson Broadhead (1888-1960)
- 80:6 (June 1926) : 24-31, 191-200 : link
- 81:1 (July 1926) : 48-53, 179-186 (50) : link
- 81:2 (August 1926) : 64-69, 199-206 : link
- 81:3 (September 1926) : 54-57, 160-164 : link
- 81:4 (October 1926) : 72-75, 131-140 : link
- 81:5 (November 1926) : 98-101, 108-118 : link
An e-edition of the text is available via Faded Page : link
The Dark Dawn and its author are briefly treated by Grant Overton in “A Novelist from Nowhere,” in The Mentor (June 1927) : 56-57 : link
In the caption to an illustration (provided by Dodd, Mead & Co.) that accompanies that piece, Hattie Murker is oddly and inaccurately described as the “heroine” of the novel.
Overton devotes a chapter to Ostenso in the second edition of his The Women Who Make Our Novels (1928) : 245-252 : link
The story’s melodramatic tone was noted and regretted in a review in The New York Times under the head “A Domineering Woman” (October 24, 1926) : link (paywall)
In that review, it is suggested that Ostenso might well study the narrative technique of Willa Cather, “for it isn’t necessary to resort to melodrama to write persuasively of simple people.”
There was a cozy, earthy disorder about the tool shed that comforted him.
W. Smithson Broadhead illustration, in first installment of The Dark Dawn in Hearst’s International Combined with Cosmopolitan (June 1926) : link
the passage is from page 42 in the novel : link