In the Money

In the Money

In the Money

In the Money


First published by New Directions in 1940, In the Money is a sequel to White Mule, and the second volume in Dr. Williams’s “Stecher Trilogy,” but it also stands alone as a novel complete in itself. White Mule is a study of childhood––of the baby Flossie Stecher and her sister Lottie, and their parents, Joe and Gurlie Stecher, of German and Norwegian origin, living in New York before the first World War. In the Money is Joe Stecher’s success story––the tale of his fight against graft and injustice to found his own business and get “into the money.” Joe is by nature quiet and reserved. But his wife Gurlie is full of ambition and drives him on toward the things she wants––position and a home of her own. It is a simple story, yet a meaningful one––a typical American situation. As a novelist, one of Dr. Williams’s strengths is his striking use of detail, an “objectivism,” related to the style of his poetry; which achieves great, even symbolic force in its enlargement of the minutiae of American life and character.


"GUESS YOU'RE RIGHT," said the grocer's assistant skinny old Ben Williams. "Days'll be gettin' pretty cold up here in Vermont now. Finest days of the year though, if you ask me. Just when everybody's clearin' out for the city. Finest days of the year."

Here they were still in Vermont, the summer almost gone. Gurlie, bareheaded, her blond hair drawn plainly back over the ears, stood impatiently before Topping's General Store, beside the buggy, waiting for her order to be put into it. The middle of the morning there were few people about the Corners -- drug store, grocer, post office and bank -- which constituted the village to which she had driven for her final shopping trip.

"Where are you putting that kerosene!" said Gurlie. "Don't put it next to the potatoes. You know better than that."

"Got to put it somewhere, don't I? How's that?" He shifted it, in the back of the buggy, over to the other side.

Gurlie didn't answer him. "Where is that child?"

The baby, now well into her second year, was nowhere in evidence.

"Mr. Topping's got her. Down in the cracker box by this time, I guess."

"He mustn't do that," said Gurlie.

"He's taken a great liking to that little girl of yours, Mrs. Stecher. Did you get the rest of the order? . . ."

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