More Dean Cornwell

Two Dean Cornwell illustrations from Never the Twain Shall Meet (1923), a story by Peter B. Kyne which appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine before it was published as a novel. The third and last image, I haven’t been able to place yet, but have seen it in two places titled, “They Conquered.”

Tiger-Cat Fury

“ ‘Lolita!” he cried. ‘I love you! I will do—anything! Anything—I love you! Kiss me! Kiss me! You must! You shall!’ He strained forward for the lips refused with a throw-back of the beautiful head. ‘Lolita! I can’t wait! You must!’

“She wriggled in his grasp with a dancer’s lithe muscles of steel, broke away from him. Like lightning her hand went to her stocking, flashed into the air again, glittering in the electric-light. A long, thin poniard, gleaming from the flashing jewels of her fingers, was upraised upon him. He stepped back, instinctively dodging the blow.

“ ‘Go!’ She pointed to the door, her face terrible in a tiger-cat fury. ‘Come back to me when — when Gregorio is dead!’

— From “The Red Shawl” by F. Britten Austin in Hearst’s International Magazine, February 1922; illustration by Dean Cornwell.

A Fierce Finality

In which the princess Cija attempts to escape an ambush in the forest with her infant son Nal:

“I kept edging towards the deeper undergrowth. Miraculously, and after a lifetime, I had nearly reached it when a wolf turned and saw me. Its head was nearly on a level with mine, and its pupils were like crosses fleering out of the green irises so alien in the sloping face of fur, so wide apart to be looking at me both together, that I felt giddy.

“It paced towards me. I remained as though rooted in the snow.

“To have turned and run would have been useless with four powerful legs like that behind me. The wolf came right up to me, never taking its blaze of gaze from mine. I knew that its hot breath would stink, that its teeth would be incredible agony before I became part of its mouth, but I quite consciously thought, This is a terror and a glory. It is a fierce finality to be torn apart by a blazing master of the elemental Forest. This is not the humiliation of old age, not the treachery of poison.

“The wolf was so close I could see the glistening of the pore-dots in the texture of the nose-pad, the dribbeted red blood glutinous on the hairs by the lift of the lip, the sickle-point of the fang behind the puff of wolf-breath on the frozen air.

“I had no desire to close my eyes at this death. I didn’t want to miss any of it. I felt a ridiculous spineless submission, a fascination of surrender since no defiance could be the slightest use.

“The wolf lifted one lean paw, tapered and elegant as a thoroughbred horse-hoof, and brought it down like a touch of grey-fur-thistledown on Nal’s forehead.

“Tears like diamonds sprang out of the corners of the child’s eyes, the blue of snow-shadows.

“The wolf stayed so, its breath coming in visible wafts against my throat. Nal in my arms seemed to gather warmth and heaviness and calm. The calm of the wolf itself, in all its alienity, seemed to enclose me from the turmoil and the slaughter in the glade…

“I dashed into the undergrowth pressing to me the child in its calm like a talisman against the Forest.”

— From Atlan (1965) by Jane Gaskell; shown above, Frank Frazetta’s cover illustration for the 1968 paperback edition.

Several Cups of Tea

“The Teacup Times” (1908) by Harrison Fisher (1877-1934)

Circa 1930, Rotterdam, artist unknown

“Old Woman Drinking Tea” (c 1907) by Antonio Mancini (1852-1930)

“Tea Time (Woman with Teaspoon)” by Jean Metzinger (1883-1956)

“A Woman Sipping Her Tea near a Lamp in the Quitandinha Hotel (Petropolis, Brazil)” by Frank Scherschel for Life Magazine, July 1, 1945

Live Coals

“For there, standing close beside the fire, his head and huge shoulders thrust into the doorway, his eyes gleaming like live coals, stood the great grey leader of the wolf pack.”

— From Connie Morgan in the Fur Country (1921) by James B. Hendryx, illustration by Frank Schoonover

In the words of James Oliver Curwood…

“Swift as a flash Marette Radisson’s hand went in and out of her raincoat, and at the backs of the three men she was leveling a revolver! Not only did Kent see that swift change, but the still swifter change that came into her face. Her eyes shot to his just once, and they were filled with a laughing, exultant fire. With one mighty throb Kent’s heart seemed to leap out through the bars of his prison, and at the look in his face and eyes Carter swung suddenly around.

” ‘Please don’t make any disturbance, gentlemen,’ said Marette Radisson. ‘The first man that makes a suspicious move, I shall kill!’

“Her voice was calm and thrilling. It had a deadly ring in it. The revolver in her hand was held steadily. It was a slim-barreled, black thing. The very color of it was menacing. And behind it were the girls eyes, pools of flame. The three men were facing them now, shocked to speechlessness. Automatically they seemed to obey her command to throw up their hands. Then she leveled the grim little gun straight at Pelly’s heart.

” ‘You have the key,’ she said. ‘Unlock the cell!’ Pelly fumbled and produced the key. She watched him closely. Then suddenly the special constable dropped his arms with a coarse laugh. ‘A pretty trick,’ he said, ‘but the bluff won’t work!’

“The little black gun shifted to him, even as the constable’s fingers touched his revolver holster. With half-smiling lips, Marette’s eyes blazed at him.

” ‘Please put up your hands,’ she commanded.

“The constable hesitated; then his fingers gripped the butt of his gun. Kent, holding his breath, saw the almost imperceptible tensing of Marette’s body and the wavering of Pelly’s arms over his head. Another moment and he, too, would have called the bluff, if it were that. But that moment did not come.

“From the slim, black barrel of the girl’s revolver leaped forth a sudden spurt of smoke and flame, and the special constable lurched back against the cell bars, caught himself as he half fell, and then stood with his pistol arm hanging limp and useless at his side. He had not made a sound, but his face was twisted in pain.

” ‘Open the cell door!’

“A second time the deadly-looking little gun was pointed straight at Pelly’s heart. The half-smile was gone from the girl’s lips now. Her eyes blazed a deeper fire. She was breathing quickly, and she leaned a little toward Pelly, repeating her command. The words were partly drowned in a sudden crash of thunder. But Pelly understood. He saw her lips form the words, and half heard.

” ‘Open the door, or I shall kill you.’

“He no longer hesitated. The key grated in the lock, and Kent himself flung the door wide open and sprang out.”

— From The Valley of Silent Men (1920) by James Oliver Curwood, illustrated by Dean Cornwell. They just don’t make ’em like they used to.