his to keep, but belonging to tlie people of thesentowns he passed through, coming out of theirnrooted pasts and their mock rambles, coming out ofntheir time. He himself had no time. He was free;nhelpless.nThis may be Miss Welty’s clearest image of a future that shenforesaw a long time ago, and that we have now inherited.nOnce the man of the future (like Tate’s George Posy) thenderacinated Harris is now very much the man of the present.nIt is noteworthy that the eternal present which he inhabits isnin the story’s scheme of things a sort of hell on earth. In itsnvery unity of effect, the story conveys a wholesale loss ofnhistory. Not all Miss Welty’s stories are about this kind ofnloss. But most of them do work within a very compactntemporal period. The history that struggles so energeticallynto force itself upward into the present moment is impliednmore than it is stated, even in a story so rich with history, as,nfor example, “Clytie.”nThe majority of Southern storywriters have and still donfollow a similar technical pattern — working very tightly tonpackets of real time. Flannery O’Connor certainly did so,nfor reasons probably more religious than aesthetic. Hernstories reside in a perpetual state of eschatological apprehension—neach moment is potentially that when the soul willnbe summoned to judgment. O’Connor’s work is ahistorical,nthen, from the moment of its conception. Another, lessndogmatic moral fabulist, George Garrett, also sticks close tonclock and calendar in his short fiction, which is oftenncomplicated, however, by the presence of a ghostly voicenthat floats above the action and ranges more freely throughnlarger chronologies than the action details. A youngerngeneration of short-story writers has adopted these methodsnof managing time within strict limits, probably withoutnquestion, for the most part.nIn increasingly dramatic contrast to this general tendencynis the work of Peter Taylor, who by moving in a differentndirection has discovered very different possibilities. PeternTaylor is quintessentially a storywriter: his recent novel, AnSummons to Memphis, is simply a longer and more detailednversion of his old story Dean of Men. As a storywriter he hasncertain important abilities that scarcely anyone else in thenSouth or anywhere else in America appears to possess orneven desire.nEach of Taylor’s stories has the potential of a novel. Manyncover the amount of real time that a novel wouldnaddress — a long novel, too, a “saga.” Taylor’s gift is fornengaging, convincing, compelling summary. He is able tonmake his stories account for the whole lives of theirncharacters — and not through the flashbacks or the shortnbursts of background exposition that real-time stories conventionallynemploy. In reading a Taylor story one seems tonpass through the lives of the characters alongside them, sonthat when the present moment is reached it is all the morenpotent with meaning. The short story is Taylor’s ideal formnbecause of his extraordinary ability to fuse a long chronologynwith some particularly revealing instant, as in his masterpiecen(one of them) “A Wife of Nashville.”nHelen Ruth put her hands on the handlebar of thenteacart. She pushed the cart a little way over the tilen28/CHRONICLESnnnfloor but stopped when he repeated his question. Itnwasn’t to answer his question that she stopped,nhowever. “Oh, my dears!” she said, addressing hernwhole family. Then it was a long time before shensaid anything more. John R. and the three boysnremained seated at the table, and while Helen Ruthngazed past them and toward the front window ofnthe sun parlor, they sat silent and still, as thoughnthey were in a picture. What could she say tonthem, she kept asking herself And each time shenasked the question, she received for answer somendifferent memory of seeming unrelated things outnof the past twenty years of her life. These thingsnpresented themselves as answers to her question,nand each of them seemed satisfactory to her. Butnhow litrie sense it would make to her husband andnher grown sons, she reflected, if she shouldnsuddenly begin telling them about the long hoursnshe had spent waiting in that apartment at the VauxnHall while John R. was on the road for thenStandard Candy Company, and in the same breathnshould tell them how plainly she used to talk tonJane Blakemore and how Jane pretended the babynmade her nervous and went back to Thornton. Ornsuppose she should abruptiy remind John R. of hownill at ease the wives of his hunting friends used tonmake her feel and how she had later driven Sarah’snworthless husband out of the yard, threatening toncall a bluecoat. What if she should suddenly saynthat because a woman’s husband hunts, there is nonreason for her to hunt, any more than because anman’s wife sews, there is reason for him to sew.nShe felt that she would be willing to say anything atnall, no matter how cruel or absurd it was, if it wouldnmake them understand that everything thatnhappened in life only demonstrated in some waynthe lonesomeness that people felt. She was ready tontell them about sitting in the old nursery atnThornton and waiting for Carrie and JanenBlakemore to come out of the cabin in the yard. Ifnit would make them see what she had been so longnin learning to see, she would even talk about then”so much else” that had been missing from her lifenand that she had not been able to name, and aboutnthe foolish mysteries she had so nobly acceptednupon her reconciliation with John R. To her, thesenthings were all one now; they were her loneliness,nthe loneliness from which everybody, knowingly ornunknowingly, suffered. But she knew that hernhusband and her sons did not recognize hernloneliness or Jess McGehee’s or their own.nThere could be no more convincing illustration of the oldnSouthern literary touchstone — that the past inhabits thenpresent and is alive within it. There is also almost no othernSouthern storywriter capable of achieving such an effect,nexcept for Elizabeth Spencer. Her latest collection. Jack ofnDiamonds, shows her adept at bringing twenty or thirty yearnblocks of familial history within the borders of a single story,nlike the extraordinary “Cousins”; however short such a storynmay be, the reader must feel that it has come a long, longn