- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
When I was a small boy I picked every last bud from the red peony bushes in the garden and presented them to my father. “Look, Daddy,” I said. “Cherries.” I was beaten with a bamboo cane for my conscientiousness, but I have not held it against peonies.
I was reminded of this incident by the beginning of Stephen Crane’s novella The Monster, published in 1897. Crane (1871-1900) is mostly remembered for his novel about the US civil war, The Red Badge of Courage.
The Monster takes place in a small town called Whilomville. At the beginning of the story, Dr Trescott’s little …