Page 6, 27th March 1942

27th March 1942
Page 6
Page 6, 27th March 1942 — HERE IS THE

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Keywords: Jabez, The Devil

—A Persuasive Devil — An Ingratiating Devil — Indeed the Very Devil of a Devil


TT was one of those days when everything goes wrong. 1 The kind of day that happens to all of us .sometimes. Jabez Stone, the young farmer, is keeping his chin up in spite of hard times, though it is easy, to see that his nerves arc not going to stand much more. He has been grumbling but more to get it off his chest than in rebellion. And he has his nice, God-fearing mother and his brave young wife to help prop up the chin.

Then a whole bundle of last straws fall down with a wallop. The pig breaks its leg ; a sack of precious grain that is being heaved on to the cart to pay the overdue mortgage bursts and falls into the mud : the wife falls oft the cart and is badly hurt. " It's enough to make a man sell his soul to the devil !" cries Jabez.

And wanting no second invitation there is the devil. Such a deceptive devil he is. A hobo, unwashed, scrubby, and yet with a mean dandyism—with his gloves and the jaunty twist to, his greasy old hat. Not a mita to fear, certainly, or to worry about, even if

he does hold your bond • signed in blood. Seven years of prosperity hc offers Jabez and the shining, !glittering bait spills about the barn floor. " It's nothing, your soul,' he urges. " Have you ever seen it? Have you ever felt it?" .

Ah, he is a persuasive devil—an ingratiating devil—the very devil of a devil who watches for the weak spot and stabs his dirty finger through it.

AND so Jabez hands over his bond, and the devil that is money. £) wrongly-come-by starts the work for the mestere devil. Soon Jabcz is putting the screw on his friends, betraying his wife, scandalising the decent neighbours—even his little son runs away from him And one day the Aeven years are up Devil Hobo comes to claim his own. , Poor Jabez 1watches horrified while the soul of a usurer also pledged to the Devil leaves his body and is caught—a dusty, pitiful moth in the grubby Hobo handkerchief. That a soul ! Jabez stiffens with horror. So small and mean a thing. " They're not all so small." sniggers the Devil. " Some want a big packing-case—the ones really worth catching. But yours—yours I could keep in my vest pocket

The great Daniel Webster, great-souled senator and fighter for the farmers' rights, pleads Jabeis cause before a jury of twelve ghosts of infamous men and gets him acquitted. Blame your own ignorance of American history if the finer points of the trial escape you.

And don't miss the final shot with the Devil, who knows when he is defeated, writing off Jabez as one of his failures and scratch ing his chin meditatively while he decides on his next quarry. A light break in the wicked, foxy eyes—and his index-finger darts out of the screen. Yes, he has decided that it's " You next !" Walter Huston is the man who puts this new conception of the devil on the screen map.

G. C.

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