Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

A picture of the author Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

While researching "forgotten authors" I came across Eleanor Hallowell Abbott (1872 - 1958). While I don't have a great deal of information yet regarding Abbott, she was a rather prolific author who wrote seventy-five short stories and fourteen romantic novels.

One of her Christmas stories, Peace on Earth, Good-will to Dogs (1920) was quite popular and will be featured in our Christmas story collection.

She also penned a delightful short story that is appreciated and embraced by modern readers entitled The Indiscreet Letter. It's the story of three travelers on a train headed to Boston; the Traveling Salesman, the Young Electrician, and the Youngish Girl. The Salesman and handsome Young Electrician are seated next to each and the Youngish Girl is behind them . . .

"Every man," affirmed the Traveling Salesman sententiously—"every man has written one indiscreet letter during his lifetime!"

"Only one?" scoffed the Young Electrician with startling distinctness above even the loudest roar and rumble of the train.

With a rather faint, rather gaspy chuckle of amusement the Youngish Girl in the seat just behind the Traveling Salesman reached forward then and touched him very gently on the shoulder.

"Oh, please, may I listen?" she asked quite frankly.

With a smile as benevolent as it was surprised, the Traveling Salesman turned half-way around in his seat and eyed her quizzically across the gold rim of his spectacles.

"Why, sure you can listen!" he said.

And now the stage is set, with all three participants in a common conversation. As the journey continues we discover the Youngish Girl certainly has and it will be central to the resolution of the story.

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.