Cumner's Son and Other South Sea Folk by Gilbert Parker Page 2 of 248
In a Foreword to Donovan Pasha, published in 1902, I used the following words:
"It is now twelve years since I began giving to the public tales of life in lands well known to me. The first of them were drawn from Australia and the islands of the southern Pacific, where I had lived and roamed in the middle and late eighties.... Those tales of the Far South were given out with some prodigality.
They did not appear in book form, however; for at the time I was sending out these antipodean sketches I was also writing - far from the scenes where they were laid - a series of Canadian tales, many of which appeared in the 'Independent" of New York, in the 'National Observer", edited by Mr. Henley, and in the 'Illustrated London News".
On the suggestion of my friend Mr. Henley, the Canadian tales, Pierre and His People, were published first; with the result that the stories of the southern hemisphere were withheld from publication, though they have been privately printed and duly copyrighted. Some day I may send them forth, but meanwhile I am content to keep them in my care."
These stories made the collection published eventually under the title of Cumner"s Son, in 1910. They were thus kept for nearly twenty years without being given to the public in book form. In 1910 I decided, however, that they should go out and find their place with my readers.
The first story in the book, Cumner"s Son, which represents about four times the length of an ordinary short story, was published in Harper"s Weekly, midway between 1890 and 1900. All the earlier stories belonged to 1890, 1891, 1892, and 1893. The first of these to be published was 'A Sable Spartan", 'An Amiable Revenge", 'A Vulgar Fraction", and 'How Pango Wango Was Annexed".