This handsome chap is a friend's grandfather. His picture received a lot of attention on my Instagram account. Knowing how much I love old photographs, even those of people I don't know, my friend regularly drops vintage pictures into my greedy hands. His grandfather reminds me of the Arrow Shirt and Collar man, although he doesn't have the angular planes to his face that the traditional Arrow illustrations do (see below). Instead, his allure, although masculine, has the softness of a hero in a Grace Livingston Hill novel. Hill's champions are always strong men with gentle cores that never drift from right decision in everything they do. They are usually wealthy but conduct themselves with uncompromising integrity in business as well as - and especially in, love. Often, the hero in a Grace Livingston Hill novel spots a woman who is lovely in being but downtrodden in life. He becomes her sympathizer first, quietly on the sidelines, and then her protector and defender. Usually a marriage takes place at the end.
Hill's stories are of course, fiction. Jane Austen subscribed to the same formula and once wrote, "My ladies shall have all they desire, but only after a bit of trouble". Austen's novels end with voluptuously satisfying weddings. I love happy endings and I love the good strong men who make all my literary happy endings possible. They keep me searching for goodness, chivalry and kindness in our upside-down world. And they give me hope.
Our good-looking fellow became the town dentist who often took no money for his services. I also have a picture of him in his dental office about 1940, and although the place looks like a truly fearsome torture chamber, he is still remembered and kindly so, 70 years later. Astonishing. Handsome benevolence - a winning combination for heroes, in novels and in life.