"I think I ought to tell you," she began, "that I never was a minister's daughter, and I don't remember ever havin' been deserted by my sweetheart when I was young and trusting. If I was to draw a picture of my life it would look like one of those charts that the weather bureau gets out-one of those high and low barometer things, all uphill and downhill like a chain of mountains in a kid's geography." -from "Pink Tights and Ginghams" The critics of her day called her the greatest American woman novelist, and one, in 1918, called her character Emma McChesney "one of the cheeriest, truest, and most helpful characters given to American readers in recent years." Edna Ferber rose to fame, in fact, on her short stories about the adventures of Emma, a sophisticated traveling underwear saleswoman about whom the phrase "one smart cookie" might have been coined. This 1913 collection of some of those tales is an excellent introduction to Emma, and to Ferber, whose vivid prose and sharply realized characters continue to make her work among the most enjoyable in American literature. Ferber's piercing perspective offers a keen insight on the foibles of American society, and finds the undercurrents of hypocrisy and frivolity with intelligence and humor. American novelist EDNA FERBER (1885-1968) was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, the unofficial society of New York City literary wits. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for her novel So Big; among her other works are Showboat (1926), Cimarron (1929), Giant (1952), and Ice Palace (1958).