“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1- 8, Havana, Casa de Recogidas)

“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1- 8, Havana, Casa de Recogidas)

SEE Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story: New and Improved



USS Maine Tablet (1912), old Rochester City Hall, Fitzhugh Street USS Maine Tablet (1912), old Rochester City Hall, Fitzhugh Street USS Maine Table (1912), old Rochester, NY City Hall, Fitzhugh Street

Scene 1: Havana, February 1898


from 1896 film, Boxing match or Glove Contest

Scene 2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, February 1898


Scene 3: Washington, February 1898


600x300xBuffalo.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.Gy-iNOWiNpScene 4: Montana, February 1898

Scene 5: New York, February 1898220px-StephenCraneandCora1899

Scene 6: The Cuban Countyrside, February 1898


Scene 7: Havana, May 1898


1893 edition

crank 2Scene 9, Siboney, Cuba June 1898

COMPLETE SCEENPLAY, SEE: Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story. 24 scenes and a modest appraisal

see On Spanish-American War Monuments and Rochester. And remembering the Buffalo Soldiers on Veteran’s Day

On early war films Filming, faking and propaganda: The origins of the war film, 1897-1902

“Mr. Crane’s Vivid War” Scene 8: Havana, May 1898 


Stephen Crane, Greco-Turkish War, Greece, 1897

Havana, 1898

 Crane returns to Sarah’s house which is across the piazza from the prison.

Sarah: Stevie, you are back in one piece.  Did you get the eggs?

Crane: Eggs?   . . .  (pausing) The eggs have to cook a little longer.  I like my eggs hardboiled.

(Crane and Sarah stand on the deck, looking across to the prison)

Crane: That place is locked up pretty tight.  I think there are more soldiers than whores.  Although it is not always easy to tell the difference.

(Crane gestures to a man speaking from the government palace)

Crane: Say, Sarah.  My Spanish is muchos nada.  What is he telling the crowd?

[Note: some of the dialogue is from This Majestic Lie in Crane’s Wounds in the Rain collection]


Sarah: He is giving them news of the war:

“The inhabitants of Philadelphia have fled to the forests because of a Spanish bombardment and also Boston was besieged by the Apaches who have totally infested the town. The Apache artillery has proven singularly effective and an American garrison has been unable to face it.  In Chicago millionaires were giving away their palaces for two or three loaves of bread.”

Crane: (laughing)  The more he speaks the more they drink.  (pointing to the raucous   crowd)  And, look at the guards; they are almost tottering (pointing to the prison)

Sarah:   I told you food is scarce in Havana but wine is plentiful.

Crane: Now what.

Sarah: “The Spanish Navy has sunk every one of Admiral Dewey’s ships in Manila Bay.”

Crane: What a lot of fools.  Don’t they know that Dewey sunk every single Spanish ship?


The destruction of the Spanish fleet in Manilla Bay by Admiral Dewey

Sarah: They believe what they read in the newspapers.

Crane: And what are those two gibbering about?  (pointing to two loud men)

Sarah: One says, “How unfortunate it is that we have to buy meat in Havana when so much pork is floating in Manila Bay.”  The other says “Ah, wait until our soldiers get with the wives of the Americans and there will be many little Yankees to serve hot on our tables.  The men of the Maine simply made our appetites good.  Never mind the pork in Manila.  There will be plenty.”


Spanish crowds cheering soldiers leaving for Cuba from Le Petit journal supplement illustre 18th May 1898

Crane:   Ye, god.  They are cackling and chuckling and insulting their own dead men.   If there are poor green corpses floating in Manila Bay, they are not American corpses.  Say, Sarah where are they getting this “news?”  The American blockade seems to be keeping out food but not lies.

Sarah: A cable runs from Cuba to Bermuda.  News is brought to Bermuda and then telegraphed to Havana.

Crane: (musing)   Take me to one of those telegraph booths down on the piazza.   I have a message to send.

(Crane and Sarah enter a Western Union-like telegraph office)

Crane: Tell him I want to send a telegram to the government palace.  Ask him how much it costs.

(Sarah goes)

Sarah: (returning) (shows Crane three fingers) Three gold pieces a word!  It’s a good thing Stephen Crane is known for his pithy sentences.

(Crane and Sarah enter a booth. Crane writes out a paragraph and has Sarah translate it.)

Crane: (looking at his watch)  Four minutes of two o’clock.  Perfect.  Let her rip, Miss Clancy.

(Sarah sends the message. Almost instantaneously a speaker addresses the crowd)

Speaker: People of Havana.  Joyous news!  The United States has surrendered.  The war is over.   Florida has been ceded to Spain!

(The crowd explodes in enthusiasm. More and more wine is drunk.  Dancing erupts.  The prison guards begin to join the celebration.)

(Crane looks at his watch. He takes out the handkerchief and waves it in the direction of the prison.  He leaves Sarah and makes his way through the crowd.  By the time he reaches the prison, the guards are drunk and swooning.  He easily makes it inside and to Margharita’s cell.)


Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros (September 23, 1877 – April 29, 1970) was the focus of events that played out in the years 1896–1898 during the Cuban War of Independence.

Margharita: Mr. Crane, I presume!  I will say this for you Americans, very punctual. (taking a key out from inside her corset) I managed to steal this a few weeks ago.  Now it is coming in handy.  Mr. Crane, why are you here?

Crane: (takes out handkerchief, waves it and hands it to Margharita)  I offer my unconditional surrender.  Women should have the right to vote.  More so, I give you my own vote for safekeeping.

Margharita: Not that you’ve ever made much use of it.

(Crane winces in mock pain and takes her by the hand. They rush through the crowd to Sarah’s boarding house.)

evngelina 2

An account of the escape of Evangelina with the assistance of the reporter, Karl Decker from William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal

(They make it to Crane’s room, panting and sweating.)

Crane: (winded) Oh, what good sport!  What a lark!  I haven’t gone that fast since I ran the bases for the Syracuse Nine!


Stephen Crane (front row, center) sits with baseball teammates on the steps of the Hall of Languages, Syracuse University, 1891

Margharita: (glowing) Oh, what a lark!  What a lark!  It was like being a schoolgirl on holiday again.  No more nuns!

(She goes to Crane, takes out the handkerchief and begins to wipe the sweat from his forehead)

Margharita: Is this where Sir Arthur pulls the sword out of the stone?  And offers it to his fair damsel?

Crane: (retreating slightly) (suddenly nervous) I came here to write your story not . . .not to make love to you.  (Regaining his composure)  Whenever I make love to a woman, she becomes alive to me but dead to the world.  I don’t like writing about dead people.

Margharita: (backing off but smiling as if she had won something).   Seeing as I am still alive, what is next?

Crane: We’ve got to get to the wharf as quickly as possible.  You can’t go there as you are.  Here (reaching for a package) is a disguise, a sailor’s costume.


According to reports in the Yellow Press, American women were searched as potential spies (1898)

(Margharita partially undresses in front of Crane, putting on the outfit and a waxed mustache)

Crane: Good god.  As a man you are almost as handsome as Mr. Stephen Crane himself. crane

Margharita: Perhaps I am one of those men who ruined Maggie in that book of yours.

(The make their way to the wharf where the yacht is waiting)

Crane: The yacht will take you to Mexico and from there you can sail for New York.

Margharita: Goodbye, Mr. Crane.  (she extends her hand).  It will take a while for the Americans to get to Cuba.  What will you do until then?

Crane:  Start my next novel, of course.

Evangelina Cosío Cisneros

(Margharita boards the yacht. As it sets sail, she removes the disguise, freeing her hair which blows in the wind.  She waves.  Crane waves back.)


“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story:” New and Improved

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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