F. Scott Fitzgerald gets religion

The New Yorker published a Fitzgerald short story that it rejected back in 1936. In it, the BVM lights a cigarette for a corset and girdle saleswoman.

It had been a long time since she had prayed. She scarcely knew what to pray for, so she prayed for her employer, and for the clients in Des Moines and Kansas City. When she had finished praying, she knelt up. An image of the Madonna gazed down upon her from a niche, six feet above her head.

Vaguely she regarded it. Then she got up from her knees and sank back wearily in the corner of the pew. In her imagination, the Virgin came down, like in the play “The Miracle,” and took her place and sold corsets and girdles for her and was tired, just as she was. Then for a few minutes Mrs. Hanson must have slept.

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