In spite of some of the more elegant settings here, these rather impoverished short stories are period pieces even though it is difficult to determine their chronological age. Are they modern? Husbands call their wives in ""frocks"" ""sweet child""; sometimes they wear tea gowns. Occasionally there is the faint sachet of sentiment--the Christmas story sermonette Third Class to Joy or the fairy tale of the little old charlady. Irony may intrude-- a yearly seasonal greeting arouses the suspicions of a wife and hounds a husband after her death. Then there's the French restaurateur who tells his story all in nevaires and ze's and zat's. Dramatically they are rather motionless; ""Dully they sat down to tea."" But they will be silver spoonfed to a certain audience she holds in her hand like a reticule.