"The past is our only real possession in life. It is the one piece of property of which time cannot deprive us; it is our own in a way that nothing else is. It never leaves our consciousness. In a word we are our past; we do not cling to it, it clings to us," wrote Grace King at the close of her remarkable career. Historian, novelist, essayist, short story writer, and friend or acquaintance of many of the period's leading literary figures, King chronicles life in the transitional world of postbellum New Orleans. A realist in the Jamesian manner, her work thematically centers on giving voice to the displaced, marginalized women of the Old Order South. Her avowed patrician orthodoxies are at times in conflict with her artistic commitment to truth-telling, and her work reveals the ironies and tensions in her dual roles as a southern woman and a writer. Her popular stories were first collected in book form in 1893 after originally appearing in Century magazine. Dedicated to her mother, a "charming raconteuse," the tales pay homage to all storytelling, story-loving women who give value and meaning to workaday lives through the life-defining intimacies of shaping and sharing stories.