In these stories Mrs. Deland has immortalized the little Pennsylvania town of Manchester where she was born. They comprise a mild and smooth running tale of village life with some deepening of interest around the central figures of Miss Lydia, the gallant "little wet hen," and the boy Johnny, whom she mothers when his parents forsake him.
s Lydia. I'll die rather than have it known. Nobody must know--ever."
Miss Lydia shook her head. "Somebody besides me must know." Then very faintly she said, "I'll tell your father." There was panic in her voice, but Mary's voice, from behind the dimpled hands, was shrill with panic:
"You mustn't! Oh, you promised not to tell!"
Miss Lydia went on, quietly, "He and I will decide what to do."
"No, no!" Mary said. "He'll kill Carl!"
"I shouldn't think Carl would mind," said Miss Lydia.
The girl dropped down again on the step. "Oh, what shall I do--what shall I do--what shall I do? He'll hate me."
"He'll be very, very unhappy," said Miss Lydia; "but he'll know what must be done. I don't. And he'll forgive you."
"He won't forgive Carl! Father never forgives. He says so! And if he won't forgive Carl he mustn't forgive me!" She hid her face.
There was a long silence. Then she said, in a whisper, "When will you . . . tell him?"
Post-finishing the book: VERY VERY like Mitford. Unto the very last words!
In the first pages, at This reminds me very much of the Mitford books by Jan Karon, with the same sort of goings on, but through the eyes of some unnamed local person who speaks for the majority. The community's mores (morality) and values are much the same. Perhaps a desire to read this sort of gentle book inspired Ms. Karon to write the Mitford stories.
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