A Winter Courtship -- The Mistress of Sydenham Plantation -- The Town Poor -- The Quest of Mr. Teaby -- The Luck of the Bogans -- Fair Day -- Going to Shrewsbury -- The Taking of Captain Ball -- By the Morning Boat -- In Dark New England Days -- The White Rose Road
r with ye, gone half the time as you be, an' carryin' on with your Mis' Peaks and Mis' Ashes. I dare say you've promised yourself to both on 'em twenty times."
"I hope to gracious if I ever breathed a word to none on 'em!" protested the lover. "'T ain't for lack o' opportunities set afore me, nuther;" and then Mr. Briley craftily kept silence, as if he had made a fair proposal, and expected a definite reply.
The lady of his choice was, as she might have expressed it, much beat about. As she soberly thought, she was getting along in years, and must put up with Jefferson all the rest of the time. It was not likely she would ever have the chance of choosing again, though she was one who liked variety.
Jefferson wasn't much to look at, but he was pleasant and appeared boyish and young-feeling. "I do' know's I should do better," she said unconsciously and half aloud. "Well, yes, Jefferson, seein' it's you. But we're both on us kind of old to change our situation." Fanny Tobin gave a gentle sig
Strangers and Wayfarers is much like Jewett's more famous The Country of Pointed Firs however it seems less polished and more detached than "Country". Both deal with small New England towns and the men and women who inhabit them. Strangers and Wayfarers is a somewhat earlier work and it contains the melancholy and reticence one might expect from the residents of the works of Ms Jewett.
This is in reality a book of short stories and I must admit to reading only eight of the thirteen stories included. The best of them is In Dark New England Days. The story of two elderly sisters who's brother has recently died. They seem to have had no control over their lives, that being left to the departed brother. Upon his death they open his sea mans chest and find his personal fortune which is composed of a large number of coins apparently of some worth. A larcenous neighbor peeks through the window as the women examine the coins and other valuables. The result is unfortunate but not unexpected in their narrow and sheltered life. Dark New England Days and The Quest of Mr. Teaby seem the most accomplished of the stories.
I can not give the book a high rating however the overcast of resignation and melancholy with brief moments of joy make this book something that can not be simply dismissed. Ms Jewett is a writer of merit. She excels in small pictures of relatively ordinary people who are placed in unexceptional day to day endeavors. I will read more of her work and expect my appreciation of her very real craftsmanship will continue to grow. However her books will not be near the top of my reading list. They explain and capture but do not inspire. This is not a sin. Literature is a craft as well as an art.
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