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Memories of the Jewett Family

from Gladys Hasty Carroll, Dunnybrook, New York: MacMillan, 1943.

Dunnybrook is Carroll's reconstruction of the history of her family in York County, Maine.  Readers of Sarah Orne Jewett will be particularly interested in the pictures Carroll presents of three Jewetts, Sarah, her father, and her sister, Mary.
 


Dr. Jewett at a childbirth

Dunnybrook, pp. 296-298

            From time to time George came into the room, treading as easy as he could, his eyes somber, his mouth grim, and sat down by the bed. There was nothing he could do. There was nothing anyone could do. But he could sit there. He thought of that ether cup he had once held for Hattie. He wished he had such a cup for Sarah Jane. But when he mentioned it to Dr. Jewett, the doctor shook his head.

            "Not yet, son," he said. "Not at all if we can help it. Nature's way is best. You know that, George. Be patient. It will pass."
            So. It would pass. But when?
            Nobody knew.
            When George was there, Lydia could go out into the kitchen, where the doctor sat, and pour him a cup of tea. She could see he needed it. He was getting to be an old man now. He must be eased when he could. They must all try to spare him. What would Dunnybrook do without him? This kindly-eyed, long-fingered, gentle-speaking man who had read all books, and knew all people, and counted all he knew his friend . . . .
            "Here. Down this cup before you go in there again," said Lydia, putting it before him. " 'Twill strengthen you."
            "You down one, too," he said. "You need extra strength, too, Mrs. Brown. For afterward. When I've gone home to bed, and mother and babe are sleeping sweetly, you'll still be up and about, hovering over, well I know . . . . Pour a good cup for yourself."
            She poured it, but she could not drink it. She lifted the cup and slowly put it down again, smiling faintly.
            Drinking deep, he smiled back; and Lydia knew her daughter had the best of care. She did not know -- or, if she did, it did not matter to her -- that he was a Professor of Obstetrics at Bowdoin College, that he was President of the Maine Medical Society, and that his contributions to scientific journals were numerous and notable. She only knew that, for a doctor, Dunnybrook had the best there was; and that if God was willing Sarah Jane should ever smile again, Dr. Jewett would see she did . . . .
            "You mothers!" he teased her gently. "You go down into the Valley to bear your children, and for every Valley they go into, in their turn, you go again!"
            "Oh, deeper," Lydia said brokenly. "Far deeper, Doctor. It is so much easier to go alone -- "
            "Yes," he said. "So it is you, and not Sarah, who suffers most today. She can't realize that now, but she will. And you can.  Hard as this is, other times, by and by, will be harder. She has to learn. She has to practice. She must grow strong . . . . I have a daughter Sarah, too."
            "I know you have. She rides with you sometimes. I see her settin' in your carriage, before houses where you have been called. She is a sweet-pretty little thing. My boys said she used to come over to the stable, when they worked there, and pet the horses. I mind they said she thought folks loaded stable carriages too heavy, oftentimes; and she couldn't abide to see a tight checkrein --"
            "Yes. That's Sarah. She loves horses. She loves everything. She's a bundle of love . . . . But she isn't very little any longer. She was seventeen last week. She doesn't ride with me as much as she used to. She rides alone more. She's got a little horse she calls Sheila because she shies sometimes, maybe because Sarah leaves the reins too loose . . . . My Sarah has much still to learn, like yours. I only hope, like you, she isn't hurt too much, doesn't have to pay too dear for her learning . . . . I've got two other daughters, too: Mary and Caroline. But I can whisper to you, Mrs. Brown, that, in some way, Sarah --"
            No, even here, even to her, he could not put it into words. He did not need to.
            "I have other children left to me, too," said Lydia, low. "But, some way, Sarah --"
            George came to the door.
            "I guess she needs you, Doctor."
            "Not just yet," Dr. Jewett answered quietly. "Soon, I think, but not just yet. Go back with her, George. She needs you now. She'll need me a little later."
            George went back.
            Dr. Jewett said, moving a teaspoon in his empty cup, "Sarah is a good name. My Sarah is named for my mother, Sarah Orne of Portsmouth. She died when she was twenty-five. . . . "
            "My Sarah is Sarah Jane," said Lydia Brown. "The Jane is for my mother. The Sarah is for my little sister Sarey. She died before she was twenty . . . .
            The old doctor stood up. He stopped beside Lydia's chair and took her hand and drew her up beside him.
            "Our Sarahs," he promised her, "will live longer. And better. They're the new generation . . . . Come now."
            They went into the bedroom.
            The doctor touched Sarah Jane's damp and tumbled chestnut hair.
            "Poor child," he said. "Brave little woman. I think you've done your part. We'll have this baby now."
            She groped for George's hand and felt it close over hers, strong as an oak root, steady and warm as a sunny ledge.
            "George -- will you care -- if it's a little girl?"
            "Care? No . . . . Why should I care? All I want is for it to be here, whatever 'tis, and leave you be!"
            "That's -- good," said Sarah Jane. "I jest -- couldn't -- bear it -- if you wa'n't pleased, George -- "
            How had she known?
            It came, a little girl.
            Sarah Jane slept. The doctor went home. George slept. Lydia washed, and dressed, and sat and held the baby . . . tiptoed in and out with the baby in her arms . . . hovered . . .



 
Note

Sheila: Jewett did not buy her own horse, Sheila, until after the publication of Deephaven in 1877, her 28th year.
 
 


On the American Revolution, connections with Jewett's The Tory Lover (1901)

Dunnybrook, pp. 301-303.

            Down on Witchtrot Road, Cap'n Andrew Goodwin built a river freight boat, a gundalow, in his dooryard, and sixty yoke of oxen hauled it to launching at the head of tidewater in the Piscataqua. This point of the river was seven miles from Witchtrot and known as the Lower Landing in Oldfields. It was near the burying ground where lay the bones of that Mrs. Mehitable Goodwin who was carried away to Canada by Indians and made wife to a Frenchman named Riand, and bore him sons, but was at last brought home again by her Berwick husband, to live and die a Berwick heroine. It was near the site of the old Lord Garrison, where John Marr's grandmother, Sarah Lord, was born; near Cow Cove, where the first cattle ever brought to Maine and New Hampshire, a fine herd from Denmark, had been landed, and which the farm of James Warren the First (in America) had fronted . . . .

            Cap'n Andrew's gundalow slid into the river from the land of his cousin Alpheus Goodwin, and Nancy watched the launching with other Goodwins from the front door of their house -- a house as white, with as many broad chimneys, as any in Portsmouth; a house built during the Revolutionary War by Colonel Jonathan Hamilton (at the same time Bial Hamilton was building his mansion to overshadow the Dunny Brook); the house where John Paul Jones visited before setting out downriver to take The Ranger into battle for his country under a silken flag cut from the best gowns of Portsmouth belles; the house in which lovely Mary Hamilton danced that last night with handsome young loyalist Roger Wallingford and persuaded him to serve with John Paul Jones, a service in which he was to lose his life . . . .
            Mr. John Marr was to write many years later, at the request of Portsmouth Daughters of the Revolution:
            My grandfather, Thomas Marr, born in 1763 in a house built by his father, Surples Marr, and still standing in South Berwick, often told me of John Paul Jones, The Ranger, and its crew. When Grandfather was fourteen years old, he saw The Ranger ready to sail out of Portsmouth Harbor. He had gone from his home to see the sailing. Its crew was mostly Berwick and Kittery men. He said there was a "marster" big crowd on the wharf when the flag was presented, and when young Wallingford bent it to the halyard and shook out the silk folds to the breeze, a mighty shout went up, "I tell you." But all at once it stopped, for the halyards had fouled and the colors stood at half-mast, until a sailor went aloft and freed them. My grandfather used to say, "I thought as poor young Wallingford stood there looking up at the colors that it seemed a sure fore-runner of his death, and sure enough it was, for of the two men killed on The Ranger in her fight with The Drake, young Wallingford was the first." . . .
            And Dr. Jewett's Sarah was to write in a book published in 1901 and called The Tory Lover:

            Gideon Warren, a Berwick sailor of the old stock, had known Lieutenant Wallingford from a child, and had himself been born and reared by the river.

            "Tis Mr. Roger Wallingford," he cried in the depths of the Old Mill Prison in Plymouth, England. "Don't you think I've got sense enough to know? And he's a dying man!"
            Warren, a heavily-built, kind-faced old mariner, had fallen on his knees and taken the sick head on his shoulder with all the gentleness of a woman.
            "Get him some water, can't ye?" demanded Warren. "Lord! I hope he ain't a-going to die before he tells some news of the old Lower Landing and how things were going forward when he left home, all up along Witchtrot way."
            "I'm all right now," said Wallingford, and then he saw whose stout arms were holding him. "Jehovah! We had news at home long ago that you were dead, Warren!"
            "Well, I hain't then, so now!" cried honest Gideon indignantly, which amused the prisoners so they fell to laughing. "Well, I hain't," Warren insisted. "Now tell us where you come from and how long you are from Berwick. We get no sort of news here. I expect you can't tell me whether my old mother's living?"
            The poor man tried hard to master his feelings but his face began to twitch and he burst out crying like a child . . . .

            I do not take these lines direct from Sarah Orne Jewett's The Tory Lover.   I requote them from a booklet into which are pasted the clippings of a little "History of Berwick Town" written for the local paper, the South Berwick Independent, in 1911, two years after Miss Jewett's death. The "History" is modestly signed, at the end, "V. V. H."

            Vinnie Hasty . . . Miss Vinnie . . . Little Lady. . . . And for her too, now, there is a stone which says she has been dead for more than twenty years.
            But what are stones? And what is time? In Dunnybrook we play on time as on a fiddle's strings.
            Nobody dies, who is remembered.



Notes

Hetty Goodwin:  Jewett retells or alludes to the captivity of Mehitable Goodwin many times in her works, notably in Betty Leicester (1890), "The Old Town of Berwick" (1894), and The Tory Lover (1901).  Though oral tradition told of Hetty's remarriage during captivity, research by Jewett's friends, C. Alice Baker and Emma Lewis Coleman, failed to find any evidence that Hetty remarried during her 5 years in Canada.  See notes to "The Old Town of Berwick."

Hamilton house:  The Hamilton house was not built until 1785-87, after the American Revolution.  As a result, John Paul Jones could not have visited the house in 1777 as he does in Jewett's novel, The Tory Lover.  Carroll has transformed fiction into history, or accepted another piece of fiction into her fictionalized reconstruction of local and family history.
 



Dr. Jewett at another childbirth

Dunnybrook, pp. 305-6

            Sarah Jane bore her first child in September of '66, her second in June of '69. And Lydia came and stood by a second time, and poured tea for Dr. Jewett in a new, bright ell-kitchen where windows looked both north and south.

            "I shall have just time for this, I think," he told her cheerfully. "She will not keep us waiting long today. Your Sarah is doing very well."
            Lydia's mind went back to that other night. She sat with little Vinnie on her lap, resting her chin on the top of Vinnie's round, dark little head, and smiled.
            "How is your Sarah doing, Doctor?"
            "Mine?" he repeated.
            "Seems she don't ride out this way as much, lately, as she did. Folks she used to call on, up and down the road, say they miss their visits with the doctor's girl. They say she must have outgrown her taste for gingerbread."
            "No, not at all." He put down the empty cup and took out a fine handkerchief to touch his lips, for Lydia had not known just where Sarah Jane kept napkins. "It isn't that," said Sarah Orne's father. "And she loves her friends as dearly as ever, none dearer than the folks who live out along this road. She wants to come. But -- my Sarah is a strange little creature. Do you know what she's doing these days? Would you venture a guess -- just to see how wrong a good guess can be?"
            Lydia shook her head, her eyes on his face. What would a doctor's daughter do? With no bread to bake, no floor to scrub, no brass to polish, what did a girl do all day, day after day? Play a piano? Sing? Embroider?
            "It's a great secret," Dr. Jewett said. "You mustn't breathe a word. But my Sarah is a funny child. She wouldn't do what the other children did. And now she's growing up, she won't do what the other girls do . . . . No, my Sarah goes into her room, and shuts the door, and sits there alone, and -- writes!"
            "My sakes alive," gasped Lydia. "Whatever does she write? Little notes? Or -- verses?"
            "No. My Sarah," the doctor said indulgently, but with quiet pride, "an' please you, ma'am, my Sarah writes stories. And sends them to magazines. And they are published. Only yesterday she had word from a gentleman named William Dean Howells, who is an editor, that a story of hers will appear soon in the Atlantic Monthly!"
            Even Lydia Brown knew the Atlantic Monthly. She never read it; but John sometimes brought a copy home from town and it lay for months, after he had read it, on the kitchen shelf with the Town Report and the Almanac, to be, like them, handled with due respect and dusted properly around.
            "My sakes alive," gasped Lydia again. She had never heard of such a thing. She held Vinnie so tight that the child squirmed. "Why, I thought only great ones wrote in that. Whatever do folks say, about the village?"
            "We don't know," the doctor admitted. "They don't say anything to us about it because they don't know it's Sarah, yet. You see, she uses an assumed name. She calls herself Alice Eliot. Nobody knows it's Sarah. It's her secret, mind, and you must never tell."
            "I won't," Lydia promised. "But ain't you anxious over her, tryin' to carry such a weight as that? She always seemed a pindlin' little thing to me, what I've seen of her -- "
            "I am," the doctor said gravely. "I am anxious. But parents are always anxious. You know that, Mrs. Brown. If it's not one thing, it's another. But mostly they come through very well with all they undertake to carry. Don't they? We need more faith . . . . I must go in now to your Sarah."



 
Note

Atlantic: Jewett's first story to appear in The Atlantic was "Mr. Bruce," which was published in December, 1869 under the name of A. C. Eliot.


The Hasty family reads Deephaven

Dunnybrook, pp. 310-313

            In '72 Lydia's Sarah Jane was the mother of three children; and the doctor's Sarah Orne was seeing her second story in the pages of the Atlantic, and writing in a letter:  "I don't like to shut myself up half the day and say nobody must interfere with me, when there are dozens of things I might do. . . .  I'm afraid of being selfish and shirking -- and yet . . ."

        In '78 Sarah Orne Jewett published her first book, Deephaven, under her own name, with the inscription, "I dedicate this story of out-of-door life and country people first to my father and mother, my two best friends, and also to all my other friends, whose names I say to myself lovingly, though I do not write them here." She had a letter saying, "I know of nothing better in our literature," and signed "John Greenleaf Whittier." She was among the guests invited to Oliver Wendell Holmes' seventieth birthday party.
            Sarah Jane Hasty's mother and father had come now to make their home with her. John Brown had grown too feeble to take care of even one cow and one horse, or to make the occasional necessary trip to town.  Sarah Jane worried about her mother being alone with him over in the woods. She had spoken to George about it, and George had said, "They better come over here with us." So here they were now, filling up Sarah Jane's little white house almost to overflowing with old and young, sickness and health, playing and talking and cooking and sweeping, hunger and laughter and pain. . . .
            Long evenings that winter Sarah Jane read Deephaven aloud while George snored in the bedroom, Vinnie and Hattie slept on the trundle bed -- the same one on which Georgie and Say Jane had once slept, and Joe and Little Columby in their turn -- drawn out into the sitting room, and the boy, Warren, curled into a ball like a puppy on a feather tick stretched on the floor of the sitting room cupboard . . . . But John Brown was wide-awake, smoking his pipe, and Lydia's knitting needles flew while their Sarah read aloud, by the lamp, with a warm fire crackling in her cookstove, and the kettle on for their nightcap cups of tea . . . .
            "I s'pose it's York she's gettin' at, don't you?" asked Lydia.
            "More likely Wells," said John.
            "It's real good anyway," said Sarah Jane. "Only does seem as if there's too much dyin' in it, what ain't already dead. You get the feelin' she's always sayin' good-by to everything quick as she says hello. I keep wishin' she'd look ahead a little mite instead of always behind."
            "Anybody has to look the way their mind turns, I s'pose," commented Lydia.
            "Well, I don't," snapped Sarah Jane. "If my mind don't turn as I want it to, I take aholt and shift it . . . . Seems as though, accordin' to this, when she rides along a road she's always pickin' out an old deserted house to stop at and mourn over. Now ain't that contrary? Anybody else I ever heard of would stop where folks was!"
            "She likes folks as they used to be," sighed Lydia. "And they was awful dear, and good!"
            "They was just like us," Sarah Jane declared, "only they lived a different time. I wish, too, they was all right here, speakin' with us. But I wouldn't swap the young ones for 'em. Now, would you?"
            What could John and Lydia answer? Give up Warren, even to have Little Columby back? Give up Vinnie, in exchange for Sarey? Give up Hattie, for Georgiana?
            "It's the doctor's girl that wrote this book, not us," said John. "Let her have her say. Read on."
            And Sarah Jane read on to the end:
          Before we left the leaves had fallen off all the trees except the oaks, which make in cold weather one of the dreariest sounds one ever hears . . . . The houses were shut up as close as possible and the old sailors did not seem cheery any longer . . . . In the front yards we saw the flower-beds black with frost, except a few brave pansies, which had kept green and had bloomed under the china aster- stocks, and one day we picked some of these little flowers to put between the leaves of a book and take away with us . . . .
            "Sounds for all the world like Mr. Marr," observed Sarah Jane, who had heard from Aunt Sarah Warren many times of his twilight visit with Aaron's Lizy. "I guess they're six and a half-a-dozen."
            "And both in good company," said Lydia gently.
            "Read on," said John Brown.
             I think we loved Deephaven all the more in those last days, with a bit of compassion in our tenderness for the dear old town which had so little to amuse it . . . . By and by the Deephaven warehouses will fall and be used for firewood, and the wharves will be worn away by the tides. The few old gentlefolks who still linger will be dead then; and 1 wonder if some day I will go down to Deephaven for the sake of old times, and read the epitaphs in the burying-ground . . . .
            "There, you see!" Sarah Jane concluded. "She thought that when she left York, or Wells, or wherever 'twas, the place would give itself a funeral. But I should doubt if it did. I never heard so. I like 'em both a sight better in the late fall, if I ride down with George when he goes clammin', or early spring, when he's after elwives, than I do summertimes. They ain't all cluttered up with folks that don't belong . . . . Still, I will say, some way, she made a real nice story of it."
            And she put the little brown book with the sheaf of wheat in gilt on the front cover very carefully into the hanging shelves above the lounge, saying that there the children could not reach it. Though she granted that some day, when the younger ones were napping, Vinnie might take it down, after she had washed her hands. Print had a kind of fascination for Vinnie; that child could already make out a surprising number of big words.
            "One thing," thought Lydia, in pity, "does seem as if the doctor's Sarah never comes nigh to a child, whereverabout she goes . . . . And a child is such a sight of comfort!"



 
Notes

Shut myself up:  This quotation is from a letter to Theophilus Parsons, dated 25 October 1874.

Jewett's second Atlantic story:  "The Shore House" appeared in September 1873.

never comes nigh to a child:  The Hastys seem unaware that Jewett had been publishing a good deal of children's fiction and verse in the years through 1877, when Deephaven was published.
 
 


Carroll evaluates Jewett's Literary Career

Dunnybrook, 338-42

Something had gone wrong with the brown eyes Johnny Marr so loved. Lizy wore a dark green shade over them now. She put her hands a little before her when she moved about. She could not read the books with which the shelves of the Jellison house were crowded, but Emily read aloud to her nights after the work was done; often when Emily put down their book and helped Sister Lizy to bed, roosters were already crowing and there was a pale streak across the dark sky above the mountain . . . . And every second or third summer Mr. John Marr came home from New York, bringing more books. Sister Emily and Emily's little daughter, May, called him Uncle John. His visits were summer Christmases. He would drive up in a stable carriage, get out, laden with parcels, and walk eagerly up to the low door -- tail-coated, silk-hatted old Mr. Marr. . . .

            Warren Hasty once watched one of these visits through a spyglass lent to him by a Mrs. Elwell who lived next to Jellisons', and on whom Sarah Jane was paying a call. Mrs. Elwell knew how to keep a small boy quiet while his elders talked. She brought out her "glass" and showed Warren how to adjust it to his young eyes, and rest it on the window sill, and kneel below . . . and bring himself as close to Mr. Marr as if he, too, were there in the Jellison yard, where an elegant gentleman walked side by side with Lizy Neal in the old garden, his hand under her elbow . . . . But even the spyglass did not tell what Mr. John Marr said to Lizy, nor how she answered him . . . .
            In the morning, before he went to Lizy, John Marr had always sat under the maples by the Warren cabin and talked long with Columby. As they grew older, and Mr. Marr's visits were more regular, they approached each other always more nearly and more freely. Here was such a man as John Marr had never found anywhere else, such a friend as he did not have out in New York . . . .
            And late in the afternoon, after he left Lizy, he always stopped in the village to call on the doctor's Sarah. She was Sarah Orne Jewett now, an established and deeply respected writer, not only throughout her own country, but abroad as well.  A few years after Deephaven she had published a collection of stories called Country By-ways and dedicated it "To my dear father; my dear friend; the best and wisest man I ever knew."
            She spent most of her winters in Boston, visited the Thomas Bailey Aldriches and Whittier, knew Matthew Arnold and Lowell well; went often to the Isle of Shoals to stay with Celia Thaxter; exchanged many sisterly notes with Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. William Dean Howells said, "How you do make other people's joinery seem crude and clumsy!" John Burroughs wrote, "I know you are from Maine. I can taste the flavor of the birches in your books. May the birches be kind to you." She traveled extensively abroad, visiting Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Henry James . . . .
            But to Berwick she always returned, in her thoughts and in her books -- the Berwick of her childhood and of still earlier days. If ever Berwick seemed to her a stranger, she went then to Exeter -- where her mother's family, the Perrys, still lived and where, as she once wrote to Sara Norton of Salmon Falls, "I always find my childhood going on as if I had never grown up at all, with my grand-aunts and their old horses and their elm trees and their unbroken china plates and big jars by the fireplaces. And I go by the house where I went to school, aged eight, in a summer that I spent with my grandmother, and feel as if I could go and play in the sandy garden with little dry bits of elm-twigs stuck in painstaking rows. There are electric cars in Exeter now, but they can't make the least difference to me." Her memories were sweet and secure. In a much later note she wrote joyously to the same Sara Norton, "This is my birthday and I am always nine years old."
            How could such a writer but have John Marr as an admiring and understanding reader, such a woman lack him as a devoted friend?
            Sarah Orne Jewett published A Country Doctor in 1884, A White Heron in 1886; other collections of short stories and sketches; and then suddenly surpassed all she had previously done in a full-length volume, The Country of the Pointed Firs . . . .  William James wrote her, "I can't hold in from telling you what exquisite pleasure it has given me." Kipling said, "It's immense. It is the very life."
            Julia Ward Howe and her daughter Laura E. Richards became frequent guests at the Jewett house. With Sarah they visited the charming village shops, the old Latin Academy on the hilltop, the Congregational Church at the foot of Academy Street; Miss Elisabeth Cushing, whose father had been a Boston Cushing and come to Berwick in 1795 -- when Berwick, "though small, was as proper a place to live as Boston" -- and whose mother had been hostess to Lafayette; the Nortons and the Does and the Burleighs and the Wards and the Goodwins and Kate Sanborn, the doctor's daughter . . . . Mrs. Howe and Sarah Orne Jewett were the only two women on the crowded platform at the celebration of the Longfellow Centennial.
            Bowdoin awarded Sarah Orne Jewett the first Doctor of Letters degree it ever bestowed on a woman. She met and befriended Willa Cather, who was much later to write, "If I were asked to name three American books which have the possibility of a long life, I should say at once, The Scarlet Letter, Huckleberry Finn, and The Country of the Pointed Firs. I can think of no others that confront time and change so serenely." . . .
            Honors which many long for were hers without stint; and she was grateful, and in a way happy. Yet in her heart, as in her books, she was forever returning to the life of her childhood and to an earlier life which, even then, she had been looking back upon with intimacy and longing. It hurt her for any tree which she had known to fall; she did not feel that it could ever be replaced. She haunted old buildings, old roads; she cherished old friends and was inconsolable at their loss. She told Willa Cather that her head was full of old houses and old women. She yearned to relive the hours she had spent with her father among his back-country patients, though with him had gone the key which would have opened any farmhouse door.
            She was touched to the quick when a wrinkled old lady, bundled in rusty bonnet and shawl, hugging butter boxes, peered at her in the midst of Saturday marketing and asked,[.] "Now just which one of the doctor's girls be you, dear?" No letter from James, Lowell, Howells, or any other fellow writer brought her the glow which came in reading a brief note from Hattie Chadbourne: "Your father was our doctor when we lived on York Road and every time he appeared to us there it was a blessing. Your books, I feel, bring the same sweet solace to all about the world who read them. Your father would be deeply proud if he could know how you carry on his great and rare work in fields broader than are open to one in his profession . . . . I believe your Mrs. Todd of "The Country of the Pointed Firs" to be my dear old neighbor, Mrs. Joanna Hasty of York Road." . . .
            As a child, Sarah Jewett told John Marr, she had used to love to run up Portland Street to meet the wood sleds of the farmers coming down from Dunnybrook way, and the first one she met would stop while she climbed on to ride back; and if she was lucky she got a few words out of the driver before they reached the Jewett gate. But now that she was older she could only watch from the window the wood sleds dragging past; or the sleighs jingling by on Town Meeting Day with the farmers looking straight ahead on their way to vote, and their wives beside them, huddled into shawls, coming to select swatches of calico for summer dresses they would make up before house-cleaning time.
            "I don't know them, Mr. Marr," Miss Jewett said wistfully. "I wish I did. They have kept so many secrets other people have told and then forgotten. I want to know them as I used to. But I have lost my interpreter. I have no way now to begin over."
            "I cannot take your father's place," Mr. Marr told her gently, "but I can help you at least a little. I can show you where to begin. The next time I go home to Dunnybrook you shall go with me -- to Columby Warren's and to the Nason Place, where my Lizy and her Sister Emily live. I will make you known to one another. And you will go on from there."
            The doctor's Sarah was grateful. She went as often and as far into Dunnybrook as any villager could go. And she wrote in the introduction to a new edition of Deephaven, "In rustic neighborhoods there will always exist that class of country people who preserve the best traditions of culture and of manners, from some divine inborn instinct toward what is simplest and best and purest, who know the best because they themselves are kin to it."



 
Notes

John Marr:  Jewett corresponded with John Marr about local history.  See his letter to her about materials in The Tory Lover and other local historical topics, dated 22 May 1901.

William Dean Howells:  His compliment to Jewett's joinery is quoted in F. O. Matthiessen's Sarah Orne Jewett, chapter 3.  Burroughs's letter is quoted in the same chapter.

Sara Norton:  The quotations from letters to Norton also appear in Matthiessen.  Always finding her childhood going on is reported in Chapter 2.  Always being nine years old appears in Chapter 4.

Kipling and William James:  Their praise for The Country of the Pointed Firs appears in Matthiessen, Chapter 4.

Doctor's girls:  This anecdote is reported in Chapter 3 of Matthiessen.

Willa Cather:  Cather's praise of Jewett appears in the introduction to her collection, The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories (1925).

Wood sleds:  Jewett tells this story in her sketch, "Looking Back on Girlhood" (1892).

New edition of Deephaven:  Jewett's new edition and introduction appeared in 1893.  In 1894, Jewett published her historical sketch, "The Old Town of Berwick," including with it a picture of Columby Warren's house, labeled, "One of the oldest houses."  The Old Berwick Historical Society has identified this house, using photographs of Columby Warren's house owned by Rick Becker.

warren

One of the oldest houses
Columby Warren's house


Carroll remembers Mary Jewett

Dunnybrook, 373-4

            Sarah Orne Jewett once wrote on the occasion of the death of an old friend, who had been the great lady of her childhood, that she was sorry for all children yet to be who would never know such a lady. She did not guess that had she lived long enough for me to know her she would have filled that same high place, done that same gracious service for me; nor that, since I was not to have her, I had, during my village school days, her sister Mary, and that no lady was ever a greater lady to any girl than Miss Mary Jewett was to me . . . coming all the way up steep Academy Hill to stand, round and brisk and kindly, in soft black silk and swinging gold chain, to tell my French Club of the France she knew . . . pouring hot chocolate into tall, transparent cups for a circle of Camp Fire Girls in fringed gowns and wooden beads, beside her blazing hearth . . . telling me, as I visited her garden, that the thatched summerhouse was where Sarah had liked best to write, and perhaps I would like to go there by myself and sit a little while . . . .

            Sarah Orne Jewett had her Miss Cushing. I had my Miss Mary.
            My neighbor had his Columby Warren.
            He does not know what my son Warren said the other day when someone asked him which he admired most of all the men in many walks of life, whom he knows, family not counting.
            He answered, without hesitation, "Why -- Len Hooper. Because he knows so many things -- and is so understanding."
            Nobody truly knows himself. But, in a place like Dunnybrook, his neighbors know him, and remember . . . .
            I cannot say who may be my Sarah's great lady. It is too soon to tell. But she will have one . . . .


Edited and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College, with substantial assistance from Linda Heller and Mary Dias.



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