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Short Biographical Notes related to Sarah Orne Jewett
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Sarah Orne Jewett. "World Biographies" in Literary World (Nov. 19, 1881), 416
Reprinted in Book News 7:84 (August 1889) 361-2.
Sarah Orne Jewett. Miss Jewett was born and reared in South Berwick, a pretty manufacturing village near the Maine sea-coast. Her father, Dr. Theodore H. Jewett, for many years a physician of wide reputation and practice,died several years ago, leaving a widow and two daughters, who still reside in the pleasant family mansion. Aside from his professional acquaintances, Dr. Jewett possessed historical and antiquarian tastes, the natural growth perhaps, of a residence in one of the most interesting neighborhoods in New England, where almost every foot of ground has its history or its tradition. His daughter, to some extent, no doubt, inherited these tastes; only, in her case, they speedily developed into an active and absorbing sympathy with the lives and fortunes of the people whose story she learned while accompanying her father on his professional rounds. So as Dr. Jewett drove along the road he recounted to this highly imaginative and impressible young mind fragments of family history, anecdotes, and observations gathered during his long medical experience. Miss Jewett thus amassed a fund of information from which many of those inimitable character-sketches and those equally admirable reproductions of sea and shore in and about York, Kittery, and Berwick have been drawn. No one who reads Miss Jewett's stories can fail to perceive how strongly these surroundings have impressed themselves upon her character. To a spiritual and imaginative nature, such as hers, the grandeur and mystery of the sea furnish an inexhaustible theme. The emotions it awakens are clear and unmistakable. Yet she is always simple, natural, and unaffected. The tens of thousands who go to the New England coast for a summer's vacation see it all again in her stories. Every well-known headland, clump of pines, or heap of rocks in the offing, is to her a personal friend. She loves it. And we love it, too, immediately we enter the charmed atmosphere she moves in, which is as invigorating as the salt breath of the ocean itself.
Miss Jewett also finds much inspiration in the habitations of a former generation and the tales they have to tell. Sometimes it is a humble roof, but the story reveals that life is everywhere the same. The simple annals of the poor are touchingly narrated. Sometimes it is a decayed colonial mansion and a sad story. And what is so saddening as the ruin of a family that has seen better days! Sometimes it is a mere wreck with a poor half-crazed creature clinging to it. Charles Lamb has said that nothing moves the imagination like an old house. Miss Jewett see in old houses so many mysterious conductors into the past, so many monuments to the lives and fortunes of their occupants. A keen sense of the humorous is also characteristic of this author. Her humor has a healthy and contagious quality denoting appreciative discernment and feeling for all sides of character. Even while assisting at a country funeral we find the odd sayings or doings of the mourners sometimes too much for that decorous gravity suitable to the occasion. But this is in no irreverent spirit. It is simply a genuine touch of human nature. Her people are all very life-like. They talk naturally and not a bit by the book. We at once recognize in them old acquaintances. Miss Jewett varies occasionally the writing of short stories, so evidently her true vein of literary success, with poetical composition. In this field she has already written and painted what would make a small volume, if collected. Her poetry breathes a strong religious feeling, usually calm and contemplative rather than brilliant or passionate. We are indeed mistaken if in this direction there is not an undercurrent gaining in strength with intellectual maturity, or limited only by self-restraint.
Miss Jewett began writing for publication when nineteen. We commit no indiscretion in saying that she is now thirty-one, with a future of undoubted promise before her. Besides the four volumes of her collected stories, Deephaven, Old Friends and New, Play Days, and Country By-ways, she has been a frequent contributor to the leading periodicals. She enjoys an unquestioned popularity with a multitude of readers who have become acquainted with her chiefly through the pages of the Atlantic Monthly, in which most of her stories have appeared. We need hardly say that out-of-door life is with her a passion. Expert with the oar, an accomplished horsewoman, it is her delight to live in close companionship with nature; and we know that
Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her.
Her river is a mirror in which she sees a thousand pictures take form and fade into a memory. To her the woods are full of voices which she interprets through a mind and heart profoundly penetrated by the wisdom and beneficence of the Divine Giver. Being much alone she naturally drops into revery. She thinks aloud, or, if the expression seems paradoxical, her pen is the medium by which the inspiration of the moment reveals itself.
Since literature became her vocation it is probably true that Miss Jewett has made a place for herself, and a very charming and engaging place it is. Her pure, healthy, and sympathetic language and underlying tenderness of thought and feeling reveal the unspoiled nature in all its natural grace and fragrance; so that Sarah Jewett has as many friends as she has readers, and they are a host.
Sarah Orne Jewett
from Every Other Saturday 2 (December 5, 1884) 397-399.
SARAH ORNE JEWETT has become within a few years so widely known to the reading public that a few facts regarding her life and its surroundings may not be unwelcome. She was born in South Berwick, Me., on the 3d of September, 1849, "in the old house at the Corner, not in the newer one in its garden," where she now lives, as most people think. Her father, Dr. Theodore Herman Jewett, was a distinguished physician; and his acknowledged skill and prominent position in the specialties of his profession caused him to be well known and highly respected among the medical men of New England.
Dr. Jewett's father "was a man of great natural ability and knowledge of human nature. He followed the sea in early life; but, after leaving that, he carried on a large business as ship-owner and builder in Berwick, sending great quantities of timber, etc., to the West Indies, which, of course, necessitated a local business in Berwick, as the lumbermen who brought his supplies from the inland country were paid chiefly in goods, not money. This made the village a busy centre in those days, as other men carried on much the same enterprises, and made South Berwick a link between the large trading ports and the inland country. Sometimes, the timber teams came from Vermont, and often from the upper part of New Hampshire, through the Crawford Notch. The village is at the head of tide-water, above Portsmouth," and adds Miss Jewett: "My grandfather and his associates built several large ships just below the town. This will show that there was more importance to the little town than there is nowadays, and account for the old sailors and larger range of character with which I have been able to come in contact."
Miss Jewett's mother, Caroline Francis, is a daughter of Dr. William Perry, of Exeter, another eminent physician, who is still living, bearing his ninety-seven years with a strength and freshness which astonish the worn-out youth of this less vigorous generation. He is one of Harvard's oldest and most honored sons, having graduated there in 1811, and was a pupil of the first Dr. John Warren, Surgeon-General in the Revolutionary War. That he remembers distinctly the talk in his family about the execution of Marie Antoinette, and was a passenger on Robert Fulton's first steamboat on her trial trip down the Hudson, will show the atmosphere in which the subject of this sketch passed her youth.
Thus, on both sides of her family, Miss Jewett inherits that talent and ability which accord her to-day a foremost rank among our literary women. She is described, by those who knew her in childhood, as being dreamy and imaginative, amusing herself by the hour together in telling herself stories that her active and busy little brain would spin. Being rather delicate, she was encouraged in leading a healthy, open-air life rather than set to the tasks and lessons of the school-room. The woods and hills of beautiful Berwick were her play-ground, and the birds and flowers her companions. Old Mother Nature was kind to this little "god-child" of hers, and taught her many of her signs and secrets. Thus, early in life, she acquired that love for and intimate acquaintance with the changing sights and scenes of shore and country life which are echoed through her writings. Reading was one of her favorite pastimes; and she browsed, at will, among the books of her father's library, her eager and inquiring mind seizing by instinct upon that which was best in ancient as well as in modern literature. So she grew up amid influences and surroundings well fitted to develop that quality of brain and mind which in after years was to strike out into new and pleasant paths of its own.
To Miss Jewett is due the credit of having written a book into which neither love nor passion enters, and yet there is a subtle charm in her writing that holds one with an interest that many a highly wrought and sensational novel fails to excite. "Deephaven" is filled with a bright and breezy freshness, and its pages breathe an atmosphere of health and sunshine that bring pleasure and refreshment to the reader. The heart as well as the head of the author overflows with the interest of her subject, and we recognize something deeper than talent in the prominence which is given to the kindly and lovely traits of human nature. Miss Jewett has an intense and earnest sympathy with the lives of her characters; and, whether it be the hungry, hopeless life of a lonely and middle-aged woman or the aspiring and craving nature of young girlhood, the pen that draws the outline invests the subject that it touches with a new dignity and pathos. She is a true artist, for she subordinates the lower and lesser tones to the finer and higher traits of humanity. Her writing is marked by a style essentially her own, by turns humorous and pathetic, always natural and never exaggerated. There is an easy flow and graceful sweep of language, that is more restful than exciting. Dainty and delicate touches of humor remind one of Lamb, while the strong simplicity of her English brings back the days of Sterne.
Miss Jewett is conversant with the best type of the best kind of people, and an air of high-breeding and refinement surrounds many of her characters; but she is not exclusive, and her range is a wide one. Kate Lancaster in "Deephaven" and Georgy in "Bit of Shore Life" attest her appreciation and sympathy with two quite different grades of life. She is filled with the air and sentiment of New England; and, like Whittier and Hawthorne, the lore and life of its people have for her a strong and peculiar interest. In her later book, entitled "Old Friends and New," are two sketches which give promise of great power in a new direction. In "Lady Ferry" and "The Sorrowful Guest" are touches of genius. The scene of the former is laid in one of the old colonial houses of Kittery; and, as we pass it by road or river, and see its gambrel roof, with the sunset gilding its windows and chimneys, we wonder if the spirit of its ancient occupant occasionally wanders forth when the bells from the neighboring steeples of Portsmouth chime out the hour of midnight. Miss Jewett has also written a charming book for children, called "Play Days," showing that her sympathy with childhood is keen and sensitive. Verses as well as prose flow from her ready pen, and our best magazines bear testimony to the esteem in which this gifted authoress is held.
In person, Miss Jewett is tall and dignified, with a high-bred grace and courtesy of manner, which she extends to all with whom she comes in contact. In conversation, she is bright and interesting, selecting her words with a quick discrimination which shows her appreciation of the use and power of language. Flashes of wit and humor illumine what she says, and the tone of her mind is both helpful and suggestive. She is more English than American in her tastes and instincts for out-of-door life. She is an expert with the oar, and shows not less skill in the saddle.
Miss Jewett's father was, as we have said, a physician. He had a large practice, and was at one time professor in the Maine Medical School. He graduated in 1834 at Bowdoin College, and died Sept. 20, 1878, at the Crawford House, White Mountains, under touching and peculiar circumstances. We have these from one of his classmates who was visiting at the same hotel. The two had not met for over forty years. Dr. Jewett accosted our informant on the long platform in front of the hotel, offered his hand, and said, "I think you don't remember me!" "No, I do not," was the reply, "although there is something about you that I recall." Dr. Jewett stepped back, raised his hand, and exclaimed,--
"Oh, who would soar the solar height
To sink in such a starless night!"
and exclaimed, "Do you remember that?"
"Why, that was an extract from Byron in my commencement part, almost fifty years ago." "Yes, and do you remember me now?" "But how changed!" The classmates then had a long conversation. There was much to say on both sides. On parting for the night, the doctor remarked that he had not been well, and had come away for rest. The next morning, they met on the platform just after breakfast, where Doctor Jewett took his friend's hands, and said with deep feeling: "I'm quite poorly. I must get home. I shall take the next train." The other remonstrated, but to no effect. The doctor turned and entered the house, when he fell and expired instantly. It was a terrible shock to the whole household. No language can adequately describe the effect upon his wife and one daughter who were travelling with him. The good physician's intention to leave that day was in part realized. All that was mortal did go "in the train"; and, as the latter slowly passed along and disappeared below the Notch, the old friend and classmate gazed long into the distance, and then slowly passed to his room, a sadder, if not a wiser man. There was also a feeling that the ancients were right in the doctrine that those who pass away so suddenly are indeed favored of the gods. But, for the survivors, how hard it is!
Miss Jewett, in one of the best of her stories [A Marsh Island], has written something which, from its depth of meaning, is worth quoting. "Heaven only knows," she says, "the story of the lives that the gray old New England farm-houses have sheltered and hidden away from curious eyes as best they might. Stranger dramas than have ever been written belong to the dull-looking, quiet houses that have seen generation after generation live and die. On the well-worn boards of these provincial theatres, the great plays of life, the comedies and tragedies, with their lovers and conspirators and clowns, their Juliets and Ophelias, Shylocks and King Lears, are acted over and over again."
These words are very true, as every New Englander must know. Before the minds of many readers of these lines rise memories of a boyhood passed in a quiet country hamlet, among the hay-fields and by placid streams. We can, many of us, recall stately old-fashioned mansions, sheltered by gigantic elms, or, it may be, even some fine old homestead amid the marshes, like that which Miss Jewett has drawn so attractively in her latest and most finished book. And there are few of us who cannot bear witness, as we dwell in memory upon these ancient homes, to the truth of Miss Jewett's words.
The most prosaic life is not entirely uninteresting or unromantic, if one only has the eyes to see; for, the wide world over, the human heart is the same. And one who can teach us this deep truth, one who can show us how to find in the commonplace things about us a world of interest and of charm, and even of romance, lives not in vain. Miss Jewett has done just this. And this is her chief claim to our attention and our gratitude.
To say that Miss Jewett deals with the commonplace, however, may appear to some to be a disparaging criticism. Yet we mean by this term just the opposite. Mr. Lowell is reported to have said that he admires Gray's "Elegy" none the less, but even more, on account of its commonplaceness. The report may or may not be true. At any rate, it ought to be; for the commonplace is really the only thing that, as Coleridge's phrase is, finds all men. To us there are no more touching and enduring poems in all literature than Goldsmith's "Traveller" and his "Deserted Village"; but we fear that, were we challenged, we should have to admit that they are especially open to the charge of being commonplace. Yet does not this very confession explain the reason for the admiration given to these poems? And the same is true of the "Vicar of Wakefield." Its lasting charm is really due to the very quality in it for which critics ignorantly condemn it. By reason of this quality, Goethe read it with delight; and, for the same reason, the humblest farmer may take pleasure in it to-day. The truth is that children and very wise men deal with and appreciate the commonplace; and thus, in applying this word to Miss Jewett's books, we would praise, not condemn. Some of her short stories in "Country By-ways," her "A Country Doctor" and "A Marsh Island," deal with New England life which is familiar to us all and commonplace enough; but it is a commonplaceness which is not provincial, and a commonplaceness which, if we know it, makes us better men and better women.
In her own province, Miss Jewett has but one rival, Donald G. Mitchell, whom, in his "Dream Life" and "Dr. Johns," although the first is in form a crude and immature book, no one, it seems to us, has excelled. Of the latter book, by the way, in many particulars of its plot, "A Country Doctor" is curiously reminiscent, and may have been partly suggested by it. But this is only a conjecture, and may be totally untrue. Whatever its origin, however, -- a matter which is of very little interest in the case of a book which is so true and full of charm [,] "A Country Doctor" is Miss Jewett's best work, -- best in conception, although not in treatment. In the latter respect, it suffers in comparison with "A Marsh Island." It is not compact, not restrained enough, especially in its earlier chapters. It is apt to be diffuse; scenes and descriptions irrelevant, or at least unnecessary, and therefore, although in themselves good, a bit wearisome, are apt to be interposed. These objections cannot be made, however, in the case of "A Marsh Island." The treatment of this story is excellent. It has sufficient movement, is vivacious, and contains nothing which is not required for the adequate expression of the plot. Its unimportant characters are carefully subordinated. In a word, it is artistically perfect. Its style, too, save in the one fault which is apparently working its way into much good writing, -- that of the insertion of an adverb between the infinitive sign to and its verb, -- is both correct and graceful. Altogether, it is a story whose simplicity leads us to suppose that we ourselves could write as good a story, but which no one, we think, even among our best writers, unless it be he whom we have named, could have written. For, as an interpreter of New England common life, Miss Jewett stands almost alone; and the coloring and atmosphere of her books are more truly American, if that term has any significance, than is the case in those of any of our other novelists.
Miss Jewett is Theocritean, in the truest sense of the word. The world has partly tired of pastoral poetry. We are no longer willing to listen to stories of an Amaryllis or a Chloris. And the reason is plain. The sincerity and simple view of life which inspired the verses of the great founder of idyllic song are not now forthcoming; and at the present day, when men write pastorals, they do not write from the heart. No wonder, then, that their verses are insipid. But, in such work as Miss Jewett's, we find really the same spirit which breathed in the Sicilian Greek of old. She has the same delicate love of nature, the same keen appreciation of the bright world about us. She loves as well as he the birds and flowers, the country sights and sounds, the music and the melody of the ocean. And thus she writes sincerely in prose what before was sung so gracefully in verse by Theocritus, Moschus, Goldsmith, the Ettrick Shepherd, and a few others. There are many, we know, who cannot endure any of these writers. But there will always be, here and there, a person of a finer, subtler nature than the great mass of men around him, who will be glad to retire for an hour from the rush and excitement of the busy world, and find, in the books of those authors of whom Miss Jewett is the latest representative, the sound of birds in the summer forests, the tinkle of a careless, wandering brook, or the kiss of the gentle evening wind, as it breathes quietly up from the ocean.
From Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography, New York, : D. Appleton and company, 1887-89, p. 433
JEWETT, Theodore Herman, physician, b. in South Berwick, Me., 24 March, 1815; d. in Crawford Notch, White Mountains, N. H., 20 Sept., 1878. He was graduated at Bowdoin in 1834, and at Jefferson medical college in 1840. He was professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children in the medical department of Bowdoin, consulting surgeon to the Maine general hospital, surgeon of the first Maine district during the civil war, and president of the Maine medical society, and made many important contributions to current medical literature. - His daughter, Sarah Orne, author, b. in South Berwick, Me., 3 Sept., 1849, was educated at home and in the Berwick academy, and has travelled extensively in Europe, Canada, and the United States. In addition to contributions to periodicals, she is the author of "Deephaven" (Boston, 1877); "Play-Days" (1878); "Old Friends and New" (1880); "Country By-Ways" (1881); "The Mate of the Daylight" (1883); "A Country Doctor" (1884); "A Marsh Island" (1885); "A White Heron" (1886); and "The Story of the Normans" (New York, 1887).
Notice of Death of Maternal Grandfather
Necrology: pp. 392-394
The New England Magazine 5: 28 (February 1887), 392-394.
Dr. William Perry died at Exeter, N. H., January 11, at the age of 98 years. He was the oldest person in Exeter, the oldest graduate of Harvard College, and the only surviving passenger on Fulton's first steamboat on her passage down the Hudson River, seventy-nine years ago. He was a native of Norton, Mass., and was a member of the class of 1811 at Harvard. After graduating he studied medicine with Dr. John Warren, soon after settling in Exeter, where he enjoyed a long and successful practice, being esteemed one of the most skillful physicians of his day in New Hampshire. He was among the first to advocate the establishment of State asylums for the insane. Sarah Orne Jewett, the authoress, is his granddaughter.
The Critic 321 (February 17, 1890), p. 96.
Mrs. James T. Fields and Miss Sarah O. Jewett are, I was about to say, summering at Saint Augustine, Fla., not simply because the weather there suggests the butterfly season, but because wherever these close literary friends are they diffuse a genial social warmth. Miss Jewett, whose home is in South Berwick, Me., amid the scenes which she has invested with such picturesque interest, is in the habit of visiting Mrs. Fields during the winter in Boston, and they enjoy taking trips together wherever their fancy leads them.
Undated letter, probably after 1890
The following notes appear in transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Folder 74, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about this item, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection.
Elizabeth P. Richardson writes of going to visit with SOJ and AF with Theodore at Manchester. “Another delightful afternoon was the Sargent exhibition when Gertrude Rice (afterward Mrs. Amory Lawrence) Molly Sargent (Mrs. N.B. Potter) Julia Richards and I helped with the tea. When the tongs could not be found I remember Mr. Barrett Wendell saying: 'Oh, my dear Miss Jewett, your fingers make it all so much sweeter.'” -- Apr. 24 to MRJ
[Rev. Alex. Sloan, Minister of the First Congr. Ch. said Mary led him into world of books.]
Lewiston Evening Journal
Monday 21 March 1892
Edwin C. Eastman, one of the most prominent business men in South Berwick died Friday night after only five days sickness, of peritonitis. In 1878 he married Miss Carrie Jewett, youngest daughter of the late Dr. Theodore H. Jewett, and sister of Sarah Orne Jewett, who is now in Genoa. He was a trustee of the Berwick Academy. He leaves a mother, a widow, and one son. Mr. Eastman was forty-two years old.
from "Whittier, Notes on His Life and of His Friendships," by Annie Fields
Harper's New Monthly Magazine 86: 513 (February, 1893), pp. 338-359.
Of Sarah Orne Jewett he was fond as of a daughter, and from their earliest acquaintance his letters are filled with appreciation of her stories. "I do not wonder," he wrote one day, ["]that The Luck of the Bogans is attractive to the Irish folks, and to everybody else. It is a very successful departure from New England life and scenery, and shows that Sarah is as much at home in Ireland and on the Carolina Sea Islands as in Maine or Massachusetts. I am very proud that I was one of the first to discover her." This predisposition to think well of the work of others gave him the happy opportunity in more than one instance of bringing authors of real talent before the public who might otherwise have waited long for general recognition. (341)
Selected from "Summer Plans of Well-known Authors"
The Critic 19 (May 1893): 321-323.
GOOD AMERICANS, who count upon going to Paris when they die, but do not let that pleasant anticipation keep them away from the gay Capital in the meantime, are going to Chicago, rather than Paris, this year, to see the "White City" and its wondrous sights. As the best of good Americans are authors, it follows that many a face familiar as the frontispiece of some popular book will be seen in the neighborhood of Jackson Park between now and the end of October. The most noticeable fact to be gathered from the paragraphs that follow, is the unanimity with which American literary pilgrims are turning their steps in the direction of Lake Michigan this summer. Those who wished to avoid the Fair have been obliged to go abroad to do so. The most of these are more or less permanently established there - as Marion Crawford, Bret Harte, Henry James, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Charles Godfrey Leland ("Hans Breitmann"), S. L. Clemens ("Mark Twain"), the Piatts, Dr. Andrew D. White, Minister to Russia; Blanche Willis Howard Teufel, Moncure D. Conway, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Poultney Bigelow and Lafcadio Hearn, whose home is in Japan.
Mr. Thomas Bailey Aldrich intends to spend the dog-days in New England dividing himself equally between the mountains and the seashore - so as not to give offence to either. Early in June he will go abroad - to Chicago.
Mr. James Lane Allen expects to spend the summer and autumn in and around Kentucky, steadily at work on his first novel - "Two Portraits." He wishes to study the summer and autumnal changes of the landscapes which he means to introduce into the work, and to live in constant observation of the local human life. The lectures which he has been delivering will be over by the end of May.
Mrs. Amelia E. Barr will spend the whole summer in study at her home in Storm King Mountain, in preparation for literary work in the fall.
Prof. H. H. Boyesen of Columbia will be at his country-place, "The Moorlands," which he has just completed at Southampton, L. I. Besides riding horseback with his three boys - his favorite summer amusement, -- and sailing and fishing in Shinnecock Bay, he will finish his volume of "Essays on Scandinavian Literature" which has occupied him, off and on, for several years, and which the Scribners will publish in October. He has also a new novel on the stocks.
Mr. H. C. Bunner, poet, story-writer and editor of Puck, has gone abroad for a protracted visit.
Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett sailed for Europe on the Lahn on the 16th inst. She has taken a house on the Thames for the summer, and hopes to do a good deal of work, but is not yet sure what she will undertake first, as two new books are tempting her with almost equal power.
John Burroughs is planning to run his life for the summer without a plan - to just take things as they come (and go), and make the most of them. He expects to "loaf" a good deal, to go a-fishing once in a while, and to spend the dog-days in the Catskills. The work that will occupy him at his home as West Farms on the Hudson will be trying to make two grapes grow where one grew before. He will go to the World's Fair the moment he gets sick of the fair world.
Mr. George W. Cable, during the second and third weeks of July, will be at the World's Fair attending the literary congresses and taking part in them. Except for this, the whole summer will spent in the completion of a novel at his home in Northampton.
Mr. S. L. Clemens ("Mark Twain"), who had been at home for a few weeks only, sailed for Genoa on Saturday last, among his fellow-passengers being Mr. Arthur Nikisch. He will probably spend the summer months with his family in Germany or Switzerland. Mr. Clements was in Chicago at the time of the opening of the Fair.
Mrs. Rebecca Harding Davis will spend the summer at Marion, Mass.
Richard Harding Davis is in Paris and will remain there throughout the season, writing a series of papers on the city and its life for Harper's Monthly.
Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge, the editor of St. Nicholas, will be at Onteora in the Catskills, where she has owned a cottage for several years.
Mrs. Julia C. R. Dorr means to finish a book she has in hand at her home, "The Maples," Rutland, Vt., and to devote herself to her duties as a citizen and neighbor.
Mr. Edward Eggleson is spending the months of April and May at the old home of his boyhood in Madison, Ind., in order to get freedom from interruption in writing his new novel. He will pass the summer months, as usual, in his cottage at Joshua's Rock, Lake George, except that he will give a course of eight lectures on "The Culture History of the American People" in the University Extension series at Philadelphia in July, and another of four lectures at Chautauqua in August.
Miss Kate Field has gone to Chicago to visit Mrs. Charles Henrotin, Vice-President of the World's Fair Auxiliary Congress. On May 24, she will attend the meeting of women journalists at the Auditorium, at which she is to speak. She has made no plans beyond early June.
Mr. O. B. Frothingham will be at Dublin, N. H., thinking over a projected series of sketches of famous men whom he has met.
Miss Alice French ("Octave Thanet") hopes to be occupied only with some short stories for Scribner's Magazine. She will pass the summer among the Berkshire Hills.
Miss Louise I. Guiney will erase, interline and revise some old prose sketches which should have been a book a year ago. Her home is at Auburndale, Mass.
Dr. Edward Everett Hale will be at Matunuck, R. I., all summer. He is occupied with a story of the early missionary work in Europe.
Joel Chandler Harris, who has seen some splendid wrecks wobble home from exhausting and unprofitable vacations, has taken but three or four months off during the past twenty years. He finds it refreshing to turn from editorial work that has been going on from 8 o'clock in the morning to 5 in the afternoon to so-called literary work at night. He is taking a month's vacation to gather together the loose seeds of some literary stuff that have hung dangling in his mind for a year or more.
Mrs. Burton Harrison, who is at present in Europe, will return in time to spend a good part of the summer at "Sea Urchins," her cottage at Bar Harbor. A result of Mrs. Harrison's travels will probably be a series of magazine articles or a book, but she has no novel under way. Some tempting offers from managers may induce her to write plays for a while, but on this point nothing definite is settled. As already stated in these columns, a play by Mrs. Harrison will be produced in Chicago, in October, by Mr. Felix Morris.
Julian Hawthorne will spend the summer at his home at Sag Harbor, L. I. To escape our damp and anomalous winter weather, which ill agrees with Mrs. Hawthorne's health, he will probably go abroad before the next cold season begins.
John Hay will go in June to Chicago and in July to Europe, where he will remain throughout the autumn. He is still editing the "Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln."
Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson will go early in June to his summer home at Dublin, N. H. In September he is to speak at the "Parliament of Religions," in Chicago. His literary work will be mainly on the "State Military and Naval History," of which he has charge for the state of Massachusetts. He will also see through the press a volume of poems by himself and his wife (Mary Thacher Higginson), which will be published in the autumn.
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes expects to pass the summer, as usual, at Beverly Farms.
Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, who is now in Chicago, will spend the summer at her farm near Newport, dividing her time between literary work and private correspondence.
William Dean Howells has formed no more definite plan than to spend the summer at some point on the New England coast.
Miss Sarah Orne Jewett will remain at South Berwick, Me., during the greater part of the summer, and will be busy with work for the magazines.
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge has no literary work in hand, but will give the summer to a long-deferred vacation, to be spent at his home at Nahant and elsewhere.
Prof. T. R. Lounsbury of Yale would prefer to spend the summer at his home in New Haven; where he will spend it, he does not know.
Prof. Brander Matthews will go first to Narragansett Pier and then to the Catskills. He will finish a series of New York City sketches for publication next winter in Harper's Monthly, and will read up for a course of lectures at Columbia College next year on the Epochs of the Drama.
Miss Harriet Monroe will probably spend most of the heated term at home, in Chicago. Ill-health has prevented her undertaking any important literary work of late.
Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton is to sail for England next Saturday, and will spend June and July in London. After that she may go to France and Germany, if the cholera is not rampant there; or she may make a round of visits, as she did last year, at English and Scottish country houses. She hopes to get some books ready from things already written - travel papers, poems, etc.
Francis Parkman, the historian, intends to pass the summer months at Little Harbor (some three miles from Portsmouth, N. H.), the summer residence of his son-in-law, Mr. J. Templeman Coolidge. As he has been laid up with illness all winter, it is doubtful if he will do any work.
Mrs. Margaret J. Preston, who has changed her residence permanently from Lexington, Va., to Baltimore, Md., expects to go to a country cottage for the season. She is too much of an invalid to undertake any literary work.
Mrs. Anna Katharine Green Rohlfs has the good fortune to live in a city from which one need not flee in the summer - Buffalo, N.Y. She is planning to write a new play for her husband, who has recently returned to the stage.
The Hon. Theodore Roosevelt, when not kept in Washington by his duties as Civil Service Commissioner, will be at his home, Sagamore Hill, L. I., save for a month on his ranch on the Little Missouri. He is correcting the proofs of his "Wilderness Hunter," and will soon take up Vol. III. of his "Winning of the West."
Miss Molly Elliot Seawell is writing a play; her new naval story, "Paul Jones," will be out this summer; The Youth's Companion will publish this year a serial of hers called "The Great Scoop"; and for next year's St. Nicholas she has written a long story of "Decatur and Somers." Miss Seawell will visit New England this summer; she expects to spend the month of October in New York.
Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford will remain at her Deer Island home, near Newburyport, Mass., occupied with her usual work on stories, poems and editorial articles, and in seeing to press the poems of her sister Mary.
Edmund Clarence Stedman's plans are less definite than those of certain other poets and prosers; his intention being simply to go - and to stay -
Out of the world."
Richard Henry Stoddard will probably be where he has been during the past six summers - at Sag Harbor, L. I.
Mrs. Bayard Taylor, having published a cook-book through the Scribners during the winter and read the proofs of her late husband's "History of Germany," which the Appletons are going to republish in new form, is now resting quietly in her cottage, "Breidablick" ("Broad View"), at Bayshore, L. I.
Mrs. Celia Thaxter finds no place half so attractive as home in summer; and no wonder, for her home is Appledore, Isles of Shoals, off Portsmouth (Aldrich's "Rivermouth"), N. H. She is writing a book about flowers, "An Island Garden," to be illustrated by Childe Hassam.
Miss Edith M. Thomas, who winters at West New Brighton and summers at New London, Conn., will be engaged in only desultory literary work.
Gen. Lew Wallace is a fellow-townsman of Maurice Thompson's, his home being at Crawfordsville, Ind. The Harpers have in press, for early publication, his new book, "The Prince of India."
Mrs. Elizabeth Phelps Ward will probably rest for the next five months. Her husband, Herbert D. Ward, is writing for a Boston publisher a story of collegiate life, for which Amherst College will furnish the mise en sc?ne; a novel in which fisher-folk will be the chief actors will probably follow, and short stories will soon appear from his pen in several of the leading magazines. The first of June will find Mr. and Mrs. Ward in their cottage at East Gloucester.
Charles Dudley Warner hopes before the summer is over to have finished a story he is at work upon. On June 29 he is to speak at the University of Michigan; and then, for ten days or a fortnight, he will be in Chicago.
Mrs. Adeline D. T. Whitney will remain at home - which means on Milton Hill, Milton, Mass.
Miss Katharine Pearson Woods will attend the "Conference of Charities and Correction" at Chicago early in June - not as a delegate, however; and will not return to Baltimore till the fall, visiting in the meanwhile Minneapolis and other Western cities.
Miss Sarah C. Woolsey ("Susan Coolidge") will go from Newport to North East Harbor on Aug. 1 and remain till Sept. 15.
from A Woman of the Century (New York: Moulton, 1893) edited by Frances A. Willard and Mary A. Livermore.
JEWETT, Miss Sarah Orne, author, born in South Berwick, Me., 3rd September, 1849. She is the daughter of Dr. Theodore H. Jewett, a well-known physician, who died in 1878. She received a thorough education in the Berwick academy. She began to publish stories at an early age. In 1869 she contributed a story to the "Atlantic Monthly." She traveled extensively in the United States, in Canada and in Europe. She spends her time in South Berwick, Me., and in Boston, Mass. She used the pen-name "Alice Eliot" in her first years of authorship, but now her full name is appended to all her productions. Her stories relate mainly to New England, and many of them have a great historical value. Her published volumes include "Deephaven" (1877), "Play-Days" (1878), "Old Friends and New" (1880), "Country By-Ways" (1881), "The Mate of the Daylight" (1883), "A Country Doctor" (1884), "A Marsh Island" (1885), "A White Heron" (1886), "The Story of the Normans" (1887), "The King of the Folly Island, and Other People," (1888), and "Betty Leicester" (1889). Miss Jewett is now engaged on several important works.
Selection from MAINE AT THE WORLD’S FAIR.
The New England magazine 16: 3 (May 1894) 308-9.
The library was adorned by several valuable portraits, among others one of Longfellow painted fifty years ago by Cole of Portland. Blanche Willis Howard (von Teuffel) kindly sent from Stuttgart in Germany a fine photograph of herself. Sarah Orne Jewett granted a similar favor. A bust of the late Senator Hamlin, loaned by his son, Mr. Frank Hamlin of Chicago, graced one of the bookcases, while the walls were adorned by photographs of many of Maine’s authors. In the rotunda were hung photographs of the present Maine senators and members of the national House of Representatives, while opposite the main entrance and over the massive mantelpiece hung a large crayon of Gov. Cleaves, as if to bid welcome in the name of the state. A large engraving of Blaine and a photograph of the venerable Ex-Senator Bradbury, still living, hale and hearty at ninety years of age, also graced the walls of the rotunda. Harry B. Brown, Maine's famous marine artist, whose reputation is now world-wide, and who has taken up his residence in London, loaned his famous painting of "Grand Menan." In the ladies’ parlor various portraits and marbles, together with Maine seashore views by John B. Hudson, combined to make the little room one of the most attractive at the Fair. In the men’s room was hung a fine painting of a scene on the Saco River. The photographs of Maine scenery sent by Garrity of Bangor attracted deserved attention. The photograph of Gen. Neal Dow in the library was accompanied by an autograph letter giving in the general’s most eloquent language a statement of the progress of prohibition in Maine.
During the season the Maine Building was honored by visits from many Maine-born men and women of distinction. Ex-Gov. Long of Massachusetts, and Ex-Govs. Perham and Dingley of Maine,
duly registered in the big book which was supposed to contain the autographs of all visitors who could claim Maine as their birthplace. Here too appeared on one or two occasions Ex-Speaker Reed, while he was making locomotive speed over the grounds in desperate attempts to elude the ever-present reporters. Sarah Orne Jewett and Georgia Cayvan were frequent visitors and always welcome.
The Maine Building, being at the extreme end of the line, was a favorite resting place for the weary. The miscellaneous population of the Midway on several occasions contributed at the same time representatives of the four quarters of the globe. Chinese, Japanese, Turks, Arabs, Algerians, Esquimaux and Indians were all welcome here. One stately and sedate Arab, arrayed in the full costume of his tribe, was a frequent caller, and, in his broken English, expressed his delight at the scene, as he used to sit upon the piazza and gaze over the smooth surface of Lake Michigan, which was probably the nearest approach to the plains of his native desert which he could find in Chicago. Among other visitors was a delegation of Maine editors, who certainly saw as much of the Fair as any party of visitors who remained no longer. What they did was accomplished most thoroughly, and it was refreshing to observe the zeal and intelligence which they brought to bear, as compared with the aimless, listless wanderings of the average tourist.
And now that the Fair and its happy memories are a thing of the past, many may ask what Maine has gained. The best answer, and a sufficient one, is the fact that no one went home disappointed. No one was ashamed of what Maine did for herself at the Exposition. A distinguished member of the state Senate, who had bitterly opposed the state appropriation, and who, standing upon the steps of the Maine Building, took a survey of the whole situation, said, with the frankness and honesty characteristic of the man, “Had I foreseen all this, I should have supported the appropriation.”
From the Lewiston Saturday Journal, January 19, 1895, p. 11.
A banquet will be given by the Pine Tree State Club at the Hotel Brunswick, Boston, Jan. 24th. It will be ladies night, the guests of honor being: Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, Miss Laura E. Richards, Miss Kate Douglass Wiggins, Mrs. Elizabeth Akers Allen, Mrs. Abba Gould Woolson, Mme. Von Teuffel (nee Blanche Willis Howard), Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford, Miss Rebecca S. Clarke, Mrs. Frances Laughton Mace, and other literary women of Maine.
Literary shrines: the haunts of some famous American Authors (1895)
By Theodore Frelinghuysen Wolfe
Selection from "In and Out of Literary Boston" pp. 87-91
Prominent among the literary landmarks is the "Corner Book-store" -- once the shop of the father of Dr. Clarke -- at School and Washington Streets, which, like Murray's in London, has long been the rendezvous of the littérateurs. Here appeared the first American edition of "The Opium Eater" and of Tennyson's poems. Here was the early home of the "Atlantic," then edited by James T. Fields, who was the literary partner of the firm and the presiding genius of the old store. This lover of letters and sympathetic friend of literary men -- always kind of heart and generous of hand -- drew to him here the foremost of that galaxy who first achieved for America a place in the world of letters. To this literary Rialto, as familiar loungers, came in that golden age George Hilliard, Emerson, Ticknor, Saxe, Whipple, Longfellow, Hawthorne, Lowell, Agassiz, the "Autocrat," and the rest, to loiter among and discuss the new books, or, more often, to chat with their friend Fields at his desk, in the nook behind the green baize curtain. The store is altered some since Fields left it; the curtained back-corner, which was the domain of the Celtic urchin "Michael Angelo" and the trysting spot of the literary fraternity, has given place to shelves of shining books. The side entrance -- used mostly by the authors because it brought them more directly to Fields's desk and den -- is replaced by a window which looks out upon the spot where, as we remember with a thrill, Fields last shook Hawthorne's hand and stood looking after him as -- faltering with weakness -- he walked up this side street with Pierce to start upon the journey from which he never returned.
Literary tourists come to the store as to a shrine: thus in later years Matthew Arnold, Cable, Edmund Gosse, Professor Drummond, Dr. Doyle, and others like them, have visited the old corner. Nor is it deserted by the authors of the day; Holmes was often here up to the time of his death, and the visitor may still see, turning the glossy pages, some who are writers as well as readers of books: Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Scudder, Alger, Robert Grant, -- whose "Reflections" and "Opinions" have been so widely read, -- Miss Winthrop, Miss Jewett, Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, and Mrs. Coffin are among those who still come to the familiar place. Near by, in Washington Street, Hawthorne's first romance, "Fanshawe," was published in 1828. From Fields's famous store the transition to the staid old mansion which was long his home, and in which his widow still lives, is easy and natural. We find it pleasantly placed below the western slope of Beacon Hill, overlooking an enchanting prospect of blue waters and sunset skies. It is one of those dignified, substantial, and altogether comfortable dwellings -- with spacious rooms, wide halls, easy stairways, and generous fireplaces -- which we inherit from a previous generation. Here Fields, hardly less famed as an author than as the friend of authors, and his gifted wife -- who is still a charming writer -- created in their beautiful home an atmosphere which attracted to it the best and highest of their kind, and made it what it has been for more than forty years, a centre and ganglion of literary life and interest. The old-fashioned rooms are aglow with most precious memories and teem with artistic and literary treasures, many of them being souvenirs of the illustrious authors whom the Fields have numbered among their friends and guests. The letters of Dickens, Hawthorne, Emerson, and others reveal the quality of the hospitality of this house and show how it was prized by its recipients. For years this was the Boston home of Hawthorne; to it came Emerson, Longfellow, and Whittier almost as freely as to their own abodes; here Holmes, Lowell, Charles Sumner, Greene, Bayard Taylor, Joseph Jefferson, were frequent guests; and here we see a quaintly furnished bedchamber which has at various times been occupied by Dickens, Trollope, Arthur Clough, Thackeray, Charles Kingsley, Matthew Arnold, Charlotte Cushman, and others of equal fame. Of the delights of familiar intercourse with the starry spirits who frequented this house, of their brilliant discussions of men and books, their scintillations of wit, their sage and sober words of wisdom, Mrs. Annie Fields affords but tantalizing hints in her reminiscences and the glimpses she occasionally allows us of her husband's diary and letters. Fields's library on the second floor -- described as "My Friend's Library" -- is a most alluring apartment, where we see, besides the "Shelf of Old Books" of which Mrs. Fields gives such a sympathetic account, other shelves containing numerous curious and uniquely precious volumes, -- among them the few hundreds of worn and much annotated books which constituted the library of Leigh Hunt. In this room Emerson, while awaiting breakfast, wrote one of his poems, to which the hostess gave title.
In later years a younger generation of writers came to this mansion: Celia Thaxter was a frequent guest, the princess-like Sarah Orne Jewett, beloved by Whittier as a daughter, has made it her Boston home; Aldrich comes to see the widow of his friend; Miss Preston, Mrs. Ward, and other luminous spirits may be met among the company who assemble in these memory-haunted rooms. For several years Holmes lived in the same street, within a few doors of Fields's house.
"Sarah Orne Jewett," in "People Talked About," Leslie's Illustrated Weekly 85 (November 11, 1897), p. 307
--Sarah Orne Jewett's reputation as a writer of New England stories was established with the publication of "Deephaven" twenty years ago. Her work has been rather stimulated than otherwise by the competition of more recent comers, notably Mary Wilkins, who have contrived to wrest a literary livelihood from that inhospitable soil. Miss Jewett's father was Theodore Herman Jewett, a distinguished physician, who lived in South Berwick, Maine, where our accomplished author was born in 1849. We do not know precisely to what extent her successful novel, "A Country Doctor," may be biographical or autobiographical; but her opportunities for "documenting" such a work to the life are obvious.
Lewiston Evening Journal
Jul 12, 1898, p. 5
Miss Mary R. Jewett and nephew Theodore Eastman, sailed from New York last week for England. There they will be joined by Miss Sarah Orne Jewett and will spend July and August in travel on the continent.
Jewett listed among prominent New England authors of short stories.
from Early History of Children's Books in New England, by Charles Welsh: pp. 147-161
The New England Magazine. New Series 20: 2 (April 1899): 147-161.
And it is the proud distinction of New England that well-nigh all that is best and most popular in American literature for children has been produced by her sons and daughters. It will be sufficient to cite such names as T. B. Aldrich, Louisa Alcott, John S. C. Abbott, W. T. Adams (Oliver Optic), Jane Andrews, Hezekiah Butterworth, Lydia Maria Child, C. C. Coffin, James Abbott Goodrich, E. E. Hale, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett, Elijah Kellogg, H. W. Longfellow, Kirk Monroe, Laura E. (Howe) Richards, Horace E. Scudder, J. T. Trowbridge, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Eliza Orne White, Mary E. Wilkins and Charles Dudley Warner, to say nothing of a host of others. (148).
from MAINE IN LITERATURE. The New England Magazine New Series 22:6 (August 1900): 741
In South Berwick, situated near the dividing line between Maine and New Hampshire, Sarah Orne Jewett was born, grew up, and still passes much of her time. It is easy to believe that the region in which South Berwick lies, constituting as it does the border land between the country and the seashore, and including the old seaport towns of Kittery and Portsmouth, has furnished the background for many of her familiar stories of New England life and character. Where else but in Maine would one look, also, for "The Country of the Pointed Firs," with such scenery and people as she describes with so much faithfulness and delicacy? Thus even more closely than as the state of her birth is Miss Jewett identified with Maine through the successful pictures that she has given in her stories of its rural types and characteristic scenes.
"April 2.... Went in the evening to see 'Ben-Hur' with kind Sarah Jewett -- her treat, as was my attendance at the opera. The play was altogether spectacular, but very good in that line...." From J. W. Howe's journal.
Boston Evening Transcript
28 June 1901, p. 4
The Maine colleges seem to be doing the graceful and proper this year. Bowdoin has conferred the degree of Litt. Doc. on Sarah Orne Jewett, and Bates that of M. A. on N. C. Bruce, the colored dean of a North Carolina college. In each case the honor we well deserved.
Helen Winslow, Little Journeys in Literature. Boston: Page, 1902, pp. 56-72.
from CHAPTER III.
MRS. JAMES T. FIELDS, SARAH ORNE JEWETT, AND ALICE BROWN
ONE of the houses that often sheltered that rare group of men who made literary Boston famous during the early part of the last half of the century just passed is still the resort of the favoured few, and it is to-day considered a mark of high esteem, and an honour, to be asked to the home of Mrs. James T. Fields.
"When the social quarter of Boston was squeezed and pressed upon by the growth of business," said Time and the Hour, "so that Summer Street and Franklin Street, West and Bedford, Winter and Tremont Streets were no longer tolerable for dwelling-places, it was a problem where it should find a new development. At this time, the water-front on the Charles offered itself as a pleasant place for a fresh start, and fine rows of stately mansions were soon built, with a quiet street for a frontage and the river in the rear. Doctor Holmes occupied one of them, and not far away Mr. James T. Fields, his friend and publisher, set up his household gods.
"The old settlers, or their children, have almost all migrated to the newer Back Bay now, the district with accommodations for stepping westward to the sunset, and Charles Street has become a thoroughfare for the most heavy, creaking, rattling traffic of the town, while a part of the water view has been cut off by stealing a further strip of land from the river, and interposing Brimmer Street. Not so at 148 Charles Street, however. The uproar and the jangle rage before this house front as well as before all the others in the street, but, when one is admitted into Mrs. James T. Fields's home, and passing up the stairs, is seated in the drawing-room, with its westward windows, he looks over a calm expanse of water beyond a quiet garden, which might be the neighbour of an outlying rural wilderness. In later spring, perhaps after the evening meal, the company may ramble through its walks and shrubberies, or seek the benches along the water's edge, and quite forget that only a few rods separate them from the sordid sounds and sights of a busy town. Boccaccio's garden scarcely echoed to more wit and wisdom than has that pretty plot of ground, pressed by the feet of Dickens, Thackeray, Longfellow, Lowell, Whittier, Holmes, Hawthorne, Emerson, and all the immortals of the last generation."
In the midst of treasures of every kind, pictures, autographs, mementoes of famous singers and writers, speakers and actors of the time; in the midst of memories far more varied and infinitely richer, lives the votaress of this sacred shrine, and ministers to the favoured few who are its intimates with delicate grace.
One of the red-letter days of the author's own life was marked by a simple luncheon at 148 Charles Street, when the only other guest was Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, and they were served by Mrs. Fields with the rare grace of an old-time gentlewoman. She is as quiet in dress as she is in manner and speech, and with smoothly banded hair half concealing her ears, in the fashion which our grandmothers followed half a century ago, she dispenses tea and hospitality, seasoned with conversation that has a flavour unexcelled. Gentle, quiet, and reserved as are the motions of her daily life, there is no power in Boston to-day like that of Mrs. Fields; for influence is still not altogether a matter of shouting, or of fonts of type, but goes out with a power to leaven all things, which will not be understood until, from the other side of the warp and woof, the pattern woven into the life fabric is seen.
Mrs. Fields was the wife of James T. Fields, the famous Boston publisher, who was the medium of communication and even of introduction between the galaxy of literary stars in Boston between 1850 and 1880, and who established and published The Atlantic Monthly. She is still continuing her literary work, which has always been of a high order, though not at all prolific. She has written "A Shelf of Old Books," "How to Help the Poor," "Memoirs of James T. Fields," "Whittier: Notes of His Life and Friendship," "Authors and Friends," "Under the Olive," "The Singing [Sighing] Shepherd and Other Poems."
But it is in the world of philanthropic work that she finds her highest pleasure. At the council-table in "Ward Seven's" office in the Chardon Street Charity Building of Boston Mrs. Fields has sat since the organisation of the Associated Charities, and has borne a large part in the general directorship, besides, from the beginning. If, as has been said, Mr. Robert Treat Paine is the head, so is Mrs. Fields the heart of the great movement, for, indeed, it has a heart, and a warm one. Do the critics, who fancy there is no personal quality left in the statistical development of the Associated Charities, know of the personal family work that is done that never finds a place in formal reports? How surprised those persons who fancy there is only a tabulating engine in Chardon Street would be to know what numbers of personal exigencies by day and by night call for assistance, sympathy, and advice, which is never denied. And all through the long summer, Mrs. Fields takes the long journey to the heated town almost daily from her Manchester-by-the-Sea cottage, in order that she may be always ready for the needs of her poor friends.
It is a delightful part of this task to recognise that so much of the best work in the world is unheralded and unnoted, and yet that the workers will grow "famous" while shunning publicity, and following the path of duty with unconscious steps and a singleheartedness of purpose.
One cannot think of Mrs. Fields without remembering her most intimate friend, Sarah Orne Jewett, whose winters are, for the most part, passed in the Charles Street home. Sometimes in the spring the two go off together in search of a spot not favoured with so many kinds of climate as Mark Twain ascribed to New England during one twenty-four hours. And in the summer Miss Jewett is found for some portion of the time at Mrs. Fields's home at Manchester-by-the-Sea. Boston may surely be pardoned for counting Miss Jewett as belonging to her, since her winter residence is in the classic Fields home in Charles Street, while her big dog gives his dumb but sympathetic companionship to the two gentlewomen.
Miss Jewett is a woman of the most charming personality. She has a bright, piquant face that lights up wonderfully as she talks, making her positively beautiful, and a low, pleasant voice that gives the listener the sense of being quiet at night, and listening to the rustle of aspen leaves, soothing and restful. Her black hair shows just the faintest tinge of gray, but the colour in the cheeks and the sparkle of the eye tell the tale of youth.
Her friendship with the Fields began when she was a young girl, and is a vital part of her life's history. During her girlhood she met Mr. and Mrs. Fields at a friend's house, where they were visiting, and then began the intimacy which has grown into such a rare and close friendship. As the years went on, and the demand for Miss Jewett's work increased, she found so much visiting and writing incompatible. And so when the invitations came which made her stay with the Fields less like visiting, and more like being at home, she very gladly accepted the arrangement. Indeed, she would have been most unappreciative had she not; for to be the favoured guest of a woman like Mrs. Fields is a privilege that can be accorded but to few.
Miss Jewett's working hours are in the afternoon, and when she has anything in hand she writes from one until about five. She says that she thinks best in the waning of the day, and finds work easier. She writes on an average between three and four thousand words daily, although she has sometimes gone as high as eight and even nine thousand words in one day. She usually thinks out her stories quite carefully before beginning to write, so that when it comes to transcribing them she can do it easily and without much rewriting, although, of course, some of her stories she works at quite laboriously.
"There are," she says, "stories that you write, and stories that write themselves in spite of you. And I find that these are the ones that do not need much working over."
Fond as she is of her pleasant relations in the Charles Street home, she loves her country life with a true devotion that only a genuine nature worshipper can appreciate. Says she:
"I never feel prouder, or have more the sense of owning and being owned, than when some old resident of Berwick meets me, and says, 'You're one of the doctor's girls, ain't ye?' It makes me feel as though that were really my place in the world."
Miss Jewett was born in a fine old colonial mansion that was built in 1740. It is situated in the village of Berwick, Maine, not far from Portsmouth, N. H., and is still her home. Her father, "The Country Doctor," died some years since, and her mother followed him a few years later. She and one sister continue to occupy the homestead during most of the year, while a married sister lives close by. Sarah Orne Jewett always lived an out-of-door life, riding, driving, and rowing. When her father was living she went about with him a great deal, and that was the way in which, without realising what the experience was to prove to her, she got her marvellous insight into the lives of the country people of a quarter of a century ago. Before Miss Jewett's day, no writer could exactly picture the phases of country life which she depicts without making a burlesque of the attempt. It has taken Miss Jewett to show the world that the country dialect and country ways hide some of the noblest hearts.
"When I was, perhaps, fifteen," said Miss Jewett, "the first city boarders began to make their appearance near Berwick; and they so misunderstood the country people, and made such game of their peculiarities, that I was fired with indignation. I determined to teach the world that country people were not the awkward, ignorant set that those persons seemed to think. I wanted the world to know their grand, simple lives; and so far as I had a mission, when I first began to write, I think that was it. But now, when every village has its city visitors in the summer, and the relations between the city and country are so much closer than they used to be, there is no need of my 'mission.'"
Miss Jewett's paternal ancestors were Tories – "mistaken but honest," she says. Her grandfather was an old sea-captain, and, as she quaintly puts it, "seemed to me a citizen of the whole geography." Her mother was a Gilman of Exeter, notable people in the neighbourhood, and with an honourable record in the Revolution. The town of Berwick had plenty of sea-captains when she was a little girl, and, in seeing them, and hearing them discuss with her grandfather the world in general, she laid up material for many of her delightful character sketches.
Her first story for the Atlantic was accepted before she was twenty. She had no literary friends at court, and it was her own inimitable work which won for her the success which has been so marked. She was a delicate child, and could never endure the confinement of the schoolroom, so her education was, for the most part, obtained at home under the wise direction of her father. Miss Jewett says that she has missed a certain logical directness that comes only with training at good schools; but she would not have lost the outdoor life and the close association with her father for anything. Probably her success as a writer was due to her father's advice, constantly repeated, and which she has closely followed, -- "Don't try to write about people and things; tell of them as they are."
A recent reviewer in the Boston Transcript says of her New England idylls: "Who can forget her marsh meadows, her sand-dunes, her pine-grown seashore? Her people are mostly thriving, unperplexed, cheerful New England people. Somehow the New England type has come to be as novel and conventional as is the figment of 'Uncle Sam,' which has long ceased to have any significance whatever. Nobody ever saw these dreary lunatics, who are said to drag out hard and narrow lives, set to a perpetual minor key, as typical of New England villages. Miss Jewett shows us youth and love and happiness under the pale blue skies of New England, with quaint peculiarities -- having the one touch of nature. After all, though we may laugh over sharp wit and droll situations and pitiable, grotesque scrapes of all kinds, the sensation which is left on our minds is not happy. Miss Jewett is profoundly and uniformly cheerful, and makes the reader so. Is not the world, for most of us, too full of inharmonies to permit the mind to be burdened with more of them, with no compensating advantages? Let the artists answer each other with the ghastly products of art for art's sake. But let us be jolly, with Miss Jewett's pleasant companions, while we may."
Of course, the contrasts referred to are the stories of Miss Wilkins, whose characters are so decidedly opposite to Miss Jewett's always lovable, sensible, and altogether natural ones. Miss Wilkins may be depended on to give us interesting people, but are they not exceptional types, odd, queer, unknown characters, the like of whom we seldom see? For the average New Englander of the country is cheerful and hopeful, an optimist ever.
Since, however, Miss Wilkins has now become Mrs. Freeman, and gone to live in New Jersey, Boston can no longer strain a point and claim her, even for purposes of comparison with Miss Jewett.
By the way, it is worthy of note that Miss Jewett keeps a sentence from Flaubert pinned up as a motto over her desk: "Ce n'est pas de faire rire, ni de faire pleurer, ni de vous metter en fureur . . . mais d'agir à la façon de la nature – c'est à dire, de faire rêver."
The Boston Evening Transcript
21 February 1902, p. 20
Before New Hampshire's Daughters on Saturday, Feb. 15, an interesting programme arranged by Miss E. E. Chamberlain was given, entitled "An Afternon with James T. [F.] Fields." Readings and poems selected by Mrs. Fields were given by Miss Frances S. Emerson and Miss Grace McQuesten. Mr. Stephen Townsend gave several songs, and violin solos were given by Miss Glenn Priest. Tea was served by the hospitality committee during the social hour. Among the invited guests were Mrs. Fields, Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, Mrs. Charles G. Ames, Miss Katherine Jewell Evarts and Miss Alice Brown. A musicale under the direction of Mrs. Martha Dana Shepard will be given at the March meeting.
In October a lecture in South Berwick gave her the opportunity, always greatly enjoyed, of a visit to Sarah Orne Jewett and her sister Mary.
"November 1._South Berwick. A delightful drive. Mary Jewett, Annie
Fields, and I to visit Mrs. Tyson in the Hamilton House described by
Sarah in her 'Tory Lover.'... Most interesting. Mrs. Tyson very cordial
and delightful.... She came over later to dinner and we had such a
pleasant time! In afternoon copied most of my screed for the 'Boston
It surely was not on this occasion that she described dinner as "a thing of courses and remorses!"
"November 2. Took reluctant leave of the Jewett house and the trio,It was delightful to see our mother and Miss Jewett together. They were the best of playmates, having a lovely intimacy of understanding. Their talk rippled with light and laughter. Such stories as they told! such songs as they sang! who that heard will ever forget our mother's story of Edward Everett in his youth? He was to take three young ladies to drive, and had but the one horse; he wished to please them all equally. To the first he said, "The horse is perfectly fresh now; you have him in his best condition." To the second he said, "The horse was a little antic at first, so you will have the safer drive." To the third he said, "Now that the other two have had their turn, we need not hasten back. You can have the longest drive."
Sarah, Mary, and Annie Fields. We had a wonderful dish of pigeons for
It is recalled that during this visit, when Laura felt bound to remonstrate in the matter of fruitcake, "Sarah" took sides with ardor. "You shall have all you want, Mrs. Howe, and a good big piece to take home besides! Put it somewhere where the girls can't find it!"
She nodded. "There is a corner in my closet, which even Maud dare not explore!"
The fruitcake was duly packed, transported, and eaten -- we are bound to say without ill effect.
Oscar Fay Adams, A Dictionary of American Authors.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1904 , p. 210.
Jewett, Sarah Orne. Me., 1849 ----------.
A popular writer of quiet fiction whose life has been passed mainly at her birthplace in South Berwick, Maine, and in Boston. Her painstaking, accurate studies of phases of rural New England life and character have received much well-deserved praise. Old Friends and New; Play-Days; Country By-Ways; Deephaven; The Mate of the Daylight, and Friends Ashore; A Country Doctor; A Marsh Island; A White Heron, and Other Stories; The Story of the Normans, an historical work; The King of Folly Island, and Other People; Betty Leicester, a Story for Girls; Strangers and Wayfarers; A Native of Winby, and Other Tales; The Life of Nancy; The Country of the Pointed Firs. See Bibliography of Maine. Hou. Put.
Julia Ward Howe, Representative Women of New England, Boston: New England Historical, 1904, p. 428.
SARAH ORNE JEWETT, Litt. D. -- An assured position among American men and women of letters has been won by Sarah Orne Jewett in her thirty and more years of authorship, dating from her first contribution to the Atlantic Monthly, December, 1869. Miss Jewett is a native of South Berwick, Me. Born September 3, 1849, the second daughter of Theodore H. Jewett, M.D., and his wife Caroline, she still retains, with her sister Mary, her home in the well-known "Jewett House" at South Berwick, a comely and spacious mansion built in 1740, now rich in historical associations.
Miss Jewett is of English descent, traced through long lines of American ancestry, with a French strain inherited from her paternal grandmother. Her maternal grandparents were Dr. William and Abigail (Gilman) Perry, the grandmother a daughter of Nathaniel Gilman and descendant of Edward Gilman, one of the earliest settlers of Exeter, N.H.
Dr. Theodore H. Jewett (Bowdoin College, 1834; Jefferson Medical College, 1840) was a man of note in his profession, much trusted and beloved as a family physician, and for some years a professor in the Medical School connected with Bowdoin College. Sarah, in her girlhood, not being strong and needing all the outdoor life possible, used often to accompany her father during his long drives to visit his country patients. Her reading and study received most of its direction at home, though at intervals she attended the South Berwick Academy.
While yet of school age, she wrote for Our Young Folks and the Riverside Magazine. For a few years, as witnessed by the index to the Atlantic Monthly, 1857-76, she veiled her identity as an author under the pen name of Alice Eliot. "Deephaven," her first book, published in 1877, has been followed by several novels, as "A Country Doctor," " A Marsh Island," and "The Tory Lover" (1901); a number of volumes of short stories and sketches, including (not to mention them all) "Country By-ways," " Old Friends and New," "The Mate of the 'Daylight' and Friends Ashore," "The King of Folly Island and Other People," "A White Heron and Other Stories"; three stories for girls – namely, "Betty Leicester," "Betty Leicester's Christmas," and "Playdays"; and "The Story of the Normans," in Putnam's series of Stories of the Nations.
From competent critics Miss Jewett's writings have received gracious meed of praise. Instance the following, which bears date 1897: "As the best material for stories may be wasted by unskilled hands, so the plain, the meagre, the commonplace, may be used to marvellous advantage by the masters of the craft. Miss Jewett's 'Country of the Pointed Firs' is a case in point. . . . The casual observer could see little of interest here (in a fishing village on the Maine coast), the average writer could make little of what he sees, but the acute and sympathetic observer, the exceptional writer, comes on the scene, looks about, thinks, writes, and, behold! a fascinating story." Later work in 1900 called forth this appreciation: "Without falsifying either inanimate or human nature, she transmutes their ruggedness into pure gold, and arranges a harmony without one jarring note."
The scene of "The Tory Lover," Miss Jewett's latest work, is laid in the neighborhood of her own town of South Berwick. The famous Paul Jones is one of its personages, and other figures are drawn with due regard to historic facts and probabilities. The story is told with all the grace and skill which characterize her literary workmanship.
In 1901 Miss Jewett received from Bowdoin College the degree of Doctor of Literature, she being the first woman thus honored by that institution.
from Talks in a library with Laurence Hutton, recorded by Isabel Moore, 356-357.
Author: Hutton, Laurence, 1843-1904.
New York, London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1905.
One day we devoted to the lower Thames, going by the river from Westminster down to Greenwich, I pointing out as we sailed on the penny-boat everything that had any literary or artistic or historic interest or tradition. At the Charing Cross float there came aboard two ladies of my acquaintance to whom, after asking their permission, I introduced my two American boys in a perfectly informal manner. The names of none of them meant anything to the others; and as we passed under Waterloo Bridge, I remarked.
"You know, you fellows, or if you don't know you ought to know, that this is the Bridge of Sighs,
'One more unfortunate,
Gone to her death.'"
One of the ladies said
"Is it really the Bridge of Sighs? I never before realised which of the two bridges it was. And, as you know, Tom Hood gave my husband the original draft of the poem."
This naturally excited the attention of the two young men in question[.] As we went on, personally conducting the boys, I discovered that the ladies had drawn up to us and were equally eager to be personally conducted. London Bridge, the Tower,--all these things were absorbed and gazed at, until we came to a quaint, very old-fashioned, tumbled-down, river-side public-house on the left bank of the Thames. As we were going past the scene, I said:
"That is the Three Jolly Fellowship Porters, of Our Mutual Friend, in which John Rokesmith met with his disastrous adventures."
The same lady said:
"Oh, let us go ashore. I have tried many times to discover its identity, but without success. I shall never forget how Dickens took my husband and me all through it one day, many years ago."
My young friends could not contain themselves any longer.
"For gracious sakes! who is she? Friend of Tom Hood, friend of Charles Dickens, and a young American woman! For gracious sakes! who is she?"
She was Mrs. James T. Fields, and her companion was Sarah Orne Jewett.
"February 27.... In evening went with the Jewett sisters to the celebration of Longfellow's Centennial. I had copied my verses written for the first Authors' Reading in re Longfellow, rather hoping that I might be invited to read them. This did not happen. I had had no reason to suppose that it would, not having been thereunto invited. Had a seat on the platform among the poet's friends, myself one of the oldest of them. It seemed as if I could hardly hold my tongue, which, however, I did. I remembered that God has given me many opportunities of speaking my thoughts. If He withheld this one I am bound to suppose it was for the best. I sat on the platform, where Sarah Jewett and I were the only women in the charmed circle.
Twain & Jewett
from Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain, a Biography. New York: Harper Brothers, 1912.
V. 1 pp. 633-645
THE Clemens party wandered down into Italy – to the lakes, Venice, Florence, Rome – loitering through the galleries, gathering here and there beautiful furnishings – pictures, marbles, and the like – for the Hartford home.
In Venice they bought an old carven bed, a massive regal affair with serpentine columns surmounted by singularly graceful cupids, and with other cupids sporting on the headboard: the work of some artist who had been dust three centuries maybe, for this bed had come out of an old Venetian palace, dismantled and abandoned. It was a furniture with a long story, and the years would add mightily to its memories. It would become a stately institution in the Clemens household. The cupids on the posts were removable, and one of the highest privileges of childhood would be to occupy that bed and have down one of the cupids to play with. It was necessary to be ill to acquire that privilege – not violently and dangerously ill, but interestingly so – ill enough to be propped up with pillows and have one's meals served on a tray, with dolls and picture-books handy, and among them a beautiful rosewood cupid who had kept dimpled and dainty for so many, many years.
They spent three weeks in Venice: a dreamlike experience, especially for the children, who were on the water most of the time, and became fast friends with their gondolier, who taught them some Italian words; then a week in Florence and a fortnight in Rome. Clemens discovered that in twelve years his attitude had changed somewhat concerning the old masters. He no longer found the bright, new copies an improvement on the originals, though the originals still failed to wake his enthusiasm. Mrs. Clemens and Miss Spaulding spent long hours wandering down avenues of art, accompanied by him on occasion, though not always willingly. He wrote his sorrow to Twichell:I do wish you were in Rome to do my sight-seeing for me. Rome interests me as much as East Hartford could, and no more; that is, the Rome which the average tourist feels an interest in. There are other things here which stir me enough to make life worth living. Livy and Clara are having a royal time worshiping the old masters, and I as good a time gritting my ineffectual teeth over them.Once when Sarah Orne Jewett was with the party he remarked that if the old masters had labeled their fruit one wouldn't be so likely to mistake pears for turnips.
"Youth," said Mrs. Clemens, gravely, "if you do not care for these masterpieces yourself, you might at least consider the feelings of others"; and Miss Jewett, regarding him severely, added, in her quaint Yankee fashion:
"Now, you've been spoke to!"
He felt duly reprimanded, but his taste did not materially reform. He realized that he was no longer in a proper frame of mind to write of general sight-seeing. One must be eager, verdant, to write happily the story of travel.
V. 2 pp. 945-946
MENTONE was warm and quiet, and Clemens worked when his arm permitted. He was alone there with Mrs. Clemens, and they wandered about a good deal, idling and picture-making, enjoying a sort of belated honeymoon. Clemens wrote to Susy:Joseph is gone to Nice to educate himself in kodaking – and to get the pictures mounted which mama thinks she took here; but I noticed she didn't take the plug out, as a rule. When she did she took nine pictures on top of each other – composites.They remained a month in Mentone, then went over to Pisa, and sent Joseph to bring the rest of the party to Rome. In Rome they spent another month – a period of sight-seeing, enjoyable, but to Clemens pretty profitless.
"I do not expect to be able to write any literature this year," he said in a letter to Hall near the end of April. "The moment I take up my pen my rheumatism returns."
Still he struggled along and managed to pile up a good deal of copy in the course of weeks. From Rome to Florence, at the end of April, and so pleasing was the prospect, and so salubrious the air of that ancient city, that they resolved to engage residence there for the next winter. They inspected accommodations of various kinds, and finally, through Prof. Willard Fiske, were directed to the Villa Viviani, near Settignano, on a hill to the eastward of Florence, with vineyard and olive-grove sloping away to the city lying in a haze – a vision of beauty and peace. They closed the arrangement for Viviani, and about the middle of May went up to Venice for a fortnight of sight-seeing – a break in the travel back to Germany. William Gedney Bunce, the Hartford artist, was in Venice, and Sarah Orne Jewett and other home friends.
V. 2 pp. 980-981
SOME LITERARY MATTERS
CLEMENS might have lectured that winter with profit, and Major Pond did his best to persuade him; but Rogers agreed that his presence in New York was likely to be too important to warrant any schedule of absence. He went once to Boston to lecture for charity, though his pleasure in the experience was a sufficient reward. On the evening before the lecture Mrs. James T. Fields had him to her house to dine with Dr. Holmes, then not far from the end of his long, beautiful life. (He died that same year, October, 1894.)
Clemens wrote to Paris of their evening together:Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes never goes out (he is in his 84th year), but he came out this time – said he wanted to "have a time" once more with me.
Mrs. Fields said Aldrich begged to come, & went away crying because she wouldn't let him. She allowed only her family (Sarah Orne Jewett & sister) to be present, because much company would overtax Dr. Holmes.
Well, he was just delightful! He did as brilliant and beautiful talking (& listening) as he ever did in his life, I guess. Fields and Jewett said he hadn't been in such splendid form for years. He had ordered his carriage for 9. The coachman sent in for him at 9, but he said, "Oh, nonsense! – leave glories & grandeurs like these? Tell him to go away & come in an hour!"
At 10 he was called for again, & Mrs. Fields, getting uneasy, rose, but he wouldn't go -- & so we rattled ahead the same as ever. Twice more Mrs. Fields rose, but he wouldn't go -- & he didn't go till half past 10 – an unwarrantable dissipation for him in these days. He was prodigiously complimentary about some of my books, & is having Pudd'nhead read to him. I told him you & I used the Autocrat as a courting book & marked it all through, & that you keep it in the sacred green box with the love-letters, & it pleased him
Lewiston Evening JournalSouth Berwick, July 11 (Special). -- Miss Olive Raynes celebrated today her 80th birthday. She was born in South Berwick, daughter of Charles R. and Harriet (Goodwin) Raynes. Her mother came from the old Governor Goodwin family of New Hampshire and was a native of Portsmouth. Severn children were born: Francis, Edward, Agnes, Harriet, Charles, Mary Esther and Olive. Four died at an early age. Mary Esther became Mrs. Cushing and died 20 years ago. Charles died about ten years ago. Miss Raynes is a graduate of Berwick Academy, where she was an earnest, painstaking student. She left there in 1853 and began to teach that same year. The present year saw the completion of 60 years of continuous teaching. Her first school as a private one kept for the children of a few families in the old house of the Goodwins. She was asisted by her older sister, afterward Mrs. Cushing. The school soon outgrew the parlor where it began and was moved to the second story of an adjacent building also part of the family property, which at that time reached as far as the house now occupied by Mr. Bradeen. The only dwelling was that now occupied by Miss Raynes. The school after many years was moved again to its present quarters. Miss Raynes left the private school to her sister's care for a year, taking herself a public one in Kennebunk, but at the end of that time she returned to resume the management of it herself. As the school grew grew too large for the house parlor an addition was built and fitted up as a regular schoolroom. This school is one [on] of the institutions of the village. There are few of the leading families in town whose members have not received part of their education at the hands of Miss Raynes. The academy teachers recognize the value of her careful and conscientious work and say that her pupils are always well prepared. She excels in teaching reading, mathematics and English and is always ready to adopt new methods in teaching. Her efforts have never been confined alone to iimparting knowledge, but she has tried to implant principles of right living and to encourage moral growth. The Sunday school lessons were taught as a part of the morning exercises. Many distinguished people are ranked among her pupils, a few being Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, the author; Mrs. Marcia Oakes Woodbury, the artist; Dr. Charles W. Oakes of New York City, Dr. Theodore Eastman of Boston and many others. Ten years ago her completion of 50 years of teaching was celebrated by a reception at the home of Mrs. Ellen Rollins, where many of her former pupils and friends met to do honor to their esteemed teacher. A loving cup of silver and a purse of $200 were presented by the late Dr. George Lewis in behalf of friends. The last of her family, Miss Raynes has been looking forward to still further years of labor in her beloved profession.
Friday, 11 July 1913
Taught Sarah Orne Jewett
Miss Olive Raynes Celebrates 80th Birthday Friday at So. Berwick
1 August 1914, p. 14
Olive Raynes's Private School in South Berwick Has Long Been Famed. -- She Taught Sarah Orne Jewett and Others who Became Noted.
For 61 Years a Teacher
[Written for Lewiston Journal.]
It is doubtful if there is in Maine a teacher who can equal in length of service the 61 years which Miss Olive Raynes of South Berwick has spent in the school-room.
She was born in South Berwick 81 years ago, the daughter of Charles and Harriett (Goodwin) Raynes. Her mother was a native of Portsmouth and a descendant of the old Governor Goodwin family of New Hampshire. From both parents and their ancestors, Miss Raynes inherited those Puritanical traits of character, strength of purpose, strict adherence to principle and single-mindedness which have aided her so much through her long years of teaching.
With the exception of two years spent in public schools, Miss Raynes has conducted a private school which the best families in town have helped to support. She and her sister, Mrs. Cushing, began this as a little parlor school, but it soon became too large for a small room and was moved to a building at the Square. After using this room for several years, Miss Raynes has an addition built to her home on Portland street which she has since used.
Her discipline was strict and she was never satisfied with poor attainment but exacted from each pupil the best of which he was capable. Especially in reading, arithmetic and language did she excel and in addition to the studies required in the public schools, ever tried to instil right principles of conduct. The Sunday school lesson was always taught as much as any other lesson, and tired mothers always felt sure their children would be prepared for Sunday as long as they went to Miss Raynes.
She fitted pupils for Berwick Academy all thru her teaching and among this year's graduates from that institution are two of her former pupils who will go to college. In addition to the exacting demands of her school, Miss Raynes has borne other heavy burdens. She is the last of her family of seven children. Her sister, brother, mother and father were all faithfully cared for during long illnesses, while she did her housework and teaching, too.
She is a member of the Congregational church, which she joined while still a school girl, and is seldom absent from any of its services, not excepting Sunday school.
Her home is filled with valuable and beautiful old colonial furniture, a Washington chair, six Sheraton chairs and sofa, and a magnificent sideboard being among her treasures. The signs of advancing years are becoming perceptible now in Miss Raynes. Her step is feebler, her hearing less acute, but she retains the simple faith and courage with which she has always faced life's perplexities and expects to continue teaching in the fall. Scarcely a family in town but has sent its children to her and sometimes the second and third generation. Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, her sister, Mary R. Jewett and nephew, Dr. Theodore Eastman of Boston, Marcia Oakes Woodbury, the artist, Samuel Hale of Boston, Dr. William Hale of Gloucester, Dr. Charles Oakes of New York City, Dr. Willis Malley of Brooklyn City Hospital and many other lawyers, doctors, merchants and ministers have gone out into the world from her teaching and become distinguished in their chosen line of work.
From La Salle Corbell Pickett,
Across My Path: Memories of People I Have Known.
New York: Brentano's, 1916. pp. 143-148
SARAH ORNE JEWETTMISS JEWETT was the faithful delineator of the life and character of old New England, as is Mary Wilkins Freeman of the New England of to-day. The daughter of the village doctor, the little Sarah Orne unconsciously absorbed the life of her environment as she drove with her father when he made his professional calls.
"The best of my education was received in my father's buggy and the places to which it carried me," she said. "The rest was mere schooling. With the wicked connivance of my father I used to run away from school and go the rounds with him; if we suffered a little from the pangs of our New England conscience we enjoyed enough from the delightful experience to make up for it. In the spring days the new opening beauties of the countryside fascinated me as I sat in my father's buggy and waited for him to finish his visit and go on to the next patient. The loveliness of sky and trees and flowers and soft carpet of grasses filled my soul with happiness. What dreams used to come to me up that long brown road leading off to fairy places in some entrancing Nowhere. When the professional call was long and the visions faded away I would go into the yard and play with the children who always brought me something new in childish character and point of view. When people sometimes remark upon the realistic personality of one of my book children I go back in thought to some moment of childish play and say, 'That did not take any work. It is just a child I knew once, lifted out of those days and feloniously transferred to my book. I ought to be arrested for kidnapping, because it was nothing else.'"
"If more people could kidnap to such good effect that crime would become the crowning virtue of the age," I replied.
"It would be a crime or a virtue easily achieved if the world had the advantages that were thrust upon me without my seeking. A dull little country village is just the place to find the real drama of life. In the roar of the city it is only the glaring virtues and the strident vices that become apparent. The delicate cadences are lost in the blare of the heavy tones."
"You learned to hear more of the cadences and see more of the shades of character than most people do."
"The village doctor comes nearer than anyone else to the true springs of village life, nearer even than the pastor of the one little church that points to the only way to heaven for all alike. The preacher, however great-hearted, comes with the mystifications of the spirit life that people like to hear about on Sunday mornings when they don their Sunday clothes and come together for their weekly sermon and chat in the churchyard after service is over. But the Doctor brings comfort and healing for the earth life, which they think they understand because there is no one to tell them there is anything to it except what they can see. I, being his other self, came next in intimacy, and the characters I met when the Doctor made his rounds became a part of my very life."
"I always wondered why your people seemed like old friends to me."
"They were actual discoveries. In one house lived 'Aunt Tempy' and watching the quiet way in which she passed on the small blessings of life, the kindly smile, the gentle word, the helping hand, the gift from her own small store to some one who had even less, I was unconsciously evolving the 'Aunt Tempy' whose passing would leave so wide and deep a void. In another poor little home was the self-abnegating milliner, longing for a wider opportunity to make some one else happy, and in a more imposing dwelling the rich lady of the little community, who would have enjoyed being liberal, had not some dead hand of her ancestors stretched out through the generations and held her back from the indulgence of generous impulses. So there were 'Aunt Tempy and her Watchers' ready to hand."
"I know the glory of that kind of life. My first memories, even before I was able to ride alone, are of sitting in front of my father on horseback and riding through the countryside. And now work is all the more enjoyable, begun in such a beautiful way."
"I love the thought part of it and the weaving part, but the business phase is not so agreeable. I wonder if in the next life our thoughts will not grow like the wild flowers in the woodland and blossom and breathe fragrance and glow with color and light all unconnected with the book market."
In this era of futurist nightmares and cubist spasms the clear etchings traced by Sarah Orne Jewett are crowded out of the gallery of time, but we who knew her as a living presence like to go back and revel in the silvery light of her exquisitely drawn and delicately shaded word pictures of the quiet scenes in which she found the dramatic forces of life cast in the comedy and tragedy of everyday existence.
from Robert Underwood Johnson,
Boston: Little, Brown, 1923.
pp. 320-321; 392-395
In 1892, when Mrs. Johnson and I were in Venice, we had a delightful meeting with Mark [Twain] in front of one of the restaurants in the Piazza of his patron saint. With us at the table were Mrs. James T. Fields and Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, who were old friends of Mr. Clemens. The great humorist did most of the talking, the others only putting in a few words now and then by way of keeping him going. At this time he was deeply interested in occult things, dreams, second-sight, etc., and I remember that he told us a remarkable story of a trip on the Mississippi River, when he was working as a pilot, including a circumstantial dream which he had, foreshadowing his brother's death, and how, when he reached his home, the details of this dream were found to be exact. He told it with deep feeling and I felt that we had seen him in one of his very best moods.
He then went on to tell us the history of the little lamp that then burned on the outside of the angle of St. Mark's, at the entrance of the Doge's Palace, recounting in a graphic way how a murder had been committed near by early in the morning and how a baker's boy, who was crossing the Piazzetta at the time, had been arrested and convicted for it, and how, many years afterward, when the murderer had confessed, those who had been responsible for the execution of the boy, by way of penance, had placed this lantern near the spot and had provided a fund to keep it perpetually aflame. This was just the sort of historical picturesqueness that took hold of Mark Twain. Of all men-of-letters he was most conspicuously the man-of-the-world.
MRS. FIELDS, SARAH JEWETT, AND MADAME BLANC
MY first meeting with Mrs. James T. Fields was in company with her husband, the well-known Boston publisher, in the bookstore of the Scribners, at 654 Broadway, in the early seventies. I was much struck by the disparity in their sizes. Fields was tall, broad-shouldered and robust, with a patriarchal beard; Mrs. Fields was small, delicate, extremely refined and sensitive, of the type of Mrs. Browning. It was a casual meeting and though I had editorial correspondence with her I did not see her again until 1892 when Mrs. Johnson and I crossed the Atlantic with her and her constant friend, the novelist, Sarah Orne Jewett. It was on the first steamer of the North German Lloyd that made the trip from New York to the Mediterranean, The Werra. There were many agreeable persons of social prominence on board and our afternoon meetings on the promenade deck were much like a five o'clock tea in a New York or Boston drawing-room. I found Mrs. Fields full of reminiscences of the authors she had known in Boston or in England. Thackeray and Dickens, Emerson, Longfellow and Holmes were among the high-lights of her talk, which was always kindly, even where she had to make criticisms. Miss Jewett, who was the best of company, was more downright. I remember she had a dislike for Horace Scudder, one-time editor of the Atlantic, apropos of whom she said to me, "What a strange world this is!" – and then with a rapid zig-zag forward gesture of her hand, -- "full of scudders and things." I do not think this would have kept her from being entirely just to the object of her criticism, for she was kindly and had a New England candor.
Among Miss Jewett's diverting stories, I recall this one:
There was in a New England town a stout – oh, a very, very stout –young woman who was accustomed to walk in the twilight with her steady admirer. One evening as they were sauntering along and he was "sparking" her, he noticed an unaccountable change in her demeanor toward him. To his most devoted and complimentary remarks, for once, he could get from his bulky companion only the curtest and shortest replies. This went on for quite a while, becoming more and more oppressive, until finally a bright thought struck the clever young man: he went halfway around his sweetheart, when lo and behold! he found another fellow sparking her on the other side!
We afterward saw much of these two ladies in Venice, in Barbizon and in Paris, and met Mrs. Fields again at her house in Charles Street, Boston, and on her little hill-top at Manchester-by-the-Sea, a delightful eyrie where I last saw her – I think in was in 1914 – pale, sweet, and serene in convalescence after an illness. The great sorrow of her later life had been the death of Miss Jewett, whose strong look was in marked contrast to her own frailness of aspect, and who will long be remembered for her charming studies of New England people and villages.
A link between us and Mrs. Fields was our common friendship with Madame Blanc (Thérѐse Bentzon), the French novelist who wrote under the pseudonym of "Th. Bentzon", much of her work appearing in the Revue des Deux Mondes, which also published translations by her of American stories, including work of Mark Twain ("The Jumping Frog"), Aldrich, Cable, Miss Jewett and others, whom she thus made known to French readers. We owed to Mrs. Fields our introduction to Madame Blanc, who was one of the most refined and intellectual women I have ever known. She was of the old régime and through her stepfather, who was equerry to Napoleon III, was familiar with the best society of that time. She had lived at the Palace of Fontainebleau, and when she went through the palace with us she recounted this or that incident of her sojourn, giving us glimpses of the fascination and graciousness of the Empress Eugénie. As a girl she had been an intimate friend and protégée of George Sand, from whom she had many interesting letters, some of which were afterward published in the Century. She knew all the literary men of her time and was held in high esteem by them. She was extremely kind to us and we reciprocated her generous affection. She was one of the two or three foreigners who, in my experience, have seemed best to understand America, another being Lord Bryce, and, like him, she was a warm friend of this country. She was here at least twice, once alone and once with Monsieur and Madame Brunetiѐre, and her original investigations of American conditions, social, literary and political, are set forth in her volumes, including "Les Américaines chez elles." She was a woman of notable dignity and sweetness of character, with a hospitable mind, eager for new impressions, and with that delightful social quality which in France is the inheritance of so much beautiful tradition and so much veritable art. I never knew a better talker or listener. She had a winning sympathy, and with all her knowledge of French politics, literature, art and society she was simple and unassuming. It was remarkable that one so thoroughly imbued with the discipline of the old régime should have found herself in accord with so much in America. What chiefly interested her here was the progress and status of women. She was a member of the Académie des Femmes and was one of the first women to receive the cross of the Légion d'Honneur.
We made a charming visit to Madame Blanc at her country place at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, a three hours' ride to the east of Paris, in a region fought over and devastated during the World War. It was at the height of the hunting season and she gave us one memorable dinner of game, served in the leisurely manner which is so delightful when you are sure there is nothing wrong in the kitchen. It included a course of hare, a viand which except on that occasion I have never been able to relish. With its sauce this was something unique, and we agreed that the saying was most appropriate to our hostess, "The glory of a woman is her hare." Madame Blanc was dark with impressive eyes and was inclined to stoutness. Regnault made a spirited drawing of her as a young woman, a copy of which she gave to Mrs. Johnson.
Mrs. Fields was the friend of brilliant and delightful people and her salon was one of the most desired and distinguished in Boston. Remembering this, one is amused at the incident of an English visitor who had been entertained by her, and who, when a friend was endeavoring to recall her to his mind, said, finally, "Oh, yes; oh, yes, to be sure, I remember now. She was the lady who had sugar of different sizes," and identification which I think would have amused Mrs. Fields herself, for her sense of humor was very keen.
When we met Mrs. Fields in Paris Yvette Guilbert, the singer, was at her greatest vogue. Mrs. Johnson and I had been to hear her at an outdoor café chantant in the Champes Elysées, and from the rear row, where we could scarcely catch the words, we were impressed with the timbre and expressiveness of her voice. Happening to mention the experience to Mrs. Fields, we found her eager to hear the singer, and so, in the spirit of a lark, we all hear arranged to go on the following evening. This time we went early and had seats near the front. Guilbert sang several times, but one song, which had impressed us the night before, had a particularly plaintive character. Her voice fairly rang with pathos and feeling and sounded like the wailing of a mother for a child. We were much moved by it though we did not understand the argument, for which I need not apologize, as I was told that many of her songs were in an argot that educated Parisians themselves were not able to comprehend. Mrs. Fields was as much affected as we had been and had her handkerchief to her eyes; but Mrs. Johnson meanwhile perceived the argument of the song, which we were told was one of the most objectionable sung at that time in Paris! Mlle. Guilbert has since come to America, where she devotes her exquisite art to a more elevated class of entertainment. That is the French of it: to do perfectly whatever you undertake – le cœur au métier.
The Lewiston Daily Sun
Tuesday Morning July 5, 1932, p. 4
Would Preserve Old So. Berwick Home
A news item of interest to New England summer colonies relates to two houses located, one in South Berwick, Maine, and the other in Salmon Falls, N. H. To speak of these places as being in separate States suggests the possibility of great distances between them, but as a matter of fact, the towns are on the two sides of the Piscataqua River and in each are old houses of supreme architectural and sentimental interest to visitors from other parts of the country. On Thursday, July the 14th, these houses will be opened to the public including Thursday, July 21. Sarah Orne Jewett's mansion house in South Berwick will be furnished with the finest furniture that can be borrowed by the committee in charge and the house will be thrown open to the public, the profits of the admissions to be applied to the improvement of the house and grounds. Included with the grounds is the adjoining Theodore Eastman Community House, which, like the Jewett Mansion, is the property of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. This property was bequeathed to the Society by the late Dr. Theodore Jewett Eastman, with an endowment of $20,000. This has not yet been received from the estate and the lack of it complicates the committee in the administration of the property and is one of the prime causes back of the Loan Exhibition and the need [neen] of raising money.
Still further to help the cause Mrs. Frederick S. Blodgett, who is chairman of the Jewett House committee, and one of the trustees of the Preservation Society, has agreed to throw open to the public, during this same week, her nationally known Paul Wentworth Mansion on the New Hampshire side of the river. A separate admission charge will be made here and all of the receipts during that week will be applied to the Jewett fund. This generous action on Mrs. Blodgett's part will be peculiarly appreciated when it is borne in mind that the Wentworth Mansion is of the early 18th century, whereas the Jewett Mansion is of the late 18th century. That means that each home will have a type of furniture differing radically and wholly from the other, and the two together will provide the visiting public with a wonderful opportunity to se the entire scope of 18th century furniture at its best. Loan exhibitions of this kind are becoming a better appreciated and more widely advertised means of entertaining our summer visitors, showing them what New England at its best can accomplish even in this off year, when many Westerners will be detained at home against their will, we may be certain that there will be visitors in such large numbers that the Jewett House fund should gain appreciably as a result.
Lewiston Evening Journal of 6 July 1932, p. 4: "News Item of Interest."
Lewiston Evening Journal of 6 December 1952: "Main Abounds in Fine Old Houses That Have Become Museums," by Eloise M. Jordan.
The Lewiston Journal of 8 August 1981: "Noted Houses in Main are Now Open to the Public," by Eloise M. Jordan.
Bangor Daily News of 20 June 1983: "Maine hamlet battles to keep library in home of novelist."
"News Item of Interest."
Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College with assistance of Linda Heller.Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project
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