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Columns from the Atlantic Contributor's Club 1882 that may be by Sarah Orne Jewett
A Game of Authorship
Richard Cary in "Some Bibliographic Ghosts of Sarah Orne Jewett" (Colby Quarterly 8, September 1968, pp. 139-145) says that Jewett appeared rather frequently in "The Contributors' Club." He lists 11 columns from between 1878 and 1884 that he is convinced for various reasons are by Jewett. He suggests that several more may have appeared in 1892-3. He does not list Jewett's piece on the funeral of Phillips Brooks, because it was previously listed in Weber and Weber, A Bibliography of the Published Writings of Sarah Orne Jewett (1949). I have looked through these years and have selected a few more that seem at least likely to be by Jewett. However, to my knowledge, we have solid verification of authorship for only a very few pieces.
This part of the Jewett Text Project, therefore, offers us a kind of game. What internal and external evidence can be gathered to establish that Jewett was or was not the author of any of these pieces? Cary's opinions and some other possibly relevant facts appear in the notes.
Reader comments are welcome. The most interesting of these will be linked to the appropriate pieces. Send them along with any corrections to the site manager.
Good Society Novels, January 1882, 136-8
It is a very pleasant thing to finish reading a book and feel that one has made a charming new acquaintance. Men and women who are entirely congenial and delightful are by no means common in this world, even if one lives in the midst of its best society; and some of our dear friends are people who live all the year round in the little three-walled houses made by book-covers. Yet their every-day life is as real to us as our own; their houses and their fortunes and misfortunes are well known to us, and we are sure of a thousand things about them that we never saw in print. The inner circle of our friends might be a broken one if it were not rounded and completed with such companionships as these. But one thinks not so much of the luxury of having these friendships as of the necessity for them, and of the good it does everybody to know nice people, of the elevating power a novel may have if it carries its readers among people worth knowing. It is certainly a great force in raising the tone of society; it is a great help in the advance of civilization and refinement. A good story has a thousand readers where a biography has ten. Who is not better for having associated with the ladies and gentlemen to whom certain novelists have presented us? One instinctively tries to behave his very best after meeting them, and admires their hospitality, their charity, their courage in adversity, their grace and good-breeding. How many tricks of speech and manner we have caught in such society! How often we have been moved to correct some carelessness or rudeness, of which we were unconscious until they taught us better! Trollope, Miss Thackeray, Mrs. Oliphant, a hundred others, have unwittingly done much more than entertain us with their stories: they have taught many people good manners; they have set copies for us to follow in little things and great. To have spent a Week in a French Country House - as I hope we have all been lucky enough to do - will save us from seeming awkward on any repetition of that charming visit. If we have never been abroad at all we do not feel that when we are in France, by and by, and go down into the country, it will seem at all strange.
There is nothing like having read many English novels to make one feel at home in England. We know the fashion of doing things as well as Englishmen themselves, and we should not be surprised at the minor differences of speech and etiquette. We have ridden to hounds, and have dined in Trollope's comfortable country houses, and have gone to the country balls, too often to be caught making mistakes; we know the order in which people should go out to dinner, and the order of ecclesiastical rank in the cathedral towns. We have starred it in the provinces, and have spent many a gay and gallant London season. We have gone shooting and fishing through the Highlands and Ireland with as pleasant people as one may find in all Great Britain. We have grown so used to yachting in the Hebrides and all up and down the coast that it seems an old story to join a yacht's company, and to watch the shore and the sunset, to see the daylight fade and the stars come out, as we ride at anchor in some picturesque Scotch harbor.
It is a pity that so little is known of our own pleasantest people from the story-books. The best of our gentlemen and ladies have kept very much to themselves; at any rate, they have few representatives in fiction, and do not mix much with the familiar types of character in American novels. Do they have themselves privately printed, and are they right to be so shy as they are, and to keep their fashion of doing things to themselves? Are the authors who write about American life afraid of seeming to copy foreign stories if they say too much of the people who, from a social point of view, are best worth knowing and reading about? The country life and local dialects and peculiarities, with their ridiculousness and pathos, the energy and restlessness and flashiness and unconventionality, the ostentation, of Americans have been held up for us to look at again and again. There are many of our neighbors across the water who think that the American girl of the period, with whom they have become acquainted, is the best type that can be found. It is too bad that there have been so few stories of agreeable, high-bred American men and women, and that our own best society has been so seldom represented in fiction. It is certainly not because it does not exist, and more books that show us such characters as these would do much good and give great satisfaction.
In the smaller country towns there are always persons who would have been much more lonely and far more eager for congenial companionship had it not been for their friendships with books. We can each speak with gratitude of our own best loved intimacies of this kind; we can recall the worn copies of books that some of our elderly friends have treasured, and to which they cling eagerly and fondly. This grave and careful woman keeps to her early friendship with some old story-friend with a loyalty and wealth of association that have grown year by year; and her daughter loves the Princess of Thule, and wishes she could have spent that year on Borva before the story began. She would like to wring Frank Lavender's neck for him. Sheila's life before he came to the island was the life, of all others, that she likes best, and never has had a chance to link herself with as she has in the novel, that makes her familiar with it.
We sometimes grow tired of people in books whom we like at first; we think they talk too much about themselves, or about nothing. But we can forget them without ever having to reproach ourselves with fickleness or disloyalty.
It is a great temptation to praise some characters who have been dear to me, but it is perhaps safer not to begin. In a novel entitled The Sunmaid I was lucky enough to meet a delightful woman, called the Princess. She is one of the most charming persons I have ever known, and, though little is said of her, I have kept the book carefully for her dear sake, and I shall read about her affectionately again and again. I think it is a great advantage to any one to know her. And there was Lily Dale, in the Small House at Allington. She was such a nice girl, and I used to feel dreadfully because she was so sad about Crosbie; but I long ago ceased to regret her disappointment. She had a pretty way of saying things, though I think of her now as being a great deal older than she was then, and we have not seen so much of each other of late years.
A Color Cure, March 1882, 425.
- Does any one remember that a few years ago it was suggested that nervous invalids should go through a course of treatment called the color cure? It now being the fashion to put little faith in medicine, one naturally counts up the other resources of the profession. The field of therapeutics has widened in some directions in these later days, but it ought to cover a greater space than it does now before unscientific people will resign themselves contentedly to ignoring of old-fashioned dosing. When one is in very bad pain there is a grim satisfaction in swallowing a large and disagreeable quantity of a historic and well-known drug. It seems like a much braver fight against the disease, and all theories vanish at such times from our minds. It interests young doctors more than it does their patients to let ailments alone, to see what will come of them. Leaving things to nature, when it is ill-nature, seems sometimes most unkind. I have spoken as if I were very fond of dosing, but that is not true, since I am more ready than most persons to accept the agreeable alternatives which are now at the command of the medical profession. I caught eagerly at the idea of the color cure, at any rate. It was proposed to make careful studies of the effect of different colors on the human mind and body, then have little rooms painted with the brilliant and inspiriting or the quiet and depressing tints, and the patients were to be locked into them for a suitable length of time every day; perhaps confined altogether. Scarlet is most invigorating and cheering in its effect upon the human mind. Let us imagine a person in most feeble condition, who has suffered some terrible strain or other, who cannot bear even the most delicate treatment with tonics. The skillful doctor of this new school reads the case at a glance and orders a very few minutes of the red room to be administered with great care. The light is shaded at first, and the duration and brilliancy of the color are increased from day to day, until the recovery is completed. For nervous people, who do not sleep or eat, - or think they do not, which makes them and other people just as unhappy, - for these sufferers, what adroit mingling of the red that cheers, and the blue that soothes and quiets, and the reddish-purple that enrages into a determination to escape from its discomfort into the light of day and sensible activity!
This subject seems to me to have been far less considered than it deserves. It never before occurred to me that some people's characters may have been deeply influenced because the color of their complexions led them to surround themselves with certain shades and tints. A person who from her childhood has constantly been looking at blue things - wearing blue bonnets and blue gowns and blue ribbons, who has had blue paint and paper in her house wherever there was any excuse for it - cannot be what she might have been, with reds and yellows about her. By and by we may learn to dress with a view to the moral influence upon ourselves. Other people have a right to expect that we use all the means in our power for the up-building of our characters, and it may one day seem a low aim to wear this color or that simply because it is becoming. "I am so quick-tempered," one conscientious harassed soul will say, "that I try never to look at anything but blues. I notice the bad effect at once of even sealing my letters with red wax."
Pleasant Rooms, April 1882, 567-69
The suggestion lately made of a color-cure for nervous and mental ailments has led me to wonder how much color really has to do with making one contented or ill at ease in certain houses. I am positive that most people fail as house furnishers because they aim at effects, and not at harmonies. It is not the arrangement of the furniture or the choice of pictures and ornaments that we find fault with in some parlors; the chairs are delightfully comfortable, and yet one is possessed with a spirit of unrest. Something jars and frets us; there are false notes and wrong keys struck in the attempted tune; and indeed a harmony of color is far more difficult to achieve than a harmony of sound. It takes a most refined and enlightened skill to furnish a parlor so that from the first it will have a lived-in look, and afterward be satisfactory to its owners, while it leaves a pleasant impression upon the minds of the strangers who come within its gates. It is easy now for most people to make a room decently pretty to look at, since the cabinet-makers and upholsterers and decorators have lent a helping hand with their artistic wares. But the modern style of furnishing, with its brilliant effects, seems much like the bewitching tunes which catch everybody's ear for a time, and soon whistle and sing themselves into tiresomeness and oblivion. You admire a new, bright little parlor when you first see it, but soon find yourself wondering what that charm could have been! It seems to lack something, after all. The pleasantest parlor is one that has been lived in for many years; in which the chairs and tables have associated together and shared each other's fortunes for so long that, in spite of their strong individualities and apparent unlikenessess, they have become members of one family. Year by year small and great treasures have been brought to the room, because it claimed them and they belonged to it; and year by year there have been carried away to other parts of the house, or to well-merited destruction, the treasures that have not proved congenial. After a time, a room becomes toned up or down to the right pitch, and nothing stares at you, and it may be that nothing pleases you, especially at the first sight; only you take a greater and greater satisfaction in being in it, and you like to get back to that corner of the world, after you have been away from it. There is a companionship even in its silence, and a restfulness that is delightful, and that brings out your best thoughts and those traits of your disposition which people find admirable. It is possible only in certain places as well as with certain people to be at one's best.
With what pity we see the mistakes that our neighbors make in furnishing their houses! There are pictures whose presence is to be resented and carpets that one heartily deplores, while every chair is put in exactly the wrong place, according to one's own way of thinking. The colors in the room swear at each other, as the French say, and one is ready to forgive them any reasonable amount of profanity. A friend of mine, whose library is otherwise a pleasant place, keeps two dreadful little bright green sofas in it, that fairly bark at me whenever I open the door. They are the shade of green which one associates with jealousy. If the principles of the color-cure are well founded, I wonder that my friend's family ever wish any good to their neighbors. Nothing surprises one more than finding that people's characters almost always show themselves in the quality of the things they buy. The choice that is made in a shop is simply the buyer's idea of what belongs to him. People contrive to free themselves from the things they really hate, and are not apt to choose for companions the inanimate objets that seem to them totally depraved. Fate may place them in the midst of incongruous surroundings, but they will manage to make a little oasis for themselves with their own dear greenery and flowers in the midst of any desert. A living spring of good taste in a family will make one room charming, at any rate; and if there is one person who doesn't are what things are about her, in a house that may be elsewhere charming, her own corner of it will be sure to be unpleasant. Harmony is a great puzzle to most of us who are keenly sensitive to its presence, and who are dull sometimes at understanding the reasons for the lack of it. People are suited with such different things, and the distance between the over-critical connoisseur and the man who is indifferent to his surroundings is very wide. But our loves and aspirations take shape, somehow; we are not yet sufficiently spiritual to be willing to stop making idols, or enjoying their profitable companionship.
There are other things that make a room or a whole house uncomfortable, beside unharmonized colors. A room may be like a poem, or it may be only like verses, with a charming subtlety of arrangement and expression that still lacks the one touch of life which would give it life of its own. It is, after all, not from the chairs and tables and portières and pictures in our houses that we are to expect the delightful harmony and sympathy which are so dear to our tiredness; it is from the people who live in the houses, who have only gathered these lifeless things together, and who unwittingly have told us by means of them what manner of men we have for neighbors. Show me your carpets or show me your books, and I will tell you who you are, might be a good rendering of the old Spanish proverb, and as sensible a demand as its familiar "Show me your friends."
Deplorable Improvements, June 1882, 856.
- I wish that there could be a league among summer boarders this season for the preservation of antiquities in small country places. It is most painful to those persons who are fond of relics of the past - of old houses and old furniture, of old stone walls and older trees - to see the furbishing and bedizening that is going on in the most ancient and interesting of our country villages. The summer boarders are as a class to blame for this deplorable rejuvenation. Before they made their appearance and went away again, leaving their money behind them, the country people were contented with their houses, which had one great chimney in the middle, that was like the warm heart of the home-like building. They were satisfied with its square walls, to which the wind and sun and rain had been many years in giving a beautiful shade of gray that no painter's brush could copy; they found no fault with the small-paned window-frames, which matched the house itself so much better than the blank-looking four-paned ones with which they have been replaced. The old gray clapboarding has been painted white with heap paint that looks thin and hard, and the chimney has been pulled down to give place to two smaller ones, and bay windows have been put on in ungainly places. The house has a look of yesterday, and on farther acquaintance it seems like an old woman who has tried to renew her youth by wearing her granddaughter's clothes. When the children of the family who live at a distance come back to the old homestead, one cannot help wondering if they like it so well. There is nothing pleasanter than one of the larger New England farm-houses, with its doors and windows thrown open late in the summer afternoon. The wind comes blowing toward it across the fields; the lilacs stand beside it, putting their arms of crooked branches round each other; against the gray of the house, beside the door, some bright red hollyhocks stand up straight and tall. The roof has a protecting slope to it; and one looks at the house, it is like a fluffy, feathery old hen which has settled down in the short grass in the sunshine to cover her chickens. It is the very best house that can possibly be set as a trap for the summer guests; if it is well kept and well served its fortune is as good as made.
The "smarting up" in which the residents of sea-shore and inland villages take such pride is going to drive away the money-spending people whom they wish to attract. To remodel the quaint last-century churches, and straighten the winding country roads and lanes, and root up the bushes and briers from the wayside; to wage war against poplars as a race, and cut down remorselessly the tall oaks and elms; to clear all the tracts of woodland that are within easy walking distance of the houses, - these are all sad mistakes. It is not necessary to have things like other people's; the charm of the ancient towns along our coast will be found too late to have been their difference from and not their likeness to, the newer settlements. It is not alone the picturesqueness of the landscape, the nearness of the sea, or the freshness of the air in our old New England coast villages; there are needed the signs of the presence of men and women who were alive and died and were forgotten many years ago. We suffer from poverty in the matter of ruins, and only one in fifty of our towns has any historical interest; but a place where people have lived for a long time keeps many signs of their habitation, and nature grows into some likeness to humanity and a close association with the human lives that bloomed and faded and were covered with earth. Where there are grass-grown, crowded burying-grounds, with headstones from which the weather has had time to rub out the inscriptions, one likes to find as many relics as possible that the old inhabitants have left behind.
Old houses and pleasant winding ways should be treasured, for it is these very things which has brought prosperity to the neighborhood. It is like killing the goose that laid the golden egg to sweep these things away, and when they are gone the fashion for seeking their companionship will disappear also. Every wreck that is going to pieces by the shore, and the tumble-down warehouses, and thickets of barberry and birch by the roadside, ought from a business point of view, if from no other, to be untouched. The old furniture and china is carried away piece by piece to decorate city houses; it would be much better if most of it could stay where it belongs. The older square houses are better models for the new country dwelling of to-day than the cheap and tawdry, thin-walled, and badly-ornamented little buildings that seem to sprout like mushrooms in the new streets of every town. The plain houses are every way the best. But if the new houses must be built after these patterns, I beg that the old ones may be let alone in the behalf of city people who wish old-fashioned sights and quaint, half-forgotten customs to make a great part of the pleasure and change of their summer holiday. A poor imitation of newer fashions has little dignity and no attractiveness. The summer boarder's money does this mischief; cannot his wise precept and admonition direct the spending of it (which is really supposed to be for his continued allurement) into wiser ways? When he looks aghast at the ravages which are complacently shown him as improvements, cannot he gently teach the true meaning of that misunderstood word?
Woodland Mysteries, July, 1882, 136-8.
- The only haunted house I was ever in was one not made with hands. It had been built I know not how many generations before the birth of the oldest inhabitant, the architecture a mixture of Greek and Gothic. It had numerous porticoes, long colonnades, winding corridors, many inner courts, halls, and secret passages. Its partitions were of tapestry, sometimes closely woven and wholly impervious to the eye, but oftener of a sleazy embroidered fabric, which scarcely intercepted the arched and columnar vista. The carpets were of plush or velvet, the woof of which was so thrown up as to suppress all sound of footsteps. I have been often in this haunted house, have seen and heard much of its spiritings and sorceries, but am no more able now than at first to account for them; on the contrary, with every successive visit the mystery deepens, and my perplexity increases. I have to complain of the capricious treatment which I receive. On certain occasions I am made most welcome; bidden to ask all the questions that occur to me; entertained by all manner of pretty illusions and pageants; instructed in cabala and hieroglyph; and entrusted with the profoundest state secrets. The queen of all the hamadryads is faithful to the place and hour of tryst. Like the favored peasant youth in the ballad, I cry out, -
"Ye million leaves of the wildwood wist
How Beauty Rohtraut's mouth I kissed!"
The next time I go to the woods all is changed. I am treated with cold unfamiliarity; none admits my acquaintance; the humblest retainers and servants will not deign to answer my civil questions; all gossip is hushed, or it carried on in confused whispers, unintelligible to me; the queen of the hamadryads laughs my pretensions to scorn. I beat a humiliating retreat, feeling baffled and misused.
With a comrade it is still the same.
We rove up and down the woods, snapping the flower from its stem, thrusting aside the branch and the brier. The squirrel barks at us like a sort of sylvan canis minor; the brooding bird starts away with an aggrieved and accusing cry; everything protests at our ruthless and unmannerly haste, our eagerness and curiosity. But let us sit down somewhere in the depths of the woods, quietly observant and grateful-minded; keeping our note-books in our pocket, since the powers that be here are marvelously close and conservative, and always distrustful of the interviewer. It is not long before we are the centre of an increasingly curious circle of spectators. The snappish squirrel comes back to look at us, silent and alert, but not inimical; the chipmunk darts down before us, and dives through his trap-door, giving us the impression that the devouring earth has made a clean morsel of him. The birds perch lower, eyeing [eying] us with not unfriendly glances; we even catch glimpses of that shy party-colored woodlander, the redstart, flitting among the branches overhead. It is so quiet that the slightest noise becomes significant and noteworthy.
"My music is the buzzing of a fly,"
as that droning insect sails in from the hot sunshine for a moment's cool refreshment. Or the wood-pewee, who is a strange little mystic, may be heard in some leafy recess urging its childish, unanswerable query, - always with a rising inflection of voice, as though expecting to be answered by yes or no. So lorn and pathetic is the quality of this wood-note that we sometimes fancy the pewee, like the poet's nightingale, sings with its breast against a thorn.
The woods are full of mysterious stirs, even when there is no wind. A quick, rustling undulation among the low plants and vines hints that the timorous snake is making all haste to get out of our way. (Does the groveling creature think that we still hold the Adamic grudge?) There is no wind, so what can it be but black sorcery which keeps yonder leaf dancing like a dervise among its motionless and listless comrades? And what spirit of mischief lives in that clump of fern, to keep one lusty plume in continual oscillation? The fern, we would say, is the magician's own plant. Although we have never tested its occult powers on St. John's Eve, we should not be surprised if told that there are those who walk these woods, rendered invisible through its aid. A dense growth of ferns always puts us in mind of the South American tropics. A mystery lurks under the mandrake, also, whether in May it bears its subtly-fragrant white flower, or in August ripens its apple of mellow gold. A cluster of mandrakes crowning a knoll suggests a grove of dwarf palms, sheltering who knows what race of grotesque hop-o'-my thumbs.
If the time be midsummer, we shall probably find in some warm hollow ground the pale waxen pipes of the monotropa. How uncanny is this plant, that has not one drop of green blood in its veins, no fragrance, not a leaf susceptible to the flattering zephyr! A flower brought up in the garden of night, under the rays of a gibbous moon, would look like this; and yet there is sometimes a faint blush on its livid cheek, as though it had spied the dawn a long way off. There is no legend told of the monotropa, so we may assign one: say that some evil eye of the woods long ago cast its spell upon a fresh-blooming flower, changing it into the stark effigy of a flower.
In speaking of mythology we ordinarily qualify it as ancient, as though disclaiming participation in the error; but if the Pantheon had not descended to us, would we not have constructed it ourselves, at first hand? There is an implied myth, a paganish personification, in nearly all our allusions to nature. Within these common haunts of ours, how easy to recreate the whole race of woodland deities and genii! That is a pretty account of the popular origin of field and forest myths given in the Fourth Book of The Excursion. Swift alternations of sunshine and cloud shadows on the distant hills appeared as "fleet oreads, sporting visibly." Gnarled dead branches, projecting from a crag or starting out of deep woody shade, figured as Fauni and Panes. The herdsman, stretched out on the summer turf, if he happened to hear a sweet and distant music, instantly accredited it to Apollo's lute. Have we not seen and heard all these marvels? Or shall we admit that the imagination of Greek peasants in the old time was of a quicker and more generous order than our own?
We have said that the woods are haunted. Looking up through an opening in the dense leafy roof, what is that fine point of white light we see in the blue zenith? Surely, a star! After this revelation we feel that the woods are in Night's province, and jealously watched by her Argus eyes. That keen sentinel posted on the meridian is to us as thrilling a surprise as a chance glimpse of Dian and her nimble attendants,** seen or fancied by the superstitious forester of old.
It is in vain that we plunder the woods; all that we bring hence slips from our possession like coin picked up in fairy-land. This handful of wood-flowers, how frayed and pale, even common, when seen by the light of outside day! How drooping these ferns, how tawdry this moss! The truth is, the spirits of these are not with us, having parted from us when we left the woods; we carry away nothing by their poor remains. Thus the forest holds its own.
Cary attributes all of these pieces from 1882 to Jewett. See headnote.
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Trollope, Miss Thackeray, Mrs. Oliphant: Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was one of the most popular British novelists of the nineteenth century, writing stories of country and small-town English life. Miss Thackeray is William M. Thackeray's daughter, also a novelist, Anne Isabella Thackeray, Lady Ritchie (1837-1919). Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) was a Scots writer of over 100 books.
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Week in a French Country House: Adelaide Kemble Sartoris is the British author of a Week in a French Country-house, Medusa, and Other Tales (1882).
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Highlands: of Scotland.
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Princess of Thule: A Princess of Thule (1874) is by the Scots writer, William Black (1841-1898).
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The Sunmaid: The sun-Maid. A Romance (1877) by Mrs. Maria M. Grant.
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And there was Lily Dale, in the Small House at Allington: The Small House at Allington (1864) is by Anthony Trollope (1815-1882).
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canis minor: "Procyon: also called Alpha Canis Minoris, brightest star in the northern constellation Canis Minor (Lesser Dog) and one of the brightest in the entire sky . . . . The name apparently derives from Greek words for "before the dog," in reference to the constellation." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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redstart: "New World redstarts are woodwarblers (family Parulidae). The common, or American, redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) breeds from Canada to the southern United States and winters in tropical America; the male is mostly black, with red wing and tail markings." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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wood-pewee: "... also spelled PEEWEE, any of eight species of birds of the genus Contopus (family Tyrannidae); it is named for its call, which is monotonously repeated from an open perch. In North America a sad, clear "pee-oo-wee" announces the presence of the eastern wood pewee (C. virens), while a blurry "peeurrr" is the call of the western wood pewee (C. sordidulus)." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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Adamic grudge: against the serpent.
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St. John's Eve: For many Christians, December 27 is the feast of St. John, honoring the first century AD, Saint John the Evangelist, or Saint John the Divine, who in Christian tradition is the author of three letters, the Fourth Gospel, and the Revelation to John in the New Testament. He played a leading role in the early church at Jerusalem. (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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mandrake: "In North America, the name mandrake is often used for the mayapple of the order Ranunculales." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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hop-o'-my thumbs: Charles Perrault's Popular Tales (1888) contains "Hop o' my Thumb," a fairy tale that resembles "Hansel and Gretel" in its plot.
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monotropa: also called Indian pipe or "Corpse Plant, Convulsion Root, or Fits Root (Monotropa uniflora), nongreen herb, of the family Monotropaceae, that is saprophytic in habit; i.e., it lives upon the remains of dead plants. It occurs in Asia and throughout North America and is commonly found in moist, shady areas." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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Fourth Book of the Excursion: William Wordsworth (1770-1850) published The Excursion in 1814. The passages referred to here appear in lines 847 ff. The point made here is similar to that made by Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867) in Mythology (1855), section 4 of Chapter 35. There Bulfinch quotes from Book Four the passage in which the quoted phrases in this essay appear.
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Argus ... Dian: "Argus, in Greek mythology, a 100-eyed giant, also called Panoptes (Greek for "the all-seeing"). Argus was assigned to guard Io, the mistress of Zeus, by Zeus's jealous wife Hera, after Zeus had changed Io into a heifer to conceal her from Hera. The god Hermes, dispatched by Zeus to rescue Io, slew Argus by lulling him to sleep with music and then severing his head. In one version of the story, Argus subsequently became a peacock; in another, Hera transplanted his eyes onto the peacock's tail." "Diana, in Roman mythology, goddess of the moon and of the hunt. The Latin counterpart of the Greek virgin goddess Artemis, Diana was the guardian of springs and streams and the protector of wild animals. She was, in addition, especially revered by women, and was believed to grant an easy childbirth to her favorites. In art she is typically shown as a young hunter, often carrying bow and arrows. The most celebrated shrine to Diana was on Lake Nemi, near Aricia." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.)
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