The Jewett Journal
"A thing to make the angels weep"?
Evaluating the Plot and Characterization of Sarah Orne Jewett's The Tory Lover
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
April 22, 2005
II. The Plot Lines of The Tory Lover
III. The Minor Characters
IV. The Main Characters
John Paul Jones
Works Cited and Consulted
"I can't think what people are thinking of who didn't like [The Tory Lover] as much as some of my other books…-- I can't help being sure that somebody now and then will like it," said Sarah Orne Jewett (undated letter to Annie Fields). The Tory Lover (1901) enjoyed success the year it was published but was quickly forgotten afterward, as her novels ACountry Doctor (1884) and The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) were not. It is now labeled as Jewett's least successful novel, hardly read or known. Jewett (1849-1909) wrote regional fiction from the 1870s until 1903. Her only historical novel, The Tory Lover is closely tied to her hometown, South Berwick, Maine. Her main characters and plot are based on real people and events from that area during the American Revolutionary War. Jewett's contemporary, Henry James, wrote her a letter in which he dismissed historical novels as 'humbug' (Edel 208), and in a later letter (not to Jewett), he said The Tory Lover was "a thing to make the angels weep" (Edel 223). He told her to go back to writing the sort of book that everybody liked her to write – rural everyday life character sketches. But Jewett wanted to write The Tory Lover and worked on it for years before it was published; it was not a task she took on lightly. When she finished the book it was far short of what she had hoped it would be; yet she made almost no significant revisions from the serialized version to the book version a year later. She loved South Berwick and was proud to preserve a piece of its history in her writing; the text grew on her until she loved it. In the same letter as above, Jewett said of The Tory Lover: "and I really was delighted with my piece of work. I have never succeeded in doing anything except the Pointed Firs that comes anywhere near it -- my conscience upholds this happy belief." She came to think of it as her best work while readers have dismissed it as one of her weakest. What can account for this difference of opinion?
Certainly the style of The Tory Lover is different from anything else that Jewett ever wrote – it has been called her one experiment – and while there is not much criticism concerning The Tory Lover, most of it is negative. Instead of evaluating a different kind of work by separate standards, critics compare this book to her others and thus find it wanting. The critics who have given it the most attention, Richard Cary, Paula Blanchard, and Alison Easton, agree on specific flaws of the book: its stiff characterization and lack of plot. Easton mainly uses the novel to compare and contrast it with Sir Walter Scott's approach to historical novels, while Cary and Blanchard are both quickly dismissive of the book as an embarrassing blemish on the Jewett canon. It seems a precedent has been set in which The Tory Lover is labeled as a 'bad' book and set aside, not to be looked at again and not to be relabeled. Without much positive criticism for support, I have nevertheless come to the conclusion that The Tory Lover deserves a second opinion. While the plot may not be perfect, it is fairly typical of the historical novel genre, and as Jewett confessed to having trouble with plot in all of her work, this book's plot should not be judged more harshly than her others. The characters are colorful, and issues of patriotism, friendship, heroism and gender roles make the book a worthwhile read.
The Tory Lover opens during the American Revolution in Berwick, Maine. Colonel Jonathan Hamilton of Hamilton house is giving a dinner party in honor of Captain John Paul Jones, amain historical figure in the novel and one of three protagonists. He is Scottish born, of poor background, and has been sailing since he was twelve. Jones eventually becomes the founder of the American navy, but in this book he is just beginning his American military career. He commands the Ranger on a mission to gain an alliance withFrance in the war and to raid the English coast.
Sailing with him is the other male protagonist, Lieutenant Roger Wallingford, who has not yet committed to the Patriot cause. The Patriots want to be free of English rule, even if they are English born. They are Americans trying to live freely in a new country, and they are against the Tories, who are loyal to England. Many Tories flee back to England because the Patriots are making America no longer safe for anyone loyal to the king. Roger leaves behind his frail, widowed mother, Madam Wallingford, who is a Tory, to serve with Jones. Roger declares that he's a Neutral, not wanting to take either side in a war between his two home countries. But Roger is in love with a strong patriot, Mary Hamilton, the female protagonist of the book. He sails on the Ranger in the hope of gaining her love, because she charges him to be a man and do his duty to his country. Captain Jones is also in love with Mary, and the men consider each other rivals and dislike each other at first.
Mary is Jonathan Hamilton's sister; she runs the Hamilton household and is best friend to Madam Wallingford, Roger's mother. Mary does not feel that she has the luxury of being in love with either man while she has war-related responsibilities. She sends Roger to fight for the Patriots because she thinks it will protect him and Madam Wallingford from the townspeople, who are suspicious that Roger is a Tory like his mother. Mary consults the old schoolteacher, Master Sullivan, for advice, and he tells her that they can only wait and see if Roger will prove himself in the war. He fears that Roger will have trouble in England. Madam Wallingford fears for Roger's safety as well, and Mary must ask her forgiveness for sending Roger to war and stay closer to her friend than ever before.
The book then follows the men on the Ranger to France and England, while Mary stays in Berwick with Madam Wallingford. On their way to France to see Benjamin Franklin, the unofficial American ambassador, Jones realizes he needs a friend and confidant, for his relations with an untrained crew are poor.He makes peace with Roger, and their new friendship is nearly sealed when Roger notices Mary's ring on Jones's finger. She gave it to him as a token of friendship only, but Roger doesn't know this. He sulks for weeks while the captain puzzles over what he did wrong.
Jones expects to get a better ship when he arrives in Europe, but spies have betrayed the secret arrangement between America and Holland to build a warship for the American navy. Jones's petulance upon this discovery sours his relationship with Franklin. Jones decides he'll need Roger's gentlemanly example to help him get through the important second interview with Franklin. Jones hopes at this point to gain permission to refit the Ranger and use the ship to terrorize the British coast. Seeking to renew their friendship, Jones reveals that Mary has not promised herself to him. At this news, Roger is hopeful once more, quite willing to be Jones's friend and go with him to Paris.
Jones eventually sails the Ranger from France to raid the port of Whitehaven, England, a town he once lived in for a short time. Jones plans to set fire to all the ships in the harbor, but Dickson, a crew member who hates Jones and holds a grudge against Roger, sabotages the tinder so they can't set fires. Jones runs to the nearby hut he once stayed in with an old woman and takes a light from her. They are then able to set fire to some of the ships. During the attack, Dickson disappears into the town and betrays the mission. Thinking that Dickson is in danger, Roger goes after him, and when he does, Dickson wrestles him to the ground and stabs his shoulder. Soon the town is awake, and Jones and his crew must escape to the Ranger. Left behind, Roger is captured and eventually transferred to the English Mill Prison for American rebels.
When news of Roger's supposed treachery reaches Berwick, the townspeople think his behavior is proof that he's a Tory. A mob sets upon Madam Wallingford's house to burn it as a Tory nest, and Mary rushes there to try to save her friend. Luckily, a group of Colonel Hamilton's elderly friends fight off the crazed mob and advise Madam Wallingford to leave the country. Mary and Madam Wallingford then journey to England to rescue Roger. They stay in Bristol with relatives, the Davises, and Mr. Davis agrees to help Mary meet the necessary people to gain Roger a pardon. Mary and Mr. Davis take the pardon to the Mill Prison, only to be told when they arrive that Roger and another prisoner successfully escaped the night before, although one of them is wounded.
Mary no longer has any way to locate Roger, and she doesn't know if he's still alive. In a moment of despair, she retreats to the church in Bristol to rest, and there by chance she meets Captain Jones, who has come in disguise to Bristol to plan another attack. Captain Jones declares his love for Mary right there, but she explains to him that she loves Roger and is trying to find him. Since the raid on Whitehaven, Jones has thought Roger to be a Tory spy as well, and didn't know Roger was in prison. The captain finally agrees to help Mary rescue Roger. He locates Roger and arranges for Roger, Mary, and Dickson to be at the Old Passage Inn the next night. Jones catches Dickson in the act of helping English spies, and he has him taken away. Then Jones and Roger reconcile, and Jones reunites Mary and Roger, who declare their love. Jones returns to his ship to continue the war effort, but Roger, whose health is poor from prison life, is discharged from service. He, Mary, and Madam Wallingford sail home to Berwick, where the pair will be married.
In this thesis I will discuss the interrelated topics of plot, character, patriotism, friendship, heroism and gender roles. Specific comments by critics will be addressed, especially in the areas of plot and character, where they have the most to say. My argument is that the plot is structured around each character's desires and goals, and the characters are rounded and show development. The issues of patriotism, friendship, heroism and gender roles are key to the characters' development and to the resolution of this novel of the American Revolution. Jewett had ancestors on both sides of the war and understood the difficult politics of the time. In The Tory Lover, Patriot, Neutral, and Tory alike are represented with compassion, although Jewett has some criticism for the Americans as well as the English.As Roger, the Neutral of the book, comes to see that Patriotism is the right way, the message seems clear: Jewett sympathizes with Tories but is for Patriotism. Friendships in the novel cross the borders of class, age, and even politics, while gender roles and heroism range from the conventional to the highly unconventional. These last two are treated similarly in Jewett's better-known works, where friendship is always an important theme and unconventional gender roles are typical for her female characters. With so many issues coming to the forefront, I argue that this novel deserves more serious study.
II. The Plot Lines of The Tory Lover
Sarah Orne Jewett was well aware of her shortcomings as a writer; specifically, she realized that her stories often lacked a concrete plot. That's why she was nervous about writing an historical novel of such proportions as The Tory Lover, but she wanted to do it, and so she did. Readers love her Country of the Pointed Firs, which is really more a series of character sketches than a novel with a plot. Critics accept Jewett's individual 'genre' in her stories and sketches, but when it comes to The Tory Lover, they find that her plot and characters don't match up to historical novel genre standards. Some (like Henry James) think Jewett sold out to the wave of popular historical fiction, trying to emulate the adventure and suspense but failing, because she was out of her league. Others, like Cary, Blanchard and Easton, say the plot is silly and/or nonexistent, and the characters are stiff and unrealistic.
However, I think the plot is well structured, presenting a set of related journeys through which the three main characters grow as they work toward goals they set for themselves. The problems they encounter and how they overcome these problems help to develop some of the central themes to each character, such as patriotism, friendship, gender roles, and heroism. As defined by M. H. Abrams, plot is "constituted by its events and actions…performed by particular characters in a work…Plot and character [his italics] are therefore interdependent critical concepts" (159). There can't be one without the other. Critics find neither to be satisfactory in Jewett's novel; I believe that both are well ordered in The Tory Lover, and that Jewett has written a successful historical novel, even though it may not meet conventional genre expectations. I will briefly lay out the three plot lines with each protagonist's goals and desires, problems, and solutions before addressing the criticisms.
John Paul Jones's plot is based on his desires for military glory and for Mary's love. Jones chooses to pursue glory before love; his priorities are firmly set. He begins the book with several problems in his way to achieving either. Jones's ship, the Ranger, sails to France as he deals with his surly crew. The crew doesn't share his goal of military glory; they are more concerned about prize money than gaining American independence. One crew member, Dickson, is especially problematic because he is jealous of Jones's position and wants to orchestrate his captain's downfall. Once he arrives in France, Jones finds that the Commissioners don't have the time or the resources to give Jones the new ship he wants. But Jones's biggest obstacle is his personality. He doesn't deal well with his crew because he doesn't train them in such a manner as to gain their good will. He isn't communicative or interactive with them, and he doesn't encourage community on board the ship. Jones's temper is against him with the Commissioners; they don't enjoy dealing with him because he's not reasonable and has poor social skills.
The problems keeping Jones from having Mary's love are also formidable. Jones needs to separate his feelings of rivalry with Roger from his need for Roger's help in forwarding his military mission. Mary loves Roger rather than Jones, which seems a problem Jones may never overcome. He also has to be physically separated from Mary, because his desire for glory takes him away from her. Jones's character hurts him in this desire, too, because he is too persistent, impatient, jealous and temperamental to win Mary's affections. Mary knows that glory is his first priority and she's his second, and that's not acceptable to her; if Jones's character were different, perhaps Mary could learn to love him instead of Roger.
Jones eventually succeeds in overcoming all of the problems in his way to glory, although the glory he achieves in the book is minimal. To keep his crew disciplined, Jones refrains from flogging them (but sometimes lashes out with a fist or a boot), and he sets a good example by working harder than they work. Mainly, Jones just stays a step ahead of them. To persuade the Commissioners to help rather than hinder him, Jones subdues his temper and enlists Roger's help to behave like a gentleman at his second meeting with Franklin. As a consequence of Jones's good behavior, Franklin agrees to let him refit the Ranger. Thus, by changing his attitude, Jones deals successfully with the problems in his way to glory.
In general, Jones tries to rein in his temper and improve his social skills to the proper gentlemanly level. He can apply this attitude change to his goal of winning Mary's love, if he ever sees her again. First Jones has Roger to deal with. He simply ignores Roger, because of their rivalry, until he needs Roger's help with the Commissioners. Jones must then win Roger's friendship, which proves beneficial to both men, and puts their rivalry in the background. Mary presents Jones with a more difficult challenge than Roger does, though, because she finally confesses to Jones that she loves Roger and can never love the captain. Though Jones cannot win Mary's love, he can change his goal to one of friendship rather than love, and he already has her friendship.
Jones chooses to pursue glory before love because of his character. Once he changes his attitude and realizes that he wants Mary more than he wants glory, it's too late for him to win Mary's love. The glory Jones gains in this book doesn't make him truly happy. But he can have Mary's friendship and Roger's friendship as well, and he must be content with that. He learns to appreciate love and friendship above any personal gain, changing his main life goals. His development through the novel hinges on his realization of the importance of friendship. Parallel to his realization is Jewett's message that friendship in the face of deep differences will contribute to a character's happiness.
Roger's plot is fueled by his desire for Mary's love. Mary is the main hindrance to Roger's desire, because she doesn't realize that she loves him at first, nor will she accept him until he has proven his loyalty to the Patriots. If he wishes to win Mary, Roger has little choice but to sign on with the Ranger, and this sets off an entirely different set of problems for him. First, Captain Jones, is a rival for Mary's affections, and this causes Roger some emotional anguish. Also, sailing on the Ranger means that Roger has to be separated from Mary in order to prove his love for her. A completely unforeseen problem arises in the form of Dickson, the same sailor who has it in for Jones. He also has a grudge against Roger's family, and he makes sure Roger gets left on shore during the Whitehaven raid. The English assume Roger is a Patriot spy, and the Americans back home assume he's a Tory spy. Roger is put into an English prison with no idea of how long he may be left there or how to escape. Through much of the novel, Roger's political principles are also a problem for him, as he is a Neutral and doesn't want to be involved in this war.
Roger accepts and deals with these problems as they come. Since Mary is insistent that he go to war, Roger agrees to ship on the Ranger to prove his love for her, and this simultaneously demonstrates his patriotism to everyone else in the town. Once on the Ranger, Roger carefully avoids Captain Jones until Jones starts up their friendship, which Roger good-naturedly accepts. Being separated from Mary is something Roger just has to deal with until he's done serving his country. He writes to her, but once he sees Mary's ring on Jones's finger, Roger gets upset and throws the letters overboard. Presumably only one letter reaches Mary, and that arrives after he's been put into prison. Being in jail postpones their reunion indefinitely, but Roger stays optimistic and eventually escapes. While hiding from the authorities he works for a farmer and tries to find a way to get back to the Ranger. Now Roger wants to demonstrate his loyalty, not only to clear his name, but because his experiences have made him realize he has become a true Patriot.
In the end, Roger successfully overcomes all of his problems and is reunited with Mary through Mary and Captain Jones's efforts. She has realized that she loves him, and they will be married when they get back home – his one desire has now come to pass. However, Roger wishes his health were good enough to complete his duty to his ship and country. Although love was his sole purpose for going to war, he has also gained true Patriotism through his desire for Mary's love.
Mary's plot is more complicated because she first desires one thing and then adds a related goal. What Mary wants initially is to protect her dear friend and mother figure, Madam Wallingford, from danger. Later, she also wants to rescue Roger from prison in England, for her own sake as well as Madam Wallingford's. Rescuing Roger will not only save his mother's failing life, which is Mary's first goal, but it will also make Mary happy, as she slowly realizes that she loves Roger. The problems involved in protecting Madam Wallingford are many. For one thing, Madam Wallingford and Mary don't agree on politics; Madam Wallingford is a Tory and Mary is a Patriot. Because of Madam Wallingford's politics and her son Roger's possible Tory leanings, the town is suspicious of them, and the mob could harm Madam Wallingford if Roger doesn't declare himself a Patriot. Making Roger sail on the Ranger will protect Madam Wallingford, but it will also make her miserable, because her son will betray her principles and leave her alone and unprotected.
Mary's remedy to the initial problem produces more problems, because Roger is eventually accused of being a Tory anyway, and the mob comes to Madam Wallingford's house. Meanwhile, Roger is in an English prison with no hope of release, and Madam Wallingford is near to dying from the news. To overcome this first grave set of problems Mary must be steadfast in her friendship for Madam Wallingford and diplomatically tolerate her friend's political views. They often disagree about politics, but neither is ever going to be swayed to the other side, so they must put aside these differences in a trying time. Mary substitutes her own company for Roger's presence to try to comfort Madam Wallingford. When they get the bad news about Roger, Mary goes to Madam Wallingford's house to protect her from the mob, and some men from the town get rid of the mob for them. After this fiasco, Madam Wallingford decides to go to England to rescue Roger from prison. Because Mary feels responsible for the situation and wants to remain loyal to her friend, she goes with Madam Wallingford to England.
Now her second desire blooms, because when Mary takes in the seriousness of Roger's danger, she begins to understand that she loves him. She is rescuing him for her own sake as well as his mother's. However, Mary soon learns that a young woman alone in England can do nothing to get Roger out of prison; she cannot behave exactly as she would in America. Mary gets her English relative, Mr. Davis, to introduce her to influential men whom she could not otherwise have addressed. Because she has letters from Master Sullivan, their old friend, these men get a pardon for Roger. However, by this time, Roger has already escaped, and these men can do nothing further to locate him. Mary can do nothing to help him or Madam Wallingford. Roger may be dead or dying, and he does not know she holds his pardon. Mary is in despair when Captain Jones appears in Bristol. She explains the situation to him and asks him to find Roger. Jones locates Roger and then arranges for Mary and Roger to be reunited at the Old Passage Inn. They will be married, and she has also helped save Madam Wallingford's life by rescuing her son.
It's evident that there are three plot lines in the novel that overlap to make a complete picture. Without Madam Wallingford, Mary's actions would seem to have no purpose; without his love for Mary, Roger would never have joined the Patriots. Without their rivalry for Mary's love, Captain Jones and Roger would never have such a complicated relationship; in fact, they would almost certainly never meet at all. These are issues of plot that could not logically happen if all of the characters were not present. The protagonists are all closely linked in a number of intricate relationships.
The narrative of The Tory Lover often leaves one or two characters and focuses on one protagonist for a few chapters. Mary is left behind while Jones and Roger sail on the Ranger, and then the men are out of sight while the book follows Mary back home in Berwick. When Roger gets separated from Jones and put into prison, the two narrative threads turn into three. One chapter shows Roger at the prison, another shows Mary sailing to England, and a few chapters later, Captain Jones returns to tell what he's been doing while offstage. If Jewett had left one of these three out, the plot would become unbalanced or unreasonable.
However, Alison Easton is clear in her judgment of the plot of The Tory Lover: she calls it is an "unconvincing, indeed silly, adventure story" (153). She and Richard Cary are concerned instead with techniques and specific problem areas. Cary, like Henry James, claims Jewett was giving in to popular demands when she wrote The Tory Lover, trying to fill it with "exciting cloak-and-dagger action" but failing, as the story is "seldom anything but polite and pallid" (152). She "overdoes the cliff-hanging and nick-of-time techniques" (152) and captures none of the "pageantry and the intoxication of history in its bright moments" (152-153). If she cannot describe a scene of violence or of love, she doesn't write it, but offers a report of it later (153). These are hefty charges, some partially true; however, I believe I have shown that there is a solid plot foundation that upholds the novel, despite some flaws. To some of these complaints, good replies are possible.
First, there is Easton's comment about The Tory Lover being a silly adventure story. Parts of this book up until the latter chapters, which take place in England, are based in historical fact. Captain Jones did sail on the Ranger, meet with Ben Franklin, and attack at Whitehaven. One of his sailors really was left behind on shore, although it was not Roger Wallingford, and there was no villainous Dickson to make sure he was left there. Roger's being put into prison is completely fictitious, although Jewett bases the prison passages on accounts from actual prisoners at the Mill Prison (see Charles Herbert, A Relic of the Revolution, 1847).Mary's journey to England to rescue Roger is also made up. But is this silly? Jewett knew her hero Lieutenant Wallingford died shortly after the Whitehaven raid in real life, but she wanted to keep him alive, and history lent her a way to do so. If she made Roger into that man who really did stay on shore after Whitehaven, left wounded on enemy shores, it follows that he would be caught and taken to the prison for American soldiers.
This sets off another chain of events. Roger's situation makes life in America no longer an option for Madam Wallingford; the mob is ready to burn her house down. She must flee to England as other Loyalists have already done. It is natural that Mary should want to go with her, as they are best friends, and Mary loves Roger, even though she does not fully understand this yet. If both Roger and his motherare gone, and her brother is away at war, Mary has little to stay in Berwick for. She knows that Madam cannot find Roger by herself and will die from worry or weakness if Mary doesn't help her, and Roger maydie in prison if she doesn't try to help him. Both of the lives of her loved ones rest in her hands. Of course Mary will go to England to do what she can for both of them.
As for the rest – Mary obtaining a pardon because of Master Sullivan's mysterious letters, Roger escaping from prison, and everyone meeting up at the Old Passage Inn – I agree that these things do become farfetched. This is where Cary's criticisms come into play. Jewett is making use of the nick-of-time technique, to the detriment of the credibility of the plot. When Roger escapes from prison the very night before Mary arrives with his pardon, the coincidence seems too great. And it's implausible that Jones manages to gather Dickson, Roger, and Mary all together at the same Inn at the same time. However, Jewett needed to tie up the loose ends, and it seems not unlike something Shakespeare did in nearly all of his plays, gathering the characters together at the end to resolve the plot. If it is not the best way to conclude a novel, Jewett is certainly not the first to have used such a technique.
Besides the previous charges, Cary cites the plot as "polite and pallid." What exactly does he mean by this? It seems that he finds no bright history shining through in The Tory Lover. I can only imagine he is comparing this work to other historical novels I have read, such as Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber (1944) or Alexander Dumas' The Man in the Iron Mask (1846). Novels like that are full of extravagant settings, rich clothing, illicit love affairs and royal and/or larger than life historically famous people. Readers can become intoxicated by novels of such eras. But the American Revolution, which Jewett is writing about, is a far cry from the court of Louis XIV. The country is undeveloped, colonists are living poorly and struggling to be free of English taxation. Most of them do not have fancy clothes or riches, although the Hamiltons do, because they and the Wallingfords are the richest families in town. The Wallingfords are born gentry, while the Hamiltons have worked their way up, yet, in America, these two families have equal status. In England, classes remain distinct, and Jewett emphasizes this. Though readers are introduced to the English Lord Newburgh, his is not a name to instill recognition. There are certainly not many larger than life characters in Jewett's novel. Mary Hamilton and Roger Wallingford are names that hold no meaning except for descendants of their family and town. True, Ben Franklin appears for a few brief moments, and he is well-done; and then there is Captain John Paul Jones, better known in Jewett's day than now. He is not quite famous enough to captivate on the same scale as a king or a president, and Jewett does not glorify and exalt him. Instead she says: here is a little man with a hot temper, who is trying to win fame but often fails. Also, the exploits of the Ranger are certainly not the most well-known of all the actions that took place during the Revolution. Jewett did not present history's most glorifying moment, but a smaller story, and it was apparently not what Cary wanted.
Cary also complains that Jewett avoids writing about violence, and it's true that there is not much in the book. There is a mob scene, in which someone throws a brick and breaks a window, and Mary must shield Madam Wallingford from bruises. The action seems intense and promising, and then Jewett turns the scene into comedy. Tilly Haggens comes bursting in, fighting ten men at once while he yells absurd things, and then he needs some spirits to revive himself afterwards. The suspense and drama are certainly gone. The other most violent scene is the raid at Whitehaven. While Jewett does not describe the sailors actually lighting the ships on fire, she does show Captain Jones running to poor old Nancy's hut for fire, and she shows Dickson and Roger fighting, and Roger being stabbed, although it is quite a brief description. Also, after Roger is left lying there, a few men come to pick his pockets. Jewett does not skip these scenes, she simply offers perhaps a briefer or less intense description than Cary would like.
As for the love scenes, Roger's and Jones's speeches are both passionate and eloquent in the beginning of the novel, but Mary's reception of them gives us no satisfaction. The lovers are then separated until the very end of the book, which makes further love scenes necessarily absent. When Roger and Mary are finally reunited, we are told that they are standing face to face in the room at last, Mary gives a smothered cry, and then – the chapter is ended, and the next thing we know, the book is over. Cary specifically deplores Jewett's failure to portray the "long-awaited clasp of the harried lovers" (153). This omission is a technique that Jane Austen employs in all of her novels. Readers feel like a love scene has occurred, but upon close inspection, the details have really been left up to the reader's imagination – which is perhaps best, because each individual reader's imagination of the scene is exactly satisfactory to that person. Probably if Jewett had tried to describe their embrace, Cary would have had a legitimate complaint, as Jewett thought herself a poor writer where lovers were concerned.
III. The Minor Characters
As M. H. Abrams said, plot and character are inseparable. Thus the discussion (and criticism) of plot segues into characterization. Paula Blanchard, one of Jewett's biographers, and Richard Cary agree that it's difficult to care about the characters in The Tory Lover because they seem unrealistic. E. M. Forster has discussed what makes a character round (and thus more capable of engaging the reader's sympathy) or flat (engaging, but not on the same level). He defines flat characters as being "constructed round a single idea or quality" (225). Only the most minor characters in The Tory Lover can be called absolutely flat. Hammet, Roger's wounded prison mate, is only wounded and helpless, and nothing more about him is said. Many characters have two qualities, which still makes them flat, but they are getting closer to roundness. Jonathan Hamilton is a serious man of business, but he's also a doting, concerned brother. Peggy is a grumbling housekeeper, but she's also Mary's chief support when she's troubled. Flat characters "have not to be watched for development…are easily remembered by the reader afterwards…for the reason that they were not changed by circumstances" (225).
All of the minor characters in The Tory Lover remain the same throughout the book. Cooper, Roger's old friend on the Ranger, has one characteristic: to be kind to everyone, especially to Roger, and to smooth things over. He defends Roger's character to all the other sailors, even when he is the last man on board who believes Roger is not a Tory spy, and he keeps an eye on him whether Roger is upset or happy. While Cooper's one trait is a good one, there is nothing more we know about him except that he's good. He is a sort of foil on the ship to Dickson, the villain, whose every move causes harm to someone else. While flat characters have their place in novels, "it is only round [characters] who are fit to perform tragically for any length of time and can move us to any feelings except humor and appropriateness" (Forster 228). We enjoy flat characters, but it is the round ones we really care about, the only ones capable of changing and engaging readers' emotions.
There is a category of minor characters in this novel whose collective interaction gives the impression of roundness. Cary thinks that only in one scene of The Tory Lover do characters measure up to Jewett's other works. He says, "intent upon magnified and precipitous action, she scants her best talent – the casual creation of character through small and understated domestic activities in a run-of-the-mill day… except in chapter XXVIII where Miss Jewett copes with a familiar feminine circumstance" (153). Easton agrees that chapter XXVIII is the best. Certainly it is one of the chapters most like Jewett's stories, which do focus on everyday life. Chapter XXVIII shows Mary's chief housekeeper, Peggy, and her maids spinning cloth for sheets. The Hamiltons have given many of their best sheets to the war effort for bandages; therefore, this work is important both for the family's comfort and for the war. The young maids gossip and complain about work, while Peggy sternly reprimands them for their laziness. Peggy sings a mournful song as they work, foreshadowing the bad news of Roger's capture that will come at the end of the chapter. Her maids are flat characters, but the group of them interacting together makes the scene complete. Other chapters showing life in Berwick for the minor characters include chapter VIII where Tilly Haggens and his sister argue about who rules the other, and chapter XVI when Mary talks with Master and Mrs. Sullivan and a homeless woman. Each of these shows the simple rural lives of these characters.
Not surprisingly, Cary likes these typical Jewett characters best, especially the Sullivans: although "Master Sullivan has possibilities which are obscured by a too-thick cloud of secrecy. His wife, the most appealing character in the book, is… shrewd, salty, and able" (153). Master Sullivan tells Mary several stories of his young life as a student in France with Voltaire. While his stories are intriguing, he does seem less believable because he knows so many famous people, although some of this is based in historical fact. Sullivan also correctly predicts several events, including the French Revolution and Reign of Terror, Roger's trouble in England, and his label as a Tory spy. His omniscience deepens the mystery of who he really is. When Mary takes Sullivan's letters to Lord Newburgh in England, Newburgh reacts with surprise. He can't believe Sullivan is still alive, but immediately agrees to do whatever he can to repay the debt he owes to the old schoolmaster.
Cary is correct in saying that the mystery of who Sullivan used to be before he came to America is baffling. Jewett gives enough clues to excite the reader's interest, but never tells enough to let us figure out exactly what Sullivan has done for Lord Newburgh. The unsolvable mystery is simply frustrating. Probably Jewett took for granted that her readers would know Sullivan's history, since it is sketched in the biography of his son, James, who became United States Attorney General, Governor of Massachusetts, and a historian of Maine. (See The Life of James Sullivan by Thomas C. Amory). Master Sullivan's connections with Lord Newburgh's family during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, though touched on by Amory, are speculative; but again, Jewett probably assumes readers' knowledge of the outlines of this once familiar episode in English history. Probably she wasn't fully aware of the mystery she left twenty-first-century readers to unravel.
Sullivan's wife is intriguing as well. She does the physical labor on the farm while the Master sits inside and reads, and she listens to his stories at night. But the narrator says that their marriage is unequal in intellect, age, and class, with Mrs. Sullivan at the lesser end of all categories. She is not someone who could hold a story of her own and her history is not explained. The reader never sees enough of her to feel that she is the best character in the novel. The homeless woman whom Mary talks to for a few pages seems more realistic than Mrs. Sullivan, or at least more intelligent, and so the reader feels more for the homeless woman than for Mrs. Sullivan.
Cary feels that "characters are skin-deep and transparent. They meet and talk with awkward formality" (153). True, as Henry James complained, there is a great deal of talking in the book. The opening chapters may show the gentlemen talking with 'awkward formality' but there is a reason for it. The men are divided on the subjects of slavery and politics, which results in tense conversation. Also, they are trying to act gentlemanly. It's a formal situation; they are at a dinner to entertain Captain Jones, and all they have to talk about is business. Conversation also seems awkward and formal when Mary goes to Madam Wallingford to explain her reasons for sending Roger to war. This is because Mary is uncomfortable and uncertain what to say. Madam Wallingford is also torn between chastising Mary and renewing their friendship, so the conversation is accurately stiff.
There are many points in the novel when the conversation is the main action of the scene and effectively illustrates character. When Roger and Jones both confess their love to Mary early in the book, they are eloquent and passionate; it is Mary's cool reception that dims the brightness of their declarations. Another clever conversation is that which takes place between Mary and her brother after the Ranger sails. Though Jonathan expects Mary to be upset about her lover leaving and tries to get her to talk about it, Mary is cheerful and carefully avoids his questions. "I cannot understand you!" her brother says, and Mary's reply is: "You are cold and tired, my poor old man! Come, I shall have no more figuring" (IX, 70). Mary declines to reveal her feelings, leaving both her brother and the reader guessing. Much of the novel is rendered in conversations and descriptions, though Cary feels that characterization is "subordinated to intensity of action, with rather disastrous consequences to both" (153). The scenes of dramatic action, such as the raid on Whitehaven, do much to show characterization of the people involved. At Whitehaven, Roger shows his first heroic instinct of the novel, trying to help Dickson, and a different side of Captain Jones comes out in the heat of the moment, taking tinder from old Nancy to light the boats on fire.
Cary also has criticism for the main characters specifically: "Mary Hamilton and Roger Wallingford are handsome robots moved by causes rather than feelings…Paul Jones is meant to be a man of two natures but in the long run is merely two-dimensional. Dickson is correctly melodramatic as the villain, and Madam Wallingford is correctly formidable as the chief dowager" (153). At least he likes the flatter characters. Dickson is motivated by a sense of insulted pride and revenge, and he also has jealousies and ambitions, which cause him to believe he is justified in stabbing Roger and spying on Captain Jones. While he has this hint of roundness, Dickson is still a flat character, created to fill the role of villain. Madam Wallingford is also flat, her one overarching concern being the safety of her son. However, she shows a surprising backbone when the mob comes to her house, refusing to leave in the face of mortal danger. Except for that glimpse of strength, she is frail and weak for most of the novel.
IV. The Main Characters
For Mary, Roger, and Captain Jones, the issues of patriotism, friendship, heroism and gender roles come into play, showing the roundness of their characters. They operate almost completely on feelings, though their political opinions do play a large role. None of these three protagonists can be summed up by a single trait, so they cannot be flat. Forster says, "the test of a round character is whether it is capable of surprising in a convincing way. If it never surprises, it is flat. If it does not convince, it is a flat pretending to be round" (231). I believe that all three protagonists are capable of surprising and convincing the reader. Some of their actions are expected and others are not, while it's clear that each character is personally developing in the course of the narrative. Effects that follow causes seem natural, because the plot and character development intertwine. Now I will discuss each of the three protagonist's characterization, paying special attention to issues of friendship, patriotism, heroism and gender roles.
John Paul Jones
Captain Jones is a round character because he changes drastically over time, and Jewett successfully interests readers in his development. Over the course of the novel, he completely reverses his priorities from glory to love. The many hindrances he faces in attempting to gain these two desires engage readers' sympathy. I find that his desire for glory garners more sympathy than his desire for Mary's love. Jones never gives up on glory, yet he gets so little recognition in the book. I can't help feeling sorry for Jones in all of his bad luck, from his mutinous, surly crew, to his poor unfit ship, to the Commissioners who don't have time for him. He has such grand ideas, but not the materials or forces to accomplish any of them.
Jones is admirable because he's eager to fight for America's rights, even more willing than most American-born men, though he's of poor Scottish background. He would not be expected to have patriotic feelings toward America, yet he clearly is a Patriot. Jones spent his young life on British ships and eventually became captain of his own vessel, but he found England's class system distasteful. He is drawn to America where all men are equal and have an equal chance to make something of themselves. And Jones wants to make something of himself – he is ambitious for glory above anything. His patriotism, then, is a mix of motivation for himself and for America. Jones envisions himself becoming a great hero in the war, but he also embraces the democratic ideals of his adopted country and fights for this reason. He is idealistic and willing to undergo the dangers of war for America's sake.
But Jones is not such a cut-and-dried Patriot as he thought. When he is given permission to attack the English coast, he chooses the port town of Whitehaven, a town he actually lived in at one time when he was injured and temporarily off the seas. In choosing to attack this particular town, Jones has the wise advantage of knowing the terrain, but also the disadvantage of any nostalgic feelings which might arise unbidden. Captain Jones goes through a brief period of doubt as they are pulling into Whitehaven before the attack on his old country. If he commits this first act there can be no turning back; he must be forever committed to the Patriot cause, and forever against England. He says, "'T is against a man's own heart, but I am bent upon my duty, though it cost me dear" (XXIV, 214). It is a decision that Jones thought he had already made long ago, and a surprising, buried facet of his character. Roger sees in the captain's face "a look hungry for sympathy, -- that pathetic look of simple bewilderment …[of they] who do not know whither they are being led" (XXIV, 214). Fate seems to have Jones by the collar, rather than the other way around, and he only hopes that he'll have his glory when Fate has done what it wants with him. In the moment of attack Jones forsakes Britain for good. That act makes him an American, carrying out a mission for the American Patriots fighting for freedom from England.
Jones's character is often his biggest problem, which makes it easy to have sympathy for him. His temper, which is so detrimental to him in social situations, serves him well as a sea captain. In the matter of politics, which can fire up the most complacent people, Jones gives his quick temper free rein. The dinner conversation at the party in his honor, in the first chapters of the novel, surveys two very touchy subjects: slavery and Tories – politics. Captain Jones strongly expresses his anti-slavery views, and the company of gentlemen silently rebukes him for not behaving according to the rules of polite society. His opinions on slavery are forward compared to the other men. He believes in the American ideal that all men are created equal, and he may well wonder that these American-born gentlemen don't realize their hypocrisy. When the talk turns to Tories and the war draining finances, Jones looks about the elegantly furnished room and complains of the poor state of his ship, the Ranger, and the lack of provisions for the crew. Again, the gentlemen do not appreciate his hints; now the division between them is more apparent. They are gentlemen, and he is a sailor, one who is not yet a great hero, and they wish he would get to his own business and let them be about theirs.
I find Jones's political affiliations and opinions admirable, but politics is only one facet of his character. Jones's romantic side is not so easy for me to sympathize with. In the beginning of the book he tries to woo Mary on the balcony with poetry, and it's pleasantly surprising that the glory-seeking, hot tempered sailor is also romantically inclined and well spoken. Despite his slight build, which leaves him barely as tall as Mary, the guests at the dance admire the way Jones and Mary look as a couple. They would make a fitting match by society's standards. But, when Jones is unsuccessful in his suit with Mary, he becomes pushy and hot-tempered. She turns the conversation away from love, asking him to promise to take Roger on his ship. Jones gets fired up at the thought of Roger, whom he really does suspect of Tory sentiments. Mary's concern for Roger makes Jones realize "that what he lacked was love. He was the captain of the Ranger; it was true that Glory was his mistress. In that moment the heavens had opened, and his own hand had shut the gates" (VI, 46). He understands that she knows glory is his mistress, and he doesn't make room in his life for two mistresses. Yet Jones still thinks that if he wins enough glory first, Mary will be unable to resist giving him her love; he obviously does not understand her heart.
Jones finally promises her he'll take Roger with him, but then he renews his suit. He asks Mary to exchange rings with him, but she will give him her ring only as a token of friendship, "as a child might give away a treasure; not as a woman, who loves" (VI, 47). Even though he realizes this, he says: "you will remember that a wanderer like me must sometimes be cruel to his own heart, and cold to the one woman he truly loves" (VI, 47). His persistence is too much for her; Mary realizes that she could love Jones, but his pushiness makes her want nothing so much as to get away. All he knows is that "there had come into his heart a strange longing to forget ambition" (VI, 47-48). Already there is a glimmer of a change or recognition in Jones's character. He has a slight premonition that perhaps his priorities ought to be reversed. If only he could put aside his strong desire for ambition, he might really win Mary's love. His priority of glory over love is not one many women would tolerate. Mary does not accept it, and nor does Jewett, since she reverses his priorities by the end of the novel.
Jones moves through several convincing changes, especially regarding friendship and relationships, which lead him to realize his priorities are in the wrong order. Indeed, Jones tries to make himself more gentlemanly in general and more friendly to many people. On the Ranger, it's clear that Jones at first sees no need to make friends among his officers and crew. He separates himself from his crew because he does not view them as fit companions, and they are no more pleased with him. Though some of the crew can't help but admire his excellent seamanship, they soon becometired from "constant vigilance and overwork" (XII, 97). But the men need discipline; Jones distrusts Dickson from the start, and the first mate, Simpson, is supposed to take over the Ranger once Jones gets a new ship, so of course he's impatient and open to Dickson's mutinous whispers. Cooper seems to be the only rational sailor on board, though it is not Jones but Roger who acknowledges this. Cooper tries to quiet the crew's complaints: "Shipmasters like him ain't goin' to ask ye every mornin' how seafarin' agrees with ye" (XII, 107). But the underlying problem that will keep resurfacing is spoken by one sailor: "You'll find 't will be all glory for him, an' no prizes for you" (XII, 107). This statement is true, and for the sailors, it's the bottom line.
Jones must tread carefully with his crew because he needs their cooperation to achieve his own goals. He doesn't know how to be friendly to them. At first he cannot stand their behavior, and then he relents, deciding to give the men some grog: "I'll give it them myself; the poor fellows are cold and wet, and they serve me like men" (XII, 100). He counsels himself to have patience with them, though he is by nature an impatient man. At first, Jones's confidence and optimistic view of his future are enough to help him deal with his noisy, warring crew: "the light of heroic endurance came back to his eyes as he saw again the splendid vision that had ever led him on" (XII, 100). But eventually he cannot restrain his temper on men who need discipline. He kicks Dickson down the stairs and punches Starbuck in the face. After punching him, Jones hands Starbuck his linen handkerchief, proving that his outbursts of violence are the result of not restraining his quick temper. Jones does not mean to do any harm; he only resorts to physical violence to try to keep order on a ship full of sailors grumbling about each other and about their captain.I cannot condemn him, because he is the hardest working man on his ship, and the sailors don't engage my sympathy because they're more interested in prize money than the Patriot cause.
On board such a hostile ship, Jonesfinally realizes that he doesn't have a true friend and that he needs one. It is a substantial mark of his changing character that he chooses Roger to be that friend. While Roger is Jones's rival in love, he is a born gentleman and the only officer likely to be truly helpful to Jones on his second trip to see Benjamin Franklin. Jones needs Roger to impress Franklin and to help him control his own behavior during the interview. Jones's fate may rest on the impression he makes in this second meeting; he must wait for Franklin's orders. So the captain must swallow his pride and come to trust the young man he was so suspicious and jealous of earlier. On their first encounter, when Roger arrived late the day they sailed, Jones shouted: "Damn your breakfast, Mr. Wallingford! … Now you have no gray-headed pomposities to wait upon and admire you, you had best begin to learn something of your duties. Get you down and fall to work, sir!" (VII, 57). It's fair to say that Jones would have treated any late-coming sailor in such a manner, but it's also easy to see that he has ulterior motives for singling out Roger as an object of his frustrations. Despite his early treatment of Roger, because of their rivalry for Mary, the captain is confident he can earn Roger's friendship later.
Therefore, Captain Jones decides to invite Roger to dine with him, being friendlier to the younger man than he has ever been before. Kindness is in the captain, especially when it suits his purposes. He wants to find out Roger's opinion about Dickson and is bluntly honest with Roger concerning his own thoughts on the men and his future plans. Roger is not to be easily won over, however. He responds that he "did not need to come to sea to learn [Dickson's] character" (XIV, 120). Jones gives a harangue about the cause they are shipping for, and when Roger can finally get a word in, he tells Jones he could solve his problems if he could gain: "the mastery of his temper" (XIV, 122). Luckily Jones realizes that Roger means his advice in a friendly way, and that it is a good suggestion; it is a real sign of self-improvement that Jones accepts the criticism.
The two are on their way to becoming friends when Roger sees Mary's ring on Jones's finger. It takes Jones weeks to figure this out and understand why Roger is suddenly so upset. To cement the friendship, "at the very height of his own character" (XX, 175) Jones admits to Roger, "my dear lad, [Mary] is not mine" (XX, 175). He recognizes that this is true; however, when Roger leaves, Jones cries to himself, "God help me and I'll win her yet!" (XX, 176). Even though he does not let go of his hope to win Mary's heart, Jones again makes the choice to put his quest for glory first – as he should in this case, because he now has a military duty to carry out. He must have Roger's help, and Roger is now willing to reciprocate Jones's offer of friendship because he has hope that Mary loves him.
Luckily, Jones is able to separate his friendship with Roger from their rivalry for Mary. He cannot help admiring Roger when he sees how upstanding the young man is, and it puts his suspicions of Roger's politics to rest. Paula Blanchard says that one of the themes of The Tory Lover is friendship despite political differences, and that certainly is a major part of the novel (347). Friendship is always an important factor with Jewett's works, and in The Tory Lover the principal characters exhibit incredibly strong ties of friendship despite their conflicting political views. Jones and Roger become friends even though Jones is a staunch Patriot and Roger is at best a Neutral, moving toward hesitant Patriotism, and Mary and Madam Wallingford remain friends despite Madam being a Tory and Mary being a Patriot.
Jones and Roger go to Paris to sort out the problems with Franklin and the other Commissioners. As they leave, Roger thinks: "they might well have worn their every-day clothes upon the journey, but he had not the heart to speak. The captain wore such an innocent look of enjoyment, and of frankly accepting the part of a proven hero and unprotested great man" (XXI, 182). Roger then realizes that his new friend is not perfect – especially when it comes to knowing how to behave in society – nor is he always so temperamental when not in his role as ship captain. However, Jones's firm belief in his future greatness is intact. The two men make small talk on the road as old friends might, and Jones is positively cheerful because he anticipates getting what he wants from Franklin: "Was this the same Paul Jones who so vexed his ship with bawling voice and harsh behavior, this quiet, gay-hearted man of the world" (XXI, 182-183). In the role of friend, as Jones has not yet been seen in the book, his character is greatly improved, and this positive attitude change continues into their meeting with Ben Franklin. Jones is nervous about the meeting, as it will either greatly help or continue to hinder his road to glory, but with Roger's help, his overall conduct is admirable.
Franklin is in charge of the visit, and he seems more at ease with Roger, since he "feared an[other] interview of angry accusation and indignant resentment" with Jones (XXII, 190). From the beginning, Franklin is on his guard, watching Jones for temperamental behavior. At first, Jones's temper and impatience reveal themselves in his movements – he must jump out of his chair and stand agitatedly during the meeting. It shows him to disadvantage next to the gentlemanly Roger; the "little captain" does indeed seem like a wasp in comparison.Jones complains of his problems with a red face and "voice sharpening to undue loudness; but at an anxious gesture from Wallingford he grew quiet again" (XXII, 193).Then Jones is finally able to show some signs of restraining his character. For him to acknowledge his need to reform and to allow Roger, whom he lately distrusted, to supervise his behavior is a big step for Jones in the direction of self-improvement. He and Roger have become equals instead of captain and subordinate officer. Captain Jones "flush[ed] like a boy as he spoke, … but he wore a manly look and kept to his quietest manners" (XXII, 190). Eventually, Jones becomes eloquent in his speech: "Glory is all my dream; there is no holding back in me when I think of it; my poor goods and my poor life are only for it. Help me, sir" (XXII, 195). This speech greatly moves Franklin, although in the end he can advise nothing but patience, as it is out of his power at present to give the captain a new ship. He gives Jones permission to refit the Ranger, so at least the delay to Jones's quest is at an end; he has some action to take, though it is not what he hoped for.
After the interview, Jones is eager to see how Roger thinks he behaved: "I was not so garrulous myself to-day?" (XXII, 201). He very humbly tells Roger that he thinks he didn't do too terribly, though he wishes that Roger had spoken up more: "you have been so vexingly dumb" (XXII, 201). Jones realizes that he talks much more than either Roger or Franklin, and thinks that talking too much must be the mark of the lowborn or socially unskilled man. Roger, the younger man by ten years, must reassure his captain that he was reasonably well-behaved for one not born a gentleman.Seeing Jones depending on a true friend changes my view of him. He is capable of real affection and is flawed – he doesn't know how to behave properly in all types of society, and he wants to learn. There is more to him than raw ambition; Jones has insecurities just like everyone else. This makes it all the more gratifying when Jones does succeed in gaining a little glory soon afterwards when the French fleet salutes the American flag. Even this small victory means something great to him as he proudly looks at the flag (XXIII, 207). I feel gratified that he cares so much about what he's doing, because it's not always evident that Jones is interested in the cause of the war as much as he is interested in gaining glory for himself.
For example, at Whitehaven Jones seems to let glory get in the way of friendship. Most of the ships in harbor are very poor looking, yet Jones orders his crew to set fire to them. When the attack starts to go wrong, Jones runs to a hovel and takes tinder from old Nancy, an elderly woman who took him in when he was young and friendless in Whitehaven. It is pitiful how happy old Nancy is to see her laddie come back again. Though he treats her kindly and throws some money at her, Jones is in a hurry to get back and set fire to the ships in the port of the town she lives in – and he does not so much as warn Nancy that she should get out of Whitehaven. The poor woman is still talking to him long after he's left: "Tak' the best candle, child," she says ironically, "I always said ye'd come!" (XXIV, 218). Jones rushes out the door and doesn't look back or answer. It is Dr. Green who says, "why in God's name did you leave the door open? She'll die of a pleurisy, and your gold will only serve to bury her." (XXIV, 219)! Jones is long past hearing or caring. He eagerly carries the light to set the ships on fire, and then holds off the townspeople while his crew escapes to the Ranger. The crew marvels that "it took a man half devil to do what the captain was doing" (XXIV, 217), and that seems accurate, given that he has a personal connection with the town.
Back on the ship, Dickson comes to report that Roger did not make it back on board – he stayed on shore as a traitor. Dickson says he tried to stop Roger, and Jones explodes wearily: "what's trying? 'T is the excuse of a whiner to say he tried; a man either does the thing he ought, or he does it not" (XXV, 224). Jones is clearly projecting his own anger that he has not done what he set out to do. He is suspicious of Dickson and does not believe that Roger is a traitor, and he is upset that his one friend is not there to discuss this disappointing turn of events. Throughout the scene, Captain Jones acts as never before. He seems rather heartless, and yet, upon examination, his behavior is characteristic of him, because he will let nothing stop him on his way to success. All he can think about at that moment is making a successful raid on Whitehaven, and if he had met old Nancy under any other circumstances, he would have treated her so kindly that it would have probably been the most heartfelt scene in the book. Also, he is too disappointed to give his full attention to worrying about Roger. Jones is being selfish, and with this unfavorable impression of him left in my mind, he disappears for several chapters.
When Captain Jones reappears in the narrative, unexpectedly seeing Mary in Bristol, he has changed; he looks years older and more careworn. He's been reevaluating his role regarding heroism, masculinity, and love. Though the Ranger has been plundering along the coast ever since the attack on Whitehaven, Jones is slowly realizing that military glory and recognition as a hero will not necessarily come to him, although he was perfectly sure of it at the beginning of the novel.He's also realized that his military success hasn't made him happy. Seeing Mary again makes Jones think that having her love would make life more meaningful. He has completely reversed his priorities: now he wants Mary first, glory second. But he's too late; Mary is in love with Roger, and wants Jones's help in finding him. Because of the change in character Jones has undergone to realize what's important in life, he agrees to do this for Mary. Instead of becoming embittered, as might seem characteristic of him, Jones decides to find happiness in being Mary and Roger's friend and in bringing them together.
Jones is surprised to learn that Roger is in an English prison. He had really come to believe that Roger was a Tory spy, and now he sees that he abandoned his friend when he was needed most; he didn't check to make sure that Dickson was telling the truthabout Roger's desertion. Jones is ashamed of his behavior; he wants to help Roger any way he can, even though Mary has told him she can never return his love; he has lost to Roger forever.
Mary is perceptive enough to see that love is missing from the captain's life and that it would make all the difference to him if only he could have it. Jones finally understands what Mary has always known: that he should have put love before glory in the first place. He knows he must give up Mary's love forever: "Alas for my own happiness!" Jones exclaims. "I could throw my hope of glory down at your feet now, if it were any use. I can do nothing without love" (XXXIX, 358). But it's too late; Mary can only answer: "There must be some one to love you as it is in your heart to love" (XXXIX, 359), proving that his ability to love two mistresses has not completely changed in her eyes. She knows that he would still take both love and glory if he could have them both instead of having to choose.
Although learning once and for all that she loves Roger causes Jones great pain, he is permanently changed because of Mary. This is where Jones proves his growth, because he accepts his defeat and decides to help Mary save Roger. He lives up to his traditional machismo hero role, solving Mary's problems because she is, in the end, unable to do so entirely for herself. From that moment, Jones is more selfless than we have ever seen him. He swallows all of his hope and pride, works tirelessly to reunite Mary with Roger, and puts off further military glory until this task is done. Though he's been a wanted man in England since the Whitehaven raid, and it's dangerous to his safety to be in public, Jones gets the necessary information and sets up an elaborate plot. He tells Mary to find news of Roger at the Old Passage Inn, makes sure Roger will be there, and then goes there himself to apologize to Roger for doubting him. Jones also clears Roger's name by capturing Dickson, who is at the Inn conducting underhanded business.
Now that Jones is doing good for others, being selfless instead of selfish, there is nothing in his way. Roger accepts Jones as his good friend again. And, in his greatest act of all, Jones takes Mary to Roger so the two can share a long-awaited reunion. Jones, the one who orchestrated it all, disappears from the inn and from the novel at this point after deciding to bring together two people in love despite the pain it caused him. It is left for Mary to say, in the final chapter, how amazing it is that Jones has behaved like this. The poor captain, who has finally accomplished a wonderful deed, does not stay to be thanked for it, or to have the recognition which he always wanted, and which he has earned in clearing Roger's name and capturing Dickson.Jones has learned that glory is not as important as friendship. His final act redeems him in readers' eyes for whatever shortcomings he's had throughout the novel and makes him truly heroic.
Jewett's conception of John Paul Jones as a hero is a mixture of many conventions. One gentleman declares, "nature has made a hero of him" (II, 22), suggesting that he is destined to become great, to have fame and recognition. He first is a stereotypical hero in the military, going to earn fame and glory and be called a hero for his deeds in the war. But he is not only a war hero; he is also an ordinary person, thwarted in love, slightly unsure of himself in higher society, yet noble and heroic in an unordinary way. Jones changes from a mostly selfish character to a selfless one, sacrificing his chance at love for the sake of friendship. This is heroism to an even greater degree than his stereotypical military heroism. In his military duty, Jones is risking his life for his country, which is selfless – but it's also designed to do him some good – to gain him glory and fame. Uniting Roger and Mary is not going to benefit Jones personally, which brings his selflessness to another level.
Jones has typical masculine heroic traits: action, ambition, pride, a quick-temper and impatience, but he does not match up physically with that stereotypically masculine heroic figure. This is the first impression of the man who is to be a hero both in the novel and in real life: Jones "bore himself with dignity, and made his salutations with much politeness" (I, 4). But Jones is a small man, and "his sword was long for his height and touched the ground as he walked, dragging along a gathered handful of fallen poplar leaves" (I, 5), making the captain slightly undignified. When a man does not physically look like a hero, all the non-physical heroic attributes he possesses are not likely to be taken seriously. Jones's too-fiery temper befits his short frame in a mostly comic way. He does, however, possess both conventional (masculine ambition) and unconventional (selflessness) heroic traits. Although Jones's feelings are not detailed at the end of the novel when he disappears, I assume that he's happier for uniting Mary and Roger than he would be if he had knowingly kept them apart for selfish reasons. Jewett's message seems to be that conventional heroism doesn't guarantee happiness, but an unconventional, selfless kind, does. The way he acknowledges that he has lost the object of his desire, disappearing quietly amid the others' joy, only makes him the more heroic, because it is what a true noble hero would do, but also because it is not typical Jones behavior.
Jones is a round character according to Forster's definition, because his character is surprising and not static. His friendship with Roger and decision to bring Roger and Mary together at the end of the novel are unexpected, and certainly the most surprising act is when he disappears without a word or waiting for thanks. Predictable Jones behavior would be to throw a temper tantrum and leave in a huff when he realizes he's lost Mary, but instead he throws his tantrum, calms down, and agrees to help her. He moves from self-centered to selfless, a complete change, but one that is justified by the change of heart he's had. Jones realizes that love is more important than glory – it's a sentiment I couldn't be sure he would learn. And even when he's proved that he's changed for the better and will help reunite Mary and Roger, I never expected that he would leave without another word or asking for recognition, which doubles my sympathy for him. Jones is a character to watch as he changes and grows in understanding. It is easy to be both frustrated with his temper and ambition and sympathetic to him in his problems, because, in the end, he does what I want him to do. He bows out, realizing that he cannot have Mary's love for himself, but selflessly brings her together with the man she does love instead. Though some of his actions are surprising, they are reasonable, and they satisfy the reader's desires as well.
Roger is also a rounded character. His desire is to obtain Mary's love, and he's willing to go to war against his principles for her. I'm impressed with the depth of his devotion, and Mary's cold reception of his desperate declaration wins Roger my sympathy. I feel that Jewett is trying to make readers sympathetic toward Roger, because all the old men and women watching him embark on the Ranger feel for him and recognize that his is a truly heroic action. As Roger moves along, no matter what problems are thrown at him – and they are hefty ones – he meets them with dignity. Jewett has created him as one of those steady young men who generally make the right move, or, if he does not, he can handle what consequences come his way.
Much of Roger's character centers on his love for Mary. To him, she represents both internal and external perfection; she is kind-hearted, intelligent, and brave. However, from their first encounter, it's clear that she does not want his romantic attentions. Roger is sneaking around in the dark outside Mary's house in a very ungentlemanly manner the night of Jones's farewell dinner. He's come to tell her he's sailing on the Ranger and to beg her to promise to be his when he comes back. Roger is bewildered by her cold behavior: "I do not understand you; but whatever it is, forgive me, so we may be friends again" (V, 36) he pleads, using the term 'friends' which is the only one she will accept. When he realizes that she's angry about his politics again, and will not even let him get out the news he came to tell her, Roger finally loses patience with Mary: "'I am ashamed of nothing,' said Wallingford, and he lifted his handsome head proudly and gazed at her in wonder. 'But tell me my fault, and I shall do my best to mend'" (V, 36). He finishes up lamely, ready to do whatever she demands.
It is amazing the lengths Roger is willing to go to gain Mary's affection. Mary thinks he is acting unmanly by remaining a Neutral and not joining the Patriots; she does not respect his reluctance to fight on either side of the war, and she cannot love him until he's proven himself a man. Although Roger's principles haven't changed when he signs on the Ranger, he is going to defy them to please Mary: "I am here to show you how much I love you, though you think that I have been putting you to shame… my heart and my principles were all against this war, and I would not be driven by any man living; but I have come to see that since there is a war and a division my place is with my countrymen. Listen, dear! I shall take your challenge since you throw it down" (V, 37). To achieve his desire, Roger has agreed to fight, to daily risk his very life for an unknown period of time, in the hope that he'll live to come back and marry the woman he loves. Mary is relieved, for Roger's safety and for his mother's, that he is going to sail on the Ranger, so that the townspeople won't think he's a Tory.
Roger has hope as he leaves Berwick: "Love would now walk ever by his side, though Mary Hamilton herself had gone. She had not even given him her dear hand at parting" (V, 39). He has only the memory of her face that last moment, and it was by no means the most satisfying meeting they had ever shared. Yet, Mary does give Roger hope that, if he serves his country honorably like a man, when his duty is over, he can come back to her. That hope alone will get him through his dangerous tour of duty, as he spends the rest of the book until the last two chapters separated from Mary, from his main goal. Without parting from Mary, Roger could never hope to prove himself manly and courageous in the war. He only has to become a Patriot; she does not require great military feats from him. Roger is no Captain Jones, and Mary doesn't expect him to be. But in order to win her love, he must set out and endure the separation until his tour of duty is completed.
Roger's lowest point in the novel comes from the pain of love. Even when he is thrown into prison Roger can remain hopeful and befriend his fellow inmates. But when he thinks he has lost Mary's love, when he sees Mary's ring on Captain Jones's finger, Roger suffers. The ring seems proof that Mary has given Captain Jones a promise of her love. Roger falls apart emotionally at this, but throws himself into his duties on the ship to have something to preoccupy him. Petulantly, he throws his letters to Mary and his mother overboard. Roger's agony of mind is only increased when Dickson goads him about Jones's and Mary's intimate conversation the night before the Ranger sailed. In a sudden jealous fit, Roger clenches Dickson's shoulder and says he'll kill him if he says another word, then goes to his room and throws his papers onto the floor. He takes this action to release his frustration, but it's quite uncharacteristic of him, and Roger is never again seen losing his temper so badly: "an agony of grief and dismay mastered him. He had never yet been put to such awful misery of mind" (XVIII, 165). It's clear that this is no boyish crush Roger has, no passing infatuation that he will easily get over. He really loves Mary Hamilton, and he feels like he has lost the one thing that matters to him: "'T is my great trial that has come upon me,'" he said humbly. 'I'll stick to my duty, -- 't is all that I can do, -- and Heaven help me to bear the rest. Thank God, I have my duty to the ship!" (XVIII, 165). Perversely, the very duty that he so dreaded has become his only comfort now that love has seemingly forsaken him.
After that crisis, Jones reveals to Roger that Mary has not promised herself to him. As soon as Roger is reassured of this, he becomes himself again. He returns to loving Mary hopefully, and he becomes Jones's friend. For the rest of the novel, Roger patiently and loyally does his duty with the thought of winning Mary's heart always in the back of his mind. He is rewarded for his dedication when Mary comes to England and finally sees him again at the Old Passage Inn in Bristol. She gives him her love then without any further effort on his part, and he finally has his true happiness.
But before this can happen, Roger has to become the man Mary wants him to be. He has to wrestle with his political opinions and convert his Neutrality to Patriotism. Though Roger is American born, his mother, Madam Wallingford, is a staunch Tory, who does not want Roger to fight on either side of the American Revolutionary War. Roger himself has taken a Neutral stance until the time he sails with the Ranger in November of 1777, truly feeling loyalty for both England and America, but, as The Tory Lover opens, the war has come to a point whereevery man must declare his loyalties. However uncertain he may be in this area of his life, Roger is by nature steadfast and dutiful. Mary is a Patriot, and she wants Roger to become one before she will consider his suit. So he will try to become a Patriot on a Patriot ship, even though his principle of Neutrality creates an inner struggle that brings him pain long after he's set sail.
Roger's mother does not make his decision easy. If he is forced to enlist, Madam Wallingford wants him to be fighting for England, and Mary wants him to fight against it. Whichever side he chooses, he will hurt one of the women dearest to his heart. He must also feel the threat from townspeople tired of Neutrals who won't commit; they think that Roger is leaning to the Tory side because of his mother. These restless townspeople present a real danger to the Wallingford's safety if Roger doesn't take the Patriot oath, which is why Mary is even more anxious that he should do so. Roger may seem uncaring in choosing to go to war on the Patriot side against his mother's wishes. She is so afraid that he'll die, and since she has no other children, they both know that if he dies, she will too. His mother also knows that he is going to the Patriot side for Mary, and he is choosing his lady love over her. In reality, Roger's only choices are to take his mother to England to live among the Tories and never see Mary again, or to fight on the Patriot side to win Mary and to protect his mother in their American home. The choice he makes does protect his mother for a while, even though she doesn't see it that way. Though it makes him question his beliefs and hurts his mother, Roger makes the best choice for her as well as for Mary. It's for himself personally that the choice seems wrong at first.
Roger is a Neutral because he considers England to be America's mother country and thinks that this war is simply a quarrel between mother and child, easily mended. Until he sailed, he insisted, 'I am not going to be driven away from my rights. I must stand my own ground" (V, 37). Master Sullivan, the wise old teacher, warns Mary that it may have been wrong to push Roger to sail on the Ranger. He knows Roger's nature, and has talked with him about politics. Roger told Sullivan a short while before signing onto the Ranger that he could not forsake England any more than he could his own mother, yet now in a way he's done both. Master Sullivan said that Roger looked like a man when he was standing up for what he really believed, but now Roger has gone against that for Mary's sake. Sullivan tells Mary: "You'll never make soldier or sailor of him, boy or man; the Lord meant him for a country gentleman" (XVII, 150). Sullivan knows that even though Roger's taken the oath, he does not truly believe in it: "he may be a persuaded Patriot, but a Tory ghost of a conscience plucks him by the sleeve. He does not lack greatness of soul, but I doubt if he does any great things except to stand honestly in his place, a scholar and a gentleman; and that is enough" (XVII, 152).
Master Sullivan correctly predicts that the crew will suspect Roger of still being a Tory, and he thinks it would have been better if Roger and Madam had gone to England as Loyalists – he doubts whether Roger will become a true Patriot. Ben Franklin, who shares Sullivan's wisdom, also questions whether Roger has become a true Patriot, and Captain Jones feels suspicious of Roger on several occasions. One sailor is frankly puzzled as to why Roger is on the ship: "'t ain't in his blood to fight on our side, an' he's too straight-minded to play the sneak… Also, he never come from cowardice… Sometimes folks mistakes their duty, and risks their all" (XII, 101). Even this sailor who barely knows Roger thinks he has made a mistake in signing on with the Ranger and is easily led to believe that Roger is a Tory spy when Dickson says so. Mary seems to be the only one who does not question Roger's loyalties once he has taken the Patriot oath. She knows, rightly, that Roger will stick to the oath he took whether he believes in it or not. However, until Roger does become a Patriot at heart, his conscience weighs on him heavily.
As the ship draws closer to France and then to English shores, Roger can no longer ignore his political ambivalence. Sailing becomes Roger's great adventure and while he grows up in his duty, it also makes him boyishly excited. Once he becomes more of a true Patriot through his service on the Ranger, Roger can enjoy the time for himself and doesn't need to think about Mary every second. He finds "a vigorous sort of refreshment in this life on shipboard" (XIV, 117). However, he is separating sailing from the ship's mission and military action; it takes him a while to get to the point where he can say he is a true Patriot and willing to fight for the cause. He confesses to Captain Jones: "I put myself into your hands…I am at heart among the Neutrals…I cannot explain my immediate reasons, but I have gone against my own principles for the sake of one I love and honor" (XIV, 125). But he tells Jones that his duty on the Ranger has helped him to change his mind: "my heart is with my oath as it was not in the beginning" (XIV, 125).
When Roger and Jones journey to Paris to see Ben Franklin, Franklin directly asks Roger if he is on America's side. Roger gives a mixed answer: "I cannot find it in my heart to think that our friendship with our mother country is forever broken" (XXII, 197), but says that he was taught to be loyal to the oath he took, and he will be loyal to it. Franklinnotices this distinction, and says, "your high principle may never fail you, …but you are putting it to greater strain than if you stood among the Patriots, who can see but one side" (XXII, 199). He does not think Roger is exactly a Patriot; in his eyes, Roger is still a Neutral.
Roger reaches a turning point – a moment of decision – right before the Ranger reaches the shore of Whitehaven. He realizes that this is the moment they are going to attack English soil, and that there will be no turning back. Though the thought of attacking England seems wrong, Roger quickly decides that he must be loyal to his oath and to America: "he had come to fight for the colonies, and would trample down both his fears and his opinions once for all on the Ranger's deck … he had come to love his duty, after all, and even to love his ship" (XXIV, 212). Roger is admitting that fear of the war has been a factor in holding him back, although it now seems that he is not switching to Patriotism, but simply fighting for love of his ship, and still against his suppressed principles.
Roger's final transformation to Patriotism does not come until he is separated from his ship and taken off to the Mill Prison. He had been prey to the Loyalists back home, who flattered him because he was a rich gentleman. They called him Sir Roger, and he became over-confident. But Roger realizes how silly that old behavior was. Now he knows how to work; on the Ranger, he has been just another man, and expected to act as such. Roger fully embraces Patriotism on his way to prison: "There was no such thing as a Neutral, either; a man was one thing or the other" (XXVII, 236). All this time he's been uncomfortable because he was going against his principles. However, everyone thinks more of him as a man for doing so. Once he realizes he's a Patriot, there's nothingto worry Roger anymore. He's made the transformation that Mary asked of him; he no longer has to worry about his beliefs or about his love not being reciprocated. Not even his current dire situation in prison bothers him. Roger finally has peace within himself, so he's able to deal with the situation and act as a grown man, not a boy.
He could possibly have gotten out of his situation by saying that he was indeed the Tory spy everyone thought he was. But Roger does not even attempt such a cover. He has decided that he is an American Patriot officer in England, and his main goal is to get back to his ship to fight England again. Roger is proud to hear the news in prison that the Ranger has been causing more trouble in England, and tells everyone that he belongs on that ship. Once he's on English soil, he no longer considers it the mother country, or home; England put him in prison. He dreams of being home on his ship, and eventually home in America. Roger is one character who really stands in his place, though it takes him a long time to find it. He stands in his place as a Neutral before the novel opens, but once he must choose a side, although choosing either side would be against his principles, he chooses Patriotism and stays in that position through all his troubles.
This journey to Patriotism and manhood has been a short one for Roger. He is very young and unused to work when he joins the Ranger, and he is naturally nervous and boyish at first. Even the suspicious townspeople know that Roger is going to war only for Mary's sake: "Here was a chapter of romance" (VII, 56). So, his first step to growing into manhood is to take the commission on the Ranger. Roger even tries to gain Jones's approval when he first boards the ship: "'it has been a sudden start for me,' said the young man impulsively …with a wistful appeal in the friendliness of his tone" (VII, 56-57). He wants to make the journey as easy as he can, but the captain is not yet ready to put aside their rivalry over Mary. He yells at Roger, whose "face grew crimson, and, saluting the captain stiffly, he went at once below…and sat there in the dim light until right-mindedness prevailed…He may have gone below a boy, but he came on deck a man" (VII, 57). Instead of getting angry or sulky, Roger calms himself and make sure he acts more like a man than a boy; he won't look for special treatment anymore. He handles himself in a surprisingly mature way, so antithetical to the older Jones's hot-tempered manner. He also keeps up a friendship with Cooper, an old sailor, and even though Cooper is of the servant class, Roger doesn't look down on him. This is relieving, as Roger is a born gentleman, but he's been well-bred without being snobbish. Ben Franklin says of Roger, "You should be one of the knights of old come out on his lady's quest" (XXII, 199), and that does much to illustrate Roger's character.
Roger's heroism surfaces during the raid on Whitehaven. He hears Dickson calling for help as they prepare to attack the town, and "the first distant outcry set him running at the top of his speed" (XXVI, 228). He knows Dickson's character is suspect, but Roger's first instinct is to help his comrade. Roger is repaid for his kindness and heroism (none of the other sailors try to help) by being stabbed and left onshore at the mercy of the English. Roger may feel bitter toward Dickson for doing this to him, but he does not feel sorry for himself or blame any other crew members or his captain. His wound is severe, and he could possibly die from the loss of blood: "wretched weakness mastered him; he was afraid to think where he might be going… how ill and helpless he was" (XXVII, 236). He has no way to get news from home or any hope of getting out; the men of the Ranger are considered particularly evil rebels. Nor does he have any way to let anyone who could help him – at home or abroad – know that he is still alive and innocent of treason, but Roger does not despair. He can transcend his immediate situation in the horrible prison, telling news of home to other inmates, making friends, and trying to cheer the men who are worse off than he is. His attitude in itself is heroic, and his gentleman's breeding helps him to bear up under his hardships.
Living in prison and facing the possibility of death from his wound transforms Roger from a boy to an adult. He is now a man who takes action to help himself instead of waiting helplessly for someone else to save him. Roger joins a group of inmates who break out of the Mill Prison, and only he and one other prisoner, Hammet, succeed. His strong sense of duty and memories of the ship and his few good friends give him the courage to break free. He knows that to get back to the Ranger and clear his name is the only way he will ever see Mary, his mother, and America again. But he and Hammet are fugitives, and Hammet is badly wounded. Roger helps him to hide on the moors, assuming the role of a man with a dependent, although he has a better chance of survival if he deserts Hammet and hides alone. The two of them find work on a Bristol farm for food and shelter and lay low until Roger can get secure information about the Ranger. In all of these actions, Roger is more manly and heroic than he has ever been, proving that he can take care of himself – and others – in any situation.
Thanks to Jones's work behind the scenes, Roger is finally able to contact Mary's friend, Mr. Davis, in Bristol, and he arranges to meet Davis at the Old Passage Inn. The landlady at the Inn doesn't want to let Roger and Hammet inside, since they are ragged looking, but then she notices that Roger has a gentleman's bearing, which cannot be disguised. Roger then proves he knows how to use his good looks and gentlemanly charm to his advantage: "'We must need trouble you for supper and a fire…I want some brandy for my comrade, and while you get supper we can take some sleep' …There was a quiet authority in his behavior which could not but be admired" (XLII, 380). This seems uncharacteristic for Roger, as he isn't usually demanding, but he shows leadership more and more. Roger's manliness is attractive, but not pushy, as Jones's is. He is so close to getting help that hecannot let anything stand in his way. Roger cheerfully gives the hostler extra money for taking care of the horses and helps the weak Hammet get inside. He does not act like a wanted man or one lately suffering in prison, but as a man confident of his place and sure of success.
When Roger's service comes to an end, he has regrets about not fulfilling his duty: "I have done nothing that I hoped to do" (XLV, 404). He hoped most to win Mary's love, and he has done that; what he means is that he did not successfully serve his country, which has become his close second goal. Roger can't complete the raid on Whitehaven and then he spends the rest of the book in prison and hiding from the law. Roger is honorably discharged from military service due to his poor health after prison, so his sense of failure in not completing his term on the Ranger comes only from within himself. He feels he has not been heroic, but Roger is a kind of hero, if not the same sort as Captain Jones. Roger is a hero simply because he never was heroic material, and yethe's survived his trials. Also, he has conquered his indecisiveness about politics and come to feel that Patriotism is right. Mary, at least, is satisfied with what he has done for her. And Roger has it right when he says, "thank God, I am alive to love you, and to serve my country to my life's end" (XLV, 404). With his new-found political ideals and hard-won love, Roger will have everything he wants by the end of the novel.
Roger is often selfless; though he sails on the Ranger to get Mary's love for himself, which is a selfish motive, he has to sacrifice his political ideals and risk his own life for her. He sticks to his duty through all his doubts, and is always helping others. Despite his knowledge of Dickson's character, Roger risks his life for Dickson and also for Hammet, his wounded prison mate. Being so selfless is a kind of heroism, although everyone has said that Roger is not the heroic type: "there were reasons enough to keep any hero back upon the narrow Neutral ground that still remained. And Roger Wallingford was not a hero, only a plain gentleman, with a good heart and steady sense of honor" (VII, 55). However, Roger physically looks like a hero, with his tall stature and broad shoulders, in comparison to the other male lead, Captain Jones. Roger is also a natural leader, which develops from his background. He is a gentlemanly sort of hero, compared to the more traditional action hero of Jones.
What is most surprising about Roger is his consistent gentlemanly nature and cheerfulness throughout the novel, despite his misfortunes. He cheerfully gives what he can, as Roger always does – love to Mary, duty to his ship, friendship across social classes. That he will stick to his duty no matter what is evident, but when Roger emerges as a leader, taking the action to break out of prison and care for his friend, it is a pleasant surprise. This is not unbelievable, as he was raised to be honorable and is a true gentleman; nor is it entirely predictable, as grave misfortunes such as Roger suffers could change any man for the worse. Roger's change throughout the novel is a growing in manliness and learning his true feelings about the Patriot cause. His love for Mary remains constant, as does his sense of duty. His ability to adapt to any situation he is thrown into and make the best of it is an honorable characteristic to possess.
Mary is also a round character, though she seems to change the least of the three protagonists. Her main change regards the discovery of love, which comes fairly late in the novel. Mary's desire first is to protect her fragile friend, Madam Wallingford, and later she also desires to save Roger, for his mother's sake as well as her own. Jewett gains my sympathy for Mary because Mary's desires are mainly for others, and only secondarily for herself. I am also more engaged than I might otherwise be because Mary is a strong heroine. Instead of being primarily concerned with love and marriage, as a typical female in an historical romance, Mary at first pushes aside these concerns in order to deal with other problems. She exposes herself to physical danger, and she also takes on great mental fatigue as she shoulders her friends' burdens. Yet, while Mary occasionally vents her worries, she never complains about the responsibilities she's taken on, and this earns her my respect.
Mary struggles with romance because she's not ready for love and does not think she is in love, although she recognizes that both Roger and the captain have affection for her. All of her acquaintances can see that Mary loves Roger from the beginning of the novel, but she herself does not understand this until much later. When we first see her, her feelings for Roger are mainly anger and impatience because he won't go to war. She "held herself remote in dignity from their every-day ease and life long habit of companionship" (V, 36). They have a long history of friendship, and Roger has obviously fallen in love with her over the years. He doesn't know that his house and his mother's life are in such danger from the neighborhood mob, but Mary knows, and she is desperate to get him to declare himself a Patriot. Maryhas no time or desire for Roger's affection: "'You shall not speak to me of love,' said Mary Hamilton, drawing back; then she came nearer with a reckless step, as if to show him how little she thought of his presence. 'You are bringing danger and sorrow to those who should count upon your manliness'" (V, 37).
Then Mary finally explains to Roger that he must take up Patriotism right now, because the mob will burn down the house and hurt his mother if he doesn't: "Give me some proof that you are your country's friend and not her foe. I am tired of the old arguments" (V, 37)! If this doesn't convince him to declare his principles, nothing will. Roger explains that he's been away securing a place on board the Ranger to sail with the Patriots; he is going to risk his life for her sake. He is doing what she asked him to do, for love of her. But Mary doesn't comprehend this sacrifice; she is simply relieved that the imminent danger to Madam Wallingford is removed. Roger begs her to give him some hope of their future together when he comes back from duty. His pleas touch her heart, and she says: "If you can bear you like a man, if you can take a man's brave part…Then you may come, Mr. Wallingford" (V, 39). At this tense moment, she is formal with him, using his last name, and floundering for words, and then she quickly disappears back into the house. The night has been so full of agitation and fear that she can hardly bear this interview. Her heart is not open to being wooed; she can only think of the imminent physical danger to Madam Wallingford.
On the same night that Mary learns of Madam Wallingford's danger, acts as hostess for her brother's party, and deals with Roger's seemingly ill-timed proposal, Captain Jones declares his love for her. Mary is naturally confused at receiving two suits in one night. She needs the captain to take Roger on his ship to secure Madam Wallingford's safety, so she must not offend him. Also, Jones has his attractions; he is a hero, while Roger is not. His confession of love is well spoken and gallant, whereas Roger's is earnest and desperate. Jones awakens Mary's heart to the possibility of love as Roger's did not. But Mary never forgets her main purpose. She avoids answering his questions about her ability to love him, and, instead, directly asks him to take Roger on his ship and be kind to him. She defends Roger when Jones calls him a Tory. This infuriates the jealous captain. He treats her like a child, and Mary steps backwards, shrinks from his touch, but manages to convince him that Roger will not prove a spy. Jones promises to do as she asks, partly for love of her and partly to keep Roger, his rival, away from Mary. He asks Mary to exchange rings with him, but she gives him hers as a token of friendship only, and this makes him realize that she does not love him. Mary does not have to compromise herself to secure Roger's place on the ship.
Mary is heroic and strong, because she makes wise decisions on behalf of others. This is her main priority, and unlike conventional heroines, she is not concerned with matters of love and marriage. Roger and Captain Jones sail for France, and Mary tries to force thoughts of them to the background while she deals with the consequences of her actions. Though eventually her decisions work to everyone's advantage, success is not immediate. Sending Roger to war for Madam Wallingford's safety is the very last thing that Madam Wallingford wants Mary to do. She could have borne exile in England with Roger to prevent him from going to war.
Mary avoids seeing Madam Wallingford when Roger goes away, because she knows that Madam Wallingford will be upset with her. Everyone in the town is talking about how lonely she will be now that her son is gone, and how Mary must try to replace him. Mary wonders: "what had she dared to do, what responsibility had she not taken upon her now? She was but an ignorant girl, and driven by the whip of Fate. A strange enthusiasm, for which she could not in this dark moment defend herself, had led her on" (X, 82). She had let her instincts lead her to action and been caught up in the moment without taking time to consider the consequences. She has sent Roger possibly to death fighting for his country and deprived Madam Wallingford of her only son indefinitely. Mary feels that her friendship with Madam has truly become a responsibility – one she does not grudge, but a responsibility nonetheless.
Mary's action of persuading Roger to join the Patriots forces her into more of an adult role than she has ever had. She is now responsible for his life, in essence, and for the well-being of his mother, Madam Wallingford, who is aged and broken by grief over Roger's departure. Mary must eventually face Madam Wallingford, and it makes her feel timid and helpless, "this young creature of high spirit, who had so lately thrown down her bold challenge of a man's loyalty" (XI, 86). Mary kneels at Madam Wallingford's feet, crying: "it will break my heart if you love me no more!" (XI, 87). She is like a child repenting to her mother. Yet, her motherly friend has become weak, and Mary realizes, now more than ever before, that her purpose is to take care of this woman, because she has helped to bring all of Madam Wallingford's sorrow upon her. Mary begs to be forgiven. She says she sent Roger away "because I loved you…God forgive me, I had no other reason" (XI, 90-91). Mary could not have acted any differently, and they should be proud of Roger for taking a man's part. But Madam Wallingford would have him fight only for the king; they will never agree on this point, although they forgive each other and are friends again. Mary promises to stay by her friend's side to protect and comfort her until Roger comes home, and this will prove draining to Mary's spirits.
Mary decides to visit to her other old friend, Master Sullivan, for comfort and a larger view of the world to strengthen her. Sullivan's character is set up with all thestories he tells Mary about the old days, and it brightens her spirits to hear his tales. Sullivan alludes to the French Revolution, which can be paralleled with the American Revolution; this shows that his predictions are reliable. He speaks of himself as someone who is too old to change with the new times – like Madam Wallingford. But Sullivan knows the real reason Mary has come to see him: she wants him to say she's done the right thing for Roger and Madam Wallingford. Instead he shows her she must face the consequences of her actions. Sullivan says it would have been better if the Madam and Roger had gone to England, and "all Mary's hopes of reassurance fell to the ground" (XVII, 150). She tells him, "I could not bear that [Roger] should be disloyal to the country that gave him birth…And the mob was ready to burn his mother's house; the terror and danger would have been her death" (XVII, 157). She still hopes he may change his mind and tell her that she did right. Instead Sullivan predicts that Roger will face trials on his tour of duty which will put Madam Wallingford in more danger. Therefore, he tells Mary that she must have patience and courage, and keep even closer to Roger's poor mother. Mary feels comforted by this interview, although she does not gain any certain solution, because Sullivan tells her the truth as he sees it, and Mary wants to know the truth. She is not the sort of person who would find comfort in an illusion. Also, she is comforted by the knowledge that if Roger does run into any trouble, Master Sullivan can help him through his contacts in England.
Over the next few months while Roger is away at sea, Mary has plenty of time to contemplate her actions. Her feeling of responsibility only grows instead of diminishing, because Madam Wallingford remains sorrowful and despairing in Roger's indefinite absence. Mary is busy enough helping the victims of war and poverty in and aroundBerwick, but she also continues visiting poor Madam Wallingford. It begins to drain Mary's spirits; she "looked graver and older. All the bright elation of her heart had gone" (XVI, 134-135) from all the worrying and waiting. The war has become more real to her, and Mary has nobody to talk to about her feelings. She lets out a little burst of emotion when talking to her housekeeper, Peggy: "kiss me just as you did when I was a little girl; things do worry me so. Oh, Peggy dear, you don't know; I can't tell anybody!" (XVI, 135). Peggy comforts her as if she were a child. What Mary can't tell anyone is that she's had no letter from Roger; it's because he's upset about seeing her ring on Captain Jones's finger. Mary doesn't know that, of course. She only knows that he could be in trouble, which could mean that she had cost Madam Wallingford her son's life. Things were so much easier for her before the war; she feels all the weight of responsibility on a mistress of a great household and the duties she has taken upon herself.
Master Sullivan's prediction comes to pass, and when Roger is accused of being a Tory spy, the mob of townspeople comes after Madam Wallingford. Mary orders everyone not to repeat the rumor about Roger; she will not believe he has betrayed his oath. Then, "with drooping head and a white face …[she] passed alone into the great house" (XXVIII, 246). Her worst fears have come about, but Mary is too shocked to take action. She is instead thinking of where to lay the blame for the situation: "Mary felt like a creature caged against its will; she was full of fears for others and reproaches for herself…There was no doubt that a great crisis had come" (XXIX, 248) … "what shall we do now?" (XXIX, 249) she asks Peggy. Mary must take some action now to ensure Madam's safety from the mob. Peggy tells Mary to row over to Madam Wallingford's house and bring her back to Hamilton house. Once she is told what to do, Mary can act. Her courage comes back to her, and she's eager to go on her dangerous mission. Her desire to protect Madam Wallingford has not waned, and again it seems that she's the only one who can save her friend.
As she approaches Madam Wallingford's house, "Mary felt weak at heart, but there was that within her which could drive out all fear or sense of danger" (XXIX, 252-253). This is a test of Mary's courage, but she is determined to save her friend. Everyone in the house knows that the mob is coming, but while the servants are in a panic, Madam Wallingford is strangely calm. She says that she cannot leave her house, because it is the only chance of saving the place from being burnt down by the mob – she thinks to reason with them! Since Mary cannot get Madam Wallingford out of the house, and her duty is to protect her friend, Mary will not abandon her even in this life-threatening situation. Madam Wallingford goes out to try to reason with the mob, Mary right behind her, but of course they will not listen to her; they do not even go away when Mary pleads in the name of her brother that they let the women leave. The mob forces its way into the house, and Mary and Madam Wallingford are forced back against the wall, Mary "crouching with her arms close about her old friend, to shield her from bruises" (XXIX, 258). It seems that there is nothing more Mary can do to save her friend. The danger is more than she anticipated, and she has lost control of the situation. Fortunately at that moment old Tilly Haggens, Judge Chadbourne, and other elderly Berwick men show up to fight the mob and drive them out of the Wallingford house. Although Mary has stuck by her duty, she does not succeed in protecting Madam Wallingford by herself. However, Mary was the first to come to her Tory friend's aid, and will stand by her after the mob leaves.
After that violent demonstration, Madam Wallingford decides she must leave immediately. She is no longer safe in her home in America, and all she wants to do is to try to find and help Roger in England. It is the only goal left in her life, and if she doesn't find him, she will die from not knowing what's happened to him. Mary has to make a decision, to go to England with Madam Wallingford, or to renounce her duty to her friend and stay in Berwick. Mary's instinct is to go with her: "God gives nothing better than the power to serve those whom we love" (XXIX, 263). But Madam Wallingford refuses to let Mary go to England with her, saying that it's too great a sacrifice, and Mary must take care of her household and Berwick with her brother gone: "You must stand in your own place" (XXIX, 265). However, Mary is determined that she must go with Madam Wallingford, that it is a more important duty for her than any she could have at home, and that it's what her brother would want her to do if he were here. He told her that she must always look after Madam Wallingford.
Before departure she goes to see Master Sullivan for the letters he promised would help Roger if he got in trouble in England. Although Mary is in a flurry of action, going to England without consulting anyone is a huge step for a young woman: "she was on the brink of a great change. She could not but shrink from such a change and loss" (XXIX, 267). However, she steps onto the boat in the morning with a smile on her face, continuing to serve her dear friend. Madam Wallingford is grateful that Mary decides to go with her, but gives herself up to worry and despair because Mary assumes the responsibility of comforting her. Madam Wallingford feels guilty if she's not constantly worrying about Roger – if she laughs, she feels horrible because she should not laugh when her son might be dead. This makes Mary's job of comforting her friend nearly impossible, because her friend doesn't want to be comforted. Mary has a lot of time on the ship to think about the duties she'sundertaken: "she knew many difficult hours of regret and uncertainty now that, having once taken this great step, Madam Wallingford appeared to look to her entirely for support and counsel" (XXXII, 288-289). She also worries about what her brother will think of her action, and calls herself "a deserter" of her duties at home (XXXII, 289). Despite these problems, Mary reminds herself that she's going to England for love of Madam Wallingford and Roger, and that therefore she is doing the right thing.
Mary has had time since the Ranger sailed to search her heart and decide that she loves Roger. Sullivan's explanation for Mary's reticence on the subject is that "love frights at first more than it can delight" (XVII, 160), but he knows she will eventually love Roger. Mary is mature in other aspects of her life, but she doesn't want to think about love. When Sullivan teases her about Captain Jones, Mary is embarrassed and doesn't want to talk about it. Other people thinking her capable of that kind of love makes Mary uncomfortable. Her brother is surprised to find her seemingly unaffected by Roger's leaving: "his young sister had never worn a more spirited or cheerful look. She was no lovelorn maiden" (IX, 69). Mary is putting up a front to her brother because she has not had to think about love before. Confronted with two simultaneous possibilities of love, Mary is not prepared and needs time to examine her heart. So she pushes aside her confusion, focusing on the war effort: "They go to serve our country; it should be a day for high hopes, and not for mourning" (IX, 70). Mary is a true Patriot who has listened to political discussions at her brother's table: "The girl had a clear mind, and had listened much to the talk of men. The womanish arguments of Madam Wallingford always strangely confused her" (XXXII, 296).Though she believes Patriotism is right, she accepts that old Madam Wallingford can't stop being a Tory. But though Mary can accept a Tory as her friend, she cannot accept Roger as a lover and possible husband if he is a Tory and not a Patriot.
Mary's realization that she loves Roger is gradual. She tells Madam Wallingford she sent Roger away because, "I was angry with him at first; I thought only of you. I see now that I was cruel" (XI, 88). As she talks with Madam, Mary picks up a twig of witch-hazel that Roger had used as a bookmark and twirls it in her fingers, subconsciously treasuring an object that Roger once touched. Similarly, when she sees Roger's hunting equipment hanging up in the Wallingford house, "oh, what a sharp longing for the old lively companionship was in her heart! It was like knowing that poor Roger was dead instead of gone away to sea" (X, 83). At first,Mary thinks she misses Roger as an old friend, not a lover. She impatiently tells herself that she can't be weak thinking about Roger when she must comfort Madam Wallingford.
The news that Roger is in prison forces Mary to admit to herself that she loves him. Her momentary shock and hesitation about the mob coming to Madam Wallingford's house shows that Mary is overpowered by what has happened. Peggy has to snap her out of her stupor and remind Mary that it is her duty to go protect Madam Wallingford. She has also just received a letter from Roger. Mary knows the letter is probably a month old and he's been in prison for nearly that long, but it tells her that she still has his affection. The anxiety of not hearing from him awakened Mary to the fact that she loves Roger, and the news of his imprisonment forces her to act on it. She does not verbally declare that love until much later, when she meets Captain Jones in England, and he unwittingly forces the confession from Mary. This surprises them both. Mary hints at her love for Roger to Madam Wallingford, who seems to understand. It is love for both the mother and the son that allows Mary to leave Berwick behind and go to England. Her desire to get Roger out of prison is fueled by her desire to restore Madam Wallingford's happiness and also by her desire to have Roger back in her life.
Once the ship arrives in England, Mary's burden of dealing with Madam Wallingford eases somewhat. They stay with relatives, the Davises, and Mrs. Davis and her maids can help Mary care for her friend. Madam Wallingford falls into the background as Mary realizes more and more that she loves Roger and her goal is to get him out of prison. But Mary always stays patient with Madam Wallingford; she spends her nights staying up with her if she can't sleep, and she comforts Madam Wallingford as best she can, while the elderly woman grows ever weaker. Mary feels at home in England. She understands now why Roger loves the beautiful mother country: "she was half afraid that she had misunderstood everything in blaming old England so much" (XXXV, 320), but she quickly shakes off that thought. Instead, she becomes homesick for Berwick as the opportunity to return seems to become further away.Madam Wallingford cannot go back there until Roger is safe and pardoned, and Mary cannot go home either until she fulfills both of her duties to bring Madam Wallingford and Roger home from England.
Mary is eager to get Roger pardoned from the Mill Prison as quickly as possible. She relies on Mr. Davis to help her do this, as she realizes that in England gender roles are more fixed than in America; a young woman like herself can't free a man from prison without help from the right people. Mary's physical beauty is made much of by the Englishmen, much more so than in America. They treat her as if she is only something to look at and has no brain at all, which is both a hindrance and an asset; the men don't take her seriously, but they help her anyway because of her beauty. Mr. Davis is appreciative of Mary's beauty and has old-fashioned ideas about women not being as intelligent as men. They argue about politics, but Davis will never see America's side, or listen to a female: "Well, well, my dear, you seem very clear for a woman; but I am an old man, and hard to convince" (XXXIV, 312). Mr. Davis feels uncomfortable talking to her about what he considers to be manly subjects. However, Mary patiently convinces him that the only way to help Roger is to find Lord Newburgh, to whom Master Sullivan addressed his letter. As an unknown woman of no rank Mary cannot meet these men without Mr. Davis to introduce them. Though his skepticism and chauvinist opinions are disheartening, Mr. Davis is willing to take her to see Madam Wallingford's friend, Mr. Fairfax, to see if he can introduce them to Lord Newburgh. Mr. Davis's character does not change over the course of the novel, and hehinders Mary's progress several times.
Mr. Fairfax always has a twinkle in his eye when he talks to Mary. He is one of the Englishmen who greatly appreciates her beauty. Though he does not take her seriously, he regrets the situation Roger is in, a situation that he sees as hopeless. Mr. Davis has one possible suggestion to get him out of prison, and that is that they telleveryone Roger really is a Tory spy. But, though this would be the easiest way to accomplish her goal, Mary will not choose this route, instead opting to face what lies ahead in her alternative path. Mary knows that Roger is not a Tory spy, and therefore "it is not a proper plea to make, if he should never be set free" (XXXV, 324). Mary earnestly tells the men that she is a Patriot, and blushes often in confusion at their strange behavior. She tells Mr. Fairfax about the letter she has for Lord Newburgh, but Fairfax pretends he can't introduce her to him. Mary loses hope quickly, despairing of getting the pardon, "quite at the end of her courage" (XXXV, 326). Mary's courage is not as great in England as it is in America. She hesitates more, finding herself onunfamiliar ground, and not treated as an equal by men, when she is used to dealing with them at home. However, her situation is tricky. If Fairfax can't help her, then she doesn't see how she will ever get Roger the pardon when she doesn't know the right people. She doesn't have any other way to find Lord Newburgh and give him Sullivan's letter. Her success hinges on whether or not this letter is going to be enough to get a pardon for Roger, and she hasn't thought of a secondary plan if the first doesn't work. While Mary despairs, Mr. Fairfax brings Lord Newburgh into the room – he knew that he could help Mary all along. This teasing behavior typifies the English gentlemen's attitude that pretty women are pets to be toyed with, but ultimately indulged. This behavior repeatedlycauses Mary unnecessary stress, and the implicit message that she is comparatively trivial tends to sap her self-confidence and energy.Luckily, Lord Newburgh is affected by Sullivan's letter (and Mary's attractions) enough to secure Roger's pardon. After Mary has placed the letter in Newburgh's hands, he contacts the proper people and gets the pardon. Her work is finished as far as the pardon is concerned, but now she must travel to the Mill Prison to set Roger free, and Mr. Davis must continue his role of escort.
Mr. Davis decides to stop at an Inn to rest overnight before setting out for the prison in the morning. They're quite close to the prison, and Mary does not want to leave Roger there for one more second than she has to. A strange voice inside of her tells her that she must not wait any longer to freeRoger. But, Mr. Davis figures another night inprison won't make any difference to Roger; there are no fresh horses, and he's too tired to make the journey. The selfless Mary always defers to Mr. Davis's wishes, so they wait till morning. Mary writes a letter to Roger in the meantime, for a boy to deliver to the prison. She begins: "'Dearest Roger' and the written words made her blush crimson and hold her face closer to the paper" (XXXVII, 337). This is more evidence that she loves Roger, and she can't wait to finally see him again to straighten out their relationship. When they get to the prison in the morning, Mary is also eager to give out presents of food and wine to the other prisoners: "they are my own countrymen! I cannot wait!" (XXXVII, 339). She gets quite upset about the state of the men in the prison. Then she is further upset by the news that Roger and another man escaped from the prison just the previousnight. One of the men is wounded, but the authorities have no other information to go on. If Mary had insisted on coming to the prison last night, maybe they would have prevented Roger from escaping and could have set him free instead. Now he's a wanted man for breaking out of jail, he has no idea that Mary's gotten a pardon for him, or even that she's here in England. The news will crush Madam Wallingford, who thought she would finally see her son through this endeavor of Mary's. And Mary must bear her own and her friend's disappointment, and face the fact that she is not sure how to proceed.For weeks after Roger's prison break, Mary can get no news of him, and she doesn't know what to do. Madam Wallingford's health is getting much worse, and she has no hope to give her. Roger is a fugitive in the moors if he's still alive at all, and Mary's new allies, Mr. Fairfax or Lord Newburgh, can't find him.
Mary's final and full realization of her love for Roger comes weeks later. Mary goes to the church in Bristol one day to try to revive her failing spirits: "The responsibility and hopelessness of her errand were too heavy on her young heart. She covered her face and bent still lower, but she could not stop her tears" (XXXVIII, 348). She's had no word from anyone at home and knows that she can't go home yet, and with Roger missing, her time in England has stretched indefinitely. Then suddenly Captain Jones is there in the church with her. He's been spyingin the port of Bristol and saw her, though he did not know she was in England. Unfortunately, the captain has his own problems, and he sees this as the perfect opportunity to tell Mary about them. At this stressful, lowest point of her emotions, Mary does not need this kind of behavior from him, but of course she puts on her patient look and listens to his troubles with genuine concern. She hopes that Captain Jones might be the way to help her find Roger, because she has no one else to turn to now. But as soon as Marymentions Roger to Jones, he gets typically angry: "I loved him once, and now I could stand at the gallows and see him hanged!" (XXXIX, 354). Mary is shocked at this violent declaration. She did not expect Captain Jones to be another problem. Mary responds to his allegations: "If Roger Wallingford has broken his oath of allegiance, my faith in character is done" (XXXIX, 355). As always, she believes in Roger. This convinces the captain that he's been wrong about Roger, because he knows Mary only speaks the truth. Jones feels ashamed of how he has given up on Roger so easily, and Mary knows that she has gained Jones's help.
This is the point at which Mary verbally declares her love for Roger for the first time. Jones simultaneously asks her how he can help Roger and if there's any hope she could love him instead. But Mary tells Jones she is in love with Roger: "I know now that we have always belonged to each other" (XXXIX, 358). It's the first time that Mary's declared her love, and it makes it more real, both for herself and for Jones to hear it. The captain is moved by Mary's strength of character to help find Roger: "I shall now do my best to aid you and to search the matter out…Your happiness will always be very dear to me" (XXXIX, 360). All his hope of Mary's love is finally gone, but because "she had been the first to show him some higher things" (XXXIX, 360) he's been changed by her good example. Mary has convinced Jones to do what she, as a woman in England, cannot do. He interacts with spies in his disguise and is able to garner information about Roger.
Finally knowing that she loves Roger leads Mary to consider her progress toward this realization. The night after her meeting with Jones, she is sitting up late, thinking about Madam Wallingford's worsening health and the many burdens on her mind. She feels guilty for resting her hope on Roger and not giving him love in reward. She's also thinking about how that day for the first time she confessed her love for Roger out loud to another person. Mary regrets how she treated Roger the last time they saw each other, now that she despairs of ever seeing him again: "How little she had known then! How little she had loved then!…now she loved Roger Wallingford, and her whole heart was forever his, whether he was somewhere in the world alive, or whether he lay starved and dead" (XL, 364). She reminisces about their past years growing up together, and realizes how her feelings toward him have been changing. He has become more important to her than she ever imagined.
Miraculously, Jones shows up under her window with news already, and from that point on, Mary's troubles are cleared away. Jones has learned that Roger will be at the Old Passage Inn, but he only tells her that there will be news of Roger, not Roger himself. Later that day, another messenger delivers a letter to Mr. Davis from Roger himself, but Mr. Davis keeps this crucial piece of information from Mary. Again, Mr. Davis amuses himself by treating Mary as a child. He has the power to put her out of suspense, but chooses not to. Luckily, news of Roger is enough to rekindle Mary's hopes, and it's enough to improve Madam Wallingford's health as well.
Mary and Mr. Davis journey to the Old Passage Inn, parallel to their journey to the Mill Prison, but with much different results. They wait in the Inn for a few hours, not knowing that Roger is asleep upstairs. It's as if fate has conspired to keep him and Mary apart for as long as possible, but neither of them knows just how cruel it is, since they aren't aware of each other's presence. Although, as Mary paces and tries to summon the last of her patience, she feels "a sense of some great happiness that was very near to her" (XLIII, 391). When Roger wakes and comes downstairs to find Dickson there, Mary is in the other room and has no idea what is going on. The two are just about to fight when Captain Jones steps forward and explains everything, and has Dickson taken away. Jones and Roger reunite as friends, and then Jones disappears to secretly bring Mary, who is still oblivious in the other room, to see Roger. Jones slips away after he's done his duty in reuniting the pair. Roger expects he'll have to finish his service on the Ranger before he can ever see Mary again, but then "there was a cry that made his heart stand still, that made him catch his breath as he sprang to his feet…some one [was] looking at him in tenderness and pity, with the light of heaven on her lovely face" (XLIV, 401). Roger has been cleared of all blame, and the woman he loves has come to tell him that she finally reciprocates his affection – their searches for each other terminate simultaneously. Mary completes her duty to protect Madam Wallingford and give her son back, and Madam's health is no longer in danger when she knows her son is alive.
Roger and Mary will be married a month after they arrive back home. His wound and the time in prison have somewhat weakened him; Roger will never again serve his country in the military. But this doesn't matter to Mary anymore. He has proven his manhood and his love for her, and they will take care of each other for the rest of their days. After his dangerous adventure, Mary realizes how lucky she is to have Roger home and alive at all: "Mary could not speak; she was too happy and too thankful. All her own great love and perfect happiness were shining in her face" (XLV, 404-405).
Through the course of the novel, Mary becomes more mature as a woman and accepts the fact that she can be in love. While she started out the novel as an atypical heroine, with no time for matters of love, she has realized, like more conventional heroines, that love does have a place in her life. Mary remains an admirable character. Her selflessness is consistent throughout the novel, and she has a genuine concern for everyone else. Mary is heroic because she willingly takes on responsibilities that prove burdensome and even dangerous. She bravely tries to rescue Madam Wallingford from the mob, heedless of her own safety, and similarly, she makes a huge and irreversible change in her life when she decides to go to England. Mary challenges Roger to go on the Ranger, but she assumes responsibility for the outcome of the situation. Even though she often loses hope and flounders, Mary never goes back on her word or fails to complete a task. Mary takes on two related duties and finds them hard to fulfill without help, but because of her goodness, others are willing to help her.
Mary shares similarities with one of Jewett's other heroines. Nan Prince in A Country Doctor is much like Mary, except she has an aptitude for medicine. They are both strong women who try to take on masculine roles, Nan as a doctor, and Mary as a protector and rescuer. They both step out of conventional behavior for their gender. Mary is stereotypically beautiful, but she also has a sharp mind, like Nan. The two women do not purposely break gender barriers, but if they see their duty as outside the barrier, then it is necessary to cross it. Mary and Nan are capable of actions stereotypically relegated to men; they are strong enough not to be helpless. Nan can take care of sick patients and doesn't need to have a husband to support her. Mary loves Madam Wallingford and Roger, so she's not going to sit in her home and knit as young females are supposed to do, because she is intelligent and brave enough to set out for England and try to rescue Roger from prison. But once Mary's reunited with him, she marries him and has her house and feminine domesticity for the rest of her days. Both Mary and Nan are a strange combination of female and male character traits. They are so adamant about sharing in stereotypically masculine roles because it will allow them to serve. Nan serves her patients, and Mary serves Madam and Roger.
Mary fluctuates between girlhood and adulthood, which reflects her youth. While she does not hesitate to act, she sometimes regrets her actions later. This is understandable, as even wise adults can make mistakes, yet her brave and decisive nature is admirable because she accepts responsibility for her actions. Her problems are not small, and they do not come with quick solutions or easy choices. My sympathy for Mary gets stronger as she goes through the book because her burdens and worry increase, but she never complains or shirks responsibility. I sometimes feel she is harming herself by tending to other people's needs rather than her own. She wants to be strong, fearless and selfless at all times, but of course this is not possible (and if it were, then she would be a flat character). I never know if she is going to be weak or strong, as it seems each new test gets harder, and she may not pass the next one, but Mary always rallies her spirit. Mary is the least changing protagonist in the book, which would make her the most arguably flat. However, Alison Easton declares that Mary is a fresh heroine who balances perfectly between her worlds, and she is correct (154). Mary's emotions are complicated, and she struggles with her decisions just as anyone would do. But she is also an original heroine because she's less interested in love, and because she represents so much good.
I find that the plot lines of The Tory Lover are highly structured and that the three protagonists of the novel are round characters, whose actions are both surprising and reasonable. It is also natural for me to have sympathy for their plights as they move through the novel trying to obtain their desires, although Cary bluntly disagrees with all of this and Easton with some. Perhaps then, the key to understanding why critics dislike her book so much lies in the problem of genre. The Tory Lover is different from Jewett's other works, and critics like these others much better. I have compared some of Jewett's techniques in this novel to those of Shakespeare and Austen. To continue the analogy, imagine if Jane Austen had written an historical adventure novel. While it probably would have been a good read, critics would have deplored it, telling her to go write another Pride and Prejudice (1813). Jewett tried a new genre, and few liked it among those who enjoyed her other work.
Just how much Jewett stepped out of her own genre, however, is an interesting question. Cary dismisses the book as not fitting into the contemporary historical novel genre. Easton, by contrast, claims that parts of her book align with contemporary historical novels, and many parts do not, because ultimately Jewett is trying to do her own thing, something different from the typical historical novel. She sticks to creating her own genre, as always. Though The Tory Lover is radically different from her other works, there are still common threads to be found. Jewett still emphasizes the importance of friendship and selflessness. She is still elevating women's lives, though she deals much more with men's lives in this novel than in others. Also, she is writing a story about people who once lived in her region and were part of an important historical era, and she is writing it the way she wants to, not in order to fit conventional standards.
Alison Easton gives the book credit for differing from many historical novels. She grants that "there is no gratuitous violence, no exaltation of virile, martial manhood and no heroine subordinating her judgment and will to the wiser Patriot man" (143) in The Tory Lover. Captain John Paul Jones approaches 'virile, martial manhood' and yet he has many sides. He's romantic with Mary, but not successful with her. His physical stature is not typical of a 'virile, martial' man; in fact he is often described as a wasp, and is short and slight. We see him deferring to Ben Franklin's authority. Roger does not represent Easton's conception of historical romance manhood, either. He is a gentlemanly ideal of manhood; Roger is tall, strong, handsome, considerate and capable – but he is no warrior. Sullivan says so: "'he does not lack greatness of soul, but I doubt if he does any great things except to stand honestly in his place, a scholar and a gentleman; and that is enough'" (XVII, 152). Mary, the heroine, does not defer to either of these representations of manhood, much less a virile kind; she actually puts both men in their places. They pursue love and suffer from her disinterest, while Mary goes about her life, pushing thoughts of love away.
What is Jewett saying about manhood with this novel, if there is no virile, martial man to be found in its pages? The Englishmen act more like stereotypical males. Mr. Davis, Mr. Fairfax, and Lord Newburgh all act as though they are in charge and expect to be obeyed. To them, Mary is little more than a beautiful face, and because she is beautiful, they tease her and indulge her. They are not martial by any means, and they are older men, not virile, but their manner is offensive and patronizing to females. They clearly are not Jewett's ideal of manhood. Their behavior is exceedingly puzzling to Mary, who does not know how to respond. American men treat Mary with respect and as an equal, a wise woman, not a silly girl. In this way, Jewett is making a statement about American and English ideals in that time period. Jewett likes Jones who, with all his flaws, respects women, and Roger with his concept of females as beautiful, but also as intelligent and brave beings. He loves Mary especially for these qualities, and for her kindness to his mother and others. Also, as the Englishmen come to know Mary better, though they are set in their ways of treating her as a beautiful object, they gain more respect for her. Lord Newburgh takes her more seriously when she reveals her intelligence in their talk about Master Sullivan.
Easton also describes Patriots as wise men, but the female protagonist is the fervent Patriot from the onset of this novel. Roger is a Neutral who finally becomes a Patriot, after a long inner struggle, and Jones is a converted Patriot, having grown up in the United Kingdom. Even Mary waivers for a moment in her political beliefs when she gets to England and begins to see things from their point of view, but it is only a brief hesitation. She is strongly patriotic, and does not need any man to sway her politics. However, she looks to several older people for guidance – her brother, Master Sullivan, and Peggy. This is a wise course as she neither depends solely on men's opinions nor stubbornly disregards others' ideas. She may not agree with Madam Wallingford or Mr. Davis, but Mary can understand their beliefs and continue to be friends with those of a different political persuasion.
Easton continues, "…conventional concerns with courtship/marriage are relatively marginal to the plot, and the non-combatant world of women's lives counterpoints male military adventures" (143). As already mentioned, Mary is clearly not concerned with marriage or courtship for much of the book. Even when she goes to England to rescue Roger, it is not only because she is in love with him, but because she has a duty to his mother to try to save him. She does not make much of her love, and her thoughts are just as much for the ailing Madam Wallingford and for her own homesickness. Mary has a lot to worry about, and Roger is a big part of that, but love does not consume her. The men are more concerned with love, although they must also be concerned with military matters. These observations of Easton's sum up much of what is best about The Tory Lover in comparison to its contemporaries. The novel is not as preoccupied with romance as some, and the real issues of politics and slavery and war are addressed, not skirted. Men and women do not fit into cookie cutter roles, which makes the novel refreshing.
An historical novel that Cary might enjoy is Winston Churchill's 1899 Richard Carvel. Easton explains that, in a typical historical novel like Richard Carvel, "the hero uses spectacular violence against his inferiors, and apparently self-reliant women are depicted as subduing themselves to his natural aristocracy" (142). While Jewett's novel is quite different from this, Churchill's does line up in places. The fictional title character of the novel is a staunch Patriot with a fervent Loyalist grandfather as his only guardian, and his uncle is a villain who hates him and seeks to gain his inheritance. From the beginning of the novel, Richard is hopelessly in love with Dorothy, the neighbor girl, an exceptional beauty of untamable spirit. Dorothy refuses to acknowledge her love for Richard through the entire book, although they often have dramatic meetings and by the end at 500 pages, readers are begging them to get together.
There is quite a bit more violence in this book than in Jewett's. Richard has a series of wild adventures, first being captured by an evil pirate who was hired by his uncle to kill him. Fortunately, the pirate decides to keep him alive, and soon none other than Captain John Paul Jones comes along and sinks the pirate ship, rescuing Richard. Later, there is a long, drawn out battle scene with Richard and Jones on the Serapis, in which many men die and Richard is seriously wounded. There are also a duel scene and a dare in which Richard rides a horse that recently killed someone. These scenes are vividly described and thrillingly narrated – the author is trying to heighten the drama of the book by making the male characters stereotypically masculine. Meanwhile, Dorothy is interested in being beautiful and capturing as many men's hearts as she can, though she wants none of them. Her father, however, is willing to marry her to a deformed duke for the man's fortune (this is standard heroine's father's behavior). Richard must prevent her from marrying this duke. He then goes back to America, where his grandfather has died and his uncle has stolen his house and inheritance. Richard learns to work for his living, becoming a successful farmer for a family friend, who has a daughter, Patty, who has always been in love with Richard. She is the opposite of Dorothy in most ways, except that she is also beautiful, and Richard promises her father, when he dies, that he will marry Patty. But, true love prevails. Patty does not want to marry him if he still loves Dorothy, and Dorothy finally confesses that she does love him after all. She tames her spirit to marry 'dull' Richard, who has had a very exciting life thus far. Though the book does not focus on the military conflict of the Revolution, it is full of adventure, duels, drama, strained relationships, intrigue, villainy, and romance. It's a quick read, but predictable – just the sort of popular literature that most people like to read, and what Cary seems to think a successful historical novel must be.
The Tory Lover is like Richard Carvel in that both novels of the American Revolution present characters from Loyalist, Tory, and Patriot backgrounds. True friendship is an important theme in both, as Richard and Lord Comyn become fast friends despite both loving Dorothy (this is particularly similar to Roger and Captain Jones's relationship in The Tory Lover). Richard also has similar friendships with Captain Jones, his father's friend, and Patty's father. Richard and Roger actually are quite alike as they are from gentlemanly backgrounds and are devoted to beautiful women whom they've known since childhood. They must both go through a series of adventures and/or trials to win their lover's heart. Both female protagonists are strong, spirited characters. But these are material similarities. Winston Churchill's goal in writing Richard Carvel was to entertain readers with a good adventure story. This is not Jewett's only goal with The Tory Lover, as she is preserving her town's history and exploring issues of politics, friendship, heroism, and gender roles.
The Tory Lover differs from Richard Carvel in that Jewett's plot has partially reversed the gender roles, with Mary as the fervent Patriot and Roger as the Neutral who is reluctant to go off to war. Mary is not eager for marriage; it is the men of the novel who pursue love and courtship. Mary is unlike Dorothy in that she is not conscious of her beauty, and uses her intellect to endear friends to her, rather than using wit and flirtation to purposely capture men's hearts. Mary does not subdue her will to Roger's, and Roger does not end by submitting his will to hers (though he does at first). Instead, the pair comes to a mutual agreement of being on 'the right side' of the war, and they can love each other fully with their harmonious political views. However, Madam Wallingford never changes her political views, and the message seems to be that, whatever their differences, each character improves by becoming friends with the character they disagree with.
While Churchill's novel is on Richard Carvel's side, favoring America and Patriotism, he portrays England as exciting and full of adventure for young men, if debauched and difficult for the lower classes. Jewett's book more clearly takes a stand. Her England is not as attractive as her America, because Captain Jones, Roger, and Mary all choose America over England. Each has at one time been in England, but Mary feels homesick for Maine early in her stay in Bristol. England is portrayed honestly; England's politics have led America to declare war on the mother country, and they don't treat their prisoners of war fairly to say the least. For the most part, men don't recognize or value women's intellect as equal to their own. Mr. Davis and Mr. Fairfax are frustrating, yet they help Mary toward her ultimate goal of freeing Roger from prison. The people she meets treat her kindly. On the other hand, Jewett's America is not whitewashed, either. Judge Chadbourne and some other Americans seem to think slavery is acceptable, although they themselves are struggling to be free from England. Also, politics gets people so out of control that a mob develops and sets upon Madam Wallingford's house. The men in the mob are those who aren't out fighting the war; instead they attack an elderly woman who can't do harm to anyone, Tory or not. Jewett's portrayal of both countries gives a fair picture, and she focuses on creating everyday people of both nationalities. Churchill's novel is sensationalized, with a purely evil American uncle, an evil, hunchbacked British duke, a duel in an American tavern and a horse race through the streets of London. Both make comments about the bad of each nation; it feels like Jewett offers more of the good. This is because plot pulls readers along in Churchill's novel, while we follow the characters through Jewett's book. The characters' opinions of each nation help us to understand what Jewett wanted us to think. Mary, Roger, and Jones call America home and fight for that country; therefore, America is the right country to fight for.
Easton also correctly asserts that Jewett does not gloss over class issues as Churchill does and as other contemporary, idealized novels do. This goes hand in hand with the politics. Captain Jones is eager for the Patriot cause because he can be famous in America while he cannot be in England, because of his low birth. Mary and Roger, however, are gentry in America, living still in a class system like England. While Roger Wallingford goes to war for the Patriots, he treats his subordinate sailor Cooper as a servant, because he is of that class, although he is the young man's only friend. The wealthy protagonists all have close relationships with their servants and call them friends, and yet, they are still servants, in a country fighting for equality. There is also a tense discussion about slavery early in the novel. The gentry do not seem to realize that they aren't practicing what they profess to believe in.
Jewett is also making a statement about conventional and unconventional heroism. Richard Carvel is a larger than life novel that is enjoyable to read, but unrealistic to imagine actually happening. The Tory Lover, while parts are farfetched, is on a smaller scale. Certainly some parts with John Paul Jones did happen, and Mary's activities at home are quite believable. All three of the protagonists, especially Mary and Roger, become heroes in the ways that ordinary people sometimes can. We are not focusing on Benjamin Franklin's greatness, but on the greatness that Mary Hamilton and Roger Wallingford can achieve while fighting for the right to live their daily lives in peace.
Jewett's The Tory Lover may disappoint conventional expectations for characterization and plot in an historical adventure or romance novel because it differs from typical novels like Richard Carvel, but it nevertheless presents an interesting and satisfying set of intertwining plots. The books' three protagonists advance in self-knowledge as they work toward achieving their desires. Captain Jones discovers that seeking fame and glory for himself will not guarantee happiness; what is truly rewarding is a life of love and friendship. Selfless actions rather than partly selfish actions will make him a better person and help him better understand what is important in a happy life. At the end of the book, Jones has made better friends in Mary and Roger than he ever had before, and this helps him to continue his military duty in a positive frame of mind. Roger gains self-knowledge about his political beliefs. He is young and unsure what to do when faced with choosing between two countries which have been his home. At first he stubbornly sits on the fence and won't take either side in the war. But eventually, through Mary's persuasion, Roger declares himself a Patriot, and over the course of time, he truly becomes one. At the end of the book, Roger knows which country is his home, that he loves America and is proud that he fought for it. Mary has to choose between loving Roger or Jones, or decide if she's ready for love at all, while dealing with other problems that the war has brought on. She takes the time to examine her heart over the course of the book and discovers that she loves Roger.
The problems that the protagonists overcome help develop some of the novel's central themes, such as the importance of politics, friendship, and heroism. Roger's struggle with political opinions introduces the concept of Tories, Neutrals, and Patriots in the novel. His choice of Patriotism suggests that this is the right political stance, although the Tories are presented with sympathy. The main characters develop close friendships with each other, and this emphasizes how important Jewett holds such relationships. Roger and Jones become friends despite their rivalry, and Mary and Madam Wallingford remain friends despite their political differences. The message is that friendship can overcome these differences, and that it should. The theme of heroism is represented by all three protagonists, and is closely related to their gender roles, which are sometimes unconventional. Jones is close to the masculine hero we expect from historical novels, as he pursues war and glory and a beautiful woman. Roger is the romantic, chivalric version of a male hero, on a quest to earn Mary's love. But he is also somewhat feminine, as he cares for others. Mary herself is the most unconventional hero, because she is female, and yet she is strong and brave enough to leave her home. She sets out to rescue Roger from an English prison, and, though she needs help from important men, she succeeds in gaining his pardon.
As Jewett tended not to write in any conventional genre, her historical novel should not be expected to fit into conventional standards for that genre. She wanted to present the real issues of the era, specifically political conflict and how it affects two nations of people. Jewett did not focus on stereotypical gender roles for her characters, creating Mary, her female protagonist, as a woman who doesn't annoy readers with her romantic preoccupations. In fact, Mary is refreshingly unconcerned with love – at least at the beginning of the novel. And when she does fall in love with Roger, she has earned a happy ending through her bravery and uncomplaining responsibility. Jewett wrote The Tory Lover to preserve a piece of her heritage and to convey a message of friendship rather than political dissension. Perhaps if critics come to understand this, The Tory Lover will be judged for what it is, and not how it pleases or fails to please in relation to genre expectations.
After having read this novel four times, I find that there is always more to discover in it. A first reading acquaints us with the basics of plot and character. Second and subsequent readings bring out more of the themes of politics and friendship. The interesting gender roles and heroism of each protagonist are what initially caught my eye and kept me working with this novel. I also think readers' appreciation of this book will increase if they familiarize themselves with the history. I read parts of biographies of Captain Jones – both true and fictional versions – and traveled to Berwick, Maine, to see the Hamilton House. It made me realize that this story is at least partly true, and that to some extent, the characters we see in this novel were real. This made me feel so much more for the characters. I think that for any student of history or any resident of the places The Tory Lover is set in, this book is well worth reading. After turning in this thesis, I plan to read the novel again, to confirm my opinions after many months of writing, and also to simply enjoy it as it is.
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To my advisor, Professor Terry Heller, without whom this thesis would never have been written.
To Drew Westberg, Laura Crow, Lilly Vince, and Luke Johnson for their help in revisions.
To my roommates, Liz, Kristy, Kayla, and Bree, for their support in all things.
The Jewett Journal