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The Queen's Twin

Reviews and Notes: The Queen's Twin, 1899

Notices of coming publication.  Atlantic 84 (July 1899) p. 31.

THE QUEEN'S TWIN, AND OTHER STORIESBy Sarah Orne Jewett.  1 vol, 16 mo., $1.25.
This volume will contain the following stories:  The Queen's Twin; Where's Nora; Bold Words at the Bridge; Martha's Lady; The Coon Dog; On New Year's Day.
    When "The Queen's Twin" appeared in THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, it was greeted with the heartiest welcome as one of the best stories of the year, and one of Miss Jewett's most delightful tales.  Of its kind it is simply perfect, and its kind is of the most interesting and most wholesome elements in modern literature.  If the Queen were to read the story, she would love her loyal, simple-hearted twin, and be glad that so true and sympathetic artist had portrayed her.  The story properly holds the place of honor in Miss Jewett's new volume, but it is only the first of a group of stories of which all bear the impress of fine observation, notable skill in description, generous humor, and a peculiarly delicate but firm literary touch.

Publisher's Weekly 1444 published the same ad (September 30, 1899) p. 524.
    Except that the list of expected stories was different.
This volume will contain the following stories:  The Queen's Twin; Where's Nora; Bold Words at the Bridge; Martha's Lady; The Coon Dog;  Aunt Cynthy Dallet; The Gray Mill[s] of Farley; The Night before Thanksgiving.

Current Opinion 26:6 published a "review," essentially quoting these ads (December 1899) p. 507.
... The Queen's Twin, Where's Nora, Bold Words at the Bridge, Martha's Lady; The Coon Dog, Aunt Cynthy Dallet, The Gray Mill[s] of Farley, The Night before Thanksgiving..

From the Omaha Bee (December 8, 1899)

    One of Matthew Arnold's most beautiful poems begins
        Saint Brandan sails the Northern Main,
        The brotherhood of saints are glad.
A like gladness comes to a large circle of readers when Miss Jewett brings out a new book.  And in all her charming books there is no story more characteristic than "The Queen's Twin," which opens her new volume and gives it its name.  This and "A Dunnet Shepherdess," which follows, reintroduces the scenes and characters which figured in Jewett's exquisite story, "The Country of the Pointed Firs."  The other stories can hardly have higher praise than to say they are worthy to be associated with "The Queen's Twin." and "A Dunnet Shepherdess."

The above review appears in the Harvard University - Houghton Library collection of clippings on "The Queen's Twin": Sarah Orne Jewett Compositions and Other Papers, Series III, MS Am 1743.26 (17).

From The Outlook 63 (December 16, 1899) p. 934.

Queen's Twin and Other Stories, The. By Sarah Orne Jewett. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston. 16mo. 232 pages. $1.25
Miss Jewett's art shows no sign of flagging interest, although many volumes stand to her credit on the bookshelves. She still holds undisputed possession of her own field; an accomplished artist, who never attempts that which she cannot do, and holds her work to the highest standards with unflagging earnestness and freshness.

From The Literary World 31 (January 20, 1900) p. 29.

The Queen’s Twin and Other [Tales] Stories.
Miss Jewett’s stories are always most welcome in book form; and, unlike those of some authors, they are just as good on the second reading. She develops an unlooked-for gift in the Irish “Where’s Nora” and “Bold words at the Bridge,” while even more unexpected is “The Coon Dog”– all of which are bright and fresh; but the finest representation of this favorite author is in such an exquisite bit out of life as “Aunt Cynthy [Dalleth] Dallett,” and that fine idyl or pastoral, “A Dunnet Shepherdess.” These would be known as Miss Jewett’s without her name.

"Notes of a Novel Reader."  The Critic  36 (February 1900) 170.

 One can often find good wafers when wholesome bread is unobtainable. Novels nutritious to the soul of man may be rare, but short stories which are "food and drink and pretty good clothes" are more plentiful than ever. In spite of its forbidding title, "Holly and Pizen" * by Ruth McEnery Stuart, is one of these, and "The Queen's Twin," + by Miss Jewett, is another. To enlarge upon the qualities of these writers at this late date is superfluous. It is enough to say their qualities are all here and as good as ever -- perhaps better, for Mrs. Stuart never wrote a better story then "A Note of Scarlet," and even Miss Jewett's self has never done a more charming, human thing than "The Queen's Twin."

* "Holly and Pizen."  By Ruth McEnery Stuart. Century Co.
+ "The Queen's Twin."  By Sarah Orne Jewett.  Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

From The Independent 52 (Feb 1, 1900) p. 324.

The QUEEN’S TWIN and OTHER STORIES. By Sarah Orne Jewett. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $1.25.)
Miss Jewett is one of the few writers who spring no disappointments for their readers. All that she writes is good. The eight short stories here bound together are delightfully literary quality and at the same time quaintly fascinating as bits of life-like fiction. No reader will fail to catch from them something worth keeping.

The Spectator
(February 24, 1900) 80-81.

MISS JEWETT, like Miss Wilkins, is an admirable delineator of the amenities of rural life in the States, and her graceful talent has never been more happily displayed than in the quaintly named volume before us, The Queen's Twin, and other Stories.  Life in America, according to Mr. Dooley, is not suited to a tired man; in his picturesque phrase the person in need of rest is like a man trying to read The Lives of the Saints at a Clan-na-Gael meeting.  But if American city life involves an undue strain on the nerves, there are rural retreats in New England and elsewhere, where the current of existence flows on as placidly and tranquilly as anywhere in the old country.  It is the peculiar merit of Miss Jewett that she is able to seize and transfer to her pages the grace and sentiment and courtesies of this homely, leisurely life.  The scene of the best stories in the book is laid on the coast of Maine among the fisher-folk and farmers, where the narrator is supposed to be spending her summer holidays, and in atmosphere and characterisation they bear the unmistakable impress of veracious as well as sympathetic observation.  We have seldom read anything prettier in its way than the unexpected romance of the elderly fisherman and the middle-aged shepherdess -- a really heroic figure of filial devotion -- whose mutual attachment is sustained by a single meeting in the year.  Mr. Blackett, the taciturn fisherman, is also a most engaging person, one of his traits being that "he had a peculiar way of giving silent assent when one spoke, but answering your unspoken thoughts as if they reached him better than words."  The tale which gives its name to the volume is also charming; it was not easy to avoid the pitfalls of snobbery on the one hand and absurdity on the other, but Miss Jewett has succeeded perfectly, and the result is altogether touching.  We cannot say that the Irish-American stories are particularly successful; for one thing Miss Jewett's dialect abounds in outrageous solecisms.  No Irish woman ever said "coom" for "come," or "shild" for "child."

Note in The Saturday Review (March 3, 1900) p. 280.

Just published

The  Queen's Twin, and Other Stories
    by Sarah Orne Jewett
    Spectator, -- "We have seldom read anything prettier in its way than the unexpected romance of the elderly fisherman and the middle-aged shepherdess.  The tale which gives its name to the volume is also charming."

From "Recent Novels," Nation 70 (March 29, 1900) p. 245.

 Of the story-tellers who restrict themselves chiefly to one locality, none escapes more completely than Miss Jewett from the flat, stale, and unprofitable. Yet her range is narrow – a bit of New England Coast or upland, a few plain women, generally old, and some garrulous seafaring men. The author appears as a perpetual summer-boarder, constant to farm and fishing-boat, loving the land and sea and people with a love that extracts beauty from barrenness, and divines a heroic soul beneath the most unpromising exterior. Without falsifying either inanimate [inaminate] or human nature, she transmutes their ruggedness into pure gold and arranges a harmony without one jarring note. In her latest volume, "The Queen's Twin,' "A Dunnet [Dunnett] Shepherdess" and "Aunt Cynthy Dallett" illustrate that perfect rendering of her subject which she has come to through love and patience.

From The Athenaeum #3783 (April 28, 1900) p. 527.

The Queen’s Twin, and Other Stories. By Sarah Orne Jewett. (Smith, Elder & Co.)* –

Miss Jewett (like Miss Wilkins)** is of the New England school, but she is a little less severe. She seems to take less delight in describing the drear austerities of religious life.  Miss Wilkins often dwells upon the past, Miss Jewett is content with the present. Miss Jewett’s stories, therefore, seem to have something more human about them, though they are, perhaps not so ingeniously constructed as Miss Wilkins’s stories. ‘The Queen’s Twin’ is a description of a visit to an old woman in Maine who was born at the same time as Her Majesty, who married a man named Albert, and who called her children by the same names as those of our own royal family. She had once been in London and had seen the Queen, and with this recollection and these facts her old age was comforted.  This pretty fancy as Miss Jewett works it out, makes a touching little study. One or two of the other stories in the volume are a little difficult to read on account of the Irish-American dialect, but there is a pleasant genial spirit about them all.


*Smith, Elder & Co.:  Jewett's British publisher.

**Miss Wilkins:  This review begins with a discussion of Mary E. Wilkins (later Freeman's) The Love of Parson Lord, and Other Stories

From Jewett's The Night Before Thanksgiving, A White Heron and Selected Stories, Sarah Orne Jewett.  With introductory notes, and questions and suggestions by Katherine H. Shute, Head of the Department of English in the Boston Normal School.  Houghton Mifflin Company [c1911], 1905, p. 45

"The Night before Thanksgiving " occurs in Miss Jewett's last volume of short stories, The Queen's Twin, and Other Stories.  You would enjoy many of the stories in this volume, especially "The Queen's Twin" and "The Coon Dog."  There is a very sweet and humorous little Irish story in the collection, called "Bold Words at the Bridge"; and the story called "Aunt Cynthy Dallett" is an incidental account of a New England woman's perverted notion of hospitality, which is deliciously humorous and worth reading and discussing even without the rest of the story.
    It is very interesting to find how much Miss Jewett has made us see in this little Thanksgiving story without writing long descriptions....
    A good short-story writer does not talk a great deal about the people in the story, but makes us acquainted with them by telling us what they do and say....

British Notices of the February 1899 publication of the title story in
Cornhill Magazine (London, n.s. 6:145-161).

These are collected in the Harvard University - Houghton Library folder of clippings on "The Queen's Twin": Sarah Orne Jewett Compositions and Other Papers, Series III, MS Am 1743.26 (17).  Citations in this collection are not complete.

From The Christian World, "From the February Magazines."

'Her Majesty's Double'

'The Queen's Twin,' by Sarah Orne Jewett, is a pretty story in The Cornhill Magazine, relating the experiences of an old lady who, having been born at the same time as Her Majesty, devoted her life to pointing out the similarities between the Royal existence and her own.  'And,' she once remarked, 'I married a man by the name of Albert, just [the same] as she did, and all by chance, for I didn't get the news that she had an Albert too till a fortnight afterward ... My first baby was a girl, and I called her Victoria after my mate; but the next one was a boy, and my husband wanted the right to name him, and took his own name and his brother Edward's, and pretty soon I saw in the paper that the little Prince o' Wales had been christened just the same. [...] I didn't want to break the chain, so I had an Alfred, and my darling Alice that I lost long before she lost hers, and there I stopped. If I'd only had a dear daughter to stay at home with me, same 's her youngest one, I should have been so thankful! But if only one of us could have a little Beatrice, I'm glad 't was the Queen; we've both seen trouble, but she's had the most care.'

From the Crieff Journal (February 4)

Cornhill opens with a beautifully-pathetic story by Miss S. O. Jewett, about an old lady, a native of the State of Maine, who fancied herself in some queer way to be "The Queen's Twin," from having been born on the same day as Her Majesty.  She believed that there was some occult spiritual influence linking their two lives together.  This belief filled her thoughts, sleeping and waking, and helped her to sustain her solitary existence in a quiet patient dignity of the queenly sort.

From The Guardian (February 8)

A romance of still life is finely imaged by Miss Sarah Orne Jewett in "The Queen's Twin."

From the Newcastle Leader (February 9)

It opens with a pretty story of Maine by Sarah Orne Jewett.  "The Queen's Twin" is an old world lady, who was born on the same day as the Queen, married an Albert, had several children which were christened after the Queen's children, and took a pride in dwelling on the life of the Queen.

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The Queen's Twin