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50 Works of Sarah Orne Jewett

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A White Heron

Story type: Literature

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I The woods were already filled with shadows one June evening, just before eight o’clock, though a bright sunset still glimmered faintly among the trunks of the trees. A little girl was driving home her cow, a plodding, dilatory, provoking creature in her behavior, but a valued companion for all that. They were going away […]

The Hiltons’ Holiday

Story type: Literature

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I There was a bright, full moon in the clear sky, and the sunset was still shining faintly in the west. Dark woods stood all about the old Hilton farmhouse, save down the hill, westward, where lay the shadowy fields which John Hilton, and his father before him, had cleared and tilled with much toil—the […]

Miss Tempy’s Watchers

Story type: Literature

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The time of year was April; the place was a small farming town in New Hampshire, remote from any railroad. One by one the lights had been blown out in the scattered houses near Miss Tempy Dent’s; but as her neighbors took a last look out-of-doors, their eyes turned with instinctive curiosity toward the old […]

The Foreigner

Story type: Literature

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I One evening, at the end of August, in Dunnet Landing, I heard Mrs. Todd’s firm footstep crossing the small front entry outside my door, and her conventional cough which served as a herald’s trumpet, or a plain New England knock, in the harmony of our fellowship. “Oh, please come in!” I cried, for it […]

There is a class of elderly New England women which is fast dying out:–those good souls who have sprung from a soil full of the true New England instincts; who were used to the old-fashioned ways, and whose minds were stored with quaint country lore and tradition. The fashions of the newer generations do not […]

Tom’s Husband

Story type: Literature

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I shall not dwell long upon the circumstances that led to the marriage of my hero and heroine; though their courtship was, to them, the only one that has ever noticeably approached the ideal, it had many aspects in which it was entirely commonplace in other people’s eyes. While the world in general smiles at […]

An October Ride

Story type: Literature

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It was a fine afternoon, just warm enough and just cool enough, and I started off alone on horseback, though I do not know why I should say alone when I find my horse such good company. She is called Sheila, and she not only gratifies one’s sense of beauty, but is very interesting in […]

Lately I have been thinking, with much sorrow, of the approaching extinction of front yards, and of the type of New England village character and civilization with which they are associated. Formerly, because I lived in an old-fashioned New England village, it would have been hard for me to imagine that there were parts of […]

An Autumn Holiday

Story type: Literature

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I had started early in the afternoon for a long walk; it was just the weather for walking, and I went across the fields with a delighted heart. The wind came straight in from the sea, and the sky was bright blue; there was a little tinge of red still lingering on the maples, and […]

The mills of Farley were close together by the river, and the gray houses that belonged to them stood, tall and bare, alongside. They had no room for gardens or even for little green side-yards where one might spend a summer evening. The Corporation, as this compact village was called by those who lived in […]

I. One windy morning in May, three old women sat together near an open window in the shed chamber of Byfleet Poor-house. The wind was from the northwest, but their window faced the southeast, and they were only visited by an occasional pleasant waft of fresh air. They were close together, knee to knee, picking […]

Mrs. Mercy Crane was of such firm persuasion that a house is meant to be lived in, that during many years she was never known to leave her own neat two-storied dwelling-place on the Ridge road. Yet being very fond of company, in pleasant weather she often sat in the side doorway looking out on […]

Decoration Day

Story type: Literature

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I. A week before the thirtieth of May, three friends–John Stover and Henry Merrill and Asa Brown–happened to meet on Saturday evening at Barton’s store at the Plains. They were ready to enjoy this idle hour after a busy week. After long easterly rains, the sun had at last come out bright and clear, and […]

A Native Of Winby

Story type: Literature

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I. On the teacher’s desk, in the little roadside school-house, there was a bunch of Mayflowers, beside a dented and bent brass bell, a small Worcester’s Dictionary without any cover, and a worn morocco-covered Bible. These were placed in an orderly row, and behind them was a small wooden box which held some broken pieces […]

In giving this brief account of my childhood, or, to speak exactly, of the surroundings which have affected the course of my work as a writer, my first thought flies back to those who taught me to observe, and to know the deep pleasures of simple things, and to be interested in the lives of […]

The Town Poor

Story type: Literature

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Mrs. William Trimble and Miss Rebecca Wright were driving along Hampden east road, one afternoon in early spring. Their progress was slow. Mrs. Trimble’s sorrel horse was old and stiff, and the wheels were clogged by clay mud. The frost was not yet out of the ground, although the snow was nearly gone, except in […]

Going To Shrewsbury

Story type: Literature

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The train stopped at a way station with apparent unwillingness, and there was barely time for one elderly passenger to be hurried on board before a sudden jerk threw her almost off her unsteady old feet and we moved on. At my first glance I saw only a perturbed old countrywoman, laden with a large […]

A Winter Courtship

Story type: Literature

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The passenger and mail transportation between the towns of North Kilby and Sanscrit Pond was carried on by Mr. Jefferson Briley, whose two-seated covered wagon was usually much too large for the demands of business. Both the Sanscrit Pond and North Kilby people were stayers-at-home, and Mr. Briley often made his seven-mile journey in entire […]

Aunt Cynthy Dallett

Story type: Literature

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I. “No,” said Mrs. Hand, speaking wistfully,–“no, we never were in the habit of keeping Christmas at our house. Mother died when we were all young; she would have been the one to keep up with all new ideas, but father and grandmother were old-fashioned folks, and–well, you know how ‘t was then, Miss Pendexter: […]

The Coon Dog

Story type: Literature

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I. In the early dusk of a warm September evening the bats were flitting to and fro, as if it were still summer, under the great elm that overshadowed Isaac Brown’s house, on the Dipford road. Isaac Brown himself, and his old friend and neighbor John York, were leaning against the fence. “Frost keeps off […]

Martha’s Lady

Story type: Literature

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I. One day, many years ago, the old Judge Pyne house wore an unwonted look of gayety and youthfulness. The high-fenced green garden was bright with June flowers. Under the elms in the large shady front yard you might see some chairs placed near together, as they often used to be when the family were […]

I. “‘Well, now,’ says I, ‘Mrs. Con’ly,’ says I, ‘how ever you may tark, ’tis nobody’s business and I wanting to plant a few pumpkins for me cow in among me cabbages. I ‘ve got the right to plant whatever I may choose, if it’s the divil of a crop of t’istles in the middle […]

Where’s Nora?

Story type: Literature

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I. “Where’s Nora?” The speaker was a small, serious-looking old Irishman, one of those Patricks who are almost never called Pat. He was well-dressed and formal, and wore an air of dignified authority. “I don’t know meself where’s Nora then, so I don’t,” answered his companion. “The shild would n’t stop for a sup o’ […]

A Dunnet Shepherdess

Story type: Literature

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I. Early one morning at Dunnet Landing, as if it were still night, I waked, suddenly startled by a spirited conversation beneath my window. It was not one of Mrs. Todd’s morning soliloquies; she was not addressing her plants and flowers in words of either praise or blame. Her voice was declamatory though perfectly good-humored, […]

The Queen’s Twin

Story type: Literature

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I. The coast of Maine was in former years brought so near to foreign shores by its busy fleet of ships that among the older men and women one still finds a surprising proportion of travelers. Each seaward-stretching headland with its high-set houses, each island of a single farm, has sent its spies to view […]

A Bit of Shore Life

Story type: Literature

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I often think of a boy with whom I made friends last summer, during some idle, pleasant days that I spent by the sea. I was almost always out of doors, and I used to watch the boats go out and come in; and I had a hearty liking for the good-natured fishermen, who were […]

Lady Ferry

Story type: Literature

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We have an instinctive fear of death; yet we have a horror of a life prolonged far beyond the average limit: it is sorrowful; it is pitiful; it has no attractions. This world is only a schoolroom for the larger life of the next. Some leave it early, and some late: some linger long after […]

Miss Sydney’s Flowers

Story type: Literature

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However sensible it may have been considered by other people, it certainly was a disagreeable piece of news to Miss Sydney, that the city authorities had decided to open a new street from St. Mary Street to Jefferson. It seemed a most unwarrantable thing to her that they had a right to buy her property […]

An Arrow In A Sunbeam

Story type: Literature

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The minister of a fashionable church had noticed Sunday after Sunday a little old lady with a sad, patient face, dressed in very shabby mourning, sitting in the strangers’ pew. Like Job this good man could say, “The cause that I knew not, I sought out.” He soon learned from the sexton her name and […]

All My Sad Captains

Story type: Literature

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I. Mrs. Peter Lunn was a plump little woman who bobbed her head like a pigeon when she walked. Her best dress was a handsome, if not new, black silk which Captain Lunn, her lamented husband, had bought many years before in the port of Bristol. The decline of shipping interests had cost this worthy […]

A Neighbor’s Landmark

Story type: Literature

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The timber-contractor took a long time to fasten his horse to the ring in the corner of the shed; but at last he looked up as if it were a matter of no importance to him that John Packer was coming across the yard. “Good-day,” said he; “good-day, John.” And John responded by an inexpressive […]

I. Mrs. Persis Flagg stood in her front doorway taking leave of Miss Cynthia Pickett, who had been making a long call. They were not intimate friends. Miss Pickett always came formally to the front door and rang when she paid her visits, but, the week before, they had met at the county conference, and […]

Little French Mary

Story type: Literature

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The town of Dulham was not used to seeing foreigners of any sort, or to hearing their voices in its streets, so that it was in some sense a matter of public interest when a Canadian family was reported to have come to the white house by the bridge. This house, small and low-storied, with […]

A Second Spring

Story type: Literature

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I. The Haydon farm was only a few miles from the sea, and the spring wind, which had been blowing from the south all day, had gone into the east. A chilly salt fog had begun to come in, creeping along where a brook wound among the lower fields, like a ghostly serpent that was […]

The Only Rose

Story type: Literature

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I. Just where the village abruptly ended, and the green mowing fields began, stood Mrs. Bickford’s house, looking down the road with all its windows, and topped by two prim chimneys that stood up like ears. It was placed with an end to the road, and fronted southward; you could follow a straight path from […]

A War Debt

Story type: Literature

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I. There was a tinge of autumn color on even the English elms as Tom Burton walked slowly up Beacon Street. He was wondering all the way what he had better do with himself; it was far too early to settle down in Boston for the winter, but his grandmother kept to her old date […]

Fame’s Little Day

Story type: Literature

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I. Nobody ever knew, except himself, what made a foolish young newspaper reporter, who happened into a small old-fashioned hotel in New York, observe Mr. Abel Pinkham with deep interest, listen to his talk, ask a question or two of the clerk, and then go away and make up an effective personal paragraph for one […]

The Life Of Nancy

Story type: Literature

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I. The wooded hills and pastures of eastern Massachusetts are so close to Boston that from upper windows of the city, looking westward, you can see the tops of pine-trees and orchard-boughs on the high horizon. There is a rustic environment on the landward side; there are old farmhouses at the back of Milton Hill […]

I. The last of the neighbors was going home; officious Mrs. Peter Downs had lingered late and sought for additional housework with which to prolong her stay. She had talked incessantly, and buzzed like a busy bee as she helped to put away the best crockery after the funeral supper, while the sisters Betsey and […]

By The Morning Boat

Story type: Literature

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On the coast of Maine, where many green islands and salt inlets fringe the deep-cut shore line; where balsam firs and bayberry bushes send their fragrance far seaward, and song-sparrows sing all day, and the tide runs plashing in and out among the weedy ledges; where cowbells tinkle on the hills and herons stand in […]

I. There was a natural disinclination to the cares of housekeeping in the mind of Captain Ball, and he would have left the sea much earlier in life if he had not liked much better to live on board ship. A man was his own master there, and meddlesome neighbors and parsons and tearful women-folks […]

Fair Day

Story type: Literature

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Widow Mercy Bascom came back alone into the empty kitchen and seated herself in her favorite splint-bottomed chair by the window, with a dreary look on her face. “I s’pose I be an old woman, an’ past goin’ to cattle shows an’ junketings, but folks needn’t take it so for granted. I’m sure I don’t […]

The Luck Of The Bogans

Story type: Literature

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I. The old beggar women of Bantry streets had seldom showered their blessings upon a departing group of emigrants with such hearty good will as they did upon Mike Bogan and his little household one May morning. Peggy Muldoon, she of the game leg and green-patched eye and limber tongue, steadied herself well back against […]

The Quest Of Mr. Teaby

Story type: Literature

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The trees were bare on meadow and hill, and all about the country one saw the warm brown of lately fallen leaves. There was still a cheerful bravery of green in sheltered places,–a fine, live green that flattered the eye with its look of permanence; the first three quarters of the year seemed to have […]

A high wind was blowing from the water into the Beaufort streets,–a wind with as much reckless hilarity as March could give to her breezes, but soft and spring-like, almost early-summer-like, in its warmth. In the gardens of the old Southern houses that stood along the bay, roses and petisporum-trees were blooming, with their delicious […]

A Lost Lover

Story type: Literature

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For a great many years it had been understood in Longfield that Miss Horatia Dane once had a lover, and that he had been lost at sea. By little and little, in one way and another, her acquaintances had found out or made up the whole story; and Miss Dane stood in the position, not […]

A Sorrowful Guest

Story type: Literature

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Dear Helen,–What do you say to our going to housekeeping together? I’m a very old bachelor, with many whims; but I’m your brother, and I don’t know that there was ever an act of Parliament that we should spend our lives on opposite shores of the Atlantic. The Athertons’ lease of our house is out […]

A Late Supper

Story type: Literature

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The story begins one afternoon in June just after dinner. Miss Catherine Spring was the heroine; and she lived alone in her house, which stood on the long village street in Brookton,–up in the country city people would say,–a town certainly not famous, but pleasant enough because it was on the outer edge of the […]

Mr. Bruce

Story type: Literature

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Last summer (said Aunt Mary), while you were with your father in Canada, I met for the first time Miss Margaret Tennant of Boston, whom I had for years a great desire to see and know. My dear friend, Anne Langdon, has had from her girlhood two very intimate friends; and Miss Tennant is one, […]

I. There was a sad heart in the low-storied, dark little house that stood humbly by the roadside under some tall elms. Small as her house was, old Mrs. Robb found it too large for herself alone; she only needed the kitchen and a tiny bedroom that led out of it, and there still remained […]