Country of the Pointed Firs

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Local-color sketches by Sarah Orne Jewett, published in 1896.

A woman who spends her summers in the isolated seaport town of Dunnet, Me., describes the region in these portraits and anecdotes. She lives as a boarder with kindly Mrs. Almira Todd, through whose gossip she comes to know the lives and idiosyncrasies of the people. On a visit to Green Island, she meets Mrs. Todd's charming old mother, Mrs. Blackett, and her shy brother William. Other acquaintances are aged Captain Littlepage, who tells a fantastic story of discovering Purgatory in the Arctic; Abby Martin, the “Queen's Twin,” born in the same hour as Victoria; old Mrs. Fosdick, “the best hand in the world to make a visit,” who tells of her childhood on her father's ship; and the gentle shepherdess Esther Hight, who, though courted by William Blackett for 40 years, continues to live with her invalid mother. A visit from Mrs. Fosdick leads Mrs. Todd to tell of her cousin, “Poor Joanna,” who became a hermit on Shell-heap Island when “crossed in love.” Later events are the death of old Mrs. Hight and the happy marriage of William and Esther.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849—1909)