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Local-color sketches by Sarah Orne Jewett, published in 1877.

Deephaven, described by Helen Denis, who accompanies her friend Kate Lancaster on a summer visit to the Maine seaport town, is isolated and poor because of the decline of its port since the early 1800s. Its peculiar distinction, deriving from its decayed grandeur and fading memories, makes the place seem “more like one of the lazy little English seaside towns.… It was not in the least American.” The population mainly consists of poor fishermen and farmers, and retired sea captains and their families, except for such relics of aristocracy as old Miss Chauncey, the lonely, half-insane resident of East Parrish, whose mind dwells still in her distant youth. “The Captains” are usually to be found “sunning themselves like turtles on one of the wharves,” exchanging anecdotes of seafaring days. Life moves in a slow rhythm of reminiscence, and perhaps the busiest of the townspeople are such shrewd, methodical housewives as Mrs. Kew, wife of the lighthouse keeper, “peart” old Mrs. Bonny, and the Widow Jim, tenderly faithful to the memory of her brutal husband.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849—1909)

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