Thursday, February 12, 2009

Deephaven. Sarah Orne Jewett.

1877. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1994.

10-second review: Novel. Two young women spend an idyllic summer vacation on the coast of Maine. Jewett is one of America’s finest writers.

Sample Quotes: “It seemed as if all the clocks in Deephaven, and all the people with them, had stopped years ago, and the people had been doing over and over what they had been busy about during the last week of their unambitious progress.” p. 42. ..........“It was curious to notice in this quaint little fishing-village by the sea, how clearly the gradations of society were defined.” p. 39. .......... “When we came down from the lighthouse and it grew late, we would beg for an hour or two longer on the water, and row away in the twilight far out from land, where , with our faces turned from the light, it seemed as if we were alone, and the sea shoreless, and as the darkness closed round us softly, we watched the stars come out, and were always glad to see Kate’s star and my star, which we had chosen when we were children.” p. 23. .......... “I must tell you a little about the Deephaven burying ground, for its interest was inexhaustible, and I do not know how much time we may have spent in reading the long epitaphs on the grave stones and trying to puzzle out the inscriptions, which were often so old and worn that we could only trace a letter here and there.” p. 36.

“I think today of that fireless, empty, forsaken house, where the winter sun shines in and creeps slowly along the floor, the bitter cold is in and around the house, and the snow has sifted in at every crack; outside it is untrodden by any living creature’s footstep; the wind blows and rushes and shakes the loose window-sashes in their frames, while the padlock knocks—knocks against the door.” p. 124. .......... “Then she went on slowly to end of the chapter, and with her hands clasped together on the Bible she fell into a reverie, and the tears came into our eyes as we watched her look of perfect content: through all her clouded years the promises of God had been her only certainty.” p. 132.

“The thought of Deephaven will always bring to us our long quiet summer days, and reading aloud on the rocks by the sea, the fresh salt air, and the glory of the sunsets, the wail of the Sunday psalm-singing at church, the yellow lichens that grew over the trees, the houses, and the stone walls; our boating and wanderings ashore; our importance as members of society, and how kind every one was to us both.” p. 140. .......... “I wonder if some day Kate Lancaster and I will go down to Deephaven for the sake of old times, and read the epitaphs in the burying ground, look out to sea, and talk quietly about the girls who were so happy there one summer long before.” p. 141.

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