A Winter Courtship by Sarah Orne Jewett, 1889
The magic trick:
Gentle, warm ideas
This story won’t challenge you. It won’t be difficult to understand. The symbolism won’t baffle you. The emotions won’t hurt you. It’s sweet and simple. It has a happy ending. It won’t change your life. But it might ever so slightly improve your life the 20 minutes you spend with it.
And that’s quite a trick on Jewett’s part.
And Jefferson felt a strange glow also, and a sense of unexpected interest and enjoyment.
“See here, Sister Tobin,” he exclaimed with enthusiasm. “Why can’t ye take the trouble to shift seats, and come front here long o’ me? We could put one buff’lo top o’ the other, – they’re both wearin’ thin, – and set close, and I do’ know but we sh’d be more protected ag’inst the weather.”
“Well, I could n’t be no colder if I was froze to death,” answered the widow, with an amiable simper. “Don’t ye let me delay you, nor put you out, Mr. Briley. I don’t know’s I’d set forth to-day if I’d known ’t wsa so cold; but I had all my bundles done up, and I ain’t one that puts my hand to the plough an’ looks back, ’cordin’ to Scriptur’.”
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