Going To Shrewsbury by Sarah Orne Jewett, 1889
The magic trick:
Leaning into the quaint nature of the plot
We’re off to Maine this week.
Old Mrs. Peet is headed to the big city in today’s story. She’s lived her entire life on a farm in the country but has recently been swindled out of the land by a conniving relative. It was probably a quaint storyline even for its time. In the 21st century, it’s positively the stuff of fairy tales. And that’s nice. It’s a story that leans in to its setting and simpler times vibe. And that’s quite a trick on Jewett’s part.
“Shrewsbury us a busy, pleasant place,” I ventured to say by way of comfort, though my heart was filled with rage at the trickery of Isaiah Peet, who had always looked like a fox and behaved like one.
“Shrewsbury’s be’n held up consid’able for me to smile at,” said the poor old soul, “but I tell ye, dear, it’s hard to go an’ live twenty-two miles from where you’ve always had your home and friends. It may divert me, but it won’t be home. You might as well set out one o’ my old apple-trees on the beach, so ‘t could see the waves come in, –there wouldn’t be no please to it.”
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