Village Life in America 1852-1872

Author :Caroline Cowles Richards

Category : Home

ISBN No :

Language :English

Formats: ePub



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The diary of Caroline Cowles Richards, who along with her sister Anna, was sent to the home of their mother's parents in Canandagua, New York following her death. There they were brought up in the simplicity and sweetness of a refined household, amid Puritan traditions. Whatever there was of gracious formality in the manners of aristocratic people of the period, came to them as their birthright, while the spirit of the truest democracy pervaded their home. Of this Diary it is not too much to say that it is a revelation of childhood in ideal conditions.

The Diary of Caroline Cowles Richards fell into my hands, so to speak, out of space. I had no previous acquaintance with the author, and I sat down to read the book one evening in no especial mood of anticipation. From the first page to the last my attention was riveted. To call it fascinating barely expresses the quality of the charm. Caroline Richards and her sister Anna, having early lost their mother, were sent to the home of her parents in Canandaigua, New York, where they were brought up in the simplicity and sweetness of a refined household, amid Puritan traditions. The children were allowed to grow as plants do, absorbing vitality from the atmosphere around them. Whatever there was of gracious formality in the manners of aristocratic people of the period, came to them as their birthright, while the spirit of the truest democracy pervaded their home. Of this Diary it is not too much to say that it is a revelation of childhood in ideal conditions.

The Diary begins in 1852, and is continued until 1872. Those of us who lived in the latter half of the nineteenth century recall the swift transitions, the rapid march of science and various changes in social customs, and as we meet allusions to these in the leaves of the girl's Diary we live our past over again with peculiar pleasure.

Far more has been told us concerning the South during the Civil War than concerning the North. Fiction has found the North a less romantic field, and the South has been chosen as the background of many a stirring novel, while only here and there has an author been found who has known the deep-hearted loyalty of the Northern States and woven the story into narrative form. The girl who grew up in Canandaigua was intensely patriotic, and from day to day vividly chronicled what she saw, felt, and heard. Her Diary is a faithful record of impressions of that stormy time in which the nation underwent a baptism of fire. The realism of her paragraphs is unsurpassed.

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