Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

Many people read drafts of my introduction to Two Men, and I am grateful to them for their feedback and support: Sherry Harris, Karen Dandurand, Simon Joyce, Liz Barnes, Melanie Dawson, and Elizabeth Stockton. Elizabeth's passion for Stoddard and her work is absolutely infectious...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-lvii

As she began work on her first novel in May 1860, Elizabeth Stoddard presented James Russell Lowell, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, with a starkly honest assessment of herself as an artist. After having been warned by Lowell that she had a dangerous tendency to go too "near the edge" in her writing, she asked him, "Do I disturb your artistic sense by my want of refinement?"...

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A Note on the Text

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p. lix

The present text of Elizabeth Stoddard's Two Men is based on the first edition of the novel, published in October 1865 by Bunce and Huntington. Silent changes in punctuation were made in a handful of places throughout the text, but only in those places when there is a sense that some sort of printer's error had been made. ...

Two Men

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Chapter I

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pp. 1-6

When Jason Auster married Sarah Parke he was twenty years old, and a house-carpenter. As he was not of age, he made some agreement with a hard father by which liberty was gained, and a year's wages lost. ...

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Chapter II

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pp. 7-10

Squire Parke had had two wives and two children. They were dead. His first wife gave birth to a son in the second year of his marriage, and died shortly afterwards. In a year from the time of her death he married another wife, who bore him a daughter, and lived till three years before Jason's arrival in Crest. ...

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Chapter III

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pp. 11-19

When Jason saw Sarah's executive ability as the mistress and manager of her grandfather's establishment, in doors and out, and comprehended the absolute position of the Squire, he felt the impotence of his crude ideas, and his individual isolation. ...

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Chapter IV

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pp. 20-34

The Squire left no will. Sarah informed Jason of the fact when she felt obliged to call upon him for aid; until she did he asked no question concerning the property, — then he assumed the whole control of it. He was months in mastering its details. ...

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Chapter V

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pp. 35-41

Just before Osmond's visit, Jason, at Sarah's request, drew a plan for the alteration and improvement of the old house; she approved it, and he made a contract with John Davis to do the work. But after Osmond's departure she informed Jason that she had changed her mind, and thought the house was well enough as it was. ...

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Chapter VI

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pp. 42-50

"The snow-flowers shake with the cold," said Elsa, "and the apple-blossoms are all of a diddler this afternoon. It's more like fall than spring, and here we are on the edge of summer." "Have you been out?" inquired Sarah, looking at her watch. ...

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Chapter VII

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pp. 51-57

Either the rain chilled Philippa, or her reception at home, for she began to feel ill in a few days after her return. Shading her eyes from the light, she crept listlessly from room to room, disinclined to speak, eat, or sleep. Else declaring that she was as yellow as saffron, thought her suffering from one of her old attacks...

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Chapter VIII

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pp. 58-63

The name of Theresa Bond appeared often in the reminiscences of Philippa's school life with which she sometimes entertained Parke. When she showed him the daguerreotype of her friend—a splendid handsome girl—he suggested that she should be invited to Crest. ...

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Chapter IX

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pp. 64-70

It was a merry, restless life which prevailed now. Something new was taking place—a different development—and all because Theresa Bond was paying a visit of a few weeks to several people who interested her. They were alive with life, and did not know it—that was her opinion. ...

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Chapter X

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pp. 71-79

"Where does the wind come from?" Theresa asked. "It makes no flurry, yet its force keeps the water flat." "When it blows from the north at this time of year," said Jason, "it blows strong; but we shall have no flaws with it." Philippa looked up at him reassured. ...

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Chapter XI

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pp. 80-82

Philippa's life, though apparently so pale and cold, in contrast with the blooming richness of Theresa's, increased its silent forces. Theresa's regnancy, instead of subduing Philippa's expectations and intentions, developed them. She waited for a favorable moment to reveal them. ...

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Chapter XII

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pp. 83-91

It was the summer of a Presidential campaign, and stump orators were going over the country. The celebrated Pisgah Spring, Member of Congress from the Fourth District, was invited to make a speech at Millville, the central village in the county, but so much scattered itself that it consisted merely of four corners, on one of which stood a large, dilapidated meeting-house...

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Chapter XIII

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pp. 92-95

As the time for Theresa's departure drew near, she felt impatient to be gone. Separation was the test she thought best to apply to the relation between herself and Parke. Had she been sure of his feelings, she could have explained her own; but there was such a mixture of impetuosity and coolness, so much abandon at one moment...

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Chapter XIV

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pp. 96-101

Some caprice determining Sarah to refurnish the house, she asked Parke to accompany her on a journey. She desired him to recollect how many years the furniture had lasted, and hoped that what she intended to buy would last as long. ...

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Chapter XV

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pp. 102-108

Parke was, and always had been, intimate with Sam Rogers, and until the house was in order Sam stayed at home and received visits from him, and saw but little of Philippa. The Squire's mahogany sideboard, his spider-legged tables, looking-glasses in carved frames, chests of drawers, and high-post bedsteads, were removed to the garret, and left to cobwebs. ...

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Chapter XVI

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pp. 109-119

The house in the order she destined it to be, Parke settled at home, looking forward to no change—what remained for Sarah but repose? A thorn grew in her spirit, which rendered nugatory her well-earned content. ...

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Chapter XVII

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pp. 121-127

Sam Rogers was aware of the state of Mr. Ritchings. They met often at Jason's, and he was the only one of the coterie whom Mr. Ritchings neglected—the one who alone could have given him an insight into the real life of the family. He called him "the whaler," and "your awkward friend," and "the nautical man," ...

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Chapter XVIII

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pp. 128-131

The Langs made no second appearance at the cotillon parties. At the next Parke zealously danced with the prettiest girls in the room till ten o' clock, when he disappeared, and returned in the space of an hour, remarking, to those standing near the entrance, that he had been taking the air and a cigar. ...

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Chapter XIX

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pp. 132-138

To keep up with the improvements in Crest made in his absence, Sam Rogers, with an ivory cane, made occasional excursions about the town and suburbs. Crossing a field, one gray December afternoon, to shorten the distance to an unfrequented road which he wished to gain, he saw a pair of horses which he knew...

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Chapter XX

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pp. 139-142

Though Mrs. Rogers delayed tea on Friday evening on Parke's account, he did not arrive till the feast was in débris, and the company withdrawn from the tea-table to the parlor. He had been out with his horses, he said, too late, though the weather was excuse enough for driving that afternoon, so mild and soft for a winter's day. ...

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Chapter XXI

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pp. 143-150

The winter passed. No shock or jar deranged the machinery which society keeps in running order, and which sometimes runs over society, crushing, tearing, mutilating it. Even Sam Rogers nodded in the vicinity of its wheels, and Parke trifled with its cogs and springs, playing a desperate game, to test it. ...

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Chapter XXII

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pp. 151-159

Elsa was looking for clothes-pins that had strayed in the greensward at the upper end of the orchard, the next morning, when she saw Mrs. Rogers nodding to her to come up to the fence, the boundary between the road where she was walking and the orchard. ...

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Chapter XXIII

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pp. 160-166

Within sight of the Hesper's sails, as she bore down the bay next morning, Philippa started on a walk, in the hope of finding something on the earth, or in the air, to culminate or dissipate her mood. Charlotte Lang also wandered forth aimlessly, and they met in a cross-road, beyond the town, which was bordered on both sides by a thicket...

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Chapter XXIV

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pp. 167-174

A cool note from Parke announced to Mr. Ritchings his wedding-day, and engaged him to perform the ceremony in his study, on a certain evening. When he received the application which from his position he could not refuse, he fell into a revery, which was ended by his taking his hat, walking over to Jason's and asking for Philippa. ...

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Chapter XXV

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pp. 175-178

The nervous fever changed to a fatal disease which consumed Sarah slowly. Silent and passive as she lay in her darkened chamber, the pulse of household life was still subordinate to her influence; its ways depended on her condition from hour to hour; for the first time it tacitly owned a common individuality, of which she was the centre. ...

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Chapter XXVI

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pp. 179-184

Several neighbors remained in the house after the procession left, to restore the rooms to order, and prepare supper against the return from the grave. One of them, crossing from one parlor to the other, saw a stranger standing on the steps before the open door. ...

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Chapter XXVII

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pp. 185-190

Parke saw by another bed of death, dull and exhausted. He listened to Mrs. Lang's reproaches, Clarice's accusations, and Charlotte's dying sighs, with a stupid composure. Before sunrise he looked upon the face of his dead mistress, with her dead child beside her. ...

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Chapter XXVIII

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pp. 191-195

Link by link the family chain was parting. For a few weeks Elsa transacted domestic affairs as if under the supervision of Sarah. Jason resumed his out-of-doors life, and Parke went hither and thither, driving with Osmond, playing piano, and skimming books. ...

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Chapter XXIX

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pp. 196-203

..."Think well of it;—a life of adventure once begun never ends, except by the casualties incident to it, which are many. You have something—a great deal—to keep you here; you are your own master. I was not when I left Crest; not until I put this ancient town far behind me did I know what it was to belong to myself. ...

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Chapter XXX

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pp. 204-212

Parke went to see Elsa next, and for the sake of reflection, perhaps, walked to her house, a distance of three miles. She saw him coming up the lane, threshing the thistles with a cane, and kicking the loose pebbles down the gullies. ...

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Chapter XXXI

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pp. 213-217

Taste and color were wanting in the details of family life which were now mechanically performed by Philippa and Mary. Excepting these, each day was a disintegration, and every person went apart to enjoy or suffer an existence which appeared to depend upon itself merely. ...

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Chapter XXXII

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pp. 218-227

Philippa, with her chin on the sill, was looking out of the parlor window one morning at the black stalks protruding from patches of ice, and the brown birds that hooped in the fir-branches, or ran over the snow with alert dipping motions, and thinking that she should be sorry when the winter was over. ...

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Chapter XXXIII

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pp. 228-234

"It is most time," said Mary, as she was taking up the ashes int he parlor fireplace, "to be thinking of pine boughs for the jambs, instead of live coals." "Pine boughs," echoed Jason, with a dreamy stare at the ashes, "we won't have any." ...

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Chapter XXXIV

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pp. 235-242

Philippa wrote Theresa Bond, and begged her to come to Crest. Though the letter merely outlined the events of the past year, omitting all mention of Jason, Theresa read it with an impression that it had been dictated by stronger feelings than she had given Philippa credit for possessing. ...

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Chapter XXXV

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pp. 243-249

Elsa stipulated for a week; it came to a close before Philippa heard from home; then some unexpected news was brought from the shore by Clapp, who had gone thither for some stores. As he heard it, he said, he would tell them, but couldn't say whether the particulars were just so. ...

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Chapter XXXVI

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pp. 250-254

A few hours of complete solitude, or this trifling effort of will, placed Jason on the road to recovery. But convalescence has its pangs, and it was some days before he left his chamber. In that period the anniversary of Sarah's death occurred. It was passed by him in gloomy silence. ...

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Chapter XXXVII

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pp. 255-258

Consideration for Philippa induced Jason to write a note to Mr. Ritchings to inform him that he was going on a tour to the West for his health. He also told Mrs. Rogers, who significantly remarked that his plan was a very good one. In a day or two he was gone, without sounding a not of preparation, with no leave-taking, no instructions...

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Chapter XXXVIII

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pp. 259-261

When Philippa's prospect was limited to the Scotch firs in the yard, and the curtains of Indian chintz before the parlor windows, Parke's extended over the savanna of Apure,89 where the grasses, verdant through the year, were more beautiful than the flower-beds of the terrace at Crest. ...

Notes

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pp. 263-270