The Wide, Wide World

Susan Warner

The Wide, Wide World, by Elizabeth Wetherell

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Title: The Wide, Wide World
Author: Elizabeth Wetherell

Release Date: June 26, 2006 [eBook #18689]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD***
Susan Warner (1849-1885), The Wide Wide World (1850), Tauchnitz edition 1854
Produced by Daniel FROMONT
The Wide, Wide World as seen by The North American Review, January 1853 '¡­Miss Warner¡­ makes her young girl passionate, though amiable, in her temper; fond of admiration, although withheld by innate delicacy from seeking it unduly. She places her in circumstances of peculiar trial to her peculiar traits, and brings her, by careful gradations, to the state of self- governed and stable virtue which fits woman for her great office in the world; a fitness which would be impaired by the sacrifice of a single grace, or the loss of one sentiment of tenderness. To build such a character on any basis other than a religious one, would have been to fix a palace upon the shifting sands . . . Ellen and Fleda are reared, by their truly feminine and natural experiences, into any thing but "strong-minded women," at least if we accept Mr. Dickens's notion of that dreadful order. They are both of velvet softness; of delicate, downcast beauty; of flitting but abundant smiles, and of even too many and ready tears¡­ They live in the affections, as the true woman must; yet they cultivate and prize the understanding, and feel it to be the guardian of goodness, as all wise women should¡­ They are conscious of having a power and place in the world, and they claim it without assumption or affectation, and fill it with a quiet self-respect, not inconsistent with modesty and due humility. Such is the ideal presented, and with such skill that we seem at times to be reading a biography. There is a sweetness in the conception and execution that makes the heart and the temper better as we read. So much for the charm of the books. But, on the other hand, we are compelled to say that such magisterial lovers as Mr. Carleton and John Humphreys are not at all to our taste, nor do we believe they would in actual presence be very fascinating to most young ladies¡­'

COLLECTION
OF
BRITISH AUTHORS.
VOL. CCCVIII.
THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD BY ELIZABETH WETHERELL.
IN ONE VOLUME

THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD.
BY
ELIZABETH WETHERELL.

AUTHOR'S EDITION.

LEIPZIG
BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ
1854.

"Here at the portal thou dost stand,
And with thy little hand
Thou openest the mysterious gate, ¡ª
Into the future's undiscovered land
I see its valves expand,
As at the touch of FATE! ¡ª
Into those realms of Love and Hate."
LONGFELLOW.

THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD.
CHAPTER I.
Breaking the News.
"Mamma, what was that I heard papa saying to you this morning about his lawsuit?"
"I cannot tell you just now. Ellen, pick up that shawl and spread it over me."
"Mamma! ¡ª are you cold in this warm room?"
"A little, ¡ª there, that will do. Now, my daughter, let me be quiet a while ¡ª don't disturb me."
There was no one else in the room. Driven thus to her own resources, Ellen betook herself to the window, and sought amusement there. The prospect without gave little promise of it. Rain was falling, and made the street and everything in it look dull and gloomy. The foot-passengers plashed through the water, and the horses and carriages plashed through the mud; gaiety had forsaken the side-walks, and equipages were few, and the people that were out were plainly there only because they could not help it. But yet Ellen, having seriously set herself to study everything that passed, presently became engaged in her occupation; and her thoughts travelling dreamily from one thing to another, she sat for a long time with her little face pressed against the window-frame, perfectly regardless of all but the moving world without.
Daylight gradually faded away, and the street wore a more and more gloomy aspect. The rain poured, and now only an occasional carriage or footstep disturbed the sound of its steady pattering. Yet still Ellen sat with her face glued to the window as if spell-bound, gazing out at every dusky form that passed, as though it had some strange interest for her. At length, in the distance, light after light began to appear; presently Ellen could see the dim figure of the lamplighter crossing the street, from side to side, with his ladder; then he drew near enough for her to watch him as he hooked his ladder on the lamp-irons, ran up and lit the lamp, then shouldered the ladder and marched
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