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Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 234

Sawyer, marries a farmer who has ague at the altar; spends her honeymoon partly in a lunatic asylum as guest not inmate; and later has a child which so much occupies her mistress that the master of the house hires another child to amuse himself with. The household which Pomona adorns is joyfully mad. Part of the time it inhabits a canal boat. Later it lets its house so that master and mistress can have the fun of tenting on the estate, though after a little they become bored and take refuge in their own house, which is that same day deserted by the pair which has leased it but now prefers to live in the tent, which they have discovered without knowing to whom it belongs. Still later the Rudder Grangers find a deserted tavern in which they take immense delight, disturbed only by travelers who insist on being entertained there. To the outward eye the novel resembles realism. The characters look real, they speak like beings who are real enough. But their adventures are the adventures of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera—one rollicking confusion which, so popular did it prove, had later to be continued in The Rudder Grangers Abroad (1891) and Pomona’s Travels (1894).
  Stockton’s fancy found the short story peculiarly congenial, and the dilemma he invented for his brief tale The Lady or the Tiger? (1882) won him his largest single applause. On the whole, however, his masterpiece was The Casting Away of Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine (1886), which also had a sequel, The Dusantes (1888). The dauntless Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine come, like Pomona, from reality, from two middle-aged women who knew too little of the world outside of their village ever



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