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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
 
A Modern Instance
William Dean Howells (1837–1920)
 
Modern Instance, A, by William D. Howells (1881). The scene of the story is first laid in a country town in Maine, where Bartley Hubbard, a vain, selfish, unprincipled young man, is editing the local paper. He marries Marcia Gaylord, a handsome, passionate, inexperienced young country girl, and takes her to Boston, where he continues his journalistic career. As time goes on, the incompatibility of the young couple becomes manifest; Marcia’s extreme jealousy, and Hartley’s selfishness and dissipation, causing much unhappiness and contention. The climax is finally reached, when, after a passionate scene, Bartley leaves his wife and child, and is not heard from again for the space of two years. His next appearance is in an Indiana law-court, where he is endeavoring to procure a divorce from Marcia; but his attempt is frustrated through the intervention of her father, Judge Gaylord, who goes to the Western town and succeeds in obtaining a decree in his daughter’s favor. At the end of the story Bartley is shot and killed in a Western brawl, and Marcia is left with her child, dragging out her existence in her native town. Ben Halleck, who is in love with Marcia, figures prominently throughout the book, and the reader is left with the impression that their marriage eventually takes place. If the novel can hardly be called agreeable, it proves Mr. Howells has penetrated very deeply into certain unattractive but characteristic phases of contemporary American life; and the story is told with brilliancy and vigor.  1
 
 
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