Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

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.
Irene the Missionary
John William De Forest (1826–1906)
Irene the Missionary, by John William De Forest ( 1879) is a pleasant love-story in an Oriental setting, and a very clever study of Americans abroad. Its chief characters are fine, sincere, likable young people; and there are bright descriptions of the novel scenes in which they find their happiness. Irene, a beautiful, imaginative girl, is introduced on her way through the Ægean Sea to Syria, where she is seeking self-support as a missionary. Fresh from a country parsonage and a life of quiet reading, she rejoices in the beauty of her surroundings and their classic associations. Her fellow voyager, Hubertsen De Vries, a handsome and well-born young American, sympathizes with her enthusiasm, and impresses her with his scholarship.  1
  At Beirut, Irene is introduced to a medley of nationalities, and enters upon a busy pleasant life at the missionary station. The beauty and gay colors of the East, its novelty, and simpler, more passionate life, stimulate her emotional nature. She sees a great deal of the commonplace consul, unable to master a foreign tongue, and hungry for American companionship; and of a fierce young doctor, a self-made man, soured in the process, who teaches her Syriac. She continues her friendship with De Vries, to whom the good things of life have always come so easily that he lacks eagerness, and is somewhat slow in discovering whether or not he loves the pretty missionary until the outbreak of war exposes Irene to danger and affords her admirers an opportunity to show their worth.  2

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