The Miller of Silcott Mill

...his habits were calculated to arouse suspicion, which fructifies so abundantly, that the smallest seed dropped upon good ground is quite sufficient to raise up a tree, whose branches will overshadow many good and noble deeds. The fruit of this tree is exceedingly sweet, and gossip fattens upon it.


There are such men in the world, who go through it with so judicious a regard for appearances, and so mindful of the rules prescribed for the regulation of their deportment before society, as to blind it completely with regard to their real character, the grosser elements of which are kept assiduously in the background; well concealed behind the gloss of a superficial elegance and refinement, and held in reserve for the especial benefit of wife, children, and servants, whom they unmercifully subjugate, by the force of their ungovernable selfishness and ill-temper.

This novel by Maria Darrington-Deslonde (1833-1887) caught my eye while browsing the digital shelves of Wright American Fiction. J. C. Derby mentioned her in Fifty Years Among Authors, Books, and Publishers (1884, p. 725):*

MARIA DARRINGTON DESLONDE, of New Orleans, La., and a near relative of General Beauregard, is the author of two excellent novels entitled, respectively, "The Miller of Silcott Mill," and "John Maribel." The former was read in MS. to the late Commodore Vanderbilt, one summer at Saratoga, who became very much interested in the entertaining story, a fact which the wide-awake publisher (Mr. Carleton), became cognizant of, and speedily published the book. The authoress honored me by the dedication of the latter novel.

The source text came from this scan of the 1875 edition. While not free of OCR errors, the digital text was in such unusually good condition overall that I am sure some form of manual cleanup had been involved. Aside from that, I fixed any obvious typographical errors in the original source. Notably, on page 169, I changed "An innovation is really looked upon with favor" to "An innovation is rarely looked upon with favor." On the other hand, I decided to leave "enclose" vs. "inclose" as is.

So here it is: the master HTML version, the home-brew Kindle version, and the actual Amazon publication.

March 25, 2024


[*I took the liberty of correcting the book titles.]

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