The Sutherlands

The darkness in which those old-time hearts were kept, indeed, could not but be favorable to romance, not half so blasting to it as the shadowless, broad noontide of maiden meditation now-a-days. Pull down the bars, let in the sunshine, and the haunting phantoms of fancy are gone; shadows and dimness and dreaminess are their surest strength and safety.


Providentially, the young of the human species wear out their spirits and their enthusiasm inside of the first score of their allotted three, and give their elders a chance to get to their graves in peace. Fancy untold millions of people romping, and tearing, and hallooing through life in school-boy earnest; the earth would be complained of as a nuisance in the planetary system.


Pretty Fanny Birket! How she could have ground her teeth if it wouldn't have interfered with her dimples!


...selfishness is marvellously blind.

Best known for her first novel, Rutledge (1860), which has been described as the first "fully-American Gothic novel," Miriam Coles Harris kept her authorship a secret for several years, even though the book became so popular that others claimed credit for it. J. C. Derby devoted a chapter to Miriam Coles Harris in Fifty Years Among Authors, Books, and Publishers (1884, pp. 568-570).

The Sutherlands (1862) is her second novel, which I came across while browsing the digital shelves of Wright American Fiction. It is set a century earlier, in the Catskills of New York, and is notable for its depiction of slavery at that time. While I admit its anti-abolitionist themes are somewhat troubling, overall the story is well worth reading.

The text is from this scan of the 1871 edition, which is in good condition, and checked against this scan of the original 1862 edition. While I chose to match the content to the earlier edition, the later one adds two notes, which I have preserved.

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

May 10, 2024

ffred's nearly-forgotten treasures