heart a plant called Reverence, which needed to be watered about once a week.”
It was on yet deeper questions that his three novels, well characterized by an elderly lady as his “medicated novels,” all turned in different degrees.
The first of these, “Elsie Venner
,” achieved a permanent fame both as a picture of New England
life and as a scientific study.
How widely either has achieved that popular recognition which is so poor a test of literary work cannot now be told.
It is known that in one country town of New England
, the local bookseller, on being asked if he had any of Dr. Holmes
's novels, replied that he had never heard of him or them, but that Mrs. Mary Jane Holmes
had written lovely books and that he had some of those.
He himself would have enjoyed this joke, for he says with his accustomed cheerfulness, “The highways of literature are spread over with shells of dead novels, each of which the age has swallowed up at a mouthful and done with.”
He certainly cannot be charged with neglecting among these abstract speculations the essential qualities of conscience or even of religious