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For the Fourth Time of Asking
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Gay, a Story
K Cummings Pipes
Christ Church, San Pancras, Albany Street
The Woman Novelist as Theologian
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smallcoverPenRoberts1895.JPG
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1895

"Pen has the peculiar charm and pathos of the earlier books, with quite as much interest.  It is thoroughly wholesome and sweet in its tone, a book to put in the hands of young people, or old ones either, for that matter."—Living Church.  From the publisher's (Robert's Brothers, 1895) advertisement at the back of Pen.

 

"Told with such sweetness and simplicity that it evokes a genuine interest."—Commercial Advertiser.  from advertisement by Little, Brown and Company 1903, at the back of Lassie.

 

"It breathes a pure and wholesome spirit, and is treated in a wholly artistic and sympathetic manner.  In every respect, it is one of the most charming of recent fictions."—Post, BostonFrom the publisher's (Robert's Brothers, 1891) advertisement at the back of Lil.

 

This title is available as a reprint of the 1888 edition by Roberts Brothers, Boston. Click Links on the navigation  bar for Kessinger Publishing.

Pen (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1888) digitized by Google.

My Synopsis:

 

Pen is a story two pairs of sisters: 

  1. Pen and Tre the young sisters whose mother's death opens the book and
  2. their  mother (who married unwisely) and her sister (who never married.) 

Their aunt tries and fails to take custody after her sister's death.  Pen and Tre are left to the care of their father, an alcoholic and an unsuccessful artist. 

 

Sandy, a family friend, manages to hold the family together.  Sandy is an example of the man who does not quite fit—he is physically large, he is undervalued by his family, he is not a gentleman or rather he is a gentleman who chooses not to live as one. 

 

Pen makes a valiant effort to assume the role as "mother" of the house.  A deteriorating home situation causes Sandy to propose marriage to the much younger Pen as a way to rescue the young girls.  The drunken father appeals to his despised in-laws and the girls go to live with their aunt.  Time passes. 

 

Like many Evelyn Whitaker stories, this is a story about loyalty and honoring promises, keeping faith.

 

This book is an exceptional portrait of the effects of alcoholism on the family.

 

The end sees the happy promise of marriage for all.

Evelyn Whitaker Library is a physical archive of print materials concerning a late Victorian author. This website is a digital exhibition of that archive. It is also the place where I publish the results of my research into the life and writings of Evelyn Whitaker.
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