The Lady of The Aroostook is a novel written by William Dean Howells in 1879. It was published in Cambridge, Massachusetts by H. O. Houghton and Company. PLOT: The story begins in South Bradfield, Massachusetts, with the main character, Lydia Blood, accompanied by her Aunt Maria and her grandfather Deacon Latham on their family farm. Both of Lydia's parents had died of illness when Lydia was young and she is now, at the age of nineteen, being sent to live with her other aunt, on her father's side of the family, Aunt Josephine, in Venice, Italy. Lydia was not only blessed with good looks and good smarts, but she also was blessed with a beautiful singing voice which she is going to cultivate in Venice and attempt to make a career out of. Her Aunt Josephine wrote to her grandfather suggesting that Lydia should come to Venice to live with her. She also suggested that he should go to Boston to find a ship to bring Lydia to Europe, which is how he found Captain Jenness and the Aroostook. Lydia and her grandfather travel to Boston where the Aroostook, a large and beautiful ship, awaits to take Lydia and several other passengers to Trieste. While looking for the wharf that the Aroostook is anchored at, Lydia and her grandfather become lost and decide to rest for a minute. During their rest they encounter two men who ask if Lydia is all right because she looks very pale and distraught. Her grandfather ensures the men that she is just tired from traveling and they leave. Lydia is angered that they would ask this question because she felt that they did not have the right to ask such a question. Finally the captain of the Aroostook, Captain Jenness, finds Lydia and her grandfather and shows them to the ship. Captain Jenness is a warm and confident man and he assures Lydia that she will be right at home on the Aroostook being that he has two daughters of his own who travel with him quite a lot. Lydia leaves her grandfather and boards the ship. Her room is the stateroom on the ship, the largest and most elegant room that Captain Jenness had designed for his wife.
Excerpt from The Lady of the Aroostook
In the best room of a farm-house on the skirts of a village in the hills of Northern Massachusetts, there sat one morning in August three people who were not strangers to the house, but who had apparently assembled in the parlor as the place most in accord with an unaccustomed finery in their dress. One was an elderly woman with a plain, honest face, as kindly in expression as she could be perfectly sure she felt, and no more; she rocked herself softly in the haircloth arm-chair, and addressed as father the old man who sat at one end of the table between the windows, and drubbed noiselessly upon it with his stubbed fingers, while his lips, puckered to a whistle, emitted no sound. His face had that distinctly fresh-shaven effect which once a week is the advantage of shaving no oftener: here and there, in the deeper wrinkles, a frosty stubble had escaped the razor.