Author: Lily Dougall
Release Date: July 30, 2005 [eBook #16398]
Character set encoding: ISO-646-us (us-ASCII)
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WHAT NECESSITY KNOWS
Author of “Beggars All,” etc
Longmans, Green, and Co.
15 East Sixteenth Street
Typography by J.S. Cushing & Co., Boston.
To my brother
John Redpath Dougall
this book is inscribed
with reverence and affection
One episode of this story may need a word of explanation. It is reported that while the “Millerite” or Adventist excitement of 1843 was agitating certain parts of North America, in one place at least a little band of white-robed people ascended a hill in sure expectation of the Second Advent, and patiently returned to be the laughing stock of their neighbours. This tradition, as I heard it in my childhood, was repeated as if it embodied nothing but eccentricity and absurdity, yet it naturally struck a child’s mind with peculiar feelings of awe and pathos. Such an event appeared picturesque matter for a story. It was not easy to deal with; for in setting it, as was necessary, in close relation to the gain-getting, marrying and giving in marriage, of the people among whom it might occur, it was difficult to avoid either giving it a poetic emphasis which it would not appear to have in reality or degrading it by that superficial truth often called realism, which belittles men. Any unworthiness in the working out of the incident is due, not so much to lack of dignity in the subject, or to lack of material, as to the limitations of the writer’s capacity.
Lest any of my countrymen should feel that this story is wanting in sympathy with them, I may point out that it does not happen to deal with Canadians proper, but with immigrants, most of whom are slow to identify themselves with their adopted Country; hence their point of view is here necessarily set forth.
I would take this opportunity to express my obligation to my fellow-worker, Miss M.S. Earp, for her constant and sympathetic criticism and help in composition.