Aunt Jane Of Kentucky

Aunt Jane Of Kentucky

Eliza Calvert Hall
With a foreword by Bonnie Jean Cox
Illustrations by Beulah Strong
Copyright Date: 1907
Pages: 304
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Aunt Jane Of Kentucky
    Book Description:

    This collection of short stories about the fictional quiltmaker Aunt Jane Parish was originally published in 1907 by Caroline Obenchain (who published under the name of Eliza Calvert Hall). Known for her gentle folk wisdom, Aunt Jane vividly describes a picturesque way of life in the rural South of the nineteenth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5744-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xx)

    When a writer has been both critically and popularly neglected for more than sixty years, it is fair to ask why she merits a reexamination and why her most famous work deserves reprinting. The reason for the neglect of Eliza Obenchain, who wrote under the name Eliza Calvert Hall, is not specific to her or her work; rather, it is a part of the larger neglect of serious critical attention to women’s regional and domestic fiction that prevailed until quite recently. That such neglect has begun to be remedied as scholars broaden the definition of what is canonical has brought...

    (pp. 1-28)

    “COME right in and set down. I was jest wishin’ I had somebody to talk to. Take that chair right by the door so’s you can get the breeze.”

    And Aunt Jane beamed at me over her silver-rimmed spectacles and hitched her own chair a little to one side, in order to give me the full benefit of the wind that was blowing softly through the white-curtained window, and carrying into the room the heavenliest odors from a field of clover that lay in full bloom just across the road. For it was June in Kentucky, and clover and blue-grass...

    (pp. 29-52)

    “GITTIN’ a new organ is a mighty different thing nowadays from what it was when I was young,” said Aunt Jane judicially, as she lifted a panful of yellow harvest apples from the table and began to peel them for dumplings.

    Potatoes, peas, and asparagus were bubbling on the stove, and the dumplings were in honor of the invited guest, who had begged the privilege of staying in the kitchen awhile. Aunt Jane was one of those rare housekeepers whose kitchens are more attractive than the parlors of other people.

    “And gittin’ religion is different, too,” she continued, propping her...

    (pp. 53-82)

    THEY were a bizarre mass of color on the sweet spring landscape, those patchwork quilts, swaying in a long line under the elms and maples. The old orchard made a blossoming background for them, and farther off on the horizon rose the beauty of fresh verdure and purple mist on those low hills, or “knobs,” that are to the heart of the Kentuckian as the Alps to the Swiss or the sea to the sailor.

    I opened the gate softly and paused for a moment between the blossoming lilacs that grew on each side of the path. The fragrance of...

    (pp. 83-104)

    I WALKED slowly down the “big road” that Sunday afternoon—slowly, as befitted the scene and the season; for who would hurry over the path that summer has prepared for the feet of earth’s tired pilgrims? It was the middle of June, and Nature lay a vision of beauty in her vesture of flowers, leaves, and blossoming grasses. The sandy road was a pleasant walking-place; and if one tired of that, the short, thick grass on either side held a fairy path fragrant with pennyroyal, that most virtuous of herbs. A tall hedge of Osage orange bordered each side of...

    (pp. 105-140)

    IT was the last Monday in May, and a steady stream of wagons, carriages, and horseback riders had been pouring into town over the smooth, graveled pike.

    Aunt Jane stood on her front porch, looking around and above with evident delight. This was her gala Monday; and if any thoughts of the County Court days of happier years were in her mind, they were not permitted to mar her enjoyment of the present. There were no waters of Marah near her spring of remembrance.

    “Clear as a whistle!” she exclaimed, peering through the tendrils of a Virginia creeper at the...

    (pp. 141-168)

    “THERE’S a heap o’ reasons for folks marryin’,” said Aunt Jane, reflectively. “Some marries for love, some for money, some for a home; some marries jest to spite somebody else, and some, it looks like, marries for nothin’ on earth but to have somebody always around to quarrel with about religion. That’s the way it was with Marthy and Amos Matthews. I don’t reckon you ever heard o’ Marthy and Amos, did you, child? It’s been many a year since I thought of ’em myself. But last Sunday evenin’ I was over at Elnora Simpson’s, and old Uncle Sam Simpson...

    (pp. 169-192)

    “THERE’S one thing I’d like mighty well to see again before I die,” said Aunt Jane, “and that is a good, old-fashioned fair. The apostle says we must ‘pressforward, forgetting the things that are behind,’ but there’s some things I’ve left behind that I can’t never forget, and the fairs we had in my day is one of ’em.”

    It was the quietest hour of an August afternoon—that time when one seems to have reached “the land where it is always afternoon”—and Aunt Jane and I were sitting on the back porch, shelling butter-beans for the next day’s...

    (pp. 193-246)

    “WELL!” exclaimed Aunt Jane, as she surveyed her dinner-table, “looks like Mary Andrews’ dinner-party, don’t it? However, there’s a plenty of it such as it is, and good enough what there is of it, as the old man said; so set down, child, and help yourself.”

    A loaf of Aunt Jane’s salt-rising bread, a plate of golden butter, a pitcher of Jersey milk, and a bowl of honey in the comb,—who would ask for more? And as I sat down I blessed the friendly rain that had kept me from going home.

    “But who was Mary Andrews? and what...

    (pp. 247-284)

    EACH of us has his own way of classifying humanity. To me, as a child, men and women fell naturally into two great divisions: those who had gardens and those who had only houses.

    Brick walls and pavements hemmed me in and robbed me of one of my birthrights; and to the fancy of childhood a garden was a paradise, and the people who had gardens were happy Adams and Eves walking in a golden mist of sunshine and showers, with green leaves and blue sky overhead, and blossoms springing at, their feet; while those others, dispossessed of life’s springs,...