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Tides Of Barnegat
by Francis Hopkinson Smith
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The Tides of Barnegat is a reprint of the classic 1906 seashore novel by F. Hopkinson Smith. In a Victorian style that captures the gentle ebbing and the fierce moods of the ocean along with the moods and personalities of the people living along its shores F. Hopkinson Smith¹s novel will be enjoyed as a rich portrait of its time along the coast. The story may surprise modern readers by a period when morality, secrets, and the protection of a good name at almost all costs were held as a duty by some.
A new Introduction by New Jersey shore historian John Bailey Lloyd explains some of the peculiarities of the novel, as well as keying the reader in to what is below the surface of all the strident virtue strength commingled with human weakness. The Tides of Barnegat is complete reprint, including all 12 original illustrations by George Wright.
The novel follows two sisters, Jane and Lucy Cobden. Jane, the older by ten years, had vowed alongside her father¹s deathbed long before to raise and protect Lucy. When Lucy returns from boarding school in Philadelphia, Jane gives her younger sister all she needs and desires with a caring hand, but does not find in Lucy the same forthright and dutiful character that she possesses. Misled by her love, Jane protects Lucy at the expense of her own life¹s happiness and a marriage to a man who loves her.
In this classic seashore novel, published in 1906, F. Hopkinson Smith captures an innocent time and place, but one in which human desire and weakness are all too familiar to us today. The story involves two sisters, sacrifice, and a web of deception that ultimately unravels - with tragic consequences. Out of print for more than half a century, the text and illustrations are carefully reprinted here in their original form.
³The Tides of Barnegat is a romance spanning a twenty year period from 1854 until 1874, with a highly melodramatic final chapter involving the newly organized U.S. Lifesaving Service in a tragic ship wreck....This scene of high drama comes as the resolution of a tightly constructed novel by a remarkable man.²
from the new Introduction by John Bailey Lloyd
³Writing was, in fact, Smith¹s third career and one he did not begin until he was over fifty. By then, he was not only a very successful engineer but also an acclaimed and popular artist.... Smith believed that anyone who loved art for its own sake should have another career to provide a living and then ³in his evenings and on his Sundays...take down his Aladdin¹s lamp and give it a rub.² His writing career began when he decided to capitalize on his skill as a raconteur and put some of his after dinner stories into print, illustrating them with sketches. When his first novel, ³Colonel Carter of Cartersville,² proved successful, Smith gave up his engineering career and retired to a life of travel, painting and writing in Spain, Italy and Constantinople. He produced a long line of travel books, short story collections and longer works of fiction. He died in New York in 1915. From the new Introduction copyright c. by John Bailey Lloyd
As he approached the old House of Refuge, black in the moonlight and looking twice its size in the stretch of endless beach, he noticed for the hundredth time how like a crouching woman it appeared, with its hipped roof hunched up like a shoulder close propped against the dune and its overhanging eaves but a draped hood shading its thoughtful brow; an illusion which vanished when its square form, with its wide door and long platform pointing to the sea, came into view.
From Chapter XIII - Scootsy¹s Epithet:
Other records are strewn along the beach; these the tide alone cannot efface - the bow of some hapless schooner it may be, wrenched from its hull, and sent whirling shoreword; the shattered mast and crosstrees of a stranded ship beaten to death in the breakers; or some battered capstan carried in the white teeth of the surf-dogs and dropped beyond the froth-line. To these with the help of the south wind, the tides extend their mercy, burying them deep with successive blankets of sand, hiding their bruised bodies, covering their nakedness and the marks of their sufferings. All through the restful summer and late autumn these battered derelicts lie buried, while above their graves the children play and watch the ships go by, or stretch themselves at length, their eyes on the circling gulls.
From Chapter IV - Ann Gossaway¹s Red Cloak:
When she sang she sang as a bird sings, as much to relieve its own overcharged little body, full to bursting with the music in its soul, as to gladden the surrounding woods with its melody because, too, she could not help it and because the notes lay nearest her bubbling heart and could find their only outlet through her lips.
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