Stillman Gott, Farmer and Fisherman (Edwin Day Sibley, 1902)

Kind of a rambling book, but main plot is this: Small coastal town in Maine. Edward is in love with Elinor, but Elinor’s mother wants her to marry into wealth. Edward has no interest in the family farm and want to be a journalist. Leaves for Boston to start work. A rich summer guest falls in love with Elinor and she agrees to marry him for her mother’s sake. Elinor goes off to New York and realizes that she and this guy will never get along. Breaks engagement. Edward, meanwhile, has parlayed journalism into… anti-corporate espionage? The book lost me at this point, but Edward is now making the princely sum of $2,000 a year and he and Elinor marry.

I didn’t mention Stillman Gott? He’s an old, single farmer (ignore the title — the title lies) who sells his granite quarry for $25,000 which he anonymously bestows upon the town’s unfortunate.

Inscriptions: From the Stratton Public Library. Evidently not a popular title — it was only checked out four times, the last in 1953.

The Kentons (W.D. Howells, 1902)

Ellen Kenton leads on Bittridge and allows him to become a little too personal while he himself has no notion of marriage — or, at least, that’s the way she sees it, always being inclined to blame herself. The Kentons can’t not allow him in the house — they’re far too polite for that — so they leave for New York, and when that fails, for Europe. On the ship, Ellen makes the acquaintance of Breckon. Breckon is a good deal like Bittridge –he’s ingratiating, he’s quick with a joke — but, as Ellen’s mother deems, his chief difference is that he’s underneath it all a good person. Breckon and Ellen fall in love, but she keeps him at arm’s length for the longest time. At last, she realizes she’s not responsible for Bittridge and stops blaming herself. Breckon and Ellen marry.

Inscription: a plate pasted on the inside front cover says that it came from the Limerick Public Library, book #1324.

The Blazed Trail (Stewart Edward White, 1902)

Harry Thorpe, ashamed of his father’s bankruptcy, travels west to become a lumberman in order to make a fortune and rebuild the family name. Through hard work and dedication, he rises quickly from an entry-level position to co-owner of a forest. He’s not without hardship, however, partly at the hands of a rival firm — Morrison & Daly, whom Thorpe has made an enemy of by undermining their illegal logging operation on government land — and partly from Thorpe’s own devotion to the “religion of Success” — a hold-over from his Puritan ancestors who equated failure with sin, and the pursuit of which costs Thorpe his sister and nearly his fiancee. By the end, he learns that there’s more to life than winning every trial and that there’s no shame in accepting help when help is needed.