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Hildegarde's Holiday by Laura E. Richards

Hildegarde's Holiday (1891)

by Laura E. Richards

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Hildegarde Grahame - erstwhile spoiled society girl, whose reformation, during the course of a summer in the country with her mother's former nurse, is chronicled in Queen Hildegarde - returns in this second novel devoted to her adventures. A year has passed since the events of that earlier season, and Hildegarde, together with Rose Chirk - a once crippled young woman, formerly known by the sobriquet 'Pink' (her given name being the rather outlandish Pinkrosia), whom Hildegarde had befriended, together with her younger brother Bubble, during that fateful summer stay in Glenfield - now recovering from the surgery that would allow her to walk once more, embark on another fun-filled summer holiday. Invited to visit Hildegarde's cousin, Miss Wealthy Bond, at her home in Bywood, Maine, on the banks of the beautiful Kennebee River, the two friends pass a pleasant summer - swimming, resting, and keeping fussy, but goodhearted Cousin Wealthy company. Not unexpectedly, opportunities for doing good arise, even on holiday, and Hildegarde and Rose rise to the occasion, helping not just a group of convalescent children in need of some cool refreshment, but Cousin Wealthy herself, who has long been nursing a terrible hurt...

Although I wouldn't say it had quite the same appeal as the initial title, I still found Hildegarde's Holiday to be an immensely engaging story, with plenty of appealing characters and entertaining narrative incidents. Cousin Wealthy herself, so fussy and exact, but so very loving and kindhearted; good Martha, the saintly housekeeper who keeps her aureole hidden (and I love the little aside, when Hildegarde asks her about it, and she thinks her inquisitor is asking about orioles! haha!); the gardener Jeremiah, whom the girls consider a "melancholy prophet;" the reputedly insane old miser, Galusha Pennypacker, who is not so crusty but that kindness can win him over; and Hildegarde and Rose themselves, always eager to learn more, each in her way, each exerting, all unaware, a wholesome pull on those around them. All of these make for pleasant reading, as do the many little subplots - the story of Aunt Caira Pennpacker, and the Queen of Sheba; the tale of Cousin Wealthy's love affair with Victor La Rose; the visit to the sick children at hospital - that make up the whole.

I was struck, in my reading, by how literary these heroines are, always quoting Shakespeare and Marlowe, and passionately discussing Ben Jonson and Sir Walter Scott. I have difficulty imagining sixteen-year-olds of today doing so! And I was likewise struck by the fact that each feels herself in need of more education, keeping little notebooks in which to jot down questions, to be investigated later. This sounds like something I would do! All in all, a sweet addition to the Hildegarde series, one that convinces me that I need to immediately pick up the next, Hildegarde's Home. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Hildegarde Grahame and her good friend Rose Chirk - a former invalid whose ability to walk had been recently restored by surgery - spend their summer with Hildegarde's Cousin Wealthy, at her home in Maine.

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