Friday, March 1, 2013

The Romance of An Old Fool
by Roswell Martin Field  -  1902
158 pages
genre  -  General Fiction
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars
Mr. John Stanhope describes himself: he was 'dangerously over forty, and my hair...was conspicuously gray in spots, my figure was good...I was still in a position to be in the matrimonial running if I tried".   John's estranged wife has been dead for a while now, and he's starting to think he might be lonely.  So John covertly looks around at the single ladies in the area. 

Which leads me to my favorite line in the story: "...the sixth [eligible lady] perished miserably after returning to me one of my most cherished books with the leaves dog-eared and  the binding cracked. For I hold with the greatest philosophers that she who maltreats a book will never make a good wife."

In an effort to avoid a card party, John goes out of town. He decides to visit the village where he grew up. He wanders around the area remembering people, places and events of his childhood. Most of all John reflects on his first love, Sylvia. He goes to Sylvia's old home and finds her older sister living there with Sylvia's orphaned daughter, Phyllis. There begins the romance.

This long novella is written in first person, so John is telling his own tale. The first three paragraphs are tedious and a bit confusing, but if you'll push on through them, the story begins to pick up and make sense.  There are three other reviews right now on Amazon, two with 4 stars and the other with just 1 star.

I'm still pondering the title. Why does John call himself an 'old fool'? Everyone deserves love, and at anytime in their lives. I don't think John can be blamed for trying to find affection and companionship.

About the author  -
Born and raised in Vermont, Roswell Martin Field became a well-respected lawyer early on in life. In 1825, at the age of 18, he was admitted to the bar in Vermont. Moving to St. Louis in 1839, his early practice dealt largely with land claims.  Roswell Field's greatest achievement is arguably his defense of Dred Scott, the enslaved man whose freedom case Field took on in the early 1850s.  This case would be noticed by a unknown lawyer in Illinois named Abraham Lincoln who would use it in his 1860 Presidential platform.

1 comment:

  1. I love the quote you put as your 'favorite' line of the book. It's great! This book also intrigues me.