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Life and Death of Harriett Frean

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By: (1863-1946)

Harriett Frean is a well-to-do, unmarried woman living a life of meaningless dependency, boredom, and unproductivity as she patiently cares for her aging parents, waiting for a man to marry. When her opportunity for Love finally comes, she is offered a moral dilemma: the man is engaged to her best friend. Should she sacrifice what, according to the priorities of the time, seems like her "one chance for happiness," or should she seize the moment? Can she make something meaningful of her life without significant others? May Sinclair, as always gently ironic in tone, succeeds in skewering the conventions of her society while laying bare the hopeless realities for so many women of the era who were given so few chances really to live. (

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"Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?" "I've been to London, to see the Queen." "Pussycat, Pussycat, what did you there?" "I caught a little mouse under the chair,"

Her mother said it three times. And each time the Baby Harriett laughed. The sound of her laugh was so funny that she laughed again at that; she kept on laughing, with shriller and shriller squeals.

"I wonder why she thinks it's funny," her mother said.

Her father considered it. "I don't know. The cat perhaps. The cat and the Queen. But no; that isn't funny."

"She sees something in it we don't see, bless her," said her mother.

Each kissed her in turn, and the Baby Harriett stopped laughing suddenly.

"Mamma, did Pussycat see the Queen?"

"No," said Mamma. "Just when the Queen was passing the little mouse came out of its hole and ran under the chair... Continue reading book >>

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