NYT Feb 9, 1907 By the Light of the Soul

From New York Times (Feb 9, 1907)


BY THE LIGHT OF THE SOUL. A Novel. By Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. New York and London: Harper & Brothers. $1.50.

The scenes of Mrs. Wilkins Freeman's latest novel are laid in a New Jersey township within what might be called “working distance” of New York City and in a “typical” New England village. The interest centres around Maria Edgham. The story begins with the death of her mother and her father's second marriage to one Ida, a peculiarly beautiful and cold-blooded school teacher. Then a little half sister, Evelyn is born. Evelyn, when still a mere baby, follows a total stranger on board a railroad train and is lost. While Ida stays at home parading her grief Maria, accompanied by one of her girl-friends and a fellow schoolboy named Wollaston Lee, start for New York to find the child.

The child is not to be found, for the relative they are seeking has changed her address. Then comes the “last train” complication. Maria's girl chum remembers that the late train has been taken off the schedule and wildly suggests that the only thing for Maria and Wollaston to do is to get married, as one might say, “right off.” A minister appears, jumps at the suggestion, and marries them without giving young Wollaston a moment in which to explain the true state of affairs or simply inviting the girl to spend the night in his own custody. The minister feels that he has done a singularly commendable deed, while the youngsters find that the last train has not been taken off after all, and Wollaston and Maria — married though not wedded — hate one another. They are both of them under twenty years of age! The ensuing complications are interesting and the story is told with its author's accustomed skill. Mrs. Freeman brings some of her characters vividly before the reader with the skill in detail for which she is noted.