Basic summary: Romance story; Rachel Meadowes and Archy (Captain Barris) are in love. Archy shows up to meet her father who disapproves of him because he drinks alcohol and they have opposing political views. After dinner Rachel tells Archy they can't marry. In his sadness, he leaves and decides to go to his rented room and write her a letter. The weather blows up a cyclone just as he sees the figure of Rachel ahead of him. He rushes to her and shields her body against a tree, begging her to hold on.
When the storm passes, Archy realizes it was not Rachel but her young stepmother who is the same shape and size as his beloved. He sees her home and when Meadowes sees she is safe, Archy admits he thought he was saving Rachel. His truthfulness wins the man over, and Meadowes finds him suitable to marry his daughter, even if he does drink a little.
Discussion of temperance, Puritans, John Brown (Meadowes admires him so that he names one of his sons Ossawatomie). Even though both men admire Brown, Meadowes finds him faultless while Barris feels he made mistakes at Harper's Ferry (the death of innocent civilians). So, they weren't completely opposites on issues like abolition.
About this project:
I've been saying since 2004 that I was going to write a critical biography of Octave Thanet (Alice French). This blog is the start of that work and will include notes, links to research, and other OT related tidbits.