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Devil's Ford by Bret Harte, Fiction, Westerns, Historical

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Bret Harte is a fondly remembered western writer who spent only eighteen of his sixty-six years in the American west -- in fact, he went on, in 1878, to get work as an American consul in Germany, and as far as we can tell, never came back to the United States. He died in 1902, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter's Church, in Frimley, Surrey, England. Even so, the Bret Harte is a fondly remembered western writer who spent only eighteen of his sixty-six years in the American west -- in fact, he went on, in 1878, to get work as an American consul in Germany, and as far as we can tell, never came back to the United States. He died in 1902, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter's Church, in Frimley, Surrey, England. Even so, the American west was in his heart, and that was what he wrote about -- as he does here, in Devil's Ford, a novel set in Harte's California, which it speaks to preposterousness in a very Bret-Hartelike way: Kearney, it's decided, will furnish water brought from the Union Ditch, twenty miles away, at a cost of two hundred thousand dollars, to feed a memorial fountain erected by Mattingly, worth a hundred thousand dollars, as a crowning finish to public buildings contributed by Maryland Joe, to the extent of half a million more. The disposition of these vast sums by gentlemen wearing patched breeches awakened no sense of the ludicrous, nor did any doubt, reservation, or contingency enter into the plans of the charming enthusiasts themselves. The foundation of their airy castles lay already before them in the strip of rich alluvium on the riverbank, where the North Fork, sharply curving round the base of Devil's Spur, had for centuries swept the detritus of gulch and canyon.


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Bret Harte is a fondly remembered western writer who spent only eighteen of his sixty-six years in the American west -- in fact, he went on, in 1878, to get work as an American consul in Germany, and as far as we can tell, never came back to the United States. He died in 1902, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter's Church, in Frimley, Surrey, England. Even so, the Bret Harte is a fondly remembered western writer who spent only eighteen of his sixty-six years in the American west -- in fact, he went on, in 1878, to get work as an American consul in Germany, and as far as we can tell, never came back to the United States. He died in 1902, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter's Church, in Frimley, Surrey, England. Even so, the American west was in his heart, and that was what he wrote about -- as he does here, in Devil's Ford, a novel set in Harte's California, which it speaks to preposterousness in a very Bret-Hartelike way: Kearney, it's decided, will furnish water brought from the Union Ditch, twenty miles away, at a cost of two hundred thousand dollars, to feed a memorial fountain erected by Mattingly, worth a hundred thousand dollars, as a crowning finish to public buildings contributed by Maryland Joe, to the extent of half a million more. The disposition of these vast sums by gentlemen wearing patched breeches awakened no sense of the ludicrous, nor did any doubt, reservation, or contingency enter into the plans of the charming enthusiasts themselves. The foundation of their airy castles lay already before them in the strip of rich alluvium on the riverbank, where the North Fork, sharply curving round the base of Devil's Spur, had for centuries swept the detritus of gulch and canyon.

22 review for Devil's Ford by Bret Harte, Fiction, Westerns, Historical

  1. 5 out of 5

    Radhakrishnan

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  3. 5 out of 5

    jake van leeuwen

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  5. 5 out of 5

    D. E.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joel Johnson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yinzadi

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rona Phillip

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Grogan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luís Santa

  12. 4 out of 5

    Forked Radish

  13. 4 out of 5

    James Hepburn

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Robertson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Richard E

  17. 4 out of 5

    ANNE MORTIMER

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hazel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert Trubell

  20. 4 out of 5

    Charles D. Kerber

  21. 5 out of 5

    rick

  22. 5 out of 5

    James Tielke

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