Mildred Keith, a Girl

By: Justin Vander Ploeg

Mildred Keith is about a sixteen year old girl who experiences many changes in her life. In the spring of the 1830's, the Keith family, who are currently at the time, residing in Lansdale, Ohio, is a happy family. But when lawyer Stuart Keith decides to move to unsettled Indiana, where there won't be as much business competition, some are happy, the rest are devastated. After weeks of preparation, a long journey on stage and boat, the Keith family along with their Aunt Wealthy Stanhope arrived in the small riverside town of Pleasant Plains.

Pleasant Plains, though the residents were proud of it, was quite a disappointment after Lansdale. Though small, and not very aristocratic, it had the thing that Mr. Keith had hoped for: no lawyer suites. As a proper home for them had not yet been prepared, the Keiths stayed in the only hotel for a night, and moved into their house in the morning. Even though they were thankful to be in a house of their own, there was still much to be desired. Later they moved into another house that was better then the last, but even that house left much to be desired, so they made plans for a house suitable for them to be built. But, it would be providence if they started next spring.

Meanwhile, the beautiful Mildred is being sought after by all kinds of men residents. From haughty Nicholas Ransquattle, who is sure his marriage proposal will be joyfully accepted, to Gotobed Lightcap, who can barely speak to her, and is sure the other men will get ahead of him, to Timothy Buzzard the music teacher, who is paying special attention to her, to Wallace Ormbsy, the apprentice to Mr. Keith, who is able to get ahead of the rest of them by his close connection to the family. Mildred receives marriage proposals from Nick, whose hopes she has no trouble dashing, and Gotobed, to whom she politely informs in a letter, that she has no love for him, and she could not live without love. Mildred also met many men on the boat who wished to become her wife. Then, on the 4th of July, Gotobed Lightcap is shot in the hands, and both have to come off. Mildred is able to show her little care for him by staying with him during the operation. This shows that though she could not marry any of the suitors, she still had some affection for them.

Aunt Wealthy decides to return to home, and directly afterward their young cousin Horace Dinsmore arrives for a visit. There he confesses to Mrs. Keith that is a father! While he was away at school he met a lovely orphan girl named Elsie Grayson, and they were married shortly afterward. But when his father and her guardian discover their marriage they are furious and separate them. Later Elsie gives birth to a baby girl, and dies a week afterward. But, while Horace was away from his wife, his mind was poisoned against her, and he becomes ashamed of her and soon doesn't even care about his motherless daughter. Mrs. Keith advises him to return to his daughter and care for her, but doesn't heed her advice.

After Horace leaves the ague sickness that is so common strikes the town especially the Keiths. Baby Annis, Fan, Don, Cyril, Zillah, and the father fall sick, and it's all Rupert, Ada, Mildred, Mrs. Keith, and their servant can do to take care of them. Then their servant is called away, Rupert and Mrs. Keith fall ill, and the Doctor can't come. But when they are deepest in despair, they are helped by three friends: the minister named Mr. Lord, Damiris Drybead, whom Mildred never liked, and Wallace Ormbsy. In a fortnight they are all recovered, and thank their friends for their help.

Through hard and sometimes even devastating times, the Keiths belief in God never faltered. They trusted him to take of them, even when it seemed they could never be helped. Therefore, Mildred Keith is a book Christians should read, if they are having a difficult time trusting in God.

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