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Arthur Mervyn

Charles Brockden Brown

Book Overview: 

Arthur Mervyn is the story of a young man from the country who arrives in a city stricken with Yellow Fever. He soon comes down with the illness and is rescued by a kindly doctor. Arthur tells the doctor and his wife the story of his life, thereby gaining the doctor’s confidence and good will. However, others familiar with Arthur tell another tale, and the doctor’s as well as the reader’s confidence in Arthur is shaken. Brown, who himself contracted Yellow Fever during an outbreak in New York City, vividly describes the horrors of the disease and its effects on an early American city.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .By you it will be thought strange, but it is nevertheless true, that I derived from this new prospect not only tranquillity but cheerfulness. I hastened home. As soon as I entered, my landlord informed me that a person had been searching for me in my absence. This was an unexampled incident, and foreboded me no good. I was strongly persuaded that my visitant had been led hither not by friendly but hostile purposes. This persuasion was confirmed by the description of the stranger's guise and demeanour given by my landlord. My fears instantly recognised the image of Watson, the man by whom I had been so eminently benefited, and whose kindness I had compensated by the ruin of his sister and the confusion of his family.

"An interview with this man was less to be endured than to look upon the face of an avenging deity. I was determined to avoid this interview, and, for this end, to execute my fatal purpose within the hour. My papers were collected with a tremulous han. . . Read More