Mildred's Married Life
'Mildred's Married Life' Summary
Mildred Keith is the oldest child in the Keith family, who move from Lansdale, Ohio to the frontier town of Pleasant Plains, Indiana. The family faces various challenges settling into their new home, including an exceptionally bad malaria season. Mildred does not contract malaria, but wears herself out nursing her family. In hopes of improving her health, she goes to spend a year with her relatives, the Dinsmore family, on their Southern plantation, Roselands. During this time she accompanies her uncle, Arthur Dinsmore, Sr. on a trip to Viamede plantation to bring his little granddaughter Elsie to live at Roselands. Mildred also meets and falls in love with Charlie Landreth, but rejects his proposal of marriage on the grounds that as a Christian she cannot marry someone who is an unbeliever. She returns to the North, but continues to correspond with Mr. Landreth for a time and remains hopeful that he will someday become a Christian and they will be able to marry.
Back in Pleasant Plains, Mildred puts all her heart into serving her family and neighbors. She receives the gift of a piano, and begins giving lessons to many local young ladies, partly as a source of income. Mildred's sister Zillah marries Wallace Ormsby, a young man whom their father has taken as a partner in his law firm, and who previously wanted to marry Mildred herself. The Keiths receive a visit from Elsie Dinsmore and her father, recently reunited. After years of waiting and hoping, but hearing nothing of her love, Mildred is rewarded when Charlie Landreth arrives unexpectedly. He has become a Christian, and so they marry immediately. Charlie quickly becomes a much loved member of the family, and, as a doctor, of the whole community.
Before long Mildred and Charlie welcome their first child, a son named Percy. While he is in his infancy, the Landreths, along with Mildred's sister Annis, travel south to spend a delightful winter with Elsie and her family, which now includes her stepmother, Rose, and baby brother, Horace, Jr. A considerable amount of this part of the story focuses on Elsie alone, with no connection to Mildred.
In the following years the Landreth family grows to include Marcia, Stuart and Fan. Zillah and Wallace also have children: Stuart and Ada. Fan Keith dies after a brief illness. Ada Keith marries Frank Osborne and they go to China as missionaries. Cyril goes to college and then marries Lucy. Rupert and Don travel to California to look for gold, and also to give them both a much needed change of scene. On their journey, Rupert is captured by Indians and presumed dead, but three years later he arrives home, along with his young wife, Juanita, a Spanish Mexican who was also held captive by the Indians. Don also returns, having found a small quantity of gold. He marries Flora Weston, a relative of Charlie's who had come to live with the Landreths for a time for the sake of her health.
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