J’s Take on A Dooryard Full of Flowers

“A Dooryard Full of Flowers” is the short story sequel to Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller. Except it would be more exact to call it a very-unfinished novel. I have a bunch of novels in just this state of completion! Well.. perhaps not a bunch, but some.

This story covers the part of the lives of Patience and Sarah that I was most interested in reading about. I wanted to hear about how they set up their home, built it up, made it cozy, faced adversity, got along with the neighbors, etc, etc.

Well, I got an itty bitty bit of that from this story. Lesigh.

The first part, and the large part it, is told from the point of view of a neighboring farmer. And his view of the women is very weird. He seems to think they’re strange, and not get that they’re shacking up together, of course. But he also goes on and on admiring them. Wanting them to be independent and succeed. All the while snickering behind his wife’s back that she thinks the women would be fine wives for their sons. He thinks they’re unsuitable for his sons because.. well, I think basically because they’d be hard to control and just not very pleasant to be married to.

That’s not resolved or anything, but they all pay a visit (sons included), and think the house is dressed up rather frivolously, with all of Patience’s pictures that they don’t realize are Patience’s. And then the wife comes out of it not liking them at all, for some slight or other.

Then we get Sarah’s point of view for a bit. In which we get a completely silly scene involving Patience thinking to be fair and equal, she needs to work in the fields. Which is completely ridiculous if they expect to survive on this stupid farm. She decides she’s rubbish at the hoeing and whatnot, because she’s not wearing pants. So then, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKING DAY, they trot back home so Sarah can undress and a pattern of her clothes can be cut, so Patience can make similar clothes for herself.

And well, that’s about it. The story, or the novel fragment, or whatever you want to call it, stops.

Two girls try to play house and farm, and are all set to utterly fail and starve to death.