Mule in the Well

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Set amid the sweet blossoms of a southern mansion, this timeless classic delves into the heart of Elsie by all accounts, an extraordinary little girl. Share in Elsie's quest for love from her earthly father as it leads to a mature understanding of the love of her Father in Heaven.

Join Elsie as she suffers through endless hours of scrutiny from Miss Day, her mean-spirited school teacher, taunting from her mischievous young Uncle Arthur, and scoldings from a cold hearted father she so desires to please --all with the peace and quiet countenance that comes from knowing she is God's child. This, the first of the heart-warming Elsie Books, will both challenge and inspire. She has never known her mother, who died when Elsie was a baby, and she longs for a close, loving relationship with her father.

He, however, has sent her off to be raised at Roselands, his brother's southern plantation, where her teacher, Miss Day, harshly criticizes her and her cousins tease her relentlessly. As Elsie learns to handle her problems, she begins to learn more about herself. And as her faith in her heavenly father grows, she learns what it means to be a child of God. The result is a story that inspires and challenges and readers will take delight in how Elsie comes to depend completely upon faith in God for the peace and happiness she seeks.

When Evelyn and Lulu catch the bridal bouquet together at the wedding, the family wonders who will be the next to wed. Following a pleasant winter at Viamede, the families travel to Atlantic City and to the Maine coast for a pleasant summer holiday. When the burglar whom Lulu captured escapes from prison, he seeks revenge. Chester Dinsmore, however, saves her life, and Captain Raymond is so grateful that he gives Chester permission to seek Lulu's hand in marriage. As their summer stay at the beach concludes, the captain invests in a yacht for the family to enjoy.

The final stop on their sojourn by water brings them to Annapolis, Maryland, where Max, like his father before him, enrolls at the Naval Academy.

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During an extended stay at Viamede, the family is blessed with a new addition, Lily, "on loan " from heaven for a short time. Soon they return to Ion, where Elsie takes in cousin Molly, a young girl who has been injured in a fall. Elsie makes a commitment to nurture, educate, and encourage Molly in the faith.

Because of Lily's failing health, the family makes an extended visit to Elsie's childhood friend, Lucy Ross. There, Elsie befriends a nearly blind child of her former governess. The family decides to take a trip to the Centennial in New York, and Ronald once again joins the family. As Elsie's children move from childhood into adulthood, young Elsie's heart is captured by a fine young man.

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Lulu fully embraces her role as hostess to her young guests and learns some important lessons about Christian charity. In the summer that follows, Lulu and Grace become the proud owners of new ponies, and Elsie and Violet welcome new additions to their building families, born just one day apart. Captain Raymond, however, re-injures his ankle during a terrible spill from a horse.

In the most panic-filled moment of the season, a rattlesnake brings an abrupt end to the fun at Lulu's surprise birthday party, but her quick thinking and bravery avert disaster. As Elsie experiences changes from girlhood to womanhood, her family is also undergoing change. With the marriage of her father to a woman Elsie has loved from childhood, Elsie is joined by a brother and sister who adore her.

But all the support of her family cannot prepare her for what is ahead-her her first love and her first heartbreak. Her relationship with her father forces her to give up on the man she desperately loves. But to her surprise, and the surprise of her father, true love's shadow has been with her since childhood. Join Elsie as she grows into a fine young woman, facing all the challenges --and blessings --that come with womanhood. Her father, Horace Dinsmore, falls in love and marries sweet Rose Allison, whom Elsie has loved since childhood. Soon two new membersHorace Jr.

Elsie spends a summer with her eccentric Aunt Wealthy and experiences the joy of first love and the deep pain of betrayal. In an attempt to cure her broken heart, Elsie's family takes her on a tour of Europe.


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Upon her return--where and when she least expects it--Elsie discovers the delightful wonder of a true and enduring love. As Elsie grows from childhood to girlhood, so does her understanding of and obedience to God. Her devotion to Him causes conflict between her and her beloved father.


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  • Gripped by jealousy and contempt, he seeks to wipe out all religious inflluences surrounding his daughter. Still, Elsie's convictions remaing firm. Even Aunt Chloe, Elsie's beloved mammy, is called a "creature. As a good Calvinist, of course she must refuse. Papa huffs and puffs but can't make Elsie "disobey God. In his absence the little martyr sinks into deep depression, has the Victorian "vapours," and nearly dies!

    Pure melodrama.

    Young readers of the nineteenth century probably liked the Elsie books for being the nearest thing to a soap opera they could find. Author Martha Finley seems to have poured out her own sexual frustrations into writing, hence the semi-incestuous love affair between "good" Elsie and "bad" Papa. When Elsie and her father are finally reconciled, the scene is described in passionate, even lurid terms.

    Many kisses, fondlings and "pettings" will ensue.

    Elsie's girlhood : a sequel to "Elsie Dinsmore" and "Elsie's holidays at Roselands"

    Not much hope left for Mr. Travilla, grown-up family friend who's besotted with Elsie himself. But then, Travilla is waiting for Elsie to grow up becauseas he puts it"I have learned that ladies, both little and large, very often change their minds, so I shall still live in hope! I wouldn't give this book to any child under thirteen though.

    Today's kids are sophisticated and too much aware of Freudian overtones.

    Reading Elsie books might have a very dangerous effect! Jul 25, Nicole G. Still more didacticism. And some anti-Catholicism, too! Her dad is still a crazy person. However, I have to finish this series now, to see how much more wacky it gets. Dec 03, Britt-goodie of newsieness rated it did not like it Shelves: yuck-books. I've read as much of this as I'm going to.

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    I never want to read this again. It was awful. And boring. And horrible.

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    And no food either. Apr 23, Angela rated it did not like it Shelves: books. Can't believe I wasted any amount of time reading this book.

    Martha Finley

    The daughter and father relationship seemed incestuous and he was controlling in ridiculous child abuse seeming ways. May 04, Faith rated it it was amazing. Fantastic, classic writing, however I feel that the storyline was drawn out a bit too much perhaps. Martha Finley repeatedly used a few situations, and tho it fit her character, I feel that Elsie's crying and dramatic anguish was worked too much. It seemed as though she was always in a turmoil, and while she was, and she was young, I tired of hearing the same thing happening over and over.

    But that wasn't a big deal, and I really did like the book a lot. If you ever get sick of modern writing, Fantastic, classic writing, however I feel that the storyline was drawn out a bit too much perhaps.