Ally was lost—the little blue-eyed dear! That is to say, she was nowhere to be found. And of course there was commotion in the Valley. Michael, the gar-dener, was going one way; and John, the house-man, another; and Pincher, one of the loggers, was making for the hills with Uncle Billy in one direction, and Old Uncle and Will and Charlie had gone up in another; and Aunt Rose and Aunt Susan were hunting through the house; and Janet and Essie were running this way and that—and it was noon, and still they hadn't found her.
Will was sure Ally would be found in the strawberry-patch on the farther edge of the intervale across the river, and as the boat was on the other side he had of-fered to swim over and fetch it.
Charlie had been equally sure that she was looking for bear-cubs again in the hollow half-way up Blue Top.
Aunt Susan was convinced that she had fallen asleep somewhere under a bush, when she could not be found in the house.
Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford (1835 –1921) was a notable American writer remembered for her novels, poems and detective stories.
Born in Calais, Maine, in 1835 Spofford moved with her pa-rents to Newburyport, Massachusetts, which was ever after her home, though she spent many of her winters in Boston and Washington, D.C. She attended the Putnam Free School in Newburyport, and Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire from 1853 to 1855. At Newburyport her prize essay on Hamlet drew the attention of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who soon became her friend, and gave her counsel and encouragement.
Spofford began writing after her parents became sick, sometimes working fifteen hours a day. She contributed story papers for small pay to Boston. In 1859, she sent a story about Parisian life entitled “In a Cellar” to Atlantic Monthly. The magazine's editor, James Russell Lowell, at first believed the story to be a translation and withheld it from publication. Reassured that it was original, he published it and it establis-hed her reputation. She became a welcome contributor to the chief periodicals of the United States, both of prose and poetry.
Spofford's fiction had very little in common with what was regarded as representative of the New England mind. Her gothic romances were set apart by luxuriant descriptions, and an unconventional handling of female stereotypes of the day. Her writing was ideal, intense in feeling. In her descriptions and fancies, she reveled in sensuous delights and every variety of splendor.
In 1865, she married Richard S. Spofford, a Boston lawyer. They lived on Deer Island overlooking the Merrimack River atAmesbury, a suburb of Newburyport, where she died on August 14, 1921.
When Higginson asked Emily Dickinson whether she had read Spofford's work “Circumstance,”
• Sir Rohan's Ghost, 1860
• The Amber Gods, and Other Stories, 1863, republished 1989
• Azarian: An Episode, 1864
• New England Legends, 1871
• The Thief in the Night, 1872
• Art Decoration Applied to Furniture, 1878
• The Servant Girl Question, 1881
• Marquis of Carabas, 1882
• Poems, 1882
• Hester Stanley at St. Mark's, 1883
• Ballads About Authors, 1887
• A Scarlet Poppy, and Other Stories, 1894
• Old Madame, and Other Tragedies, 1900
• That Betty, 1903
• The Ray of Displacement and other stories, 1903
• Old Washington, 1906
• The Fairy Changeling, 1910
• A Little Book of Friends, 1916
• The Elder's People, 1920