This 1912 comic novel is available for free download in many electronic formats. Search by the title and the word “ebook”.

Everything I know about normal life I learn from mass media. For example, if I am to believe my TV, normal friends drop by with cake and gossip. My friends, by comparison, recommend that I read Important Modern Novels (IMNs) that, being modern and important, are filled with madness, adultery, Nazis, animal cruelty, violent death, and so forth. They never bring cake.

I flatter myself that I can stand, noggin to noggin, with the brainiest readers of IMNs, but sometimes even I grow weary of madness, adultery, and so on. I yearn for a pleasant description of a simpler time. So, I took a break from IMNs to read this book, touted by the late lamented Common Reader catalog (Autumn 2002) as a laugh-out-loud depiction of rural life in Canada.

I must report only an occasional wry smile cracking my joyless, IMN-influenced mug. Certain portraits, like that of a blustering amoral illiterate who becomes the much-respected head of a conservative political party, probably seemed daring at the time, but now read like a documentary description of a routine occurance. Similarly, a story in which clergy engage in insurance fraud was probably an outrageous knee-slapper 100 years ago, but considering the unfortunate hi-jinks of today's men of the cloth, insurance fraud seems a quaintly old-fashioned vice, like buggy-racing after overindulging in mead.

Still, the book is a calmingly pleasant read and our cousins in the Great White North can take pride in having this home-grown talent in their canon. Me? I've got an appointment with some Nazis.