New Year's Day


Short Fiction

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The Story

This Saturday is the last day of the old year, and Letty Bertram awakes feeling that something "sweet, delightful" has happened to her overnight. As the day unfolds, she narrates its surprising events, leading to further events on Sunday, New Year's Day.

Though the word miracle is never used, something mysterious has happened, rousing the townspeople's consciences, creating a "desire to be good".

Biographical and other notes

Letty's pain and anxiety for an absent son is reminiscent of Margaret Oliphant's experiences with her own eldest son Cyril, an alcoholic. Cyril died at age 33 on 8 November 1890, shortly before this story was published.

The town in this story was based on Mrs Oliphant's own town of Windsor.

This hitherto unknown story was discovered in 2014 by Alan John.

British publishing information

Periodical:   The Monthly Packet   Jan 1891

Series and Themes

Newly discovered stories
Stories of the Seen and Unseen

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