Daddy-Long-Legs (Everyman's Library)

Daddy-Long-Legs (Everyman's Library)

by Jean Webster
4.4 104


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Daddy-Long-Legs (Everyman's Library) by Jean Webster

An orphaned girl named Judy Abbott and an unknown, unseen benefactor who sends her to college and whom she refers to as "Daddy-Long-Legs" are the two principals in this immensely popular modern-day fairy tale. Told through Judy's letters and illustrated by her own quaint drawings, DADDY-LONG-LEGS is a profound and tender homage to the power of awakening love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679423126
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/1993
Series: Children's Classics Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 711,310
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 7 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jean Webster (1875-1916) was born in Fredonia, New York, the daughter of Charles L. Webster, who was Mark Twain's publisher and business partner. Educated at Vassar College, she must have been a woman with a strong social conscience, perhaps aroused by her visits as a student to orphanages and other institutions (part of her economics course: her degree was in English and economics). She was always concerned for the plight of children who began life with such disadvantages and later she served on committees for prison reform and regularly visited Sing Sing jail. She wrote a number of novels that are now forgotten, but the last two, Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) and its sequel Dear Enemy (1915), have survived both in book form, stage and film versions, and a British musical comedy Love from Judy produced in 1953. In 1915 Jean Webster married Glenn Ford McKinney. She died a year later, the day after the birth of her daughter.

Read an Excerpt

"Blue Wednesday"

The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day—a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with haste. Every floor must be spotless, every chair dustless, and every bed without a wrinkle. Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be scrubbed and combed and buttoned into freshly starched ginghams; and all ninety-seven reminded of their manners, and told to say, "Yes, sir," "No, sir," whenever a Trustee spoke.

It was a distressing time; and poor Jerusha Abbott, being the oldest orphan, had to bear the brunt of it. But this particular first Wednesday, like its predecessors, finally dragged itself to a close. Jerusha escaped from the pantry where she had been making sandwiches for the asylum's guests, and turned upstairs to accomplish her regular work. Her special care was room F, where eleven little tots, from four to seven, occupied eleven little cots set in a row. Jerusha assembled her charges, straightened their rumpled frocks, wiped their noses, and started them in an orderly and willing line toward the dining-room to engage themselves for a blessed half hour with bread and milk and prune pudding.

Then she dropped down on the window seat and leaned throbbing temples against the cool glass. She had been on her feet since five that morning, doing everybody's bidding, scolded and hurried by a nervous matron. Mrs. Lippett, behind the scenes, did not always maintain that calm and pompous dignity with which she faced an audience of Trustees and lady visitors. Jerusha gazed out across a broad stretch of frozen lawn, beyond the tall iron paling that marked the confines of the asylum, down undulating ridges sprinkled with country estates, to the spires of the village rising from the midst of bare trees.

The day was ended—quite successfully, so far as she knew. The Trustees and the visiting committee had made their rounds, and read their reports, and drunk their tea, and now were hurrying home to their own cheerful firesides, to forget their bothersome little charges for another month. Jerusha leaned forward watching with curiosity—and a touch of wistfulness—the stream of carriages and automobiles that rolled out of the asylum gates. In imagination she followed first one equipage, then another, to the big houses dotted along the hillside. She pictured herself in a fur coat and a velvet hat trimmed with feathers leaning back in the seat and nonchalantly murmuring "Home" to the driver. But on the door-sill of her home the picture grew blurred.

Jerusha had an imagination—an imagination, Mrs. Lippett told her, that would get her into trouble if she didn't take care—but keen as it was, it could not carry her beyond the front porch of the houses she would enter. Poor, eager, adventurous little Jerusha, in all her seventeen years, had never stepped inside an ordinary house; she could not picture the daily routine of those other human beings who carried on their lives undiscommoded by orphans.

Je-ru-sha Ab-bott You are wan-ted In the of-fice, And I think you'd Better hurry up!

Tommy Dillon, who had joined the choir, came singing up the stairs and down the corridor, his chant growing louder as he approached room F. Jerusha wrenched herself from the window and refaced the troubles of life.

"Who wants me?" she cut into Tommy's chant with a note of sharp anxiety.

Mrs. Lippett in the office, And I think she's mad. Ah-a-men!

Tommy piously intoned, but his accent was not entirely malicious. Even the most hardened little orphan felt sympathy for an erring sister who was summoned to the office to face an annoyed matron; and Tommy liked Jerusha even if she did sometimes jerk him by the arm and nearly scrub his nose off.

Jerusha went without comment, but with two parallel lines on her brow. What could have gone wrong, she wondered. Were the sandwiches not thin enough? Were there shells in the nut cakes? Had a lady visitor seen the hole in Susie Hawthorn's stocking? Had—O horrors!—one of the cherubic little babes in her own room F "sassed" a Trustee?

The long lower hall had not been lighted, and as she came downstairs, a last Trustee stood, on the point of departure, in the open door that led to the porte-cochere. Jerusha caught only a fleeting impression of the man—and the impression consisted entirely of tallness. He was waving his arm toward an automobile waiting in the curved drive. As it sprang into motion and approached, head on for an instant, the glaring headlights threw his shadow sharply against the wall inside. The shadow pictured grotesquely elongated legs and arms that ran along the floor and up the wall of the corridor. It looked, for all the world, like a huge, wavering daddy-long-legs.

Jerusha's anxious frown gave place to quick laughter. She was by nature a sunny soul, and had always snatched the tiniest excuse to be amused. If one could derive any sort of entertainment out of the oppressive fact of a Trustee, it was something unexpected to the good. She advanced to the office quite cheered by the tiny episode, and presented a smiling face to Mrs. Lippett. To her surprise the matron was also, if not exactly smiling, at least appreciably affable; she wore an expression almost as pleasant as the one she donned for visitors.

"Sit down, Jerusha, I have something to say to you."

Jerusha dropped into the nearest chair and waited with a touch of breathlessness. An automobile flashed past the window; Mrs. Lippett glanced after it.

"Did you notice the gentleman who has just gone?"

"I saw his back."

"He is one of our most affluential Trustees, and has given large sums of money toward the asylum's support. I am not at liberty to mention his name; he expressly stipulated that he was to remain unknown."

Jerusha's eyes widened slightly; she was not accustomed to being summoned to the office to discuss the eccentricities of Trustees with the matron.

"This gentleman has taken an interest in several of our boys. You remember Charles Benton and Henry Freize? They were both sent through college by Mr.—er—this Trustee, and both have repaid with hard work and success the money that was so generously expended. Other payment the gentleman does not wish. Heretofore his philanthropies have been directed solely toward the boys; I have never been able to interest him in the slightest degree in any of the girls in the institution, no matter how deserving. He does not, I may tell you, care for girls."

"No, ma'am," Jerusha murmured, since some reply seemed to be expected at this point.

"To-day at the regular meeting, the question of your future was brought up."

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Daddy-Long-Legs 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 104 reviews.
Dedo More than 1 year ago
Before I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was uncertain that I'd like the 'letters only' style of writing but I did. I then Googled other books of that style and found Daddy-Long-Legs. I sampled it and was hooked. Like a previous reviewer, I loved every minute of it and didn't want it to end.
kaebee29 More than 1 year ago
I read this on the recommendation off another reviewer and am so glad I did. this. book draws you in immetiadely and makes it extremely difficult to put down! I read the whole book in a day and a half. Loved every single charachter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I initially read this book while in Middle School (many MANY years ago) and LOVED it.I got a copy for my daughters when they were the same age. They also loved it. I recently re-read it,and still love it. It's a very well written and entertaining book for all ages. A rarity these days. I recommended it to a friend with school age daughters, and told her she should read it herself, as she would like it at least as much as they. If for no other reason, read it to get an insight into what college was like for women 100 years ago.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the Mother Daughter Book Club and was intreigued by there telling of the story. I bought this book to find it was only 89 page long which surprised me. I think i bought the wrong book or maybe not cause i do remeber in MDBC that they also read dear enemy and another i cannot seem to remeber. Please help me find the right book!!! I have a small dissapoint,ent in the version i bought there were no pictures unlike the way MDBC describes the book.please help me!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book with great deails - enchants the reader in an instant, creating a problem . . . You won't want to put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Saw the show off-Broadway last year, and was smitten. Jerusha is a smart, likeable character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was little and loved it. I enjoyed it just as much as an adult. I laughed, I cried and I completely enjoyed every word I read.
Modern-Classic More than 1 year ago
Daddy-Long-Legs was the best book ever! I enjoyed every minute of it, and it had a great story. Judy Abbott is such a real charcter, as are the rest of the charcters in this novel. The pictures are very amusing, and so you another level of Judy. Another thing that is great is it's considered a classic, yet it's more modern (Little Women, Ivanhoe, and Alice in Wonderland are all already classics at this time). I loved every second of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had bought the book in 7th grade with a little... well, lot of apprehension. I mean, c'mon, a book about an orphan who's being send to college by a well-wisher? That did sound like, a lot of 'in debt to you', prim girls and stern Godfathers were going to be involved. Instead, I found this fun book, so full of love and laughter that from then to now I've read it about half a hundred times. Jean Webster is truly amazing. Hats off!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! The story is charming and original. A must read. When asked for a book I reccamend by friends it is always one of the first titles out of my mouth.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I fell in love with the characters, especially Judy and her "Daddy Long Legs". Written in letter format, it was easy to keep up with her growth socially and educationally. The end was stunning. It is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The ending was predictable, but the writing is delightful. I loved Judy's honesty. I highly recommend this lovely book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If it was not good then why did you give it five stars? I thought the book was good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Easy to read. Great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a very cute book. It pretty much follows the movie (Judy played by Leaslie Carone & Jervis by Fred Astair) which is just as good. I lkied how it was done by letters although I wish that the ending had been told like the beginning had been. I would reccomend this to anyone who likes older books (not too old but just a little old lol) it is not exactly uptodate or anything but it us a very sweet book. My sister read the sequel Dear Enemy which she say is told by Julia Pendeltons point of view and the book is told in letter form like this is only it is all letters and nothing else. But she also said that it was not as good as this one. I would say that this is a definite "must read." LF
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it cuase of heather vogel frederick's Dear Pen Pal and it was awsome
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