Sarah Orne Jewett House

How I Wish…

As a young woman Jewett fell in love with friend Kate DiCosta Birckhead of Newport.

“How I wish I could do something for you to show that I love you Kate!”

Sarah Orne Jewett (Diary entry, January 14, 1872).

Jewett’s first novel, Deephaven (1877), centers on two characters, Helen Denis and Kate Lancaster. The latter is believed to be inspired by Kate DiCosta Birckhead.

Toward the end of the novel, the character Kate Lancaster wishes that the two young women could run off together like the “Ladies of Llangollen,” two upper class Irish women of the eighteenth century who, being pressured into conventional marriages, ran off to Wales and spent their lives together.