The Hostelry of Mr. Smith introduces Mariposa, the “busy, hustling, thriving town” (3) on Lake Wissanotti that has “a dozen towns just like it” (1). Beginning with an overview of Mariposa, the chapter moves into the arrival of Josh Smith, the revocation of his hotel’s liquor license, and Smith’s scheme to reverse the revocation.
1. Is Mariposa a place of “deep and unbroken peace” (2) or a “perfect hive of activity” (3)?
2. The census is a point of controversy in Mariposa. Do people still exaggerate the population of their town? If so, why do you think they do this?
3. When Josh Smith spends $10 on the merry-go-round he sells $40 in lager alone. What does Josh Smith learn about the “blessedness of giving” (15)?
4. Judge Pepperleigh presides over two cases where Josh Smith is accused of serving alcohol after hours (17).
a) How does Pepperleigh rule in these cases? What is his reasoning?
b) Judges must excuse themselves from hearing cases where they have a personal or financial interest. What is Judge Pepperleigh’s personal interest in this case? What do the judge’s actions tell us about the importance of judges excusing themselves?
5. Josh Smith charges less for meals at his new caff than what they cost him. Why is he doing this? Does his plan work?