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The duke of stockbridge


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Title:TheDukeofStockbridge

Author:EdwardBellamy

ReleaseDate:February,2005[EBook#7472]
[Yes,wearemorethanoneyearaheadofschedule]
[ThisfilewasfirstpostedonMay6,2003]

Edition:10

Language:English

Charactersetencoding:ISO-Latin-1

***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEDUKEOF
STOCKBRIDGE***

ProducedbyAnneSoulard,EricEldred,RobertShimmin


andtheOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeam.

THEDUKEOFSTOCKBRIDGE
AROMANCEOFSHAYS’REBELLION

BYEDWARDBELLAMY


CHAPTERFIRST
THEMARCHOFTHEMINUTEMEN

ThefirstbeamsofthesunofAugust17,1777,wereglancingdownthe
longvalley,whichopeningtotheEast,letsintheearlyraysof
morning,uponthevillageofStockbridge.Then,asnow,theHousatonic
creptstillanddarklingaroundthebeetlingbaseofFisher’sNest,


andinthemeadowslaughedaboveitspebblyshoals,embracingthe
verdantfieldswithmanyalovingcurve.Then,asnow,themountains
cradledthevalleyintheireternalarms,allround,fromtheHillof
theWolves,onthenorth,tothepeaksthatguardtheIceGlen,away
tothefarsouth-east.Then,asnow,manyalakeandpondgemmedthe
landscape,andmanyabrookhunglikeaburnishedsilverchainupon
theverdantslopes.Butsaveforthischangelessframeofnature,
therewasverylittle,inthevillage,whichthemoderndwellerin
Stockbridgewouldrecognize.

Themainsettlementisalongastreetlyingeastandwest,acrossthe
plainwhichextendsfromtheHousatonic,northerlysomedistance,to
thefootofahill.Thevillagegreenor“smooth”liesratheratthe


westernendofthevillagethanatthecenter.Atthispointthemain
streetintersectswiththecountyroad,leadingnorthandsouth,and
withdiversotherpathsandlanes,leadingincrooked,ramblinglines
toseveralpointsofthecompass;sometimesendingatasingledwelling,
sometimesatclustersofseveralbuildings.Onthehill,tothenorth,
somewhatseparatedfromthesettlementontheplain,arequiteanumber
ofhouses,erectedthereduringtherecentFrenchandIndianwars,for
thesakeofbeingnearthefort,whichisnowusedasaparsonageby
ReverendStephenWest,theyoungminister.Thestreetsareallverywide
andgrassy,whollywithoutshadetrees,andborderedgenerallybyrail
fencesorstonewalls.Thehouses,usuallyseparatedbywideintervals
ofmeadow,arerarelyoverastoryandahalfinheight.Whenpainted,
thecolorisusuallyred,brown,oryellow,theeffectofwhichisa
certainpicturesquenesswhollyoutsideanydesignonthepartofthe
practicalmindedinhabitants.

Interspersedamongthehouses,andoccurringmorethicklyinthesouth
andwestpartsofthevillage,arecurioushuts,asmuchlikewigwams
ashouses.ThesearethedwellingsoftheChristianizedandcivilized
StockbridgeIndians,theoriginalpossessorsofthesoil,wholive
intermingledwiththewhitesontermsofthemostuttercomity,fully


sharingtheofficesofchurchandtown,andfightingthebattlesof
theCommonwealthsidebysidewiththewhitemilitia.

Aroundthegreenstandthepublicbuildingsoftheplace.Hereisthe
tavern,alowtwo-storybuilding,withoutporchorpiazza,andentered
byadoorinthemiddleofthelongestside.Overthedoorswingsa
sign,onwhichaformerlikenessofKingGeorgehas,byametamorphosis
commonatthisperiod,beentransformedintoasoldieroftherevolution,
inContinentaluniformofbuffandblue.Butjustatthistimeits
contemplationdoesnotaffordthepatriotictiplerasmuchcomplacency
asformerly,forBurgoyneisthunderingatthepassesoftheHoosacs,
onlyfiftymilesaway,andKingGeorgemaygethisredcoatbackagain,
afterall.TheToriesinthevillagesaythatthelandlordkeepsapot
ofredpaintbehindthedoor,sothattheHessiandragoonsmaynottake
himbysurprisewhentheycomegallopingdownthevalley,someafternoon.
Ontheotherside[of]thegreenisthemeetinghouse,builtsomethirty
yearsago,byagrantfromgovernmentatBoston,andnowconsidered
ratherold-fashionedandinconvenient.Hardbythemeetinghouseisthe
graveyard,withthesandyknollinitssouth-westcorner,setapartfor
theuseoftheIndians.Thewhippingpost,stocks,andcage,forthe
summarycorrectionofsuchoffencesascomewithinthejurisdictionof


JusticeJahleelWoodbridge,Esquire,adornthemiddleofthevillage
green,andonSaturdayafternoonaregenerallythecenterofacrowd
assembledtobeedifiedbytheexecutionofsentences.

Ontheotherside[of]thegreenfromthemeetinghousestandsthe
store,builtfiveyearsbefore,byTimothyEdwards,Esquire,astructure
ofastoryandahalf,withtheunusualarchitecturaladornmentofa
porchorpiazzainfront,theonlythingofthekindinthevillage.
ThepeopleofStockbridgearescarcelyprouderofthedivinityoftheir
lateshepherd,thefamousDr.JonathanEdwards,thantheyareofhis
sonTimothy’sstore.Indeed,whatwithDr.Edwards,solatelyintheir
midst,Dr.Hopkins,downatGreatBarrington,andDr.Bellamy,just
overtheStatelineinBethlehem,Connecticut,thepeopleofBerkshire
aredecidedlymorefamiliarwiththeologiansthanwithstorekeepers,
forwhenMr.Edwardsbuilthisstorein1772,itwastheonlyonein
thecounty.

Atsuchatimeitmaybereadilyinferredthatacommercialoccupation
servesratherasadistinctionthanotherwise.SquireEdwardsis
moreoverchairmanoftheselectmen,andfurthermoremostofthe
farmersareinhisdebtforsupplies,whiletothesevariedelements


ofinfluence,histheologicalancestryaddsacertainodorof
sanctity.ItistruethatSquireJahleelWoodbridgeisevenmore
brilliantlydescended,countingtwocolonialgovernorsandnumerous
divinesamonghisancestry,nottospeakofarumoredkinshipwiththe
EnglishnoblefamilyofNorthumberland.Butinsteadoftendingtoa
profitlessrivalrytherespectiveclaimsoftheEdwardsesandthe
Woodbridgestodistinctionhavehappilybeenmergedbythemarriageof
JahleelWoodbridgeandLucyEdwards,thesisterofSquireTimothy,so
thatinallsocialandpoliticalmatters,thetwofamiliesareclosely
allied.

Thebackroomofthestoreis,inasense,theCouncil-chamber,where
theaffairsofthevillagearedebatedandsettledbythesemagnates,
whosedecisionsthecommonpeopleneverdreamofanticipatingor
questioning.Itisalsoaconvivialcenter,asortofclubroom.There,
ofanafternoon,maygenerallybeseenSquiresWoodbridge,Williams,
ElishaBrown,DeaconNash,SquireEdwards,andperhapsafewothers,
relaxingtheirgravityovergenerousbumpersofsomechoiceold
Jamaica,whichEdwardshadluckilylaidin,justbeforethewar
stoppedallimports.



Inthewesthalfofthestorebuilding,SquireEdwardsliveswithhis
family,including,besideshiswifeandchildren,theremnantsofhis
father’sfamilyandthatofhissister,thewidowedMrs.President
Burr.YoungAaronBurrwasthere,forawhileafterhisgraduationat
Princeton,andduringtheintervalsofhisarduoustheologicalstudies
withDr.BellamyatBethlehem.Perchancethereareheart-soremaidens
inthevillage,who,totheirsorrow,couldgivemoreparticular
informationoftheexploitsoftheseductiveAaronatthisperiod,
thanIamableto.

Sucharethemountainsandrivers,thestreetsandthehousesof
StockbridgeasthesunofthisAugustmorningintheyear1777,
disclosesthemtoview.Butwherearethepeople?Itisseven,yes,
nearlyeighto’clock,andnohumanbeingistobeseenwalkinginthe
streets,ortravellingintheroads,orworkinginthefields.Such
lazyhabitsarecertainlynotwhatwehavebeenwonttoascribetoour
sturdyforefathers.Hasthevillage,peradventure,beendesertedby
thepopulation,throughfearoftheHessianmarauders,thethreatof
whosecominghaslonghunglikeaportentouscloud,overtheBerkshire
valley?Notatall.Itisnotthefearofman,butthefearofGod,
thathaslaidaspellupontheplace.ItistheSabbath,orwhatwe


modernscallSunday,andlawandconsciencehavesettheirdoubleseal
oneverydoor,thatneitherman,womannorchild,maygoforthtill
sunset,saveatthesummonsofthemeetinghousebell.Wemaywander
allthewayfromtheparsonageonthehill,toCaptainKonkapot’shut
ontheBarringtonroad,withoutmeetingasoul,thoughthewindows
willhaveascandalizedfaceframedineachsevenbyninepaneof
glass.Andthedistorted,uncouthandvariouslycoloredfaceand
figure,whichtheimperfectionsoftheglassgivethepasser-by,will
doubtlessappeartothehorrifiedspectators,butthefittypical
representationofhisinwarddepravity.Weshall,Isay,meetnoone,
unless,aswepasshishutbyKonkapot’sbrook,Jehoiachim
Naunumpetox,theIndiantithingman,spyus,andthatwillbetoour
exceedingdiscomfiture,forstraightwaylayingimplacablehandsupon
us,hewilldeliverustoJohnSchebuck,theconstable,whowill
grievouslycorrectourfleshwithstripes,forSabbath-breaking,and
causeustositinthestocks,foranensample.

Butifsomildanexcursioninvolvesodirearisk,whatmustbethe
desperationofthishorsemanwhoiscomingatathunderinggallop
alongthecountyroadfromPittsfield?Hishorseisinafoaming
sweat,thestrainednostrilsarefilledwithbloodandthecongested


eyesprotrudeasiftheywouldleapfromtheirsocketstobeattheir
goal.

ItisSquireWoodbridge’stwostoryredhousebeforewhichthehorseman
pullsrein,andleavinghissteedwithhangingheadandtremblingknees
andlaboringsides,dragshisownstiffenedlimbsupthewalkandenters
thehouse.AlmostinstantlySquireWoodbridgehimself,issuesfromthe
door,dressedforchurchinafineblackcoat,waistcoat,and
knee-breeches,whitesilkstockings,athree-corneredblackhatand
silverbucklesonhisshoes,butinhishandinsteadofaBible,a
musket.Ashestepsout,thedoorofahousefurthereastopensalso,
andanothermansimilarlydressed,withbrownwoolenstockings,steps
forthwithaguninhishandalso.Heseemstohaveinterpretedthe
meaningofthehorseman’smessage.ThisisDeaconNash.Beckoninghim
tofollow,SquireWoodbridgestepsouttotheedgeofthegreen,raises
hismuskettohisshoulderanddischargesitintotheair.DeaconNash
comingupamomentlateralsoraisesandfireshisgun,ande’erthe
lastechoeshavereverberatedfromthemountains,SquireEdwards,
musketinhand,throwsopenhisstoredoorandsteppingoutonthe
porch,firesthethirdgun.



Amomentagohundredsoffacesweresmiling,hundredsofeyeswere
bright,hundredsofcheekswereflushed.Nowthereisnotasingle
smileoratraceofbrightness,orabitofcoloronafaceinthe
valley.Suchisthewofulchangewroughtineveryhousehold,asthe
successivereportsoftheheavily-chargedpiecessoundthroughthe
village,andpenetratetothefarthestoutlyingfarmhouse.Thefirst
shotmaywellbeanaccident,thesecondmaypossiblybe,butasthe
thirdinexorablyfollows,husbandsandwives,brothersandsisters,
parentsandsons,lookateachotherwithblanchedfaces,andinstantly
ahundredscenesofquietpreparationformeeting,aretransformedinto
theconfusionofaverydifferentkindofpreparation.Catechismsare
droppedformuskets,andBiblesfallunnoticedunderfoot,asmen
springfortheirhaversacksandpowder-horns.Forthosethreeguns
summontheminutementobeonthemarchforBennington.Allthe
afternoonbefore,theroarofcannonhasfaintlysoundedfromthe
northward,andthepeopleknewthatStarkwasmeetingBaumandhis
Hessians,ontheHoosac.OnedetachmentofStockbridgemenisalready
withhim.Doesthisnewsummonsmeandisaster?Hasthedreadedfoemade
goodhisboastedinvincibility?Nooneknows,noteventheexhausted
messenger,forhewassentoffbyStark,whileyettheissueof
yesterday’sbattletrembledinthebalance.



“It’skindersuddin.Iwuzinhopestheboyswouldn’hevtogo,bein
astheywuzafightinyisdy,”quaveredoldElnathanHamlin,ashe
trottedabout,helplesslytryingtohelp,andonlyhinderingMrs.
Hamlin,aswithwhiteface,butdefthands,andquickeyes,shewas
gettinghertwoboysready,fillingtheirhaversacks,sewingabutton
here,tighteningabucklethere,andlookingtoeverything.

“Yemusttakkeero’Reub,Perez.Heain’tsorugged‘zyebe.By
rights,heorterhastayedtohum.”

“Oh,I’masstoutasPerez.Icanwrastlehim.Don’tfretaboutme,”
saidReuben,withattemptedgayety,thoughhisboyishlipquiveredas
helookedathismother’sface,notinghowshedidnotmeethiseye,
lestsheshouldloseherself-control,andnotbeabletodoanything
more.

“I’lllookaftertheboy,neverfear,”saidPerez,slappinghisbrother
ontheback.“I’llfetchhimbackaGeneral,asbigamanasSquire
Woodbridge.”



“Idunnowhat‘ntimeIshalldew‘boutgittininthecrops,”whimpered
Elnathan.“Ican’tdewit‘lone,nohow.Seemsthoughmyrheumatizwuz
wuss‘never,thislas’spello’weather.”

“TheregoesAbnerRathbun,andGeorgeFennell,”criedPerez.“Timewe
wereoff.Good-byemother.There!There!Don’tyoucry,mother.We’ll
bebackallright.Gotyourgun,Reub?Good-byefather.Comeon,”and
theboyswereoff.

Inseemingsympathywiththesuddengriefthathasfallenonthe
village,thebrightpromiseofthemorninghasgivenplaceinthelast
hourtooneofthosesuddenrainstormstowhichamountainousregion
isalwaysliable,andacolddrizzleisnowfalling.Butthatdoesnot
hindereveryonewhohasfriendsamongthedepartingsoldiers,or
sympathywiththecauserepresented,fromgatheringonthegreento
witnessthemusterandmarchofthemen.Alltheleadingmenandthe
officialsofthetownandparisharethere,includingthetwoIndian
selectmen,JohannesMetoxinandJosephSauquesquot.SquireEdwards,
DeaconNash,SquireWilliamsandCaptainJosiahJones,brother-in-law
ofSquireWoodbridge,aregoingaboutamongthetearfulgroups,ofone
ofwhicheachsoldierisacentre,reassuringandencouragingboth


thosewhogo,andthosewhostay,theoneswiththepromisethattheir
wivesandchildrenandparentsshallbelookedafterandcaredfor,
theotherswithconfidenttalkofvictoryandspeedyreunions.

SquireEdwardstellsElnathan,whowithMrs.Hamlinhascomedownto
thegreen,thatheneedn’tfretaboutthemortgageonhishouse,and
DeaconNashtellshimthathe’llseethathiscropsaresaved,and
GeorgeFennell,who,withhiswifeanddaughter,standsby,isassured
bytheSquire,thattheyshallhavewhattheywantfromthestore.
Thereisnotaplough-boyamongtheminutemenwhoisnothonored
todaywithacordialwordortwo,oratleastasmile,fromthe
magnateswhoneverbeforehaverecognizedhisexistence.

Andproudinhertears,to-day,isthegirlwhohasasweetheartamong
thesoldiers.Shygirls,whoforfearofbeinglaughedat,havekepta
secretoftheirinclinations,nowgrownsuddenlybold,cry,asthey
talkwiththeirlovers,andrefusenotthepartingkiss.Desire
Edwards,theSquire’sdaughter,asshemovesamongthegroups,and
seesthesethings,isstirredwithenvyandthinksshewouldgive
anythingifshe,too,hadasweethearttobidgood-byeto.Butsheis
onlyfifteen,andSquireEdwards’daughter,moreover,towhomno


rusticswaindarespretend.Thenshebethinksherselfthatonehas
timidly,enough,sopretended.SheknowsthatElnathanHamlin’sson,
Perez,isdreadfullyinlovewithher.Heisbetterbredthanthe
otherboys,butafterallheisonlyafarmer’sson,andwhilepleased
withhisconquestasatestimonytoherimmaturecharms,shehas
lookeddownuponhimasquiteaninferiororderofbeingtoherself.
Butjustnowheappearstoherinthedesirablelightofsomebodyto
bidgood-byeto,totheendthatshemaybeonaparwiththeother
girlswhomshesoenvies.SoshelooksaboutforPerez.

Andhe,onhispart,islookingaboutforher.Thatshe,theSquire’s
daughter,asfarabovehimasastar,wouldcarewhetherhewentor
stayed,orwouldcometosaygood-byetohim,hehadscarcelydaredto
think.Andyethowdeeplyhasthatthought,whichhehasscarcely
daredown,tingedallhisotherthinking!Themartialglorythathas
sodazzledhisyoungimagination,howmuchofitsglitterwasbut
reflectedfromagirl’seyes.Ashelooksaboutandnotseeingher,
says,“Shedoesnotcare,shewillnotcome,”theswordlosesallits
sheen,andthenoddingplumeitscharm,andhisdreamsofself-devotion
alltheirexhilaration.



“Icametobidyougood-bye,Perez,”saysavoicebehindhim.

Hewheelsabout,red,confused,blissful.DesireEdwards,darkand
sparklingasagypsy,standsbeforehimwithherhandoutstretched.He
takesiteagerly,timidly.Thelittlewhitefingerspresshisbig
brownones.Hedoesnotfeelthemthere;theyseemtobeclaspinghis
heart.Hefeelstheecstaticpressurethere.

“Fallin,”shoutsCaptainWoodbridge,fortheSquirehimselfistheir
captain.

Thereisatumultofembracesandkissesallaround.Reubenkissedhis
mother.

“Willyoukissme,Desire?”saidPerez,huskily,carriedbeyond
himself,scarcelyknowingwhathesaid,forifhehadrealizedhe
neverwouldhavedared.

Desirelookedabout,andsawallthewomenkissingtheirmen.Theair
waselectric.



“Yes,”shesaid,andgavehimherredlips,andforamomentitseemed
asiftheearthhadgonefromunderhisfeet.Thenextthingheknew
hewasstandinginline,withReubononeside,andGeorgeFennellon
theotherandAbnerRathbun’ssixfeetthreetoweringatoneendof
theline,whileParsonWestwasstandingonthepiazzaofthestore,
prayingfortheblessingofGodontheexpedition.

“Amen,”theparsonsaid,andCaptainWoodbridge’svoicerangout
again.Thelinesfacedtotheright,filedoffthegreenatquick
step,turnedintothePittsfieldroad,andleftthewomentotheir
tears.


CHAPTERSECOND
NINEYEARSAFTER

EarlyoneeveningintheverylastofAugust,1786,onlythreeyears
afterthecloseoftheRevolutionarywar,adozenortwentymenand
boys,farmersandlaborers,aregathered,accordingtocustom,inthe
bigbarroomofStockbridgetavern.Thegreatopenfireplaceofcourse
showsnocheeryblazeoflogsatthisseason,andtheonlylightis
thedimandyellowilluminationdiffusedbytwoorthreehomemade
tallowcandlesstuckaboutthebar,whichrunsalonghalfofoneside
oftheapartment.Thedimglimmerofsomepewtermugsstandingona
shelfbehindthebaristheonlyspotofreflectedlightintheroom,
whosetime-stained,unpaintedwoodwork,dingyplastering,andlow
ceiling,thrownintoshadowsbytherudeandmassivecrossbeams,seems
capableofswallowingupwithoutasigntentimestheillumination
actuallyprovided.Thefacesoffourorfivemen,standingnearthe
bar,orloungingonit,arequiteplainlyvisible,andtheformsof
halfadozenmorewhoareseatedonalongsettleplacedagainstthe
oppositewall,aremoredimlytobeseen,whileinthebackpartof
theroom,leaningagainstthepostsorwalls,orloungingintheopen


doorway,adozenormorefiguresloomindistinctlyoutofthe
darkness.

Thetavern,itmustberemembered,asaconvivialresort,isthesocial
antipodesofthebackroomofSquireEdwards’“store.”Ifyouwould
consortwithsilk-stockinged,wigged,andsilvershoe-buckledgentlemen,
youmustjuststepoverthere,foratthetavernareonlytobefound
thehewersofwoodanddrawersofwater,mechanics,farm-laborers,and
farmers.EzraPhelpsandIsraelGoodrich,theformertheownerofthe
newgristmillat“MillHollow,”amilewestofthevillage,theother
asubstantialfarmer,withtheircorduroycoatsandknee-breeches,blue
woolenhoseandsteelshoebuckles,arethemostsociallyconsiderable
andrespectablyattiredpersonspresent.

Perhapsabouthalfthemenandboysarebarefooted,accordingtothe
economicalcustomofatimewhenshoesinsummerareregardedas
luxuriesnotnecessities.Thecostumeofmostislimitedtoshirtand
trousers,thematerialforwhichtheirownhandsorthoseoftheir
women-folkhavesheared,spun,wovenanddyed.Someofthebetter
dressedweartrousersofblueandwhitestripedstuff,ofthekind
now-a-daysexclusivelyusedforbed-ticking.Theleathernbreeches


whichafewyearsbeforewereuniversalarestillwornbyafewin
spiteoftheirdiscomfortinsummer.

BehindthebarsitsWidowBingham,thelandlady,abuxom,middle-aged
woman,whosesharpblackeyeshavelostnoneoftheirsnap,whether
sheisentertainingacustomerwithalittlepleasantgossip,or
exploringthemurkyrecessesoftheroomaboutthedoor,whereshe
wellknowssundryoldcustomersarelurking,madecowardsofby
consciousnessoflongunsettledscoresuponherslate.Andwhenever
shelookswithspecialfixityintothedarknessthereissoona
scuttlingofsomebodyoutofdoors.

Shepayslittleornoattentiontotheconversationofthemenaround
thebar.Beinglargelypolitical,itmightbeexpectedtohavethe
lessinterestforoneofthedomesticsex,andmoreoveritisthesame
oldstoryshehasbeenobligedtohearoverandovereveryevening,
withlittlevariation,forayearortwopast.

Forinthosedays,throughoutMassachusetts,athome,atthetavern,
inthefield,ontheroad,inthestreet,astheyroseup,andasthey
satdown,mentalkedofnothingbutthehardtimes,thelimited


markets,andlowpricesforfarmproduce,theextortionsand
multiplyingnumbersofthelawyersandsheriffs,theoppressionsof
creditors,theenormous,grindingtaxes,thelastsheriff’ssale,and
whowouldbesoldoutnext,thelastbatchofdebtorstakentojail,
andwhowouldgonext,theutterdearthofmoneyofanysort,the
impossibilityofgettingwork,thegloomyandhopelessprospectfor
thecomingwinter,andingeneralthewretchedfailureofthetriumph
andindependenceofthecoloniestobringaboutthepublicandprivate
prosperitysoconfidentlyexpected.

Theairoftheroomisthickwithsmoke,formostofthemenare
smokingclayorcorncobpipes,butthesmokeisscarcelyrecognizable
asthatoftobacco,solargelyisthatexpensiveweedmixedwithdried
sweet-fernandotherherbs,forthesakeofeconomy.Ofthescoreor
twopersonspresent,onlytwo,IsraelGoodrichandEzraPhelps,are
actuallydrinkinganything.Notcertainlythattheyaretheonlyones
disposedtodrink,asthethirstylooksthatfollowthemugstotheir
lips,sufficientlytestify,butbecausetheyalonehavecreditatthe
bar.EzrafurnishesMrs.Binghamwithmealfromhismill,anddrinks
againstthecreditthuscreated,whileIsraelfurnishesthelandlady
withpotatoesonthesameunderstanding.Therebeingpractically


almostnomoneyincirculation,mostkindsoftradearedependenton
sucharrangementsofbarter.MeshechLittle,thecarpenter,wholies
dead-drunkonthefloor,hisclothingcoveredwiththesand,whichit
hasgatheredupwhilehewasbeingunceremoniouslyrolledoutofthe
way,isavictimofoneofthesearrangements,havingjusttakenhis
payinrumforalittlejoboftinkeringaboutthetavern.

“Meshechhain’thedasteadyjobsencethenewmeetin-haousewuzdone
las’year,anIs’posethecritterfeelskinderdiskerridgedlike,”
saidAbnerRathbun,regardingtheprostratefiguresympathetically.
Abnerhasgrownaninchandbroadenedproportionally,sinceSquire
Woodbridgemadehimfileleaderoftheminutemenbyvirtueofhissix
feetthree,andashestandswithhisbacktothebar,restinghis
elbowsonit,theroomwouldnotbehighenoughforhishead,butthat
hestandsbetweenthecrossbeams.

“Is’poseMeshech’sfam’ly‘llhevtogoontewthetaown,”observed
IsraelGoodrich.“Theysayezthepoorhousebetwicetezfullez’t
orterbe,naow.”

“It’llhevmoreintewitfore‘thezless,”saidAbnergrimly.



“Gotnowork,Abner?IhearnyewuzupLenoxwayalookinfersuthin
todew,”inquiredPelegBidwell,alank,loose-jointedfarmer,whowas
leaningagainstapostinthemiddleoftheroom,justontheedgeof
thecircleofcandlelight.

“Afellerezgoesarterworkgoesonafool’serrant,”responded
Abner,dejectedly.“Thereain’noworknowhar,anafellermightjess
ezwellsitdowntohumanwaittillthesheriffcomesarterhim.”

“Theonlyworkaspaysnow-a-daysispickintheboneso’thepeople.
Whydon’tyeturnlawyerordepitysheriff,antaketothat,Abner?”
saidPaulHubbard,anundersizedmanwithadarkface,andthin,
sneeringlips.

HehadbeenalieutenantintheContinentalarmy,andusedrather
betterlanguagethanthecountryfolkordinarily,which,aswellasa
cynicalwitwhichagreedwiththeembitteredpopulartemper,gavehim
considerableinfluence.SincethewarhehadbeenforemanofColonel
William’sironworksatWestStockbridge.Therewasgreatdistress
amongtheworkmenonaccountofthestoppageoftheworksbyreasonof


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