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Edward Bellamy, later famous as the author of Looking Backward, produced in The Duke of Stockbridge () a novel which “gives a more accurate account,”.
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So completely had their miserable condition disguised them, that Perez would not have known in the dim light of the cell that he had ever seen either before.
The Duke of Stockbridge
The man who had been kneeling on the floor, after his first look of dull curiosity, began to stare fixedly at Perez, as if he were an apparition, and then rose to his feet. As he did so, Perez saw that he could not be Fennell, for the latter was tall, and this man was quite short. Yes, the reclining man must be George, and now he noted as an unmistakable confirmation, a scar on one of the emaciated hands lying on his breast. A peevish expression crossed his face, and he opened his eyes, the burning, glassy eyes of the consumptive. For a few seconds he looked fixedly, wonderingly, and then said half dreamily, half inquiringly, as if he were not quite certain whether it were a man or a vision, he murmured:.
But before Fennell could answer the other prisoner sprang to the side of the speaker, clutching his arm in his claw-like fingers, and crying in an anguished voice:. At the voice Perez started as if a bullet had reached his heart. Like lightning he turned, his face, frozen with fear, that was scarcely yet comprehended, his eyes like darts. The emaciated figure before him, the face bleached with the ghastly pallor which a sunless prison gives, the deep sunken eyes looking like coals of fire, eating their way into his brain, the tattered clothing, the long unkempt hair and beard, prematurely whitening, and filled with filth, the fingers grown claw-like and blue, with prison mould, the dull vacant look and the thought that this was Reuben, his brother; these things all filled him with such an unutterable, intolerable pity, that it seemed as if he should lose his head and go wild for very anguish of heart.
I callated ye must be in jail, somewheres, like all the rest of the soldiers. But how came you here, Reub? Who put you here? Almost any misfortune now seemed possible to Perez. Sol Gleason had a mortgage on the place. And then he pointed to the sums in charcoal, covering the walls of the cell.
I allers liked cipherin, ye know, Perez, and I have a great deal of time here. Ye see, every day, the interest is a penny and twenty-six twenty-sevenths of a farthin.
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The wall round me gits that much higher and thicker every day. I never see a feller set sech store by trees and mountings as George does. Perez knelt, too much moved for speech, and Reub helped to adjust upon his shoulders the feeble frame of the sick man, into whose face had come an expression of eager, excited expectation.
As the soldier rose he fairly tottered from the unexpected lightness of his burden. He stepped beneath the high, grated window, and Fennell, resting his hands on the lintel, while Reub steadied him from behind, peered out. He made no sound, and finally Perez let him down to the floor. His gaze was afar off as if the prison walls were no barrier to his eyes, and a smile of rapturous contemplation rested on his face.
Then with a deep breath he seemed to return to a perception of his surroundings, and in tones of irrepressible exultation he murmured:. The door swung open, and the jailer stood there. Perez choked down the wrath and bitterness that was turning his heart to iron and said, humbly. Bement, I should like to stay a few minutes longer. This is my brother. I did not know he was here.follow site
The Duke of Stockbridge
I dunno who ye be. As Captain Hamlin, leaving behind him Great Barrington and its tavern-jail, was riding slowly on toward Stockbridge, oblivious in the bitter tumult of his feelings, to the glorious scenery around him, Stockbridge Green was the scene of a quite unusual assemblage. Seated on the piazza of the store, and standing around it, at a distance from the assemblage of the common people, suitably typifying their social superiority, was a group of the magnates of Stockbridge, in the stately dress of gentlemen of the olden time, their three-cornered hats resting upon powdered wigs, and long silk hose revealing the goodly proportions of their calves.
Upon the piazza sits a short, portly gentleman, with bushy black eyebrows and a severe expression of countenance. Although a short man he has a way of holding his neck stiff, with the chin well out, and looking downward from beneath his eyelids, upon those who address him, which, with his pursed up lips, gives a decided impression of authority and unapproachableness.
This is Jahleel Woodbridge, Esquire. Parson West is standing on the ground in front of him, his silver headed cane tucked under one arm. His small person—he is not an inch over five feet tall—is as neatly dressed as if just taken out of a band-box, and his black, shining hose encase a leg and ankle which are the chaste admiration of the ladies of the parish, and the source, it is whispered, of no small complacency to the good man himself. Will it have emulated the demagogic tone of that at Hatfield, do you opine? It is an easier matter to prevent a popular assembly than to restrain its utterances, when assembled.
I am told that seditious and disorderly speech is common at the tavern of evenings. This presumption of the people to talk concerning matters of government, is an evil that has greatly increased since the war, and calls for sharp castigation. One Daniel Shays, an army captain, is spoken of as a leader. Timothy Edwards, Esquire, a tall sharp featured man, with a wrinkled forehead, had come to the door of his store while the doctor was talking.
Even a royal customer would scarcely have presumed so far as to ask this imposing gentleman, in powdered wig, snuff-colored coat, waistcoat and short clothes, white silk stockings and silver-buckled shoes, to cut off a piece of cloth or wrap up a bundle for him. He now addressed Dr.
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It is to this end, also, that they are aiming to weaken us by drawing all the money out of the country, whereby, meanwhile, the present scarcity is caused. Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy have come in upon us like a flood, and the new and heinous sin of card-playing hath contaminated our borders, as hath been of late brought to light in the cases of Jerubbabel Galpin and Zedekiah Armstrong, who were taken in the act, and are even now in the stocks.
And thereby am I reminded that I had purposed to improve this occasion for the reproof and admonition of them that stand by. And thereupon the parson saluted the gentlemen and sedately crossed the green toward the stocks, around which was a noisy crowd of men and boys. As the parson approached, however, a respectful silence fell upon them. There was a general pulling off of hats and caps, and those in his path stood obsequiously aside, while the little children, slinking behind the grown folks, peeped around their legs at him.
Their backs were bent so that their bodies resembled the letter U laid on its side, and their arms were strained as if they were pulling out of the sockets. All attempted bravado, all affectation of stoical indifference, all sense even of embarrassment, had evidently been merged in the demoralization of intense physical discomfort, and the manner in which they lolled their heads, first on one side and then on the other, was eloquent of abject and shameless misery.
Standing directly in front of these hapless youths, and using them as his text, the parson began to admonish the people in this wise:. And it behooveth you, each in his own soul, and in his own household, to make inquisition lest some sin of his or theirs, bring this new temptation of card-playing, upon our people, even as the wedge of fine gold which Achan took and hid in his tent, did mightily discomfit the host of Israel with the plagues of the Lord.
For even as for the sin of Adam, we are all justly chargeable, so for the sins of one another, doth the justice of God afflict us, so that we may find our account in watching over our brethren, even as over ourselves. At times Satan doth so shrewdly mask his wiles that if it were possible the very elect might be deceived, but how evidently doth he here reveal his handiwork. He held up some of the court cards. These are not similitudes of man, who was made in the image of his Maker, but doubtless of fiends, revealed by Satan to the artificers who do his work in the fabrication of these instruments of sin.
Mark these figures of diamonds and hearts, and these others, which I am told do signify spades and clubs. How plainly do they typify ill-gotten riches and bleeding hearts, violence and the grave. Wretched youths, which of ye tempted the other to this sin?
See to it that ye sin not again on this wise, lest a worse thing come upon you. Scarcely had the parson turned away, when a shout from some boys who had gone to the corner to watch for the coming of the Squire, announced his approach, and presently he appeared at the corner, riding a fine gray horse, and came on at an easy canter across the green. He was a tall, broad-shouldered, finely-proportioned man of about forty, with a refined face, frank and open, but rather haughty in expression, with piercing black eyes; a man in whose every gesture lay conscious power and obvious superiority.
As he rode by the silent crowd, he acknowledged the salutations of the people with a courteous wave of the hand, but drew rein only when he reached the group of dignitaries about the store. There he dismounted and shook hands with the parson, who has rejoined the party, with Dr. Partridge, Squire Edwards and Squire Woodbridge. I trust you have been Providentially guided.
The blessing of God has been manifestly upon the convention. Berkshire has not been disgraced, as have been the lower counties, by a seditious and incendiary body of resolutions on the part of her delegates.
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There were not wanting plenty of hot-heads, but they were overruled. I am convinced such might also have been the issue in the other counties, had the gentlemen put themselves forward as delegates, instead of leaving it all in a fit of disgust to the people. You know that we Berkshire people, thanks to our delay in recognizing the State authority, have an evil repute at Boston for a mobbish and ungovernable set. It seemed that this was a good opportunity, when the conventions of all the other counties were sending up seditious petitions, to make the moderation of our conduct such a contrast that there might be an end of such talk in the future.
Meanwhile, as it became apparent to the crowd on the green that they were not likely to be vouchsafed any information unless they asked for it, a brisk disputation, conducted in an undertone, so that it might not reach the ears of the gentlemen, arose as to who should be the spokesmen. But Ezra swallowed the bait without taking the hook. The spirit of mutual deference was so strong that it is doubtful how long the contest of modesty might have continued, had not Laban Jones suddenly said:.
Raising his stalwart figure to its full height, and squaring his shoulders as if to draw courage from a consciousness of his thews and sinews, Laban strode toward the store. But though he took the first steps strongly and firmly, his pace grew feebler and more hesitating as he neared the group of gentlemen, and his courage might have ebbed entirely, had not the parson, glancing around and catching his eye, given him a friendly nod. Laban thereupon came up to within a rod or two of the group, and taking off his cap, said in a small voice:. Finally, his consternation absorbing his timidity he said feebly:.
Did you say, Squire? Be sure to tell your friends that. We must look to it, gentlemen, or we shall find that we have ridded ourselves of a king only to fall into the hands of a democracy, which I take it would be a bad exchange. Come in, sir, and come in gentlemen, all.