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The Devil's Disciple

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Overview

At the most wretched hour between a black night and a wintry morning in the year 1777, Mrs. Dudgeon, of New Hampshire, is sitting up in the kitchen and general dwelling room of her farm house on the outskirts of the town of Websterbridge. She is not a prepossessing woman. No woman looks her best after sitting up all night; and Mrs. Dudgeon's face, even at its best, is grimly trenched by the channels into which the barren forms and observances of a dead Puritanism can pen a bitter temper and a fierce pride. She is...
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The Devil's Disciple

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Overview

At the most wretched hour between a black night and a wintry morning in the year 1777, Mrs. Dudgeon, of New Hampshire, is sitting up in the kitchen and general dwelling room of her farm house on the outskirts of the town of Websterbridge. She is not a prepossessing woman. No woman looks her best after sitting up all night; and Mrs. Dudgeon's face, even at its best, is grimly trenched by the channels into which the barren forms and observances of a dead Puritanism can pen a bitter temper and a fierce pride. She is an elderly matron who has worked hard and got nothing by it except dominion and detestation in her sordid home, and an unquestioned reputation for piety and respectability among her neighbors, to whom drink and debauchery are still so much more tempting than religion and rectitude, that they conceive goodness simply as self-denial. This conception is easily extended to others-denial, and finally generalized as covering anything disagreeable. So Mrs. Dudgeon, being exceedingly disagreeable, is held to be exceedingly good. Short of flat felony, she enjoys complete license except for amiable weaknesses of any sort, and is consequently, without knowing it, the most licentious woman in the parish on the strength of never having broken the seventh commandment or missed a Sunday at the Presbyterian church.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781437035834
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 0.19 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Act ra Early neat morning the sergeant, at the British headquarters in the Town Hall, unlocks the door of a littie empty panelled waiting room, and invites Judith to enter. She has had a bad night, probably a rather delirious one; for even in the reality of the raw morning, her fixed gaze comes back at moments when her attention is not strongly held. The sergeant considers that her feelings do her credit, and is sympathetic in an encouraging military way. Being a fine figure of a man, vain of his uniform and of his rank, he feels specially qualified, in a respectful way, to console her. Sergeant. You can have a quiet word with him here, mum. Judith. Shall I have long to wait ? Sergeant. No, mum, not a minute. We kep him in the Bridewell for the night; and he's just been brought over here for the court martial. Don't fret, mum: he slep like a child, and has made a rare good breakfast. Judith (incredulously). He is in good spirit a! Sergeant. Tip top, mum. The chaplain looked in to see him last night; and he won seventeen shillings off him at spoil five. He spent it among us like the gentleman he is. Duty's duty, mum, of course; but you're among friends here. (The tramp of a couple of soldiers is heard approaching.) There: I think he's coming. (Richard comes in, without a sign of care or captivity in his bearing. The sergeant nods to the two soldiers, and shews them the key of the room in his hand. They withdraw.) Your good lady, sir. Richard (going to her). What! My wife. My adored one. (He takes her hand and kisses it with a perverse, raffishgallantry.') How long do you allow a brokenhearted husband for leave-taking, Sergeant? Sergeant. As long as we can, sir. We shall notdisturb you till the court sits. Richard. But it has struck the hour. Sergea...
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