With a feeling of righteous satisfaction, Reverend Josiah Bardwell turned the key in the door of the Plymouth village’s meeting house. It had been a splendid evening worship service; he’d put the fear of God into the backsliding, lazy, bed-swerving members of his congregation. Being a minister here in the New World in this year of our Lord 1701 was not for the faint of heart. The land was new and raw, infested with devil-worshipping redskin savages. The village itself had more than its share of undesirables, people who had been offered free passage from England in lieu of jail. Many of them were among the most troublesome members of Reverend Bardwell’s flock. Oh, they came to meeting; they had no choice. The town’s rules imposed fines for anyone not bedridden who skipped the worship services, and after three such misdemeanors, the offenders were put in the village stocks for a day, and everyone was allowed to pelt them with offal. So even the most hypocritical reprobates attended worship services four times a week as decreed—but when they were not in church, too many of them were drinking to excess, swiving maidservants in the hay racks, and even slipping off into the woods to dance! Josiah clicked his tongue against his teeth. Yes, it was a difficult task to keep these people on the path to righteousness.
Of course, Reverend Bardwell thought with a smirk that would have surprised any of his flock, there were compensations. His farm had been paid for by the village, and it was the best one in the area. He possessed a two-story house, furnished with pieces brought from England, not just rough-hewn local benches, beds, and tables. His wife Charity and his sons, Thomas and Benjamin, were deferred to by their peers, which was only right. And if he, Josiah Bardwell, chose to couple with his maid-of-all-work in the hay mound—well, that wasn’t a sin. It kept the girl from spreading herself for every lay-about in the village, and it relieved dear Charity from the burden of conjugal relations, keeping her pure and closer to God.
|File size:||84 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author