Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Horace Holyoke can remember Oldtown as he had known it when he was a boy, a quiet little village beside a tranquil river in Massachusetts. Surrounded by farmhouses deep in green hollows or high on windy hilltops, Oldtown consists of one rustic street, where the chief landmarks of the community stand. Among these landmarks are the meetinghouse with its classic white spire, the schoolhouse, the academy, a tavern, and the general store, which is also the post office.
As was common in those days, when New England was changing from a Puritan theocracy of little villages to being part of a group of states under a federal government, the minister was still the leading citizen of the town. Mr. Lothrop, descended from generations of ministers, was an Arminian in his views, a sedate, sensible man whose sermons were examples of elegant Addisonian English. His wife, the daughter of an aristocratic family of Boston, had never forsaken the Church of England, and each Easter, Whitsunday, and Christmas, she traveled in her coach to Boston to attend services in Christ Church. The people of Oldtown called her, without disrespect, Lady Lothrop.
As the story goes, famous John Eliot has come to Oldtown as an apostle to the Indians. Three generations later, Horace Holyoke’s father arrives in the town to teach in the local academy. There he falls in love with Susy Badger, one of the prettiest of his pupils, and marries her. With marriage comes responsibilities...
(The entire section is 1805 words.)
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