Introduction

GLIMPSES

of

OLD NEW ENGLAND LIFE.

—————

LEGENDS OF OLD BEDFORD.

by

Abram English Brown,

author of

History of First Sabbath School of Bedford, [*1] History of Bedford, [*2] and Bedford Old Families. [*3]

‘T is strange, — but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction.

Byron — Don Juan, Canto xiv. St. 101. [*4]

—————
Published by the author.
—————

R. H. BLODGETT, PRINTER,

30 Bromfield St., Boston.

[ p 2 ]

[ outdoor sketch ]
[[ Home Life. ]]

Copyrighted by Author, 1892.

[ p 3 ]

“In those days,” said Hiawatha,
“Lo! how all things fade and perish.
From the memory of the old men
Pass away the great traditions.
The achievements of the warriors.
The adventures of the hunters,
All the wisdom of the Medas,
All the craft of the Wabenos,
All the marvellous dreams and visions
Of the Jossakeeds, the Prophets.” [*5]

[ p 4 ]

[ portrait photo ]

DEDICATION.
———

TO MY GRANDMOTHER, [*6]

whose life was a blessing,
and whose memory is a benediction,

This Volume

is gratefully inscribed
by the author.

[ p 5 ]

INTRODUCTION.
———

There is a sentiment, so often expressed as to be classed with modern proverbs, that a parent who is a wise disciplinarian, when becoming a grand-parent is over-indulgent.

It was the good fortune of the author of this volume to be much in the society of his grand-parents, especially that of his grandmother. After a lapse of time sufficient to remove all sentimental prejudices, he would enter a protest against the commonly accepted belief.

It is to his grandmother that the author is indebted for the facts which this volume contains.

“Had I the ability, I would prove to the world that truth is stranger than fiction,” was an expression of hers that found lodgment in the mind of the writer; and while laying no claims to literary ability, he has tried to clothe a series of truths in a style of dress attractive to readers of all ages, knowing that the adult, at times, is not averse to stories especially adapted to younger readers.

The one credited with this series of truths spent her life in the place of her nativity, as did also several generations of her ancestors, she being peculiarly adapted by nature to gather and retain facts which would have faded from other minds.

[ p 6 ]

The Author was not supplied with many of the melodies and fairy tales, which too often surfeit the youth of to-day, but in their stead, while sitting at the fireside through the long hours of the winter evenings, was entertained by his grandmother with true stories, some of which are herein related.

If the thoughts expressed at times seem too mature for such a listener it may be credited to her who believed in bringing the young mind up to hers rather than descending to the level of the child.

The Author admits that he has not strictly adhered to the time of the occurrence of the events, thereby aiming to guard against trespassing upon the sacredness of family ties. [^1]

The Author, at first, thought of including the leading facts with the History of Bedford, but at length decided to give them under assumed names for obvious reasons, and style them legends.

In order that the customs of our ancestors may not be lost sight of and we fail to appreciate their lives, a series of cuts is added, illustrative of the times and experiences narrated in this work.

With profound gratitude for the many kind words from appreciative readers of the History of the town, this volume of Legends is offered to them and to all who may peruse it, with the hope that it will not only furnish amusement but give helpful instruction.

[ p 7 ]

CONTENTS.

———

THE MYSTERIOUS ROOM.

THE SILVER CROWN.

THE WITCH OF SHAWSHINE.

A POD OF NINE PEAS.

[[ DONY. ]]

[ p 8 ]

ILLUSTRATIONS BY NEW ENGLAND MAGAZINE,
C. L. FLINT, F. A. LAWS, AND HELIOTYPE
PRINTING COMPANY.

———

Frontispiece. Home Life.
My Grandmother, 4
The Living Room, 10
The Parson and the Miser, 15
Larkin’s Shop, 25
Cynthia Smith’s Quilting, 31
Horse and Sleigh, 33
Old School House, 35
The Singing School, 37
Warning the Rats, 44
Miss Nibbs left the Briggs House, 48
Home of Deacon Sprague, 54
Page drove his Steers to the Garden Wall, 61
The Miser’s Death Bed, 71
Funeral of Hezekiah Pendleton, 75
Hiding the Treasures, 78
Opening the Mysterious Room, 82
Pendleton Homestead, 84
Meeting House, 88
The Crow and the Raising, 109
Buying the Wedding Garments, 111
A Midnight Revelation, 121
Dividing the Treasures, 125
“Cried in Meetin’,” 128
Marriage of Priscilla, 133
Preaching at Home, 139
A Neighbor’s Home, 143, 150
The Silver Crown, 159, 160
Fitch’s Tavern, 165
The little Grave among the Daisies, 172
A Family Cradle, 175
The Mill on the Shawshine, 177
The Bridal Party, 180
The Shawshine House, 182
Michael Bacon’s Home, 183
Going to “Meetin’,” 184
A Pod of Nine Peas, 192


SOURCE TEXT


EMENDATIONS

  1. trespassing ∨ tresspassing

WORKS CITED


ANNOTATIONS

  1. cf. An historical [Sabbath School] address (1888) [ no scan ]
  2. cf. Brown’s History of the town of Bedford (1891)
  3. cf. Genealogy of Bedford old families (1892)
    NB: Merely reprints Part II of Brown’s History
  4. cf. Don Juan: Cantos XII, XIII, and XIV (1823) p 165
  5. cf. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Picture-writing” (1855)—
    Chapter XIV of his epic poem “The song of Hiawatha” (p 188)
  6. “my grandmother”: Rachel (Fitch) Brown (d. 1868) (BHB) II: p 6
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