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58 Works of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

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“Father!” “What is it?” “What are them men diggin’ over there in the field for?” There was a sudden dropping and enlarging of the lower part of the old man’s face, as if some heavy weight had settled therein; he shut his mouth tight, and went on harnessing the great bay mare. He hustled the […]

A New England Nun

Story type: Literature

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It was late in the afternoon, and the light was waning. There was a difference in the look of the tree shadows out in the yard. Somewhere in the distance cows were lowing and a little bell was tinkling; now and then a farm-wagon tilted by, and the dust flew; some blue-shirted laborers with shovels […]

A Mistaken Charity

Story type: Literature

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There were in a green field a little, low, weather-stained cottage, with a foot-path leading to it from the highway several rods distant, and two old women – one with a tin pan and old knife searching for dandelion greens among the short young grass, and the other sitting on the door-step watching her, or, […]

A Church Mouse

Story type: Literature

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“I never heard of a woman’s bein’ saxton.” “I dun’ know what difference that makes; I don’t see why they shouldn’t have women saxtons as well as men saxtons, for my part, nor nobody else neither. They’d keep dusted ‘nough sight cleaner. I’ve seen the dust layin’ on my pew thick enough to write my […]

One Good Time

Story type: Literature

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Richard Stone was nearly seventy-five years old when he died, his wife was over sixty, and his daughter Narcissa past middle age. Narcissa Stone had been very pretty, and would have been pretty still had it not been for those lines, as distinctly garrulous of discontent and worry as any words of mouth, which come […]

The Lost Ghost

Story type: Literature

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Mrs. John Emerson, sitting with her needlework beside the window, looked out and saw Mrs. Rhoda Meserve coming down the street, and knew at once by the trend of her steps and the cant of her head that she meditated turning in at her gate. She also knew by a certain something about her general […]

Old Woman Magoun

Story type: Literature

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The hamlet of Barry’s Ford is situated in a sort of high valley among the mountains. Below it the hills lie in moveless curves like a petrified ocean; above it they rise in green-cresting waves which never break. It is Barry’sFord because at one time the Barry family was the most important in the place; […]

The Shadows on the Wall

Story type: Literature

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“Henry had words with Edward in the study the night before Edward died,” said Caroline Glynn. She was elderly, tall, and harshly thin, with a hard colourlessness of face. She spoke not with acrimony, but with grave severity. Rebecca Ann Glynn, younger, stouter and rosy of face between her crinkling puffs of gray hair, gasped, […]

The "Horse House" Deed

Story type: Literature

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Know all Men By These Presents, that I Seth Towner of Braintree, in the County of Suffolk & Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Gent. In Consideration that I may promote & encourage the worship of God, I have given liberty to Ephriam, and Atherton Wales, & Th’o:s Penniman of Stoughton who attend […]

The Adopted Daughter

Story type: Literature

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The Inventory of the Estate of Samuel Wales Late of Braintree, Taken by the Subscribers, March the 14th, 1761. His Purse in Cash L11-15-01 His apparrel 10-11-00 His watch 2-13-04 The Best Bed with two Coverlids, three sheets, two underbeds, two Bolsters, two pillows, Bedstead rope L6 One mill Blanket, two Phlanel sheets, 12 toe […]

In the Name of God Amen! the Thirteenth Day of September One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty & eight, I, Thomas Wales of Braintree, in the County of Suffolk & Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Gent–being in good health of Body and of Sound Disproving mind and Memory, Thanks be given to God–Calling […]

The Bound Girl

Story type: Literature

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This Indenture Wittnesseth, That I Margaret Burjust of Boston, in the County of Suffolk and Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. Have placed, and by these presents do place and bind out my only Daughter whose name is Ann Ginnins to be an Apprentice unto Samuel Wales and his wife of Braintree in […]

“Margary,” said her mother, “take the pitcher now, and fetch me some fresh, cool water from the well, and I will cook the porridge for supper.” “Yes, mother,” said Margary. Then she put on her little white dimity hood, and got the pitcher, which was charmingly shaped, from the cupboard shelf. The cupboard was a […]

A Plain Case

Story type: Literature

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Willy had his own little bag packed–indeed it had been packed for three whole days–and now he stood gripping it tightly in one hand, and a small yellow cane which was the pride of his heart in the other. Willy had a little harmless, childish dandyism about him which his mother rather encouraged. “I’d rather […]

The Squire’s Sixpence

Story type: Literature

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Patience Mather was saying the seven-multiplication table, when she heard a heavy step in the entry. “That is Squire Bean,” whispered her friend, Martha Joy, who stood at her elbow. Patience stopped short in horror. Her especial bugbear in mathematics was eight-times-seven; she was coming toward it fast–could she remember it, with old Squire Bean […]

The Patchwork School

Story type: Literature

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Once upon a time there was a city which possessed a very celebrated institution for the reformation of unruly children. It was, strictly speaking, a Reform School, but of a very peculiar kind. It had been established years before by a benevolent lady, who had a great deal of money, and wished to do good […]

Toby

Story type: Literature

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Aunt Malvina was sitting at the window watching for a horse-car which she wanted to take. Uncle Jack was near the register in a comfortable easy chair, his feet on an embroidered foot-rest, and Letitia, just as close to him as she could get her little rocking-chair, was sewing her square of patchwork “over and […]

The Silver Hen

Story type: Literature

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Dame Dorothea Penny kept a private school. It was quite a small school, on account of the small size of her house. She had only twelve scholars and they filled it quite full; indeed one very little boy had to sit in the brick oven. On this account Dame Penny was obliged to do all […]

Dill

Story type: Literature

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Dame Clementina was in her dairy, churning, and her little daughter Nan was out in the flower-garden. The flower-garden was a little plot back of the cottage, full of all the sweet, old-fashioned herbs. There were sweet marjoram, sage, summersavory, lavender, and ever so many others. Up in one corner, there was a little green […]

On Christmas Eve the Mayor’s stately mansion presented a beautiful appearance. There were rows of different-colored wax candles burning in every window, and beyond them one could see the chandeliers of gold and crystal blazing with light. The fiddles were squeaking merrily, and lovely little forms flew past the windows in time to the music. […]

The Pumpkin Giant

Story type: Literature

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A very long time ago, before our grandmother’s time, or our great-grandmother’s, or our grandmothers’ with a very long string of greats prefixed, there were no pumpkins; people had never eaten a pumpkin-pie, or even stewed pumpkin; and that was the time when the Pumpkin Giant flourished. There have been a great many giants who […]

The Christmas Monks

Story type: Literature

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All children have wondered unceasingly from their very first Christmas up to their very last Christmas, where the Christmas presents come from. It is very easy to say that Santa Claus brought them. All well regulated people know that, of course; but the reindeer, and the sledge, and the pack crammed with toys, the chimney, […]

I. THE PRINCESS ROSETTA. The Bee Festival was held on the sixteenth day of May; all the court went. The court-ladies wore green silk scarfs, long green floating plumes in their bonnets, and green satin petticoats embroidered with apple-blossoms. The court-gentlemen wore green velvet tunics with nose-gays in their buttonholes, and green silk hose. Their […]

Once there was a farmer who had a very rare and valuable cow. There was not another like her in the whole kingdom. She was as white as the whitest lily you ever saw, and her horns, which curved very gracefully, were of gold. She had a charming green meadow, with a silvery pool in […]

The Pot Of Gold

Story type: Literature

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The Flower family lived in a little house in a broad grassy meadow, which sloped a few rods from their front door down to a gentle, silvery river. Right across the river rose a lovely dark green mountain, and when there was a rainbow, as there frequently was, nothing could have looked more enchanting than […]

Evelina’s Garden

Story type: Literature

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On the south a high arbor-vitae hedge separated Evelina’s garden from the road. The hedge was so high that when the school-children lagged by, and the secrets behind it fired them with more curiosity than those between their battered book covers, the tallest of them by stretching up on tiptoe could not peer over. And […]

One of the first things which Comfort remembered being told was that she had been named for her Aunt Comfort, who had given her a gold ring and a gold dollar for her name. Comfort could not understand why. It always seemed to her that her aunt, and not she, had given the name, and […]

PART I Opposite Miss Eudora Yates’s old colonial mansion was the perky modern Queen Anne residence of Mrs. Joseph Glynn. Mrs. Glynn had a daughter, Ethel, and an unmarried sister, Miss Julia Esterbrook. All three were fond of talking, and had many callers who liked to hear the feebly effervescent news of Wellwood. This afternoon […]

The Green Door

Story type: Literature

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Letitia lived in the same house where her grandmother and her great-grandmother had lived and died. Her own parents died when she was very young, and she had come there to live with her Great-aunt Peggy. Her Great-aunt Peggy was her grandfather’s sister, and was a very old woman. However, she was very active and […]

Luella Miller

Story type: Literature

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Close to the village street stood the one-story house in which Luella Miller, who had an evil name in the village, had dwelt. She had been dead for years, yet there were those in the village who, in spite of the clearer light which comes on a vantage-point from a long-past danger, half believed in […]

The Southwest Chamber

Story type: Literature

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That school-teacher from Acton is coming to-day,” said the elder Miss Gill, Sophia. “So she is,” assented the younger Miss Gill, Amanda. “I have decided to put her in the southwest chamber,” said Sophia. Amanda looked at her sister with an expression of mingled doubt and terror. “You don’t suppose she would–” she began hesitatingly. […]

Ford Village has no railroad station, being on the other side of the river from Porter’s Falls, and accessible only by the ford which gives it its name, and a ferry line. The ferry-boat was waiting when Rebecca Flint got off the train with her bag and lunch basket. When she and her small trunk […]

The Vacant Lot

Story type: Literature

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When it became generally known in Townsend Centre that the Townsends were going to move to the city, there was great excitement and dismay. For the Townsends to move was about equivalent to the town’s moving. The Townsend ancestors had founded the village a hundred years ago. The first Townsend had kept a wayside hostelry […]

Johnny-In-The-Woods

Story type: Literature

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JOHNNY TRUMBULL, he who had demonstrated his claim to be Cock of the Walk by a most impious hand-to-hand fight with his own aunt, Miss Janet Trumbull, in which he had been decisively victorious, and won his spurs, consisting of his late grandfather’s immense, solemnly ticking watch, was to take a new path of action. […]

THE Wise homestead dated back more than a century, yet it had nothing imposing about it except its site. It was a simple, glaringly white cottage. There was a center front door with two windows on each side; there was a low slant of roof, pierced by unpicturesque dormers. On the left of the house […]

Coronation

Story type: Literature

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JIM BENNET had never married. He had passed middle life, and possessed considerable property. Susan Adkins kept house for him. She was a widow and a very distant relative. Jim had two nieces, his brother’s daughters. One, Alma Beecher, was married; the other, Amanda, was not. The nieces had naively grasping views concerning their uncle […]

Noblesse

Story type: Literature

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MARGARET LEE encountered in her late middle age the rather singular strait of being entirely alone in the world. She was unmarried, and as far as relatives were concerned, she had none except those connected with her by ties not of blood, but by marriage. Margaret had not married when her flesh had been comparative; […]

Dear Annie

Story type: Literature

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ANNIE HEMPSTEAD lived on a large family canvas, being the eldest of six children. There was only one boy. The mother was long since dead. If one can imagine the Hempstead family, the head of which was the Reverend Silas, pastor of the Orthodox Church in Lynn Corners, as being the subject of a mild […]

The Umbrella Man

Story type: Literature

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IT was an insolent day. There are days which, to imaginative minds, at least, possess strangely human qualities. Their atmospheres predispose people to crime or virtue, to the calm of good will, to sneaking vice, or fierce, unprovoked aggression. The day was of the last description. A beast, or a human being in whose veins […]

THE spring was early that year. It was only the last of March, but the trees were filmed with green and paling with promise of bloom; the front yards were showing new grass pricking through the old. It was high time to plow the south field and the garden, but Christopher sat in his rocking-chair […]

The Amethyst Comb

Story type: Literature

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MISS JANE CAREW was at the railroad station waiting for the New York train. She was about to visit her friend, Mrs. Viola Longstreet. With Miss Carew was her maid, Margaret, a middle-aged New England woman, attired in the stiffest and most correct of maid-uniforms. She carried an old, large sole-leather bag, and also a […]

The Cock Of The Walk

Story type: Literature

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DOWN the road, kicking up the dust until he marched, soldier-wise, in a cloud of it, that rose and grimed his moist face and added to the heavy, brown powder upon the wayside weeds and flowers, whistling a queer, tuneless thing, which yet contained definite sequences — the whistle of a bird rather than a […]

The Copy-Cat

Story type: Literature

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THAT affair of Jim Simmons’s cats never became known. Two little boys and a little girl can keep a secret — that is, sometimes. The two little boys had the advantage of the little girl because they could talk over the affair together, and the little girl, Lily Jennings, had no intimate girl friend to […]

Big Sister Solly

Story type: Literature

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IT did seem strange that Sally Patterson, who, according to her own self-estimation, was the least adapted of any woman in the village, should have been the one chosen by a theoretically selective providence to deal with a psychological problem. It was conceded that little Content Adams was a psychological problem. She was the orphan […]

Little Lucy Rose

Story type: Literature

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BACK of the rectory there was a splendid, long hill. The ground receded until the rectory garden was reached, and the hill was guarded on either flank by a thick growth of pines and cedars, and, being a part of the land appertaining to the rectory, was never invaded by the village children. This was […]

Mehitable Lamb

Story type: Literature

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Hannah Maria Green sat on the north door-step, and sewed over and over a seam in a sheet. She had just gotten into her teens, and she was tall for her age, although very slim. She wore a low-necked, and short-sleeved, brown delaine dress. That style of dress was not becoming, but it was the […]

A Sweet-Grass Basket

Story type: Literature

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Nancy and Flora were going through the garden, stepping between the squash and tomato vines. Nancy’s mother stood in the kitchen door looking after them. “Mind you don’t hit your clothes on the tomatoes!” she called out. “No, we won’t,” they answered back. After they had passed the last bean pole they walked single file […]

The Dickey Boy

Story type: Literature

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“I should think it was about time for him to be comin’,” said Mrs. Rose. “So should I,” assented Miss Elvira Grayson. She peered around the corner of the front door. Her face was thin and anxious, and her voice was so like it that it was unmistakably her own note. One would as soon […]

A Parsnip Stew

Story type: Literature

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Ruth stood by with a dish and spoon, while her mother stirred the stew carefully to be sure that it was not burning on the bottom of the kettle. Her sister Serena was paring apples and playing with the cat, and her father and her uncles Caleb and Silas sat before the fire smoking, sniffing […]

By the 1st of June Mrs. Thayer had the sun-bonnets done. There were four of them, for the four youngest girls–Eliza, Mary Ann, Harriet, and Mirandy. She had five daughters besides these, but two were married and gone away from home, and the other three were old enough to make their own sun-bonnets. There were […]

Seventoes’ Ghost

Story type: Literature

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“You needn’t waste any more time talkin’ about it, Benjamin; you can jest take that puppy-dog and carry him off. I don’t care what you do with him; you can carry him back where you got him, or give him away, or swap him off; but jest as sure as you leave him here half […]

In the first place, Sarah Jane had no right to take the doll to school, but the temptation was too much for her. The doll was new–it was, in fact, only one day old–and such a doll! Rag, of course–Sarah Jane had heard only vague rumors of other kinds–but no more like the ordinary rag […]

It was afternoon recess at No. 4 District School, in Warner. There was a heavy snow-storm; so every one was in the warm school-room, except a few adventurous spirits who were tumbling about in the snow-drifts out in the yard, getting their clothes wet and preparing themselves for chidings at home. Their shrill cries and […]

“And you must spin faster, Dorothy, or you’ll go to bed without your supper,” said Dame Betsy. “Yes, ma’am,” replied Dorothy. Then she twirled the wheel so fast that the spokes were a blur. Dorothy was a pretty little girl. She had a small pink-and-white face; her hair was closely cropped and looked like a […]

Ann Lizy’s Patchwork

Story type: Literature

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Ann Lizy was invited to spend the afternoon and take tea with her friend Jane Baxter, and she was ready to set forth about one o’clock. That was the fashionable hour for children and their elders to start when they were invited out to spend the afternoon. Ann Lizy had on her best muslin delaine […]

“Grandma.” “What is it, child?” “You goin’ to put that cup-cake into the pan to bake it now, grandma?” “Yes; I guess so. It’s beat ’bout enough.” “You ain’t put in a mite of nutmeg, grandma.” The grandmother turned around to Ann Mary. “Don’t you be quite so anxious,” said she, with sarcastic emphasis. “I […]

“I don’t know what we’re goin’ to do,” said Aunt Maria Crooker. She sat in a large arm-chair, and held in her lap a bowl of sugar and butter that she was creaming. Aunt Maria filled up the chair from arm to arm, for she was very portly; she had a large, rosy, handsome face, […]

Young Lucretia

Story type: Literature

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“Who’s that little gal goin’ by?” said old Mrs. Emmons. “That–why, that’s young Lucretia, mother,” replied her daughter Ann, peering out of the window over her mother’s shoulder. There was a fringe of flowering geraniums in the window; the two women had to stretch their heads over them. “Poor little soul!” old Mrs. Emmons remarked […]