Talk:Oldtown Folks

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I've removed a 7-paragraph block quote ending with "© Kimberly Brightenbrook". It appears to be a lengthy quote from a single copyrighted source; I'm almost certain that including it in the article is a violation of copyright law. For this reason, I haven't pasted it onto the talk page.

--Ammodramus (talk) 14:19, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Insertion of a huge plot summary[edit]

Please explain the insertion of such a long plot summary into such a short article. I have looked at other literature stubs, and I see nothing similar on Wikipedia. Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 16:19, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

I am placing the proposed plot summary below, for purposes of discussion, and perhaps even editing it down to a more manageable size. Hallward's Ghost (Kevin) (My talkpage) 16:36, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Proposed plot summary text in question[edit]

The story begins with Horace Holyoke remembering Oldtown as he had known it when he was young. He describes his father's life as a teacher at the local academy where he met Horace's mother Susy Badger, his prettiest pupil. Life and parenthood are hard on the couple. His mother’s beauty fades and his father’s health is weakened by his attempts to provide for his family while trying to continue his studies. His father dies of consumption when Horace is only ten and his brother Bill is only a few years older.

Horace and his mother are to live with his grandparents while his brother is to go live with their Uncle Bill. Deacon Badger, Horace's grandfather is a farmer and miller in Oldtown and is a fairly important figure in town.

Horace’s chief comfort in those dark days comes from Sam Lawson, the village handyman and do-nothing. Many people call Sam shiftless. A few pity him because his wife is a scold. Of good humor and garrulous tongue, he is never too busy to take small boys on fishing or hunting trips and to tell them stories.

He, like Mr. Lothrop, is an Arminian, and a serene, affable man. His wife is a strict Puritan Calvinist, as fond of theological dispute as she is of cleanliness. Horace overhears many arguments between the two, with scriptural texts flying thick and fast in proof of their contentions. Their unmarried daughters are named Keziah and Lois. Keziah is a romantic-minded woman with a reputation for homeliness. Lois is like a chestnut burr, prickly and rough on the outside but soft and smooth within, as her tart tongue and warmhearted nature prove.

Just as the life of the village revolves around the meetinghouse, so the center of the Badger household is the spacious, white-sanded kitchen. There the friends of the family gather—Miss Mehitable Rossiter, daughter of a former minister of the town, Major Broad, Squire Jones, Sam, and others. While there, Horace listens to discussions on politics, religion, philosophy, and varied local lore, all of which will influence him throughout his lifetime. There, too, it is decided that his brother, Bill, who shows very little promise as a scholar, is to work on the farm with Jacob Badger, his mother’s brother, while Horace will be allowed to continue his studies in the village school. Horace grows into a dreamy, imaginative boy. Sometimes he feels that auras suggestive of good or evil surround people whom he meets. Often he dreams of a silent, lonely lad of about his own age. The boy begins to fade from Horace’s visions, however, after he finds a friend in young Harry Percival.

Harry’s father is an English officer, the younger son of a landed family, who brought his wife to America near the end of the Revolutionary War. The wife is a curate’s daughter with whom the officer had eloped and married secretly. The husband proves worthless and dissipated, and at last he deserts his wife and two children when his regiment returns to England. He takes his wife’s wedding certificate with him and leaves behind a letter denying the legality of their marriage. Friendless and without funds, the wife sets out to walk to Boston with Harry and his sister, Eglantine. On the way, the mother gets sick and dies in the house of miserly Caleb Smith, called by his neighbors Old Crab Smith. The farmer decides to keep the boy as a field hand. Eglantine, or Tina, as her brother calls her, is taken in by Caleb’s sister, Miss Asphyxia. The children are treated so harshly, however, that at last they decide to run away. After a night spent with an old Indian woman in the woods, they find a refuge in the Dench mansion, reported to be haunted, on the outskirts of Oldtown. There, Sam and some neighbors find the children after smoke is seen coming from the chimney of the old house.

Harry and Tina are befriended by Deacon Badger and his wife. Within a few days, it is decided that Harry is to remain with the Badgers, an arrangement made even more satisfactory by Mrs. Lothrop’s promise to provide for the boy’s clothing and education. Miss Mehitable Rossiter, whose life had been saddened some years before by the mysterious disappearance of her young half sister, Emily, adopts Tina. From that time on, the lives of Horace, Harry, and Tina are to be closely intertwined. As a special Easter treat, Mrs. Lothrop arranges to take the children to Boston with her. They are entertained by Madame Kittery, Mrs. Lothrop’s mother, and during their stay, they meet Ellery Davenport. Ellery, Mrs. Lothrop’s cousin, had served in the Continental army and had held several diplomatic posts abroad. He is handsome and clever. A grandson of the great Jonathan Edwards, he had turned away from the Church; his preceptors are the French philosophers of the day. Horace hears that his wife is mad.

Madame Kittery, a kindly old woman, takes a great interest in Horace and listens sympathetically while he tells of his father’s death and of his own desire to attend college. Shortly after the party returns to Oldtown, he is told that money will be provided so that he and Harry can go to Harvard together. Madame Kittery has become his benefactor. Over Thanksgiving, Ellery Davenport and Mrs. Lothrop’s sister, Deborah, come to Oldtown for a visit. At a harvest dance at the Badger homestead, Ellery pays marked attention to young Tina. He also promises Miss Mehitable that on his return to France he will look for her lost sister, who is believed to have fled to that country.

Tina became more beautiful as she grew older. When the schoolmaster falls in love with her—and Miss Mehitable’s cousin, Mordecai, hired as her tutor, also succumbs to her charms—it is finally decided that she, with Horace and Harry, will go to Cloudland, where Jonathan Rossiter, Miss Mehitable’s half brother, is master of the academy. The boys live with Mr. Rossiter. Tina boards with the minister, Mr. Avery, whose daughter, Esther, becomes the friend and companion of the three newcomers. Esther and Harry soon fall in love.

Under Mr. Avery’s influence, Harry decides to study for the ministry. Horace dreams of a career that will ensure his future with Tina, whom he has loved since childhood. When Ellery Davenport returns from England, he has important news for Harry. The boy’s father is now Sir Harry Percival. Ellery has also secured possession of the stolen marriage certificate, which he gives to Mr. Lothrop for safekeeping.

Horace and Harry enter Harvard as sophomores. Tina, visiting with the Kitterys in Boston or staying with Miss Mehitable in Oldtown, writes them letters that are playful, almost mocking in tone. Horace begins to worry about Ellery Davenport’s influence on the girl. A short time later, he hears that Ellery’s insane wife has died. Then word comes that Harry’s father has died in England. Harry is now Sir Harry Percival. The two friends return to Oldtown for the spring vacation, to learn on their arrival that Tina is engaged to marry Ellery. Horace, reflecting wryly on the contrast between his own humble position and the high estate to which his friends have been lifted, conceals with stubborn pride the deep hurt he feels.

Because Ellery is soon to return to the embassy in London, preparations for the wedding are hurried. After the ceremony, Ellery and his bride are to spend a short time, before sailing, in the reconditioned Dench mansion. When they arrive, they find a woman dressed in black waiting for them in the parlor of the old house. The caller is Emily Rossiter, whom Ellery had seduced and taken away from her family years before. Emily, spurning the settlement he had provided for her, has followed him to America. To her horror, Tina also learns that he is the father of the unfortunate woman’s child.

The course Tina takes is both noble and tragic. In spite of the wrong Ellery has done, both to Emily and to his bride, Tina refuses to desert him. Instead, she uses the fortune she has inherited from her father to establish Miss Mehitable and her sister in a house near Boston. She takes the child with her to England when she goes there with Ellery. After his graduation, Harry marries Esther Avery and leaves for England with his bride. At first, he plans to return shortly to America, but as time passes, it becomes apparent that his interests lay abroad and that he intends to make his home there. Horace feels that he has been left alone in the world.

Eight years pass before Ellery and Tina return to make their home near Boston. By that time, Tina has grown faded and worn. Horace, a successful lawyer, sees her and her husband frequently; as a sympathetic spectator, he watches the course of Ellery’s reckless and unprincipled career, which, fed by his ambition, is to bring him close to madness. Ten years after his marriage, Ellery is killed in a political duel. Two more years pass before Horace and Tina are married. Their wedding journey takes them to England to see Harry and Esther. Later, as the years come and go softly, Horace and his wife often visit Oldtown, and it is there they renew the familiar associations of earlier days.