Mary J. Holmes
Aikenside, By Mary J. Holmes

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Title: Aikenside
Author: Mary J. Holmes
Release Date: November 2004 [EBook #6954] [Yes, we are more than
one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on February 16,
Edition: 10
Language: English

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Author of "Maggie Miller," "Dora Drane," "English Orphans," "The
Homestead on the Hillside," "Meadowbrook Farm," "Lena Rivers,"
"Rosamond," "Cousin Maude," "Tempest and Sunshine," "Rector of St.
Marks," "Mildred," "The Leighton Homestead," "Miss McDonald"
The good people of Devonshire were rather given to quarreling--
sometimes about the minister's wife, meek, gentle Mrs. Tiverton,
whose manner of housekeeping, and style of dress, did not exactly suit
them; sometimes about the minister himself, good, patient Mr. Tiverton,
who vainly imagined that if he preached three sermons a week,
attended the Wednesday evening prayer-meeting, the Thursday evening
sewing society, officiated at every funeral, visited all the sick, and gave
to every beggar who called at his door, besides superintending the
Sunday school, he was earning his salary of six hundred per year.
Sometimes, and that not rarely, the quarrel crept into the choir, and

then, for one whole Sunday, it was all in vain that Mr. Tiverton read the
psalm and hymn, casting troubled glances toward the vacant seats of
his refractory singers. There was no one to respond, unless it were good
old Mr. Hodges, who pitched so high that few could follow him; while
Mrs. Captain Simpson--whose daughter, the organist, had been
snubbed at the last choir meeting by Mr. Hodges' daughter, the alto
singer--rolled up her eyes at her next neighbor, or fanned herself
furiously in token of her disgust.
Latterly, however, there had come up a new cause of quarrel, before
which every other cause sank into insignificance. Now, though the
village of Devonshire could boast but one public schoolhouse, said
house being divided into two departments, the upper and lower
divisions, there were in the town several district schools; and for the
last few years a committee of three had been annually appointed to
examine and decide upon the merits of the various candidates for
teaching, giving to each, if the decision were favorable, a little slip of
paper certifying their qualifications to teach a common school. Strange
that over such an office so fierce a feud should have arisen; but when
Mr. Tiverton, Squire Lamb and Lawyer Whittemore, in the full
conviction that they were doing right, refused a certificate of
scholarship to Laura Tisdale, niece of Mrs. Judge Tisdale, and awarded
it to one whose earnings in a factory had procured for her a thorough
English education, the villagers, to use a vulgar phrase, were at once set
by the ears, the aristocracy abusing, and the democracy upholding the
dismayed trio, who, as the breeze blew harder, quietly resigned their
office, and Devonshire was without a school committee.
In this emergency something must be done, and, as the two belligerent
parties could only unite on a stranger, it seemed a matter of special
providence that only two months before, young Dr. Holbrook, a native
of modern Athens, had rented the pleasant little office on the village
common, formerly occupied by old Dr. Carey, now lying in the
graveyard by the side of some whose days he had prolonged, and others
whose days he had surely shortened. Besides being handsome, and
skillful, and quite as familiar with the poor as the rich, the young doctor
was descended from the aristocratic line of Boston Holbrooks, facts

which tended to make him a favorite with both classes; and, greatly to
his surprise, he found himself unanimously elected to the responsible
office of sole Inspector of Common Schools in Devonshire. It was in
vain that he
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