The Minister's Wooing
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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From the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a domestic comedy that examines slavery, Protestant theology, and gender differences in early America.
First published in 1859, Harriet Beecher Stowe's third novel is set in eighteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island, a community known for its engagement in both religious piety and the slave trade. Mary Scudder lives in a modest farmhouse with her widowed mother an their boarder, Samuel Hopkins, a famous Calvinist theologian who preaches against slavery. Mary is in love with the passionate James Marvyn, but Mary is devout and James is a skeptic, and Mary's mother opposes the union. James goes to sea, and when he is reportedly drowned, Mary is persuaded to become engaged to Dr. Hopkins.
With colorful characters, including many based on real figures, and a plot that hinges on romance, The Minister's Wooing combines comedy with regional history to show the convergence of daily life, slavery, and religion in post-Revolutionary New England.
through that silent heart were passing tides of thought that measured a universe; but it was even so. Through that one gap of sorrow flowed in the whole awful mystery of existence, and silently, as she spun and sewed, she thought over and over again all that she had ever been taught, and compared and revolved it by the light of a dawning inward revelation. Sorrow is the great birth-agony of immortal powers,—sorrow is the great searcher and revealer of hearts, the great test of truth; for Plato
tempted to be very, very bad! Oh, sometimes I thought I would not care for God or anything else!—it was very bad of me,—but I was like a foolish little fly caught in a spider’s net before he knows it.” Mary’s eyes questioned her companion with an expression of eager sympathy, somewhat blended with curiosity. “I can’t make you understand me quite,” said Madame de Frontignac, “unless I go back a good many years. You see, dear Mary, my dear angel mamma died when I was very little, and I was sent
they hold for the possession of their riper years. So it very often happens that the man who has gone to bed an angel, feeling as if all sin were forever vanquished, and he himself immutably grounded in love, may wake the next morning with a sick-headache and, if he be not careful, may scold about his breakfast like a miserable sinner. We will not say that our dear little Mary rose in this condition next morning,—for, although she had the headache, she had one of those natures in which, somehow
republican ideals. 2 “THE STEPS ... HIS WAY”: Psalms 37:23. CHAPTER XII 1 THEOPHRASTUS: A Greek philosopher and scientist (c. 370-285 B.C.); a disciple of Plato and Aristotle. Theophrastus wrote treatises on logic, ethics, metaphysics, and the natural sciences. Stowe humorously implies that had he lived in Congregationalist New England, he would have been a disciple of Hopkins. 2 NEBUCHADNEZZAR: A Babylonian king (630-562 B.C.) who destroyed Jerusalem and carried many Jews to captivity.
stood meekly bowing, feeling that he was being apologized for in the best possible manner; for long years of instruction had fixed the idea in his mind, that he was an ignorant sinner, who had not the smallest notion how to conduct himself in this world, and that, if it were not for his wife’s distinguishing grace, he would long since have been in the shades of oblivion. “Missis is spinnin’ up in de north chamber,” said Candace; “but I’ll run up and fetch her down.” Candace, who was about the