The Devil's Disciple HTML version

kisses it, her tears falling on it. He starts and looks at it.) Tears! The devil's baptism! (She
falls on her knees, sobbing. He stoops goodnaturedly to raise her, saying) Oh yes, you
may cry that way, Essie, if you like.
Minister Anderson's house is in the main street of Websterbridge, not far from the town
hall. To the eye of the eighteenth century New Englander, it is much grander than the
plain farmhouse of the Dudgeons; but it is so plain itself that a modern house agent would
let both at about the same rent. The chief dwelling room has the same sort of kitchen
fireplace, with boiler, toaster hanging on the bars, movable iron griddle socketed to the
hob, hook above for roasting, and broad fender, on which stand a kettle and a plate of
buttered toast. The door, between the fireplace and the corner, has neither panels,
fingerplates nor handles: it is made of plain boards, and fastens with a latch. The table is
a kitchen table, with a treacle colored cover of American cloth, chapped at the corners by
draping. The tea service on it consists of two thick cups and saucers of the plainest ware,
with milk jug and bowl to match, each large enough to contain nearly a quart, on a black
japanned tray, and, in the middle of the table, a wooden trencher with a big loaf upon it,
and a square half pound block of butter in a crock. The big oak press facing the fire from
the opposite side of the room, is for use and storage, not for ornament; and the minister's
house coat hangs on a peg from its door, showing that he is out; for when he is in it is his
best coat that hangs there. His big riding boots stand beside the press, evidently in their
usual place, and rather proud of themselves. In fact, the evolution of the minister's
kitchen, dining room and drawing room into three separate apartments has not yet taken
place; and so, from the point of view of our pampered period, he is no better off than the
But there is a difference, for all that. To begin with, Mrs. Anderson is a pleasanter person
to live with than Mrs. Dudgeon. To which Mrs. Dudgeon would at once reply, with
reason, that Mrs. Anderson has no children to look after; no poultry, pigs nor cattle; a
steady and sufficient income not directly dependent on harvests and prices at fairs; an
affectionate husband who is a tower of strength to her: in short, that life is as easy at the
minister's house as it is hard at the farm. This is true; but to explain a fact is not to alter it;
and however little credit Mrs. Anderson may deserve for making her home happier, she
has certainly succeeded in doing it. The outward and visible signs of her superior social
pretensions are a drugget on the floor, a plaster ceiling between the timbers and chairs
which, though not upholstered, are stained and polished. The fine arts are represented by
a mezzotint portrait of some Presbyterian divine, a copperplate of Raphael's St. Paul
preaching at Athens, a rococo presentation clock on the mantelshelf, flanked by a couple
of miniatures, a pair of crockery dogs with baskets in their mouths, and, at the corners,
two large cowrie shells. A pretty feature of the room is the low wide latticed window,
nearly its whole width, with little red curtains running on a rod half way up it to serve as
a blind. There is no sofa; but one of the seats, standing near the press, has a railed back
and is long enough to accommodate two people easily. On the whole, it is rather the sort
of room that the nineteenth century has ended in struggling to get back to under the