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A Glimpse of New Eng-land Town Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

By Edward Field. Providence, R. I.: Preston & Rounds. "Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?" Not if you live in the nineteenth century. You take your ease in a hotel sumptuously planned for the comfort and luxury of "families" without children, or in a club where you may seclude yourself from undesirable company; or if these are unattainable and your tastes lie that way, in a " saloon."

The old-fashioned tavern, with its simple, often rude, always democratic mingling of neighbours and strangers, is a thing of the past. Such a study as this of Mr. Field is highly entertaining in itself and historically important. It gives a peep into an unfamiliar phase of early New England life. Among other things, the dissipations of our staid Puritan forefathers are disclosed. It may seem shocking, but it is apparently a fact that they were careful to have the tavern built close to the "meeting house," so that between the double hour-glass sermons delivered in a freezing atmosphere, worshippers might have a place to warm themselves and means for the spirituous as well as spiritual refreshment of the inner man. In those ante railroad days, those days of genuine village life, the tavern was a factor whose importance has been scarcely appreciated, and this handsomely printed and pleasantly written volume deserves a place in the studies of the social aspects of New England life during the colonial period.

Book Review date: 
Friday, October 1, 1897
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