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All's Well Alice's Victory   By: (1836-1893)

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All's Well Alice's Victory

By Emily Sarah Holt This book is set in the sixteenth century, at the beginning of the Reformation. The action is in the Weald of Kent, a hugely forested area that extended as far as Hampshire. The family at the centre of the story had been converted to Protestantism, but still outwardly clung to Catholicism. This meant that the local priest, through hearing confessions, knew something of what was going on, and carried the information to the Bishop. One of the younger women of the family had been particularly advanced in her Protestant action and beliefs. She is taken before the Bishop, and is condemned to jail, where she is very badly treated, sleeping on straw, without change of clothing, and fed only on bread and water. The place where she was kept was changed for the better, after she had been brought for further interview before the Bishop. But this was only because she was to be burnt alive, in the manner of Holy Church of those days.

A moving story that makes a good audiobook, of little more than 7 hours' duration. NH





"Give you good morrow, neighbour! Whither away with that great fardel [Bundle], prithee?"

"Truly, Mistress, home to Staplehurst, and the fardel holdeth broadcloth for my lads' new jerkins." The speakers were two women, both on the younger side of middle age, who met on the road between Staplehurst and Cranbrook, the former coming towards Cranbrook and the latter from it. They were in the midst of that rich and beautiful tract of country known as the Weald of Kent, once the eastern part of the great Andredes Weald, a vast forest which in Saxon days stretched from Kent to the border of Hampshire. There was still, in 1556, much of the forest about the Weald, and even yet it is a well wooded part of the country, the oak being its principal tree, though the beech sometimes grows to an enormous size. Trees of the Weald were sent to Rome for the building of Saint Peter's.

"And how go matters with you, neighbour?" asked the first speaker, whose name was Alice Benden.

"Well, none so ill," was the reply. "My master's in full work, and we've three of our lads at the cloth works. We're none so bad off as some."

"I marvel how it shall go with Sens Bradbridge, poor soul! She'll be bad off enough, or I err greatly."

"Why, how so, trow? I've not heard what ails her."

"Dear heart! then you know not poor Benedict is departed?"

"Eh, you never mean it!" exclaimed the bundle bearer, evidently shocked. "Why, I reckoned he'd taken a fine turn toward recovery. Well, be sure! Ay, poor Sens, I'm sorry for her."

"Two little maids, neither old enough to earn a penny, and she a stranger in the town, pretty nigh, with never a 'quaintance saving them near about her, and I guess very few pennies in her purse. Ay, 'tis a sad look out for Sens, poor heart."

"Trust me, I'll look in on her, and see what I may do, so soon as I've borne this fardel home. Good lack! but the burying charges 'll come heavy on her! and I doubt she's saved nought, as you say, Benedict being sick so long."

"I scarce think there's much can be done," said Alice, as she moved forward; "I was in there of early morrow, and Barbara Final, she took the maids home with her. But a kindly word's not like to come amiss. Here's Emmet [See Note 1] Wilson at hand: she'll bear you company home, for I have ado in the town. Good morrow, Collet."

"Well, good morrow, Mistress Benden. I'll rest my fardel a bit on the stile while Emmet comes up."

And, lifting her heavy bundle on the stile, Collet Pardue wiped her heated face with one end of her mantle there were no shawls in those days and waited for Emmet Wilson to come up... Continue reading book >>

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