This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1879. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... TOM BALCH A TALE OF WEST SOMERSET. If we trace the world's wide History from its commencement, both in temporal and spiritual affairs, what wonderful links of an over-ruling Providence are apparent, one event leading to another in order and progression, and what appears to our finite minds darkness and confusion, ends in light and reason, and out of seeming difficulties and misfortunes arise unexpected blessings. Still to participate in those blessings He requires of us obedience to His commands and submission to His will. I trust the reader will find the realization of those truths in the following tale. About the year 1685, incidents occurred in the History of England of great importance, which caused many changes in the hearths and homes of the Inhabitants, especially in the Western part of the Island. My narrative is laid in Somersetshire, in one of the most interesting parts of that beautiful County. Over Stowey is situate about 8 miles from Bridgwater towards Minehead, lying on the side of the Quantock Hills, and was then as now, a picture of rural neatness. Amongst the cottages dotted here and there with well-stocked gardens, stood the Village Church and the Parsonage House. The Rev. Mr. Middleton who was possessed of good private means, his wife and daughter Ann, who was their only child, were sitting in their parlour, and with them a young man about 20 years of age, Harry Balch, the son of Squire Balch, as he was commonly called, of St. Audries, who read with Mr. Middleton in the spare time he had from keeping his terms at Oxford. It was intended that he should when old enough, be admitted to Holy Orders, and commence his duties in the living which was held by the rev. gentleman, with an understanding it should be transferred to him when he should be qu...
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