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This excerpt from "Old Esther Dudley" contains the charge made to Esther Dudley by Sir William Howe, commanding her to guard and preserve the Province House. This excerpt also describes her as "representative of a decayed past," similar to Hepzibah Pyncheon from The House of the Seven Gables.

" 'While the burden of life remains upon me, I will have no other shelter than this roof,' persisted Esther Dudley, striking her staff upon the floor with a gesture that expressed immovable resolve. 'And when your Excellency returns in triumph, I will totter into the porch to welcome you.'
'Beshrew the old fool!' muttered Sir William Howe, growing impatient of her obstinacy, and ashamed of the emotion into which he had been betrayed. 'She is the very moral of old-fashioned prejudice, and could exist nowhere but in this musty edifice. Well, then, Mistress Dudley, since you will needs tarry, I give the Province House in charge to you. Take this key, and keep it safe until myself, or some other Royal Governor, shall demand it of you.' As the General glanced back at Esther Dudley's antique figure, he deemed her well fitted for such a charge, as being so perfect a representative of the decayed past--of an age gone by, with its manners, opinions, faith and feelings, all fallen into oblivion or scorn--of what had once been a reality, but was now merely a vision of faded magnificence." (courtesy of Eric Eldred)

Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/10166/

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