Books: Music on the Muscatatuck

THE FRIENDLY PERSUASION — Jessamyn West—Harcourf, Brace ($2.50).

Somewhere on the banks of the Muscatatuck River, in the mid-19th Century, lived Jess Birdwell, Quaker and nurseryman. Jess thought he had everything life could give, except a chance to listen to music. His wife, Eliza, was a minister—"good-looking, as female preachers are apt to be." But like most of the local Quakers, Eliza believed that music was "a popish dido, a sop to the senses, a hurdle waiting to trip man in his upward struggle." She had to give Jess a pretty stern nudge in...

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