The Dorcas society of the little church has set its collective mind to the task of re-dressing the floors -- which means cleaning the pews, too -- and if they cannot have it done by Thanksgiving, why, then, let it be by Christmas. Nancy Wentworth, at thirty-five the most vivacious of them, with her youth undimmed by her work as teacher, throws herself into the work, even the dirty business of scrubbing. She begins to clean the Peabody Pew, which starts Mrs. Sargent into the subject of that worthless Peabody son, long missing.
"I know there's a Peabody still alive and doing business in Detroit," Mrs. Burbank says then, "for I got his address a week ago, and I wrote asking if he would send a few dollars toward repairing the old church."
Nancy turns her face to the wall and silently wipes at the paint of the wainscoting. The blood that has rushed into her cheeks at Mrs. Sargent's jeering reference to Justin Peabody still lingers there, for anyone at all to read.
The Old Peabody Pew is the quiet and heart-warming story of a Christmas romance in an old country church, by the author of The Birds' Christmas Carol and Penelope's English Experiences.