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CHAPTER I MARY I have never dared even inquire why our best man began calling my husband the Angel. He was with us a great deal during the first months of our marriage, and he is very observing, so I decided to let sleeping dogs lie. I, too, am observing. It is only fair to state, in justice to the best man, that I am a woman of emotional mountain peaks and dark, deep valleys, while the Angel is one... more...

INTRODUCTORY—1864 AND WAR TIME. The war between the North and South has sent a wail of grief into thousands of homes throughout the land, and the dreadful death-roll is daily being added to, for battle follows battle, and the slaughter is appalling, even to those who have been hardened to the sight by months of action. No wonder that the faces of wives and mothers are white with anguish—that... more...

Part I Happy in the hope that the news was "exclusive", the Despatch had thrown the name of Stephen Hallowell, his portrait, a picture of his house, and the words, "At Point of Death!" across three columns. The announcement was heavy, lachrymose, bristling with the melancholy self-importance of the man who "saw the deceased, just two minutes before the train hit him." But the... more...

CHAPTER I It was late summer-time, and the perfume of flowers stole into the darkened room through the half-opened window. The sunlight forced its way through a chink in the blind, and stretched across the floor in strange zigzag fashion. From without came the pleasant murmur of bees and many lazier insects floating over the gorgeous flower beds, resting for a while on the clematis which had made the... more...

CHAPTER I. “First Fear his hand its skill to try,Amid the chords bewildered laid—And back recoiled, he knew not why,E’en at the sound himself had made.”— Little Helen sat in her long flannel night-dress, by the side of Miss Thusa, watching the rapid turning of her wheel, and the formation of the flaxen thread, as it glided out, a more and more attenuated filament, betwixt the dexterous... more...

CHAPTER I Natalie Spencer was giving a dinner. She was not an easy hostess. Like most women of futile lives she lacked a sense of proportion, and the small and unimportant details of the service absorbed her. Such conversation as she threw at random, to right and left, was trivial and distracted. Yet the dinner was an unimportant one. It had been given with an eye more to the menu than to the guest... more...

THE FARMER'S WIFE. It is an evening in June, and the skies that have been weeping of late, owing to some calamity best known to themselves, have suddenly dried their eyes, and called up a smile to enliven their gloomy countenances. The farmers, who have been shaking their heads at sight of the unmown grass, and predicting a bad hay-harvest, are beginning to brighten up with the weather, and to... more...

CHAPTER I Under a canopied platform stood a young girl, modeling in clay. The glare of the California sunshine, filtering through the canvas, became mellowed, warm and golden. Above the girl's head—yellow like the stalk of wheat—there hovered a kind of aureola, as if there had risen above it a haze of impalpable gold dust. A poet I know might have cried out that here ended his quest of the... more...

CHAPTER I HARPWOOD AND LOCKWIN Esther Wandrell, of Chicago, will be worth millions of dollars. It is a thought that inspires the young men of all the city with momentous ambitions. Why does she wait so long? Whom does she favor? To-night the carriages are trolling and rumbling to the great mansion of the Wandrells on Prairie Avenue. The women are positive in their exclamations of reunion, and this... more...

First Meeting between a citizen in Spectacles and the Great Pleasure-Dog Behemoth; also of Charles Gardiner West, a Personage at Thirty. It was five of a November afternoon, crisp and sharp, and already running into dusk. Down the street came a girl and a dog, rather a small girl and quite a behemothian dog. If she had been a shade smaller, or he a shade more behemothian, the thing would have... more...