Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Ardath   By: (1855-1924)

Book cover

First Page:






"What merest whim Seems all this poor endeavor after Fame To one who keeps within his steadfast aim A love immortal, an Immortal too! Look not so 'wildered, for these things are true And never can be borne of atomics That buzz about our slumbers like brain flies Leaving us fancy sick. No, I am sure My restless spirit never could endure To brood so long upon one luxury. Unless it did, though fearfully, espy A HOPE BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DREAM!"




Deep in the heart of the Caucasus mountains a wild storm was gathering. Drear shadows drooped and thickened above the Pass of Dariel, that terrific gorge which like a mere thread seems to hang between the toppling frost bound heights above and the black abysmal depths below, clouds, fringed ominously with lurid green and white, drifted heavily yet swiftly across the jagged peaks where, looming largely out of the mist, the snow capped crest of Mount Kazbek rose coldly white against the darkness of the threatening sky. Night was approaching, though away to the west a road gash of crimson, a seeming wound in the breast of heaven, showed where the sun had set an hour since. Now and again the rising wind moaned sobbingly through the tall and spectral pines that, with knotted roots fast clenched in the reluctant earth, clung tenaciously to their stony vantageground; and mingling with its wailing murmur, there came a distant hoarse roaring as of tumbling torrents, while at far off intervals could be heard the sweeping thud of an avalanche slipping from point to point on its disastrous downward way. Through the wreathing vapors the steep, bare sides of the near mountains were pallidly visible, their icy pinnacles, like uplifted daggers, piercing with sharp glitter the density of the low hanging haze, from which large drops of moisture began presently to ooze rather than fall. Gradually the wind increased, and soon with sudden fierce gusts shook the pine trees into shuddering anxiety, the red slit in the sky closed, and a gleam of forked lightning leaped athwart the driving darkness. An appalling crash of thunder followed almost instantaneously, its deep boom vibrating in sullenly grand echoes on all sides of the Pass, and then with a swirling, hissing rush of rain the unbound hurricane burst forth alive and furious. On, on! splitting huge boughs and flinging them aside like straws, swelling the rivers into riotous floods that swept hither and thither, carrying with them masses of rock and stone and tons of loosened snow on, on! with pitiless force and destructive haste, the tempest rolled, thundered, and shrieked its way through Dariel. As the night darkened and the clamor of the conflicting elements grew more sustained and violent, a sudden sweet sound floated softly through the turbulent air the slow, measured tolling of a bell. To and fro, to and fro, the silvery chime swung with mild distinctness it was the vesper bell ringing in the Monastery of Lars far up among the crags crowning the ravine. There the wind roared and blustered its loudest; it whirled round and round the quaint castellated building, battering the gates and moving their heavy iron hinges to a most dolorous groaning; it flung rattling hailstones at the narrow windows, and raged and howled at every corner and through every crevice; while snaky twists of lightning played threateningly over the tall iron Cross that surmounted the roof, as though bent on striking it down and splitting open the firm old walls it guarded. All was war and tumult without: but within, a tranquil peace prevailed, enhanced by the grave murmur of organ music; men's voices mingling together in mellow unison chanted the Magnificat, and the uplifted steady harmony of the grand old anthem rose triumphantly above the noise of the storm... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books