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Aurora the Magnificent   By: (1863-1961)

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First Page:

[Illustration: Alone in her room later ... she looked at the other portrait]

AURORA THE MAGNIFICENT

BY

GERTRUDE HALL

AUTHOR OF "THE TRUTH ABOUT CAMILLA," "THE UNKNOWN QUANTITY," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY GERALD LEAKE

NEW YORK

THE CENTURY CO.

1917

Copyright, 1916, 1917, by

The Century Co.

Published, March, 1917

TO

MY SISTER GRACE

WITHOUT WHOM THIS BOOK

WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN.

AND TO

MY DEAR HELEN R ,

WITHOUT WHOM IT WOULD

HAVE BEEN

DIFFERENT

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Alone in her room later ... she looked at the other portrait Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

After it she still stood a moment, looking toward the sanctuary 20

"I thought," said Mrs. Hawthorne, "that you were going to come and take us sight seeing" 82

Aurora, clasping her hands in a delight that could find no words to express it, made a sound like the coo of a dove 200

Gerald turned, and beheld that lady 272

Aurora's eyes, fixed and starry, rested upon the little flame 290

Aurora, with a comedy of pride, threw up her chin, lifted her arms, and turned as if on a pivot 316

"Come, let us reason together, Aurora" 384

AURORA THE MAGNIFICENT

CHAPTER I

Near sunset, one day in early October, not too long ago for some of us to remember with distinctness, Mr. Foss, United States consul at Florence, Italy, took a cab, as on other days, to the Porta Romana. Here, where the out of town tariff comes into effect, he paid his man, and set out to walk the rest of the way, thus meeting the various needs he felt: that for economy, he was a family man with daughters to clothe, that for exercise, his wife told him he was growing fat, and the need in general for an opportunity to think. He had found that walking aided reflection, that walking in beautiful places started the spring of apt and generous ideas. Though in his modest way a scholar, he was not as yet an author, but Florence had inspired him with the desire to write a book.

Just beyond the Roman Gate begins the long Viale dei Colli, Avenue of the Hills, which climbs and winds, broad, shady, quiet, between lines of gardens and villas, occupied largely by foreigners, to the Piazzale, whence Michelangelo's boyish colossus gazes with a slight frown across Florence, outspread at his feet. Mr. Foss, as he mounted the easy grade, and noted with a liking unabated after years the pleasantness of each habitation glimpsed through iron railings and embowering green, thought how privileged a person should feel, after all, whose affairs involved residence in Italy.

This recognized good fortune had not been properly tasted before another aspect of the thing presented itself for consideration....

The consul felt a sigh trying to escape him, and turning from the images whose obtrusion had called it up from the depths, directed his attention to a different set of subjects, unwilling at the moment to be troubled.

The glories and iniquities of that great family whose cannon balls or pills? adorn so many of the 'scutcheons on Florentine street corners and palace fronts are what he selected as the theme for his meditations, a choice which seems less odd when we know that his book, the labor and pleasure of his spare hours, was a study of the Medici.

He had not been busy many minutes with their supplanted policies and extinct ambitions before these dropped back into the past whence he had drawn them, and his mind gave itself over to an exercise more curious than reconstructing a dead epoch. A shortish, stoutish man, with a beginning of baldness on his crown and gray in his mustache, was trying by the whole force of a sympathetic imagination to fit himself into the shoes, occupy the very skin, of a delicate young girl, to look at the world through her eyes and feel life with her pulses... Continue reading book >>




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