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A Cry in the Wilderness   By: (1855-1938)

A Cry in the Wilderness by Mary E. (Mary Ella) Waller

First Page:

[Frontispiece: "What a wilderness was this Seigniory of Lamoral! and yet I liked it." Frontispiece. See Page 92 .]

A CRY IN

THE WILDERNESS

BY

MARY E. WALLER

Author of "The Wood carver of 'Lympus," "Flamsted Quarries," "A Year Out of Life," etc.

WITH FRONTISPIECE IN COLOR BY

ARTHUR I. KELLER

TORONTO

MCCLELLAND & GOODCHILD

LIMITED

Copyright, 1912,

BY MARY E. WALLER.

All rights reserved

Published, October, 1912

THE COLONIAL PRESS

C. H. SIMONDS & CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.

CONTENTS

BOOK ONE

THE JUGGERNAUT

BOOK TWO

THE SEIGNIORY OF LAMORAL

BOOK THREE

FINDING THE TRAIL

BOOK ONE

THE JUGGERNAUT

A Cry in the Wilderness

I

"You Juggernaut!"

That's exactly what I said, and said aloud too.

I was leaning from the window in my attic room in the old district of New York known as "Chelsea"; both hands were stemmed on the ledge.

"You Juggernaut of a city!" I said again, and found considerable satisfaction in repeating that word. I leaned out still farther into the sickening September heat and defiantly shook my fist, as it were into the face of the monster commercial metropolis of the New World.

I felt the blood rush into my cheeks thin and white enough, so my glass told me. Then I straightened myself, drew back and into the room. The quick sharp clang of the ambulance gong, the clatter of running hoofs sounded below me in the street.

"And they keep going under so," I said beneath my breath; and added, but between my teeth:

"But I won't I won't !"

Turning from the window, I took my seat at the table on which was a pile of newspapers I kept for reference, and searched through them until I found an advertisement I remembered to have seen a week before. I had marked it with a blue pencil. I cut it out. Then I put on my hat and went down into the city that lay swooning in the intense, sultry heat of mid September.

The sun, dimmed and blood red in vapor, was setting behind the Jersey shore. The heated air quivered above the housetops. Wherever there was a stretch of asphalt pavement, innumerable hoof dents witnessed to the power of the sun's rays. The shrivelled foliage in the parks was gray with dust.

I knew well enough that on the upper avenues for blocks and blocks the houses were tightly boarded as if hermetically sealed to light and air; but I was going southward, and below and seaward every door and window yawned wide. To the rivers, to the Battery, to the Bridge, the piers, and the parks, the sluggish, vitiated life of the city's tenement districts was crawling listless. The tide was out; and I knew that beneath the piers who should know better than I who for six years had taken half of my recreation on them? the fetid air lay heavy on the scum gathered about the slime covered piles.

The advertisement was a Canadian "want", and in reading it an overpowering longing came upon me to see something of the spaciousness of that other country, to breathe its air that blows over the northern snow fields. I had acted on an impulse in deciding to answer it, but that impulse was only the precipitation of long unuttered and unfilled desires. I was realizing this as I made my way eastward into one of the former Trinity tenement districts.

I found the flag paved court upon which the shadows were already falling. It was not an easily discoverable spot, and I was a little in doubt as to entering and inquiring further; I didn't like its look. I took out the advertisement; yes, this was the place: "No. 8 V Court."

"Don't back down now," I said to myself by way of encouragement and, entering, rang the bell of an old fashioned house with low stoop and faded green blinds close shut in sharp contrast to the gaping ones adjoining. The openly neglected aspect of its neighbors was wanting, as was, in fact, any indication of its character... Continue reading book >>




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