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Fairfax and His Pride   By: (1867-1936)

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Transcriber's Note: Obvious typographical errors have been corrected, and inconsistent spellings regularized. Please see the Transcriber's end notes for details.

FAIRFAX AND HIS PRIDE

A NOVEL

BY

MARIE VAN VORST

Author of "Big Tremaine," etc.

BOSTON SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1920, BY SMALL, MAYNARD& COMPANY (INCORPORATED)

TO

B. VAN VORST

IN MEMORY OF A LONG FRIENDSHIP

FAIRFAX AND HIS PRIDE

BOOK I

THE KINSMEN

CHAPTER I

One bitter day in January in the year 1880, when New York was a tranquil city, a young man stood at the South Ferry waiting for the up town horse car. With a few other passengers he had just left the packet which had arrived in New York harbour that afternoon from New Orleans.

Antony Fairfax was an utter stranger to the North.

In his hand he carried a small hand bag, and by his side on the snow rested his single valise. Before him waited a red and yellow tram car drawn by lean horses, from whose backs the vapour rose on the frosty air. Muffled to his ears, the driver beat together his hands in their leather gloves; the conductor stamped his feet. The traveller climbed into the car, lifting his big bag after him.

The cold was even more terrible to him than to the conductor and driver. He had come from the South, where he had left the roses and magnolias in bloom, and the warmth of the country was in his blood. He dug his feet into the straw covering the floor of the car, buttoned his coat tight about his neck, pushed his hands deep in his pockets and sat wondering at the numbing cold.

This, then, was the North!

He watched with interest the few other passengers board the little car: two fruit vendors and after them were amiably lifted in great bunches of bananas. Antony asked himself the question whether this new country would be friendly to him, what would its spirit be toward him, and as he asked this question of the cold winter air the city suddenly took reality and formed for him out of his dreams. Would it be kind or cruel? The coming days would answer: meanwhile he could wait. Some places, like some people whom we meet, at once extend to us a hand; there are some that even seem to offer an embrace. Through the car blew a sudden icy blast and New York's welcome to Fairfax was keen as a blow. There was an actual physical affront in this wind that struck him in the face.

Suppose the elements were an indication of what the rest would be? But no that was ridiculous! There would be certainly warm interiors behind the snow fretted panes of the windows in the houses that lined the streets on either side. There would be warm and cordial hearts to welcome him somewhere. There would be understanding of heart, indulgence for youth. He would find open doors for all his ambitions, spurs to his integrity and effort. He would know how to make use of these ways and means of progress. For years he had dreamed of the galleries of pictures and of the museum. It was from this wonderful city whose wideness had the intense outreach of the unknown that Fairfax had elected to step into the world.

New York was to be his threshold. There was no limit to what he intended to do in his special field of work. From his boyhood he had told himself that he would become great. He was too young to have discovered the traitors that hide in the brain and the emptiness of the deepest tears. He was a pioneer and had the faith of the pioneer. According to him everything was real, the beauty of form was enchanting, all hearts were true, and all roads led to fame. His short life focused now at this hour.

Life is a series of successive stages to which point of culmination a man brings all he has of the past and all his hopes. All along the road these blessed visions crowd, fulminate and form as it were torches, and these lights mark the road for the traveller... Continue reading book >>




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