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Geoffrey Strong   By: (1850-1943)

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First Page:

GEOFFREY STRONG

By

Laura E. Richards

Author of

"Captain January," "Melody," "Marie," etc.

TO Richard Sullivan, KINDEST OF UNCLES, FRIENDS, AND CRITICS, THIS STORY IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE TEMPLE OF VESTA

II. THE YOUNG DOCTOR

III. GARDEN FANCIES

IV. MOSTLY PROFESSIONAL

V. LETTER WRITING AND HYSTERICS

VI. INFORMATION

VII. FESTIVITY

VIII. REVELATION

IX. SIDE LIGHTS

X. OVER THE WAY

XI. BROKEN BONES

XII. CONVALESCENCE

XIII. RECOVERY

ILLUSTRATIONS.

He paddled on in silence

The young doctor glancing around saw all these things.

He stood looking at her, his hand still on the hammock rope.

"There he comes, full chisel!" cried Ithuriel Butters.

CHAPTER I.

THE TEMPLE OF VESTA

"That's a pleasant looking house," said the young doctor. "What's the matter with my getting taken in there?"

The old doctor checked his horse, and looked at the house with a smile.

"Nothing in the world," he said, "except the small fact that they wouldn't take you."

"Why not?" asked the young man, vivaciously. "Too rich? too proud? too young? too old? what's the matter with them?"

The old doctor laughed outright this time. "You young firebrand!" he said. "Do you think you are going to take this village by storm? That house is the Temple of Vesta. It is inhabited by the Vestal Virgins, who tend the sacred fire, and do other things beside. You might as well ask to be taken into the meeting house to board."

"This is more attractive than the meetinghouse," said the young doctor. "This is one of the most attractive houses I ever saw."

He looked at it earnestly, and as they drove along the elm shaded street, he turned in his seat to look at it again.

It certainly was an attractive house. Its front of bright clean red brick was perhaps too near the street; but the garden, whose tall lilac and syringa bushes waved over the top of the high wall, must, he thought, run back some way, and from the west windows there must be a glorious sea view.

The house looked both genteel and benevolent. The white stone steps and window sills and the white fan over the door gave a certain effect of clean linen that was singularly pleasing. The young doctor, unlike Doctor Johnson, had a passion for clean linen. The knocker, too, was of the graceful long oval shape he liked, and burnished to the last point of perfection, and the shining windows were so placed as to give an air of cheerful interrogation to the whole.

"I like that house!" said the young doctor again. "Tell me about the people!"

Again the old doctor laughed. "I tell you they are the Vestal Virgins!" he repeated. "There are two of them, Miss Phoebe and Miss Vesta Blyth. Miss Phoebe is as good as gold, but something of a man hater. She doesn't think much of the sex in general, but she is a good friend of mine, and she'll be good to you for my sake. Miss Vesta" the young doctor, who was observant, noted a slight change in his hearty voice "Vesta Blyth is a saint."

"What kind of saint? invalid? bedridden? blind?"

"No, no, no! saints don't all have to be bedridden. Vesta is a you might call her Saint Placidia. Her life has been shadowed. She was once engaged to a very worthy young man thirty years ago. The day before the wedding he was drowned; sailboat capsized in a squall, just in the bay here. Since then she keeps a light burning in the back hall, looking over the water. That's why I call the house the Temple of Vesta."

"Day and night?"

"No, no! lights it at sunset every evening regularly. Sun dips, Vesta lights her lamp. Pretty? I think so."

"Affecting, certainly!" said the young doctor. "And she has mourned her lover ever since?"

The old doctor gave him a quaint look. "People don't mourn thirty years," he said, "unless their minds are diseased. Women mourn longer than men, of course, but ten years would be a long limit, even for a woman. Memory, of course, may last as long as life sacred and tender memory," his voice dropped a little, and he passed his hand across his forehead, "but not mourning... Continue reading book >>




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