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The Golden Bird   By: (1872-1924)

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THE GOLDEN BIRD

BY

MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS

Author of "The Melting of Molly," "Phyllis," "Sue Jane," "The Tinder Box," etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY EDWARD L. CHASE

NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1918

Copyright, 1918, by THE CENTURY CO.

Copyright, 1918, by BUTTERICK PUBLISHING COMPANY

Published, September, 1918

[Transcriber's note: Minor typos corrected.]

[Illustration: "Oh, how beautiful!" exclaimed Polly, all restraint leaving her young face and body as she fell on her knees before the sultan]

TO IDA CLYDE CLARKE WHOSE COURAGE INSPIRES ME

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"Oh, how beautiful!" exclaimed Polly, all restraint leaving her young face and body as she fell on her knees before the sultan

A poor old sheep was lying flat with pathetic inertia while Adam stood over her with something in his arms

I put his babykins in a big feed basket and the lamb twins came and welcomed him

And Bud was beautiful in the "custom made" fifteen dollar gray cheviot with his violet eyes and yellow shock, in spite of his red ears

THE GOLDEN BIRD

CHAPTER I

The primary need of a woman's nature is always supposed to be love, but very suddenly I discovered that in my case it was money, a lot of it and quick. That is, I thought I needed a lot and in a very great hurry; but if I had known what I know now, I might have been contented feeding upon the bread of some kind of charity, for instance, like being married to Matthew Berry the very next day after I discovered my poverty. But at that period of my life I was a very ignorant girl, and in the most noble spirit of a desperate adventure I embarked upon the quest of the Golden Bird, which in one short year has landed me I am now the richest woman in the world.

"But, Ann Craddock, you know nothing at all about a chicken in any more natural state than in a croquette," stormed Matthew at me as he savagely speared one of those inoffensive articles of banquet diet with a sharp silver fork while he squared himself with equal determination between me and any possible partner for the delicious one step that the band in the ball room was beginning to send out in inviting waves of sound to round the dancers in from loitering over their midnight food.

"The little I do not know about the chicken business, after one week spent in pursuit of that knowledge through every weird magazine and state agricultural bulletin in the public library, even you could learn, Matthew Berry, with your lack of sympathy with the great American wealth producer, the humble female chicken known in farmer patois as a hen. Did you know that it only costs about two dollars and thirteen cents to feed a hen a whole year and that she will produce twenty seven dollars and a half for her owner, the darling thing? I know I'll just love her when I get to know her them better, as I will in only about eighteen hours now."

"Ann, you are mad mad!" foamed Matthew, as he set down his plate of perfectly good and untasted food, and buried his head in his hands until his mop of black hair looked like a big blot of midnight.

"I'm not mad, Matthew, just dead poor, an heiress out of a job and with the necessity of earning her bread by the sweat of her brow instead of consuming cake by the labor of other people. Uncle Cradd is coming in again with a two horse wagon, and the carriage to move us out to Elmnest to morrow morning. Judge Rutherford will attend to selling all the property and settle with father's creditors. Another wagon is coming for father's library, and in two days he won't know that Uncle Cradd and I have moved him, if I can just get him started on a bat with Epictetus or old Horace. Then me for the tall timbers and my friend the hen.

"Oh, Ann, for the love of high heaven, marry me to morrow, and let me move you and Father Craddock over into that infernal, empty old barn I keep open as a hotel for nigger servants. Marry me instead "

"Instead of the hen?" I interrupted him with a laugh. "I can't, Matt, you dear thing. I honestly can't... Continue reading book >>




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