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Hidden Creek   By: (1882-1977)

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First Page:

HIDDEN CREEK

BY KATHARINE NEWLIN BURT

AUTHOR OF "THE BRANDING IRON" AND "THE RED LADY"

1920

TO MAXWELL STRUTHERS BURT WHO BLAZED THE TRAIL

CONTENTS

PART ONE: THE GOOD OLD WORLD

I. SHEILA'S LEGACY II. SYLVESTER HUDSON COMES FOR HIS PICTURE III. THE FINEST CITY IN THE WORLD IV. MOONSHINE V. INTERCESSION VI. THE BAWLING OUT VII. DISH WASHING VIII. ARTISTS IX. A SINGEING OF WINGS X. THE BEACON LIGHT XI. IN THE PUBLIC EYE XII. HUDSON'S QUEEN XIII. SYLVESTER CELEBRATES XIV. THE LIGHT OF DAWN XV. FLAMES

PART TWO: THE STARS

I. THE HILL II. ADVENTURE III. JOURNEY'S END IV. BEASTS V. NEIGHBOR NEIGHBOR VI. A HISTORY AND A LETTER VII. SANCTUARY VIII. DESERTION IX. WORK AND A SONG X. WINTER XI. THE PACK XII. THE GOOD OLD WORLD AGAIN XIII. LONELINESS XIV. SHEILA AND THE STARS

HIDDEN CREEK

PART ONE

THE GOOD OLD WORLD

CHAPTER I

SHEILA'S LEGACY

Just before his death, Marcus Arundel, artist and father of Sheila, bore witness to his faith in God and man. He had been lying apparently unconscious, his slow, difficult breath drawn at longer and longer intervals. Sheila was huddled on the floor beside his bed, her hand pressing his urgently in the pitiful attempt, common to human love, to hold back the resolute soul from the next step in its adventure. The nurse, who came in by the day, had left a paper of instructions on the table. Here a candle burned under a yellow shade, throwing a circle of warm, unsteady light on the head of the girl, on the two hands, on the rumpled coverlet, on the dying face. This circle of light seemed to collect these things, to choose them, as though for the expression of some meaning. It felt for them as an artist feels for his composition and gave to them a symbolic value. The two hands were in the center of the glow the long, pale, slack one, the small, desperate, clinging one. The conscious and the unconscious, life and death, humanity and God all that is mysterious and tragic seemed to find expression there in the two hands.

So they had been for six hours, and it would soon be morning. The large, bare room, however, was still possessed by night, and the city outside was at its lowest ebb of life, almost soundless. Against the skylight the winter stars seemed to be pressing; the sky was laid across the panes of glass like a purple cloth in which sparks burned.

Suddenly and with strength Arundel sat up. Sheila rose with him, drawing up his hand in hers to her heart.

"Keep looking at the stars, Sheila," he said with thrilling emphasis, and widened his eyes at the visible host of them. Then he looked down at her; his eyes shone as though they had caught a reflection from the myriad lights. "It is a good old world," he said heartily in a warm and human voice, and he smiled his smile of everyday good fellowship.

Sheila thanked God for his return, and on the very instant he was gone. He dropped back, and there were no more difficult breaths.

Sheila, alone there in the garret studio above the city, cried to her father and shook him, till, in very terror of her own frenzy in the face of his stillness, she grew calm and laid herself down beside him, put his dead arm around her, nestled her head against his shoulder. She was seventeen years old, left alone and penniless in the old world that he had just pronounced so good. She lay there staring at the stars till they faded, and the cold, clear eye of day looked down into the room.

CHAPTER II

SYLVESTER HUDSON COMES FOR HIS PICTURE

Back of his sallow, lantern jawed face, Sylvester Hudson hid successfully, though without intention, all that was in him whether of good or ill. Certainly he did not look his history. He was stoop shouldered, pensive eyed, with long hands on which he was always turning and twisting a big emerald. He dressed quietly, almost correctly, but there was always something a little wrong in the color or pattern of his tie, and he was too fond of brown and green mixtures which did not become his sallowness... Continue reading book >>




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