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Life and Gabriella The Story of a Woman's Courage   By: (1873-1945)

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First Page:

LIFE AND GABRIELLA

THE STORY OF A WOMAN'S COURAGE

BY ELLEN GLASGOW

FRONTISPIECE BY C. ALLAN GILBERT

GARDEN CITY NEW YORK

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1916

CONTENTS

BOOK FIRST THE AGE OF FAITH

CHAPTER PAGE I. Presents a Shameless Heroine 3 II. Poor Jane 30 III. A Start in Life 61 IV. Mirage 90 V. The New World 122 VI. The Old Serpent 148 VII. Motherhood 176

BOOK SECOND THE AGE OF KNOWLEDGE

I. Disenchantment. 211 II. A Second Start in Life 241 III. Work 274 IV. The Dream and the Years 300 V. Success 331 VI. Discoveries 368 VII. Readjustments 406 VIII. The Test 444 IX. The Past 476 X. Dream and the Reality 501

BOOK FIRST

THE AGE OF FAITH

CHAPTER I

PRESENTS A SHAMELESS HEROINE

After a day of rain the sun came out suddenly at five o'clock and threw a golden bar into the deep Victorian gloom of the front parlour. On the window sill, midway between the white curtains, a pot of blue hyacinths stood in a cracked china plate, and as the sunlight shone into the room, the scent of the blossoms floated to the corner where Gabriella was patiently pulling basting threads out of the hem of a skirt. For a minute her capable hands stopped at their work, and raising her smooth dark head she looked compassionately at her sister Jane, who was sitting, like a frozen image of martyrdom, in the middle of the long horsehair sofa. Three times within the last twelve months Jane had fled from her husband's roof to the protection of her widowed mother, a weak person of excellent ancestry, who could hardly have protected a sparrow had one taken refuge beneath her skirt. Twice before Mrs. Carr had wept over her daughter's woes and returned her, a sullen saint, to the arms of the discreetly repentant Charley; but to day, while the four older children were bribed to good behaviour with bread and damson preserves in the pantry, and the baby was contentedly playing with his rubber ring in his mother's arms, Gabriella had passionately declared that "Jane must never, never go back!" Nothing so dreadful as this had ever happened before, for the repentant Charley had been discovered making love to his wife's dressmaker, a pretty French girl whom Jane had engaged for her spring sewing because she had more "style" than had fallen to the austerely virtuous lot of the Carr's regular seamstress, Miss Folly Hatch. "I might have known she was too pretty to be good," moaned Jane, while Mrs. Carr, in her willow rocking chair by the window, wiped her reddened eyelids on the strip of cambric ruffling she was hemming.

Unmoved among them the baby beat methodically on his mother's breast with his rubber ring, as indifferent to her sobs as to the intermittent tearful "coos" of his grandmother. He had a smooth bald head, fringed, like the head of a very old man, with pale silken hair that was almost white in the sunshine, and his eyes, as expressionless as marbles, stared over the pot of hyacinths at a sparrow perched against the deep blue sky on the red brick wall of the opposite house. From beneath his starched little skirt his feet, in pink crocheted shoes, protruded with a forlorn and helpless air as if they hardly belonged to him.

"Oh, my poor child, what are we going to do?" asked Mrs. Carr in a resigned voice as she returned to her hemming.

"There's nothing to do, mother," answered Jane, without lifting her eyes from the baby's head, without moving an inch out of the position she had dropped into when she entered the room. Then, after a sobbing pause, she defined in a classic formula her whole philosophy of life: "It wasn't my fault," she said.

"But one can always do something if it's only to scream," rejoined Gabriella with spirit... Continue reading book >>




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