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Loveliness A Story   By: (1844-1911)

Loveliness A Story by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

First Page:


A Story



"Be my benediction said, With my hand upon thy head, Gentle fellow creature!" E. B. BROWNING.

Boston and New York Houghton, Mifflin and Company The Riverside Press, Cambridge 1900

The Illustrations Are by Sarah S. Stilwell

Copyright, 1899, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Houghton, Mifflin and Co. All Rights Reserved

For the smoke of their torment ascendeth.



LOVELINESS Frontispiece





Loveliness sat on an eider down cushion embroidered with cherry colored puppies on a pearl satin cover. The puppies had gold eyes. They were drinking a saucer of green milk. Loveliness wore a new necktie, of cherry, a shade or two brighter than the puppies, and a pearl gray, or one might call it a silver gray jacket. He was sitting in the broad window sill, with his head tipped a little, thoughtfully, towards the left side, as the heads of nervous people are said to incline. He was dreamily watching the street, looking for any one of a few friends of his who might pass by, and for the letter carrier, who was somewhat late.

Loveliness had dark, brilliant eyes, remarkably alert, but reflective when in repose. Part of their charm lay in the fact that one must watch for their best expression; for Loveliness wore bangs. He had a small and delicate nose, not guiltless of an aristocratic tip, with a suspicion of a sniff at the inferior orders of society. In truth, Loveliness was an aristocrat to the end of his tongue, which curled daintily against his opalescent teeth. At this moment it lay between his teeth, and hung forward as if he held a roseleaf in his lips; and this was the final evidence of his birth and breeding.

For Loveliness was a little dog; a silver Yorkshire, blue of blood and delicately reared, a tiny creature, the essence of tenderness; set, soul and body, to one only tune. To love and to be beloved, that was his life. He knew no other, nor up to this time could he conceive of any other; for he was as devotedly beloved as he was passionately loving. His brain was in his heart. In saying this one does not question the quality of the brain, any more than one does in saying a similar thing of a woman. Indeed, considered as an intellect, his was of the highest order known to his race. Loveliness would have been interesting as a psychological study, had he not been absorbing as an affectional occupation. His family and friends often said, "How clever!" but not until after they had said, "How dear he is!" The order of precedence in this summary of character is the most enviable that can be experienced by human beings. But the dog took it as a matter of course.

This little creature loved a number of people on a sliding scale of intimacy, carefully guarded, as the intimacies of the high born usually are; but one he loved first, most, best of all, and profoundly. I have called him Loveliness because it was the pet name, the "little name," given to him by this person. In point of fact, he answered to a variety of appellations, more or less recognized by society; of these the most lawful and the least agreeable to himself was Mop. It was a disputed point whether this were an ancestral name, or whether he had received it from the dog store, whence he had emerged at the beginning of history, the shaggiest, scrubbiest, raggedest, wildest little terrier that ever boasted of a high descent.

People of a low type, those whose imagination was bounded by menial similes, or persons of that too ready inclination to the humorous which fails to consider the possible injustice or unkindness that it may involve, had in Mop's infancy found a base pleasure in attaching to him such epithets as window washer, scrubbing brush, feather duster, and footmuff... Continue reading book >>

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