Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Marm Lisa   By: (1856-1923)

Book cover

First Page:

This etext was produced from the 1905 Gay and Bird edition by David Price, email

Marm Lisa

by Kate Douglas Wiggin


Eden Place was a short street running at right angles with Eden Square, a most unattractive and infertile triangle of ground in a most unattractive but respectable quarter of a large city. It was called a square, not so much, probably, because it was triangular in shape, as because it was hardly large enough to be designated as a park. As to its being called 'Eden,' the origin of that qualifying word is enveloped in mystery; but it is likely that the enthusiastic persons who projected it saw visions and dreamed dreams of green benches under umbrageous trees, of a green wire fence, ever green, and of plots of blossoming flowers filling the grateful air with unaccustomed fragrance.

As a matter of fact, the trees had always been stunted and stubby, the plants had never been tended, and all the paint had been worn off the benches by successive groups of working men out of work. As for the wire fence, it had been much used as a means of ingress and egress by the children of the neighbourhood, who preferred it to any of the gateways, which they considered hopelessly unimaginative and commonplace, offering no resistance to the budding man of valour or woman of ambition.

Eden Place was frequented mostly by the children, who found it an admirable spot to squabble, to fight, and to dig up the hapless earth; and after them, by persons out of suits with fortune. These (generally men) adorned the shabby benches at all times, sleeping, smoking, reading newspapers, or tracing uncertain patterns in the gravel with a stick, patterns as uncertain and aimless as themselves. There were fewer women, because the unemployed woman of this class has an old fashioned habit, or instinct, of seeking work by direct assault; the method of the male being rather to sit on a bench and discuss the obstacles, the injustices, and the unendurable insults heaped by a plutocratic government in the path of the honest son of toil.

The corner house of Eden Place was a little larger than its neighbours in the same row. Its side was flanked by a sand lot, and a bay window, with four central panes of blue glass, was the most conspicuous feature of its architecture. In the small front yard was a microscopic flower bed; there were no flowers in it, but the stake that held up a stout plant in the middle was surmounted by a neat wooden sign bearing the inscription, 'No Smoking on these Premises.' The warning seemed superfluous, as no man standing in the garden could have put his pipe in his mouth without grazing either the fence or the house, but the owner of the 'premises' possibly wished to warn the visitor at the very threshold.

All the occupied houses in Eden Place were cheerful and hospitable in their appearance, and were marked by an air of liveliness and good fellowship. Bed linen hung freely from all the windows, for there was no hard and fast law about making up beds at any special hour, though a remnant of superstition still existed that it was a good thing to make up a bed before you slept in it. There were more women on their respective front steps, and fewer in their respective kitchens, in Eden Place than in almost any other locality in the city. That they lived for the most part in close and friendly relations could be seen from the condition of the fences between the front yards, whose upper rails fairly sagged with the weight of gossip.

One woman, living in the middle of the row, evidently possessed somewhat different views, for she had planted vines on each of her division fences, rented her parlour to a lodger who only slept there, kept all her front curtains drawn, and stayed in the hack of her house. Such retribution as could legally be wreaked upon this offensive and exclusive person was daily administered by her two neighbours, who stood in their doors on either side and conversed across her house and garden with much freedom and exuberance... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books