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The Miller Of Old Church   By: (1873-1945)

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by Ellen Glasgow

To my sister Cary Glasgow McCormack In loving acknowledgment of help and sympathy through the years





I. At Bottom's Ordinary II. In Which Destiny Wears the Comic Mask III. In Which Mr. Gay Arrives at His Journey's End IV. The Revercombs V. The Mill VI. Treats of the Ladies' Sphere VII. Gay Rushes Into a Quarrel and Secures a Kiss VIII. Shows Two Sides of a Quarrel IX. In Which Molly Flirts X. The Reverend Orlando Mullen Preaches a Sermon XI. A Flight and an Encounter XII. The Dream and the Real XIII. By the Mill race XIV. Shows the Weakness in Strength XV. Shows the Tyranny of Weakness XVI. The Coming of Spring XVII. The Shade of Mr. Jonathan XVIII. The Shade of Reuben XIX. Treats of Contradictions XX. Life's Ironies XXI. In Which Pity Masquerades as Reason




I. In which Youth Shows a Little Seasoned II. The Desire of the Moth III Abel Hears Gossip and Sees a Vision IV. His Day of Freedom V. The Shaping of Molly VI. In Which Hearts Go Astray VII. A New Beginning to an Old Tragedy VIII. A Great Passion in a Humble Place IX. A Meeting in the Pasture X. Tangled Threads XI. The Ride to Piping Tree XII. One of Love's Victims XIII. What Life Teaches XIV. The Turn of the Wheel XV. Gay Discovers Himself XVI. The End

Author's Note: The scene of this story is not the place of the same name in Virginia.






It was past four o'clock on a sunny October day, when a stranger, who had ridden over the "corduroy" road between Applegate and Old Church, dismounted near the cross roads before the small public house known to its frequenters as Bottom's Ordinary. Standing where the three roads meet at the old turnpike gate of the county, the square brick building, which had declined through several generations from a chapel into a tavern, had grown at last to resemble the smeared face of a clown under a steeple hat which was worn slightly awry. Originally covered with stucco, the walls had peeled year by year until the dull red of the bricks showed like blotches of paint under a thick coating of powder. Over the wide door two little oblong windows, holding four damaged panes, blinked rakishly from a mat of ivy, which spread from the rotting eaves to the shingled roof, where the slim wooden spire bent under the weight of creeper and innumerable nesting sparrows in spring. After pointing heavenward for half a century, the steeple appeared to have swerved suddenly from its purpose, and to invite now the attention of the wayfarer to the bar beneath. This cheerful room which sprouted, like some grotesque wing, from the right side of the chapel, marked not only a utilitarian triumph in architecture, but served, on market days to attract a larger congregation of the righteous than had ever stood up to sing the doxology in the adjoining place of worship. Good and bad prospects were weighed here, weddings discussed, births and deaths recorded in ever green memories, and here, also, were reputations demolished and the owners of them hustled with scant ceremony away to perdition.

From the open door of the bar on this particular October day, there streamed the ruddy blaze of a fire newly kindled from knots of resinous pine. Against this pleasant background might be discerned now and then the shapeless silhouette of Betsey Bottom, the innkeeper, a soft and capable soul, who, in attaching William Ming some ten years before, had successfully extinguished his identity without materially impairing her own... Continue reading book >>

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