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A Mountain Woman   By: (1862-1935)

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First Page:


By Elia Wilkinson Peattie


My best Friend, and kindest Critic,

My Husband.

Transcriber's Note: I have omitted signature designations and have closed abbreviations, e.g., "do n't" becoming "don't," etc. In addition, I have made the following changes to the text:

PAGE LINE ORIGINAL CHANGED TO 38 19 seem to seemed to 47 9 beafsteak beefsteak 56 4 divertisement divertissement 91 19 divertisement divertissement 155 17 scarfs. scarves. 169 20 scarfs, scarves,


MOST of the tales in this little book have been printed before. "A Mountain Woman" appeared in Harper's Weekly, as did "The Three Johns" and "A Resuscitation." "Jim Lancy's Waterloo" was printed in the Cosmopolitan, "A Michigan Man" in Lippincott's, and "Up the Gulch" in Two Tales. The courtesy of these periodicals in permitting the stories to be republished is cordially acknowledged.

E. W. P.










A Mountain Woman

IF Leroy Brainard had not had such a respect for literature, he would have written a book.

As it was, he played at being an architect and succeeded in being a charming fellow. My sister Jessica never lost an opportunity of laughing at his endeavors as an architect.

"You can build an enchanting villa, but what would you do with a cathedral?"

"I shall never have a chance at a cathedral," he would reply. "And, besides, it always seems to me so material and so impertinent to build a little structure of stone and wood in which to worship God!"

You see what he was like? He was frivolous, yet one could never tell when he would become eloquently earnest.

Brainard went off suddenly Westward one day. I suspected that Jessica was at the bottom of it, but I asked no questions; and I did not hear from him for months. Then I got a letter from Colorado.

"I have married a mountain woman," he wrote. "None of your puny breed of modern femininity, but a remnant left over from the heroic ages, a primitive woman, grand and vast of spirit, capable of true and steadfast wifehood. No sophistry about her; no knowledge even that there is sophistry. Heavens! man, do you remember the rondeaux and triolets I used to write to those pretty creatures back East? It would take a Saga man of the old Norseland to write for my mountain woman. If I were an artist, I would paint her with the north star in her locks and her feet on purple cloud. I suppose you are at the Pier. I know you usually are at this season. At any rate, I shall direct this letter thither, and will follow close after it. I want my wife to see something of life. And I want her to meet your sister."

"Dear me!" cried Jessica, when I read the letter to her; "I don't know that I care to meet anything quite so gigantic as that mountain woman. I'm one of the puny breed of modern femininity, you know. I don't think my nerves can stand the encounter."

"Why, Jessica!" I protested. She blushed a little.

"Don't think bad of me, Victor. But, you see, I've a little scrap book of those triolets upstairs." Then she burst into a peal of irresistible laughter. "I'm not laughing because I am piqued," she said frankly. "Though any one will admit that it is rather irritating to have a man who left you in a blasted condition recover with such extraordinary promptness. As a philanthropist, one of course rejoices, but as a woman, Victor, it must be admitted that one has a right to feel annoyed. But, honestly, I am not ungenerous, and I am going to do him a favor. I shall write, and urge him not to bring his wife here. A primitive woman, with the north star in her hair, would look well down there in the Casino eating a pineapple ice, wouldn't she? It's all very well to have a soul, you know; but it won't keep you from looking like a guy among women who have good dressmakers... Continue reading book >>

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