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Once to Every Man   By: (-1925)

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First Page:

[Illustration: "IT WAS FOR ME YOU WENT. DON'T YOU DIDN'T YOU KNOW IT WAS JUST BECAUSE OF YOU THAT I WANTED THEM AT ALL?"]

ONCE TO EVERY MAN

BY

LARRY EVANS

ILLUSTRATED BY

ANTON OTTO FISCHER

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS :: NEW YORK

Copyright, 1913, by

The Metropolitan Magazine Company.

Copyright, 1914, by

The Metropolitan Magazine Company.

Copyright, 1914, by

The H. K. Fly Company.

TO

MINE OWN PEOPLE

ILLUSTRATIONS

"It Was for Me You Went. Don't You Didn't You Know It Was Just Because of You That I Wanted Them At All?" Frontispiece "Hold Me Tight Oh! Hold Me Tighter! for They Forgot Me, Too, Denny; They Forgot Me Too!" 53 "Dryad, It's All Right It's Always Been All Right With Us! They Lied They Lied and They Knew They Were Lying!" 85 "What You Need, Gentlemen, Is a Trifle Wider Readin' Just a Trifle! for You Ain't Bein' Well Posted on Facts!" 149

ONCE TO EVERY MAN

CHAPTER I

The most remarkable thing about the boy was his eyes that is, if any man with his spread of shoulder and masculine grace of flat muscled hips could be spoken of any longer as a boy, merely because his years happened to number twenty four.

They, however the eyes were gray; not a too light, off color, gleaming gray, but more the tone of slate, deep when one chanced to find oneself peering deep into them. And they were old. Any spontaneity of youth which might have flashed from them at one time had faded entirely and left a sort of wistful sophistry behind, an almost plaintive hunger which made the pity of his shoulder stoop still mercifully only a prophecy of what the next twenty years of toil might leave it an even more pitiful thing. His sheer bigness should have been still unspoiled; instead it was already beginning to lose its rebound; it was growing imperceptibly slack, like the springy stride of a colt put too soon to heavy harness.

Late afternoon was giving way to nightfall a long shadowed twilight that was heavy with the scent of spring in spite of the scattered patches of wet snow that still lurked in the swamp holes. As the boy stood, facing toward the east and the town that sprawled in the hollow, his great, shoulder heavy body loomed almost like a painted figure against the cool red background of the horizon. Even in spite of the pike pole which he grasped in one hand and the vividly checkered blanket coat that wrapped him, the illusion was undeniable. Stripped of them and equipped instead with a high steeple crowned hat and wide buckled shoes, his long half saddened face and lean body might have been a composite of all the Puritan fathers who had wrestled with the rock strewn acres behind him, two hundred years and more before.

Denny Bolton was waiting Young Denny, the townsfolk preferred to call him, to distinguish him from Old Denny of the former generation. Somehow, although he had never mentioned it to anybody, it seemed to him that he had always been waiting for something he hardly knew just what it was himself just something that was drearily slow in the coming.

His home, the farmhouse of the Boltons, for which the straggling village of Boltonwood below had been named, was nearest of all the outlying places on the post route, yet last of all to be served, for when the rural delivery had been established they had begun delivery at the other end of the circle. Young Denny had never been able to understand quite why it was so but it was, for all that. And with the minister, too, it happened, although not so often, for the minister of Boltonwood called at almost every door on his rounds and stayed longer at each, so sometimes for months at a time he never got around to the shabby place on the hill at all. But the boy believed that he did understand this and often he smiled to himself over it, without any bitterness just smiled half wistfully... Continue reading book >>




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