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

The Portygee   By: (1870-1944)

Book cover

First Page:


By Joseph Crosby Lincoln


Overhead the clouds cloaked the sky; a ragged cloak it was, and, here and there, a star shone through a hole, to be obscured almost instantly as more cloud tatters were hurled across the rent. The pines threshed on the hill tops. The bare branches of the wild cherry and silverleaf trees scraped and rattled and tossed. And the wind, the raw, chilling December wind, driven in, wet and salty, from the sea, tore over the dunes and brown uplands and across the frozen salt meadows, screamed through the telegraph wires, and made the platform of the dismal South Harniss railway station the lonesomest, coldest, darkest and most miserable spot on the face of the earth.

At least that was the opinion of the seventeen year old boy whom the down train on time for once and a wonder had just deposited upon that platform. He would not have discounted the statement one iota. The South Harniss station platform WAS the most miserable spot on earth and he was the most miserable human being upon it. And this last was probably true, for there were but three other humans upon that platform and, judging by externals, they seemed happy enough. One was the station agent, who was just entering the building preparatory to locking up for the night, and the others were Jim Young, driver of the "depot wagon," and Doctor Holliday, the South Harniss "homeopath," who had been up to a Boston hospital with a patient and was returning home. Jim was whistling "Silver Bells," a tune much in vogue the previous summer, and Doctor Holliday was puffing at a cigar and knocking his feet together to keep them warm while waiting to get into the depot wagon. These were the only people in sight and they were paying no attention whatever to the lonely figure at the other end of the platform.

The boy looked about him. The station, with its sickly yellow gleam of kerosene lamp behind its dingy windowpane, was apparently the only inhabited spot in a barren wilderness. At the edge of the platform civilization seemed to end and beyond was nothing but a black earth and a black sky, tossing trees and howling wind, and cold raw, damp, penetrating cold. Compared with this even the stuffy plush seats and smelly warmth of the car he had just left appeared temptingly homelike and luxurious. All the way down from the city he had sneered inwardly at a one horse railroad which ran no Pullmans on its Cape branch in winter time. Now he forgot his longing for mahogany veneer and individual chairs and would gladly have boarded a freight car, provided there were in it a lamp and a stove.

The light in the station was extinguished and the agent came out with a jingling bunch of keys and locked the door. "Good night, Jim," he shouted, and walked off into the blackness. Jim responded with a "good night" of his own and climbed aboard the wagon, into the dark interior of which the doctor had preceded him. The boy at the other end of the platform began to be really alarmed. It looked as if all living things were abandoning him and he was to be left marooned, to starve or freeze, provided he was not blown away first.

He picked up the suitcase an expensive suitcase it was, elaborately strapped and buckled, with a telescope back and gold fittings and hastened toward the wagon. Mr. Young had just picked up the reins.

"Oh, oh, I say!" faltered the boy. We have called him "the boy" all this time, but he did not consider himself a boy, he esteemed himself a man, if not full grown physically, certainly so mentally. A man, with all a man's wisdom, and more besides the great, the all embracing wisdom of his age, or youth.

"Here, I say! Just a minute!" he repeated. Jim Young put his head around the edge of the wagon curtain. "Eh?" he queried. "Eh? Who's talkin'? Oh, was it you, young feller? Did you want me?"

The young fellow replied that he did. "This is South Harniss, isn't it?" he asked.

Mr. Young chuckled. "Darn sure thing," he drawled. "I give in that it looks consider'ble like Boston, or Providence, R... 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