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A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill   By: (1870-1942)

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[Illustration: "Do you believe in love, Doctor?"]

A ROMANCE OF BILLY GOAT HILL

BY

ALICE HEGAN RICE

Author of Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch Lovey Mary, Sandy, Etc.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

By GEORGE WEIGHT

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"Do you believe in love, Doctor?"

The Colonel leaned back upon his knees and glared at Morley

There was a sharp report, a smothered groan, then a heavy fall

She held it to the flame, and watched it burn to ashes on the hearth

Maria began to cry, and forgot to jolt the Boarder

Mrs. Sequin paused with her hand on the banister

"It was a great wrong I did you, Don; can you forgive me?"

"Tell me quick! How do you know about the shooting?"

CHAPTER I

It was springtime in Kentucky, gay, irresponsible, Southern springtime, that comes bursting impetuously through highways and byways, heedless of possible frosts and impossible fruitions. A glamour of tender new green enveloped the world, and the air was sweet with the odor of young and growing things. The brown river, streaked with green where the fresher currents of the creeks poured in, circled the base of a long hill that dominated the landscape from every direction.

In spite of the fact that impertinent railroads were beginning to crawl about its feet, and the flotsam and jetsam of the adjacent city were gradually being deposited at its base, it nevertheless reared its granite shoulders proudly and defiantly against the sky.

From the early days when the hill and rich surrounding farm lands had been granted to the old pioneer William Carsey, one generation of Carseys after another had lived in the stately old mansion that now stood like the last remaining fortress against the city's invasion. Sagging cornices and discolored walls had not dispelled the atmosphere of contentment that enveloped the place, an effect heightened by the wide front porch which ran straight across the face of it, like a broad, complacent smile. Some old houses, like old gallants, bear an unmistakable air of past prosperity, of past affairs. Romance has trailed her garments near them and the fragrance lingers.

Thornwood, shabby and neglected, could still afford to drowse in the sunshine and smile over the past. It remembered the time when its hospitality was the boast of the countryside, when its stables held the best string of horses in the State; when its smokehouse, now groaning under a pile of lumber, sheltered shoulders of pork, and sides of bacon, and long lines of juicy, sugar cured hams; when the cellar quartered battalions of cobwebby bottles that stood at attention on the low hanging shelves. It was a house ripe with experience and mellow with memories, a wise, old, sophisticated house, that had had its day, and enjoyed it, and now, through with ambitions, and through with striving, had settled down to a peaceful old age.

On this particular Sunday afternoon Colonel Bob Carsey, the third of his name, sat on the porch in a weather beaten mahogany rocker, making himself a mint julep. He was a stout, elderly gentleman, and, like the rocking chair, was weather beaten, and of a slightly mahogany hue. His features, having long ago given up the struggle against encroaching flesh, were now merely slight indentures, and mild protuberances, with the exception of the eyes which still blazed away defiantly, like twinkling lights at the end of a passage. Across his feet with nose on paws lay a dog, and about him was scattered a profusion of fishing paraphernalia.

The Colonel, carefully crushing the mint between his stubby fingers, stirred it with the sugar at the bottom of his tall glass; then, resting the concoction on the broad arm of the rocker, and without turning his head, lifted his voice in stentorian command:

"Jimpson!"

No answer. He turned his head slightly to the left, in the general direction of the negro cabins whose roofs could be seen through the trees, and sent another summons hurtling through the bushes:

"Jimpson!"

Again he waited, and again there was no response... Continue reading book >>




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