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Rose of Old Harpeth   By: (1872-1924)

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ROSE OF OLD HARPETH

[Illustration: Rose Mary]

ROSE OF

OLD HARPETH

BY MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS

Author of "Miss Selina Lue," "The Road to Providence," "The Melting of Molly," etc.

[Illustration]

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

By W.B. KING

A.L. BURT COMPANY

PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

1911

THE BOBBS MERRILL COMPANY

I DEDICATE

ROSE MARY

TO MY MOTHER

LEONORA HAMILTON DAVIESS

AND THE WHOLE BOOK

TO MY GRANDMOTHER

MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS

ROSE OF OLD HARPETH

CHAPTER I

ROSE MARY OF SWEETBRIAR

"Why, don't you know nothing in the world compliments a loaf of bread like the asking for a fourth slice," laughed Rose Mary as she reached up on the stone shelf above her head and took down a large crusty loaf and a long knife. "Thick or thin?" she asked as she raised her lashes from her blue eyes for a second of hospitable inquiry.

"Thin," answered Everett promptly, "but two with the butter sticking 'em together. Please be careful with that weapon! It's as good as a juggler's show to watch you, but it makes me slightly solicitous." As he spoke he seated himself on the corner of the wide stone table as near to Rose Mary and the long knife as seemed advisable. A ray of sunlight fell through the door of the milk house and cut across his red head to lose itself in Rose Mary's close black braids.

"Make it four," he further demanded over the table.

"Indeed and I will," answered Rose Mary delightedly. And as she spoke she held the loaf against her breast and drew the knife through the slices in a fascinatingly dangerous manner. At the intentness of his regard the color rose up under the lashes that veiled her eyes, and she hugged the loaf closer with her left hand. "Would you like six?" she asked innocently, as the fourth stroke severed the last piece.

"Just go on and slice it all up," he answered with a laugh. "I'd rather watch you than eat."

"Wait till I butter these for you and then you can eat and watch me me finish working the butter. Won't that do as well? Think what an encouragement your interest will be to me! Really, nothing in the world paces a woman's work like a man looking on, and if he doesn't stop her she'll drop under the line. Now, you have your bread and butter and you can sit over there by the door and help me turn off this ten pounds in no time."

As she had been speaking, Rose Mary had spread two of the slices with the yellow butter from a huge bowl in front of her, clapped on the tops of the sandwiches and then, with a smile, handed them in a blue plate to the man who lounged across the corner of her table. She made a very gracious and lovely picture, did Rose Mary, in her light blue homespun gown against the cool gray depths of the milk house, which was fern lined along the cracks of the old stones and mysterious with the trickling gurgle of the spring that flowed into the long stone troughs, around the milk crocks and out under the stone door sill. From his post by the door Everett watched her as she drove her paddle deep into the hard golden mound in the blue bowl in front of her, and, with a quick turn of her strong, slender wrist slapped and patted chunk after chunk of the butter into a more compressed form. The sleeves of her dress were rolled almost to her shoulders and under the white, moist flesh of her arms the fine muscles showed plainly. The strong curves of her back and shoulders bent and sprung under the graceful sweep of her arms and her round breasts rose and fell with quickened breath from her energetic movements.

"Now, you're making me work too hard," she laughed; and she panted as she rested her hand for a second against the edge of the bowl and looked up at Everett from under a black tendril curl that had fallen down across her forehead.

"Miss Rose Mary Alloway, you are one large, husky witch," calmly remarked the hungry man as he finished disposing of the last half of one of the thin bread and butters... Continue reading book >>




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