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The Shield of Silence   By: (1860-)

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[Illustration: " Joan rose from her self appointed task. She looked at Thornton and throbbed with hate but as she looked her mood again changed she felt such pity as she had never known in her life before. "]

THE SHIELD OF SILENCE

BY HARRIET T. COMSTOCK

AUTHOR OF JOYCE OF THE NORTH WOODS, ETC.

FRONTISPIECE BY GEORGE LOUGHRIDGE

GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

Made in the United States of America

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.

TO MY SON PHILIP S. COMSTOCK

"We will grasp the hands of men and women; and slowly holding one another's hands we will work our way upwards."

THE SHIELD OF SILENCE

Let us agree at once that

We are all on the Wheel. The difference lies in our ability to cling or let go. Meredith Thornton and old Becky Adams let go!

Across the world's heart they fell the heart of the world may be wide or narrow and, by the law of attraction, they came to Ridge House and Sister Angela.

Unlike, and separated by every circumstance that, according to the expected, should have kept them apart they still had the same problem to confront and the solution had its beginning in that pleasant home for Episcopal Sisters which clings so enchantingly along the north side of what is known as Silver Gap, a cleft in the Southern mountains.

To say the solution of these women's problems had its beginnings in Ridge House is true; but that they were ever solved is another matter and this story deals with that.

Meredith Thornton was young and beautiful. Up to the hour that she let go she had lived as they live who are drugged. She had looked on life with her senses blurred and her actions largely controlled by others.

Old Becky, on the other hand, had gripped life with no uncertain hold; she, according to the vernacular of her hills, "had the call to larn," and she learned deeply.

Sister Angela had clung to the Wheel. She had swung well around the circle and she believed she was nearing the end when the strange demand was made upon her.

The demand was made by Meredith Thornton and Becky Adams. Meredith, from her great distance, somewhat prepared Sister Angela by a letter, but Becky, being unable either to read or write, simply took to the trail from her lonely cabin on Thunder Peak and claimed a promise made three years before.

And now, since The Rock played a definite part in what happened, it should have a word here.

In a land where nearly all the solid substance is rock not stone, mind you The Rock held a peculiar position. It dominated the landscape and the imagination of Silver Gap, and the superstition as well. It was a huge, greenish white mass, a mile to the east of Thunder Peak, and over its smooth face innumerable waterfalls trickled and shone. With this colour and motion, like a mighty Artist, the wind and light played, forming pictures that needed little fancy to discern.

At times cities would be delicately outlined with towers and roofs rising loftily; then again one might see a deep wood with a road winding far and away, luring home tied feet to wander. And sometimes not often, to be sure the Ship would ride at anchor as on a painted sea.

The Ship boded no good to Silver Gap as any one could tell. It had brought the plague and the flood; it brought bad crops and raids on hidden stills; it waited until its evil cargo had done its worst and then it sailed away in the night, bearing its pitiful load of dead, or its burden of fear and hate. Surely there was good and sufficient reason for dreading the appearance of The Ship, and on a certain autumn morning it appeared and soon after the two women, unknown to each other, came to Ridge House and this story began... Continue reading book >>




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