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Sister Dolorosa and Posthumous Fame   By: (1849-1925)

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First Page:

SISTER DOLOROSA AND POSTHUMOUS FAME

BY JAMES LANE ALLEN

Copyright Edition

EDINBURGH DAVID DOUGLAS, CASTLE STREET 1892

EDINBURGH: Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE for DAVID DOUGLAS

LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL AND CO.

TO HER

FROM WHOSE FRAIL BODY HE DREW LIFE IN THE BEGINNING, FROM WHOSE STRONG SPIRIT HE WILL DRAW LIFE UNTIL THE CLOSE, THESE TALES, WITH ALL OTHERS HAPLY HEREAFTER TO BE WRITTEN, ARE DEDICATED AS A PERISHABLE MONUMENT OF INEFFABLE REMEMBRANCE

PREFACE TO BRITISH EDITION.

The Author is glad to know that a British Edition of his Kentucky Tales is to be brought out by Mr. David Douglas of Edinburgh.

Generations ago his mother's ancestors came from Scotland and Ireland; generations ago his father's came from England. Toward the three countries his attention was fondly turned in early life; and the interest then begotten has been but fostered since.

It is with peculiar pleasure, therefore, that he now avails himself of the chance to ride hither and thither through these lands in his own conveyance albeit the vehicle, a little book, may turn out a slow coach.

JAMES LANE ALLEN.

CHRISTMAS EVE, LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, 1891.

CONTENTS.

PAGE SISTER DOLOROSA, 13 POSTHUMOUS FAME, 163

SISTER DOLOROSA.

I.

When Sister Dolorosa had reached the summit of a low hill on her way to the convent, she turned and stood for a while looking backward. The landscape stretched away in a rude, unlovely expanse of grey fields, shaded in places by brown stubble, and in others lightened by pale, thin corn the stunted reward of necessitous husbandry. This way and that ran wavering lines of low fences, some worm eaten, others rotting beneath over clambering wild rose and blackberry. About the horizon masses of dense and rugged woods burned with sombre fires as the westering sun smote them from top to underbrush. Forth from the edge of one a few long horned cattle, with lowered heads, wound meekly homeward to the scant milking. The path they followed led towards the middle background of the picture, where the weather stained and sagging roof of a farmhouse rose above the tops of aged cedars. Some of the branches, broken by the sleet and snow of winters, trailed their burdens from the thinned and desolated crests as sometimes the highest hopes of the mind, after being beaten down by the tempests of the world, droop around it as memories of once transcendent aspirations.

Where she stood in the dead autumn fields few sounds broke in upon the pervasive hush of the declining day. Only a cricket, under the warm clod near by, shrilled sturdily with cheerful forethought of drowsy hearthstones; only a lamb, timid of separation from the fold, called anxiously in the valley beyond the crest of the opposite hill; only the summoning whistle of a quail came sweet and clear from the depths of a neighbouring thicket. Through all the air floated that spirit of vast loneliness which at seasons seems to steal like a human mood over the breast of the great earth and leave her estranged from her transitory children. At such an hour the heart takes wing for home, if any home it have; or when, if homeless, it feels the quick stir of that yearning for the evening fireside with its half circle of trusted faces, young and old, and its bonds of love and marriage, those deepest, most enchanting realities to the earthly imagination... Continue reading book >>




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