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A Son of Hagar A Romance of Our Time   By: (1853-1931)

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A Romance of Our Time



Author of "The Bondsman," "The Deemster," etc.

"God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is."

New York Hurst & Company Publishers.



It must be an exceeding great reward, beyond all the rewards of material success, to know that you have written a book that is deep, tranquil, strong and pure. Again and again you have nobly earned that knowledge. Across the more than thirty years that divide us, the elder from the younger brother, the veteran from the raw comrade, let me offer my hand to you as to a master of our craft.

To the author, then, of a romance that has no equal save in Scott, I humbly dedicate this romance of mine.



barn=child; dusta=dost thou; hasta=hast thou.

laal=little; leet=alight; girt=great.

sista=se√ęst thou.


wadsta=wouldst thou.

wilta=wilt thou.

Shaf!= an expression of contempt .


In my first novel, "The Shadow of a Crime," I tried to penetrate into the soul of a brave, unselfish, long suffering man, and to lay bare the processes by which he raised himself to a great height of self sacrifice. In this novel the aim has been to penetrate into the soul of a bad man, and to lay bare the processes by which he is tempted to his fall. To find a character that shall be above all common tendencies to guilt and yet tainted with the plague spot of evil hidden somewhere; then to watch the first sharp struggle of what is good in the man with what is bad, until he is in the coil of his temptation; and finally, to show in what tragic ruin a man of strong passions, great will and power of mind may resist the force that precipitates him and save his soul alive this is, I trust, a motive no less worthy, no less profitable to study, in the utmost result no less heroic and inspiring, than that of tracing the upward path of noble types of mind. For me there has been a pathetic, and I think purifying, interest in looking into the soul of this man and seeing it corrode beneath the touch of a powerful temptation until at the last, when it seems to lie spent, it rises again in strength and shows that the human heart has no depths in which it is lost. If this character had been equal to my intention, it might have been a real contribution to fiction, and far as I know it to fall short of the first deep blow of feeling in which it was conceived, it is, I think, new to the novel, though it holds a notable place in the drama it would be presumptuous to say where unnecessary, also, as I have made no disguise of my purpose.

One of the usual disadvantages of choosing a leading character that is off the lines of heroic portraiture is that the author may seem to be in sympathy with a base part in life and with base opinions. In this novel I run a different risk. I shall not be surprised if I provoke some hostility in making the bad man justify his course by the gaunt and grim morality that masquerades as the morality of our own time, while the good man is made to justify his one dubious act by the full and sincere and just morality that too often wears now the garb of vice the morality of the books of Moses. This novel relies, I trust, on the sheer humanities alone, but among its less aggressive purposes is that of a plea for the natural rights of the bastard. Those rights have been recognized in every country and by every race, except one, since the day when the outcast woman in the wilderness hearkened to the cry from heaven which said, "God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is." In England alone have the rights of blood been as nothing compared with the rights of property, and it is part of the business of this novel to exhibit these interests at a climax of strife. I have no fear that any true hearted person will accuse me of a desire to cast reproach upon marriage as an ordinance... Continue reading book >>

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