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The Story of an Untold Love   By: (1865-1902)

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THE STORY OF AN UNTOLD LOVE

PAUL LEICESTER FORD

[Illustration]

NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT 1897 BY PAUL LEICESTER FORD ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

SIXTY FIFTH THOUSAND

THE STORY OF AN UNTOLD LOVE

I

February 20, 1890. There is not a moment of my life that you have shared with me which I cannot recall with a distinctness fairly sunlit. My joys and my sorrows, my triumphs and my failures, have faded one by one from emotions into memories, quickening neither pulse nor thought when they recur to me, while you alone can set both throbbing. And though for years I have known that if you enshrined any one in your heart it would be some one worthier of you, yet I have loved you truly, and whatever I have been in all else, in that one thing, at least, I have been strong. Nor would I part with my tenderness for you, even though it has robbed me of contentment; for all the pleasures of which I can dream cannot equal the happiness of loving you. To God I owe life, and you, Maizie, have filled that life with love; and to both I bow my spirit in thanks, striving not to waste his gift lest I be unworthy of the devotion I feel for you.

If I were a stronger man, I should not now be sobbing out my heart's blood through the tip of a pen. Instead of writing of my sorrow, I should have battled for my love despite all obstacles. But I am no Alexander to cut the knot of entanglements which the fates have woven about me, and so, Midas like, I sit morbidly whispering the hidden grief, too great for me to bear in silence longer.

I can picture my first glimpse of you as vividly as my last. That dull rainy day of indoor imprisonment seems almost to have been arranged as a shadowbox to intensify the image graved so deeply on my memory. The sun came, as you did, towards the end of the afternoon, as if light and warmth were your couriers. When I shyly entered the library in answer to my father's call, you were standing in the full sunlight, and the thought flashed through my mind that here was one of the angels of whom I had read. You were only a child of seven, to others, I suppose, immature and formless; yet even then your eyes were as large and as serious as they are to day, and your curling brown hair had already a touch of fire, as if sunshine had crept thereinto, and, liking its abiding place, had lingered lovingly.

"Don," cried my father, as I stood hesitating in the doorway, "here's a new plaything for you. Give it a welcome and a kiss."

I hung back, half in shyness, and half in fear that you were of heaven, and not of earth, but you came forward and kissed me without the slightest hesitation. The details are so clear that I remember you hardly had to raise your head, though I was three years the older. Your kiss dispelled all my timidity, and from the moment of that caress I loved you. Not that I am so foolish as to believe I then felt for you what now I feel, but by the clear light of retrospect I can see that your coming brought a new element into my life, an element which I loved from the first, though with steadily deepening intensity, and I cannot even now determine at what point a boy's devotion became a lover's.

To the silent and lonely lad you were an inspiration. What I might have grown to be had you not been my father's ward I do not like to think, for I was not a strong boy, and my shyness and timidity had prompted me to much solitude and few friends, to much reading and to little play. But it was decreed that you were to be the controlling influence of my life, and in the first week you worked a revolution in my habits. I wonder if now, when you see so many men eager to gratify your slightest wish, you ever think of your earliest slave, whom you enticed to the roof to drop pebbles or water on the passers by, and into the cellar to bury a toy soldier deep in the coal? Does memory ever bring back to you how we started to paint the illustrations in Kingsborough's Mexican Antiquities, or how we built a fire round a doll on the library rug, in imitation of the death of an Inca of Peru as pictured in dear old Garcilasso de la Vega's Royal Commentaries? You were a lazy child about reading, but when not tempting me into riotous mischief, you would sit by me in the library and let me show you the pictures in the old books, and I smile now to think what my running versions of the texts must have been... Continue reading book >>




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