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Thurston of Orchard Valley   By: (1866-1945)

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[Illustration: Cover art]

[Frontispiece: "The Slight Figure that Swayed to the Stride of a Galloping Horse" Chapter XXIX ]

Thurston of

Orchard Valley

By Harold Bindloss

Author of "By Right of Purchase," "Lorimer of the Northwest," "Alton of Somasco," etc.

with Frontispiece

By W. HERBERT DUNTON

A. L. BURT COMPANY

Publishers New York

COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

All rights reserved

February, 1910

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. "THURSTON'S FOLLY" II. A DISILLUSION III. GEOFFREY'S FIRST CONTRACT IV. GEOFFREY MAKES PROGRESS V. THE LEGENDS OF CROSBIE GHYLL VI. MILLICENT'S REWARD VII. THE BREAKING OF THE JAM VIII. A REST BY THE WAY IX. GEOFFREY STANDS FIRM X. SAVINE'S CONFIDENCE XI. AN INSPIRATION XII. GEOFFREY TESTS HIS FATE XIII. A TEST OF LOYALTY XIV. THE WORK OF AN ENEMY XV. A GREAT UNDERTAKING XVI. MILLICENT TURNS TRAITRESS XVII. THE INFATUATION OF ENGLISH JIM XVIII. THE BURSTING OF THE SLUICE XIX. THE ABDUCTION OF BLACK CHRISTY XX. UNDER THE STANLEY PINES XXI. REPARATION XXII. A REPRIEVE XXIII. THE ULTIMATUM XXIV. AN UNEXPECTED ALLY XXV. MILLICENT'S REVOLT XXVI. A RECKLESS JOURNEY XXVII. MRS. SAVINE SPEAKS HER MIND XXVIII. LESLIE STEPS OUT XXIX. A REVELATION

Thurston of Orchard Valley

CHAPTER I

"THURSTON'S FOLLY"

It was a pity that Geoffrey Thurston was following in his grandfather's footsteps, the sturdy dalefolk said, and several of them shook their heads solemnly as they repeated the observation when one morning the young man came striding down the steep street of a village in the North Country. The cluster of gray stone houses nestled beneath the scarred face of a crag, and, because mining operations had lately been suspended and work was scarce just then, pale faced men in moleskin lounged about the slate slab doorsteps. Above the village, and beyond the summit of the crag, the mouth of a tunnel formed a black blot on the sunlit slopes of sheep cropped grass stretching up to the heather, which gave place in turn to rock out crop on the shoulders of the fell. The loungers glanced at the tunnel regretfully, for that mine had furnished most of them with their daily bread.

"It's in t' blood," said one, nodding toward the young man. "Ay, headstrong folly's bred in t' bone of them, an' it's safer to counter an angry bull than a Thurston of Crosbie Ghyll. It's like his grandfather roughed out of the old hard whinstane he is."

A murmur of approval followed, for the listeners knew there was a measure of truth in this; but it ceased when the pedestrian passed close to them with long, vigorous strides. Though several raised their hands half way to their caps in grudging salute, Geoffrey Thurston, who appeared preoccupied, looked at none of them. Notwithstanding his youth, there were lines on his forehead and his brows were wrinkled over his eyes, while his carriage suggested strength of limb and energy. Tall in stature his frame looked wiry rather than heavily built. His face was resolute, for both square jaw and steady brown eyes suggested tenacity of purpose. The hands that swung at his sides had been roughened by labor with pick and drill. Yet in spite of the old clay stained shooting suit and shapeless slouch hat with the grease on the front of it, where a candle had been set, there was a stamp of command, and even refinement, about him. He was a Thurston of Crosbie, one of a family the members of which had long worked their own diminishing lands among the rugged fells that stretch between the West Riding and the Solway.

The Thurstons had been a reckless, hard living race, with a stubborn, combative disposition. Most of them had found scope for their energies in wresting a few more barren acres from the grasp of moss and moor; but several times an eccentric genius had scattered to the winds what the rest had won, and Geoffrey seemed bent on playing the traditional rĂ´le of spendthrift... Continue reading book >>




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