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Virgie's Inheritance   By: (1843-1926)

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Virgie's Inheritance

By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

Author of "Nora," "Trixy," "Earle Wayne's Nobility," "Helen's Victory," "A True Aristocrat," Etc.

Copyright, 1887, 1888, 1891 By Street & Smith

Virgie's Inheritance.

Chapter I.

Virgie and the Benighted Traveler.

"Virgie, I shall have to give up the race."


"My strength is failing rapidly. It was all that I could do to creep home to night. My trembling limbs, my labored breathing, and this dreadful cough, all warn me that I must set my house in order, and make provision for your future."

It was an apparently old man who spoke thus, and yet the years of his life numbered but a little over fifty.

His hair was silvery white; his face was colorless and haggard, his eyes dim and sunken, and his form was much attenuated and bowed by the disease which was fast consuming him.

He was sitting by a blazing fire, in an ordinary easy chair over which a heavy coverlid had been thrown to make it more comfortable; but he shivered, and hovered over the blaze, as if he were chilled to the very marrow, while the hands which he held extended to catch the warmth were livid, and trembling from weakness.

The room was small, but cozy and home like. A cheap, coarse carpet, though of a bright and tasteful pattern, lay upon the floor. An oval table, covered with a daintily embroidered cloth, stood in the center. There was a pretty lamp, with a bright Japanese shade upon it. There were also a few books in choice bindings, and a dainty work basket filled with implements for sewing. A few pictures some done with pen and ink, others in crayon, but all showing great talent and nicety of execution hung, in simple frames, upon the walls. The two windows of the apartment were screened by pretty curtains of spotless muslin over heavier hangings of crimson, while a lounge and two or three chairs completed the furnishing of the room.

Beside the table, in a low rocker, several paces from the invalid by the fire, yet where she could catch every expression of his pale, sad face, there sat a young girl, with a piece of fancy work in her hands, upon which she had been busily engaged before her father spoke.

She was perhaps twenty years of age, with a straight, perfect form, and a face that would have better graced a a palace than the humble mountain home where she now abode. It was a pure, oval, with delicate, beautiful brows; soft, round cheeks, in which a lovely pink came and went with every emotion. Her eyes were of a deep violet color, shaded by dark silken lashes, though their expression was saddened somewhat just now by a look of care and anxiety. Her white forehead was surmounted by rich chestnut brown hair, which was gathered into a graceful knot at the back of her finely shaped head. A straight, patrician nose; a small, but rather resolute mouth, and a rounded chin, in which there was a bewitching dimple; small, lady like hands and feet, completed the tout ensemble of Virginia Abbot, the daughter and only child of a whilom honored and wealthy bank president of San Francisco.

When addressed, as recorded above, the beautiful girl had started and grown suddenly pale, and a look of keenest pain shot into her violet eyes.

Then her sweet mouth straightened itself into a stern, resolute line. There was a moment of solemn silence, which she broke, by saying, in a repressed but gentle tone:

"I am sorry that you are feeling worse than usual to night, papa. I know you must be weary. You are always that after being all day in the mine, and the storm, of course, aggravates your cough; but if you will rest a few days you will surely be better."

"No, Virgie, it is useless to build upon false hopes. I shall never be any better. My work is done. I shall go no more to my claim, and I have decided to dispose of it to the first one who will offer me a fair price for it. But, dear child, if it were not for you I believe I should be glad to know that my saddened life is almost at an end. I "

The weary voice quivered and failed here, and the man sank back in his chair with a bitter sigh... Continue reading book >>

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