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Virginia   By: (1873-1945)

Book cover

First Page:

VIRGINIA

By ELLEN GLASGOW

GARDEN CITY NEW YORK DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY MCMXIII

Copyright, 1913, by Doubleday, Page & Company

All rights reserved, including that of translation into Foreign Languages, including the Scandinavian.

TO THE RADIANT SPIRIT WHO WAS MY SISTER CARY GLASGOW McCORMACK

CONTENTS

BOOK FIRST THE DREAM

I. The System

II. Her Inheritance

III. First Love

IV. The Treadwells

V. Oliver, the Romantic

VI. A Treadwell in Revolt

VII. The Artist in Philistia

VIII. White Magic

IX. The Great Man Moves

X. Oliver Surrenders

BOOK SECOND THE REALITY

I. Virginia Prepares for the Future

II. Virginia's Letters

III. The Return

IV. Her Children

V. Failure

VI. The Shadow

VII. The Will to Live

VIII. The Pang of Motherhood

IX. The Problem of the South

BOOK THIRD THE ADJUSTMENT

I. The Changing Order

II. The Price of Comfort

III. Middle age

IV. Life's Cruelties

V. Bitterness

VI. The Future

BOOK FIRST

THE DREAM

CHAPTER I

THE SYSTEM

Toward the close of a May afternoon in the year 1884, Miss Priscilla Batte, having learned by heart the lesson in physical geography she would teach her senior class on the morrow, stood feeding her canary on the little square porch of the Dinwiddie Academy for Young Ladies. The day had been hot, and the fitful wind, which had risen in the direction of the river, was just beginning to blow in soft gusts under the old mulberry trees in the street, and to scatter the loosened petals of syringa blossoms in a flowery snow over the grass. For a moment Miss Priscilla turned her flushed face to the scented air, while her eyes rested lovingly on the narrow walk, edged with pointed bricks and bordered by cowslips and wallflowers, which led through the short garden to the three stone steps and the tall iron gate. She was a shapeless yet majestic woman of some fifty years, with a large mottled face in which a steadfast expression of gentle obstinacy appeared to underly the more evanescent ripples of thought or of emotion. Her severe black silk gown, to which she had just changed from her morning dress of alpaca, was softened under her full double chin by a knot of lace and a cameo brooch bearing the helmeted profile of Pallas Athene. On her head she wore a three cornered cap trimmed with a ruching of organdie, and beneath it her thin gray hair still showed a gleam of faded yellow in the sunlight. She had never been handsome, but her prodigious size had endowed her with an impressiveness which had passed in her youth, and among an indulgent people, for beauty. Only in the last few years had her fleshiness, due to rich food which she could not resist and to lack of exercise for which she had an instinctive aversion, begun seriously to inconvenience her.

Beyond the wire cage, in which the canary spent his involuntarily celibate life, an ancient microphylla rose bush, with a single imperfect bud blooming ahead of summer amid its glossy foliage, clambered over a green lattice to the gabled pediment of the porch, while the delicate shadows of the leaves rippled like lace work on the gravel below. In the miniature garden, where the small spring blossoms strayed from the prim beds into the long feathery grasses, there were syringa bushes, a little overblown; crape myrtles not yet in bud; a holly tree veiled in bright green near the iron fence; a flowering almond shrub in late bloom against the shaded side of the house; and where a west wing put out on the left, a bower of red and white roses was steeped now in the faint sunshine. At the foot of the three steps ran the sunken moss edged bricks of High Street, and across High Street there floated, like wind blown flowers, the figures of Susan Treadwell and Virginia Pendleton... Continue reading book >>




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