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The Stillwater Tragedy

The Stillwater Tragedy by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
By: (1836-1907)

Thomas Bailey Aldrich was an American poet, novelist and editor. Of his many books of poetry and fiction, he may be best known for his semi-autobiographical novel, The Story of a Bad Boy and his collection of short stories, Majorie Daw and Other People. The Stillwater Tragedy which was published in 1880 is set in a small New England manufacturing town whose tranquility is disturbed first by the murder of one of its prominent citizens followed soon thereafter by a general strike of all the trades-unions. As the story develops, Richard Shackford, the murdered man’s nephew, finds himself inextricably caught up in both these events.

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The Stillwater Tragedy

By Thomas Bailey Aldrich

I

It is close upon daybreak. The great wall of pines and hemlocks that keep off the west wind from Stillwater stretches black and indeterminate against the sky. At intervals a dull, metallic sound, like the guttural twang of a violin string, rises form the frog invested swamp skirting the highway. Suddenly the birds stir in their nests over there in the woodland, and break into that wild jargoning chorus with which they herald the advent of a new day. In the apple orchards and among the plum trees of the few gardens in Stillwater, the wrens and the robins and the blue jays catch up the crystal crescendo, and what a melodious racket they make of it with their fifes and flutes and flageolets!

The village lies in a trance like death. Possibly not a soul hears this music, unless it is the watchers at the bedside of Mr. Leonard Tappleton, the richest man in town, who has lain dying these three days, and cannot last until sunrise. Or perhaps some mother, drowsily hushing her wakeful baby, pauses a moment and listens vacantly to the birds singing... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - June 14, 2015
Subject: The Silverwater Tragedy
A very good story cleverly built up and nicely concluded. Very well narratored in the 'clipped' manner of the reader.


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