The Heart of Arethusa
125 Pages
English

The Heart of Arethusa

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Published 08 December 2010
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Language English

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Heart of Arethusa, by Francis Barton Fox, Illustrated by F. W. Read This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Heart of Arethusa Author: Francis Barton Fox Release Date: December 14, 2007 [eBook #23856] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE HEART OF ARETHUSA*** E-text prepared by David Garcia and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made available by Kentuckiana Digital Library (http://kdl.kyvl.org/) Note: Images of the original pages are available through the Kentuckiana Digital Library. See http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=kyetexts;cc=kyetexts;xc=1&idno=b92-21330910698&view=toc Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Dialect spellings, contractions, and discrepancies have been retained. The Table of Contents was not printed in the book and has been created for the convenience of the reader. ARETHUSA T H E H E A R T By O F A R E T FRANCES BARTON FOX WITH A FRONTISPIECE BY F. W. READ BOSTON SMALL, MAYNARD AND COMPANY PUBLISHERS Copyright, 1918 BY SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY (INCORPORATED) TO GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN Who found me young; full ignorant of the trade To which my soul aspired. So it was she made, With friendly kindness of a generous heart, Some of her busy hours to know still worthier aim; Seeing that I learned a trifle of the writing game. And in what I've written, she has had her part. CONTENTS I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XV THE HEART OF ARETHUSA CHAPTER I At the end of a long, straight avenue of symmetrically developed water maple trees (the trunks of all the trees whitewashed to precisely the same height from the ground) the house gleamed creamy-white, directly facing the Pike. Its broad front door came exactly within the middle distance of this vista of maples, as though the long-ago builder had known that Miss Eliza's orderly soul would have suffered much unhappiness had it swerved a fraction from the centre and, looking forward to the time when she should rule at the Farm, had planned it all to save her the trouble of a change. Miss Eliza would have been sorely tempted to move either the house or the avenue, had not the front door been so placed as to be viewed from the exact middle of that avenue; such was her passion for neatness and precision. And there was not a weed nor a ragged-looking patch of grass in the whole length of the brown dirt road between those evenly grown maples; nor a weed nor a ragged-looking patch of grass in the whole of the front yard, enclosed in its white board fence with the one flat board laid all around the top. This was a board whose position and height from the ground had always made it irresistible to Arethusa. It had been one of the chief delights of an active childhood and adolescence to walk it as far as possible before falling off. The day she had negotiated the entire fence without once losing her balance, to return in triumph to the stile where Timothy awaited her, marked an epoch in her development; for it was the last stronghold of Timothy's achievements, as should properly distinguish the boy from the girl, which had thus far held out against her. And it was quite a long way around the top of that fence; the yard was large. There was no gate into the yard. Those who came to call at the Farm on wheels stopped their vehicle at the end of the avenue outside, by the worn hitching-post with its iron chain and ring, and climbed an oldfashioned stile right from the carriage-block to a straight walk of bricks, laid in a queer criss-cross pattern, that led up to the house. It was a low-built house, wide-flung, the eaves coming close down over the second-story windows: and It was a low-built house, wide-flung, the eaves coming close down over the second-story windows: and one might almost have stepped from the windows of the first floor directly out on to the flagged walk that ran along the whole front. It had a curious appearance of having grown where it was. One could imagine, without very much effort, that it had not been built as were other houses, but had grown up gradually like some queer sort of solid plant. The pillars of the small front porch were covered thick with a white clematis in full bloom, the pride of Miss Eliza's heart; and well might she be proud, for no other clematis for miles around ever bloomed so profusely or so largely. Flowers nodded gayly in the smallest of formal gardens at one end of the house and honeysuckle vines clambered over frames by the summer-house sheltering the cistern at the other end; but both vines and flowers climbed and nodded in the most orderly manner, for they were all Miss Eliza's plants. The house was painted every other spring, painted this creamy-white, and it always seemed a cleaner white than any other white house in the country, no matter if those others were painted just as often. The outside shutters to the twinkling square-paned windows were green, a rich, dark green, that had not been changed since time began for the Farm. On the second day of May every other year (unless that day fell on Sunday) John Gibson drove out from town and began painting at the Farm. If it rained, he painted inside the porches first; but he put one coat of paint all over everything paintable before he was through. He always stayed out at the Farm until his work was done, and then he drove back to town again, to wait until the then two-years' distant second day of May should bring him back. And everything that was done on the Farm was done in just such well-grooved ruts of habit. It had been unbearably hot and close all day long. The brazen, hard-blue sky had seemed to be pressing a blanket of thick, humid air closer and closer to the earth as if bent upon the suffocation of everything living. Everybody at the Farm had been sure it was brewing a storm. They had hoped a good rainstorm; and now.... It was almost come. Down on the horizon the clouds were piling up in great black and dark grey masses, with here and there a lighter grey