Over Paradise Ridge (Chapter 1, page 1 of 46)


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Chapter 1

Nobody knows what starts the sap along the twigs of a very young, tender, and green woman's nature. In my case it was Samuel Foster Crittenden, though how could he have counted on the amount of Grandmother Nelson that was planted deep in my disposition, ready to spring up and bear fruit as soon as I was brought in direct acquaintance with a seed-basket and a garden hoe? Also why should Sam's return to a primitive state have forced my ancestry up to the point of flowering on the surface? I do hope Sam will not have to suffer consequences, but I can't help it if he does. What's born in us is not our fault.

"Yes, Betty, I know I'm an awful shock to you as a farmer. I ought to have impressed it on you more thoroughly before you--you saw me in the act. I'm sorry, dear," Sam comforted me gently and tenderly as I wept with dismay into the sleeve of his faded blue overalls.

"I can't understand it," I sniffed as I held on to his sustaining hand while I balanced with him on the top of an old, moss-covered stone wall he had begged me to climb to for a view of Harpeth Valley which he thought might turn my attention from him. "Have you mislaid your beautiful ambitions anywhere?"

"I must have planted them along with my corn crop, I reckon," he answered, quietly, as he steadied his shoulder against an old oak-tree that grew close to the fence and then steadied my shoulder against his.

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