St. Elmo (Chapter 2, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 2

Nearly a mile from the small, straggling village of Chattanooga stood Aaron Hunt's shop, shaded by a grove of oak and chestnut trees, which grew upon the knoll, where two roads intersected. Like the majority of blacksmith's shops at country cross-roads, it was a low, narrow shed, filled with dust and rubbish, with old wheels and new single-trees, broken plows and dilapidated wagons awaiting repairs, and at the rear of the shop stood a smaller shed, where an old gray horse quietly ate his corn and fodder, waiting to carry the master to his home, two miles distant, as soon as the sun had set beyond the neighboring mountain. Early in winter, having an unusual amount of work on hand, Mr. Hunt hurried away from home one morning, neglecting to take the bucket which contained his dinner, and Edna was sent to repair the oversight. Accustomed to ramble about the woods without companionship, she walked leisurely along the rocky road, swinging the tin bucket in one hand, and pausing now and then to watch the shy red-birds that flitted like flame-jets in and out of the trees as she passed. The unbroken repose of earth and sky, the cold, still atmosphere and peaceful sunshine, touched her heart with a sense of quiet but pure happiness, and half unconsciously she began a hymn which her grandfather often sang over his anvil: "Lord, in the morning Thou shalt hear My voice ascending high; To Thee will I direct my prayer, To Thee lift up mine eye."

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