Alisa Paige - A Book Sample (Chapter 2, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 2

All the morning she had been busy in the Craig's backyard garden,
clipping, training, loosening the earth around lilac, honeysuckle,
and Rose of Sharon. The little German florist on the corner had
sent in two loads of richly fertilised soil and a barrel of forest
mould. These she sweetened with lime, mixed in her small pan, and
applied judiciously to the peach-tree by the grape-arbour, to the
thickets of pearl-gray iris, to the beloved roses, prairie climber,
Baltimore bell, and General Jacqueminot. A neighbour's cat,
war-scarred and bold, traversing the fences in search of single
combat, halted to watch her; an early bee, with no blossoms yet to
rummage, passed and repassed, buzzing distractedly.

The Craig's next-door neighbour, Camilla Lent, came out on her back
veranda and looked down with a sleepy nod of recognition and
good-morning, stretching her pretty arms luxuriously in the
sunshine.

"You look very sweet down there, Ailsa, in your pink gingham apron
and garden gloves."

"And you look very sweet up there, Camilla, in your muslin frock
and satin skin! And every time you yawn you resemble a plump,
white magnolia bud opening just enough to show the pink inside!"

"It's mean to call me plump!" returned Camilla reproachfully.
"Anyway, anybody would yawn with the Captain keeping the entire
household awake all night. I vow, I haven't slept one wink since
that wretched news from Charleston. He thinks he's a battery of
horse artillery now; that's the very latest development; and I shed
tears and the chandeliers shed prisms every time he manoeuvres."

"The dear old thing," said Mrs. Paige, smiling as she moved among
the shrubs. For a full minute her sensitive lips remained tenderly
curved as she stood considering the agricultural problems before
her. Then she settled down again, naively--like a child on its
haunches--and continued to mix nourishment for the roses.

Camilla, lounging sideways on her own veranda window sill, rested
her head against the frame, alternately blinking down at the pretty
widow through sleepy eyes, and patting her lips to control the
persistent yawns that tormented her.

"I had a horrid dream, too," she said, "about the 'Seven Sisters.'
I was Pluto to your Diavoline, and Philip Berkley was a phantom
that grinned at everybody and rattled the bones; and I waked in a
dreadful fright to hear uncle's spurred boots overhead, and that
horrid noisy old sabre of his banging the best furniture.

"Then this morning just before sunrise he came into my bedroom,
hair and moustache on end, and in full uniform, and attempted to
read the Declaration of Independence to me--or maybe it was the
Constitution--I don't remember--but I began to cry, and that always
sends him off."

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