The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 5, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 5

The street upon which the Palace Hotel fronted formed the south side of
the Square and ran west to the edge of the town, where it turned to the
south for a quarter of a mile or more, then bent to the west again. Some
distance from this second turn, there stood, fronting close on the road, a
large brick house, the most pretentious mansion in Carlow County. And yet
it was a homelike place, with its red-brick walls embowered in masses of
cool Virginia creeper, and a comfortable veranda crossing the broad front,
while half a hundred stalwart sentinels of elm and beech and poplar stood
guard around it. The front walk was bordered by geraniums and hollyhocks;
and honeysuckle climbed the pillars of the porch. Behind the house there
was a shady little orchard; and, back of the orchard, an old-fashioned,
very fragrant rose-garden, divided by a long grape arbor, extended to the
shallow waters of a wandering creek; and on the bank a rustic seat was
placed, beneath the sycamores.

From the first bend of the road, where it left the town and became (after
some indecision) a country highway--called the pike--rather than a proud
city boulevard, a pathway led through the fields to end at some pasture
bars opposite the brick house.

John Harkless was leaning on the pasture bars. The stars were wan, and the
full moon shone over the fields. Meadows and woodlands lay quiet under the
old, sweet marvel of a June night. In the wide monotony of the flat lands,
there sometimes comes a feeling that the whole earth is stretched out
before one. To-night it seemed to lie so, in the pathos of silent beauty,
all passive and still; yet breathing an antique message, sad, mysterious,
reassuring. But there had come a divine melody adrift on the air. Through
the open windows it floated. Indoors some one struck a peal of silver
chords, like a harp touched by a lover, and a woman's voice was lifted.
John Harkless leaned on the pasture bars and listened with upraised head
and parted lips.

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