Click here to Download A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book by Gene Stratton-Porter Language English having PDF Size 2.9 MB and No of Pages 202.
WHEREIN ELNORA GOES TO HIGH SCHOOL AND LEARNS MANY LESSONS NOT FOUND IN HER BOOKS “Elnora Comstock, have you lost your senses?” demanded the angry voice of Katharine Comstock while she glared at her daughter. “Why mother!” faltered the girl. “Don’t you ‘why mother’ me!” cried Mrs. Comstock.
A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book by Gene Stratton-Porter
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|No of Pages||202|
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“You know very well what I mean. You’ve given me no peace until you’ve had your way about this going to school business; I’ve fixed you good enough, and you’re ready to start. But no child of mine walks the streets of Onabasha looking like a play-actress woman.
You wet your hair and comb it down modest and decent and then be off, or you’ll have no time to find where you belong.” Elnora gave one despairing glance at the white face, framed in a most becoming riot of reddish-brown hair, which she saw in the little kitchen mirror.
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Then she untied the narrow black ribbon, wet the comb and plastered the waving curls close to her head, bound them fast, pinned on the skimpy black hat and opened the back door. “You’ve gone so plumb daffy you are forgetting your dinner,” jeered her mother. “I don’t want anything to eat,” replied Elnora.
“You’ll take your dinner or you’ll not go one step. Are you crazy? Walk almost three miles and no food from six in the morning until six at night. A pretty figure you’d cut if you had your way! And after I’ve gone and bought you this nice new pail and filled it especial to start on!” Elnora came back with a face still whiter and picked up the lunch.
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“Thank you, mother! Good-bye!” she said. Mrs. Comstock did not reply. She watched the girl follow the long walk to the gate and go from sight on the road, in the bright sunshine of the first Monday of September. “I bet a dollar she gets enough of it by night!” commented Mrs. Comstock. Elnora walked by instinct, for her eyes were blinded with tears.
She left the road where it turned south, at the corner of the Limberlost, climbed a snake fence and entered a path worn by her own feet. Dodging under willow and scrub oak branches she came at last to the faint outline of an old trail made in the days when the precious timber of the swamp was guarded by armed men.
This path she followed until she reached a thick clump of bushes. From the debris in the end of a hollow log she took a key that unlocked the padlock of a large weatherbeaten old box, inside of which lay several books, a butterfly apparatus, and a small cracked mirror. The walls were lined thickly with gaudy butterflies, dragonflies, and moths. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book
She set up the mirror and once more pulling the ribbon from her hair, she shook the bright mass over her shoulders, tossing it dry in the sunshine. Then she straightened it, bound it loosely, and replaced her hat. She tugged vainly at the low brown calico collar and gazed despairingly at the generous length of the narrow skirt.
She lifted it as she would have cut it if possible. That disclosed the heavy high leather shoes, at sight of which she seemed positively ill, and hastily dropped the skirt. She opened the pail, removed the lunch, wrapped it in the napkin, and placed it in a small pasteboard box. Locking the case again she hid the key and hurried down the trail.
Did not Elnora know the story of old. There was enough land, but no one to do clearing and farm. Tax on all those acres, recently the new gravel road tax added, the expense of living and only the work of two women to meet all of it. She was insane to think she could come to the city to school. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book
Her mother had been right. The girl decided that if only she lived to reach home, she would stay there and lead any sort of life to avoid more of this torture. Bad as what she wished to escape had been, it was nothing like this. She never could live down the movement that went through the class when she inadvertently revealed.
The fact that she had expected books to be furnished. Her mother would not secure them; that settled the question. But the end of misery is never in a hurry to come; before the day was over the superintendent entered the room and explained that pupils from the country were charged a tuition of twenty dollars a year.
That really was the end. Previously Elnora had canvassed a dozen methods for securing the money for books, ranging all the way from offering to wash the superintendent’s dishes to breaking into the bank. This additional expense made her plans so wildly impossible, there was nothing to do but hold up her head until she was from sight. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book
Down the long corridor alone among hundreds, down the long street alone among thousands, out into the country she came at last. Across the fence and field, along the old trail once trodden by a boy’s bitter agony, now stumbled a white-faced girl, sick at heart. She sat on a log and began to sob in spite of her efforts at self-control.
At first it was physical breakdown, later, thought came crowding. Oh the shame, the mortification! Why had she not known of the tuition? How did she happen to think that in the city books were furnished? Perhaps it was because she had read they were in several states. But why did she not know?
Why did not her mother go with her? Other mothers—but when had her mother ever been or done anything at all like other mothers? Because she never had been it was useless to blame her now. Elnora realized she should have gone to town the week before, called on some one and learned all these things herself. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Download
She should have remembered how her clothing would look, before she wore it in public places. Now she knew, and her dreams were over. She must go home to feed chickens, calves, and pigs, wear calico and coarse shoes, and with averted head, pass a library all her life. She sobbed again.
Wesley had not slept well that night. He had been so busy framing diplomatic speeches to make to Mrs. Comstock that sleep had little chance with him. Every step nearer to her he approached his position seemed less enviable. By the time he reached the front gate and started down the walk between the rows of asters and lady slippers he was perspiring.
And every plausible and convincing speech had fled his brain. Mrs. Comstock helped him. She met him at the door. “Good morning,” she said. “Did Margaret send you for something?” “Yes,” said Wesley. “She’s got a job that’s too big for her, and she wants you to help.” “Of course I will,” said Mrs. Comstock. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Download
It was no one’s affair how lonely the previous day had been, or how the endless hours of the present would drag. “What is she doing in such a rush?” Now was his chance. “She’s making a dress for Elnora,” answered, Wesley. He saw Mrs. Comstock’s form straighten, and her face harden, so he continued hastily.
“You see Elnora has been helping us at harvest time, butchering, and with unexpected visitors for years. We’ve made out that she’s saved us a considerable sum, and as she wouldn’t ever touch any pay for anything, we just went to town and got a few clothes we thought would fix her up a little for the high school.
We want to get a dress done to-day mighty bad, but Margaret is slow about sewing, and she never can finish alone, so I came after you.” “And it’s such a simple little matter, so dead easy; and all so between old friends like, that you can’t look above your boots while you explain it,” sneered Mrs. Comstock. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Download
“Wesley Sinton, what put the idea into your head that Elnora would take things bought with money, when she wouldn’t take the money?” Then Sinton’s eyes came up straightly. “Finding her on the trail last night sobbing as hard as I ever saw any one at a funeral.
She wasn’t complaining at all, but she’s come to me all her life with her little hurts, and she couldn’t hide how she’d been laughed at, twitted, and run face to face against the fact that there were books and tuition, unexpected, and nothing will ever make me believe you didn’t know that, Kate Comstock.”
“If any doubts are troubling you on that subject, sure I knew it! She was so anxious to try the world, I thought I’d just let her take a few knocks and see how she liked them.” “As if she’d ever taken anything but knocks all her life!” cried Wesley Sinton. “Kate Comstock, you are a heartless, selfish woman. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Free
You’ve never shown Elnora any real love in her life. If ever she finds out that thing you’ll lose her, and it will serve you right.” “She knows it now,” said Mrs. Comstock icily, “and she’ll be home to-night just as usual.” “Well, you are a brave woman if you dared put a girl of Elnora’s make through what she suffered yesterday.
And will suffer again to-day, and let her know you did it on purpose. I admire your nerve. But I’ve watched this since Elnora was born, and I got enough. Things have come to a pass where they go better for her, or I interfere.” Immediately after dinner on Sunday Wesley Sinton stopped at the Comstock gate to ask if Elnora wanted to go to town with them.
Billy sat beside him and he did not appear as if he were on his way to a funeral. Elnora said she had to study and could not go, but she suggested that her mother take her place. Mrs. Comstock put on her hat and went at once, which surprised Elnora. She did not know that her mother was anxious for an opportunity to speak with Sinton alone. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Free
Elnora knew why she was repeatedly cautioned not to leave their land, if she went specimen hunting. She studied two hours and was several lessons ahead of her classes. There was no use to go further. She would take a walk and see if she could gather any caterpillars or find any freshly spun cocoons.
She searched the bushes and low trees behind the garden and all around the edge of the woods on their land, and having little success, at last came to the road. Almost the first thorn bush she examined yielded a Polyphemus cocoon. Elnora lifted her head with the instinct of a hunter on the chase, and began work.
She reached the swamp before she knew it, carrying five fine cocoons of different species as her reward. She pushed back her hair and gazed around longingly. A few rods inside she thought she saw cocoons on a bush, to which she went, and found several. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Free
Sense of caution was rapidly vanishing; she was in a fair way to forget everything and plunge into the swamp when she thought she heard footsteps coming down the trail. She went back, and came out almost facing Pete Corson. That ended her difficulty.
She had known him since childhood. When she sat on the front bench of the Brushwood schoolhouse, Pete had been one of the big boys at the back of the room. He had been rough and wild, but she never had been afraid of him, and often he had given her pretty things from the swamp.
“What luck!” she cried. “I promised mother I would not go inside the swamp alone, and will you look at the cocoons I’ve found! There are more just screaming for me to come get them, because the leaves will fall with the first frost, and then the jays and crows will begin to tear them open. A Girl of the Limberlost PDF Book Free
I haven’t much time, since I’m going to school. You will go with me, Pete! Please say yes! Just a little way!” “What are those things?” asked the man, his keen black eyes staring at her. “They are the cases these big caterpillars spin for winter, and in the spring they come out great night moths, and I can sell them.
Oh, Pete, I can sell them for enough to take me through high school and dress me so like the others that I don’t look different, and if I have very good luck I can save some for college. Pete, please go with me?” “Why don’t you go like you always have?” From these. You aren’t working on Sunday. Go with me only an hour, Pete!”