Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration by Leona Dalrymple


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Page 1




Contents


I. CHRISTMAS EVE

II. THE INSPIRATION

III. THE GRAY-EYED LADY

IV. CHRISTMAS INTRIGUE

V. FERNLANDS

VI. THE COLONEL'S CHRISTMAS




The Illustrations


He caught sight of the orchids and the tear-stained face of his wife
bending over them . . . . Frontispiece

"Now, sah, yoh be quiet and listen to dis note I gets from young Massa
Dick"

"I'se jus' come in--to ask yoh, Miss, if you'd like to buy an ol'
nigger servant. I'se foh sale"

"Dick," he said queerly, holding out a trembling hand, "we're both
citizens of the United States, and--it's Christmas day"




I

Christmas Cheer




Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration

I


The twilight of a Christmas Eve, gray with the portent of coming snow,
crept slowly over the old plantation of Brierwood, softening the
outlines of a decrepit house still rearing its roof in massive dignity
and a tumbledown barn flanked by barren fields. A quiet melancholy
hovered about the old house as if it brooded over a host of bygone
Yuletides alive with the shouts of merry negroes and the jingle of
visiting sleighs--Yuletides when the snowy dusk had been ushered in to
the lowing of cattle and the neighing of horses safely housed in the
old barn. There were no negroes now, no blooded stock--no fluttering
fowls save one belligerent old turkey gobbler fleeing from a
white-haired darky who tried in vain to drive him to his roost in the
barn.

In the library of the old house a man, tall and eagle-eyed, peered out
beneath bushy white eyebrows at the fading landscape blurred by the
dancing forms of the negro and the recalcitrant turkey. He watched the
chase end with an impertinent gobble from the turkey, and, at the sound
of a closing door in the rear of the house, tapped a bell at his side.
Footsteps shuffled along the hallway, and, breathless from his chase,
the old negro entered.

Colonel Fairfax wheeled with military precision. "Uncle Noah," he said
sternly, "to-morrow will be Christmas."

The darky nodded and hobbled hurriedly to the wood fire, bending over
as he poked it to hide the look of anxiety in his face. "Laws-a-massy,
Massa Fairfax," he grumbled in good-natured evasion, "yoh'd mos' freeze
to deaf, I reckons, 'thout sendin' foh me"--he coughed, and amended
hastily: "'thout sendin' foh one ob de servants to pile up dis yere
fire."

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sun 15th Sep 2019, 16:59