Idolatry by Julian Hawthorne


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Page 1

XIII. Through a Glass

XIV. The Tower of Babel

XV. Charon's Ferry

XVI. Legend and Chronicle

XVII. Face to Face

XVIII. The Hoopoe and the Crocodile

XIX. Before Sundown

XX. Between Waking and Sleeping

XXI. We Pick Up Another Thread

XXII. Heart and Head

XXIII. Balder Tells an Untruth

XXIV. Uncle Hiero at Last

XXV. The Happiness of Man

XXVI. Music and Madness

XXVII. Peace and Good-will

XXVIII. Betrothal

XXIX. A Chamber of the Heart

XXX. Dandelions

XXXI. Married

XXXII. Shut In

XXXIII. The Black Cloud



Not the intrinsic merits of this story embolden me to inscribe it to
you, my dear friend, but the fact that you, more than any other man,
are responsible for its writing. Your advice and encouragement first
led me to book-making; so it is only fair that you should partake of
whatever obloquy (or honor) the practice may bring upon me.

The ensuing pages may incline you to suspect their author of a
repugnance to unvarnished truth; but,--without prejudice to
Othello,--since varnish brings out in wood veins of beauty invisible
before the application, why not also in the sober facts of life? When
the transparent artifice has been penetrated, the familiar substance
underneath will be greeted none the less kindly; nay, the observer
will perhaps regard the disguise as an oblique compliment to his
powers of insight, and his attention may thus be better secured than
had the subject worn its every-day dress. Seriously, the most
matter-of-fact life has moods when the light of romance seems to gild
its earthen chimney-pots into fairy minarets; and, were the
story-teller but sure of laying his hands upon the true gold, perhaps
the more his story had of it, the better.

Here, however, comes in the grand difficulty; fact nor fancy is often
reproduced in true colors; and while attempting justly to combine
life's elements, the writer has to beware that they be not mere cheap
imitations thereof. Not seldom does it happen that what he proffers as
genuine arcana of imagination and philosophy affects the reader as a
dose of Hieroglyphics and Balderdash. Nevertheless, the first duty of
the fiction-monger--no less than of the photographic artist doomed to
produce successful portraits of children-in-arms--is, to be amusing;
to shrink at no shifts which shall beguile the patient into
procrastinating escape until the moment be gone by. The gentle reader
will not too sternly set his face against such artifices, but, so they
go not the length of fantastically presenting phenomena inexplicable
upon any common-sense hypothesis, he will rather lend himself to his
own beguilement. The performance once over, let him, if so inclined,
strip the feathers from the flights of imagination, and wash the color
from the incidents; if aught save the driest and most ordinary matters
of fact reward his researches, then let him be offended!

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 22nd Aug 2019, 3:00