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The Vale of Cedars eBook

Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.

    “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise
    her in the gates.”—­Prov. ch. xxxi, v. 31.

And thus, 16th September, 1847, at the early age of thirty-one, Grace Aguilar was laid to rest—­the bowl was broken, the silver cord was loosed.  Her life was short and checkered with pain and anxiety, but she strove hard to make it useful and valuable, by employing diligently and faithfully the talents with which she had been endowed.  Nor did the serious view with which she ever regarded earthly existence, induce her to neglect or despise any occasion of enjoyment, advantage, or sociality which presented itself.  Her heart was ever open to receive, her hand to give.

Inasmuch as she succeeded to the satisfaction of her fellow beings, let them be grateful; inasmuch as she failed, let those who perceive it deny her not the meed of praise, for her endeavor to open the path she believed would lead mankind to practical virtue and happiness, and strive to carry out the pure philanthropic principles by which she was actuated, and which she so earnestly endeavored to diffuse.

October, 1849.

THE VALE OF CEDARS;

Or,

The martyr.

CHAPTER I.

  “They had met, and they had parted;
  Time had closed o’er each again,
  Leaving lone the weary hearted
  Mournfully to wear his chain.”—­Ms.

A deliciously cool, still evening, had succeeded the intense heat of a Spanish summer day, throwing rich shadows and rosy gleams on a wild, rude mountain pass in central Spain.  Massive crags and gigantic trees seemed to contest dominion over the path, if path it could be called; where the traveller, if he would persist in going onwards, could only make his way by sometimes scrambling over rocks, whose close approach from opposite sides presented a mere fissure covered with flowers and brushwood, through which the slimmest figure would fail to penetrate; sometimes wading through rushing and brawling streams, whose rapid currents bore many a jagged branch and craggy fragment along with them; sometimes threading the intricacies of a dense forest, recognizing the huge pine, the sweet acorn oak, the cork tree, interspersed with others of lesser growth, but of equally wild perplexing luxuriance.  On either side—­at times so close that two could not walk abreast, at others so divided that forests and streams intervened—­arose mountain walls seeming to reach the very heavens, their base covered with trees and foliage, which gradually thinning, left their dark heads totally barren, coming out in clear relief against the deep blue sky.

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