The Girl at the Halfway House eBook

Emerson Hough
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 250 pages of information about The Girl at the Halfway House.
asked himself, in his curious self-questioning manner, what was there to be?  What was to be the time of his life when he could fold his hands and say that, no matter whether it was success or failure that he had gained, he had done that which was in his destiny to do?  Wherein was he to gain that calmness and that satisfaction which ought to attend each human soul, and entitle it to the words “Well done”?  Odd enough were some of these self-searchings which went on betimes in the little office of this plainsman lawyer; and strangest of all to Franklin’s mind was the feeling that, as his heart had not yet gained that which was its right, neither had his hand yet fallen upon that which it was to do.

Franklin rebelled from the technical side of the law, not so much by reason of its dry difficulty as through scorn of its admitted weakness, its inability to do more than compromise; through contempt of its pretended beneficences and its frequent inefficiency and harmfulness.  In the law he saw plainly the lash of the taskmaster, driving all those yoked together in the horrid compact of society, a master inexorable, stone-faced, cruel.  In it he found no comprehension, seeing that it regarded humanity either as a herd of slaves or a pack of wolves, and not as brethren labouring, suffering, performing a common destiny, yielding to a common fate.  He saw in the law no actual recognition of the individual, but only the acknowledgment of the social body.  Thus, set down in a day miraculously clear, placed among strong characters who had never yet yielded up their souls, witnessing that time which knew the last blaze of the spirit of men absolutely free.  Franklin felt his own soul leap into a prayer for the continuance of that day.  Seeing then that this might not be, he fell sometimes to the dreaming of how he might some day, if blessed by the pitying and understanding spirit of things, bring out these types, perpetuate these times, and so at last set them lovingly before a world which might at least wonder, though it did not understand.  Such were his vague dreams, unformulated; but, happily, meantime he was not content merely to dream.

CHAPTER XX

THE HALFWAY HOUSE

“Miss Ma’y Ellen,” cried Aunt Lucy, thrusting her head in at the door, “oh, Miss Ma’y Ellen, I wish’t you’d come out yer right quick.  They’s two o’ them prai’ dogs out yer a-chasin’ ouah hens agin—­nasty, dirty things!”

“Very well, Lucy,” called out a voice in answer.  Mary Ellen arose from her seat near the window, whence she had been gazing out over the wide, flat prairie lands and at the blue, unwinking sky.  Her step was free and strong, but had no hurry of anxiety.  It was no new thing for these “prairie dogs,” as Aunt Lucy persisted in calling the coyotes, to chase the chickens boldly up to the very door.  These marauding wolves had at first terrified her, but in her life on the prairies

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The Girl at the Halfway House from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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