Twenty-nine: A MASTER OF FATE 271
Thirty: THE RETURN OF ZORA 283
Thirty-one: A PARTING OF WAYS 293
Thirty-two: ZORA’S WAY 309
Thirty-three: THE BUYING OF THE SWAMP 316
Thirty-four: THE RETURN OF ALWYN 328
Thirty-five: THE COTTON MILL 339
Thirty-six: THE LAND 350
Thirty-seven: THE MOB 364
Thirty-eight: ATONEMENT 371
THE QUEST OF THE SILVER FLEECE
whose name may not be written but to whose tireless
faith the shaping of these cruder thoughts to forms
more fitly perfect is doubtless due, this
finished work is herewith dedicated
He who would tell a tale must look toward three ideals: to tell it well, to tell it beautifully, and to tell the truth.
The first is the Gift of God, the second is the Vision of Genius, but the third is the Reward of Honesty.
In The Quest of the Silver Fleece there is little, I ween, divine or ingenious; but, at least, I have been honest. In no fact or picture have I consciously set down aught the counterpart of which I have not seen or known; and whatever the finished picture may lack of completeness, this lack is due now to the story-teller, now to the artist, but never to the herald of the Truth.
NEW YORK CITY
August 15, 1911
Night fell. The red waters of the swamp grew sinister and sullen. The tall pines lost their slimness and stood in wide blurred blotches all across the way, and a great shadowy bird arose, wheeled and melted, murmuring, into the black-green sky.
The boy wearily dropped his heavy bundle and stood still, listening as the voice of crickets split the shadows and made the silence audible. A tear wandered down his brown cheek. They were at supper now, he whispered—the father and old mother, away back yonder beyond the night. They were far away; they would never be as near as once they had been, for he had stepped into the world. And the cat and Old Billy—ah, but the world was a lonely thing, so wide and tall and empty! And so bare, so bitter bare! Somehow he had never dreamed of the world as lonely before; he had fared forth to beckoning hands and luring, and to the eager hum of human voices, as of some great, swelling music.
Yet now he was alone; the empty night was closing all about him here in a strange land, and he was afraid. The bundle with his earthly treasure had hung heavy and heavier on his shoulder; his little horde of money was tightly wadded in his sock, and the school lay hidden somewhere far away in the shadows. He wondered how far it was; he looked and harkened, starting at his own heartbeats, and fearing more and more the long dark fingers of the night.