A Woman Named Smith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 305 pages of information about A Woman Named Smith.

Well, I don’t look like the Scarletts; so there wasn’t.  The best I could do was to drop a kiss on Alicia’s forehead, where the bright young hair begins to break into curls.

And that is how, neither of us having the faintest notion of what was in store for us, Alicia Gaines and I turned our backs upon New York and set our faces toward Hynds House.



We had wired Judge Gatchell when to expect us, but the venerable negro hackman who was on the lookout for us explained that the judge had a “misery in the laigs” which confined him to his room, and that he advised us to go to the hotel for a while.

We couldn’t, for wasn’t our own house waiting for us?  A minute later we had bundled into the ancient hack and were bumping and splashing through unpaved streets, getting wet, gray glimpses of old houses in old gardens, and every now and then a pink crape-myrtle blushing in the pouring rain.  Hyndsville was, it seemed, one of those sprawling, easy-going old Carolina towns that liked plenty of elbow-room and wasn’t particular about architectural order.  Hynds House itself was on the extreme edge of things.

The hack presently stopped before a high iron gate in a waist-high brick wall with a spiked iron railing on top of it, the whole overrun with weeds and creepers.  Of Hynds House itself one couldn’t see anything but a stack of chimneys above a forest of trees.

The gate creaked and groaned on its rusty hinges; then we were walking up a weedy, rain-soaked path where untrimmed branches slapped viciously at our faces, and tough brambles, like snares and gins, tried to catch our feet.  On each side was a jungle.  Of a sudden the path turned, widened into a fairly cleared space; and Hynds House was before us.

We had expected a fair-sized dwelling-house in its garden.  And there confronted us, glooming under the gray and threatening sky that seemed the only proper and fitting canopy for it, what looked like a pile reared in medieval Europe rather than a home in America.  Its stained brick walls, partly covered with ivy and lichens; its smokeless chimneys; its barred doors; its many shuttered windows, like blind eyes—­all appeared deliberately to thrust aside human habitancy.

         A residence for woman, child, and man,
          A dwelling-place,—­and yet no habitation;
          A House,—­but under some prodigious ban
          Of Excommunication.

Yet there was nothing ruinous about it, for the Hyndses had sought to build it as the old Egyptians sought to build their temples—­to last forever, to defy time and decay.  It was not only meant to be a place for Hyndses to be born and live and die in:  it was a monument to Family Pride, a brick-and-granite symbol of place and power.

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A Woman Named Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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