Barbara's Heritage eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about Barbara's Heritage.

PRELUDE.

    Each day the world is born anew
      For him who takes it rightly;
    Not fresher that which Adam knew,
    Not sweeter that whose moonlit dew
      Entranced Arcadia nightly.

    Rightly?  That’s simply:  ’tis to see
      Some substance casts these shadows
    Which we call Life and History,
    That aimless seem to chase and flee
      Like wind-gleams over meadows.

    Simply?  That’s nobly:  ’tis to know
      That God may still be met with,
    Nor groweth old, nor doth bestow
    These senses fine, this brain aglow,
      To grovel and forget with.

    —­James Russell Lowell.

Chapter I.

The Unexpected Happens.

    And foorth they passe with pleasure forward led.

    —­Spenser.

[Illustration:  Barbara’s home.]

“O Barbara! do you think papa and mamma will let us go? Can they afford it?  Just to think of Italy, and sunshine, and olive trees, and cathedrals, and pictures!  Oh, it makes me wild!  Will you not ask them, dear Barbara?  You are braver than I, and can talk better about it all.  How can we bear to have them say ’no’—­to give up all the lovely thought of it, now that once we have dared to dream of its coming to us—­to you and me, Barbara?” and color flushed the usually pale cheek of the young girl, and her dark eyes glowed with feeling as she hugged tightly the arm of her sister.

Barbara and Bettina Burnett were walking through a pleasant street in one of the suburban towns of Boston after an afternoon spent with friends who were soon to sail for Italy.

It was a charming early September evening, and the sunset glow burned through the avenue of elm trees, beneath which the girls were passing, flooding the way with rare beauty.  But not one thought did they now give to that which, ordinarily, would have delighted them; for Mrs. Douglas had astonished them that afternoon by a pressing invitation to accompany herself, her son, and daughter on this journey.  For hours they had talked over the beautiful scheme, and were to present Mrs. Douglas’s request to their parents that very night.

Mrs. Douglas, a wealthy woman, had been a widow almost ever since the birth of her daughter, who was now a girl of fifteen.  Malcom, her son, was three or four years older.  An artist brother was living in Italy, and a few years previous to the beginning of our story, Mrs. Douglas and her children had spent some months there.  Now the brother was desirous that they should again go to him, especially since his sister was not strong, and it would be well for her to escape the inclemency of a New England winter.

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Barbara's Heritage from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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