Beulah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 629 pages of information about Beulah.

AUGUSTA J. EVANS

Author of “Inez,” “St. Elmo,” “Infelice,” “At the Mercy of
Tiberius,” “Vashti,” etc.

“With that gloriole
Of ebon hair, on calmed brows.”

To my aunt
Mrs. Seaborn Jones
of Georgia
I dedicate this book
as A feeble tribute of affection
and gratitude

BEULAH

CHAPTER I.

A January sun had passed the zenith, and the slanting rays flamed over the window panes of a large brick building, bearing on its front in golden letters the inscription “Orphan Asylum.”  The structure was commodious, and surrounded by wide galleries, while the situation offered a silent tribute to the discretion and good sense of the board of managers who selected the suburbs instead of the more densely populated portion of the city.  The whitewashed palings inclosed, as a front yard or lawn, rather more than an acre of ground, sown in grass and studded with trees, among which the shelled walks meandered gracefully.  A long avenue of elms and poplars extended from the gate to the principal entrance, and imparted to the Asylum an imposing and venerable aspect.  There was very little shrubbery, but here and there orange boughs bent beneath their load of golden fruitage, while the glossy foliage, stirred by the wind, trembled and glistened in the sunshine.  Beyond the inclosure stretched the common, dotted with occasional clumps of pine and leafless oaks, through which glimpses of the city might be had.  Building and grounds wore a quiet, peaceful, inviting look, singularly appropriate for the purpose designated by the inscription “Orphan Asylum,” a haven for the desolate and miserable.  The front door was closed, but upon the broad granite steps, where the sunlight lay warm and tempting, sat a trio of the inmates.  In the foreground was a slight fairy form, “a wee winsome thing,” with coral lips, and large, soft blue eyes, set in a frame of short, clustering golden curls.  She looked about six years old, and was clad, like her companions, in canary-colored flannel dress and blue-check apron.  Lillian was the pet of the asylum, and now her rosy cheek rested upon her tiny white palm, as though she wearied of the picture-book which lay at her feet.  The figure beside her was one whose marvelous beauty riveted the gaze of all who chanced to see her.  The child could have been but a few months older than Lillian, yet the brilliant black eyes, the peculiar curve of the dimpled mouth, and long, dark ringlets, gave to the oval face a maturer and more piquant loveliness.  The cast of Claudia’s countenance bespoke her foreign parentage, and told of the warm, fierce Italian blood that glowed in her cheeks.  There was fascinating

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Beulah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.