A Daughter Of Israelby Fred M White
All through the beauteous summer, with its sunshine and ruddy glow of warmth, there had been misery and despairing want among the countless toilers, the thousands of human bees in the smoky hive called Westport; but in the country there was peace and restfulness, a smell of innumerable flowers in the fields fragrant with blossoming, for the hay harvest had been… See more details below
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All through the beauteous summer, with its sunshine and ruddy glow of warmth, there had been misery and despairing want among the countless toilers, the thousands of human bees in the smoky hive called Westport; but in the country there was peace and restfulness, a smell of innumerable flowers in the fields fragrant with blossoming, for the hay harvest had been gathered and the grain was shot with gold in the sloping cornlands above the ruby sea. In Westport the same silence lay; but it was the cascade of starvation, for the men were 'out,' and all the clang of countless hammers and whirr of machinery was still. At the street corners there stood sullen, moody crowds staring hunger in the face, and murmuring below their breath as the soldiery, with long step and jingling spurs, went by. The steam cranes no longer slid their heavy burdens into the deep holds of ships, for the docks were quiet as the streets, while in the tidal canal, with waters now pure as crystal, vessels lay waiting for the sea, with their tapering masts faint as gray needles in the ambient air. Now there was no hurry and bustle there, but only three children waving their feet in the lapping waters.
There were other children in the distance playing, yet with no zest in their recreations; but these three seemed to be apart from the others, for they were better clad and had no hollowness of eye or pinched natures as the others. There were two boys and a girl, the eldest boy perhaps sixteen, the others apparently his juniors by the brief span of two years. They did not look like English lads, for their faces were bolder cut and their eyes darker—the aquiline group of countenance which denotes the chosen people. The senior of the little group would have been handsome had it not been for a certain greedy, crafty look on his thin colourless lips, and the deformity between the shoulders. Abishai Abraham, conscious of his ugliness, conscious also of his crooked mind, cared but little for that, and took a pride in his own misfortune from his earliest years—for child he had never been—his hand had been against all men's, and as against his. For the body has a tendency to warp the mind.
The other two—Hazael and Miriam—had the flashing eyes and inherent boldness of their ancestors; but no such curse spoilt the suppleness of their perfect limbs. In their mild gipsy beauty they would have made a study for an artist as they sat there bathing their feet; Hazael, with head thrown back, and long black hair sweeping from his forehead. But the girl sat upright, swinging her white feet backwards and forwards, with no shield from the fierce sun but her luxuriant ebon locks but looking straight before her with fearless, flashing eyes—a child in years, perhaps, but with a face and figure almost womanly, and from her low forehead to her scarlet mouth giving promise of a coming loveliness, such as Anthony fell down and worshipped, and for love of whom a kingdom fell.
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