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A Cathedral Singer by James Lane Allen

A Cathedral Singer

[Illustration]

A Cathedral Singer

BY JAMES LANE ALLEN

Author of "The Sword of Youth," "The Bride of the Mistletoe," "The Kentucky Cardinal," "The Choir Invisible," etc.

WITH FRONTISPIECE BY SIGISMOND DE IVANOWSKI

NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1916 Copyright, 1914, 1916, by THE CENTURY CO.

_Published, March, 1916_

TO PITY AND TO FAITH

A Cathedral Singer

I

Slowly on Morningside Heights rises the Cathedral of St. John the Divine: standing on a high rock under the Northern sky above the long wash of the untroubled sea, above the wash of the troubled waves of men.

It has fit neighbors. Across the street to the north looms the many-towered gray-walled Hospital of St. Luke--cathedral of our ruins, of our sufferings and our dust, near the cathedral of our souls.

Across the block to the south is situated a shed-like two-story building with dormer-windows and a crumpled three-sided roof, the studios of the National Academy of Design; and under that low brittle skylight youth toils over the shapes and colors of the visible vanishing paradise of the earth in the shadow of the cathedral which promises an unseen, an eternal one.

At the rear of the cathedral, across the roadway, stands a low stone wall. Just over the wall the earth sinks like a precipice to a green valley bottom far below. Out here is a rugged slope of rock and verdure and forest growth which brings into the city an ancient presence, nature--nature, the Elysian Fields of the art school, the potter's field of the hospital, the harvest field of the church.

This strip of nature fronts the dawn and is called Morningside Park. Past the foot of it a thoroughfare stretches northward and southward, level and wide and smooth. Over this thoroughfare the two opposite-moving streams of the city's traffic and travel rush headlong. Beyond the thoroughfare an embankment of houses shoves its mass before the eyes, and beyond the embankment the city spreads out over flats where human beings are as thick as river reeds.

Thus within small compass humanity is here: the cathedral, the hospital, the art school, and a strip of nature, and a broad highway along which, with their hearth-fires flickering fitfully under their tents of stone, are encamped life's restless, light-hearted, heavy-hearted Gipsies.

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