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Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration by Dalrymple

UNCLE NOAH'S CHRISTMAS INSPIRATION

by

LEONA DALRYMPLE

Author of "Diane of the Green Van," "In the Heart of the Christmas Pines," "Uncle Noah's Christmas Party," etc.

Illustrations by Charles L. Wrenn

Decorations by Charles Guischard

New York McBride, Nast & Company Third Printing

1914

[Frontispiece: He caught sight of the orchids and the tear-stained face of his wife bending over them]

To C. A. W.

in grateful recognition of an unfailing source of encouragement and impartial criticism

Contents

I. CHRISTMAS EVE

II. THE INSPIRATION

III. THE GRAY-EYED LADY

IV. CHRISTMAS INTRIGUE

V. FERNLANDS

VI. THE COLONEL'S CHRISTMAS

The Illustrations

He caught sight of the orchids and the tear-stained face of his wife bending over them . . . . Frontispiece

"Now, sah, yoh be quiet and listen to dis note I gets from young Massa Dick"

"I'se jus' come in--to ask yoh, Miss, if you'd like to buy an ol' nigger servant. I'se foh sale"

"Dick," he said queerly, holding out a trembling hand, "we're both citizens of the United States, and--it's Christmas day"

I

Christmas Cheer

Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration

I

The twilight of a Christmas Eve, gray with the portent of coming snow, crept slowly over the old plantation of Brierwood, softening the outlines of a decrepit house still rearing its roof in massive dignity and a tumbledown barn flanked by barren fields. A quiet melancholy hovered about the old house as if it brooded over a host of bygone Yuletides alive with the shouts of merry negroes and the jingle of visiting sleighs--Yuletides when the snowy dusk had been ushered in to the lowing of cattle and the neighing of horses safely housed in the old barn. There were no negroes now, no blooded stock--no fluttering fowls save one belligerent old turkey gobbler fleeing from a white-haired darky who tried in vain to drive him to his roost in the barn.

In the library of the old house a man, tall and eagle-eyed, peered out beneath bushy white eyebrows at the fading landscape blurred by the dancing forms of the negro and the recalcitrant turkey. He watched the chase end with an impertinent gobble from the turkey, and, at the sound of a closing door in the rear of the house, tapped a bell at his side. Footsteps shuffled along the hallway, and, breathless from his chase, the old negro entered.


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