A Kentucky Cardinal

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Rise of the River Man. The Lone Dragon Knight.

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By: Pusey, William Allen. By: Eyre, Elizabeth. Father Crowns: A Novel. By: Mason, Bobbie Ann. Kentucky's Pioneer Lithotomists. But this year I have hardly glanced at the small choice edition of Nature's spring verses.

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This by reason of the on-coming Cobbs, at the mere mention of whom I feel as though I were plunged up to my eyes in a vat of the prosaic. Some days ago workmen went into the house and all but scoured the very memory of Jacob off the face of the earth. Then there has been need to quiet Mrs.

Walters does not get into our best society; so that the town is to her like a pond to a crane: she wades round it, going in as far as she can, and snatches up such small fry as come shoreward from the middle. In this way lately I have gotten hints of what is stirring in the vasty deeps of village opinion. Cobb is charged, among other dreadful things, with having ordered of the town manufacturer a carriage that is to be as fine as President Taylor's, and with marching into church preceded by a servant, who bears her prayer-book on a velvet cushion.

What if she rode in Cinderella's coach, or had her prayer-book carried before her on the back of a Green River turtle? But to her sex she promises to be an invidious Christian. I am rather disturbed by the gossip regarding the elder daughter. But this is so conflicting that one impression is made only to be effaced by another. A week ago their agent wanted to buy my place. I was so outraged that I got down my map of Kentucky to see where these peculiar beings originate.

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They come from a little town I the northwestern corner of the State, on the Ohio River, named Henderson--named from that Richard Henderson who in the year bought about half of Kentucky from the Cherokees, and afterwards, as president of his purchase, addressed the first legislative assembly ever held in the West, seated under a big elm-tree outside the wall of Boonsborough fort. These people must be his heirs, or they would never have tried to purchase my few Sabine acres. It is no surprise to discover that they are from the Green River country.

They must bathe often in that stream.

I suppose they wanted my front yard to sow it in penny-royal, the characteristic growth of those districts. They surely distil it and use it as a perfume on their handkerchiefs. It was perhaps from the founder of this family that Thomas Jefferson got authority for his statement that the Ohio is the most beautiful river in the world--unless, indeed, the President formed that notion of the Ohio upon lifting his eyes to it from the contemplation of Green River.

Green River region!

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To this town and to the blue-grass country as Boeotia to Attica in the days of Pericles. Hereafter I shall call these people my Green River Boeotians. But what was back of all this I inquired.

I did not know these people, had never done them a favor. Why, then, such determination to have me removed? Why such bitterness, vindictiveness, ungovernable passion? That was the point, he replied. Yet they had heard of nothing but my intense dislike of them and opposition to their becoming my neighbors. They could not forego their plans, but they were quite willing to give me the chance of leaving their vicinity, on whatever I might regard the most advantageous terms.

Oh, my mocking-bird, my mocking-bird! As March goes out, two things more and more I hear--the cardinal has begun to mount to the bare tops of the locust-trees and scatter his notes downward, and over the way the workmen whistle and sing. The bird is too shy to sit in any tree on that side of the yard. But his eye and ear are studying them curiously. Sometimes I even fancy that he sings to them with a plaintive sort of joy, as though he were saying, "Welcome--go away! The report spread that they and I had already had a tremendous quarrel, and that, rather than live beside them, I had sold them my place.

This set flowing towards me for days a stream of people, like a line of ants passing to and from the scene of a terrific false alarm.

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I had nothing to do but sit perfectly still and let each ant, as it ran up, touch me with its antennae, get the counter-sign, and turn back to the village ant-hill. Not all, however. Some remained to hear me abuse the Cobbs; or, counting on my support, fell to abusing the Cobbs themselves. When I made not a word of reply, except to assure them that I really had not quarrelled with the Cobbs, had nothing against the Cobbs, and was immensely delighted that the Cobbs were coming, they went away amazingly cool and indignant. And for days I continued to hear such things attributed to me that, had that young West-Pointer been in the neighborhood, and known how to shoot, he must infallibly have blown my head off me, as any Kentucky gentleman would.

Others of my visitors, having heard that I was not to sell my place, were so glad of it that they walked around my garden and inquired for my health and the prospect for fruit.

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For the season has come when the highest animal begins to pay me some attention. During the winter, having little to contribute to the community, I drop from communal notice.

A Kentucky Cardinal by James Lane Allen Hugh Thomson

But there are certain ladies who bow sweetly to me when my roses and honeysuckles burst into bloom; a fat old cavalier of the South begins to shake hands with me when my asparagus bed begins to send up its tender stalks; I am in high favor with two or three young ladies at the season of lilies and sweet-pea; there is one old soul who especially loves rhubarb pies, which she makes to look like little latticed porches in front of little green skies, and it is she who remembers me and my row of pie-plant; and still another, who knows better than cat-birds when currants are ripe.

Above all, there is a preacher, who thinks my sins are as scarlet so long as my strawberries are, and plants himself in my bed at that time to reason with me of judgment to come; and a doctor, who gets despondent about my constitution in pear-time--after which my health seems to return, but never my pears. So that, on the whole, from May till October I am the bright side of the moon, and the telescopes of the town are busy observing my phenomena; after which it is as though I had rolled over on my dark side, there to lie forgotten till once more the sun entered the proper side of the zodiac.

But let me except always the few steadily luminous spirits I know, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. If any one wishes to become famous in a community, let him buy a small farm on the edge of it and cultivate fruits, berries, and flowers, which he freely gives away or lets be freely taken.

A Kentucky cardinal (part I)

All this has taken freely of my swift April days. Besides, I have made me a new side-porch, made it myself, for I like to hammer and drive things home, and because the rose on the old one had rotted it from post to shingle. And then, when I had tacked the rose in place again, the little old window opening above it made that side of my house look like a boy in his Saturday hat and Sunday breeches.

So in went a large new window; and now these changes have mysteriously offended Mrs.

A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal A Kentucky Cardinal
A Kentucky Cardinal

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