Daisy Brooks

Cover of book Daisy Brooks
Categories: Fiction » Love & Romance

an excerpt from the beginning of: CHAPTER I. A warm day in the southern part of West Virginia was fast drawing to a close; the heat during the day had been almost intolerable under the rays of the pie


rcing sun, and the night was coming on in sullen sultriness. No breath of cooling air stirred the leafy branches of the trees; the stillness was broken only by the chirping of the crickets, and the fire-flies twinkled for a moment, and were then lost to sight in the long grasses. On one of the most prosperous plantations in that section of the country there was a great stir of excitement; the master, Basil Hurlhurst, was momentarily expected home with his bride. The negroes in their best attire were scattered in anxious groups here and there, watching eagerly for the first approach of their master-s carriage on the white pebbled road. The curtains of Whitestone Hall were looped back, and a cheerful flood of light shone out on the waving cotton fields that stretched out as far as the eye could reach, like a field of snow. The last touches had been given to the pillars of roses that filled every available nook and corner, making the summer air redolent with their odorous perfumes. Mrs. Corliss, who had maintained the position of housekeeper for a score of years or more, stood at the window twisting the telegram she held in her hand with ill-concealed impatience. The announcement of this home-coming had been as unexpected as the news of his marriage had been quite a year before. -Let there be no guests assembled--my reasons will be made apparent to you later on,- so read the telegram, which puzzled the housekeeper more than she cared to admit to the inquisitive maid, who stood near her, curiously watching her thoughtful face. --Pears to me it will rain afore they get here, Hagar,- she said, nervously, and, as if in confirmation of her words, a few rain-drops splashed against the window-pane. Both stood gazing intently out into the darkness. The storm had now commenced in earnest. The great trees bent 6 to and fro like reeds before the wind; the lightning flashed, and the terrific crash of roaring thunder mingled with the torrent of rain that beat furiously against the casement. It seemed as if the very flood-gates of heaven were flung open wide on this memorable night of the master-s return. -It is a fearful night. Ah! happy is the bride upon whose home-coming the sunlight falls,- muttered Mrs. Corliss under her breath. Hagar had caught the low-spoken words, and in a voice that sounded strange and weird like a warning, she answered: -Yes, and unhappy is the bride upon whose home-coming rain-drops fall.- How little they knew, as they stood there, of the terrible tragedy--the cruelest ever enacted--those grim, silent walls of Whitestone Hall were soon to witness, in fulfillment of the strange prophecy. Hagar, the maid, had scarcely ceased speaking ere the door was flung violently open, and a child of some five summers rushed into the room, her face livid with passion, and her dark, gleaming eyes shining like baneful stars, before which the two women involuntarily quailed. -What is this I hear?- she cried, with wild energy, glancing fiercely from the one to the other. -Is it true what they tell me--my father is bringing home his bride?- -Pluma, my child,- remonstrated Mrs. Corliss, feebly, -I--- -Don-t Pluma me!- retorted the child, clutching the deep crimson passion-roses from a vase at her side, and trampling them ruthlessly beneath her feet. -Answer me at once, I say--has he dared do it?- -P-l-u-m-a!- Mrs. Corliss advances toward her, but the child turns her darkly beautiful, willful face toward her with an imperious gesture.

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