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Under the above title Messrs. James R. Osgood & Co. have begun
the publication of a new series of anonymous novels. These novels will
be chiefly by American authors, and chosen with great care. It is the aim
of the publishers that each novel shall be distinguished for power, origi-
nality, and interest, and that the successive volumes of the series shall be
marked by variety of incident and treatment.

The names of the writers will be withheld from public announcement,
that each novel may depend for its success dn its own unaided merit, and
its appeal to the curiosity and analysis of its readers.

The mechanical execution of the series has received careful attention.
Good paper, type, and printing are used, and an attractive cover of unique
and ornamental design has been prepared.

Each volume contains from three hundred to four hundred pages of
i6mo size, and the price of the series is fixed at


Having thus the advantages of literary excellence, convenient size,
attractive exterior, and reasonable price, it is hoped that the"RoUND-
RoiiiN Series" will commend itself to all lovers and readers of the best
fiction. The following volumes,



are now ready. Other volumes will follow at suitable intervals.
The series is sold by booksellers everywhere.



By Mrs. Frances H. Burnett. One volume i6mo, handsomely bound.

Price $i.oo.

" It has a good plot, excellent character-drawing, and the story is told in delightful style.
There is a certain f and purity about Mrs. Burnett's writings that can never lose

their charm, and ' A Fair Barbarian ' is among her best productions." — Beaton Post.

" In her latest novel, 'A Fair Barbarian,' we find Mrs. Burnett amid still other scenes
and characters; and here she seems likely to eclipse, at least as far as popularity is con-
cerned, all her earlier triumphs. The title of the story is in itself a most happy conception.
The ' Fair Barbarian' is a young American lady who has lived in Nevada, and who comes
n an English country town with the suggestive name of ' Slowbridge,' to astonish its
inhabitants by an individuality of character wholly unique. . . . The raciness of the
scenes that attend the meeting of these parties is indescribable. This American girl is not
an untaimed hoiden by any means: she is, on the contrary, true-womanly in the best
sense of the term. She is kind of heart, sympathetic, and self-respecting, — a really lov<
if a somewhat unconventional person. She is high-spirited too; and, while she manifests
a willingness to learn the standards of those among whom her lot is temporarily cast, there
is a charming youthful dignity about her which is one -of the best points in her delineation.
Of course she finds her lover. Of the results that attend his wooing, we leave the reader
to learn from the story. The merit of the novel is largely in its admirable purpose, and
the exquisite skill with which it is carried out. It is a refreshing vindication of the Ameri-
can girl, whom it has been too much the custom of writers to depreciate of late. Mrs.
Burnett knows her well, and does her ample justice. She knows England too, and we
have the benefit of that knowledge in the types of English character presented.

" Ilcr book is likely, not only to succeed in favor beyond her own previous productions,
but to gain a popularity which none other of those novels which have treated this phase of
the American-girl question have obtained." — Boston Journal.

" If a more amusing or clever novelette than ' A Fair Barbarian' has ever been given
the American public, we fail to recall it." — Pittsburgh Telegraph.

" The 'Fair Barbarian' is that charming indigenous production of ours, 'an American
girl,' who goes to England, and makes John Bull open his eyes in surprise, and frequently
admiration." — Louisville Courier- Journal.

" Mrs. Burnett fascinates her readers without appearing to make an effort, and plays
upon the human heart at will, making it thrill and vibrate under the magic influence of her
genius." — New Orleans Democrat.

"We have no hesitation in saying that there is no living writer (man or woman) who
has Mrs. Burnett's dramatic power in telling a story." — New-York Herald.

" The brightest and wittiest of Mrs. Burnett's stories." — Baltimore Every Saturday.

" A particularly sparkling story, the subject being the young heiress of a Pacific-slope
silver-mine, thrown amid the very proper petty aristocracy of an English rural town." —
Springfield Republican.

" Mrs. Burnett's new and charming story, which is much different from, and much bet-
ter than, ' The Lass of Lowrie's.' " — Philadelphia Evening- News.





Round -Robin Series


vA/tf jUtty

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Copyright, 1881,

All rip /its reserved.

Jo ccIa a

Stereotyped and Printed by Rand, Avery, &* Co.,
jjj Franklin Street, Boston.



I. A Blundering Englishman i

II. The Shadow in the Looking-Glass . 18

III. The Question that was always cropping

up 32

IV. Fine Ear 41

V. The Early Bird 59

VI. Birth of a Soul 72

VII. "Bless me, even me also" .... 87

VIII. Raising the Wind 98

IX. Phil 109

X. The Haunted Church .... 122

XI. Picked up 131

XII. The Rose-Bower 143

XIII. A Hard Bargain 162

XIV. Brother Gabriel 172

XV. Sunday Morning 190

XVI. The Miller's Boy of Horn's Neck . 206

XVII. The Ghost 218

XVIII. The Lost Music-Lesson .... 226

XIX. On a Bad Footing 241

XX. The Challenge 252

XXI. The Card-Party 268



XXII. Suspicion 281

XXIII. The Capture 291

XXIV. The Major ....... 301

XXV. Chloe 310

XXVI. Making the Amend 325

XXVII. Burial 335

XXVIII. "In Prison, and ye visited me" . . 347

XXIX. Conclusion 354




IT was summer-time under our old regime, — a
breezy day in June, with a cloudless sky over-
head, and the air full of blossomy odors and rustling,
twittering music. Several persons were collected be-
fore a kitchen-door on a Southern farm known by
the name of Dunmore. The centre of attraction was
a primitive charcoal brazier, surmounted by a huge
preserving-kettle, in which were heaps of luscious red
strawberries. The air was heavy with the rich per-
fume of the fruit, simmering slowly over the glowing
coals ; and this perfume, floating away into space, had
attracted numerous companies of bees that hummed
and buzzed and sipped, here and there, as they got a
chance. It had also attracted a dark little cloud of
negro-children, in the least possible amount of cloth-
ing, who hovered in the neighborhood, kicking up
their heels and sniffing the air. The woman who
presided over the preserving-kettle was stout, middle-


aged, and coffee-colored. She was seated in a low
chair made of white-oak splits, and wore a blue cotton
dress, and a brilliant plaid kerchief as a coif. Her
badge of office was a long iron spoon, with which she
skimmed from time to time the impurities that rose
from the sugar and fruit to the surface of the bub-
bling sirup. Standing by her side was a mulatto-girl,
likewise in a blue cotton dress, but with a liberal
display of bare arms and legs, who, with a feathery
branch of asparagus, kept off the bees and flies. But
this occupation was varied by frequent skirmishes with
a young gentleman of tender years, who hung about
the preserves with all the persistency, and more than
the troublesomeness, of the bees. Dozing in the sun-
shine, in a broad patch of light just beyond the
shadow of the kitchen walls, lay a white setter, moving
his fringed, liver-colored ears uneasily because of the

The person who in turn presided over all these was
a tall, slender girl, with a pale face and a pair of large,
expressive eyes, — peculiar eyes, the centre of the iris
being clear, pale blue, while the outer edges were dark
and radiating, which, with their long lashes, gave them
the appearance of blue fringed flowers. She was sit-
ting by a large basket filled with a fresh supply of
strawberries awaiting their turn to be preserved, from
which she was removing the stems ; and her fingers
were dyed a lovely red. The skirt of her light sum-
mer dress was turned up and pinned round the waist ;
and her short white petticoat revealed glimpses of
slender ankles and a pair of small, stout shoes. She


wore a long sunbonnet, and it was like looking down
a well to get a peep at her face.

" Cinthy, I think they are done now," she said
suddenly, taking a long straw, and poking it into the
kettle like a divining-rod, by which mysterious process
the condition of the fruit was tested. " By the smell
I should think they were a little overdone. Quick !
Take them off!"

"Whardat yaller imp Chloe?" responded Cinthy,
rising slowly, and looking round for her attendant with
the fly-brush. " She know it take two to git dis
kittle off de fiah. Here, gal," she cried to Chloe,
who, with a broad grin, was returning from a pitched
battle with the boy Skip. " Why can't you let white
folks' childun 'lone ? Ef you want to wrastle, wrastle
wid de niggers," she continued, grumbling, as, with
the girl's assistance, the preserves were taken from the
fire. " I tell you ev'ry day to let Mars Skip 'lone.
Too much freedery breeds despisery, gal."

" La ! Mars Skip come ticklin' my ear wid a switch,
and you think I ain't goin' to take it 'way from him ?
No, ma'am" said Chloe, breaking up a willow wand
in triumph, and throwing it away.

Here Cinthy, about to resume her seat, incautiously
placed her plump black hand on the back of a
chair where a little wanton bee was idly sipping sweets
from a drop of sirup. He made his presence quickly
felt by a sting, and then flew airily out of sight. Cin-
thy howled with rage and pain ; and, as the real culprit
had made his escape, by way of giving vent to her
feelings she aimed a blow at Chloe's head with the


iron spoon. But that young person dodged the blow,
and began tittering behind her fly-brush. Skip rolled
over in the grass, screaming with laughter ; Dash
roused himself from his slumbers with a short, snap-
ping bark ; while the group of lightly clad young ne-
groes scampered off pell-mell, to hide their delight at
Cinthy's discomfiture.

The young lady with the blue eyes, who had been
bending over the steaming preserves, looked up hastily
to discover the cause of the commotion.

"What on earth is the matter, Cinthy? " she asked,
pushing back the long bonnet from her scorched face,
and wondering why the woman should be dancing
about and wringing her hands in that absurd manner.

" O Miss Ulla ! dem bees, and dat yaller imp
Chloe ! She ain't no use at all, shakin' dat sparrow-
grass bush, and pertendin' to keep off de bees."

At this inauspicious moment two new persons ap-
peared on the scene. A lady in fresh crisp muslin,
a coquettish broad-brimmed hat, and delicate gloves,
came tripping over the grass in the direction of the
group before the kitchen. By her side a tall, broad-
shouldered young fellow strode with those long, plun-
ging steps that make an Englishman's walk appear an
altogether different action from that of an American.
He carried a stout walking-stick, but apparently not for
use ; for he held it horizontally, and it swayed lightly
back and forth with the motion of his body. He had
a glass in his eye, and looked about him with the air
of a conscientious sight-seer, resolved to lose none
of the characteristics of the country. He seemed to


be an appreciative observer, and, if one could judge
by the expression of his face, keenly alive to the
enjoyable features of his surroundings. An exclama-
tion of pleasure escaped him as he came within range
of the odors floating from Cinthy's preserving-kettle.

"Ha ! Cooking? Do you cook flowers here, Miss
Despard? " he asked, inhaling the fragrance with frank

" I am sure I don't know," answered his compan-
ion with high-bred ignorance, as she led him to the
place where Cinthy was still groaning over her sting.
" But we can investigate. Homoselle ! "

Thus addressed, the owner of the blue eyes turned
quickly, and saw with consternation that Miss Despard
was accompanied by a stranger, a gentleman too,
and an exceedingly good-looking one, who regarded
her with smiling eyes as she flushed and frowned and
held out her hands deprecatingly. " Homoselle," re-
peated Miss Despard coolly, without noticing these
signs of distress, " here is the major's English friend,
Mr. Halsey. — Mr. Halsey, my niece, Miss Homoselle

Homoselle bowed stiffly in acknowledgment of the
stranger's salutation.

" Don't you think, Bertie," she said with some impa-
tience, as she lowered the skirt of her dress, " Mr. Hal-
sey would have preferred making my acquaintance in
the drawing-room?"

" Not at all," said Miss Despard : "Mr. Halsey is an
intelligent foreigner, taking notes on the products of
our country, and the manners and customs of our


While these words were being spoken, the stranger
was rapidly taking in the details of the scene, not only
as an intelligent foreigner, but with sentiments he
would have found difficulty in expressing.

It is probable he noted them in his memory as an
artistic view of the situation. Certain it is, his eye was
pleased with the grouping of the picture ; and he en-
joyed, with more senses than one, the fragrant heap of
ripe red fruit. But he was conscious, also, of an un-
dercurrent of feeling deeper than mere artistic interest
in what, to him, was a perfectly new variety of life.
Cinthy's plump, brown countenance, smoothed into
propriety by the appearance of the new-comers ;
Chloe's yellow- skinned face, in which the character-
istics of two races were blended ; the black fringe of
arms and legs belonging to the scampering little ne-
groes ; and in the midst, rising like some fair flower
above them all, the tall, slender figure of the girl his
companion called Homoselle, — combined to make an
impression which can scarcely be realized by one to
whom such scenes are familiar. "If Mr. Halsey is
taking notes," said Homoselle with a half-smile at the
humor of the situation and the stranger's perfectly un-
embarrassed manner, " I hope he will not put me
down until I have changed my dress and washed my

"If you will excuse me," said the gentleman, "I
think I shall put you down just as you are, fingers
and all, and call my sketch Aurora."

" And why Aurora? "

"Why, wasn't she the mythological girl with rosy
fingers who represented the dawn? "


" Please don't explain, Mr. Halsey," said Miss Des-
pard. " It is like breaking a butterfly to interpret a
joke or a sentiment to Homoselle. She is the most
matter-of-fact person alive."

Halsey smiled. "What splendid strawberries you
have ! " he said, changing the subject. "It gives one
quite an appetite to look at them."

" You shall have some at dessert, with cream."

" Thanks : I don't deserve them, for having given so
broad a hint. But my admiration is not confined
to your strawberries. The climate seems perfection
to me. This blue sky and clear atmosphere make a
Paradise for a man whose lungs have been suffering
from a climate of eternal fog and rain."

"Unfortunately it is not always so pleasant here.
We often have weather warm enough to suggest anoth-
er climate than Paradise," said Miss Despard, survey-
ing the preserves distantly through her eye-glasses.

"You don't like this kind of thing?" asked Halsey,

"What? Preserves? Oh, yes ! I like them to eat."

" Ah ! but I like their manufacture," said the gentle-
man enthusiastically. " This is the prettiest picture of
Southern life I have yet seen. Even that old-fashioned
brazier and the copper kettle are charming."

During this speech Miss Despard's short-sighted
eyes were occupied in studying her gloves, a trick of
hers when she was not interested. It was curious to
observe how long and closely she could scrutinize what
must have been perfectly familiar in every detail.

Halsey turned to Homoselle for sympathy in his
light-hearted enjoyment of the new scene.


Her countenance looked responsive, and he went on :
" I will have that old woman in the gay turban to sit
for her portrait some day ; and the beautiful mulatto
looks like a copy of Miss Homoselle done in bronze.
Don't you see the likeness, Miss Despard?"

Bertie was startled out of the contemplation of her
gloves by this question. She looked at Halsey with
raised eyebrows and a haughty smile, but she did not

Homoselle's eyes appeared black as she shot a swift,
reproachful glance into his innocent, wondering face.
He colored and stammered ; but, even as he winced, he
felt that he would like to see her eyes flash again.

The boy Skip, who was returning from the chase and
capture of what he called a June-bug, — which unhap-
py insect he had tied by the leg with a string, and was
whirling round his head for the sake of its plaintive,
humming song, — dashed into the circle in time to
witness the peculiar expression that had fallen on the
faces of the party.

"Whew!" he whistled, "Homo's mad. She looks
just that way when she catches me in a whopper. Has
Chloe or anybody been misbehavin' ? "

Bertie was the first to recover from the little shock
caused by Halsey's speech.

" Do, Skip, stop your noise," she said. " Come, Mr.
Halsey, and I will show you the tobacco-fields you
wished to see." As they walked away she asked,
"How long have you been in this country? "

"Just three days," he answered, pulling viciously at
his moustache.


" I thought so. You have not had time to learn the
bienseances of our peculiar society."

" What have I done ? " he asked in an eager, peni-
tent voice. " I know I have made a blunder. I rec-
ognize the signs but too well. All my life, like a true
Englishman, I have been blundering into things ; and,
if I had not the luck sometimes to blunder out, I
should be a miserable fellow."

" You have not done any thing so dreadful, for a
foreigner, after all. Only offended one of our race

"But the girl is beautiful," he exclaimed with

" Is she ? I had not thought about it. But she is
also a negress."

Only partially so."

Oh ! " said Miss Despard with heightened color,
" we will not discuss that question. But in England
you perfectly well understand the prejudices of caste ;
and here you must learn to understand the prejudices
of caste and race combined."

" Thank you for my first lesson," said Halsey, not
very humbly ; for he was smarting under a sense of
injustice, and, like most persons, inclined to think
everybody's prejudices unreasonable but his own.

" If you were to tell an English duchess she resem-
bled one of her servants, she would be offended at be-
ing compared to a person of such inferior rank. Think
how much greater her indignation would be if the
servant was also of inferior race," said Bertie, in her
loftiest manner.



" You are right. I see I have made a terrible blun-
der. But I lost sight of conventionalities in my thor-
ough enjoyment of every thing. To tell you the truth,
I did not expect to find you so hampered by verbal
etiquette on this side of the water. But in making
comparisons between the women of the two countries,
do American ladies always put themselves on a plane
with English duchesses?"

"Of course, I do."

" Of course," said Halsey with courteous gravity, as
he gave his companion a sidelong glance to contem-
plate anew the proprietor of so much importance.
"But I have supposed from your books and papers
that all Americans were on a social level with our high-
est aristocracy. Now, you know, in England we have
very few dukes and duchesses. I haven't the honor of
being personally acquainted with one. I asked the
question because I was going to tell you of a cousin of
mine, who, though not a duchess, is an exceedingly
nice person. She did not at all object to being consid-
ered like one of her maids who was very pretty. We
tried to tease her about the resemblance, but we found
she liked it. Somehow I fancied most women felt the
same about such things."

The stealthy scrutiny Halsey made of his acquaint-
ance of an hour only confirmed his first impression
of her. She was a tiny creature, delicately made, with
pretty hands and feet. Her complexion was rather
inclined to be sallow, but her dark, vivacious eyes and
brilliant teeth compensated for want of color. A small,
decidedly turned-up nose did not detract from the piq-


uancy of her face, but gave a satirical touch to the
lofty carriage of her head. On this occasion she was
freshly, even prettily dressed, but with a negligence of
details that indicated characteristic want of care ; while
some grains of white powder lurking in her dark brows
and lashes betrayed the means she had used to im-
prove her complexion. She spoke rapidly in a sweet,
thin voice which was almost childish in its clear treble,
and so emphatically as to give an air of importance to
every thing she said. When she was not talking her-
self, she was busily engaged in eying, with near-sight-
ed proximity, her dress, her hands, her buttons, any
thing, in fact, of her own that came within range of her

" What a top-loftical little creature it is ! " thought
the young man as he withdrew his eyes from her face,
and looked round on the smiling landscape.

" Suppose we don't go to the tobacco-fields to-day,"
she said with a sudden change of mood, pausing be-
fore a rustic seat, under the shade of a wide-spreading
locust whose clusters of pendent white bloom filled the
air with honey-like fragrance. "The sun is getting
warm, and I have on slippers : it will be uncomforta-
ble overhead and under foot. You will have plenty
of opportunities to see all our crops. Let us sit

" With all my heart : this is the very day and hour
to do nothing but enjoy one's self," answered Ilalsey,
taking his seat beside her.

A fine view of the house was had from the bench
where they placed themselves. It was a long, low


structure, built of brick imported from England in the
colonial days ; brick not comparable to our own in
fineness and smoothness of grain, but greatly superior
in color. Its nondescript gray tone made a charming
point of relief amid the sun-bright hues of the sur-
rounding landscape. The plan of the house was the
simple one almost universal among the homes of our
colonial ancestors, — a large, square, two-storied build-
ing, with a long one-storied wing on either side. It
presented quite an imposing appearance, from its evi-
dent antiquity and the great length of its front, which
more than compensated for its want of height. Here,
one felt sure, was the home of an easy, unhurried life,
with plenty of room to spread one's self, and no steep
flights of stairs to climb. It was situated not more
than a quarter of a mile from the river James, which is
several miles wide at this point.

In front of the house, a beautiful lawn, dotted here
and there with fine old forest-trees, sloped gently down
to the road that skirted the water. The humid climate
seemed peculiarly favorable to the cultivation of flow-
ers, and the broad walk leading from the house to the
river was bordered with plants flowering in richest
luxuriance. Fringe-trees, with their trailing white
blooms, alternating with trellises embowered in honey-
suckle and yellow jessamine, enclosed one of the
most charming promenades imaginable.

Halsey and his companion had not been seated
long before they became aware that Skip, with Dash
at his heels, had followed them, and was standing at
a respectful distance, regarding them wistfully.


His face was besmeared with strawberry -juice, and
he was barefooted and bareheaded ; but these defi-
ciencies of toilet did not seem to make him unhappy.
A pleasant, intelligent-looking lad, for all that he had

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Online LibraryMary Spear Nicholas TieranHomoselle → online text (page 1 of 23)