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The Quickening
written by "Lynde, Francis, 1856-1930"
... blaze in the grate. It was going to leave a huge rift in his life when this thing, with all its rootings and anchorings in childhood and boyhood, was torn out and cast aside. The mere thought of it was appalling. What would there be to fill the void? As if the question had evoked them, alluring shapes began to rise out of the depths. Ambition, though he knew it not by name, was the first that beckoned. The craftsman's blood stirred to its reawakening: to know how, and to do things; to compel the iron and steel and the stubborn forces of nature. This would be worthwhile; but better still, he would learn to be a leader of men. The magic vista opened again, but this time it stretched away into the future, and he saw himself keeping step with the ever-advancing march of progress—nay, even setting the pace in his own corner of the vast field. His father was content to follow; he would learn the trick of it and lead. The Farleys were said to be rich and steadily growing richer—not out of Chiawassee Iron, to be sure, but in others of their multifarious out-reachings; very good,—he would be rich, too. What a Duxbury Farley could do, he would do; on a larger scale and with a stubborner patience. He— It was a mere turning of the head that sent the air-castles tumbling and left him choking in the dust of their dissolution. Something, he fancied it was a noise or some slight movement, made him look quickly toward the bed; and at sight of the still, white face among [Pg 144]the pillows, boyish love—God Himself has made no stronger passion—swept doubt, distrust, rebellion, worldly ambition, all, into the abyss of renunciation. He went softly, groping because the quick tears blinded him, to kneel at the bedside. She was his mother; for one thing she had lived and striven and prayed; living or dying she must not, she should not, be disappointed. And if his service must be of the lip and not of the heart, she shoul...

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