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A Brown Woman – James Branch Cabell (1879 1958)
Cabell was born in Virginia, and except for a few brief intervals he resided there continuously. Among his score of volumes, most of which are romantic and satirical novels, are a few charmingly related short tales. The collection called The Certain Hour is a delicately written cycle of stories around actual or imagined episodes in the lives of various authors. A Brown Woman is one of the best of these.

A Brown Woman is reprinted from The Certain Hour. Copyright, 1916, by Robert M. McBride & Co., New York, by permission of the publisher.
A Brown Woman
I must be hurrying home now,” the girl said, “for it is high JD time I were back in the hayfields.”

“Fair shepherdess,” he implored, “for heaven’s sake, let us not cut short the pastorally thus abruptly.”

“And what manner of beast may that be, pray?”

“ ’Tis a conventional form of verse, my dear, which we at present strikingly illustrate. The plan of a pastorelle is simplicity’s self: a gentleman, which I may fairly claim to be, in some fair rural scene such as this comes suddenly upon a rustic maiden of surpassing beauty. He naturally falls in love with her, and they say all manner of fine things to each other.”

A Brown Woman – She considered him for a while before speaking. It thrilled him to see the odd tenderness that was in her face. “You always think of saying and writing fine things, do you not, sir?”

’’My dear,” he answered, gravely, “I believe that I was undoubtedly guilty of such folly until you came. I wish I could make you understand how your coming has changed everything.

“You can tell me some other time,” the girl gaily declared, and was about to leave him.

Highland detained her, very gently. “Faith, but I fear not, for already my old hallucinations seem to me incredible. Why, yesterday I thought it the most desirable of human lots to be a great poet” the gentleman laughed in self-mockery. “I positively did. I labored every day toward becoming one.

A Brown Woman part 10

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The storm was over. In the beech-tree opposite a wren was raising optimistic outcry. The sun had won his way through a black-bellied shred of cloud; upon the terrace below, a dripping Venus and...

A Brown Woman part 9

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The other poet evinced an awkward comminglement of consternation and pity. “It appears that when this storm arose why, Mistress Drew was with a young man of the neighborhood a John Hewet – ”...

A Brown Woman part 8

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Pope came more near to the mirror. “Make answer, you who have dared to imagine that a goddess was ever drawn to descend into womanhood except by kisses, brawn and a clean heart.Another peal...

A Brown Woman part 7

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Pope went straight to his own rooms. As he came in there was a vivid flash of lightning, followed instantaneously by a crashing, splitting noise, like that of universes ripped asunder. He did not...

A Brown Woman part 6

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“I have perpetrated certain jingles,” Pope returned. “I had not comprehended until to-day they are the only children I shall leave behind me. Eh, and what would you make of them, my dear, could...

A Brown Woman part 5

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The dwarf gave a hard, wringing motion of his hands. The diamond Lord Bolingbroke`s gift which ornamented Pope`s left hand cut into the flesh of his little finger, so cruel was the gesture; and...

A Brown Woman part 4

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“I love her,” Pope had said. Eh, yes, no doubt; and what, he fiercely demanded of himself, was he a crippled scribbler, a bungling artisan of phrases that he should dare to love this...

A Brown Woman part 3

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Mr. Pope gesticulated with thin hands and seemed upon the verge of eloquence. Then he spoke unanswerably. “But I love her,” he said.John Gay`s reply was a subdued whistle. He, in common with the...

A Brown Woman part 2

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His hand detained her, very gently. Indeed, it seemed to him he could never tire of noting her excellencies. Perhaps it was that splendid light poise of her head he chiefly loved; he thought...

A Brown Woman part 1

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James Branch Cabell (1879 1958)Cabell was born in Virginia, and except for a few brief intervals he resided there continuously. Among his score of volumes, most of which are romantic and satirical novels, are...

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