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Farm girl Marion Marlowe is on her way home when she stops to take in the surrounding countryside. “Same farms, same hills, same animals! Oh, I’m just sick of country life and a farm life!” Little does she know that her circumstances are about to change! A magnificent singer, she breaks into song and might readily be forgiven for glorying in her superb natural talent. On arrival at home, she finds Dolores, or Dollie as she was called, weeping in the yard. She tells Marion that her father, not for the first time, wants her to enter a loveless marriage with the detestable Silas Johnson, which she has refused to do. Time passes and a mysterious Mr Carlos Lawson appears at the farm, which causes unease with Marion. She also overhears a conversation between Silas and her father and realises that Silas has a hold on her father and is wanting Dollie in exchange. Despite her misgivings she confides in Carlos Lawson and instantly regrets what she has done. While helping the orphan Bert Jackson escape from the orphanage after one beating too many, she discovers that Dollie, too, has runaway. Only she hasn’t runaway but been abducted by the black-hearted Carlos Lawson and the two have gone to New York. Marion sees the rescue of her sister as a valid excuse to escape the confines of the farm and plans to go to New York in search of her sister. She then packs and leaves for the city on a quest to find her sister. What adventures will her quest lead this inexperienced farm girl on, alone and almost penniless in New York city. To whom will she turn? Will they listen or simply dismiss her as a naïve farm girl? And what will happen if the money runs out before she has found her sister? Join Marion Marlowe on this, the first of her many adventures in 1900’s New York city. YESTERDAY’S BOOKS FOR TODAY’S CHARITIES. 10% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charity. ============= KEYWORDS-TAGS: Marion Marlowe, Dollie, From Farm to Fortune, , abducted, Adele, arm, Aunt, Bert, bitter, blushing, Body, brain, Breasts, cabman, chief, clutches, companion, control, courage, crowd, daisy, daughter, detective, Dollie, Emile, Emile Vorse, exhibition, Farm, farmer, father, features, figure, flashed, flush, garments, gentleman, God, Gray, handsome, headquarters, homespun, hotel, housekeeper, hypnotised, hypnotized, innocent, instinctively, Jackson, Jenkins, jewels, kin, lashes, Lawson, lodging-house, Marion, Marlowe, married, Matt, Miss, monster, New, City, noble, Norwood, officer, officers, parlor, passengers, Passion, pity, pleasure, Police, Poor, power, prison, Professor Dabroski, pussy, queen, question, Ray, Ray, scream, sharp, Silas Johnson, Sile, sister, society, Stanton, station, station-house, straight, sunbonnet, superintendent, Susan, topazes, train, uncle, villain, whip, whisper, window, seduction, seduce, kidnap, capture, hostage, snatch
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ONLY A FARMER’S DAUGHTER
The Marion Marlowe MysteriesBy Grace Shirley
An Extract From
Originally Published by
Street & Smith, New York City.
Resurrected byAbela Publishing, London
Marion Marlowe – From Farm to Fortune
Typographical arrangement of this edition
© Abela Publishing 2018
This book may not be reproduced in its current format in any manner in any media, or transmitted by any means whatsoever, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, or mechanical ( including photocopy, file or video recording, internet web sites, blogs, wikis, or any other information storage and retrieval system) except as permitted by law without the prior written permission of the publisher.
There was hardly a ripple on the sultry air as Marion Marlowe walked slowly along the dusty country road picking a daisy here and there and linking them together in an artistic manner.
When the chain was finished she swung it lightly in her hand, notwithstanding the fact that each link held one of her heart secrets interwoven in the form of a wish, as she fashioned the frail necklace.
She paused for a moment upon the brow of the steep hill behind her father’s farm, and pushing the gingham sunbonnet back from her face, took her usual evening glance over the surrounding country.
“Same old hills! Same old trees!” she whispered irritably. “And always that hideous old Poor Farm staring one in the face! Oh, I’m just sick of country life and a horrid farm! Why couldn’t I have been born something besides a farmer’s daughter?”
The view which Marion gazed upon was not altogether unlovely, but the hills were steep and the pastures were scorched and the Poor Farm, always a blot upon the peaceful picture, stood out with aggressive ugliness in the keen glow of sunset.
Just over the brow of a low hill rose a curling line of smoke. It came from the chimney of the little station where the Boston and New York Express stopped morning and evening, the only connecting link between them and civilization.
Marion Marlowe was seventeen and superbly handsome. Her twin sister was fairer, more childish and a trifle smaller, but both were far more beautiful than most country maidens.
As Marion spoke, her gray eyes darkened until they were almost black, and the ungainly sunbonnet could not begin to cover her hair, which was long and silky and a rich, ripe chestnut.
Turning her back upon the Poor Farm, which always offended her, Marion suddenly gave vent to her mood in a most extraordinary manner.
Posing on the very crest of the hill with her shoulders thrown back haughtily, she began singing a quaint air which was full of solemn melody, and as she sang her eyes glistened and her cheeks grew even redder, for Marion loved the sound of her beautiful voice—she knew well that she was a magnificent singer, and might readily be forgiven for glorying in her superb natural endowments.
“And to think it should all be wasted here!” she muttered as she finished.
There was a scornful wave of her hand as she indicated the inoffensive country.
She pulled on her sunbonnet with a sudden jerk.
“What could she do?” She asked the question hopelessly, and the very trees seemed to mock her with their rustling whispers.
She could do nothing! She was only a farmer’s daughter! She must bake, roast and boil, weed the garden, tend the chickens, and last but not least, she must marry some stupid farmer and live exactly the life that her mother had lived before her.
“I won’t do it!” she cried, angrily, when she had reached this point in her thoughts.
“I’ll never submit to it! Never! Never! I will make a name somehow, somewhere, some time! Do you hear me, you glorious old sun? I will do it! I swear it!”
With a sudden impulse she lifted her hand above her head. The setting sun threw a shaft of light directly across her path which clothed her in a shining radiance as her vow was registered.
The sky was darkening when Marion drew her sunbonnet on again and started slowly down the hill toward her father’s pasture.
She let down the bars at the entrance to the pasture lot easily with her strong, white hands. There were five of the patient creatures awaiting her coming. The sixth had strayed a little, so she strolled about, calling to it, through the straggling brush and birches.
Suddenly there came the unmistakable patter of bare feet along the road; Marion listened a moment and then went on with her search.
“Move faster, there, Bert Jackson! What’s the matter with ye, anyway?”
The words were shouted in a brutal voice which Marion knew only too well to belong to Matt Jenkins, the keeper of the Poor Farm.
“I am moving as fast as I can,” answered a boyish voice, “but my arm aches so badly that I can hardly walk, Mr. Jenkins.”
“As if an ache in your arm hindered you from walkin’ fast!” roared Matt Jenkins again. “Faster, I say, or I’ll put the whip on ye!”
There was no reply, only the hurried tramp of bare feet in the road, but there was a light crackle in the bushes of the pasture lot as Marion hurried to the bars driving the truant cow before her.
A group of nearly a dozen lads from the Poor Farm were shuffling down the road. They had been working about on various farms through the day, and now were “rounded up” like so many cattle by Matt Jenkins, their keeper, and were being hurried home under the constant goad of voice and lash, the latter a cart whip of ugly dimensions.
Just as Marion reached the bars the squad of boys came abreast of her, and one—a fine, manly looking chap of seventeen or eighteen—glanced quickly in her direction, almost stopping short as he did so.
“Hi, there! Laggin’ ag’in, air ye, Bert Jackson!” roared the keeper again. “There! Take that fer yer stubbornness in not doin’ as I tell ye!”
The long lash circled through the air and came down with a hiss that made Marion’s blood run cold—but only for a minute.
The next instant she had darted straight out into the road, and as the vicious whip was raised for a second cut at the poor youth she sprang at Matt Jenkins with the fury of a panther—snatching the whip from his hands and throwing it over the fence into the pasture.
“How dare you, Mr. Jenkins!”
Marion’s eyes flashed like fire as she faced him.
Her sunbonnet had fallen off and showed her beautiful hair and rose-tinted features. The daisy chain fell and was trampled under her feet in the dust—the links which bound her wishes were scattered and broken.
“How dare you strike a poor orphan?” she cried again. “You are a coward to strike a boy! You ought to be kicked straight out of your position, Matt Jenkins!”
“Huh! You’re mighty independent, Marion Marlowe!” growled Matt Jenkins angrily. “I’ll tell yer father of ye, Miss High-flyer, an’ then we’ll see who gits the lickin’.”
“My father will never whip me again, Mr. Jenkins,” said the girl, almost sadly. “If he does I’ll run away, even if I starve to death in a big city.”
The boys were all staring at Marion now, and as she looked at them she saw that they sympathized fully with her sentiments.
“They don’t dare say so,” she thought, as she caught their eager glances. “Poor boys, they are actually envying me just because I have a father!”
Out loud she said bitterly:
“I mean it, Mr. Jenkins, and you can tell him I said so if you wish. I’m not a child any longer, I’m over sixteen! As old as my mother was when she was married,” she added proudly.
“Here, Bill Vedder, go git me my whip,” was the keeper’s only answer.
As the boy addressed started for the whip Marion Marlowe walked directly up to Bert Jackson.
“What’s the matter with your arm, Bert?” she asked very softly.
Bert’s lips tightened a little and his face paled as he answered:
“It’s broke, I think,” he said in a whisper. “I fell off the load and struck right on my elbow, but Mr. Jenkins only laughed at me—he wouldn’t let me see a doctor.”
“It’s an outrage, a cowardly outrage!” cried Marion, hotly. “Oh, why am I not a man so that I could do something to aid you!”
The sensitive face was flushed with anger now and the tears trembled on her lashes as she turned toward Mr. Jenkins.
“His arm is broken,” she said, in an agonized voice. “Oh, Mr. Jenkins, do hurry and take him to a doctor!”
“Nonsense!” growled Mr. Jenkins, as he strode forward and made a motion to grasp Bert’s wounded arm.
“My God, don’t touch it!”
The boy shrank back with a cry of terror.
In an instant Marion was between them, her voice ringing out like a bugle.
“Don’t you dare to hurt him, you monster!” she cried furiously; “I won’t stand by and see it done even if I am a girl! And when I’m a woman I’ll have you put in prison!”
“And I’ll help you do it, if I’m alive!” cried Bert Jackson, recklessly; “but there ain’t much doubt but what he’ll kill me now for my arm hurts so bad that I can’t stand him much longer!”
Marion stood like a statue as the group passed down the road. Matt Jenkins looked back at her once or twice, but his whip was not raised while her eyes were upon him.
When they were gone from her sight Marion turned homeward.
The patient cows were well on their way, so the young girl had nothing to do but follow them.
As she came in sight of the low farm-house where she was born she saw a girlish figure coming swiftly toward her.
It was her twin sister, Dolores, or Dollie as she was called, and at the very first glance Marion could see that she was weeping.
In an instant she was running rapidly toward her, and as they met she threw her arms tenderly about her sister’s shoulders.
“What is it, Dollie? Has father been tormenting you about Silas again?” she asked breathlessly, at the same time brushing her sister’s golden hair back from her brow with a caressing motion.
Dollie wiped her eyes and nodded her head affirmatively.
“Yes, Marion, he has, and I can’t stand it much longer!” she cried, sobbingly. “He is just nagging at me all the time, and, oh, he is cruel, sister. Why, when I told him I did not love Silas he just sneered at me as though love was something that was not to be considered!”
“Poor father! It is little he knows of that holy sentiment,” said Marion, sadly, “but go on Dollie, what else did he say to you?”
A gleam of resentment shone in Dollie’s blue eyes, for she was always more brave when her sister’s arms were about her.
“Oh, he said I had defied him and that he would punish me for it! That a man had a right to do as he pleased with his own family, and that girls like you and me did not have a grain of sense about what was best for them!”
Marion’s gray eyes flashed as her sister talked, but she walked slowly on and did not interrupt her.
“Then he said that I would have a comfortable home if I married Silas, and that I’d go straight to destruction if he did not look out for me!”
“How horrible!” burst out Marion. “And to think he is our own father! Why isn’t he content with one such experiment? Poor sister Samantha, whom he forced to marry Tom Wilders! I should think her miserable life would be a warning to him! Oh, Dollie, if we could only go away and earn our own living. You can play the piano beautifully and I can sing. If we could only go somewhere and make our own way where we should never bother father, I should be perfectly happy!”
The beautiful face was radiant with eagerness now, and some of her wonderful courage seemed reflected upon Dollie’s more babyish features.
“It would kill me to marry Silas!” she cried with a shudder. “Father shall not force me to do it, Marion, never!”
There was a close clasp of the arms about each other’s waists as the two girls walked on and Dollie’s golden head almost rested upon her sister’s shoulder.
“Why, Marion, what do you think! He tried to bribe me,” she added, suddenly. “He said I could have grandma’s topazes the day I was married to Silas.”
A look of disgust swept over Marion’s face.
“As if those old earrings of grandma’s could make up for such a crime! And it is a crime to marry without love, my sister.”
A piteous sob broke from Dollie’s lips and she moved a step away.
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