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The Old Gray Homestead

by Frances Parkinson Keyes

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Work from the American author, and a convert to Roman Catholicism, whose works frequently featured Catholic themes and beliefs. Generally self-educated, Mrs Keyes first book, The Old Gray Homestead, was published in 1919.

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"For Heaven's sake, Sally, don't say, 'Isn't it hot?' or, 'Did you ever know such weather for April?' or, 'Doesn't it seem as if the mud was just as bad as it used to be before we had the State Road?' again. It is hot. I never did see such weather. The mud is worse if anything. I've said all this several times, and if you can't think of anything more interesting to talk about, I wish you'd keep still." Sally Gray pushed back the lock of crinkly brown hair that was always getting in her eyes, puckered her lips a little, and glanced at her brother Austin without replying, but with a slight ripple of concern disturbing her usual calm. She was plain and plump and placid, as sweet and wholesome as clover, and as nerveless as a cow, and she secretly envied her brother's lean, dark handsomeness; but she was conscious of a little pang of regret that the young, eager face beside her was already becoming furrowed with lines of discontent and bitterness, and that the expression of the fine mouth was rapidly growing more and more hard and sullen. Austin had been all the way from Hamstead to White Water that day, stopping on his way back at Wallacetown, to bring Sally, who taught school there, home for over Sunday; his little old horse, never either strong or swift, was tired and hot and muddy, and hung its unkempt head dejectedly, apparently having lost all willingness to drag the dilapidated top-buggy and its two occupants another step. Austin's manner, Sally reflected, was not much more cheerful than that of his horse; while his clothes were certainly as dirty, as shabby, and as out-of-date as the rest of his equipage.



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