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- Bricks Without Straw - 1/87 -


BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW

_A Novel_

BY

ALBION W. TOURGEE, LL.D.,

LATE JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA

THIS VOLUME I GRATEFULLY DEDICATE TO

My Wife;

TO WHOSE UNFLINCHING COURAGE, UNFALTERING FAITH, UNFAILING CHEER, AND STEADFAST LOVE, I OWE MORE THAN MANY VOLUMES MIGHT DECLARE.

TRANSLATION:

[_From an ancient Egyptian Papyrus-Roll, recently discovered._]

It came to pass that when Pharaoh had made an end of giving commandment that the children of Israel should deliver the daily tale of bricks, but should not be furnished with any straw wherewith to make them, but should instead go into the fields and gather such stubble as might be left therein, that Neoncapos, the king's jester, laughed.

And when he was asked whereat he laughed, he answered, At the king's order.

And thereupon he laughed the more.

Then was Pharaoh, the king, exceeding wroth, and he gave commandment that an owl be given to Neoncapos, the king's jester, and that he be set forth without the gate of the king's palace, and that he be forbidden to return, or to speak to any in all the land, save only unto the owl which had been given him, until such time as the bird should answer and tell him what he should say.

Then they that stood about the king, and all who saw Neoncapos, cried out, What a fool's errand is this! So that the saying remains even unto this day.

Nevertheless, upon the next day came Neoncapos again into the presence of Pharaoh, the king.

Then was Pharaoh greatly astonished, and he said, How is this? Hath the bird spoken?

And Neoncapos, the king's jester, bowed himself unto the earth, and said, He hath, my lord.

Then was Pharaoh, the king, filled with amazement, and said, Tell me what he hath said unto thee.

And Neoncapos raised himself before the king, and answered him, and said:

As I went out upon the errand whereunto thou hadst sent me forth, I remembered thy commandment to obey it. And I spake only unto the bird which thou gavest me, and said unto him:

There was a certain great king which held a people in bondage, and set over them task-masters, and required of them all the bricks that they could make, man for man, and day by day;

For the king was in great haste seeking to build a palace which should be greater and nobler than any in the world, and should remain to himself and his children a testimony of his glory forever.

And it came to pass, at length, that the king gave commandment that no more straw should be given unto them that made the bricks, but that they should still deliver the tale which had been aforetime required of them.

And thereupon the king's jester laughed.

Because he said to himself, If the laborers have not straw wherewith to attemper the clay, but only stubble and chaff gathered from the fields, will not the bricks be ill-made and lack strength and symmetry of form, so that the wall made thereof will not be true and strong, or fitly joined together? For the lack of a little straw it may be that the palace of the great king will fall upon him and all his people that dwell therein. Thereupon the king was wroth with his fool, and his countenance was changed, and he spake harshly unto him, and--

It matters not what thou saidst unto the bird, said the king. What did the bird say unto thee?

The bird, said Neoncapos, bowing himself low before the king, the bird, my lord, looked at me in great amaze, and cried again and again, in an exceeding loud voice: _Who! Who-o! Who-o-o!_

Then was Pharaoh exceeding wroth, and his anger burned within him, and he commanded that the fool should be taken and bound with cords, and cast into prison, while he should consider of a fit punishment for his impudent words.

NOTE.-A script attached to this manuscript, evidently of later date, informs us that the fool escaped the penalty of his folly by the disaster at the Red Sea.

CONTENTS

I. TRI-NOMINATE II. THE FONT III. THE JUNONIAN RITE IV. MARS MEDDLES V. NUNC PRO TUNC VI. THE TOGA VIRILIS VII. DAMON AND PYTHIAS VIII. A FRIENDLY PROLOGUE IX. A BRUISED REED X. AN EXPRESS TRUST XI. RED WING XII. ON THE WAY AY TO JERICHO XIII. NEGOTIATING A TREATY XIV. BORN OF THE STORM XV. TO HIM AND HIS HEIRS FOREVER XVI. A CHILD OF THE HILLS XVII. GOOD-MORROW AND FAREWELL XVIII. "PRIME WRAPPERS," XIX. THE SHADOW OF THE FLAG, XX. PHANTASMAGORIA, XXI. A CHILD-MAN XXII. HOW THE FALLOW WAS SEEDED XXIII. AN OFFERING OF FIRST-FRUITS XXIV. A BLACK DBMOCRITUS XXV. A DOUBLE-HEADED ARGUMENT XXVI. TAKEN AT HIS WORD XXVII. MOSES IN THE SUNSHINE XXVIII. IN THE PATH OF THE STORM XXIX. LIKE AND UNLIKE XXX. AN UNBIDDEN GUEST XXXI. A LIFE FOR A LIFE XXXII. A VOICE FROM THE DARKNESS XXXIII. A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION XXXIV. THE MAJESTY OF THE LAW XXXV. A PARTICULAR TENANCY LAPSES XXXVI. THE BEACON-LIGHT OF LOVE XXXVII. THE "BEST FRIENDS" REVEAL THEMSELVES XXXVIII. "THE ROSE ABOVE THE MOULD," XXXIX. WHAT THE MIST HID XL. DAWNING XLI. Q. E. D. XLII. THROUGH A CLOUD-RIFT XLIII. A GLAD GOOD-BY XLIV. PUTTING THIS AND THAT TOGETHER XLV. ANOTHER OX GORED XLVI. BACKWARD AND FORWARD XLVII. BREASTING THE TORRENT XLVIII. THE PRICE OF HONOR XLIX. HIGHLY RESOLVED L. FACE ANSWERETH UNTO FACE LI. HOW SLEEP THE BRAVE? LII. REDEEMED OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE LIII. IN THE CYCLONE LIV. A BOLT OUT OF THE CLOUD LV. AN UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER LVI. SOME OLD LETTERS LVII. A SWEET AND BITTER FRUITAGE LVIII. COMING TO THE FRONT LIX. THE SHUTTLECOCK OF FATE LX. THE EXODIAN LXI. WHAT SHALL THE END BE? LXII. How?

BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW.

CHAPTER I.


Bricks Without Straw - 1/87

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