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Janice Meredith

Paul Leicester Ford

Wallack's Theatre 100th Performance

Mary Mannering as Janice Meredith

February 15th 1901

Janice Meredith

Volume I.

Books by Mr. Ford

The Honorable Peter Stirling The Great K & A Train Robbery The Story of an Untold Love The True George Washington Tattle-Tales of Cupid The Many-Sided Franklin The New England Primer

[Illustration: Janice Meredith (Miniature in color)]

Janice Meredith A Story of the American Revolution by Paul Leicester Ford Author of "The Honorable Peter Stirling"

With a Miniature by Lillie V. O'Ryan and numerous Scenes from the Play

Mary Mannering Edition

To George W. Vanderbilt

My dear George: Into the warp and woof of every book an author weaves much that even the subtlest readers cannot suspect, far less discern. To them it is but a cross and pile of threads interlaced to form a pattern which may please or displease their taste. But to the writer every filament has its own association: How each bit of silk or wool, flax or tow, was laboriously gathered, or was blown to him; when each was spun by the wheel of his fancy into yarns; the colour and tint his imagination gave to each skein; and where each was finally woven into the fabric by the shuttle of his pen. No thread ever quite detaches itself from its growth and spinning, dyeing and weaving, and each draws him back to hours and places seemingly unrelated to the work. And so, as I have read the proofs of this book I have found more than once that the pages have faded out of sight and in their stead I have seen Mount Pisgah and the French Broad River, or the ramp and terrace of Biltmore House, just as I saw them when writing the words which served to recall them to me. With the visions, too, has come a recurrence to our long talks, our work among the books, our games of chess, our cups of tea, our walks, our rides, and our drives. It is therefore a pleasure to me that the book so naturally gravitates to you, and that I may make it a remembrance of those past weeks of companionship, and an earnest of the present affection of PAUL LEICESTER FORD

ILLUSTRATIONS

Volume I. Janice Meredith (Miniature in color) "'T is sunrise at Greenwood" "Nay, give me the churn" "The British ran" "It flatters thee" "You set me free" "The prisoner is gone "Here's to the prettiest damsel" "I'm the prisoner" "Trenton is unguarded. Advance" "He'd make a proper husband" "Stay and take his place, Colonel" "Thou art my soldier" "'T is to rescue thee, Janice" Volume II. George Washington (In color) "There's no safety for thee" "The despatch!" "Who are you?" "Art comfortable, Janice?" "Where is that paper?" "Victory" "Washington has crossed the Delaware!" "I love you for your honesty, Janice" "Don't move!" "Have I won?" "Where are you going?"

JANICE MEREDITH A TALE OF THE REVOLUTION

VOLUME I

A HEROINE OF MANY POSSIBILITIES

"Alonzo now once more found himself upon an element that had twice proved destructive to his happiness, but Neptune was propitious, and with gentle breezes wafted him toward his haven of bliss, toward Amaryllis. Alas, when but one day from happiness, a Moorish zebec--"

"Janice!" called a voice.

The effect on the reader and her listener, both of whom were sitting on the floor, was instantaneous. Each started and sat rigidly intent for a moment; then, as the sound of approaching footsteps became audible, one girl hastily slipped a little volume under the counterpane of the bed, while the other sprang to her feet, and in a hurried, flustered way pretended to be getting something out of a tall wardrobe.

Before the one who hid the book had time to rise, a woman of fifty entered the room, and after a glance, cried--

"Janice Meredith! How often have I told thee that it is ungenteel for a female to repose on the floor?"

"Very often, mommy," said Janice, rising meekly, meantime casting a quick glance at the bed, to see how far its smoothness had been disturbed.

"And still thee continues such unbecoming and vastly indelicate behaviour."

"Oh, mommy, but it is so nice!" cried the girl. "Did n't you like to sit on the floor when you were fifteen?"

"Janice, thou 't more careless every day in bed-making," ejaculated Mrs. Meredith, making a sudden dive toward the bed, as if she desired to escape the question. She smoothed the gay patchwork quilt, seemed to feel something underneath, and the next moment pulled out the hidden volume, which was bound, as the bookseller's advertisements phrased it, in "half calf, neat, marbled sides." One stern glance she gave the two red-faced culprits, and, opening the book, read out in a voice that was in itself an impeachment, "The Adventures of Alonzo and Amaryllis!"

There was an instant's silence, full of omen to the culprits, and then Mrs. Meredith's wrath found vent.

"Janice Meredith!" she cried. "On a Sabbath morning, when thee shouldst be setting thy thoughts in a fit order for church! And thou, Tabitha Drinker!"

"It 's all my fault, Mrs. Meredith," hurriedly asserted Tabitha. "I brought the book with me from Trenton, and 't was I suggested that we go on reading this morning."

"Six hours of spinet practice thou shalt have to-morrow, miss," announced Mrs. Meredith to her daughter, "and this afternoon thou shalt say over the whole catechism. As for thee, Tabitha, I shall feel it my duty to write thy father of his daughter's conduct. Now hurry and make ready for church." And Mrs. Meredith started to leave the room.

"Oh, mommy," cried Janice, springing forward and laying a detaining hand on her mother's arm in an imploring manner, "punish me as much as you please,--I know 't was very, very wicked,--but don't take the book away! He and Amaryllis were just--"

"Not another sight shalt thou have of it, miss. My daughter reading novels, indeed!" and Mrs. Meredith departed, holding the evil book gingerly between her fingers, much as one might carry something that was liable to soil one's hands.

The two girls looked at each other, Tabitha with a woebegone expression, and Janice with an odd one, which might mean many things. The flushed cheeks were perhaps due to guilt, but the tightly clinched little fists were certainly due to anger, and, noting these two only, one would have safely affirmed that Janice Meredith, meekly as she had taken her mother's scolding, had a quick and hot temper. But the eyes were fairly starry with some emotion, certainly not anger, and


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