A Fool There Was

Porter Emerson Browne
A Fool There Was, by Porter Emerson Browne

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Title: A Fool There Was
Author: Porter Emerson Browne
Release Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6305] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on November 23, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
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"A Fool there was and he made his prayer-- (Even as you and I.) To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair-- ( We called her the woman who did not care) But the fool he called her his lady fair-- (Even as you and I.)"


I. Of Certain People
II. Of Certain Other People
III. Two Boys and a Girl
IV. The Child and the Stranger
V. As Time Passes
VI. An Accident
VII. An Incident
VIII. Of Certain Goings
IX. Of Certain Other Goings
X. Two Boys and a Doctor
XI. A Proposal
XII. A Foreign Mission
XIII. The Going
XIV. Parmalee--and The Woman
XV. A Warning
XVI. The Beginning
XVII. In The Night
XVIII. White Roses
XIX. Shadows
XX. A Fairy Story
XXI. A Letter
XXII. Again The Fairy Story
XXIV. The Rescue
XXV. The Return
XXVI. The Red Rose
XXVII. The Red Road
XXVIII. The Battle
XXIX. Defeat
XXX. And Its Consequences
XXXI. That Which Men Said
XXXII. In the Garden
XXXIII. Temptation
XXXIV. The Shroud of a Soul
XXXV. The Thing that was a Man
XXXVI. Again the Battle
XXXVII. The Pity of It All

"Beautiful, gloriously beautiful in her strange, weird dark beauty"
"Bye little sweetheart"
"I do forgive--forgive and understand"
"Can't you find in that dead thing you call a heart just one shred of pity?"
To begin a story of this kind at the beginning is hard; for when the beginning may have been, no man knows. Perhaps it was a hundred years ago--perhaps a thousand--perhaps ten thousand; and it may well be, yet longer ago, even, than that. Yet it can be told that John Schuyler came from a long line of clean-bodied, clean-souled, clear-eyed, clear-headed ancestors; and from these he had inherited cleanness of body and of soul, clearness of eye and of head. They had given him all that lay in their power to give, had these honest, impassive Dutchmen and--women--these broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped English; they had amalgamated for him their virtues, and they had eradicated for him their vices; they had cultivated for him those things of theirs that it were well to cultivate; and they had plucked ruthlessly from the gardens of heredity the weeds and tares that might have grown to check his growth. And, doing this, they had died, one after another, knowing not what they had done--knowing not why they had done it--knowing not what the result would be--doing that which they did because it was in them to do it; and for no other reason save that. For so it is of this world.
First, then, it is for you to know these things that I have told. Secondly, it is for you to realize that there are things in this world of which we know but little; that there are other things of which we may sometime learn; that there are infinitely more things that not even the wisest of us may ever begin to understand. God chooses to tell us nothing of that which comes after; and of that which comes therein He lets us learn just enough that we may know how much more there is.
And knowing and realizing these things, we may but go back as far toward the beginning as it is in our power to see.
* * * * *
Before the restless, never-ebbing of the tides of business had overwhelmed it with a seething flood of watered stocks and liquid dollars, there stood on a corner of Fifth Avenue and one of its lower tributaries, a stern, heavy-portalled mansion of brownstone. It was a house not forbidding, but dignified. Its broad, plate-glass
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