The House of Helen by Corra Harris

The House of Helen

byCorra Harris

Kobo ebook | March 8, 2015

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The town of Shannon lay like a wreath flung wide upon the hills above one of those long, green, fertile valleys to be seen everywhere below the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia. It was nothing like a city, merely a neat, little town built by thrifty people since the Civil War. Therefore, there were no colonial residences in it to remind you of the strutting, magnificent past, but the houses in it were smaller, painted any color that pleased the fancy, ruffled from end to end, with spindle-legged porches and scalloped gables. White church spires stuck up out of it like the forefingers of faith in God. There was a town square, around which business was done comfortably and leisurely on a credit basis. The red-brick courthouse stood in this square, with a long, wide flight of white cement steps to it, showing like the teeth of the law; not that any one minded these teeth. The dome of this courthouse was covered with galvanized tin. It shone above the tufted trees on bright days like an immense silver helmet. And beneath this helmet there was the town clock, a good, old man with a plain, round face with only the wrinkles that marked the hours on it. Half the men in Shannon who carried watch chains carried no watches because this clock was so infallibly faithful to the sun. At the time of which I write no one in Shannon called the narrow or even the wide spaces, which separated their respective homes from the street, a lawn. It was the “front yard,” and usually divided with a picket fence from the back yard, where the hens attended to business. Flowers, of the kind in service to “ladies” who wear aprons and do their own work and have an artless affection for blooming things, inhabited these front yards, regardless of law and order in the matter of background or perspective. The forsythia, syringas, roses and altheas had been planted with reference to their health in relation to the sun, and, whatever happened, they bloomed. Only the smaller plants, like annuals, were sternly disciplined. They stood up in beds or along the graveled walks, like spelling classes in a properly graded school, every one of them reciting a bloom after the manner of its kind. These ladies of Shannon also kept “potted plants” and exchanged cuttings. It is only after you have ceased to be thrifty and have become rich that you imprison your flowers in a conservatory or a greenhouse. Shannon reached this scandalous pinnacle of prosperity years later, but at this time there was what may be called miniature “bleachers” on the front porches in Shannon where red and pink and white geraniums doubled up gorgeous fists of bloom, and fuchsias hung their waxened bells in the breeze, and begonias flaunted their rich, dark leaves, and that unspeakably gross and hardy vine, the Wandering Jew, wandered at will. These flower-laden bleachers were especially characteristic of Wiggs Street, because this was the principal residence street of Shannon. And it was all a family affair. The nieces of the geraniums on Mrs. Adams’ porch bloomed on the porch of the Cutter home across the way. And Mrs. Adams had obtained the root of her sword fern from Mrs. Cutter, and so on and so forth. You might multiply it by the seeds or shoots or roots of ten thousand flowers.

Title:The House of HelenFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 8, 2015Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1465631038

ISBN - 13:9781465631039

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The town of Shannon lay like a wreath flung wide upon the hills above one of those long, green, fertile valleys to be seen everywhere below the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia. It was nothing like a city, merely a neat, little town built by thrifty people since the Civil War. Therefore, there were no colonial residences in it to remind you of the strutting, magnificent past, but the houses in it were smaller, painted any color that pleased the fancy, ruffled from end to end, with spindle-legged porches and scalloped gables. White church spires stuck up out of it like the forefingers of faith in God. There was a town square, around which business was done comfortably and leisurely on a credit basis. The red-brick courthouse stood in this square, with a long, wide flight of white cement steps to it, showing like the teeth of the law; not that any one minded these teeth. The dome of this courthouse was covered with galvanized tin. It shone above the tufted trees on bright days like an immense silver helmet. And beneath this helmet there was the town clock, a good, old man with a plain, round face with only the wrinkles that marked the hours on it. Half the men in Shannon who carried watch chains carried no watches because this clock was so infallibly faithful to the sun. At the time of which I write no one in Shannon called the narrow or even the wide spaces, which separated their respective homes from the street, a lawn. It was the “front yard,” and usually divided with a picket fence from the back yard, where the hens attended to business. Flowers, of the kind in service to “ladies” who wear aprons and do their own work and have an artless affection for blooming things, inhabited these front yards, regardless of law and order in the matter of background or perspective. The forsythia, syringas, roses and altheas had been planted with reference to their health in relation to the sun, and, whatever happened, they bloomed. Only the smaller plants, like annuals, were sternly disciplined. They stood up in beds or along the graveled walks, like spelling classes in a properly graded school, every one of them reciting a bloom after the manner of its kind. These ladies of Shannon also kept “potted plants” and exchanged cuttings. It is only after you have ceased to be thrifty and have become rich that you imprison your flowers in a conservatory or a greenhouse. Shannon reached this scandalous pinnacle of prosperity years later, but at this time there was what may be called miniature “bleachers” on the front porches in Shannon where red and pink and white geraniums doubled up gorgeous fists of bloom, and fuchsias hung their waxened bells in the breeze, and begonias flaunted their rich, dark leaves, and that unspeakably gross and hardy vine, the Wandering Jew, wandered at will. These flower-laden bleachers were especially characteristic of Wiggs Street, because this was the principal residence street of Shannon. And it was all a family affair. The nieces of the geraniums on Mrs. Adams’ porch bloomed on the porch of the Cutter home across the way. And Mrs. Adams had obtained the root of her sword fern from Mrs. Cutter, and so on and so forth. You might multiply it by the seeds or shoots or roots of ten thousand flowers.