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New York Public Library
THE ADOPTED SISTER;
WILLIAM P. NIMMO.
THENEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 72153
ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 1897.
PRINTED BY SCHENCK AND M'FARLANE, ST JAMES' SQUARE.
"Through many a dark and dreary vale
ICTURE to yourself a narrow valley, with very high and rugged mountains on either
side, and having huge masses of rock and large stones lying scattered about in all directions -many of them deeply imbedded in the ground, and completely overgrown with a profusion of thick, soft moss in a variety of the most beautiful shades, varying from the lightest and brightest green to a dusky brown, and the darkest olive colour. On one side of the valley runs a rapid stream of clear and sparkling water, murmuring, bubbling, and gurgling over its bed of smooth stones. Such is Mossdale, or, as it is there called, Moosthal, in Alsace-not far from Switzerland on the one hand, nor from Germany in another direction.
Owing to its narrowness, and the great height and ruggedness of the mountains on each side, the valley would always be rather dark and gloomy-looking, were it not that, stretching from north to south, on a gentle declivity, it has the full benefit of the sun's rays during a part of the day; but as the dawn is of course later in appearing there than in the plain, and the sun also sets proportionately earlier, the length of the days more especially in the winter time-is somewhat curtailed, a circumstance which is not calculated to give the place a cheerful aspect. But a profusion of wild-flowers and creeping plants-many of them of gay colours-growing in the clefts of the rocks, thus covering a part of their ruggedness, and gracefully concealing the extreme harshness of their bold outlines, greatly relieved the gloom. A number of birds, attracted to this sheltered spot, also enlivened it with their brisk movements and joyous notes. One part of the valley is somewhat wider than the rest; and the ground here having recently been cleared of the masses of rock and loose stones which encumber it elsewhere, there stands however incongruous it may appcar in such a place—a factory, built of stone, and the machinery in which is set in motion by a large water-wheel turned by the gurgling stream. At a short distance from the factory is a house in the Swisscottage style, having a newly-made garden in front, as yet rather bare of vegetation. In this garden, and looking towards the factory, stand a gentleman and lady-Mr and Mrs Harebell.
Mr Harebell, who might be about five-and-forty