alabama sketches

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: THE DRAGON CANDLESTICK HOW came it, this strange object of Old World art, suggestive of lithe fingers and bizarre fantasies, and breathing of Italy and the Renaissance, in a West Alabama mansion in the year 18—? Though the skies were as blue and the winds were as soft as those of Italy, and though the harrying hand of civil war had given the house a look of premature antiquity, made pathetically beautiful by embowering trees and old-fashioned flowers, yet the eerie bit of rococo did not seem at home in its New World surroundings. In the late afternoon of a drowsy Southern June, it stood between Dorothy Randall and her mother on the table by the window; and under a glass case similar to those that are sometimes placed over small clocks and wax flowers to protect them from the dust, it looked quaint and beautiful. The design was that of a mediaeval dragon, with scales and wings of varicolored metal. In the dragon's mouth, which formed the socket, was a candle of pink wax, the sides of which were embellished by a delicate tracery of vines and flowers; and the bit of wick at the tip of the candle, which had never been lighted, had grown yellow with age, so that it looked as if it were of silk. From the manner with which it was regarded by mother and daughter it was clear that the table by the window was not its usual resting-place, but that it had been recently brought forth from safe-keeping for an especial reason. "It is marvellously beautiful," said the young girl, after a deep-drawn breath ; and with a wondering look in her pretty gray eyes she carefully lifted the glass case from the curio. "See, mother, see!" she added, clasping her hands in admiration, as the wind, softly shifting the rose-vine that clambered over the western window, let in a tiny sunbeam, which gay...
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