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Master of the Vineyard

Myrtle Reed

Book Overview: 

"Why don't you sell the vineyard?" she asked, though her heart sank at the mere suggestion. "Sell it? Why didn't the Ancient Mariner sell his albatross and take a nice little trip around the world on the proceeds? Mother would die of a broken heart if I mentioned it to her. The Marsh family have been the slaves of that vineyard since the first mistaken ancestor went into the grape business. We've fertilised it, pruned it, protected it, tied it up, sat up nights with it, fanned the insects away from it, hired people to pick the fruit and pack it, fed the people, entertained them, sent presents to their wives and children—we've done everything! And what have we had for it? Only a very moderate living, all the grapes we could eat, and a few bottles of musty old wine. "Mother, of course, has very little to do with it, and, to her, it has come to represent some sort of entailed possession that becomes more sacred every year. It's a family heirloom, like a title, or some very old and valuable piece of jewelry. Other people have family plate and family traditions, but we've got a vineyard, or, to speak more truthfully, it has us."

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The stern eyes fixed themselves upon her steadily. "Do not question Life too much," he warned her. "Accept it. Have I not told you to go?"

Her fear suddenly returned. She went backward, slowly, toward the door, away from the table and the tall grey figure that stood by it, holding the letter addressed to Mrs. Virginia Marsh. When she was outside, she drew a long breath of relief. It was daybreak, and grey lights on the far horizon foreshadowed the sunrise.

She ran down the steps, stumbling as she passed the broken one, and went hurriedly down the weed-choked path. The broken marble statues were green with mould and the falling waters seemed to move with difficulty, like the breath of one about to die. The stillness of the place was vast and far-reaching; it encompassed her as the night had previously done.

She soon found the trail that led upward, though she did not recognise the point at which she had turned into the garden. She had n. . . Read More