The Girl From the Marsh Croft

The Girl From the Marsh Croft

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Overview

PREFATORY NOTE

READERS of Miss Lagerlöf will observe that in this, her latest book, "The Girl from the Marsh Croft," the Swedish author has abandoned her former world of Romanticism and has entered the field of Naturalism and Realism.

This writer's romantic style is most marked, perhaps, in her first successful work, 'Gösta Berling."

How "The Story of Gösta Berling" grew, and the years required to perfect it, is told in the author's unique literary autobiography, "The Story of a Story," which is embodied in the present volume.

In "The Girl from the Marsh Croft," Miss Lagerlöf has courageously chosen a girl who had gone astray as the heroine of her love story, making her innate honesty and goodness the redemptive qualities which win for her the love of an honest man and the respect and esteem of all.

To the kindness of the publishers of Good Housekeeping, I am indebted for permission to include "The Legend of the Christmas Rose" in this volume.

This book is translated and published with the sanction of the author, Selma Lagerlöf.


***

An excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter:

I.

IT took place in the court room of a rural district. At the head of the Judges' table sits an old Judge – a tall and massively built man, with a broad, rough-hewn visage. For several hours he has been engaged in deciding one case after another, and finally something like disgust and melancholy has taken hold of him. It is difficult to know if it is the heat and closeness of the court room that are torturing him or if he has become low-spirited from handling all these petty wrangles, which seem to spring from no other cause than to bear witness to people's quarrel-mania, uncharitableness, and greed.

He has just begun on one of the last cases to be tried during the day. It concerns a plea for help in the rearing of a child.

This case had already been tried at the last Court Session, and the protocols of the former suit are being read; therefore one learns that the plaintiff is a poor farmer's daughter and the defendant is a married man.

Moreover, it says in the protocol, the defendant maintains that the plaintiff has wrongfully, unjustly, and only with the desire of profiting thereby, sued the defendant. He admits that at one time the plaintiff had been employed in his household, but that during her stay in his home he had not carried on any intrigue with her, and she has no right to demand assistance from him. The plaintiff still holds firmly to her claim, and after a few witnesses have been heard, the defendant is called to take the oath and show cause why he should not be sentenced by the Court to assist the plaintiff.

Both parties have come up and are standing, side by side, before the Judges' table. The plaintiff is very young and looks frightened to death. She is weeping from shyness and with difficulty wipes away the tears with a crumpled handkerchief, which she does n't seem to know how to open out. She wears black clothes, which are quite new and whole, but they fit so badly that one is tempted to think she has borrowed them in order to appear before the Court of Justice in a befitting manner.

As regards the defendant, one sees at a glance that he is a prosperous man. He is about forty and has a bold and dashing appearance. As he stands before the Court, he has a very good bearing. One can see that he does not think it a pleasure to stand there, but he does n't appear to be the least concerned about it.

As soon as the protocols have been read, the Judge turns to the defendant and asks him if he holds fast to his denials and if he is prepared to take the oath.

To these questions the defendant promptly answers a curt yes. He digs down in his vest pocket and takes out a statement from the clergyman who attests that he understands the meaning and import of the oath and is qualified to take it.

All through this the plaintiff has been weeping. She appears to be unconquerably bashful, and doggedly keeps her eyes fixed upon the floor. Thus far she has not raised her eyes sufficiently to look the defendant in the face.

As he utters his "yes," she starts back. She moves a step or two nearer the Court, as if she had something to say to the contrary, and then she stands there perplexed. It is hardly possible, she seems to say to herself; he cannot have answered yes. I have heard wrongly.

Meanwhile the Judge takes the clergyman's paper and motions to the court officer. The latter goes up to the table to find the Bible, which lies hidden under a pile of records, and lays it down in front of the defendant.

The plaintiff hears that some one is walking past her and becomes restless. She forces herself to raise her eyes just enough to cast a glance over the table...

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015516579
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 10/16/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 642 KB

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