Excerpt of Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal
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Breath and Bones
little book treats of delicate subjects,
and has been sent to you only by
It is not intended for indiscriminate reading,
but for your own private information.
To three generations of Familjeflickor
Altid med de bedste hensigter.
Beauty like hers is genius.
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Springs, or Hygiene:
26.2 miles from the western (narrow gauge) rail terminus at Harmsway,
with tracks presently being extended to the village itself.
It is halfway up the mountain and so situated as to promote respiratory
hygiene and health, with picturesque scenery on every side.
The hospital building was erected at a cost of $80,000 and is not equaled
by any other such institution in the West; thus for the last half-decade it has
rivaled the nearby gold mines in its contributions to the regions prosperity.
The visitor may enjoy the naturally carbonated spring waters or tour the
small but none the less distinguished gallery of paintings, privately owned and
free to the public on the first Monday of each month.
Of several good hotels, the Celestial is the best.
Frederick E. Shearer, The
Pacific Tourist, revised edition, 1892
The cemetery seemed to roll on for miles, its plinths and statues struggling through
the folds of a hillside thinly dusted white.
A strange situation for a house of art, the widow thought; but these
graves, like the mine tailings on the mountain below or the crenellated fortress
above, were nothing to her.
Two men met her at the fortress door.
One was tall and raw and bony, with a disturbing stripe of pink scalp
showing, as if he had been attacked by savages.
His hands, also, were knotted with scar tissue, white ridges and
mountains straining against the bones beneath.
The other man, just slightly shorter, wore silken gloves, as if to say
his own hands would do no more work on this earth; from his dark spectacles and
blank expression, she surmised that he was blind.
She did not ask their names, and they did not need to ask hers.
She already knew the tall man, knew he was of her native country. She
could speak as she wished, and he would translate.
"We are honored. "The
blind man spoke English, but quite clearly.
"Thank you for traveling all this way. "
"It was my husbands wish. "She
saw no need to pretend she was glad of itthough she was very glad finally to
be unburdening herself of the crate and its contents.
"Your drivers are opening the box now. "
The taller man translated for the blind one, then turned back to her.
"Would you like to see where it will hang?" he asked, and she
supposed she would.
There were four rooms to the gallery, each one feebly seeping light
through narrow windows. The first
two were crowded, with pictures hung nearly floor to ceiling and some of the
frames knocking against each other.
Excerpted from Breath and Bones© Susann Cokal. Published by Unbridled Books. All rights reserved