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The Battleground, ch. IV

Ellen Glasgow

        The master of Uplands was standing upon his portico behind the Doric columns, looking complacently over the fat lands upon which his fathers had sown and harvested for generations. Beyond the lane of lilacs and the two silver poplars at the gate, his eyes wandered leisurely across the blue green strip of grass-land to the tawny wheat field, where the slaves were singing as they swung their cradles. The day was fine, and the outlying meadows seemed to reflect his gaze with a smile as beneficent as his own. He had cast his bread upon the soil, and it had returned to him threefold.

        As he stood there, a small, yet imposing figure, in his white duck suit, holding his broad slouch hat in his hand, he presented something of the genial aspect of the country—as if the light that touched the pleasant hills and valleys was aglow in his clear brown eyes and comely features. Even the smooth white hand in which he held his hat and riding-whip had about it a certain plump kindliness which would best become a careless gesture of concession. And, after all, he looked but what he was -a bland and generous gentleman, whose heart was as open as his wine cellar.