The gilt words were stamped into a green cloth binding.
     --Yes, I've read it, Mr. Shawnessy said.
     He handed the book back to Eva, who became instantly reabsorbed in the story.
     Brief résumé of the Sentimental Epic of America:
     Between green cloth covers, on yellow faded pages, an upright young man from the country goes to the wicked city of Chicago to seek his fortune. There he falls in love with a rich girl, innately good but unredeemed by the Christian faith. Scenes of love, misunderstanding, danger, sickness, and death follow each other with dramatic vividness. In the climax of the book, the Great Chicago Fire bursts catastrophically upon the world of private lives and loves. The hero saves the heroine from a villainous rape amid spectacular scenes of fire and death and converts her to Jesus on the shore of the lake while around them the corrupt wealth and social inequalities of the City are leveled by the purging fire, and all barriers between the lovers are forever burned away. The congregation is requested to stand on the last verse.
     The river was far behind. The roofs of Freehaven were visible a straight half-mile down the road. The Court House Tower stood in a haze of distance directly from the line of the road, a square stem of red brick, capped with a dull green roof ascending to a blunt point. A clockface recessed in the roofslope was too distant to be read.
     He sifted the faded pages of himself.
     Beautiful and lost was the secret he had sought to find long ago in a green cloth binding.

--From Raintree County, p 116

--image provided by David Nale--

Clipped from, "Some Facts About Edward Payson Roe (1838-1888)," 11 pages of notes, Ross Lockridge, Jr.

Back to "Author in the Epic," from Shade of the Raintree, Larry Lockridge

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