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Authors: Joyce Carol Oates

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A Bloodsmoor Romance

BOOK: A Bloodsmoor Romance
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DEDICATION

For Elaine Showalter

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Of the divers books consulted in the preparation of this definitive chronicle, some four stand out, as deserving of especial note; these being,
The Ladies' Wreath, A Magazine Devoted to Literature, Industry, and Religion,
Mrs. S. T. Martyn, ed. (New York, 1847);
The Wedding-Day Book,
arranged by Katharine Lee Bates (Boston, 1882);
The Sociology of Invention,
S. C. Gilfillan (Chicago, 1935); and
Psychical Research, Science, and Religion,
Stanley De Brath (London, 1925). Frequent quotations in this volume, particularly of verse, are liberally drawn from the excellent books assembled by Mrs. Martyn and Miss Bates, to whose literary labors, and bounties, I am very much in debt.

 

Oh the Earth was
made
for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,

For sighing, and gentle whispering, and
unity
made of
twain
.

All things do go a-courting, in earth, or sea, or air,

God hath made nothing single but
thee
in His world so fair!

The
brid
e
, and then the
bridegroo
m
, the
tw
o
, and then the
one
,

Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;

The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,

Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.

The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small,

None cannot find who
seeket
h
, on this terrestrial ball;

The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,

And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;

The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won,

And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son.
.
.
.

The
worm
doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride,

Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide;

Earth
is a merry damsel, and
heaven
a knight so true,

And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue.
.
.
.

There's
Sara
h
, and
Eliz
a
, and
Emeline
so fair,

And
Harrie
t
, and
Susa
n
, and she with
curling hai
r
!

Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see

Six
true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree;

Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb,

And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for
space
, or
time
!

Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower,

And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower—

And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum—

And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!

—
EMILY DICKINSON,
1850

CONTENTS

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

I: THE OUTLAW BALLOON

     
ONE

     
TWO

     
THREE

     
FOUR

     
FIVE

     
SIX

     
SEVEN

     
EIGHT

     
NINE

 

II: THE PASSIONATE COURTSHIP

     
TEN

     
ELEVEN

     
TWELVE

     
THIRTEEN

     
FOURTEEN

 

III: THE UNLOOS'D DEMON

     
FIFTEEN

     
SIXTEEN

     
SEVENTEEN

     
EIGHTEEN

     
NINETEEN

     
TWENTY

 

IV: THE YANKEE PEDLAR'S SON

     
TWENTY-ONE

     
TWENTY-TWO

     
TWENTY-THREE

     
TWENTY-FOUR

     
TWENTY-FIVE

     
TWENTY-SIX

 

V: THE WIDE WORLD

     
TWENTY-SEVEN

     
TWENTY-EIGHT

     
TWENTY-NINE

     
THIRTY

     
THIRTY-ONE

     
THIRTY-TWO

     
THIRTY-THREE

     
THIRTY-FOUR

     
THIRTY-FIVE

 

VI: IVORY-BLACK; OR, THE SPIRIT WORLD

     
THIRTY-SIX

     
THIRTY-SEVEN

     
THIRTY-EIGHT

     
THIRTY-NINE

     
FORTY

     
FORTY-ONE

     
FORTY-TWO

     
FORTY-THREE

 

VII: “UNSUNG AMERICANS ...”

     
FORTY-FOUR

     
FORTY-FIVE

     
FORTY-SIX

     
FORTY-SEVEN

     
FORTY-EIGHT

     
FORTY-NINE

     
FIFTY

     
FIFTY-ONE

     
FIFTY-TWO

     
FIFTY-THREE

     
FIFTY-FOUR

 

VIII: THE MARK OF THE BEAST

     
FIFTY-FIVE

     
FIFTY-SIX

     
FIFTY-SEVEN

     
FIFTY-EIGHT

     
FIFTY-NINE

     
SIXTY

     
SIXTY-ONE

     
SIXTY-TWO

     
SIXTY-THREE

     
SIXTY-FOUR

     
SIXTY-FIVE

     
SIXTY-SIX

     
SIXTY-SEVEN

     
SIXTY-EIGHT

 

IX: “ADIEU! 'TIS LOVE'S LAST GREETING”

     
SIXTY-NINE

     
SEVENTY

     
SEVENTY-ONE

     
SEVENTY-TWO

     
SEVENTY-THREE

     
SEVENTY-FOUR

     
SEVENTY-FIVE

     
SEVENTY-SIX

     
SEVENTY-SEVEN

     
SEVENTY-EIGHT

     
SEVENTY-NINE

     
EIGHTY

     
EIGHTY-ONE

     
EIGHTY-TWO

     
EIGHTY-THREE

     
EIGHTY-FOUR

 

NOVELS BY JOYCE CAROL OATES

COPYRIGHT

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

I

The Outlaw Balloon

ONE

O
ur history of the remarkable Zinn family, to end upon the final bold stroke of midnight, December 31, 1899, begins some twenty years earlier, on that beauteous September afternoon, in the golden haze of autumn, 1879—ah, now so long past!—when, to the confus'd shame and horror of her loving family and the consternation of all of Bloodsmoor, Miss
Deirdre
Louisa Zinn, the adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Quincy Zinn, betook herself on an impetuous walk, with no companion, and was, by daylight,
abducted from the grounds belonging to the stately home of her grandparents, historic old Kidde­master Hall.

Well may you blink and draw back in alarm at that crude word,
abducted:
and yet, I fear, there is no other, to be employed with any honesty.

Indeed, as the authorized chronicler of the Zinn family, I should like very much to be more circumspect in this wise, in presenting, to the reader, so frightful and so lurid a state of affairs at the very outset; I should like, too, to shield the Zinns and the Kidde­masters from that exposure to the noisome world of talebearers, gossipmongers, well-intentioned fools, and journalists of every ilk, soon to plague them, in the midst of their grief. Yet there is no remedy: for
A Bloodsmoor Romance: A True History of the Zinns of the Bloodsmoor Valley,
must begin on this ignominous day, with the unlook'd-to disappearance of the youngest Miss Zinn, in plain view, I am bound to say, of her terrified sisters.

That the dark-haired and very pale-skinned
Deirdre
was to be borne away from her loving parents, and her devoted sisters, at the maidenly age of but sixteen, is surely tragic; that she was to be borne away, in such unwonted circumstances,
in an outlaw balloon of sinister black-silken hue, manned by an unidentified pilot,
is so singular and so unprecedented in the annals of the Valley, or elsewhere, that one cannot entirely condemn the gossipmongers for their cruel whisperings. An innocent child, indeed—for what child, of good family, is
not
innocent?—yet, withal, was there not something strange about this youngest Miss Zinn; something willful, and truculent, and brooding, and
indelicate?
Was she grateful to have been adopted by so illustrious a family? Was she devout enough a Christian? Was she not rather furtive in her manner, and stubborn in the melancholy of her visage; and, tho' a member of the Zinn family for some six years, a
daughter,
and a
sister,
much cherished by all, was she not curiously
faithless?

Thus, the gossipmongers: their ignorant prattle, I am happy to say, rarely found its way back to the family itself, so sparing them additional grief.

Ah,
Deirdre
, how many misfortunes are to follow from your initial misfortune! How many tears must be spilt, and hearts rent; unseemly passions inflamed; precipitant outbursts unleash'd, to work their evil amongst the faultless! And all as a consequence of a willful young lady's decision to absent herself from the company of her sisters, in something approaching a
disheveled state of mind,
with no thought, and no concern, for the feelings of others!

Indeed, I am bound to confess, here at the outset of my chronicle, that a darksome wave of
revulsion
oft o'ercomes me, at the consideration of all that must be endured, in future years, by the Zinns, and the elder Kidde­masters as well, as a consequence of this unfortunate episode—springing, as it were, out of the incorporeal air of Bloodsmoor: the warm, luxuriant, dreamy, and golden-hazy air of an autumn day shading to dusk,
not long past teatime.

 

(
IT WILL NOT
be objected, I hope, that, at this juncture, I hasten to inform the reader that, though the Zinns are to suffer much tumultuous misfortune, and oft despair at the riddlesome nature of our life here on earth, there are myriad blessings—nay, triumphs—in wait for them: for it is a self-evident truth, as the much-loved poet, essayist, and distinguished man of the cloth, the Reverend Cornelius Potter, has declared:
Through the dismal face of Adversity, the sun of Our Lord's Benevolence ne'er ceases to shine.
Nor has God forgotten His especial children, in even this most dismaying of periods in the history of our glorious nation.)

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