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Pauline's Passion and Punishment by Louisa May Alcott
page 1 of 59 (01%)



Chapter I

To and fro, like a wild creature in its cage, paced that handsome woman,
with bent head, locked hands, and restless steps. Some mental storm,
swift and sudden as a tempest of the tropics, had swept over her and
left its marks behind. As if in anger at the beauty now proved
powerless, all ornaments had been flung away, yet still it shone
undimmed, and filled her with a passionate regret. A jewel glittered at
her feet, leaving the lace rent to shreds on the indignant bosom that
had worn it; the wreaths of hair that had crowned her with a woman's
most womanly adornment fell disordered upon shoulders that gleamed the
fairer for the scarlet of the pomegranate flowers clinging to the bright
meshes that had imprisoned them an hour ago; and over the face, once so
affluent in youthful bloom, a stern pallor had fallen like a blight, for
pride was slowly conquering passion, and despair had murdered hope.

Pausing in her troubled march, she swept away the curtain swaying in the
wind and looked out, as if imploring help from Nature, the great mother
of us all. A summer moon rode high in a cloudless heaven, and far as eye
could reach stretched the green wilderness of a Cuban _cafetal_. No
forest, but a tropical orchard, rich in lime, banana, plantain, palm,
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