BLTC Press Titles

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

Flute and violin and other Kentucky tales and romances

by James Lane Allen



THE opening tale of this collection is taken from Harper's Monthly ; the others, from the Century Magazine. By leave of these periodicals they are now published, and of the kindness thus shown the author makes grateful acknowledgment.

While the tales and sketches have been appearing, the authorship of them has now and then been charged to Mr. James Lane Allen, of Chicago, Illinois—pardonably to his discomfiture.

A sense of fitness forbade that the author should send along with each, as it came out, a claim that it was not another's; but he now gladly asks that the responsibility of all his work be placed where it solely belongs.

On one of the dim walls of Christ Church, in Lexington, Kentucky, there hangs, framed in thin black wood, an old rectangular slab of marble. A legend sets forth that the tablet is in memory of the Reverend James Moore, first minister of Christ Church and President of Transylvania University, who departed this life in the year 1814, at the age of forty-nine. Just beneath runs the record that he was learned, liberal, amiable, and pious.

Save this concise but not unsatisfactory summary, little is now known touching the reverend gentleman. A search through other sources of information does, indeed, result in reclaiming certain facts. Thus, it appears that he was a Virginian, and that he came to Lexington in the year 1792—when Kentucky ceased to be a county of Virginia, and became a State. At first he was a candidate for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church; but the Transylvania Presbytery having reproved him for the liberality of his sermons, James kicked against such rigor in his brethren, and turned for refuge to the bosom of the Episcopal Communion. But this body did not offer much of a bosom to take refuge in. manners. Thus it has been well with the parson as respects his posthumous fame; for how many of our fellow - creatures are learned without being amiable, amiable without being pious, and pious without having beautiful manners!

Virginia Episcopalians there were in and around the little wooden town; but so rampant was the spirit of the French Revolution and the influence of French infidelity that a celebrated local historian, who knew thoroughly the society of the place, though writing of it long afterwards, declared that about the last thing it would have been thought possible to establish there was an Episcopal church.

Not so thought James. He beat the canebrakes and scoured the buffalo trails for his Virginia Episcopalians, 'huddled them into a dilapidated little frame house on the site of the present building, and there fired so deadly a volley of sermons at the sinners free of charge that they all became living Christians. Indeed, he fired so long and so well that, several years later—under favor of Heaven and through the success of a lottery with a one-thousand-dollar prize and nine hundred and seventy-four blanks—there was built and furnished a small brick church, over which he was regularly called to officiate twice a month, at a salary of two hundred dollars a year.

Here authentic history ends, except for the additional fact that in the university he sat in the chair of logic, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and belles-lettres — a large chair to sit in with ill-matched legs and most uncertain bottom. Another authority is careful to state that he had a singularly sweet breath and beautiful

And yet the best that may be related of him is not told in the books ; and it is only when we have allowed the dust to settle once more upon the histories, and have peered deep into the mists of oral tradition, that the parson is discovered standing there in spirit and the flesh, but muffled and ghost-like, as a figure seen through a dense fog.

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