Carried by Storm


Carried by Storm

May Agnes Fleming was a Canadian novelist. She was "one of the first Canadians to pursue a highly successful career as a writer of popular fiction". She began writing at the age of thirteen.

May Agnes Early was born in Carleton, West Saint John, in the Colony of New Brunswick to Irish immigrant. She married an engineer, John W. Fleming, in 1865. She moved to New York two years after her first novel, Erminie; or The gypsy's vow: a tale of love and vengeance was published there (1863).

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"There it stands," says Miss Ventnor, musingly, her elbow on her knee, her pretty chin in her hand,

" 'Under some prodigious ban,

Of excommunication…'

and yet I can remember when Sleaford's was the rendez-vous of all that was youngest, loudest, merriest, in a radius of twenty miles — the 'jolliest old roost going,' as poor Frank Livingston used to tell me.

The Sleaford girls were the handsomest, reddest-cheeked, blackest-eyed, loudest-laughing gypsies to be seen for a mile. There were two of them, as much alike as peas in a pod, as round and rosy as twin tomatoes.

There were the two Sleaford boys, tall, strapping fellows, with more of the wild gypsy strain even than their sisters, the best dancers, wrestlers, rowers, singers, fighters, everything but the best farmers — they never worked.

There was Giles Sleaford himself, who went up to that attic room one moonlight night, a strong, stalwart man, and was carried down next morning — an awful spectacle. And last of all there was — Joanna."

Miss Ventnor's voice takes a sudden change as it slowly — reluctantly, it seems — pronounces this name, a touch of strong repulsion it has not had even when telling the story of Sleaford's grisly death. She sits suddenly erect as she utters it, and gathers up the reins.

"Let us go," she says, with a shiver; "it is a horrible place, haunted by evil memories if by nothing more tangible. It is growing cold, too. Do not look at it any more — it is uncanny. You will dream of Sleaford's tonight ."