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The Idyl of Red Gulch

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The Idyl of Red Gulch

by Bret Harte

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


“I’ve money plenty, and it’s all yours and his. Put him in some good school, where you can go and see him, and help him to–to–to forget his mother. Do with him what you like. The worst you can do will be kindness to what he will learn with me. Only take him out of this wicked life, this cruel place, this home of shame and sorrow. You will; I know you will–won’t you? You will–you must not, you cannot say no! You will make him as pure, as gentle as yourself; and when he has grown up, you will tell him his father’s name–the name that hasn’t passed my lips for years–the name of Alexander Morton, whom they call here Sandy! Miss Mary!–do not take your hand away! Miss Mary, speak to me! You will take my boy? Do not put your face from me. I know it ought not to look on such as me. Miss Mary!–my God, be merciful!–she is leaving me!”

Miss Mary had risen and, in the gathering twilight, had felt her way to the open window. She stood there, leaning against the casement, her eyes fixed on the last rosy tints that were fading from the western sky. There was still some of its light on her pure young forehead, on her white collar, on her clasped white hands, but all fading slowly away. The suppliant had dragged herself, still on her knees, beside her.

“I know it takes time to consider. I will wait here all night; but I cannot go until you speak. Do not deny me now. You will!–I see it in your sweet face–such a face as I have seen in my dreams. I see it in your eyes, Miss Mary!–you will take my boy!”


A father realizes his young son would be better off being reared by someone else. A tear-jerker, if you can make the sentimentality work.


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