New Free Read: The Forman Family’s Sacrifice

Talk about found treasure! This month’s Free Read is The Forman Family’s Sacrifice, a story Isabella published as a serial in a 1916 magazine.

Although it’s a full-length novel (fifteen chapters in all), The Forman Family’s Sacrifice was never published in book form. Luckily, all those magazine issues survived so we can put the story together and enjoy it today!

Here’s a brief synopsis:

“Aunt Elsie—coming here!”

Isn’t it enough that the Foreman family has fallen on hard times? They already have to count every penny; must they also take in an elderly aunt none of them remember and who is already making demands before she even arrives on their doorstep?

Of course the Formans will make the necessary sacrifices to do their Christian duty by Aunt Elsie, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it. And if Aunt Elsie happens to overhear their grumblings, maybe she’ll get the message and cut her stay short.

But Aunt Elsie overhears more than the family realizes; and she soon discovers a long-held secret she’s been keeping just might be the key to solving the Forman family’s troubles.

You can read The Forman Family’s Sacrifice for free!

Click here to go to BookFunnel.com where you can choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

Free Read: The Opportunity Circle

This month’s free read was written by Isabella’s best friend and frequent co-author, Faye Huntington (whose real name was Theodosia Foster).

“The Opportunity Circle” is the story of Marion Lansing, a young teen whose life is upended when her mother falls ill, and the family physician tells them they must move to Colorado if she is to be cured.

Book cover featuring young woman in gold gown circle 1900. She has a yellow rose tucked into the bodice of her dress and is holding an open book in one hand.

When the story was written in 1901, physicians often prescribed a change of scenery or climate as a cure for common diseases. And although the author doesn’t mention the name of the mother’s ailment in the story, there’s a good chance that she suffered from tuberculosis.

Brief newspaper article titled "The Cold-Air Cure," which claims "Not one death at Denver Sanitarium from Tuberculosis."
From The Topeka Daily Mail, February 13, 1905.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s tuberculosis—known back then as “consumption” or “white death”—was the country’s leading cause of death. There was no vaccine to prevent the disease, nor antibiotics to treat it.

The Glockner Sanitaium in Colorado Springs, about 1910

But physicians did have one course of treatment. They knew that patients who lived in a dry climate with plenty of sunshine seemed to improve. Colorado, with its dry air, high altitude, and sunny skies, was one place where patients found relief and even saw some improvement over the disease.

The sprawling campus of the Agnes Memorial TB Sanitarium in Denver, about 1910.

By the time Faye Huntington wrote “The Opportunity Circle,” Colorado was home to hundreds of sanitariums, spas, and hospitals, all of which catered to tuberculosis patients. But they were pricey, and many TB patients who bought one-way tickets to Colorado didn’t have the money to pay for expensive treatments.

The Oakes Home, a Denver TB sanitarium (about 1907).

Those less affluent patients erected tent cities outside small towns and mining camps, where they rested and spent as many hours as possible in the sun each day.

In Faye’s story, Marion Lansing’s daily two-mile walks to the mining settlement have some basis in fact. While there’s no record that Faye Huntington ever visited a Colorado mining camp or tuberculosis resort, she probably read newspaper accounts of the many patients who flocked to the mile-high state, and might even have known one or two such patients herself.

You can read “The Opportunity Circle” for free!

Click here to go to BookFunnel.com where you can choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

New Free Read: “Scattered Verses”

This month’s Free Read is “Scattered Verses,” a short story Isabella Alden wrote in 1892.

In “Scattered Verses” Isabella illustrates the sacrifices mothers often make for their families, which makes this a perfect story for Mothers’ Day! Here’s a brief description:

“Such a chance! I never had any such chances, you know. They didn’t study the Bible much when I was a girl, not in this way!”

So says Mrs. Halstead when she, her husband and daughter, take a cottage for the summer at a famous Sunday-school assembly. But those Bible classes, as precious as they are, occupy a good deal of time—time she used to spend caring for her family; and while she may be learning a lot about Paul’s letters to the early churches, her little rented cottage is in chaos from kitchen to bedroom! Before long Mrs. Halstead is faced with a difficult decision: should her devotion to studying the Bible be stronger than her devotion to her family?

You can read “Scattered Verses” for free!

Click here or on the book cover above and choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

New Free Read! Harold Payne’s Easter

Isabella’s friend Theodosia Toll Foster was widely published as a novelist and short-story writer. Under the pen name “Faye Huntington” she wrote for the sole purpose of winning souls for Christ. Her story, “Harold Payne’s Easter” was published in the April 1909 issue of a Christian magazine. 

Easy-going, self-indulgent Harold Payne never took church or anything else in life too seriously. But one day, while day-dreaming his way through a sermon, something the minister said caught his attention: “May our religion put the stamp of Christ upon the things we do.”

For some reason, those words broke through Harold’s indifference and stuck in his thoughts—and left him with the realization he had, at most, only made a faint impression of Christ’s stamp upon the world. Was it too late for Harold to change his ways?

You can read “Harold Payne’s Easter” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read! Their Day at the Beach

Isabella often wrote stories that illustrated the far-reaching effects a single act of kindness can have on a person, a family, or a community. This month’s free read is a short story titled “Their Day at the Beach,” and it fits Isabella’s “kindness” theme nicely!

Frances Farnham and Sherman Kennedy have been friends since childhood, although careers and Life’s interruptions have kept them apart for years; but that’s about to change. For different reasons, Frances and Sherman will both be in Florida—she for pleasure, he for business. They have a single afternoon to spend together on the beach, to catch up on each other’s news and rekindle their old friendship. But a chance encounter on a train will change their plans—and their lives—forever.

You can read “Their Day at the Beach” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

 

Free Read: Mrs. Knowlton’s Investment

This month’s Free Read is “Mrs. Knowlton’s Investment” by Isabella Alden.

“I wouldn’t go on a Foreign Mission, not if I were the only woman left in the world to do it.”

Mrs. Knowlton doesn’t believe in sending missionaries off to foreign lands; not when there’s so much of the Lord’s work to be done at home. But when it comes time to donate to Home Missions, Mrs. Knowlton has a problem with that, too. She turns up her elegant nose over any mention of Missionary Societies.

When a friend in need begs Mrs. Knowlton to take her place at a Mission Meeting, she can hardly refuse, though she’d rather be anywhere else. But while she sits with the other ladies, busily fuming and finding fault with every portion of the meeting, Mrs. Knowlton makes a mistake—a mistake so horrible, it just may change her life forever.

You can read “Mrs. Knowlton’s Investment” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: For This

Do you remember John Remington? He was the young minister who was the main character in Isabella’s novels Aunt Hannah and Martha and John (1890) and John Remington, Martyr (1892).

In 1893 Isabella wrote a short story in which John made another appearance. Titled “For This,” the story centers around a certain mite-box.

Churches used mite-boxes to encourage people to give offerings. They were named for the “widow’s mite” mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 21:

And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all;

For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God; but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
(Luke 21:1-4)

Typically, a church distributed mite-boxes on a Sunday to all church goers, including children. Each person was asked to fill their boxes with coins for a specified period of time (such as six months) before the church called for their collection.

Mite-boxes made of paper—like the one featured in the story—could be decorated with the name of the person or family who filled it, or with words or images that had meaning to the church’s cause.

That, in a nutshell, is how mite-boxes were typically managed in the Presbyterian Church; but leave it to Isabella to find a new use for a mite-box in her story!

You can read “For This” for free. Just click here to visit BookFunnel.com. Then, choose whether you want to read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Or choose the “My Computer” option to print the story as a PDF document to read and share with friends.

Free Read: A Gingham Patch

This month’s free read by Grace Livingston Hill is a wonderful short story about a minister in need, answered prayers, and the spirit of giving.

You can read “A Gingham Patch” for free!

Just follow this link to go to BookFunnel.com. Then, choose whether you want to read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Or choose the “My Computer” option to print the story as a PDF document to read and share with friends.

Pansy’s Busy Schedule

As the wife of a Presbyterian minister, Isabella moved house frequently, depending on when and where the Presbyterian Church assigned her husband. One of those moves occurred in 1876 when Isabella was 37 years old.

For a period of three short years (from 1876 to 1879), the Aldens lived in Greensburg, Indiana, where her husband had the ministry of Greensburg’s Presbyterian congregation.

A view of Greensburg Indiana, from the 1894 Illustrated Souvenir Book of Greensburg, Indiana.

In typical Pansy fashion, Isabella probably got right to work in her new community, serving the members of her husband’s congregation, writing stories intended to win souls for Christ, and speaking out on matters of importance to women.

In addition, Isabella maintained a very busy travel schedule. Here are just a few entries from her calendar that year:

February 28:

Isabella was in Cincinnati, Ohio, delivering a lecture “for the benefit of the Benevolent Society.”

The Cincinnati Daily Star, February 21, 1878.

June 26:

Her schedule took her to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she read a paper titled “What I Know about Boys” at the state’s annual Sunday-School Convention:

From the St Louis Globe-Democrat, June 27, 1878.

August 1:

The first week of August saw Isabella at the Methodist Sunday-School Assembly at Lakeside, Ohio, where she was one of a number of teachers who led daily children’s classes throughout the week.

The Tiffin Tribune (Tiffin, Ohio), August 1, 1878.

September 26:

Isabella was in New York in her home town of Gloversville, where she read one of her short stories—“What She Said and What She Meant”—to an audience at the Baptist Church.

From the Gloversville Intelligencer, September 26, 1878.

November 15:

Isabella was back in Indiana, this time giving a temperance reading to an audience in Indianapolis, about forty-eight miles from her Greensburg home.

The Indianapolis News, November 9, 1878.

At a time when the fastest way to travel was by train or horse-drawn carriage, Isabella sure got around!

By the way, Isabella’s story “What She Said and What She Meant” was published in 1880 and you can read it for free! Just click on the book cover below to begin reading.

New Free Read: The Wife’s Dilemma

This month’s Free Read may strike a chord with anyone who tried to cook something that didn’t turn out right (like a Thanksgiving turkey)!

“The Wife’s Dilemma” is a sweet short story written by Isabella’s sister (and Grace Livingston Hill’s mother) Marcia Livingston. Marcia was a prolific author in her own right. She published many short stories in a variety of magazines, and co-wrote stories with Isabella.

Here’s the blurb for “The Wife’s Dilemma”:

Newlywed Dora Avery is well educated in math and science, and speaks several languages; but Dora has never learned the fine art of keeping house. No matter what dishes she sets before her new husband, they’re either burnt or sour. It isn’t long before Dora realizes that all her logical plans and recipe books won’t fill her husband’s empty stomach!

Somehow she must hire an experienced cook or learn the proper way to prepare meals herself; but how?

You can read “The Wife’s Dilemma” for free!

Just follow this link to go to BookFunnel.com. Then, choose whether you want to read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Or choose the “My Computer” option to print the story as a PDF document to read and share with friends.