New Free Read: A Long Christmas

Last week’s post was about some of the ways Isabella’s encouraged readers to “remember the poor always, but especially at Christmas.” Our December free read continues that theme.

“A Long Christmas” is a short story Isabella wrote in 1891 about a group of children—all cousins in the same family—who discovered their enjoyment of Christmas lasted much longer when they focused on giving instead of getting.

“We have everything imaginable already. We need Christmas presents less than any young folks in the kingdom, I suppose.” That’s what sixteen year old Holly tells his cousins when they gather together on Christmas morning, and his cousins agree! But which child should receive the cousins’ unwanted toys and books?

Cover of "A Long Christmas" showing a man and dog outside a small cabin, with tall pine trees covered in snow and a mountain peak in the background.

You can read “A Long Christmas” 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

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it 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 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
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.