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If a man doesn’t keep pace with his companions, perhaps he hears a different drummer

Let him step to the music he hears, however distant of far away.

--Henry David Thoreau


Dedicated to Joseph Francis (Jimmy) Mattaini who always

marched to the tune of a different drummer.



Chapter 1

Maryborough, April 1905


People passing the valley lately looked closely at the white house, watching for a glimpse of Rachael, for there had been talk that Rachael Gingerich was not well. Stranger yet, the lady from Pennsylvania, Anna Carliss has just arrived and was staying at Lilac Hill. This morning Margaret Smith hurried through the backfields to Rachael's. And,according to Old Man Martin, the coffinmaker, the blue moon had risen the night before in the April sky and he'd seen a raven circle the white house three times before noon, both bad omens. No one particularly wanted to believe Old Man Martin, but he had been right on too many occasions to be dismissed completely.

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