1876: A Novel by Gore Vidal

By Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire sequence spans the historical past of the U.S. from the Revolution to the post-World warfare II years. With their huge canvas and massive solid of fictional and old characters, the novels during this sequence current a landscape of the yank political and imperial adventure as interpreted by way of certainly one of its so much worldly, figuring out, and ironic observers.

The centennial of the us was once celebrated with nice fanfare--fireworks, exhibitions, pious calls to patriotism, and maybe the main underhanded political machination within the country's background: the robbery of the presidency from Samuel Tilden in want of Rutherford B. Hayes. This was once the Gilded Age, while robber barons held the handbag strings of the country, and the celebration in energy was firm to stick in energy. Gore Vidal's 1876 offers us the scoop of the day throughout the eyes of Charlie Schuyler, who has again from exile to regain a misplaced fortune and manage a wedding into long island society for his widowed daughter. And even though Tammany corridor has faltered and Boss Tweed has fled, the consequences of corruption achieve deep, even into Schuyler's family.

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Young Sam: Oh, Ellie—what’s that groaning sound? Young Ellie: That’s the ice creaking under us. Young Sam: Can it hold us? Young Ellie: It ought to. We’re neither one of us much more than skin and bone. Old Ellie: We were halfway across when we heard voices behind us. Slave hunter 1: Hey, there! Slave hunter 2: You two children! Stop where you are! Slave hunter 1: Stop, or we’ll shoot! Young Sam: They’ve got guns! Young Ellie: They won’t shoot us. We’re worth too much alive. Young Sam: (hearing a shot fired) You thought wrong, big sister!

They’d been all bunched up close together. A hole had broken through the ice, and one of the men was in the water. 35 Slave hunter 1: Help! I’ve fallen in! Get me out of here. Old Ellie: We kept moving. By and by, we were climbing up the riverbank. Old Sam: The old man who had waved towered over us in the firelight. He looked out over the ice. Zeke: (chuckling) Look at that poor devil yonder! He’s soaked to the skin in this freezing weather. He’s likely to catch his death of cold. Old Ellie: I looked back across the river.

Young Ellie: What do you seen, Sam? 30 Young Sam: We’re driving through a valley. The river’s nothing more than a trickle. And we’re between two hills, sure enough. Old Ellie: After a while, the wagon ground to a stop. Peg Leg Joe: (singing) There’s another river on the other side, Follow the Drinking Gourd. (speaking) Now, out with you two! Old Sam: We climbed out of the wagon and found ourselves facing a river. Old Ellie: The Tennessee River, it was. Young Ellie: We owe you a lot, mister. Peg Leg Joe: Yes, you do!

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