“Imagine an association whose members having destroyed all ties of family and of country, to be singled out from among men, and whose forces are to be concentrated at last to one united and formidable end, its plan devised and it establishes its dominion by all possible means over all the nations of the earth.
“Its society grows and increases in riches and influence by all sorts of means; and no one can attack them, for everywhere we find men prompt to serve them, to obtain from them some advantage of position or pride.
“The following story has been taking form in my mind for several years, and at last I have been able to write it out… At this distance from the late Civil War, it is time that passion and prejudice sank below the horizon.
“The title of the story will naturally lead the reader to expect that deep shadows rest upon many of its pages. I know it is scarcely the fashion of the present time to portray men and women who feel very deeply about anything, but there certainly was deep feeling at the time of which I write, as, in truth, there is today.