Puslapio vaizdai

was Archie's new bull-terrier who did picture of death it was a little fanciful, it. You know we can all hurt each but she longed to remove the last other if we like. God lets us, but He traces of horror that still lingered in does n't like it. He wants us to help Joy's eyes. each other instead. But if we had n't The reading was a great success. the power to do harm, we could n't The seven queens and the dark barge have the power to do good, either overlaid the specter of reality. Eliza We must have both; and if we misuse and King Arthur floated into the land our power, dreadful things happen.” of Avalon together,

Joy's sobs slackened.

“I 'm not sure,” she said tearfully, Where far beyond those voices there is and it was her first doubt of any cre

peace. ated thing, “that God ought to have made a bull terrier at all if He did n't

II want Eliza to be hurt. O Mummy, It was Joy's fourteenth birthday what happens to stiff cats?"

and the first of June. She started the Mrs. Featherstone looked at Eliza, day at dawn. Every bird in Devondispassionately. It was difficult to shire was awake, and all of them seemed predict a future for a cat of such to Joy to be in the Rock Lodge garden. exclusively materialistic habits, but Fat thrushes with operatic voices she did the best she could, and sug- shook themselves into trances, blackgested a handsome funeral for Eliza's birds, with ringing notes piercingly immediate present.

sweet and loud, got the better of the And may we pick the Madonna most reluctant worms, and divided lilies under the wall?" asked Joy, leap- their talents with impartial rapture ing to her feet in recovered ecstasy. between securing their breakfast and

Much to the gardener's annoyance, making most meticulous music. ChafMrs. Featherstone agreed to the sacri- finches sprayed their brief melodies fice of the lilies, and Eliza's grave was from bough to bough, and every finch strewn with this inappropriate em- and lark and tiny wren set the seal of blem. Joy danced hand in hand with their loud joy upon the morning. Mrs. Featherstone about the sacred Far away in a hollow glen the cuckoo spot, singing with touching fervor her dropped his wandering challenges, favorite hymn,

playing hide and seek with outraged

heads of families. Muffling the ecstaThere is a Home for little children, tic screams of a fox-terrier puppy called above the bright blue sky.

Absolom under her skirt, Joy crept out

upon the lawn. It is to be hoped that Eliza's spirit The lawn was very wet with dew, was accommodated elsewhere, as she and Joy had taken neither time nor had a very strong dislike of children, pains over her toilet. She was the and would have deeply resented any age of Juliet, but she had none of home which was given up to them. Juliet's preoccupations. Her mind

Mrs. Featherstone read the “Morte was as blank and innocent as a newd'Arthur" out loud to the assembled born leaf blowing this way and that to family after tea. She knew that as a catch a light adventure. She looked back at the old house with a sudden friends. Nobody ever hurried or althrill at her heart. It was hers; it tered their plans at Lynton, or tried must be hers forever. The transfigur- to please anybody more than they ing golden light covered it, and the intended to go on pleasing them, and birds' persistent voices all around it nobody ever changed. made it like a shell of melody. All the a

"So if I live here always," Joy happiness of Joy's smooth and eager thought as she hurried up the path, years was harvested in its old walls. “they'll always love me." Life

She could not think of life without stretched before her like the summer her home. The mossy, precipitous day, sunny and inexhaustible. drive the horses had to be lead so When she reached the top of the carefully up and down, the swift drops moor above the house, Absolom had and scrambles of the little paths from vanished. rocky platform to rocky platform on Far away, and yet so near that she which garden beds yielded only to the could have dropped a pebble on to it, stoutest and most persistent flowers, lay the lawn of Rock Lodge, with the were as much a part of her as Maude unshaken summer sea, as still as blue and Archie. The Rock Lodge garden bells in a wood, beneath it. The little was bad for gardeners, but it was a perched and sliding town of Lynton paradise for children. Joy put Abso- clung to the cliff's-edge above the lom down gingerly, and watched a deep-green valley of the Watersmeet. white and clamorous streak pass The valley lay between two steep and through the shrubberies and out on to heather-tufted cliffs; a rapid river the moors.

Absolom had smelt rab- with waterfalls tossed a bright, imbits, and the law and the prophets no patient way under green bushes from longer existed for him.

end to end of it. There was nothing to be done but Three streams met high up in the to fly after him. Joy's skirts were valley, raged and played together in a short, her legs were long and slender; fine lather of waterfalls, and then she flew without increase of breath up united in a swift and businesslike way the steep path which led to the moor. in a race to the sea. Joy had followed She had not meant to go to the moor; all the streams to their source and she had meant to go down to the knew half their secrets, where to find village and thank the villagers for a company of kingcups overlooking a sending her presents. She had found deep pool, and where the big trout lay in the hall, left overnight, a jackdaw, under the shelving rock. two baby rabbits in a basket, cowslip But she never told the boys where wine, and heather honey. They came the trout lay; she had no wish for the from the little pink, shell-like cottages death of living things. It was one of hidden in the trees below her. Lyn- the reasons why she liked best to be ton was full of smiling, calm, immov- alone with Absolom and Rosemary. able people with strong instincts and Absolom and Rosemary were too pleasant manners, who hated slowly young to kill anything; they could and steadily, loved forever, and on the chase rabbits all day long, and no one whole minded their own business with be the worse for it. Nicolas was placidity; and they were all Joy's different. He liked to kill rats in a barn with terriers, and he liked it Fidget. As soon as she could recover better if Joy was there to see. Not Absolom, Joy must go and look for her that you could call Nicolas cruel; he mother in the harness-room and ask was remarkably kind. He carried

He carried her for leave to ride Fidget. It was Rosemary for hours on his back when tiresome that on her birthday she she was tired, and mended anything was n't to have Archie and Maude that was broken. Nicolas was part with her, but Nicolas had said it was of Joy's life, too, quite as much as any his last day at home, where a broken of her brothers; rather more, perhaps. collar-bone had conveniently laid him, Not that Joy could have described and that he would have his own way what Nicolas was to her. He was

about it. He would n't have minded Nicolas, and came a long way after Rosemary, but it was too far to take Rosemary in her affections.

her, and Nicholas had been so beautiThe Pennants, who were his people, fully kind to Joy-he had saved all lived only four miles away at Foxglove his pocket money for ages to buy her a Hall, and came over constantly on brindle bulldog pup. The puppy was ponies. The only fault Joy had ever to be called Ajax and was very fat; if had to find in Nicolas beyond the you stuck a finger into him he rolled rats, which was hardly a fault, as all over. He was the most deliciously boys shared the same desire for their ferocious-looking lamb of a puppy, and extinction, was that Maude wanted Nicolas was training him to be obe-. him to like her best, and Nicolas dient. The training had got as far as would n't. Joy had explained to Ajax sitting down and wagging his tail, Nicolas that it would be much sim- with his head on one side, and all his pler if he would like Maude best, and wrinkles looking very anxious, whenthat he could go on liking Joy second ever Nicolas addressed him. best, which would suit her just as well Ajax was one of the dreams of Joy's and be pleasanter all round; and life realized, and she shrank from Nicolas, with his curiously hard and being ungracious to the giver of a honest eyes fixed on her, had said, dream. "You little fool, I shall like you best The silence of the moors inclosed as long as I live."

Joy as if the skies were walls. She sat It was curious how this remark had very still, because it seemed as if her remained with her. She remembered whole being was surrounded by someit again now as she sat on a tuft of thing unseen. It was a curious feeling heather, her eyes ranging far and wide that she had had before when she was in her search for Absolom. Nicolas quite alone. If you kept perfectly had not explained why he cared for her still and did n't think of anything at like that; but, then, Nicolas never all, you melted away from yourself; explained things: he only did them you became a part of the day and of when he had said he was going to do the listening air. It was a very wonthem, and even sometimes when he derful feeling, only you could never had not.

tell any one about it. It was like He was going to take her to the being a part of God. Doone Valley this afternoon alone, Three white gulls, sailing on their and, if her mother would let her, on motionless wings, sank down almost on a level with her head. She watched Mrs. Featherstone had bought Fidthe shadows their great wings made get with her pig money. The grooms by her on the grass; their uncanny, had enough to do with the carriage changeless, yellow eyes rested on her horses, two hunters, and the children's as if to see whether she was fugitive ponies, so Mrs. Featherstone did everyor a landmark. It was quieter than thing for Fidget herself. ever when they were gone, so quiet Fidget was a standing reproach to that Joy could hear her own heart the grooms. Her coat was as soft as beat, and the light air which stirred satin, her harness sparkled on the the grasses had a song in it. Every dullest mornings, and her leather had thing she loved was fast asleep below the fine smoothness of a laurel-leaf. her; only behind the silent beauty Her character was almost worth the something that was akin to her was care taken over her personal appearstirring. It was as if she and the ance, for Fidget had a warm and genheather, the butterflies, and the small erous heart. She was at once lively golden bees, the wide and motionless and reliable, and if she had not been sea, the raveled fleeces of the summer so obviously a lady, she might have clouds, were all balanced and held upon been described as a "perfect gentlea giant hand.

man.The silence was like the breath of She let herself go on grass, and some great being; and if his silence walked delicately as if on egg-shells was so golden, what would be his down the awkward drive. Any one speech? Far away below her in the with judgment and nerve could ride time-ridden world she heard a clock her, but it must be owned that she strike eight.

felt herself compelled to unseat any It was a long while before the sound one who attempted to ride her without reached her senses. When it did, she these two qualities. She gave her shivered as if she were called back from best to her rider, and expected consida perpetual safety. Mother would be eration and sympathy in return. Joy up now in the 'harness-room cleaning slipped into the harness-room, AbsoFidget's harness. Far away at the lom bustling in beside her with an air cliff's-edge Joy caught a flash of white of never having left her side. moving in and out of the low furze- Mrs. Featherstone kissed her daughbushes. The flash stopped dead as ter with unusual tenderness. She her voice recalled it. "Absolom! Ab- wondered if many mothers had so solom!" For a few moments Abso- straight and lithe and beautiful a girl lom continued his search, pretending to greet upon her fourteenth birthday, that he had heard nothing, but not for and knew that none of them had ever long. Joy was upon him fleeter than greeted one so innocent, and so unhis own four legs, and had him by the conscious of her beauty. scruff of the neck. He slued a wicked, "I'm going with Nicolas if I may," jocular eye at her, well knowing the Joy asked breathlessly, "and may I worst that would come to him, and as ride Fidget as a birthday treat? If soon as he was released after a per- I must n't, may we have lunch and functory shake, crept with imitation walk? We want to go to the top of shivers to her heel.

the Doone Valley.

I finished 'Lorna Doone' last night. like," said Joy. "He's going back

” Nicolas promised to take me. He says to-morrow because his broken collarall the savage Doones are dead, but bone 's all right. I'm afraid he won't I think there might be rather a nice like my not kissing him when he gives one left.”

me Ajax. Still, I can kiss Ajax inMrs. Featherstone took up Fidget's stead, can't I?” immaculate bit and redoubled the "You can kiss bull pups as much as polish on it.

you like," said Mrs. Featherstone, “And what about Maude and gravely. “Nicolas will have to put Archie?" she asked.

up with that as a proxy.” "Nicolas says not,” Joy explained “Mummy,” Joy asked thoughtfully, regretfully. “He thinks the ponies “are men very different from women?” could n't take them there and back, Mrs. Featherstone looked very hard and, besides, I don't think he particu- at Fidget's bridle before she answered, larly wants them. Archie says he then she said slowly; does n't care about the Doones if “Not particularly; a wise woman they 're dead, anyway; but I think once said the older she grew the more Maude would have liked to go.sure she felt that there were only two

“And yet Nicolas seems to have kinds of people, men and women, and thought it not too far for you to walk," that they were very much alike. Still, said Mrs. Featherstone, reflectively. there are certain differences. Women

“He knows a short cut for walking,” have to remember one or two things in Joy explained; "but walking is n't their behavior to men. They must quite so like a birthday, is it?" never allow any liberties to be taken

“No," agreed Mrs. Featherstone. with them, and they must not encour"Well, you 'll be quite all right with age men whom they do not wish to Nicolas, of course, and you may ride marry. Admiration is very nice, but Fidget. Only come back in time for it would not be very fair to accept a your birthday tea at five, and bring great deal of it unless you were preNicolas with you. The rest of the pared to give something back. Above Pennants are coming over then. You all, they must play the game with other are getting rather old now," she stated, women. I think the basest thing a glancing at her daughter. "You 're woman can do is to take away another nearly as tall as I am."

woman's man.” "I don't feel old," said Joy, truth- “But they can't when they're fully; "I think it 's only my legs.” married, can they?" Joy asked.

"I dare say it is,” Mrs. Feather- "Not without sin," said Mrs. Feathstone agreed. "Still, I think at four- erstone, sternly. teen I told Margaret she must stop

"I don't think I shall ever marry," kissing boys and men except her father said Joy, standing on one slim foot and and brothers, and I suppose you twirling slowly round on it. “I think had better do the same. Nicolas is I shall keep children, chickens, and a eighteen now, is n't he?”

bulldog." "Yes, he 's something awful at Mrs. Featherstone put down the Winchester which sounds like 'prepos- bridle with a sigh, which might have terous,' but means you can do as you been relief at her daughter's untouched


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