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Painted Windows Elia W. Peattie


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Presently we were in a little town with cottages almost hidden among the trees. A blue stream ran through green fields, and the water dashed over a dam. I could hear the song of the mill and the ripping of the boards.

"We're here!" said the driver.

The heavy man lifted me down, and my young uncle came running out with his arms open to receive me. "What a traveller!" he said, kissing me.

"It's been a tremendously long and interesting journey," I said.

"Yes," he answered. "Ten miles by rail and ten by stage. I suppose you've had a great many adventures!"

"Oh, yes!" I cried, and ached to tell them, but feared this was not the place. I saw my uncle respectfully helping the bishop to alight, and heard him inquiring for his health, and the bishop answering in his kind, deep voice, and saying I was indeed a good traveller and saw all there was to see -- and a little more. The king shook hands with me, and this time said two words: "Good luck." Uncle had no idea who he was -- no one had seen him before. Uncle didn't quite like his looks. But I did. He was uncommon; he was different. I thought of all those people in the train who had been so alike. And then I remembered what unexpected differences they had shown, and turned to smile at my uncle.

"I should say I have had adventures!" I cried.

"We'll get home to your aunt," he said, "and then we'll hear all about them."

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We crossed a bridge above the roaring mill-race, went up a lane, and entered Arcadia. That was the way it seemed to me. It was really a cottage above a stream, where youth and love dwelt, and honour and hospitality, and the little house was to be exchanged for a greater one where -- though youth departed -- love and honour and hospitality were still to dwell.

"Travel's a great thing," said my uncle, as he helped me off with my jacket.

"Yes," I answered, solemnly, "it is a great privilege to see the world."

I still am of that opinion. I have seen some odd bits of it, and I cannot understand why it is that other journeys have not quite come up to that first one, when I heard of Aunt Ellen, and saw the boy turn the surprised somersault, and was welcomed by two lovers in a little Arcadia.

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Painted Windows
Elia W. Peattie

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