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I. A Lover of Music Henry van Dyke

Section III.

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But it was in the roof that the touch of distinction appeared. For this, Jacques had modelled after his memory of an old Canadian roof. There was a delicate concave sweep in it, as it sloped downward from the peak, and the eaves projected pleasantly over the front door, making a strip of shade wherein it would be good to rest when the afternoon sun shone hot.

He took great pride in this effort of the builder's art. One day at the beginning of May, when the house was nearly finished, he asked old Moody and Serena to stop on their way home from the village and see what he had done. He showed them the kitchen, and the living- room, with the bed-room partitioned off from it, and sharing half of its side window. Here was a place where a door could be cut at the back, and a shed built for a summer kitchen--for the coolness, you understand. And here were two stoves--one for the cooking, and the other in the living-room for the warming, both of the newest.

"An' look dat roof. Dat's lak' we make dem in Canada. De rain ron off easy, and de sun not shine too strong at de door. Ain't dat nice? You lak' dat roof, Ma'amselle Serene, hein?"

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Thus the imagination of Jacques unfolded itself, and his ambition appeared to be making plans for its accomplishment. I do not want any one to suppose that there was a crisis in his affair of the heart. There was none. Indeed, it is very doubtful whether anybody in the village, even Serena herself, ever dreamed that there was such an affair. Up to the point when the house was finished and furnished, it was to be a secret between Jacques and his violin; and they found no difficulty in keeping it.

Bytown was a Yankee village. Jacques was, after all, nothing but a Frenchman. The native tone of religion, what there was of it, was strongly Methodist. Jacques never went to church, and if he was anything, was probably a Roman Catholic. Serena was something of a sentimentalist, and a great reader of novels; but the international love-story had not yet been invented, and the idea of getting married to a foreigner never entered her head. I do not say that she suspected nothing in the wild flowers, and the Sunday evening boat-rides, and the music. She was a woman. I have said already that she liked Jacques very much, and his violin pleased her to the heart. But the new building by the river? I am sure she never even thought of it once, in the way that he did.

Well, in the end of June, just after the furniture had come for the house with the curved roof, Serena was married to Hose Ransom. He was a young widower without children, and altogether the best fellow, as well as the most prosperous, in the settlement. His house stood up on the hill, across the road from the lot which Jacques had bought. It was painted white, and it had a narrow front porch, with a scroll-saw fringe around the edge of it; and there was a little garden fenced in with white palings, in which Sweet Williams and pansies and blue lupines and pink bleeding-hearts were planted.

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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