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The Golden Road Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Path To Arcady

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"Felicity, you loved the scent of dying fir. If you were here tonight with me--Felicity--Felicity!"

Something in his voice made me suddenly sad. I was comforted when I felt the Story Girl slip her hand into mine. So we walked out of the woods into the autumn dusk.

We were in a little valley. Half-way up the opposite slope a brush fire was burning clearly and steadily in a maple grove. There was something indescribably alluring in that fire, glowing so redly against the dark background of forest and twilit hill.

"Let us go to it," cried Uncle Blair, gaily, casting aside his sorrowful mood and catching our hands. "A wood fire at night has a fascination not to be resisted by those of mortal race. Hasten-- we must not lose time."

"Oh, it will burn a long time yet," I gasped, for Uncle Blair was whisking us up the hill at a merciless rate.

"You can't be sure. It may have been lighted by some good, honest farmer-man, bent on tidying up his sugar orchard, but it may also, for anything we know, have been kindled by no earthly woodman as a beacon or summons to the tribes of fairyland, and may vanish away if we tarry."

It did not vanish and presently we found ourselves in the grove. It was very beautiful; the fire burned with a clear, steady glow and a soft crackle; the long arcades beneath the trees were illuminated with a rosy radiance, beyond which lurked companies of gray and purple shadows. Everything was very still and dreamy and remote.

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"It is impossible that out there, just over the hill, lies a village of men, where tame household lamps are shining," said Uncle Blair.

"I feel as if we must be thousands of miles away from everything we've ever known," murmured the Story Girl.

"So you are!" said Uncle Blair emphatically. "You're back in the youth of the race--back in the beguilement of the young world. Everything is in this hour--the beauty of classic myths, the primal charm of the silent and the open, the lure of mystery. Why, it's a time and place when and where everything might come true--when the men in green might creep out to join hands and dance around the fire, or dryads steal from their trees to warm their white limbs, grown chilly in October frosts, by the blaze. I wouldn't be much surprised if we should see something of the kind. Isn't that the flash of an ivory shoulder through yonder gloom? And didn't you see a queer little elfin face peering at us around that twisted gray trunk? But one can't be sure. Mortal eyesight is too slow and clumsy a thing to match against the flicker of a pixy-litten fire."

Hand in hand we wandered through that enchanted place, seeking the folk of elf-land, "and heard their mystic voices calling, from fairy knoll and haunted hill." Not till the fire died down into ashes did we leave the grove. Then we found that the full moon was gleaming lustrously from a cloudless sky across the valley. Between us and her stretched up a tall pine, wondrously straight and slender and branchless to its very top, where it overflowed in a crest of dark boughs against the silvery splendour behind it. Beyond, the hill farms were lying in a suave, white radiance.

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The Golden Road
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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