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0100_005E The Golden Road Lucy Maud Montgomery

We Visit Cousin Mattie's

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The woods were full of the brooding stillness that often precedes a storm, and the wind crept along their white, cone-sprinkled floors with a low, wailing cry. Around us were solitudes of snow, arcades picked out in pearl and silver, long avenues of untrodden marble whence sprang the cathedral columns of the firs. We were all sorry when we were through the woods and found ourselves looking down into the snug, commonplace, farmstead-dotted settlement of Baywater.

"There's Cousin Mattie's house--that big white one at the turn of the road," said the Story Girl. "I hope she has that dinner ready, Dan. I'm hungry as a wolf after our walk."

"I wish Cousin Mattie's husband was still alive," said Dan. "He was an awful nice old man. He always had his pockets full of nuts and apples. I used to like going there better when he was alive. Too many old women don't suit me."

"Oh, Dan, Cousin Mattie and her sisters-in-law are just as nice and kind as they can be," reproached Cecily.

"Oh, they're kind enough, but they never seem to see that a fellow gets over being five years old if he only lives long enough," retorted Dan.

"I know a story about Cousin Mattie's husband," said the Story Girl. "His name was Ebenezer, you know--"

"Is it any wonder he was thin and stunted looking?" said Dan.

"Ebenezer is just as nice a name as Daniel," said Felicity.

"Do you REALLY think so, my angel?" inquired Dan, in honey-sweet tones.

"Go on. Remember your second resolution," I whispered to the Story Girl, who was stalking along with an outraged expression.

The Story Girl swallowed something and went on.

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"Cousin Ebenezer had a horror of borrowing. He thought it was simply a dreadful disgrace to borrow ANYTHING. Well, you know he and Cousin Mattie used to live in Carlisle, where the Rays now live. This was when Grandfather King was alive. One day Cousin Ebenezer came up the hill and into the kitchen where all the family were. Uncle Roger said he looked as if he had been stealing sheep. He sat for a whole hour in the kitchen and hardly spoke a word, but just looked miserable. At last he got up and said in a desperate sort of way, 'Uncle Abraham, can I speak with you in private for a minute?' 'Oh, certainly,' said grandfather, and took him into the parlour. Cousin Ebenezer shut the door, looked all around him and then said imploringly, 'MORE PRIVATE STILL.' So grandfather took him into the spare room and shut that door. He was getting frightened. He thought something terrible must have happened Cousin Ebenezer. Cousin Ebenezer came right up to grandfather, took hold of the lapel of his coat, and said in a whisper, 'Uncle Abraham, CAN--YOU--LEND--ME--AN--AXE?'"

"He needn't have made such a mystery about it," said Cecily, who had missed the point entirely, and couldn't see why the rest of us were laughing. But Cecily was such a darling that we did not mind her lack of a sense of humour.

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The Golden Road
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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