Emily's Quest

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V

It was dawn—the dawn of Ilse's wedding-day. Ilse was sleeping when Emily slipped out of bed and went to the window. Dawn. A cluster of dark pines in a trance of calm down by the Blair Water. The air tremulous with elfin music; the wind winnowing the dunes; dancing amber waves on the harbour; the eastern sky abloom; the lighthouse at the harbour pearl-white against the ethereal sky; beyond all the blue field of the sea with its foam blossoms and behind that golden haze that swathed the hill of the Tansy Patch, Teddy—wakeful—waiting—welcoming the day that gave him his heart's desire. Emily's soul was washed empty of every wish or hope or desire except that the day were over.

"It is," she thought, "comforting when a thing becomes irrevocable."

"Emily—Emily."

Emily turned from the window.

"It's a lovely day, Ilse. The sun will shine on you. Ilse—what is the matter? Ilse—you're crying!"

"I can't—help it," sniffed Ilse. "It seems to be the proper, inescapable caper after all. I beg Milly's pardon. But—I'm so beastly afraid. It's an infernal sensation. Do you think it would do any good if I threw myself on the floor and screamed?"

"What are you afraid of?" said Emily, a little impatiently.

"Oh,"—Ilse sprang defiantly out of bed—"afraid I'll stick my tongue out at the minister. What else?"

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