Emily's Quest

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Vii

They had glorious minutes of fun when they stopped to rest occasionally. There was a robin's nest in the fir at the north corner which they watched and protected from Daffy.

"Think of the music penned in this fragile, pale blue wall," said Dean, touching an egg one day. "Not the music of the moon perhaps, but an earthlier, homelier music, full of wholesome sweetness and the joy of living. This egg will some day be a robin, Star, to whistle us blithely home in the afterlight."

They made friends with an old rabbit that often came hopping out of the woods into the garden. They had a game as to who could count the most squirrels in the daytime and the most bats in the evening. For they did not always go home as soon as it got too dark to work. Sometimes they sat out on their sandstone steps listening to the melancholy loveliness of night-wind on the sea and watching the twilight creep up from the old valley and the shadows waver and flicker under the fir-trees and the Blair Water turning to a great grey pool tremulous with early stars. Daff sat beside them, watching everything with his great moonlight eyes, and Emily pulled his ears now and then.

"One understands a cat a little better now. At all other times he is inscrutable, but in the time of dusk and dew we can catch a glimpse of the tantalizing secret of his personality."

"One catches a glimpse of all kinds of secrets now," said Dean. "On a night like this I always think of the 'hills where spices grow.' That line of the old hymn Mother used to sing has always intrigued me—though I can't 'fly like a youthful hart or roe.' Emily, I can see that you are getting your mouth in the proper shape to talk about the colour we'll paint the woodshed. Don't you do it. No one should talk paint when she's expecting a moonrise. There'll be a wonderful one presently—I've arranged for it. But if we must talk of furniture let's plan for a few things we haven't got yet and must have—a canoe for our boating trips along the Milky Way, for instance—a loom for the weaving of dreams and a jar of pixy-brew for festal hours. And can't we arrange to have the spring of Ponce de Leon over in that corner? Or would you prefer a fount of Castaly? As for your trousseau, have what you like in it but there must be a gown of grey twilight with an evening star for your hair. Also one trimmed with moonlight and a scarf of sunset cloud."

Oh, she liked Dean. How she liked him. If she could only love him!

One evening she slipped up alone to see her little house by moonlight. What a dear place it was. She saw herself there in the future—flitting through the little rooms—laughing under the firs—sitting hand in hand with Teddy at the fireplace—Emily came to herself with a shock. With Dean, of course, with Dean. A mere trick of the memory.

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