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Rilla of Ingleside

V. "The Sound Of A Going"
Rilla ran down through the sunlit glory of the maple grove behind Ingleside, to her
favourite nook in Rainbow Valley. She sat down on a green-mossed stone among the
fern, propped her chin on her hands and stared unseeingly at the dazzling blue sky of
the August afternoon--so blue, so peaceful, so unchanged, just as it had arched over
the valley in the mellow days of late summer ever since she could remember.
She wanted to be alone--to think things out--to adjust herself, if it were possible, to the
new world into which she seemed to have been transplanted with a suddenness and
completeness that left her half bewildered as to her own identity. Was she--could she
be--the same Rilla Blythe who had danced at Four Winds Light six days ago--only six
days ago? It seemed to Rilla that she had lived as much in those six days as in all her
previous life--and if it be true that we should count time by heart-throbs she had. That
evening, with its hopes and fears and triumphs and humiliations, seemed like ancient
history now. Could she really ever have cried just because she had been forgotten and
had to walk home with Mary Vance? Ah, thought Rilla sadly, how trivial and absurd such
a cause of tears now appeared to her. She could cry now with a right good will--but she
would not--she must not. What was it mother had said, looking, with her white lips and
stricken eyes, as Rilla had never seen her mother look before,
Shall our men be fearless still?"
Yes, that was it. She must be brave--like mother--and Nan--and Faith --Faith, who had
cried with flashing eyes, "Oh, if I were only a man, to go too!" Only, when her eyes
ached and her throat burned like this she had to hide herself in Rainbow Valley for a
little, just to think things out and remember that she wasn't a child any longer--she was
grown-up and women had to face things like this. But it was--nice--to get away alone
now and then, where nobody could see her and where she needn't feel that people
thought her a little coward if some tears came in spite of her.
How sweet and woodsey the ferns smelled! How softly the great feathery boughs of the
firs waved and murmured over her! How elfinly rang the bells of the "Tree Lovers"--just
a tinkle now and then as the breeze swept by! How purple and elusive the haze where
incense was being offered on many an altar of the hills! How the maple leaves whitened
in the wind until the grove seemed covered with pale silvery blossoms! Everything was
just the same as she had seen it hundreds of times; and yet the whole face of the world
seemed changed.