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Chapter1
A girl came out of lawyer Royall's house, at the end of the one street of
North Dormer, and stood on the doorstep.
It was the beginning of a June afternoon. The springlike transparent
sky shed a rain of silver sunshine on the roofs of the village, and on the
pastures and larchwoods surrounding it. A little wind moved among the
round white clouds on the shoulders of the hills, driving their shadows
across the fields and down the grassy road that takes the name of street
when it passes through North Dormer. The place lies high and in the
open, and lacks the lavish shade of the more protected New England vil-
lages. The clump of weeping-willows about the duck pond, and the Nor-
way spruces in front of the Hatchard gate, cast almost the only roadside
shadow between lawyer Royall's house and the point where, at the other
end of the village, the road rises above the church and skirts the black
hemlock wall enclosing the cemetery.
The little June wind, frisking down the street, shook the doleful fringes
of the Hatchard spruces, caught the straw hat of a young man just
passing under them, and spun it clean across the road into the duck-
pond.
As he ran to fish it out the girl on lawyer Royall's doorstep noticed that
he was a stranger, that he wore city clothes, and that he was laughing
with all his teeth, as the young and careless laugh at such mishaps.
Her heart contracted a little, and the shrinking that sometimes came
over her when she saw people with holiday faces made her draw back
into the house and pretend to look for the key that she knew she had
already put into her pocket. A narrow greenish mirror with a gilt eagle
over it hung on the passage wall, and she looked critically at her reflec-
tion, wished for the thousandth time that she had blue eyes like Annabel
Balch, the girl who sometimes came from Springfield to spend a week
with old Miss Hatchard, straightened the sunburnt hat over her small
swarthy face, and turned out again into the sunshine.
"How I hate everything!" she murmured.
3
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