The Golden Road
II. A Will, A Way And A Woman
"One day, over a hundred years ago, Ursula Townley was waiting for Kenneth
MacNair in a great beechwood, where brown nuts were falling and an October
wind was making the leaves dance on the ground like pixy-people."
"What are pixy-people?" demanded Peter, forgetting the Story Girl's dislike of
"Hush," whispered Cecily. "That is only one of the Awkward Man's poetical
touches, I guess."
"There were cultivated fields between the grove and the dark blue gulf; but far
behind and on each side were woods, for Prince Edward Island a hundred years
ago was not what it is today. The settlements were few and scattered, and the
population so scanty that old Hugh Townley boasted that he knew every man,
woman and child in it.
"Old Hugh was quite a noted man in his day. He was noted for several things--he
was rich, he was hospitable, he was proud, he was masterful--and he had for
daughter the handsomest young woman in Prince Edward Island.
"Of course, the young men were not blind to her good looks, and she had so
many lovers that all the other girls hated her--"
"You bet!" said Dan, aside--
"But the only one who found favour in her eyes was the very last man she should
have pitched her fancy on, at least if old Hugh were the judge. Kenneth MacNair
was a dark-eyed young sea-captain of the next settlement, and it was to meet
him that Ursula stole to the beechwood on that autumn day of crisp wind and ripe
sunshine. Old Hugh had forbidden his house to the young man, making such a
scene of fury about it that even Ursula's high spirit quailed. Old Hugh had really
nothing against Kenneth himself; but years before either Kenneth or Ursula was
born, Kenneth's father had beaten Hugh Townley in a hotly contested election.
Political feeling ran high in those days, and old Hugh had never forgiven the
MacNair his victory. The feud between the families dated from that tempest in the
provincial teapot, and the surplus of votes on the wrong side was the reason
why, thirty years after, Ursula had to meet her lover by stealth if she met him at
"Was the MacNair a Conservative or a Grit?" asked Felicity.
"It doesn't make any difference what he was," said the Story Girl impatiently.
"Even a Tory would be romantic a hundred years ago. Well, Ursula couldn't see