The Golden Road
XXVI. Uncle Blair Comes Home
It happened that the Story Girl and I both got up very early on the morning of the
Awkward Man's wedding day. Uncle Alec was going to Charlottetown that day,
and I, awakened at daybreak by the sounds in the kitchen beneath us,
remembered that I had forgotten to ask him to bring me a certain school-book I
wanted. So I hurriedly dressed and hastened down to tell him before he went. I
was joined on the stairs by the Story Girl, who said she had wakened and, not
feeling like going to sleep again, thought she might as well get up.
"I had such a funny dream last night," she said. "I dreamed that I heard a voice
calling me from away down in Uncle Stephen's Walk-- 'Sara, Sara, Sara,' it kept
calling. I didn't know whose it was, and yet it seemed like a voice I knew. I
wakened up while it was calling, and it seemed so real I could hardly believe it
was a dream. It was bright moonlight, and I felt just like getting up and going out
to the orchard. But I knew that would be silly and of course I didn't go. But I kept
on wanting to and I couldn't sleep any more. Wasn't it queer?"
When Uncle Alec had gone I proposed a saunter to the farther end of the
orchard, where I had left a book the preceding evening. A young mom was
walking rosily on the hills as we passed down Uncle Stephen's Walk, with Paddy
trotting before us. High overhead was the spirit-like blue of paling skies; the east
was a great arc of crystal, smitten through with auroral crimsonings; just above it
was one milk-white star of morning, like a pearl on a silver sea. A light wind of
dawn was weaving an orient spell.
"It's lovely to be up as early as this, isn't it?" said the Story Girl. "The world
seems so different just at sunrise, doesn't it? It makes me feel just like getting up
to see the sun rise every morning of my life after this. But I know I won't. I'll likely
sleep later than ever tomorrow morning. But I wish I could."
"The Awkward Man and Miss Reade are going to have a lovely day for their
wedding," I said.
"Yes, and I'm so glad. Beautiful Alice deserves everything good. Why, Bev--why,
Bev! Who is that in the hammock?"
I looked. The hammock was swung under the two end trees of the Walk. In it a
man was lying, asleep, his head pillowed on his overcoat. He was sleeping
easily, lightly, and wholesomely. He had a pointed brown beard and thick wavy
brown hair. His cheeks were a dusky red and the lashes of his closed eyes were
as long and dark and silken as a girl's. He wore a light gray suit, and on the
slender white hand that hung down over the hammock's edge was a spark of
It seemed to me that I knew his face, although assuredly I had never seen him
before. While I groped among vague speculations the Story Girl gave a queer,
choked little cry. The next moment she had sprung over the intervening space,
dropped on her knees by the hammock, and flung her arms about the man's