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The Golden Road

IV. New Year Resolutions
If we did not have a white Christmas we had a white New Year. Midway between
the two came a heavy snowfall. It was winter in our orchard of old delights then,--
so truly winter that it was hard to believe summer had ever dwelt in it, or that
spring would ever return to it. There were no birds to sing the music of the moon;
and the path where the apple blossoms had fallen were heaped with less fragrant
drifts. But it was a place of wonder on a moonlight night, when the snowy
arcades shone like avenues of ivory and crystal, and the bare trees cast fairy-like
traceries upon them. Over Uncle Stephen's Walk, where the snow had fallen
smoothly, a spell of white magic had been woven. Taintless and wonderful it
seemed, like a street of pearl in the new Jerusalem.
On New Year's Eve we were all together in Uncle Alec's kitchen, which was
tacitly given over to our revels during the winter evenings. The Story Girl and
Peter were there, of course, and Sara Ray's mother had allowed her to come up
on condition that she should be home by eight sharp. Cecily was glad to see her,
but the boys never hailed her arrival with over-much delight, because, since the
dark began to come down early, Aunt Janet always made one of us walk down
home with her. We hated this, because Sara Ray was always so maddeningly
self-conscious of having an escort. We knew perfectly well that next day in
school she would tell her chums as a "dead" secret that "So-and-So King saw her
home" from the hill farm the night before. Now, seeing a young lady home from
choice, and being sent home with her by your aunt or mother are two entirely
different things, and we thought Sara Ray ought to have sense enough to know
it.
Outside there was a vivid rose of sunset behind the cold hills of fir, and the long
reaches of snowy fields glowed fairily pink in the western light. The drifts along
the edges of the meadows and down the lane looked as if a series of breaking
waves had, by the lifting of a magician's wand, been suddenly transformed into
marble, even to their toppling curls of foam.
Slowly the splendour died, giving place to the mystic beauty of a winter twilight
when the moon is rising. The hollow sky was a cup of blue. The stars came out
over the white glens and the earth was covered with a kingly carpet for the feet of
the young year to press.
"I'm so glad the snow came," said the Story Girl. "If it hadn't the New Year would
have seemed just as dingy and worn out as the old. There's something very
solemn about the idea of a New Year, isn't there? Just think of three hundred and
sixty-five whole days, with not a thing happened in them yet."
 
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