The Story Girl
The Dream Books
The next day the Story Girl coaxed Uncle Roger to take her to Markdale, and there she
bought our dream books. They were ten cents apiece, with ruled pages and mottled green
covers. My own lies open beside me as I write, its yellowed pages inscribed with the
visions that haunted my childish slumbers on those nights of long ago.
On the cover is pasted a lady's visiting card, on which is written, "The Dream Book of
Beverley King." Cecily had a packet of visiting cards which she was hoarding against the
day when she would be grown up and could put the calling etiquette of the _Family
Guide_ into practice; but she generously gave us all one apiece for the covers of our
As I turn the pages and glance over the naïve records, each one beginning, "Last night I
dreamed," the past comes very vividly back to me. I see that bowery orchard, shining in
memory with a soft glow of beauty--"the light that never was on land or sea,"--where we
sat on those September evenings and wrote down our dreams, when the cares of the day
were over and there was nothing to interfere with the pleasing throes of composition.
Peter--Dan--Felix--Cecily--Felicity--Sara Ray--the Story Girl--they are all around me
once more, in the sweet-scented, fading grasses, each with open dream books and pencil
in hand, now writing busily, now staring fixedly into space in search of some elusive
word or phrase which might best describe the indescribable. I hear their laughing voices,
I see their bright, unclouded eyes. In this little, old book, filled with cramped, boyish
writing, there is a spell of white magic that sets the years at naught. Beverley King is a
boy once more, writing down his dreams in the old King orchard on the homestead hill,
blown over by musky winds.
Opposite to him sits the Story Girl, with her scarlet rosetted head, her beautiful bare feet
crossed before her, one slender hand propping her high, white brow, on either side of
which fall her glossy curls.
There, to the right, is sweet Cecily of the dear, brown eyes, with a little bloated dictionary
beside her--for you dream of so many things you can't spell, or be expected to spell, when
you are only eleven. Next to her sits Felicity, beautiful, and conscious that she is
beautiful, with hair of spun sunshine, and sea-blue eyes, and all the roses of that vanished
summer abloom in her cheeks.
Peter is beside her, of course, sprawled flat on his stomach among the grasses, one hand
clutching his black curls, with his dream book on a small, round stone before him--for
only so can Peter compose at all, and even then he finds it hard work. He can handle a
hoe more deftly than a pencil, and his spelling, even with all his frequent appeals to
Cecily, is a fearful and wonderful thing. As for punctuation, he never attempts it, beyond
an occasion period, jotted down whenever he happens to think of it, whether in the right
place or not. The Story Girl goes over his dreams after he has written them out, and puts
in the commas and semicolons, and straightens out the sentences.