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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/412

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401
INTERLUDE

little country station. He was vaguely considering to which one of the two competing and decrepit carryalls he should intrust himself when he became aware that farther down the platform a young woman in a brown driving-coat was signaling to him from the high seat of her trap. She wore a brown veil, pushed up above her eyes; it was hardly a valid excuse for Floyd's uncertainty and hesitation in recognizing her as the person whom he sought. Then he hastened to her.

"Yes, I know you'd probably be safer behind either of those horses," she said, reaching a hand down to him. "But I hope you'll pretend you are n't afraid and get in here with me. Put your bag in behind."

"This flatters me very much," Floyd said as he obeyed her commands. "Am I to suppose that you've been watching and waiting for me on every train?"

"Of course I should have done that," she answered, laughing, "if it had been necessary. But as we have only one afternoon train here from anywhere, it was n't difficult to guess when you'd arrive. I think it's about the best hour of the day, too, for a visitor to come and get his first impression—just when the shadows are growing long. Don't you think it's a pretty country?"

"I do," Floyd assured her. "You know, to a fellow fresh—or stale—from Avalon, there's something uncanny about all this stillness—and peacefulness."

"Dear me," she said mildly, "do you find peacefulness uncanny? What shall I do to reassure you? When we make that turn just ahead, you'll see our mountain and lake—they are n't very tremendous, but we like them as well as if they were."

The road led at the turn out upon an exposed high place commanding a view down the valley—a valley of little hills on which rugged farms alternated with forest. Near at hand, however, rose one great conical peak that dominated all the others; no settler's axe had made an indentation on its majestic slope; here and there masses of