Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us

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Used to think I'd be frightened. Not frightened. Think how much I'm going to know--in just a few more minutes, Emily. Wiser than anybody else living. Always wanted to know--to know. Never liked guesses. Done with curiosity--about life. Just curious now--about death. I'll know the truth, Emily--just a few more minutes and I'll know the--truth. No more guessing. And if--it's as I think--I'll be--young again.

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You can't know what--it means. You--who are young--can't have--the least idea--what it means--to be young-- again. Carpenter with a sigh of relief. No use trying to please everybody. No use trying to please--critics. Live under your own hat. Don't be--led away--by those howls about realism. Remember--pine woods are just as real as--pigsties--and a darn sight pleasanter to be in. You'll get there--sometime--you have the root--of the matter--in you. And don't--tell the world--everything. That's what's the--matter--with our--literature.

Lost the charm of mystery--and reserve. There's something else I wanted to say--some caution--I can't--seem to remember--". Feel quite through--with being tired. I'm dying--I'm a failure--poor as a rat. But after all, Emily--I've had a--darned interesting time. Carpenter shut his eyes and looked so deathlike that Emily made an involuntary movement of alarm.

He lifted a bleached hand. Don't call that weeping lady back. Just yourself, little Emily of New Moon. Clever little girl, Emily. What was it--I wanted to say to her? A moment or two later he opened his eyes and said in a loud, clear voice, "Open the door--open the door. Death must not be kept waiting. Emily ran to the little door and set it wide. A strong wind of the grey sea rushed in. Aunt Louisa ran in from the kitchen. Not quite. As Emily bent over him the keen, shaggy-brown eyes opened for the last time. Carpenter essayed a wink but could not compass it. Was there a little impish chuckle at the end of the words?

Aunt Louisa always declared there was. Graceless old Mr. Carpenter had died laughing--saying something about Italians. Of course he was delirious. But Aunt Louisa always felt it had been a very unedifying deathbed. She was thankful that few such had come in her experience. Emily went blindly home and wept for her old friend in the room of her dreams. What a gallant old soul he was--going out into the shadow--or into the sunlight? Whatever his faults there had never been anything of the coward about old Mr.

Her world, she knew, would be a colder place now that he was gone. It seemed many years since she had left New Moon in the darkness. She felt some inward monition that told her she had come to a certain parting of the ways of life. Carpenter's death would not make any external difference for her. Nevertheless, it was as a milestone to which in after years she could look back and say,. All her life she had grown, as it seemed, by these fits and starts.

Going on quietly and changelessly for months and years; then all at once suddenly realizing that she had left some "low-vaulted past" and emerged into some "new temple" of the soul more spacious than all that had gone before. Though always, at first, with a chill of change and a sense of loss. The year after Mr. Carpenter's death passed quietly for Emily--quietly, pleasantly--perhaps, though she tried to stifle the thought, a little monotonously.

No Ilse--no Teddy--no Mr. Perry only very occasionally. But of course in the summer there was Dean. No girl with Dean Priest for a friend could be altogether lonely. They had always been such good friends, ever since the day, long ago, when she had fallen over the rocky bank of Malvern Bay and been rescued by Dean.

On the whole, there was no one in all the world she liked quite so well as Dean. When she thought this she always italicized the "liked. Carpenter had not known. Aunt Elizabeth never quite approved of Dean. But then Aunt Elizabeth had no great love for any Priest. There seemed to be a temperamental incompatibility between the Murrays and the Priests that was never bridged over, even by the occasional marriages between the clans. Oh, I think I know why. Emily flushed. She, too, was beginning to have an unwelcome suspicion why Aunts Elizabeth and Laura were even more frostily polite to Dean than of yore.

She did not want to have it; she thrust it fiercely out and locked the door of thought upon it whenever it intruded there. But the thing whined on her doorstep and would not be banished. Dean, like everything and everybody else, seemed to have changed overnight. And what did the change imply--hint? Emily refused to answer this question. The only answer that suggested itself was too absurd. And too unwelcome. Was Dean Priest changing from friend to lover? Arrant nonsense. Disagreeable nonsense.

For she did not want him as a lover and she did want him madly as a friend. She couldn't lose his friendship. It was too dear, delightful, stimulating, wonderful. Why did such devilish things ever happen? When Emily reached this point in her disconnected musings she always stopped and retraced her mental steps fiercely, terrified to realize that she was almost on the point of admitting that "the something devilish" had already happened or was in process of happening.

I've never been there. Don't want to go now particularly. But what's the use of staying? Would you want to talk to me in the sitting-room all winter with the aunts in hearing? She recalled one fiendish autumn evening of streaming rain and howling wind when they couldn't walk in the garden but had to sit in the room where Aunt Elizabeth was knitting and Aunt Laura crocheting by the table. It had been awful. And again why? Why couldn't they talk as freely and whimsically and intimately then as they did in the garden?

The answer to this at least was not to be expressed in any terms of sex. Was it because they talked of so many things Aunt Elizabeth could not understand and so disapproved of? But whatever the cause Dean might as well have been at the other side of the world for all the real conversation that was possible.

She had said it every one of his flitting autumns for many years. But she did not say it this time. She found she dared not. Dean was looking at her with eyes that could be tender or sorrowful or passionate, as he willed, and which now seemed to be a mixture of all three expressions.

He must hear her say she would miss him. His true reason for going away again this winter was to make her realize how much she missed him--make her feel that she could not live without him. Other years she had been very frank and serious about it. Dean was not altogether regretful for the change. But he could guess nothing of the attitude of mind behind it. She must have changed because she felt something--suspected something, of what he had striven for years to hide and suppress as rank madness.

What then? Did this new lightness indicate that she didn't want to make a too important thing of admitting she would miss him? Or was it only the instinctive defence of a woman against something that implied or evoked too much? And this--I know somehow--will be worse. But I'll have my work. He could not have said so more plainly in words. His implications cut across Emily's sensitive soul like a whip-lash.

And all at once her work and her ambitions became--momentarily at least--as childish and unimportant as he considered them. She could not hold her own conviction against him. He must know. He was so clever--so well-educated. That was the agony of it. She could not ignore his opinion.

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Emily knew deep down in her heart that she would never be able wholly to believe in herself until Dean Priest admitted that she could do something honestly worth while in its way. And if he never admitted it Star was his old nickname for her--not as a pun on her name but because he said she reminded him of a star. Whenever I shall recall a bit of Blair Water loveliness I shall see you in it. After all, all other beauty is only a background for a beautiful woman. That was all Emily heard.

She did not even realize that he was telling her he thought her a beautiful woman. What do you think it is yourself? I'm glad you can amuse yourself by writing. It's a splendid thing to have a little hobby of the kind. And if you can pick up a few shekels by it--well, that's all very well too in this kind of a world.

You used to think then I could do something some day. Better face facts.

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You write charming things of their kind, Emily. Be content with that and don't waste your best years yearning for the unattainable or striving to reach some height far beyond your grasp. Dean was not looking at Emily. He was leaning on the old sundial and scowling down at it with the air of a man who was forcing himself to say a disagreeable thing because he felt it was his duty. He looked into her face.

She was as tall as he was--a trifle taller, though he would not admit it. You can do more with those eyes--that smile--than you can ever do with your pen. But had he not been cruel and contemptuous to her? Three o'clock that night found her wide-eyed and anguished. She had lain through sleepless hours face to face with two hateful convictions. One was that she could never do anything worth doing with her pen. The other was that she was going to lose Dean's friendship. For friendship was all she could give him and it would not satisfy him. She must hurt him. And oh, how could she hurt Dean whom life had used so cruelly?

She had said "no" to Andrew Murray and laughed a refusal to Perry Miller without a qualm. But this was an utterly different thing. Emily sat up in bed in the darkness and moaned in a despair that was none the less real and painful because of the indisputable fact that thirty years later she might be wondering what on earth she had been moaning about. Like everybody, in daylight Emily found things much less tragic and more endurable than in the darkness.

A nice fat cheque and a kind letter of appreciation with it restored a good deal of her self-respect and ambition. Very likely, too, she had imagined implications into Dean's words and looks that he never meant.

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She was not going to be a silly goose, fancying that every man, young or old, who liked to talk to her, or even to pay her compliments in shadowy, moonlit gardens, was in love with her. Dean was old enough to be her father. Dean's unsentimental parting when he went away confirmed her in this comforting assurance and left her free to miss him without any reservations. Miss him she did abominably. The rain in autumn fields that year was a very sorrowful thing and so were the grey ghost-fogs coming slowly in from the gulf.

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Emily was glad when snow and sparkle came. She was very busy, writing such long hours, often far into the night, that Aunt Laura began to worry over her health and Aunt Elizabeth once or twice remarked protestingly that the price of coal-oil had gone up. As Emily paid for her own coal-oil this hint had no effect on her. She was very keen about making enough money to repay Uncle Wallace and Aunt Ruth what they had spent on her high school years. Aunt Elizabeth thought this was a praiseworthy ambition.

The Murrays were an independent folk. It was a clan by-word that the Murrays had a boat of their own at the Flood. No promiscuous Ark for them. Of course there were still many rejections--which Cousin Jimmy carried home from the post-office speechless with indignation. But the percentage of acceptances rose steadily. Every new magazine conquered meant a step upward on her Alpine path. She knew she was steadily gaining the mastery over her art. Even the "love talk" that had bothered her so much in the old days came easily now. Had Teddy Kent's eyes taught her so much?

If she had taken time to think she might have been very lonely. There were some bad hours. Especially after a letter had come from Ilse full of all her gay doings in Montreal, her triumphs in the School of Oratory and her pretty new gowns. In the long twilights when she looked shiveringly from the windows of the old farmhouse and thought how very white and cold and solitary were the snow fields on the hill, how darkly remote and tragic the Three Princesses, she lost confidence in her star. She wanted summer; fields of daisies; seas misty with moonrise or purple with sunset; companionship; Teddy.

In such moments she always knew she wanted Teddy. Teddy seemed far away. They still corresponded faithfully, but the correspondence was not what it was. Suddenly in the autumn Teddy's letters had grown slightly colder and more formal. At this first hint of frost the temperature of Emily's dropped noticeably. But she had hours of rapture and insight that shed a glory backward and forward. Hours when she felt the creative faculty within her, burning like a never-dying flame. Rare, sublime moments when she felt as a god, perfectly happy and undesirous.

And there was always her dream-world into which she could escape from monotony and loneliness, and taste strange, sweet happiness unmarred by any cloud or shadow. Sometimes she slipped mentally back into childhood and had delightful adventures she would have been ashamed to tell her adult world. She liked to prowl about a good deal by herself, especially in twilight or moonlight alone with the stars and the trees, rarest of companions.

I have to be up and away," she told Aunt Elizabeth, who did not approve of prowling. Aunt Elizabeth never lost her uneasy consciousness that Emily's mother had eloped. And anyhow, prowling was odd. None of the other Blair Water girls prowled. There were walks over the hills in the owl's light when the stars rose--one after another, the great constellations of myth and legend.

There were frosty moonrises that hurt her with their beauty; spires of pointed firs against fiery sunsets; spruce copses dim with mystery; pacings to and fro on the To-morrow Road. Not the To-morrow Road of June, blossom-misted, tender in young green. Nor yet the To-morrow Road of October, splendid in crimson and gold. But the To-morrow Road of a still, snowy winter twilight--a white, mysterious, silent place full of wizardry. Emily loved it better than all her other dear spots. The spirit delight of that dream-haunted solitude never cloyed--its remote charm never palled.

If only there had been a friend to talk things over with! One night she awakened and found herself in tears, with a late moon shining bluely and coldly on her through the frosted window-panes. She had dreamed that Teddy had whistled to her from Lofty John's bush--the old, dear, signal whistle of childhood days; and she had run so eagerly across the garden to the bush. But she could not find Teddy. Only three dynamic things happened that year to vary the noiseless tenor of Emily's way.

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In the autumn she had a love affair--as Aunt Laura Victorianly phrased it. James Wallace, the new, well-meaning, ladylike young minister at Derry Pond, began making excuses for visiting Blair Water Manse quite often and from there drifted over to New Moon. Gossip was very rife.

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  • It was a foregone conclusion that Emily would jump at him. A minister! Heads were shaken over it. She would never make a suitable minister's wife. Never in the world. But wasn't it always the way? A minister picking on the very last girl he should have. At New Moon opinion was divided. Aunt Laura, who owned to a Dr. Fell feeling about Mr. Wallace, hoped Emily wouldn't "take" him. Aunt Elizabeth, in her secret soul, was not overfond of him either, but she was dazzled by the idea of a minister. And such a safe lover. A minister would never think of eloping. She thought Emily would be a very lucky girl if she could "get" him.

    When it became sadly evident that Mr. Wallace's calls at New Moon had ceased, Aunt Elizabeth gloomily asked Emily the reason and was horrified to hear that the ungrateful minx had told Mr. Wallace she could not marry him. The indelicacy of such a reply staggered Aunt Elizabeth--which was probably why Emily had made it. She knew Aunt Elizabeth would be afraid to refer to the subject again.

    Then there was the episode of the local theatricals in Shrewsbury which were written up with vitriolic abuse in one of the Charlottetown papers. Shrewsbury people blamed Emily Byrd Starr for doing it. Who else, they demanded, could or would have written with such diabolic cleverness and sarcasm? Every one knew that Emily Byrd Starr had never forgiven Shrewsbury people for believing those yarns about her in the old John House affair.

    This was her method of revenge. Wasn't that like the Murrays? Carrying a secret grudge for years, until a suitable chance for revenge presented itself. Emily protested her innocence in vain. It was never discovered who had written the report and as long as she lived it kept coming up against her. But in one way it worked out to her advantage. She was invited to all the social doings in Shrewsbury after that. People were afraid to leave her out lest she "write them up.

    But she got to Mrs. Tom Nickle's dinner dance and thought for six weeks that it had changed the current of her whole existence. Emily-in-the-glass looked very well that night. She had got the dress she had longed for for years--spent the whole price of a story on it, to her Aunt's horror. Shot silk--blue in one light, silver in another, with mists of lace. She remembered that Teddy had said that when she got that dress he would paint her as an Ice-maiden in it. Her right-hand neighbour was a man who kept making "funny speeches" all through the meal and kept her wondering for what good purpose God had ever fashioned him.

    But her left-hand neighbour! He talked little but he looked! Emily decided that she liked a man whose eyes said more than his lips. But he told her she looked like "the moonbeam of a blue summer night" in that gown. I think it was that phrase that finished Emily--shot her clean through the heart--like the unfortunate little duck of the nursery rhyme. Emily was helpless before the charm of a well-turned phrase. Before the evening was over Emily, for the first time in her life, had fallen wildly and romantically into the wildest and most romantic kind of love--"the love the poets dreamed of," as she wrote in her diary.

    The young man--I believe his beautiful and romantic name was Aylmer Vincent--was quite as madly in love as she. He literally haunted New Moon. He wooed beautifully. His way of saying "dear lady" charmed her. When he told her that "a beautiful hand was one of the chief charms of a beautiful woman" and looked adoringly at hers Emily kissed her hands when she went to her room that night because his eyes had caressed them. When he called her raptly "a creature of mist and flame" she misted and flamed about dim old New Moon until Aunt Elizabeth unthinkingly quenched her by asking her to fry up a batch of doughnuts for Cousin Jimmy.

    When he told her she was like an opal--milk-white outside but with a heart of fire and crimson, she wondered if life would always be like this. She neglected her writing and asked Aunt Elizabeth if she could have the old blue box in the attic for a hope chest. Aunt Elizabeth graciously acceded. The record of the new suitor had been investigated and found impeccable. Good family--good social position--good business. All the omens were auspicious. Emily fell out of love just as suddenly as she had fallen into it.

    One day she was, and the next she wasn't. That was all there was to it. She was aghast. She couldn't believe it. She tried to pretend the old enchantment still existed. She tried to thrill and dream and blush. Nary thrill, nary blush. Her dark-eyed lover-- why had it never struck her before that his eyes were exactly like a cow's? Ay, bored her. She yawned one evening in the very midst of one of his fine speeches. Why, there was nothing to him but fine speeches. There was nothing to add to that. She was so ashamed that she was almost ill over it.

    Blair people thought she had been jilted and pitied her. The aunts who knew better were disappointed and disapproving. Emily had no spunk to defend herself. She supposed she deserved it all. Perhaps she was fickle. She must be fickle. When such a glorious conflagration fizzled out so speedily and utterly into ashes.

    Not a spark of it left. Not even a romantic memory. Emily viciously inked out the passage in her diary about "the love the poets dreamed of. She was really very unhappy about it for a long while. Had she no depth at all? Was she such a superficial creature that even love with her was like the seeds that fell into the shallow soil in the immortal parable? She knew other girls had these silly, tempestuous, ephemeral affairs but she would never have supposed she would have one-- could have one.

    To be swept off her feet like that by a handsome face and mellifluous voice and great dark eyes and a trick of pretty speeches! In brief Emily felt that she had made an absolute fool of herself and the Murray pride could not stick it. To make it worse the young man married a Shrewsbury girl in six months. Not that Emily cared whom he married or how soon. But it meant that his romantic ardours were but things of superficiality, too, and lent a deeper tinge of humiliation to the silly affair. Andrew had been so easily consoled also. Percy Miller was not wasting in despair.

    Teddy had forgotten her. Was she really incapable of inspiring a deep and lasting passion in a man? To be sure, there was Dean. But even Dean could go away winter after winter and leave her to be wooed and won by any chance-met suitor. She took up her pen again with a secret gladness. But for a considerable time the love-making in her stories was quite cynical and misanthropic in its flavour. Teddy Kent and Ilse Burnley came home in the summer for a brief vacation. Teddy had won an Art Scholarship which meant two years in Paris and was to sail for Europe in two weeks.

    He had written the news to Emily in an off-hand way and she had responded with the congratulations of a friend and sister. There was no reference in either letter to rainbow gold or Vega of the Lyre. Yet Emily looked forward to his coming with a wistful, ashamed hope that would not be denied. Perhaps--dared she hope it? No doubt Teddy had had his imitation love affairs as she had hers.

    But when he came--when they looked again into each other's eyes--when she heard his signal whistle in Lofty John's bush But she never heard it. On the evening of the day when she knew Teddy was expected home she walked in the garden among brocaded moths, wearing a new gown of "powder-blue" chiffon and listened for it. Every robin call brought the blood to her cheek and made her heart beat wildly.

    Then came Aunt Laura through the dew and dusk. Emily went in to the stately, stiff, dignified parlour of New Moon, pale, queenly, aloof. Ilse hurled herself upon her with all her old, tempestuous affection, but Teddy shook hands with a cool detachment that almost equalled her own. Oh, dear, no. Frederick Kent, R. What was there left of the old Teddy in this slim, elegant young man with his sophisticated air and cool, impersonal eyes, and general implication of having put off for ever all childish things--including foolish old visions and insignificant little country girls he had played with in his infancy?

    In which conclusion Emily was horribly unjust to Teddy. But she was not in a mood to be just to anybody. Nobody is who has made a fool of herself. And Emily felt that that was just what she had done--again. Mooning romantically about in a twilight garden, specially wearing powder-blue, waiting for a lover's signal from a beau who had forgotten all about her--or only remembered her as an old schoolmate on whom he had very properly and kindly and conscientiously come to call.

    Well, thank heaven, Teddy did not know how absurd she had been. She would take excellent care that he should never suspect it. Who could be more friendly and remote than a Murray of New Moon? Emily's manner, she flattered herself, was admirable. As gracious and impersonal as to an entire stranger. Renewed congratulations on his wonderful success, coupled with an absolute lack of all real interest in it. Carefully phrased, polite questions about his work on her side; carefully phrased polite questions about her work on his side.

    She had seen some of his pictures in the magazines. He had read some of her stories. So it went, with a wider gulf opening between them at every moment. Never had Emily felt herself so far away from Teddy. She recognized with a feeling that was almost terror how completely he had changed in those two years of absence.

    It would in truth have been a ghastly interview had it not been for Ilse, who chattered with all her old breeziness and tang, planning out a two weeks of gay doings while she was home, asking hundreds of questions; the same lovable old madcap of laughter and jest and dressed with all her old gorgeous violations of accepted canons of taste. In an extraordinary dress--a thing of greenish-yellow. She had a big pink peony at her waist and another at her shoulder. She wore a bright green hat with a wreath of pink flowers on it.

    Great hoops of pearl swung in her ears. It was a weird costume. No one but Ilse could have worn it successfully. And she looked like the incarnation of a thousand tropic springs in it--exotic, provocative, beautiful. So beautiful! Emily realized her friend's beauty afresh with a pang not of envy, but of bitter humiliation. Beside Ilse's golden sheen of hair and brilliance of amber eyes and red-rose loveliness of cheeks she must look pale and dark and insignificant. Of course Teddy was in love with Ilse. He had gone to see her first--had been with her while Emily waited for him in the garden.

    Well, it made no real difference. Why should it? She would be just as friendly as ever. And was. Friendly with a vengeance. But when Teddy and Ilse had gone--together--laughing and teasing each other through the old To-morrow Road Emily went up to her room and locked the door. Nobody saw her again until the next morning. The gay two weeks of Ilse's planning followed. Picnics, dances and jamborees galore. Shrewsbury society decided that a rising young artist was somebody to be taken notice of and took notice accordingly.

    It was a veritable whirl of gaiety and Emily whirled about in it with the others. No step lighter in the dance, no voice quicker in the jest, and all the time feeling like the miserable spirit in a ghost story she had once read who had a live coal in its breast instead of a heart. All the time, feeling, too, far down under surface pride and hidden pain, that sense of completion and fulfilment which always came to her when Teddy was near her.

    But she took good care never to be alone with Teddy, who certainly could not be accused of any attempt to inveigle her into twosomes. His name was freely coupled with Ilse's and they took so composedly the teasing they encountered, that the impression gained ground that "things were pretty well understood between them. But Ilse, though she told many a tale of lovers forlorn whose agonies seemed to lie very lightly on her conscience, never mentioned Teddy's name, which Emily thought had a torturing significance of its own.

    She inquired after Perry Miller, wanting to know if he were as big an oaf as ever and laughing over Emily's indignant defence. Perry came to see Ilse, bragged a bit too much over his progress and got so snubbed and manhandled that he did not come again. Altogether the two weeks seemed a nightmare to Emily, who thought she was unreservedly thankful when the time came for Teddy to go.

    He was going on a sailing vessel to Halifax, wanting to make some nautical sketches for a magazine, and an hour before flood-tide, while the Mira Lee swung at anchor by the wharf at Stovepipe Town, he came to say good-bye. He did not bring Ilse with him--no doubt, thought Emily, because Ilse was visiting in Charlottetown; but Dean Priest was there, so there was no dreaded solitude a deux. Dean was creeping back into his own, after the two weeks' junketings from which he had been barred out. Dean would not go to dances and clam-bakes, but he was always hovering in the background, as everybody concerned felt.

    He stood with Emily in the garden and there was a certain air of victory and possession about him that did not escape Teddy's eye. Dean, who never made the mistake of thinking gaiety was happiness, had seen more than others of the little drama that had been played out in Blair Water during those two weeks and the dropping of the curtain left him a satisfied man. Whatever its significance or lack of significance had been, Dean no longer counted Teddy among his rivals. Emily and Teddy parted with the hearty handshake and mutual good wishes of old schoolmates who do indeed wish each other well but have no very vital interest in the matter.

    Teddy got himself away very gracefully. He had the gift of making an artistic exit, but he did not once look back. Emily turned immediately to Dean and resumed the discussion which Teddy's coming had interrupted. Her lashes hid her eyes very securely. Dean, with his uncanny ability to read her thoughts, should not--must not guess--what? What was there to guess? Nothing--absolutely nothing.

    Yet Emily kept her lashes down. When Dean, who had some other engagement that evening, went away half an hour later she paced sedately up and down among the gold of primroses for a little while, the very incarnation, in all seeming, of maiden meditation fancy free. Perhaps Emily was spinning out a plot. But as the shadows deepened she slipped out of the garden, through the dreamy peace of the old columbine orchard--along the Yesterday Road--over the green pasture field--past the Blair Water--up the hill beyond--past the Disappointed House--through the thick fir wood.

    There, in a clump of silver birches, one had an unbroken view of the harbour, flaming in lilac and rose-colour. Emily reached it a little breathlessly--she had almost run at the last. Would she be to late? Oh, what if she should be too late? The Mira Lee was sailing out of the harbour, a dream vessel in the glamour of sunset, past purple headlands and distant, fairylike, misty coasts.

    Emily stood and watched her till she had crossed the bar into the gulf beyond. Stood and watched her until she had faded from sight in the blue dimness of the falling night, conscious only of a terrible hunger to see Teddy once more--just once more. To say good-bye as it should have been said. Teddy was gone. To another world. There was no rainbow in sight. And what was Vega of the Lyre but a whirling, flaming, incredibly distant sun? She slipped down among the grasses at her feet and lay there sobbing in the cold moonshine that had suddenly taken the place of the friendly twilight.

    Mingled with her sharp agony was incredulity. This thing could not have happened. Teddy could no have gone away with only that soulless, chilly, polite good-bye. After all their years of comradeship, if nothing else. Oh, how would she ever get herself past three o'clock this night? I am nothing to him. And I deserve it. Didn't I forget him in those crazy weeks when I was imagining myself in love with Aylmer Vincent?

    Of course somebody has told him all about that.

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    I've lost my chance of real happiness through that absurd affair. Where is my pride? To cry like this over a man who has forgotten me. But--but--it's so nice to cry after having had to laugh for these hideous weeks. Emily flung herself into work feverishly after Teddy had gone. Through long summer days and nights she wrote, while the purple stains deepened under her eyes and the rose stains faded out of her cheeks. Aunt Elizabeth thought she was killing herself and for the first time was reconciled to her intimacy with Jarback Priest, since he dragged Emily away from her desk in the evenings at least for walks and talks in the fresh air.

    That summer Emily paid off the last of her indebtedness to Uncle Wallace and Aunt Ruth with her "pot-boilers. But there was more than pot-boiling a-doing. At least, she had thought it significant then. Well, that was all over. But wasn't the story somewhere? She had written the outline of that alluring, fanciful tale in a Jimmy-book the next day.

    Emily sprang out of bed in the still summer moonlight, lighted one of the famous candles of New Moon, and rummaged through a pile of old Jimmy-books. Yes, here it was.

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    A Seller of Dreams. Emily squatted down on her haunches and read it through. It was good. Again it seized hold of her imagination and called forth all her creative impulse. She would write it out--she would begin that very moment. Flinging a dressing-gown over her white shoulders to protect them from the keen gulf air she sat down before her open window and began to write.

    Everything else was forgotten--for a time at least--in the subtle, all-embracing joy of creation. Teddy was nothing but a dim memory--love was a blown-out candle. Nothing mattered but her story. The characters came to life under her hand and swarmed through her consciousness, vivid, alluring, compelling. Wit, tears, and laughter trickled from her pen. She lived and breathed in another world and came back to New Moon only at dawn to find her lamp burned out, and her table littered with manuscript--the first four chapters of her book.

    Her book! What magic and delight and awe and incredulity in the thought. For weeks Emily seemed to live really only when she was writing it. Dean found her strangely rapt and remote, absent and impersonal. Her conversation was as dull as it was possible for Emily's conversation to be, and while her body sat or walked beside him her soul was--where? In some region where he could not follow, at all events. It had escaped him. Emily finished her book in six weeks--finished it at dawn one morning. She flung down her pen and went to her window, lifting her pale, weary, triumphant little face to the skies of morning.

    Music was dripping through the leafy silence in Lofty John's bush. Beyond were dawn-rosy meadows and the garden of New Moon living in an enchanted calm. The wind's dance over the hills seemed some dear response to the music and rhythm in her being. Hills, sea, shadows, all called to her with a thousand elfin voices of understanding and acclaim. The old gulf was singing. Exquisite tears were in her eyes.

    She had written it--oh, how happy she was! This moment atoned for everything. There it lay-- A Seller of Dreams --her first book. Not a great book--oh, no, but hers --her very own. Something to which she had given birth, which would never have existed had she not brought it into being. And it was good. She knew it was--felt it was. A fiery, delicate tale, instinct with romance, pathos, humour. The rapture of creation still illuminated it. She turned the pages over, reading a bit here and there--wondering if she could really have written that. She was right under the rainbow's end.

    Could she not touch the magic, prismatic thing? Already her fingers were clasping the pot of gold. Aunt Elizabeth walked in with her usual calm disregard of any useless formality such as knocking. Emily came back to earth with that abominable mental jolt which can only be truly described as a thud--a "sickening thud" at that. Very sickening. She stood like a convicted schoolgirl. And A Seller of Dreams became instantly a mere heap of scribbled paper. You seem to be able to earn a living by it in a very ladylike way. But you will wreck your health if you keep this sort of thing up.

    Have you forgotten that your mother died of consumption? At any rate, don't forget that you must pick those beans to-day. It's high time they were picked. Emily gathered up her manuscript with all her careless rapture gone. Creation was over; remained now the sordid business of getting her book published. Emily typewrote it on the little third-hand machine Perry had picked up for her at an auction sale--a machine that wrote only half of any capital letter and wouldn't print the "m's" at all.

    She put the capitals and the "m's" in afterwards with a pen and sent the MS. The publishing firm sent it back with a typewritten screed stating that "their readers had found some merit in the story but not enough to warrant an acceptance. This "damning with faint praise" flattened Emily out as not even a printed slip could have done.

    Talk about three o'clock that night! No, it is an act of mercy not to talk about it--or about many successive three o'clocks. Where is my ambition now? What is it like to be ambitious? To feel that life is before you, a fair, unwritten white page where you may inscribe your name in letters of success? To feel that you have the wish and power to win your crown? To feel that the coming years are crowding to meet you and lay their largess at your feet? I once knew what it was to feel so. All of which goes to show how very young Emily still was. But agony is none the less real because in later years when we have learned that everything passes, we wonder what we agonized about.

    She had a bad three weeks of it. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description "Your task, Marcus, is to travel far and wide and bring back to me four objects that I desire most ardently: I want the Fountain of Youth, a star from the Heavens, the Rays of the Sun, and the secret of life. That is your task. There is one more thing I require of you, Marcus: do not fail me a second time. Failure would bring his own death and the continued imprisonment of his beloved parents. Marcus is also torn between finishing the quest to release his parents or coming to the aid of his beloved Tullia, now in mortal danger from which only he can rescue her.

    And for both Tullia and his parents, time is running out. Accompanied by his faithful friends and guided by the River Zoe, they must overcome deadly perils with the aid of the fabulous Sword Logos, which must never be used in violence. Along the way they will encounter dark enchantments and ethereal delights, and discover that in every life, there is one love that lasts forever. Quest For the Kingdom by L. Roth is a 7 book series divided into 2 sections. Books 1 through 3 comprise the Empress Aurora trilogy and the tale of the young Marcus Maximus. Books 4 through 7 consist of the Chronicles of Logos and recount the fate of the fabulous Sword, and reveals how the decisions of the next generation impact the Kingdom for years to come.

    Other books in this series. Add to basket. About L M Roth L. Roth is a "pilgrim on the path of life" and a seeker of truth. This quest first began when the author read Little Women and was struck by the sense of destiny shared by each of the March sisters as they "pilgrimed" their way through the trials and thrills that only life can offer. The quest deepened through the exposure to classic mythology and legends, which birthed a sense of hidden identity, that we are not who we have always thought we were, but are each of us heroes and heroines destined for something great and noble.

    Who are we?

    Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us
    Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us
    Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us
    Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us
    Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us Quest For the Kingdom Part IV A Stranger Among Us

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