"The uncles and aunts on the piazza turned to look at us; her mother arose from a steamer-chair and came across the lawn."Won't what, Sweetheart? Donald's two pointers came frisking across the lawn from the kennels, and Donald picked up his gun."Here we go again," said I.We looked at our aunt."Sweetheart is spoiled," said that lady decisively. It's a pity if three cousins can't pool their pleasures for once."Donald nodded uncertainly."Come on," said Walter, "we'll find Sweet heart."Donny chases the phantom of pleasure with his dogs. "If you treat me as a child from this moment, I shall hate you.""Me—Sweetheart? —it is good for children and kittens."I looked at her seriously.

I haven't any good examples."I fancy she was not listening; the crows were clamouring above the beech woods; the hill winds filled our ears with a sound like the sound of the sea on shoals. The sand started among the rocks, running, running with a sound like silver water."Then you shall not go either," she said.

Her gray eyes, touched with the sky's deep blue and the blue of the misty hills, looked out across the miles of woods and fields, and saw a world; not a world old, scarred, rock-ribbed, and salt with tears, but a new world, youthful, ripe, sunny, hazy with the splendour of wonders hidden behind the horizon—a world jewelled with gems, spanned by rose-mist rainbows—a world of sixteen years."We are already at the cliff's edge," I said. I do not care for marigolds."But I was already on the edge, stooping for a blossom. There was a whistle of sand, a flurry and a rush of wind, a blur of rock, fern, dead grasses—a cry! Of all the seconds that tick the whole year through, of all the seconds that have slipped onward marking the beat of time since time was loosed, there is one, one brief moment, steeped in magic and heavy with oblivion, that sometimes lingers in the soul of man, annihilating space and time.

She coloured faintly a moment later, and said: "I didn't mean that, Jack."And so Sweetheart took her first step across that threshold of mystery, the Temple of Idols.

And of the gilded idols within the temple, one shall turn to living flesh at the sound of a voice. where a child had entered, a woman returned with the key to the Temple of Gilded Idols."Jack," said Sweetheart, "you are wrong. I shall pick my arms full—full of flowers." Over the yellow fields, red with the stalks of the buckwheat, crowned with a glimmering cloud of the dusty gold of the golden-rod, Sweetheart passed, pensive, sedate, awed by the burden of sixteen years. Over the curling fern and wind-stirred grasses the silken milkweed seeds sailed, sailed, and the great red-brown butterflies drifted above, ruddy as autumn leaves aglow in the sun.

And where the meadow brook prattled, limpid, filtered with sunlight, Sweetheart stood knee-deep in fragrant mint, watching the aimless minnows swimming in circles.

On a distant hill, dark against the blue, Donald moved with his dogs, and I saw the sun-glint on his gun, and I heard the distant "Hi—on! " long after he disappeared below the brown hill's brow."Walter, too, had gone, leaving us there by the brook together, Sweetheart and I; and I saw the crows flapping and circling far over the woods, and I heard the soft report of his dust-shot shells among the trees."The ruling passion, Sweetheart," I said. ""Because," I answered evasively."Your answer is as rude as though I were twenty, instead of sixteen," said Sweetheart.

Anyway, there were plenty of Aspen beauties—I mean the butterflies—flying about the roads and balm-of-Gilead trees, and perhaps that is why I lingered there long enough to collect hundreds of duplicates for exchange. I thought of these things as I sat in the sun-flecked arbour, watching the yellow elm leaves flutter down from the branches.

I thought, too, of Sweetheart, and wondered how she would look with her hair up.

She laid the tip of her third finger on her lips and then on the golden-rod. After a while she sat down under an oak and clasped her hands."I am growing so old," she sighed, "I no longer take pleasure in childish things Donald's dogs, Walter's humming birds, your butterflies. "The oak leaves began to rustle in the hill winds; the crows cawed from the woods."Oui c'est moi," she said at length."I shall never call you Sweetheart again," I said, smiling."Who knows?

"I shall not pick it; the world is too fair to-day," she said. " she laughed, and leaned over to pick a blade of wild wheat.

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