Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/99

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By Ella D'Arcy

A young man strolled along a country road one August evening after a long delicious day—a day of that blessed idleness the man of leisure never knows: one must be a bank clerk forty-nine weeks out of the fifty-two before one can really appreciate the exquisite enjoyment of doing nothing for twelve hours at a stretch. Willoughby had spent the morning lounging about a sunny rickyard; then, when the heat grew unbearable, he had retreated to an orchard, where, lying on his back in the long cool grass, he had traced the pattern of the apple-leaves diapered above him upon the summer sky; now that the heat of the day was over he had come to roam whither sweet fancy led him, to lean over gates, view the prospect and meditate upon the pleasures of a well-spent day. Five such days had already passed over his head, fifteen more remained to him. Then farewell to freedom and clean country air! Back again to London and another year's toil.

He came to a gate on the right of the road. Behind it a footpath meandered up over a glassy slope. The sheep nibbling on its summit cast long shadows down the hill almost to his feet. Road and field-path were equally new to him, but the latter offered greener attractions; he vaulted lightly over the gate and had so

The Yellow Book—Vol. I.