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The Life Of The Winds Of Heaven
by [?]

I

Barbara hesitated long between the open-work stockings and the plain-silk, but finally decided on the former. Then she vouchsafed a pleased little smile to her pleasant little image in the mirror, and stepped through the door into the presence of her aunt. The aunt was appropriately astonished. This was the first time Barbara had spread her dainty chiffon wings in the air of the great north woods. Strangely, daintily incongruous she looked now against the rough walls of the cabin, against the dark fringe of the forest beyond the door.

Barbara was a petite little body with petite little airs of babylike decision. She knew that her greatest attraction lay in the strange backward poise of her head, bringing her chin, pointed and adorable, to the tilt of maddening charm. She was perfectly aware, too, of her very full red lips, the colour of cherries, but with the satiny finish of the peach; and she could not remain blind to the fact that her light hair and her velvet-black eyes were in rare and delicious contrast. All these things, and more, Barbara knew because a dozen times a day her mirror swore them true. That she was elusively, teasingly, judicially, calmly distracting she knew because, ever since she could remember, men had told her so with varying degrees of bitter humour. She accepted the fact, and carried herself in all circumstances as a queen surrounded by an indefinite number of rights matured to her selection.

After her plain old backwoods aunt had admired and exclaimed over the butterfly so unexpectedly developed from the brown tailor-made chrysalis, Barbara determined to take a walk. She knew that over through that cool, fascinating forest, only a half-mile away, dwelt the Adamses. The Adamses, too, were only of the woods people, but they were human, and chiffon was chiffon, in the wilderness as in the towns. So Barbara announced her intention, and stepped into the sunlight.

The parasol completed her sense of happiness. She raised it, and slanted it over her shoulder, and drew one of its round tips across her face, playing out to herself a pretty little comedy as she sauntered deliberately down the trail between the stumps and tangled blackberry vines of the clearing. She tilted her chin, and glanced shyly from beneath the brim of her big hat at the solemn stumps, and looked just as pretty as she possibly could for the benefit of the bold, noisy finches. With her light summer dress and her picture-hat and her open-work stockings and her absurd little high-heeled, silver-buckled shoes she had somehow regained the feminine self-confidence which her thick boots and sober brown woods dress had filched from her. For the first time in this whimsical visit to a new environment she was completely happy. Dear little Barbara; she was only eighteen.

Pretty soon the trail entered the great, cool, green forest. Barbara closed her parasol and carried it under one arm, while with the same hand she swept her skirt clear of the ground. She was now a grande marquise in the Forest of Fontainebleau. Through little round holes in the undergrowth she could see away down between the trees to dashes of sunlight and green shadows. Always Barbara conducted herself as though, in the vista, a cavalier was about to appear, who would sweep off his plumed hat in a bow of knightly adoration. She practised the courtesy in return, sinking on one little high-pointed heel with a downward droop of her pretty head and an upward cast of her pretty eyes.

“Oui, c’est un reve, un reve doux d’amour,” she hummed, as the hem of her outspread skirt just swept the ground.

Phew!” came a most terrible, dreadful sound from the thicket close at hand.

Barbara dropped her parasol, and clasped her heart with both hands, and screamed. From the thicket two slender ears pointed inquiringly toward her, two wide brown eyes stared frightened into hers, a delicate nose dilated with terror. “Phew!” snorted the deer again, and vanished in a series of elastic stiff-legged springs.