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(Reading time: 9 - 18 minutes)
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The Mountain Girl
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The Mountain Girl - 27 - Emma Payne Erskine - Web Novel

IN WHICH THE OLD DOCTOR AND LITTLE HOYLE COME BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS

  

Cassandra, seated on the great hanging rock before her cabin, watched the sunrise where David had so often stood and waited for the dawn during his winter there alone. This morning the mists obscured the valleys and the base of the mountains, while the sky and the whole earth glowed with warm rose color.

  

Presently she rose and walked with lifted head into the cabin, and prepared to light a fire on the hearth. In the canvas room the bed was made smoothly, as she had made it the morning David left. No one had slept in it since, although Cassandra spent most of her days there. Everything he had used was carefully kept as he had left it. His microscope, covered from dust, stood with the last specimen still under the lens. A book they were reading together lay on the corner shelf, with the mark still in the place where they had read last.

  

After lighting the fire, she sat near it, watching the flames steal up from the small pile of fat pine chips underneath, sending up red tongues of fire, until the great logs were wrapped in the hot embrace of the flames, trembling, quivering, and leaping high in their mad joy, transmuting all they touched.

  

"It's like love," she murmured, and smiled. "Only it's quicker. It does in one hour what love takes a lifetime to do. Those logs might have lain on the ground and rotted if they'd been left alone, but now the fire just holds them and caresses them like,

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