He had been wanting something to happen, and something had happened. He was unhorsed and alone in the heart of the hill country—alone in a strange and, it seemed to Lynde as he looked about him, uninhabited region.
THE ODD ADVENTURE WHICH BEFELL YOUNG LYNDE IN THE HILL COUNTRY
It had all happened so suddenly that one or two minutes passed before Edward Lynde took in the full enormity of Mary’s desertion. A dim smile was still hovering about his lips when the yellow speck that was Mary faded into the gray distance; then his countenance fell. There was no sign of mortal habitation visible from the hillside where he stood; the farm at which he had spent the night was five miles away; his stiff riding-boots were ill-adapted to pedestrianism. The idea of lugging that heavy saddle five miles over a mountain road caused him to knit his brows and look very serious indeed. As he gave the saddle an impatient kick, his eyes rested on the Bologna sausage, one end of which protruded from the holster; then there came over him a poignant recollection of his Lenten supper of the night before and his no breakfast at all of that morning. He seated himself on the saddle, unwrapped the sausage, and proceeded to cut from it two or three thin slices.
“It might have been much worse,” he reflected, as he picked off with his penknife the bits of silver foil which adhered to the skin of the sausage; “if Mary had decamped with the commissary stores, that would have been awkward.” Lynde devoured the small pieces of pressed meat with an appetite born of his long fast and the bracing upland air.
“Talk about pate de foie gras!” he exclaimed, with a sweep of his arm, as if he were disdainfully waving back a menial bearing a tray of Strasbourg pates; “if I live to return to Rivermouth I will have Bologna sausage three times a day for the rest of my life.”
A cup of the ice-cold water which bubbled up from a boss of cresses by the roadside completed his Spartan breakfast. His next step was to examine his surroundings. “From the top of this hill,” said Lynde, “I shall probably be able to see where I am, if that will be any comfort to me.”
It was only fifty or sixty rods to the crown of the hill, where the road, viewed from below, seemed abruptly to come to an end against the sky. On gaining the summit, Lynde gave an involuntary exclamation of surprise and delight. At his feet in the valley below, in a fertile plain walled in on all sides by the emerald slopes, lay the loveliest village that ever was seen. Though the road by which he had approached the eminence had been narrow and steep, here it widened and descended by gentle gradations into the valley, where it became the main street of the village—a congregation of two or possibly three hundred houses, mostly cottages with gambrel and lean-to roofs. At the left of the village,