The Enchanted Barn (Chapter VIII, page 1 of 6)


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The car leaped forward up the smooth white road, and the great barn as they looked back to it seemed to smile pleasantly to them in farewell. Shirley looked back, and tried to think how it would seem to come home every night and see Doris standing at the top of the grassy incline waiting to welcome her; tried to fancy her mother in a hammock under the big tree a little later when it grew warm and summery, and the boys working in their garden. It seemed too heavenly to be true.

The car swept around the corner of Allister Avenue, and curved down between tall trees. The white spire in the distance drew nearer now, and the purplish hills were off at one side. The way was fresh with smells of spring, and everywhere were sweet scents and droning bees and croaking frogs. The spirit of the day seemed to enter into the young people and make them glad. Somehow all at once they seemed to have known one another a long time, and to be intimately acquainted with one another's tastes and ecstasies. They exclaimed together over the distant view of the misty city with the river winding on its far way, and shouted simultaneously over a frightened rabbit that scurried across the road and hid in the brushwood; and then the car wound round a curve and the little white church swept into view below them.

"The little white church in the valley Is bright with the blossoms of May, And true is the heart of your lover Who waits for your coming to-day!"

chanted forth George in a favorite selection of the department-store victrola, and all the rest looked interested. It was a pretty church, and nestled under the hills as if it were part of the landscape, making a home-centre for the town.

"We can go to church and Sunday-school there," said Shirley eagerly. "How nice! That will please mother!"

Elizabeth looked at her curiously, and then speculatively toward the church.

"It looks awfully small and cheap," said Elizabeth.

"All the more chance for us to help!" said Shirley. "It will be good for us."

"What could you do to help a church?" asked the wondering Elizabeth. "Give money to paint it? The paint is all scaling off."

"We couldn't give much money," said Carol, "because we haven't got it. But there's lots of things to do in a church besides giving. You teach in Sunday-school, and you wait on table at suppers when they have Ladies' Aid."

"Maybe they'll ask you to play the organ, Shirley," suggested George.

"Oh George!" reproved Shirley. "They'll have plenty that can play better than I can. Remember I haven't had time to practise for ages."

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