Setting the Scene

‘Lise listened but made no comment.  She found this woman, with her intelligent, frank face and friendly smile, immensely puzzling.  She walked beside her in silence.  The gravel crunched under their feet.  The sun was bright and the warm arm carried the earth and tree odours of the country;  carried, too the sounds of the country;  the muted sounds of birds, the scurrying of a rabbit in the underbrush, a doe’s light footfall coming from the edge of the park, only half perceived.  And all these sounds only served to punctuate the great, warm Sunday silence that was over everything.  They came to a spot where the driveway merged into a three-pronged fork.  Straight ahead it ran to the gates.  On the right it curled unseen between trees to the stables at the back of the chateau.  On the left it led down through the park, and here they turned, making their way slowly, stepping now on a soft carpet of pine needles in the cool shade of the woods.’

The lake lay halfway down the slope on a plateau of clipped sward, screened by its own greenery and posed as delicately as a flat stone in a jeweller’s setting.  It came into view as they rounded a curve in the path;  Lise, seeing it suddenly like this, ran forward with delight to stand in the dappled sunlight at its edge.

“Oh, how lovely!”  She clasped her hands like a child, tightly in front of her.  “How perfectly lovely.”‘

ROY, Katherine, Lise.  Toronto: McClennand and Stewart Limited. 1954 (3rd edition).

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