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Zw WâÊksm mmms^mi SlSMVTiïSï; . ?::;·.,?'4 •?^?'?'?'.'.-?'··1·—:^ ·*.'**F???(?. /AIiWn^-LSiVy üy&tgt· iW'·' *w****'.i«tï·1 Mam Paul Boswell 12 Love by EMILY ANN SMITH We left our horses and walked up the path to the top of the mountain. I looked back to see my bay lay flat her ears as the white horse brushed her neck in his effort to reach leaves above her head. I watched long enough for the leaves to twist in his mouth and disappear and the ears of the mare to resume a peaceful angle. The shadows of the night, blue in the light of the rising sun, still clung to the morning like a caul on the face of a new-born child. And like that veil those shadows seemed to pulsate, to move delicately with the beating of new life beneath it, so lightly that one looked closely to see. Our feet left rude blurs in the dew-covered grass, silvered , green, thick. Spider-webs loaded with water stretched from a post to a bar, each strand of thread outlined in dew beads or enclosing in exquisite nets, like fine morning caps, clumps of bushes. The sky was like a great blue bubble, flung high in the air and filled with golden mist. The path, like a forever whimsical mind, wiggled laboriously up the incline, plunging into tree shade, out again into open spaces of rocks, bare, not yet warm, grass and sunlight, straight up on an impulse, and then bending almost back on itself. Larry ahead pushed aside overhanging limbs, hawthorn and briar. One slapped my face sharply, and I leaned against a small oak while Larry kissed and smoothed away the redness from my cheek and rubbed on dew with his finger tips and dried it with his handkerchief whose creases were until then unshaken, and which smelled like a man's top drawer. A garter snake rustled, slithered across the path. We watched him gleam in the sunlight, the jade of his back, the smoothness of his scales. Out of my hatred for things that slide and creep on dull-colored bellies, I admired his short length, the sinuous twists and curves of his body, the poise of his head. He was not a snake, he was a jewel to be worn on a white arm or coiled about a throat against whose warm pulsing he might lay his head and play out his tongue, yellow and feathery. We drank at a spring from which Larry pulled away ferns, crowding close, and moss and wet earth. The man stooped to cup in 13 his hand water which ran through his fingers . I drank too, cupped my fingers and felt against my lips through the water the heat of my hand that had curled about the riding crop, lying beside me on the grass. Far down the path, a rabbit, sitting, dropped an ear and gazed at us. My eyes felt wide, loosened at the corners, as if sleep were gone forever and I could look and see and never drop my lids. The wind stirred the wet hair about Larry's face and then lifted my own and cooled the scalp and the back of my neck. I watched the man ahead as he -swung in a long stride, varying little, and admired his shoulders and eyed the whiteness of the skin that slid from time to time from under his neck band as he quickened his movements. He told me that the ground could not be used for tillage on account of the stones, nor for pasture on account of the cliffs. "The nearest house," he said, "is that one we passed three miles back. Remember?" I remembered . "Are you afraid?" I shook my head and we both smiled. Then the trees thinned, and ahead I saw the open space that was the top of the mountain. It seemed to be fitted for the top of any mountain, flat and bare so that an impression of even more height was given to the sheer drop of one thousand feet over which we looked. We could not doubt that this was the top. There was no gradual...


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