Better things than these I remember: the companions with whom I have followed the stream in days long past; the rendezvous with a comrade at the place where the rustic bridge crosses the brook; the hours of sweet converse beside the friendship-fire; the meeting at twilight with my lady Graygown and the children, who have come down by the wood-road to walk home with me.
When we finished the thirty-fifth mile, and drew up in the courtyard of the station at Frydenlund, Graygown sprang out, with a little sigh of regret. "Is it last night," she cried, "or to-morrow morning? I have n't the least idea what time it is; it seems as if we had been travelling in eternity."
My first enthusiasm was not a little chilled as I walked back, along an open woodland path, to the bridge where Graygown was placidly reading. Reading, I say, though her book was closed, and her brown eyes were wandering over the green leaves of the thicket, and the white clouds drifting, drifting lazily across the blue deep of the sky.
What law, human or divine, was there to prevent us from making this stream our symbol of deliverance from the conventional and commonplace, our guide to liberty and a quiet mind? So reasoned Graygown with her "most silver flow Of subtle-paced counsel in distress." And, according to her word, so did we.
Would Graygown dare to drive on alone to the gate of the fortress, and blow upon the long horn which doubtless hangs beside it, and demand admittance and a lodging, "in the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," while I angle down the river a mile or so? Certainly she would. What door is there in Europe at which the American girl is afraid to knock? "But wait a moment.
My lady Graygown could give you the exact itinerary, for she has been well brought up, and always keeps a diary. All I know is, that we set out from one city and arrived at the other, and we gathered by the way a collection of instantaneous photographs. I am going to turn them over now, and pick out a few of the clearest pictures. Here is the bridge over the Naeselv at Fagernaes.
The big trout takes it promptly the instant it passes over him; and I play him and net him without moving from my perilous perch. Graygown waves her crochet-work like a flag, "Bravo!" she cries. "That's a beauty, nearly two pounds! But do be careful about coming back; you are not good enough to take any risks yet."
So the wooden ice-house, innocent of paint, and toned by the weather to a soft, sad-coloured gray, stood like an improvised ruin among the pine-trees beside the pond. It was through this unharvested ice-pond, this fallow field of water, that my lady Graygown and I entered on acquaintance with our lazy, idle brook. We had a house, that summer, a few miles down the bay.
But when the uninitiated ones had passed by, we would get out the rod again, and try a few more casts. One day in particular I remember, when Graygown and little Teddy were my companions. We really had no hopes of angling, for the hour was mid-noon, and the day was warm and still.
Several considerations led us to the resolve of taking our honeymoon experimentally rather than chronologically. We started from the self-evident proposition that it ought to be the happiest time in married life. "It is perfectly ridiculous," said my lady Graygown, "to suppose that a thing like that can be fixed by the calendar.