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A new world lay beneath her, a marvel of glittering branches, of white plain far below; the snowy mane of the Raxalpe was become a garment. And from behind the villa came the cheerful sound of sleigh-bells, of horses' feet on crisp snow, of runners sliding easily along frozen roads. Even the barking of the dog in the next yard had ceased rumbling and become sharp staccato.

Perhaps it is just possible the sentry had his suspicions. It is undeniable that as Jimmy in the cab on Peter's knee, with Peter's arm close about him, looked back at the hospital, the sentry was going through the manual of arms very solemnly under the stars and facing toward the carriage. For two days at Semmering it rained. The Raxalpe and the Schneeberg sulked behind walls of mist.

It was the first real vacation of her life, and more than that she was going to Semmering, in the very shadow of the Raxalpe, the beloved mountain of the Viennese. Marie had seen the Rax all her life, as it towered thirty miles or so away above the plain.

There, with the increasing ruggedness of the scenery and his first view of the Raxalpe, came recollection of the urgency of Stewart's last message, of Marie Jedlicka, of the sordid little tragedy that awaited him at the end of his journey. Peter sobered. Life was rather a mess, after all, he reflected. Love was a blessing, but it was also a curse.