CHAPTER XVI. FRANK MAKES A FRIEND
Henry Morton rose with the sun. This was not so early as may be supposed, for already November had touched its middle point, and the tardy sun did not make its appearance till nearly seven o'clock. As he passed through the hall he noticed that breakfast was not quite ready.
"A little walk will sharpen my appetite," he thought. He put on his hat, and, passing through the stable-yard at the rear, climbed over a fence and ascended a hill which he had observed from his chamber window. The sloping sides, which had not yet wholly lost their appearance of verdure, were dotted with trees, mostly apple-trees.
"It must be delightful in summer," said the young man, as he looked thoughtfully about him.
The hill was by no means high, and five minutes' walk brought him to the summit. From this spot he had a fine view of the village which lay at his feet embowered in trees. A narrow river wound like a silver thread through the landscape. Groups of trees on either bank bent over as if to see themselves reflected in the rapid stream. At one point a dam had been built across from bank to bank, above which the river widened and deepened, affording an excellent skating-ground for the boys in the cold days of December and January. A whirring noise was heard. The grist-mill had just commenced its work for the day. Down below the dam the shallow water eddied and whirled, breaking in fleecy foam over protuberant rocks which lay in the river-bed.
The old village church with its modest proportions occupied a knoll between the hill and the river. It was girdled about with firs intermingled with elms. Near-by was a small triangular common, thickly planted with trees, each facing a separate street. Houses clustered here and there. Comfortable buildings they were, but built evidently rather for use than show. The architect had not yet come to the assistance of the village carpenter.
Seen in the cheering light of the rising sun, Henry Morton could not help feeling that a beautiful picture was spread out before him.
"After all," he said thoughtfully, "we needn't go abroad for beauty, when we can find so much of it at our own doors. Yet, perhaps the more we see of the beautiful, the better we are fitted to appreciate it in the wonderful variety of its numberless forms."