Valancy never grew older than twenty-five in her Blue Castle, but recently--very recently--her hero had had reddish, tawny hair, a twisted smile and a mysterious past.
Valancy wakened early, in the lifeless, hopeless hour just preceding dawn. One does not sleep well, sometimes, when one is twenty-nine on the morrow, and unmarried, in a community and connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man.This e Book is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at it had not rained on a certain May morning Valancy Stirling's whole life would have been entirely different.She knew the ugliness of that room by heart--knew it and hated it. Stirling would sulk for days if offended, with the airs of an insulted duchess.The yellow-painted floor, with one hideous, "hooked" rug by the bed, with a grotesque, "hooked" dog on it, always grinning at her when she awoke; the faded, dark-red paper; the ceiling discoloured by old leaks and crossed by cracks; the narrow, pinched little washstand; the brown-paper lambrequin with purple roses on it; the spotted old looking-glass with the crack across it, propped up on the inadequate dressing-table; the jar of ancient potpourri made by her mother in her mythical honeymoon; the shell-covered box, with one burst corner, which Cousin Stickles had made in her equally mythical girlhood; the beaded pincushion with half its bead fringe gone; the one stiff, yellow chair; the faded old motto, "Gone but not forgotten," worked in coloured yarns about Great-grandmother Stirling's grim old face; the old photographs of ancient relatives long banished from the rooms below. The only thing Valancy liked about her room was that she could be alone there at night to cry if she wanted to.As far as she could look forward it seemed certain to be just the same until she was nothing but a solitary, little withered leaf clinging to a wintry bough.