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For that matter, there were a good many things about Valancy that nobody suspected.

But her laughter was very superficial and presently she lay there, a huddled, futile little figure, listening to the rain pouring down outside and watching, with a sick distaste, the chill, merciless light creeping into her ugly, sordid room.

Jewels that queens might have worn; robes of moonlight and fire; couches of roses and gold; long flights of shallow marble steps, with great, white urns, and with slender, mist-clad maidens going up and down them; courts, marble-pillared, where shimmering fountains fell and nightingales sang among the myrtles; halls of mirrors that reflected only handsome knights and lovely women--herself the loveliest of all, for whose glance men died.

All that supported her through the boredom of her days was the hope of going on a dream spree at night. One who wooed her with all the romantic ardour of the age of chivalry and won her after long devotion and many deeds of derring-do, and was wedded to her with pomp and circumstance in the great, banner-hung chapel of the Blue Castle.

There were only two pictures that were not of relatives. Valancy sometimes felt that she could have done something for her room herself, even without money, if she were permitted. But, after all, what did it matter if a room, which you used for nothing except sleeping and dressing in, were ugly?

One, an old chromo of a puppy sitting on a rainy doorstep. That forlorn little dog crouched on the doorstep in the driving rain! The other picture was a faded, passe-partouted engraving of Queen Louise coming down a stairway, which Aunt Wellington had lavishly given her on her tenth birthday. But her mother had negatived every timid suggestion and Valancy did not persist. Valancy was never permitted to stay alone in her room for any other purpose. Frederick Stirling and Cousin Stickles believed, could only want to be alone for some sinister purpose.

Always, when she shut her eyes, she could see it plainly, with its turrets and banners on the pine-clad mountain height, wrapped in its faint, blue loveliness, against the sunset skies of a fair and unknown land.

They never knew that Valancy had two homes--the ugly red brick box of a home, on Elm Street, and the Blue Castle in Spain.

For nineteen years she had looked at it and hated it, beautiful, smug, self-satisfied Queen Louise. Mother and Cousin Stickles would have been aghast, or, as Valancy irreverently expressed it in her thoughts, would have had a fit. But her room in the Blue Castle was everything a room should be.

Valancy, so cowed and subdued and overridden and snubbed in real life, was wont to let herself go rather splendidly in her day-dreams.

Title: The Blue Castle (1926) Author: Lucy Maude Montgomery * A Project Gutenberg of Australia e Book * e Book No.: 0200951Language: English Date first posted: November 2002 Date most recently updated: December 2010 This e Book was produced by: Don Lainson [email protected] Gutenberg of Australia e Books are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included.

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But, on this morning of her day of fate, Valancy could not find the key of her Blue Castle.

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