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Chapter II 


IN WHICH I DECIDE TO GO ON PILGRIMAGE

Though I have this bad habit of soliloquising, and indeed am absurd enough to attempt conversation with a house, yet the reader must realise from the beginning that I am still quite a young man. I talked a little just now as though I were an octogenarian. Actually, as I said, I am but just gone thirty, and I may reasonably regard life, as the saying is, all before me. I was a little down-hearted when I wrote yesterday. Besides, I wrote at the end of the afternoon, a melancholy time. The morning is the time to write. We are all--that is, those of us who sleep well--optimists in the morning. And the world is sad enough without our writing books to make it sadder. The rest of this book, I promise you, shall be written of a morning. This book! oh, yes, I forgot!--I am going to write a book. A book about what? Well, that must be as God wills. But listen! As I lay in bed this morning between sleeping and waking, an idea came riding on a sunbeam into my room,--a mad, whimsical idea, but one that suits my mood; and put briefly, it is this: how is it that I, a not unpresentable young man, a man not without accomplishments or experience, should have gone all these years without finding that

"Not impossible she Who shall command my heart and me,"-- without meeting at some turning of the way the mystical Golden Girl,--without, in short, finding a wife?

"Then," suggested the idea, with a blush for its own absurdity, "why not go on pilgrimage and seek her? I don't believe you'll find her. She isn't usually found after thirty. But you'll no doubt have good fun by the way, and fall in with many pleasant adventures."

"A brave idea, indeed!" I cried. "By Heaven, I will take stick and knapsack and walk right away from my own front door, right away where the road leads, and see what happens. "And now, if the reader please, we will make a start.

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