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 After many weeks of wandering about, the children found themselves in a little village, about three miles from the town of Arcachon. This village was in the midst of a forest covering many thousand acres of land. They had avoided the seaport town of Arcachon, dreading its fashionable appearance; but they hailed the little village with delight.  
It was a pretty place, peaceful and sunny; and here the people cultivated their vines and fruit trees, and lived, the poorer folks quite in the village, the better-off inhabitants in neat farmhouses close by. These farmhouses were in the midst of fields, with cattle browsing in the meadows.
Altogether, the village was the most civilized-looking place the children had stopped at since they entered what had been a few years ago the dreary desert of the Landes. Strange to say, however, here, for the first time, the weary little pilgrims met with a cold reception. The people in the village of Moulleau did not care for boys who played the fiddle, and dogs that tried clumsily to accompany it. They looked with a fine lack of sympathy at Cecile's pathetic blue eyes, and Maurice was nothing more to them than a rather dirty little sunburnt boy.
One or two of the inns even refused the children a night's lodging for money, and so disagreeable did those that did take them in make themselves that after the first night Cecile and Joe determined to sleep in the forest close by. it was now April, the weather was delicious, and in the forest of pines and oak trees not a breath of wind ever seemed to enter. Joe, looking round, found an old tumbledown hut. In the hut was a pile of dry pine needles. These pine needles made a much snugger bed than they had found in a rather dirty inn in the village; and, still greater an advantage, they could use this pleasant accommodation free of all charge.
It was, indeed, necessary to economize, for the francs sewn into the winsey frock would come to an end by and by.
The children found to their dismay that they had by no means taken a direct road to the Pyrenees, but had wandered about, and had been misdirected many times.
There was one reason, however, which induced Cecile to stay for a few days in the forest close to the village of Moulleau.
This was the reason: Amongst the many sunny farms around, was one, the smallest there, but built on a slight eminence, and resembling in some slight and vague way, not so much its neighbors, as the low-roofed, many-thatched English farmhouse of Warren's Grove. Cecile felt fascinated by this farm with its English frontage. She could not explain either her hopes or her fears with regard to it. But an unaccountable desire was over her to remain in the forest for a short time before they proceeded on their journey.
"Let us rest here just one day longer," she would plead in her gentle way; and Joe, though seeing no reason for what seemed like unnecessary delay, nevertheless yielded to her demand.
He was not idle himself. As neither fiddling nor dancing seemed to pay, he determined to earn money in some other manner; so, as there were quantities of fir cones in the forests, he collected great piles and took them into Arcachon for sale.
While Joe was away, sometimes accompanied by Maurice, sometimes alone, Cecile would yield to that queer fascination, which seemed unaccountable, and wander silently, and yet with a certain anxiety to the borders of that English-looking farm.
Never did she dare to venture within its precincts. But she would come to the edge of the paling which divided its rich meadows from the road, and watch the cattle browsing, and the cocks, and hens, and ducks and geese, going in and out, with wistful and longing eyes.
Once, from under the low and pretty porch, she saw a child run eagerly, with shouts of laughter. This child, aged about two, had golden hair and a fair skin. Cecile had seen no child like him in the village. He Looked like an English boy. How did he and that English-looking farm get into the sequestered forest of the Landes?
After seeing the child, Cecile went back to her hut, sat down on the pine needles, and began to think.
Never yet had she obtained the faintest clew to her search.
Looking everywhere for blue eyes and golden hair, it............
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