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CHRISTMAS AT SUNBERRY DALE.

CHAPTER I.

SUNBERRY DALE.

SUNBERRY DALE is the name of a country house and grounds in one of the most beautiful of the western counties of England. I have seen many of the most lovely spots in our country, but none fairer nor richer than this.

Sunberry Dale is about a mile from the quaint old town of Chesterton, and the house, standing in a dell and well surrounded by trees, is not seen until you come almost upon it. I do not know whether I can describe the house to you, but I will try. It is a long old-fashioned house of three stories, each window of the third story being set in a high pointed gable. A rustic gabled porch stands out from the centre of the house, and over this porch and around the lower windows of the house the white clematis and the sweet honeysuckle twine and twist their branches until the windows themselves and the roof of the porch are almost hidden. Above these, and reaching nearly to the points of the gables, are trained some of the finest pear-trees I ever saw.

A large oval lawn spreads itself before the house, having for its central ornament an antique stone sun-dial, now almost hidden by luxuriant lichens. The carriage drive passes round the lawn and skirts a deep fossé, which divides the lawn from a well-stocked orchard; beyond which stand the fine old woods of Leyoak Park. The house is approached from the town of Chesterton by a wide well kept gravelled road, bordered for a long distance by greensward and neatly trimmed hedges; whilst on the one side the clear waters of a little brook are hasting with many an eddying ripple on their way to join a distant river. As

you

draw near to the house the drive passes through a fine avenue

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