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I did not plan when I began writing these chapters to make an entire book, but only to put down the more or less unusual impressions, the events and adventures, of certain quiet pilgrimages in country roads. But when I had written down all of these things, I found I had material in plenty.

“What shall I call it now that I have written it?” I asked myself.

At first I thought I should call it “Adventures on the Road,” or “The Country Road,” or something equally simple, for I would not have the title arouse any appetite which the book itself could not satisfy. One pleasant evening I was sitting on my porch with my dog sleeping near me, and Harriet not far away rocking and sewing, and as I looked out across the quiet fields I could see in the distance a curving bit of the town road. I could see the valley below it and the green hill beyond, and my mind went out swiftly along the country road which I had so recently travelled on foot, and I thought with deep satisfaction of all the people I had met on my pilgrimages—the Country Minister with his problems, the buoyant Stanleys, Bill Hahn the Socialist, the Vedders in their garden, the Brush Peddler. I thought of the Wonderful City, and of how for a time I had been caught up into its life. I thought of the men I met at the livery stable, especially Healy, the wit, and of that strange Girl of the Street. And it was good to think of them all living around me, not so very far away, connected with me through darkness and space by a certain mysterious human cord. Most of all I love that which I cannot see beyond the hill.

“Harriet,” I said aloud, “it grows more wonderful every year how full the world is of friendly people!”

So I got up quickly and came in here to my room, and taking a fresh sheet of paper I wrote down the title of my new book:

“The Friendly Road.”

I invite you to travel with me upon this friendly road. You may find, as I did, something which will cause you for a time, to forget yourself into contentment. But if you chance to be a truly serious person, put down my book. Let nothing stay your hurried steps, nor keep you from your way.

As for those of us who remain, we will loiter as much as ever we please. We’ll take toll of these spring days, we’ll stop wherever evening overtakes us, we’ll eat the food of hospitality—and make friends for life!



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