Puslapio vaizdai


“I 'll see you down-along,” said Mary, -short, convulsive sounds, trailing into briefly. She led the way by a grassy path silence. to the heathery verge. The slope looked Mary still looked. There was a ledge easy, and was possible for the sure-footed. of rock before her on which she crept on Half-way down it changed abruptly into hands and knees; from there she saw the a sheer drop of ironstone rock; one could body tossed like a bounding stone into the not see the edge until one was upon it. gulf, and Lizzie's waving hands, full of

Mary began to descend very methodi- grass and heather, Aung up toward the cally and slowly. She never left a foot- sky. Mary saw no more than that, but hold until she had found and tested the she heard a muffled sound of blows when one beneath it; as the slope grew steeper, the body struck rock-iron rock; and then she laid her hands lightly, without trust- all the earth was like a pause. Even the ing her weight, on bracken and heather. was still. Gulls circled noiselessly She heard Lizzie laughing above her. over the cove. Perhaps they saw some

"Lor'!” her cousin cried, "you are a thing, but Mary only saw the smooth, cautious, slow cat, Mary! I shall be down blue mirror of the sea, and heard nothing in half the time you take over it.”.

but the soft whisper of it as it lipped the Mary looked up above her at the brown rocks beneath. boots, with high heels, and once more her It was a great relief to Mary that there conscience shook the words out of her. were no more cries. She climbed up to "You'd best take off they boots!" she the summit of the cliff and turned her shouted up; but even as her words left her back upon the sea. There was no one in lips, she saw Lizzie's eyes change to sight. She sat down on a clump of heather startled horror. The smooth, grassy slope and put on her boots. It seemed to her was as slippery as ice, and the brown boots as if she had just had a dream, a shocking, had no grip; she found herself moving iniquitous, involuntary dream. As soon without volition, swiftly and still more as she had fastened her boots she hastened swiftly over the short, dry grass. In a to her aunt's farm, but she need not have flash she was on a level with Mary, and hastened. Ten minutes had been enough then past her. She began to clutch wildly to cover a fallen life. at the bracken and heather; tufts of them The cow was worse, and Mary boiled came off in her hands. She screamed spas- the kettle and laid fomentations on the modically, like a toy doll. She was not moaning beast, and as the day darkened really frightened at first, but she screamed slowly, she lit a lantern and hung it over hilariously, ceaselessly.

the stall. Mary stood firm in her foothold and, "You 'm praperly knowledgable with leaning forward, saw the drop beneath cows, Mary," said her aunt, approvingly, and the murmurous, blue water moving to “If

you 'll bide to bed, I 'll watch with the cliff's edge, softly back and forth, with her till morning," Mary promised. She scarcely a ripple. Then Lizzie's scrambling wanted to be alone with the cow. Its rush changed to a fall; her body turned agonized eyes turned to her appealingly. right over, and she saw what was beneath The fitful light, the long, dark shadows, her. A sound came from her that seemed the sweet-scented hay, and the dire need to shake the cliffs; it rang across from side of ministering to physical pain worked like to side, a horrible, tormented sound. an anodyne in Mary. She no longer saw

Mary caught a glimpse of her face the wavering, helpless hands in which the turned upward. Her mouth was wide heather and the earth still lay, nor heard open, and her eyes were blind with fear. the screams louder and louder in her They glared up at Mary, blind blue eyes, brain, reverberating like the sound of a horribly fixed and intent. And then her deep bell when an hour has struck. The hair shone, and she turned over and over, troubled breathing of the beast beside her while her screams were shaken out of her eased her heart. It was alive, and she was helping it, and all her life until that day turned back forever to Mary and to faithshe had been helping what was alive. fulness. Then she heard a tap on the stable win- In a year they were married, just as dow, saw David's face in the shadow, and they had always arranged to be. But the heard him say:

village said her cousin's death had "over"Where be your cousin Lizzie?" He taken" Mary. She was changed from that asked her twice before her lips would day. She had always been a woman of move to answer him.

few words, but they had come from a se"I dun not know,” said Mary, hoarsely. rene and satisfied cheerfulness and they “I dun not know, David.”

had carried with them a sense of solid Where did you see her last ?" asked peace; now they were fewer than ever, David. Beads of perspiration stood on his and her eyes were strange while she utbrow, his eyes were wild and hungry. tered them. They seemed to be looking Mary's heart beat against her side like at something that was not there, and hearsome plunging bird.

ing something which had no sound. “I saw her last upon the cliff-side," she After her marriage Mary and David said. “'T were after work was over, and went to live in Trelinnock.

David was the sun was full high; happen 't was three afraid Mary would miss the cliffs and the o'clock.”

sea, and every Sunday he took her out to "God help her, then !” said David, pas- Tremayne Farm and home by the cliffs. sionately. "O Mary, I do believe her 's Mary made no protest, but she went by over them iron cliffs ! Her 's not been his side like a sleep-walker, with fixed and seen upon the strand nor in the village

sightless eyes. nor any gate."

Once when they sat on the edge of the "If 't is so," said Mary, slowly, "the heather above a grassy slope David disdawn tide will bring her in, David." lodged a stone and would have thrown it

"Iss," said David, heavily. "I'll go down, but Mary gave a scream and caught down and meet the sea, Mary.”

his hand back. It was a strange, shrill The cow cried out, and Mary turned scream, like a wild bird's, and her face back to her. She could speak better to suddenly grew white and crumpled. For David without looking at him.

a moment David saw her youth dead in "You be praper sorrowful man, her eyes-dead and transfixed, like a live David," she said gently. "'T is a dread thing turned to stone. ful thing that have come to 'e.”

“Dun not throw it down, David !" she “'T is all of that," said David, heavily, gasped. "Dun not throw it down! "and 't is kind of 'e to take it so, Mary. 'T would fall into the sea.” Happen we 'll forget them words in the David gazed at her, and then he said orchard?”

curiously, in a sharp, high voice: "Happen we 'll forget them,” she re- “Mary, if 't were a body that fell, them peated without tears; and David left her rocks would strike at it praperly hard. and went down to meet the sea.

'T would crush a human head in like an The tide brought Lizzie in at dawn, egg-shell, if 't were struck down on they.” and laid her broken and mauled and bit- Mary's lips moved, and her eyes darkterly disfigured under the fringe of the ened till they looked as black as wet ironblack rock where the surf had fung her. stone.

David never told any one that half her "Surely 't is hard,” she said, with sudhair, half the wonderful gold plaits he had den fierceness-“ 't is mortal hard to fall so marveled at, was false. Even David on they; but 't is not so hard, David, as knew that they were false.

to fall on a fickle heart." He buried them reverently and deeply "Mary,” whispered David — "Mary-” under the heather, and there he buried Then he turned his head away, and asked with them all his moments of romance, and her no more questions.


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