Puslapio vaizdai

was not arranging life now; she was de- looked at him he wondered if by any stroying it. Her eyes blazed at him, and chance he could be clever, too; and the she said:

third time she looked at him he hoped that "You know what

's wrong well

Mary had n't seen. enough.'

Mary had seen every time, but she sup“There's no harm in looking at a posed that London ways might be differ

aid," said David, cautiously. “Her 's ent and Lizzie might not mean any harm different."

by it. She never supposed anything at all And Mary, stung beyond endurance, about David. She took for granted that cried :

he would dislike everything in Lizzie that “Then take her!” and went back as differed from Trelinnock, and yet, since swiftly as she had come, with the word she was Mary's cousin, he would consent "different" sticking in her heart like a to overlook the objects of his dislike. They sword.

would include, Mary supposed, an affected Of course Lizzie was different. She voice, very movable, provocative eyes, a was almost a visitor; she would have been great deal of wholly unnecessary convera visitor if she had not been a relative. sation, and an appalling ignorance of the She was Mary's first cousin, come from simplest natural laws. London, a place which Mary saw vaguely When Lizzie asked David how many as larger than Plymouth, filled with vast tides there are in a day, Mary colored crowds of people in muslin and high- with shame and confusion for her. She heeled shoes, buying picture post-cards, did not dream that David was pleased at and drinking inordinate quantities of being asked idiotic questions, or that men ginger-beer. Lizzie had come from this in general enjoy imparting what they place for a holiday. She worked in a know to conversational young women shop in Oxford Street, and wore brown with provocative eyes, whose knowledge, boots every day and a silk sport-jacket. however circumscribed in one direction, is She had several muslin frocks, left over quite sufficient in another. from sales, and she had brought large But Mary learned this lesson; she hats, unsuitable for windy cliffs, and rib- learned very silently and reluctantly half bons that Mary rejoiced to know would a dozen other lessons in the course of a have the color taken out of them by the sea. few weeks, and all she asked while she

Lizzie would have told you that she was learning them was that neither her meant no harm, a phrase which prepares father nor her mother might see the acthe conscience for an unearned repose cumulation of her knowledge. The farm after the harm has happened; but she gen- was some distance out of the village, so erally did a little just to keep her hand that the prying eyes and sharp tongues of in, and because, if other girls want to neighboring gossips could be kept at bay; keep their young men, they ought to look but those tender spies of love in her para sharp about it.

ents' hearts, how long could she mislead Mary had n't looked sharp. David them by artificial laughter or hide from came in on the evening of Lizzie's arrival. them the traces of her secret tears? Lizzie, who had been previously told David fell into the habit of bringing his about David, looked at him, during the friend the blacksmith up to the farm, and course of an hour or two, perhaps three the four young people behaved as much times. David was an extremely good- like visitors as Vary would consent to looking young fellow, but he did not know behave. They went for walks on the that, possibly because Mary, who was cliff, and made expeditions to neighboring quite used to his appearance, did not know coves and villages. Vary had never seen it either. The first time Lizzie looked at so much of the country in her life as she him it occurred to David that he was saw with Lizzie, and it confirmed in her handsome; the second time that Lizzie the desire to remain at Trelinnock and keep everybody else out of it, including bathe; Mary believed that she had a serelatives.

cret arrangement to meet David at the Mary felt she could have borne it if strand. Their ways parted on the edge Lizzie had been worth David, but Lizzie of the cliff. was worth no man's love. She was as "My," said Lizzie, "the air is just like light and cold as foam. She had told scent! It is reely. I often wonder, Mary, Mary things that Mary had never you don't buy any scent. Men like it. dreamed any woman thought, far less did. It was only last night that David said to

Trelinnock was no better than other me, 'You 're as sweet as a fower. He places, but it was more limited, and it had

did reely." no edges. You were good or bad in Tre- Mary stood quite still at the cliff's edge. linnock, and all Trelinnock knew which “'T is all sweet here," she said quietly. you were, and acted accordingly. Lizzie "We don't need glass bottles for to hold lived upon edges, and it was in the light it. 'T is all clean sweet.” of a fresh edge that she considered David. "No," said Lizzie, scornfully; "nor, She was going to go as far as she could with your knowledge of the sun and the with David, and then she would return tide, you don't need watches to tell you to London and leave Mary with what was the time. All the same, it 's a pretty thing left of David's heart. There would not to wear on your wrist, and it pays to wear be very much left of it, and what there

pretty things and take a little trouble over was would be broken. That was the last yourself. I only tell you for your own of the lessons Mary learned from Lizzie. good, Mary. Lor'! the strand 's a long

' David did not come to Tremayne Farm way off; I never can get there in this heat. the evening after Mary had been on the Is n't there a shorter way down by the ·cliff. There was a good deal of conjec- cliffs ? David said, if you knew them, ture as to why he did n't come, but there was many a short cut." Farmer Tremayne had heard that Job "There is a way,” said Mary; her voice Oldcastle, the most ancient fisherman at sounded strange and hoarse in her ears. Windyhazle, had died that morning, and "There is a nearer way,” she said, -and it was settled that probably David was then twenty years of conscience broke employed upon his coffin.

through her reluctant lips, -- "but the cliffs "Death," said Farmer Tremayne, with are mortal' dangerous an' all." a chuckle, "won't wait 's long as a maid. Lizzie tossed her head. Mind that, Mary!" And Mary, looking "Who 's afraid?" she said airily. "I'll across at Lizzie, minded it.

tease David about them; he wanted me to

promise not to try to get down without It was a day when the whole of summer him with me, he did reely. But catch me was let loose upon the air. The sea lay promising a man anything! As long as stretched out under the sky, a smooth, un- you 'll not promise, they do; the moment broken mirror of pale blue. The air shim- you begin, they stop. I know men." mered and danced with the heat, and Mary did not dispute her cousin's every breath of it was filled with meadow- knowledge; she took her boots off withsweet, honeysuckle, and the tonic wildness out speaking, and slung them together by of the sea.

their laces round her neck. The farm-work was over, and Lizzie "You don't find me taking my boots and Mary set off toward the cliffs. Mary off," said Lizzie; "my feet are n't as tough had heard that morning that her aunt was as yours, and the Lord only knows how in trouble with a sick cow; it was a four- I'd get them on again. Are you coming, mile walk to her aunt's farm.

too? I thought you 'd got to go and help I reckon,” she said to Lizzie, “I 'll be that aunt of yours about a sick cow. I back an hour after sunset."

must say you do funny things in the counLizzie was going down to the strand to try; no wonder you can't dress properly."


“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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