She slept very profoundly. It was a summer night, although, as usual, Mary Erskine had a fire. Clouds rose in the west, bringing with them gusts of wind and rain. The wind and the rain beat against the window, but they did not wake her. It thundered. The thunder did not wake her. The shower passed over, and the sky became, serene again, while Mary Erskine slept tranquilly on. At length the baby began to move in the cradle. Mary Erskine heard the first sound that its nestling made, and raised herself up suddenly. The fire had nearly gone out. There was no flame, and the room was lighted only by the glow of the burning embers. Mary Erskine was frightened to find herself alone. The tranquillity and happiness which she had experienced a few hours ago were all gone, and her mind was filled, instead, with an undefined and mysterious distress and terror. She went to the fire-place and built a new fire, for the sake of its company. She took the baby from the cradle and sat down in the rocking-chair, determining not to go to bed again till morning. She went to the window and looked out at the stars, to see if she could tell by them how long it would be before the morning would come. She felt afraid, though she knew not why, and holding the baby in her arms, with its head upon her shoulder, she walked back and forth across the room, in great distress and anguish, longing for the morning to come. Such is the capriciousness of grief.
Mrs. Bell went home on the evening of the funeral, very much exhausted and fatigued under the combined effects of watching, anxiety, and exertion. She went to bed, and slept very soundly until nearly midnight. The thunder awaked her.
She felt solitary and afraid. Mary Bell, who was then about nine years old, was asleep in a crib, in a corner of the room. There was a little night lamp, burning dimly on the table, and it shed a faint and dismal gleam upon the objects around it. Every few minutes, however, the lightning would flash into the windows and glare a moment upon the walls, and then leave the room in deeper darkness than ever. The little night lamp, whose feeble beam had been for the moment entirely overpowered, would then gradually come out to view again, to diffuse once more its faint illumination, until another flash of lightning came to extinguish it as before.