“Oh, Sister, just look at the spider! There is a fly in the web; see how he comes out to seize his prey!”
“But, my goodness, Evelyn! what about my glue? There it is, all burnt in the pot, and I shall have to take it to the kitchen and get hot water and scrape it all out. It is really very tiresome of you.”
When she returned with the glue, Evelyn said:
“You see, Sister, it is difficult to fix one’s thoughts on a glue-pot; the glue melts so slowly, and, watching the spider, I lost count of the time. But I think I should like to saw something.”
“That’s a very good idea.”
A saw was put into her hand, and half an hour after the sister came to see how Evelyn had been getting on. “Why, you will be a first-rate carpenter; you have sawn those boards capitally, wandering a little from the line, it is true, but you will do better to-morrow.”
Whenever Sister Mary John heard the saw cease she cried out, “Now, Sister Evelyn, what are you thinking about? You are neglecting your work.” And Evelyn would begin again, and continue until her arm ached.
“Here is Mother Abbess.”
“See, dear Mother, what Evelyn has been doing. She sawed this board through all by herself, and you see she has sawn it quite straight, and she has learned how to plane a board; and as for glueing, she does it capitally!”
“What are you looking for, Sister Evelyn?”
“Veronica asked me to go into the garden; I think it was to gather some laurel-leaves, but I can’t remember where they grow.”
“Never mind the leaves, I will gather them for you. Take my spade and dig a little while. It is pleasanter being in the open air than in that hot sacristy.”
“But I don’t know how to dig. You’ll only laugh at me.”
“No, no. See, here is a bed of spring onions, and it wants digging out. You press the spade in as far as you can, pull down the handle, and lift out the earth. I shall be some little while away, and I expect you will have dug some yards. You can dig as far as this. Try, Evelyn, make up your mind that you will; if you make up your mind, you will succeed.”
“But you won’t stay a long time, will you?” she called after the nun. “Now I know why Sister Mary John wears men’s boots.” And she stooped to pin up her skirt.
All the while the sky was clearing, the wind drove the clouds westward, breaking up the dark masses, scattering, winnowing, letting the sun through. Delicious was the glow, though it lasted but for a few minutes—perhaps more delicious because it was so transitory. Another patch of wind-driven clouds came up, and the world became cold and grey again. A moment afterwards the clouds passed, the sun shone out, and the delicious warmth filled mind and body with a delight that no artificial warmth could; and, to enjoy the glowing of the sun, Evelyn left her digging, and wandered away through the garden, stopping now and then to notice the progress of the spring. A late frost had cut the blossoms of the pear and the cherry; the half-blown blossom dropped at the touch of the finger, and Evelyn regretted the frost, thinking of the nets she had made.