“Yet your situation is perilous in the extreme; hourly you incur danger, and each day may be your last. Oh! why will you hazard your life, and cause your sister such bitter anguish?” Mary replied, with quivering lips, while the tone faltered, despite her efforts to seem calm.
“At least, I could not die in a better cause; and, as the price of independence, I would willingly yield up my life. Yet Ellen’s tears are difficult to bear; I bade her adieu a few moments since, and must not meet her again till all is decided. So good-by, Miss Irving.”
He held her hand in his, pressing it warmly, then lifted the cold fingers to his lips, and quietly turned away.
“It rains—what lady loves
a rainy day?
She loves a rainy day who sweeps the hearth,
And threads the busy needle, or applies
The scissors to the torn or threadbare sleeve;
And blesses God that she has friends and home.”
“Mary, where is your cousin? I have not seen her since breakfast,” inquired Mrs. Carlton, as the two friends sat conversing in the chamber of the latter.
“She laid aside her book just now, declaring it was so dark she could scarcely read. This gloomy day has infected her spirits; she is probably in the dining-room. I will seek her.” And rising, Mary left the apartment.
For two days the rain had fallen in torrents, and now on the third morning, the heavens were still overcast, and at intervals of every few moments the heavy clouds discharged themselves in copious showers. The despondency induced by the unsettled times was enhanced by the gloomy weather, and many an earnest wish was expressed that sunshine would soon smile again upon the town.
Weary with pacing up and down the dining-room, Florence had stationed herself at the window, and stood with her cheek pressed against the panes, gazing dreamily out upon the deluged streets. She was roused from her reverie by Mary’s entrance.
“Florry, I have come in quest of you. Pray, how are you amusing yourself here, all alone?”
“Communing with my own thoughts, as usual. Here, Mary, stand beside me. As you came in I was puzzling myself to discover how those Mexican women across the street are employing themselves. They seem distressed, yet every now and then chatter with most perfect unconcern. There, they are both on their knees, with something like a picture hanging on the fence before them. They dart in and out of the house in a strange, excited manner. Perhaps you can enlighten me?”
Mary looked earnestly in the direction indicated by her cousin, and at length replied:
“You will scarcely credit my explanation: yet I assure you I perfectly understand the pantomime. Florry, look more particularly at the picture suspended in the rain. What does it most resemble, think you?”