Thus they talked for an hour before retiring, but all the time Robert’s mind occasionally kept wondering about Mysie, and he went to bed, his heart troubled and aching to know the fate that had overtaken the girl he had loved and lost.
All night long he tossed unable to sleep, as he tried to think what had happened to her, his mind and heart pained at the thought of something that boded no good to her.
He again lived over in his mind all that had happened that night upon the moor, when he saw the man going to meet her after his own meeting with Mysie.
He was pained and puzzled what to do. Had the stranger any connection with her disappearance, he asked himself? Should he tell of that? And yet she had been to her father’s house since then, so that it would be of little value to mention it, he thought.
Perhaps she had run away with the man. That was quite a likely thing to happen, and if Mysie wanted him no one else had anything to do with it. Still, she might have told her people, he thought. But perhaps she might do that later on.
But Mysie and her fate would not be banished from his mind, and he lay and tumbled and tossed, a terrible anxiety within him, for youth is apt to pity its own sufferings, and give them a heroic touch under the spell of unrequited love.
Thus the night passed and morning came, and he had not slept, and he went to his work debating as to whether he should inform the police or not about the man he had seen in the company of Mysie. But no decision was ever come to.
MYSIE RUNS AWAY
It was a gray, sultry summer night, with one small patch of red near the western horizon when Mysie, making the excuse of going to the village to visit her parents, had stolen over the moorland path on her way to join the evening train for Edinburgh at a neighboring village station.
She had left early, so as to have plenty of time on the way, and also because she was really ill, and could not hurry.
She had forced herself to work, so as not to attract attention to her weak state during the past few weeks. Peter, who had already gone some days before, had now everything ready for her, and this was her final break with the old life.
She knew she was ill, but thought that when she got to Edinburgh, with good medical attention and treatment, she would soon be all right again. Perhaps a rest and the change would help her as much as anything; and she’d soon get well and strong, and she would work hard to fit herself for the position she was to occupy as Peter’s wife.
But her legs did feel tired, as she trudged over the moor, and her steps dragged heavily. She sank down for a few moments upon a thyme-strewn bank to rest; the scent of the wild moorland bloom brought back the memory of that evening in the copse. She shut her eyes for a moment, and heard again the alarmed protest of the whaup, and the grumble of the burn; saw again the moonlight patterns upon the ground, as it flittered through the trees, like streams of fairy radiance cast from the magic wand of night and, above all, heard Peter’s voice, praising her eyes, her hair, her figure.