It needed all Mrs. Ramsay’s tact and patience to quieten and allay her fears; but gradually the girl was prevailed upon to go to bed, and Mrs. Ramsay retired to the next room. But all night she heard Mysie tossing and turning, and quietly weeping, and she knew that despair was torturing and tearing her frightened little heart, and trying her beyond endurance.
Mysie lay wondering how the village gossips at home would discuss her disappearance. She knew how Mag Robertson, and Jean Fleming, and Leezie Johnstone and all the other “clash-bags,” as they were locally called, would talk, and what stories they would tell.
But her mother would be different—her mother who had always loved her—crude, primitive love it was, but mother love just the same, and she felt that she would never be able again to go back and take up her old life—the old life which seemed so alluring, now that it was left forever behind.
Thus she tossed and worried, and finally in the gray hours of the morning her thoughts turned to Robert, who had loved her so well, and had always been her champion. She saw him looking at her with sad eyes, eyes which held something of accusation in them and were heavy with pain—eyes that told he had trusted her, had loved her, and that he had always hoped she would be his—eyes that told of all they had been to each other from the earliest remembered days, and which plainly said, as they looked at her from the foot of her bed: “Mysie! Oh, Mysie! What way did you do this!”
Unable to bear it any longer, she screamed out in anguish, a scream which brought good Mrs. Ramsay running to her bedside, to find Mysie raving in a high fever, her eyes wildly glowing, and her skin all afire. The good lady sat with her and tried to soothe her, but Mysie kept calling on Robert and her mother, and raving about matters of which Mrs. Ramsay knew nothing; and in the morning, when Peter arrived expecting to find his bride ready, he found her very ill, and his good landlady very much frightened about the whole matter.
MAG ROBERTSON’S FRENZY
“I want to ken what has gone wrong with you?” said Mag Robertson, speaking to Black Jock, whom she had called into her house one morning as he returned from the pit for his breakfast.
“There’s naething wrang wi’ me,” he said with cool reserve. “What dae you think is wrang?”
“Ay, it’s a’ right, Jock,” she said, speaking as one who knew he understood her question better than he pretended. “I can see as far through a brick wall as you can see through a whinstone dyke.”
“Maybe a bit farther, Mag,” he said with a forced laugh, eyeing her coolly. “But what are you driving at?”