“Oh, my puir faither!” moaned the girl. “Oh, mither, I am vexed at what has happened. Oh, dear, I wonder what I’ll do!”
“There now, dearie!” said Mrs. Ramsay in warm sympathetic tones, as she stroked the burning hands and brow. “Try and quieten down and go to sleep. You were getting on very well, you know, and making fine progress, but you’ll make yourself worse than ever if you carry on like that. There now, dearie! Try and get to sleep, and you’ll soon be better again!”
But Mysie was silent only for a moment, and the low moan soon broke from her lips again, like the wail of some stricken thing at night upon the moor, and still she tossed and tumbled feverishly in her bed.
In the morning the doctor came and shook his head. Mysie was ill, very ill. Her condition was serious, and it was little he could do. Only care and good nursing and try to keep her from worrying. He left a prescription, and Peter soon had the necessary medicine, and later the patient grew calmer, and finally sank into a deep sleep; and so the old fight had to be fought over again, to get her strength restored and her vitality increased.
Mysie did not mention another word of home. She lay quiet, hardly even moving and seldom speaking; but the burning fire that consumed her was apparent in her hectic cheeks and glowing eyes, and one could see that her mind was away, never dwelling upon her surroundings, but was wandering among the heather hills and quiet valleys, where the call of the curlew and the shout of the lapwing stir the primitive impulses of those who love the haunts of the moorland life, and weave so much romance into the lives and souls of the country bred people, who never grow to love the ugly towns, but whose hearts remain with their first love—the moors, and the hills, and the mountain brooks for ever.
She seemed to grow a little stronger as the days passed. She took her medicines regularly and without protest; but deep down in her heart she felt that she would never get better, and her only desire, that had been shaping itself ever since Robert had told her of her father’s condition, was to be strong enough, to go home to Lowwood, just to see her parents, her brothers and sisters, once more; then she could die in peace. If only she could do that, she would not care what happened. Nothing else mattered; but she must get home. Nothing would prevent her from doing that.
It was the instinct of the wounded animal, dragging itself home to die—home to its home in the kindly earth, away from contact with other things—just to be alone, to nurse its suffering and its misery, till the last shred of strength had gone, and the limbs stiffened out, while the glazing eyes looked forward as the pain increased, across the barriers of other worlds to a land of plenty—a land of green shrubs, and sweet waters bubbling from scented hillsides, overhung with blue skies which never brewed storms. A land of bud and bloom and blossom,