Then raising her hand she held it out to Peter, who advanced towards the bedside and placing his hand on Robert’s she clasped them together in her own. “There noo—dinna be angry—it was a’ a mistake. It was Rob I liket—it was him—I wanted. But it—was—a’ a mistak’. Dinna be—” and the glazed sunken eyes closed forever, never to open again, a faint noise gurgled in her throat, and the dews of death stood out in beads upon the pale brow. A tiny quiver of the eyelids, and a tremor through the thin hands and Mysie—poor ruined broken waif of the world—was gone.
“Oh, my God! She’s deid,” gasped Robert, clasping the thin dead hands in a frenzy of passionate grief. “Oh, Mysie! Mysie! Oh God! She’s deid,” and his head bent low over the bed while great sobs tore through him, and shook his young frame, as the storm shakes the young firs of the woods. Then suddenly recollecting himself as his mother put her hand upon his bent head saying: “Rise up, Robin, like a man. You maun gang oot noo.” He rose and with tears in his eyes that blinded him so that he hardly saw where he was going, he stumbled out into the darkness under the pale stars—out into the night to the open moor, his grief so burdening that he felt as if the whole world had gone from his reckoning.
“Oh, my poor Mysie,” he groaned. “It was all a horrible mistake,” and the darkness came down in thick heavy folds as if the whole world were mourning for the loss of the young girl’s soul, but it brought no comfort to him.
A CALL FOR HELP
It was a quiet night in early April, full of the hush which seems to gather all the creative forces together, before the wild outburst of prodigal creation begins in wild flower and weed and moorland grasses, and Robert Sinclair, who had walked and tramped over the moors for hours, until he was nearly exhausted, his heart torn and his mind in an agony of suffering, sat down upon a little hillock, his elbows on his knees and his hands against his cheeks.
The moor-birds screamed and circled in restless flight around him. They were plainly protesting against his intrusion into their domain. They shrilled and dived in their flight, almost touching the bent head, with swooping wing, to rise again, cleaving the air and sheering round again; but still the lonely figure sat looking into darkness, becoming numbed with cold, and all unconscious of the passage of time.
Gradually the cold began to tell upon him, and he started to his feet, plodding up the hill, through the soft mossy yielding soil. Back again he came after a time, his limbs aching with the long night’s tramping; but yet he never thought of going home or turning towards the village.
“Oh, Mysie!” he groaned again and again, and all night long only these two words escaped his lips. They came in a low sad tone, like the wind coming through far-off trees; but they were vibrant with suffering, and only the moor-birds cried in answer.