Wullie’s words comforted her, gave her a sense of security as she sat at his side toasting fish for the last time and eating the cake that somehow did not taste quite so good as usual. As she said good-bye to him before she went the round of the village bidding everyone good-bye, something impelled her to kiss his brown cheek. The last she saw of him was his bent figure silhouetted in the doorway of the hut with a fire glow behind it, and the setting sun shining on his eyes that were bright with tears.
But that night she was too excited to feel really unhappy as she looked at the boxes ready in the book-room, her little leather case lying open waiting for the last-minute things next morning. When, even, she blundered into the dairy to find rope and caught sight of a horrible red pile of meat that had been Hoodie, she could not cry about it. She was too busy thinking that, out of her adventuring, a day would come when the old place would be warmed and lighted again, and she told this to Aunt Janet, who was sitting, sunk in thought, by the fire in the book-room.
“I wouldn’t be dreaming too much, Marcella,” she said gently. “Even if dreams come true to some extent, they are very disappointing. A dream that you dreamed in a golden glow comes to pass in a sort of grey twilight, you know. And you’ll never bring happiness here. Get the thought out of your head. There are too many ghosts. Could you ever kill the ghost of little Rose lying there with pain inside her, eating her life out? Or your father raging and hungering, like a pine tree in a window-pot?” She shook her head sadly. “No, Marcella, till you’ve killed thought you’ll never be happy—till you’ve killed feeling—”
“Look here,” began Marcella quickly, kneeling beside her aunt and suddenly holding her stiff body in her quick young arms. “Auntie,” she said, using the diminutive shyly, and even more shamefacedly adding, “dear—I’m not going to listen to you. So there! I’m going away, and I’m going to come back and simply dose you with happiness, like we used to dose the old mare with medicine when she was ill. If you won’t take it, I’ll drown you in it. Or else what’s the use of my going away?”
“You’re going away because you feel it in your feet that you’ve got to go, Marcella,” said Aunt Janet calmly. The wind roared down the chimney and sent fitful puffs of smoke out into the room. “If I tried to stop you, you’d go on hungering to be away.”
It was the doctor who saw Marcella on to the Oriana at Tilbury. Aunt Janet had not suggested coming with her: it had not occurred to her as the sort of thing that was necessary, nor had Marcella given it a thought. Left to herself, she would have taken train blithely from Carlossie to Edinburgh and thence to London—imagining London not very much more formidable than a larger Carlossie. But the doctor made them see that it was quite necessary for someone to see her off safely, and naturally the job fell to him.