Morning came at last, dim and dreary. The wind subsided at dawn, but the sky was full of torn and jagged clouds, carried hither and thither by its varying currents. All over the ground lay broken flowers and sprays torn from the trees, the vine had been loosened in several places from its fastenings and hung disconsolately over the verandah—all looked ravaged and desolate, as Lucia pressed her hot cheek against the rain-covered window, and tried to shake off the misery—still new to her—which belongs to the early morning after a restless, fevered night. But as the sun rose bright and warm, her spirits naturally revived; she dressed early, and went out into the garden, intent upon remedying as far as possible the mischief that had been done, before her mother should see it; and accustomed as she was to work among her much-beloved plants, the task was soon making quick progress. But among her roses, the most valued of all her flowers, a new discouragement awaited her. One beautiful tree, the finest of all, which yesterday had been splendid in the glory of its late blossoms, had been torn up by the wind, and flung down battered and half covered with sand at a little distance from the bed where it had grown. The sight of this misfortune seemed to Lucia almost more than she could bear; she sat down upon a garden-seat close by, and looked at her poor rose-tree as if its fate were to be a type of her own. She recollected a thousand trifles connected with it; how she had disputed with Mr. Percy about its beauty, arguing that it was less perfect than some others, because he had said it was more so; she remembered how from that very tree she had gathered a blossom for him the first day he came to the Cottage. Then, in her fanciful mood, she reproached herself for letting her unfortunate favourite speak to her only of him, and forgetting that it was Maurice who had obtained it for her, who had planted it, and would be sorry for its destruction. She rose, and tried to lift the broken tree; but as she leaned over it, Maurice himself passed through the wicket, and came towards her. She turned to meet him as if it were quite natural that he should come just then.
“Oh, Maurice, look! I am so sorry.”
“Your pet rose-tree? But perhaps it will recover yet.”
He raised it carefully, while she stood looking on.
“It is not much broken, after all. I will plant it again; and with plenty of support and shade, I think it will do.”