“What would women do if headaches had never been invented, St. George? But never mind, Saint. We’ll just wink the other eye for a few weeks. I admit I don’t feel comfortable myself, George. I feel as if I had drowned a kitten. But she promised, Saint—and she was the one to offer it, George. Bismillah!”
A light rain had been falling all day—a little, delicate, beautiful spring rain, that somehow seemed to hint and whisper of mayflowers and wakening violets. The harbour and the gulf and the low-lying shore fields had been dim with pearl-gray mists. But now in the evening the rain had ceased and the mists had blown out to sea. Clouds sprinkled the sky over the harbour like little fiery roses. Beyond it the hills were dark against a spendthrift splendour of daffodil and crimson. A great silvery evening star was watching over the bar. A brisk, dancing, new-sprung wind was blowing up from Rainbow Valley, resinous with the odours of fir and damp mosses. It crooned in the old spruces around the graveyard and ruffled Faith’s splendid curls as she sat on Hezekiah Pollock’s tombstone with her arms round Mary Vance and Una. Carl and Jerry were sitting opposite them on another tombstone and all were rather full of mischief after being cooped up all day.
“The air just shines to-night, doesn’t it? It’s been washed so clean, you see,” said Faith happily.
Mary Vance eyed her gloomily. Knowing what she knew, or fancied she knew, Mary considered that Faith was far too light-hearted. Mary had something on her mind to say and she meant to say it before she went home. Mrs. Elliott had sent her up to the manse with some new-laid eggs, and had told her not to stay longer than half an hour. The half hour was nearly up, so Mary uncurled her cramped legs from under her and said abruptly,
“Never mind about the air. Just you listen to me. You manse young ones have just got to behave yourselves better than you’ve been doing this spring—that’s all there is to it. I just come up to-night a-purpose to tell you so. The way people are talking about you is awful.”
“What have we been doing now?” cried Faith in amazement, pulling her arm away from Mary. Una’s lips trembled and her sensitive little soul shrank within her. Mary was always so brutally frank. Jerry began to whistle out of bravado. He meant to let Mary see he didn’t care for her tirades. Their behaviour was no business of hers anyway. What right had she to lecture them on their conduct?
“Doing now! You’re doing all the time,” retorted Mary. “Just as soon as the talk about one of your didos fades away you do something else to start it up again. It seems to me you haven’t any idea of how manse children ought to behave!”
“Maybe you can tell us,” said Jerry, killingly sarcastic.