“All right,” agreed Mary. “It won’t do any harm if it doesn’t do much good. If you knew Mrs. Wiley as well as I do you wouldn’t think God would want to meddle with her. Anyhow, I won’t cry any more about it. This is a big sight better’n last night down in that old barn, with the mice running about. Look at the Four Winds light. Ain’t it pretty?”
“This is the only window we can see it from,” said Una. “I love to watch it.”
“Do you? So do I. I could see it from the Wiley loft and it was the only comfort I had. When I was all sore from being licked I’d watch it and forget about the places that hurt. I’d think of the ships sailing away and away from it and wish I was on one of them sailing far away too—away from everything. On winter nights when it didn’t shine, I just felt real lonesome. Say, Una, what makes all you folks so kind to me when I’m just a stranger?”
“Because it’s right to be. The bible tells us to be kind to everybody.”
“Does it? Well, I guess most folks don’t mind it much then. I never remember of any one being kind to me before—true’s you live I don’t. Say, Una, ain’t them shadows on the walls pretty? They look just like a flock of little dancing birds. And say, Una, I like all you folks and them Blythe boys and Di, but I don’t like that Nan. She’s a proud one.”
“Oh, no, Mary, she isn’t a bit proud,” said Una eagerly. “Not a single bit.”
“Don’t tell me. Any one that holds her head like that is proud. I don’t like her.”
“We all like her very much.”
“Oh, I s’pose you like her better’n me?” said Mary jealously. “Do you?”
“Why, Mary—we’ve known her for weeks and we’ve only known you a few hours,” stammered Una.
“So you do like her better then?” said Mary in a rage. “All right! Like her all you want to. I don’t care. I can get along without you.”
She flung herself over against the wall of the garret with a slam.
“Oh, Mary,” said Una, pushing a tender arm over Mary’s uncompromising back, “don’t talk like that. I do like you ever so much. And you make me feel so bad.”
No answer. Presently Una gave a sob. Instantly Mary squirmed around again and engulfed Una in a bear’s hug.
“Hush up,” she ordered. “Don’t go crying over what I said. I was as mean as the devil to talk that way. I orter to be skinned alive—and you all so good to me. I should think you would like any one better’n me. I deserve every licking I ever got. Hush, now. If you cry any more I’ll go and walk right down to the harbour in this night-dress and drown myself.”
This terrible threat made Una choke back her sobs. Her tears were wiped away by Mary with the lace frill of the spare-room pillow and forgiver and forgiven cuddled down together again, harmony restored, to watch the shadows of the vine leaves on the moonlit wall until they fell asleep.