Instantly thereupon she turned her face up to the sky, and said,
‘Dear holy Mary, tell horse to spout.’
That moment up into the sun shot the two jets. Molly clapped her little hands with delight and cried,
’Thanks, dear holy Mary! I knowed thou would do it for Molly. Thanks, madam!’
The nurse told the story to her mistress, and she to Dorothy. It set both of them feeling, and Dorothy thinking besides.
‘It cannot be,’ she thought, ’but that a child’s prayer will reach its goal, even should she turn her face to the west or the north instead of up to the heavens! A prayer somewhat differs from a bolt or a bullet.’
‘How you protestants can live without a woman to pray to!’ said lady Margaret.
’Her son Jesus never refused to hear a woman, and I see not wherefore I should go to his mother, madam,’ said Dorothy, bravely.
‘Thou and I will not quarrel, Dorothy,’ returned lady Margaret sweetly; ’for sure am I that would please neither the one nor the other of them.’
Dorothy kissed her hand, and the subject dropped.
After that, Molly never asked the horse to spout, or if she happened to do so, would correct herself instantly, and turn her request to the mother Mary. Nor did the horse ever fail to spout, notwithstanding an evil thought which arose in the protestant part of Dorothy’s mind—the temptation, namely, to try the effect upon Molly of a second failure. All the rest of her being on the instant turned so violently protestant against the suggestion, that no parley with it was possible, and the conscience of her intellect cowered before the conscience of her heart.
It was from this fancy of the child’s for the spouting of the horse that it came to be known in the castle that mistress Dorothy was ruler of Raglan waters. In lord Herbert’s absence not a person in the place but she and Caspar understood their management, and except lady Margaret, the marquis, and lord Charles, no one besides even knew of the existence of such a contrivance as the water-shoot or artificial cataract.
Every night Dorothy and Caspar together set the springs of it, and every morning Caspar detached the lever connecting the stone with the drawbridge.
The damsel which fell sick.
From within the great fortress, like the rough husk whence the green lobe of a living tree was about to break forth, a lovely child-soul, that knew neither of war nor ambition, knew indeed almost nothing save love and pain, was gently rising as from the tomb. The bonds of the earthly life that had for ever conferred upon it the rights and privileges of humanity were giving way, and little, white-faced, big-eyed Molly was leaving father and mother and grandfather and spouting horse and all, to find—what?—To find what she wanted, and wait a little for what she loved.