The Big House and The Lady
“The light of love, the purity of grace;
The mind, the music breathing from her face;
The heart, whose softness harmonised the whole.”
Mrs. Conyfer was waiting for Gratian at the gate of the schoolhouse when he came out.
“We must make haste,” she said; “I think it’s going to rain.”
Gratian looked up at the sky, and sniffed the cold evening air.
“Yes,” he said, “I think it is.”
“It’s not so cold quite as it was when I came down,” Mrs. Conyfer went on—the dwellers at Four Winds often spoke of “coming down,” when they meant going to the village—”that’s perhaps because the rain is coming. I don’t want to get my bonnet spoilt—I might have known it was going to rain when father said the wind was in the west.”
“Why does the west wind bring rain?” asked Gratian; “is it because it comes from the sea?”
“Nay,” said his mother, “I don’t know. You should know better about such things than I—you that’s always listening to the winds and hearing what they’ve got to say.”
Gratian looked up, a little surprised.
“What makes you say that, mother?” he asked.
Mrs. Conyfer laughed a little.
“I scarcely know,” she said. “We always said of you when you were a baby that you seemed to hear words in the wind—you were always content to lie still, no matter how long you were left, if only the wind were blowing. And it seems to me even now that you’re always happiest and best when there’s wind about, though it’s maybe only a fancy of mine.”
But Gratian looked pleased.
“No, mother,” he said, “I don’t think it’s a fancy. I think myself it’s quite true.”
And he pulled off his cap as he spoke and let the wind blow his hair about, and lifted up his face as if inviting its caresses.
“It’s getting up,” he said. “But I think we’ll get home before the rain comes.”
His mother had not heard the whisper that had reached his ear through the gust of wind.
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