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CH\PTER lll.— (Continued.) Days passed. The grave-mould lost freshness. The orphan girl got on as best she could, but life was terrible, except for the hope of seeing Ryan soon. For the story that she had been “disporting herself” at the fair, and had left her mother, to die alone, had gone like wild-fire througli the country, spread by tongues unknown. ■ : ' Everyone said they thought it but natural that the mother’s death should be out of the se«rig father’s had been so shocking y, when Mary Daly had helped' to‘ hang her father, it was not held over-surpris- s. ing that she should show* herself un-i .. natural to her mother. The first curiosity past, the , un- v ■ happy girl was shunned like the 1 and her childish ill-name was revived. Folk said : “Have you heard the of that young witch up at Windy HillJG and how she deserted her mother ? ” No living soul but Mary herself, the minister, and the sexton, was at the funeral. John McConnell’s courage failed him too : he thought bit till the storm of reproach blew over, though he knew partly how innocent a the poor girl was. a - >. However, one day he came.. .■ t But the dumb girl gave him gently to 1 understand, writing -the words on a slate she had, that she thanked him; f nevertheless, for 'a while yet," 1 ■ would ~ think it more friendly if - ; he staged away ; for she thought of Dennis Ryan's* last words : “ If you take qn witty any other young vian, if "will break my heart/” ! - " . : /O■ 1 )'J k But it was a bad time for ! the"friend~£ *- less young creature,J She knew . WjbaL _ fi was said, well; knew (even the cruel ’ epithet “the young witch of Windy Hill,” since folks thought it their to tell her. But none thought k a duty , to interpret her passionate* gestures and wretched entreating looks:' "’Son she wept till she |nd -after two days and .a* half that. idir her, they went up to the, hill-top found her lying’ alone - ih the solitary I cottage, ill in fever. , Qnf woman was found to nurse poor Mary, who meant to make her pay for it top. But hope of a ship coming home was in her heart. She recovered,, though only after tedious relapses and long stretches of illness, during which, gll her mother’s little hoarded money'wcfsi spent, and the cow had to be sold, ~c ■ , K : One spring morning she was well enough to go outside; then ! she saw . smoke curling up from the farm chimneys below. She pointed to them, her face flushed up. ; . . She asked the woman who' tended - her, plain as words, “What does it mean?” . ..... f ( “ Ryan’s home since a week,” Said ■ 1J the woman.. .■ ......... ,■ j Home since a week J and Dennis, * k 'l her lover, had never come up the lane to ask after her 1

CHAPTER IV. . “ O waly waly up the bank, And waly waly down the brae, . . . And waly waly, yon burn-side, Where I and my love were wont to gae i I leant my back unto an aik,, . - -, I thought it Was d trusty'free ; But first it bow’d, 1 and syne it brak — Sae my true love did licbtly me. “Q waly waly, but love be bonny ! A little time while it is new; ' But when ’tjs ai(kl, it waseth canid, , , . And fades awa’like morning dew. . O wherefore should L busk niy head ? Or wherefore should I kame my hair ? For my true love has me forsook, And says he’ll liever lo’e me mair." _ ■' . . 3" r,| Mary Daly listened nowto'ev&y'leaf ithat rustled in the wind. Her heart * leapt wildly at, each footfall. But Dennis did not come all that day,- nor ’’ yet the next. ; Then the girl grew sick and faint in i I heart, yet would not own to herself that she was afraid,' WWtWTTOaT" Still, she crawled out : of bed; afthofcgffihardly, as yet fit to moye, for she was * almost desperate.

She said to herself she could not bear it. Dennis ■ had, not been ; unkind-A before; she was ashamed in her heart to distrust him; she was sure he did did not mean to hurt her, but she could not bear it. • ± And so she went down the lane. 1 '/• A weak white creature she,, looked, but so lovely with her blue blaclc hair, , and eyes like forget-memots 1 No , wonder the men’s heads had so hiafyjr V u time turned to look after her through; .u all the country round. - t i 4. Then, turning the corner, Mary met ' young Ryan face to face. -i ; t A There was an old ash-tree there, , which had a seat of its knotted roots on , which he sat, bent forward with his ‘ head in his hands. There the two had said good-bye; there kissed on parting. Mary gave a strange cry, and he gqt up slowly, came close and loqkid hep in the face, but never touched her ot said a word more than herself. The girl put out her hands to implore; the tears were washing down her hollow white cheeks ; she crept up to,hiqn ; he spurned her back. “ Lass,” he said, “ ye’ll maybe rqind now what | to)d’ - you at parting. I hear tell that ye no minded it whilst I was away, Thetefoi r ' queer and bad stories going about ye. JU Take up with McConnell, if ye like, bqt neyer cbn;e nigh itje that ye can help it. I wouldn't willingly hurt ye In*#*' I /’// not be answerable for what I might - Ui do if I’m if I’m worse tormented.” At that the dumb girl only wailed ; ? r but it was a wail as if she' had never X before known sorrow like to this on 4. | She clasped her hands round Dennis . Ryan’s arm and fell down with weak- ' ness upon her knees. He shook her

off as if she had been a viper j and 11 r went on again between his 1 you want me to do you some bodily,l ' harm ? I liked ye once too the good of ray soul, Mary Daly } I’m ..J feared ye’d come round me again if‘l’ gave ye the chance; but I swear that from now till the breath js put, body, there shall never one word more be spoken betwixt me and | How the sick girl got backhome ' her good angel that doubtless. beside her alone knew—but shewas Ul„>; ? again after that dreadful hour for tongH'K* days. She knocked even ; fe6bl£ , death’s door, bating ’life; : but, it < not open, aM;sbPlive^. : j ’ When the auiaippr summer when she had expected to nave been Dennis Ryan’s ’ happy wif% do<Wrt in the warm farmhouse in the hollow— Mary Daly' was, indeedi>l^tferg f i!^itt| ) A but like a mere wasted image of her

former self, having come back as if with reluctant steps from the land of sickness. She was better again, and able to go about, but alone up at the solitary cottage where many a little cherished possession had been parted with to defray that long illness. And down in the farmhouse below .... was an ugly bride. (To be continued.)

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Bibliographic details

THE WITCH OF WINDY HILL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 293, 15 March 1881

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THE WITCH OF WINDY HILL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 293, 15 March 1881