Chapter 8
Same day, 11 o'clock P.M.--Oh, but I am tired! If it were not that I had made my
diary a duty I should not open it tonight. We had a lovely walk. Lucy, after a
while, was in gay spirits, owing, I think, to some dear cows who came nosing
towards us in a field close to the lighthouse, and frightened the wits out of us. I
believe we forgot everything, except of course, personal fear, and it seemed to
wipe the slate clean and give us a fresh start. We had a capital `severe tea' at
Robin Hood's Bay in a sweet little old-fashioned inn, with a bow window right
over the seaweed-covered rocks of the strand. I believe we should have shocked
the `New Woman' with our appetites. Men are more tolerant, bless them! Then
we walked home with some, or rather many, stoppages to rest, and with our
hearts full of a constant dread of wild bulls.
Lucy was really tired, and we intended to creep off to bed as soon as we could.
The young curate came in, however, and Mrs. Westenra asked him to stay for
supper. Lucy and I had both a fight for it with the dusty miller. I know it was a
hard fight on my part, and I am quite heroic. I think that some day the bishops
must get together and see about breeding up a new class of curates, who don't
take supper, no matter how hard they may be pressed to, and who will know
when girls are tired.
Lucy is asleep and breathing softly. She has more color in her cheeks than usual,
and looks, oh so sweet. If Mr. Holmwood fell in love with her seeing her only in
the drawing room, I wonder what he would say if he saw her now. Some of the
`New Women' writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be
allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose
the `New Woman' won't condescend in future to accept. She will do the
proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it too! There's some
consolation in that. I am so happy tonight, because dear Lucy seems better. I
really believe she has turned the corner, and that we are over her troubles with
dreaming. I should be quite happy if I only knew if Jonathan. . .God bless and
keep him.
11 August.--Diary again. No sleep now, so I may as well write. I am too agitated
to sleep. We have had such an adventure, such an agonizing experience. I fell
asleep as soon as I had closed my diary. . . Suddenly I became broad awake,
and sat up, with a horrible sense of fear upon me, and of some feeling of
emptiness around me. The room was dark, so I could not see Lucy's bed. I stole
across and felt for her. The bed was empty. I lit a match and found that she was
not in the room. The door was shut, but not locked, as I had left it. I feared to
wake her mother, who has been more than usually ill lately, so threw on some
clothes and got ready to look for her. As I was leaving the room it struck me that
the clothes she wore might give me some clue to her dreaming intention.
Dressing-gown would mean house, dress outside. Dressing-gown and dress
were both in their places. "Thank God," I said to myself, "she cannot be far, as
she is only in her nightdress."