What's Mine's Mind - vol.1

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The girls had every liberty; their mother seldom interfered. Herself true to her own dim horn-lantern, she had confidence in the discretion of her daughters, and looked for no more than discretion. Hence an amount of intercourse was possible between them and the young men, which must have speedily grown to a genuine intimacy had they inhabited even a neighbouring sphere of conscious life.

Almost unknown to herself, however, a change for the better had begun in Mercy. She had not yet laid hold of, had not yet perceived any truth; but she had some sense of the blank where truth ought to be. It was not a sense that truth was lacking; it was only a sense that something was not in her which was in those men. A nature such as hers, one that had not yet sinned against the truth, was not one long to frequent such a warm atmosphere of live truth, without approach to the hour when it must chip its shell, open its eyes, and acknowledge a world of duty around it.

One lovely star-lit night of keen frost, the two mothers were sitting by a red peat-fire in the little drawing-room of the cottage, and Ian was talking to the girls over some sketches he had made in the north, when the chief came in, bringing with him an air of sharp exhilaration, and proposed a walk.

"Come and have a taste of star-light!" he said.

The girls rose at once, and were ready in a minute.

The chief was walking between the two ladies, and Ian was a few steps in front, his head bent as in thought. Suddenly, Mercy saw him spread out his arms toward the starry vault, with his face to its serrated edge of mountain-tops. The feeling, almost the sense of another presence awoke in her, and as quickly vanished. The thought,

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