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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesHeather And Snow - Chapter 24. How Kirsty Fared
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Heather And Snow - Chapter 24. How Kirsty Fared Post by :SteveR Category :Long Stories Author :George Macdonald Date :May 2012 Read :842

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Heather And Snow - Chapter 24. How Kirsty Fared

CHAPTER XXIV. HOW KIRSTY FARED

It was quite dark, and round her swept as it were a whirlpool of snow. The swift fakes struck at her eyes and ears like a swarm of vicious flies. In such a wind, the blows of the soft thin snow, beating upon her face, now from one quarter, now from another, were enough to bewilder even a strong woman like Kirsty. They were like hail to a horse. After trying for a while to force her way, she suddenly became aware of utter ignorance as to the direction in which she was going, and, for the first time in her life, a fell terror possessed her--not for herself, but for Steenie and her father and mother. To herself, Kirsty was nobody, but she belonged to David and Marion Barclay, and what were they and Steenie to do without her! They would go on looking for her till they too died, and were buried yards deep in the snow!

She kept struggling on, her head bent, and her body leaning forward, forcing herself against, it hardly seemed through, the snow-filled wind--but whither? It was only by the feel of the earth under her feet, that she could tell, and at times she was by no means sure, whether she was going up or down hill. She kept on and on, almost hopeless of getting anywhere, certain of nothing but that, if once she sat down, she would never rise again. Fatigue that must not yield, and the in-roads of the cold sleep, at length affected her brain, and her imagination began to take its own way with her. She thought herself condemned to one of those awful dust-towers, for she had read Prideaux, specially devilish invention of the Persians, in which by the constant stirring of the dust so that it filled the air, the lungs of the culprit were at length absolutely choked up. Dead of the dust, she revived to the snow: it was fearfully white, for it was all dead faces; she crushed and waded through those that fell, while multitudes came whirling upon her from all sides. Gladly would she have thrown herself down among them, but she must walk, walk on for ever!

All the time, she felt in her dim suffering as if not she but those at home suffered: she had deserted them in trouble, and do what she might she would never get back to them! She could, she thought, if she but put forth the needful energy, but the last self-exhaustive effort never would come!

Where was the dog? He had left her! he was nowhere near her! She tried to call him, but the storm choked every sound in her very throat. He would never have left her to save himself! He who makes the dogs must be at least as faithful as they! So she was not left comfortless!

Then she heard, or thought she heard the church-bell, and that may have had something to do with the strange dream out of which she came gradually to herself.

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CHAPTER XXV. KIRSTY'S DREAMHer dream was this:--She sat at the communion-table in her own parish-church, with many others, none of whom she knew. A man with piercing eyes went along the table, examining the faces of all to see if they were fit to partake. When he came to Kirsty, he looked at her for a moment sharply, then said, 'That woman is dead. She has been in the snow all night. Lay her in the vault under the church.' She rose to go because she was dead, and hands were laid upon her to guide her as she went. They
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CHAPTER XXIII. THE STORM AGAINKirsty woke suddenly out of a deep, dreamless sleep. A white face was bending over her--Steenie's--whiter than ever Kirsty had seen it. He was panting, and his eyes were huge. She started up.'Come; come!' was all he was able to say.'What's the metter, Steenie?' she gasped. For a quarter of a minute he stood panting, unable to speak.'I'm no thinkin onything's gane wrong,' he faltered at length with an effort, recovering breath and speech a little. 'The bonny man--'He burst into tears and turned his head away. A vision of the white, lovely, motionless thing, whose hand
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