Isabel glanced at her father, and set the drum back in its corner. We stole out of the summer-house together, and across to the orchard. But under the shade of the apple-boughs she turned and faced me. "Boy, what do you know?" "I know," said I, meeting her gaze sturdily, "that you are in danger." "How should I be in danger?"
He looked from right to left the apple-boughs, loaded with rosy fruit, were intertwined above them like a canopy the sinking sun made mellow gold of all the air, and touched the girl's small figure with a delicate luminance his heart beat, and for a second his senses swam in a giddy whirl of longing and ecstasy then he suddenly pulled himself together.
"I do," said Miss Melville, smiling, "and I always think a little vote of thanks to you, when you are quiet and well-behaved. An orderly scholar has a great deal of influence. The girls all love you, and are apt to do as they see you do, Gypsy." There was a little silence, in which Gypsy's eyes were wandering away under the apple-boughs, their twinkling dimmed and soft.
While I sat and wondered, father came, took me in his loving arms and carried me to mother's room, where she lay in a tent-bed, with blue foliage and blue birds outlined on the white ground of the curtains, like the apple-boughs on the blue and white sky. The cover was turned down, and I was permitted to kiss a baby-sister, and warned to be good, lest Mrs.
The birds of May sang in the garden; there was a faint shining of silver and green, from the apple-boughs and buds without, in the little chamber; and the hooded back of the cordelier was before me on my bed, like the shape of Death beside the Sick Man, in a picture. Now I did not even pray, I waited.
Reckon I'll leave you at the gate where I kin turn good." The flap-flop of the horse's hoofs died on Winterbottom Road, and no sound came but the wind sighing in old apple-boughs, and from somewhere the melancholy creaking of a swinging shutter. The gate-way was grown about with grass; Ken crushed it as he forced open the gate, and the faint, sweet smell rose.
Through the network of apple-boughs, I could see the road. Mrs. Libby, coming heavily into the sitting-room, divined my thoughts. "If you're wondering how Agnes gets home, she goes cross-lots, right through the scrub-oak 'n' poison ivy 'n black-b'ries, 'f she's in a hurry. She ain't afraid o' rain; like's not, she stays down to the shore the whole 'durin' day."
Rooms and passages are always dim with a subdued green light, the reflection, I suppose, through the narrow windows wreathed with verdure, and from the grass and the plaited apple-boughs. But the spirit of improvement has laid all waste, has thrown the wee rooms into ample ones, has changed the narrow windows for bays and oriels, has thinned the apple-trees for the sake of the grass.
Out of doors the birds came hopping on to the apple-boughs; they twisted their heads inquisitively to one side, frantically fluffed out their feathers, and then they too joined in this orgy of jubilation, which was caused merely by a scrap of bright blue sky. But then the young master had an attack of coughing, and the whole business came to an end.
It was all strangely sweet and still on that hot Sunday afternoon, and as she moved across the grass under the apple-boughs Ann Eliza thought of quiet afternoons in church, and of the hymns her mother had sung to her when she was a baby. Evelina was more restless.