Mr Hardy frequently introduces the mournful drip of rain into his picture of men and women unhappily mated. But the rain is not at the beck and call of the unhappy. The unhappy would still be unhappy though they were in a cherry orchard on the loveliest morning of the year. The happy would still be happy though St Swithin's Day were streaming in floods down the window-panes.

A beating rain, mixed with hailstones, pattered against the window-panes, and the wind swept with a mournful sound through the halls of the house. Then poor Faribole thought of the cold that would seize him, of the privations which awaited him, of his few resources, of his immense appetite, and how disagreeable it was to sleep on the damp earth.

But she could not help noticing that these were the poorest kisses he had ever given her. Each one was separate, and all were impotent to constrain the mind to thoughts of love; between them she found herself thinking clearly of such irrelevancies as the bare, bright-coloured, inordinate order of the room and the excessive view of tides and flatlands behind the polished window-panes.

But she saw the world and the people in her own peculiar manner, for time and the weather had painted her window-panes with all the colours of the rainbow; she need but turn her head a little and things appeared successively red, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

As she lay in bed, whenever the window-panes rattled behind the curtains, the unhappy creature fancied that Georges's wedding-coaches were driving through the street; and she had paroxysms of nervous excitement, without words and inexplicable, as if a fever of wrath were consuming her.

This a Northern gentleman's home, with its cobwebbed ceiling, its little window-panes opaque with stain of rain and dust, its carpetless floors innocent of wax, littered with odds and ends here a battered riding-cane; there a pair of tarnished spurs; yonder a scarlet hunting-coat a-trail on the banisters, with skirts all mud from feet that mayhap had used it as a mat in rainy weather!

In spite of all its shortcomings I have a profound belief that not woman, as the poet has it, but all humanity 'Holds something sacred, something undefiled, Some quenchless gleam of the celestial light." The rain that was temporarily washing the perfume from the flowers pattered against the window-panes and accentuated the silence, till I added

Grimly she walked into the dining-room, and saw immaculate empty closets and cleanly shining window-panes. As far as the work had progressed it had been done thoroughly. Up-stairs a cheery chatter came from the rooms, and Ellen Robinson experienced a pang of real jealousy of these two young things who had swept in and carried her neglected sister by storm.

I kept getting up to look at the time. It seemed to me that the clock had stopped. I had dozed, and I fancied it was the same time as before. Finally a streak of light coming through my window-panes was, I thought, the triumphant sun illuminating my room. I got up at once, pulled back the curtains, and mumbled my role while dressing.

The wind howled in the chimneys; the rain dashed on the window-panes with a rattle as of musketry; far below she could hear the awful booming of the Atlantic breakers.