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Meg of the Heather

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
MEG lay face downwards on the heath. Her auburn hair gleamed gold among the bracken, and her faded green dress mingled well with the pink and green of her resting place. She had chosen a comfortable couch on which to rest her tired limbs, and of this she was fully conscious. She had been walking for hours without food and her strength was nearly played out; but though tired and hungry she was exulting in the fact that she was alone. As she had stood panting for breath after her quick walk, which had often turned into a run, she had looked all around to make quite sure that no one was in sight, and on coming to the conclusion that she was alone on the wide heath she had thrown herself down with a sigh of relief. It was good to be alone, her tired limbs resting on the soft grass and her head buried in her folded arms. The quiet was as balm to her spirit, and the sweet scent of the heather was better just then than food. As a tired child creeps into his mother's bosom, so Meg felt almost a human companionship in mother earth. And the sun in all its glory poured down its beams on her auburn head and lithe young figure. How long she lay there, half sleeping, half waking, she did not know; but suddenly she was aroused to consciousness by a cold shiver which made her start and sit up. She saw then that the heath was no longer steeped in sunshine; but that its pink had turned into a deep coppery colour, and that facing her were masses of dark cloud, edged with a sulphurous yellow. A low peal of thunder greeted her ears. She sat up now with her hand clasping her knees, looking with wild excited eyes towards the dark sky. She was conscious that a fearful storm was brewing, but the knowledge brought with it no fear; rather she noticed its approach with exultation. It suited her present mood; and as she watched the lightning playing around her, she laughed. Suddenly she heard her name called, and sprang to her feet, looking about her like a hunted animal. Then a hand was laid on her arm, not too gently, and she was pulled down again to her place. "Lie flat girl, or you'll be struck dead. Do you want to make a target of yourself?" The look of apprehension on the girl's face disappeared as she obeyed, and not a moment too soon. A fearful flash, followed instantly by a peal of thunder struck a tree close by, and a branch fell within a few yards of her, withered and blackened.