day Aunt Priscilla roamed about the farmstead and the scattered fields her grandfather had enclosed upon the mountain, like one distracted, calling everywhere for Rhoda. The farm-labourers loitered about the fold and the little blacksmith's shop, whispering mysteriously whenever Joan had been within hearing. There had been nobody to keep them to their work, for Nathan was away all day, and did not return till the late sunset was past and even the loftiest peak of the highest mountain stood grey and dark against the sky.
Nobody had bade Joan to go to bed, and she was afraid of her little, lonely, separate room, if Rhoda was not coming back to sleep with her. Not a single word had Aunt Priscilla spoken to her all the day, and if the young servant-girl had not given her some bread and a bowl of milk she would have been left without food, for Aunt Priscilla had not eaten a morsel, or sat down in the kitchen, since the early morning.
Joan had curled herself up in a corner of the oak settle, which st
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