Then she flew back. On the threshold, however, she paused for a moment. She rolled her eyes heavenward and raised her arms to God.
“May flames devour this house!” came from her in a hoarse voice.
Then she departed, pulling the street door violently and leaving it open. The household stood agape, as if the storm itself had tom into the home. Out of sheer stupefaction the persons forgot to close their mouths.
Out of the clouds poured a drenching rain mixed with hail. The tempest seethed like a cauldron.
This boiling tempest, however, raged in Cheyne’s bosom. Something stormed furiously within her. She no longer felt the ground beneath her. The flood soaked her through and through, but this could not restrain her. It served only to augment her savage mood.
She ran from house to house, wherever she might have expected to come upon her daughter and the “apostate.” She stopped nowhere, uttered never a word, but dashed in and then sped out like a flash of lightning, leaving the household open-mouthed with astonishment.
She would find them! Even under the ground. And she did not stop her cursing and her maledictions.
As she rushed from the last house she paused for a moment. Whither now?
She turned homeward. Her heart told her that her daughter was now at home. Her lips muttered the most terrible imprecations, and the inner fury was at its height; the very air, it seemed to her, was laden with her cries, with her curses and oaths.
With a strong gust of wind, a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder, she tore into her home.
Her daughter was not there.
She sank upon a chair and burst into wailing.
There was a terrifying crash of thunder. One of those thunderclaps that work the most widespread havoc. Nature seemed to be shaking off the entire residue of energy that had been left to her by the hot summer.
The inhabitants of the village were rooted to the spot in terror. They looked about, then ventured a glance outside. Hadn’t some misfortune occurred? The penitents buried their faces deeper than ever in their prayer-books, and more than ever their voices quivered.
Cheyne, however, had apparently not heard the thunder. She continued to wail, to wail bitterly. Then a wild cry issued from her throat, us wild as the thunder:
“May she not live to come home! May they bring her to me dead! O Lord of the universe!”
The clouds replied with a clap of thunder and the wind sped apace, shrieking.
Suddenly she arose and dashed out as before. The wind accompanied her. Now it thrust her forward from behind, now it ran ahead like a faithful dog, smiting all in its path, raising the dirt from the road and mixing it with the thick drops that fell from the clouds, which were still black, and with the seething drops that coursed from her burning eyes.