The entire lower story and part of the second story of what must once have been a splendid public building rose from a great knoll of shrubbery and trees, while ivy, thick and luxuriant, clambered upward to the summit of the broken walls.
From room to room we passed until presently we emerged into a mighty chamber, dark and gloomy, for its high and narrow windows were choked and clogged by ivy. Along one paneled wall we groped, our eyes slowly becoming accustomed to the darkness.
The stems of the ivy which clambered upward past the window of the room were as large around as my arm.
I had outlined my plan to her, and she had assured me that she could descend the ivy without assistance.
Releasing my hold upon the ivy, I dropped the re-maining distance to the ground, saved from laceration only because the lion's paw struck the thick stem of ivy.
She had just paused and was looking up at a long spray of ivy
swinging in the wind when she saw a gleam of scarlet and heard a brilliant chirp, and there, on the top of the wall, forward perched Ben Weatherstaff's robin redbreast, tilting forward to look at her with his small head on one side.
At last the bollworm had attacked the cotton--the poison ivy
was reaching out its tendrils to entwine the summer boarder--the millionaire lumberman, thinly disguised as the Alaskan miner, was about to engulf our Milly and upset Nature's adjustment.
'I beg your pardon, but you were talking about the song of the Ivy
"Katharine, Katharine," he said aloud, and then, looking round, saw Mary walking slowly away from him, tearing a long spray of ivy from the trees as she passed them.
Here was the world in which he had lived; here the plowed field, the high road yonder, and Mary, stripping ivy from the trees.
She wound her ivy spray round her ash-plant, and for the first time for many days, when alone with Ralph, set no spies upon her motives, sayings, and feelings, but surrendered herself to complete happiness.
The ivy spray was still twisted about the handle; this one sacrifice, she thought, she might make to sentimentality and personality, and she picked two leaves from the ivy and put them in her pocket before she disencumbered her stick of the rest of it.