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VII

  • Aunt Laura never to the day of her death forgave herself for leaving that
  • mending-basket at the head of the stair. She had never done such a thing in
  • her life before. She had been carrying it up to her room when Elizabeth called
  • peremptorily from the kitchen asking where something was. Laura set her basket
  • down on the top step and ran to get it. She was away only a moment. But that
  • moment was enough for predestination and Emily. The tear-blinded girl stumbled
  • over the basket and fell—headlong down the long steep staircase of New Moon.
  • There was a moment of fear—a moment of wonderment—she felt plunged into deadly
  • cold—she felt plunged into burning heat—she felt a soaring upward—a falling
  • into unseen depths—a fierce stab of agony in her foot—then nothing more. When
  • Laura and Elizabeth came running in there was only a crumpled silken heap
  • lying at the foot of the stairs with balls and stockings all around it and
  • Aunt Laura's scissors bent and twisted under the foot they had so cruelly
  • pierced.