Anne started forward, trembling, her hands clasped upon her breast, and fell at her feet with sobs.
"Yes, yes," she gasped, "I came--for something--to speak--to pray you -! Sister--Clorinda, have patience with me--till my courage comes again!" and she clutched her robe.
Something which came nigh to being a shudder passed through Mistress Clorinda's frame; but it was gone in a second, and she touched Anne- -though not ungently--with her foot, withdrawing her robe.
"Do not stain it with your tears," she said "'twould be a bad omen."
Anne buried her face in her hands and knelt so before her.
"'Tis not too late!" she said--"'tis not too late yet."
"For what?" Clorinda asked. "For what, I pray you tell me, if you can find your wits. You go beyond my patience with your folly."
"Too late to stop," said Anne--"to draw back and repent."