“He must beat something,” thought Regina, and remembered that she herself was itching to torment any one or anything. On rainy days—frequent and tedious—she became depressed, even to hypochondria. Only one thought comforted her—that of the return to her home. She counted the days and the hours. Strange, childish recollections, distant fancies, passed through her mind like clouds across a sad sky. Details of her past life waked in her melting tenderness; she remembered vividly even the humblest persons of the place, the most secret nooks in the house or in the wood; with strange insistence she thought of certain little things which never before had greatly struck her.
For instance, there was an old millstone, belonging to a ruined mill, which lay in the grass by the river-side. The remembrance of that old grey millstone, resting after its labour beside the very stream with which it had so long wrestled, moved Regina almost to tears. Often she tried to analyse her nostalgia, asking herself why she thought of the millstone, of the old blind chimney sweep, of the portiner (ferryman), who had enormous hairy hands and was getting on for a hundred; of the clean-limbed children by the green ditch, intent on making straw ropes; of the little snails crawling among the leaves of the plane-trees.