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From The St. James' Magazine. ined changed under the subliming touch of
grief, was not changed, but the same. His A SCOTTISH STORY IN TWO PARTS.
loss had not made both father and mother By the Author of “ Margaret Maitland,” etc. etc. Bell went to service, more to relieve herself
of him. He was just as he had been when PART 1.- CHAPTER I.
from his strict and critical rule than for any “ I'm glad to see you hame," said the old other motive. She sighed to herself, after man.
she was done crying, and went slowly down “ And I'm glad to win hame, faither," said the narrow staircase. The house was a Bell.
homely little poor farmhouse, such as are Such was the sober expression of feeling still to be met with in the pastoral wilds of which passed between the father and daugh- Dumfriesshire-scarcely deserving the name ter. The girl's color was high, and her eyes of a farm. A few acres of "arable” land full of tears; and the old man, while he and a hillside for “ the beasts” was the exspoke, did not venture to look at her, but tent of its domain ; and a laborer and his fumbled about his snuff-box, and was evi- wife, who lived in a thatched cottage near dently relieved when that salutation, slight and were of Andrew Carr's kindred, were all as it was, was over. They had shaken the adherents of the house. Their eldest hands with each other when Bell came : now son herded the sheep, their small fry of every thing went on as if they had parted children weeded the scanty turnips and poyesterday, though the young woman had tatoes, and lived in wild primitive liberty been away from home for two years. between the cottage and the hill. Such
And home had changed in that time. The were all the human settlers at Whinnyrig. mother, the sun of the domestic place, was The farmhouse was only thatched, like its gone ; gone-buried a year ago in the hered- little dependency, but had an attic story, itary churchyard five miles off with all her with windows rising out of its thatched roof, kindred : yet she stood there between them, and a kitchen big enough to have taken in hushing them to silence, making words im- the entire cottage ; a rude, undecorated possible. Bell, you may suppose, would place—not a flower about it on one side or have spoken and wept, and poured out her the other, though the cabbages were not heart, had it been possible ; but the old man contemptible. Neglected, dreary, half-savdurst not trust himself to say words which age, it lay in the evening light, speaking might let loose that long-retained voiceless with a certain stern reticence, like that of its sorrow. What could words have done to it? master, to the heart of the motherless young Deeper than language was that mute recog-woman. Andrew Carr himself had been nition of their loss. She was gone! There heard to acknowledge, that “A' things had was nobody to ask the anxious, oft-repeated gaen wrang since the wife was away.,' Bell's questions—–nobody to give ear to all the in- accustomed eyes saw the difference with terrupted answers,nobody to speak the even stronger perception than her father's ; welcome, or surround the stranger with all and it was to supply that vacant place that that joyful surprise and curiosity, and eager- she had come home. ness, which is the soul of a return home. She went and sat down beside the old What is home when the mother is gone? man in the great earthen-floored kitchen, Bell was glad to take her box up into her Though it was summer, the fire was glowing attic-room, and cry over it in a violent access red as turf-fires do burn ; filling the place of grief and disappointment. She knew it, with aromatic odors. The father sat close but she did not know it, before ; for it is by in the high-backed wooden chair rudely hard to believe in death at a distance, and cushioned, and covered with checked blue almost impossible to think that, though we and white linen. He sat within the glow, know they are dead, they are no longer not much enlightened by it, twisting his there.
thumbs and gazing into the fire. Bell sat Poor Bell had found it out-the word had down too, at a distance from him, with her attained its real translation ; her mother was hands crossed on her lap, in punctilious obnot anywhere to be found on that earth, and servance of the old-fashioned notion, that, her father, whom her heart had imag-“coming off a journey," it was a necessary
homage to propriety to do nothing. It was was more touching than any lamentations. getting dark; the horse and the cows were They had no heart to speak to each other. “ suppered," and all was quiet about Whin- The link between them, without that mother nyrig; but Bell, who was near the window, whose presence had put a certain amount of could see those long lucid stretches of even- inevitable warmth into it, was not much ing sky, the breaks of primrose light, the more than an arbitrary bond; for the old green-blue wistful horizon, and latitudes of farmer of Whinnyrig had never either intercloud. Such stillness ! You could hear ested himself in his daughter, or cared to the breathing of these two in their hushed recognize the wonderful difference between house. It was quite necessary to break this life as it appeared to her and life as he knew hush by some attempt at conversation. But it. So there was a dead wall between them what was poor Bell to talk of? When she when no living heart was there to bring essayed to speak, the hysterica passio climbed them together. Poor Bell sat tearless, tryinto her throat.
ing vainly to think what she could say“ Have ye had ony trouble wi' the beasts making plans within her ardent youthful the year, faither ? at last faltered Bell. It mind how she would soften and subdue him was the subject most congenial to that lo- by her tenderness, and impatient that she cality ; and Bell saw no absurdity in the could not begin this moment—but was, like contrast between her question and her himself, voiceless and spell-bound. She thoughts.
could not have told any one how long this “There never was a year but there was silence lasted; but it was only when in the fash with the beasts,” said the old man; darkness she saw a figure approaching the “and this aboon a', as was to be expected, house that Bell sprang to her feet, with an I a' but lost my best cow.”
impatience which could not be longer re“ That's Lillie,” said Bell, with a little strained. She knew the very shape and gait eagerness. “Bonnie beast ! she sall aye of that figure, as it came slowly through the be milkit with my ain hand while I'm at twilight-knew it by that sharp-sightedness hame.”
of dislike and repugnance which is as unde“ Whisht with your haivers ! Lillie's ceivable as love. She made haste to light sell't!” said her father, with some irrita- the little oil-lamp which stood high up on tion.
the mantel-shelf, and threw a dim, smoky “Sell’t !” echoed Bell. The tears came light from that elevation upon the homely fairly rushing to her eyes in the dark. She apartment. She even made an unnecessary turned her head away from the chimney- noise and bustle as she did so, as if to draw corner, and looked straight out of the win- her father's attention. Her own frame was dow into the wistful sky. Her heart filled : tingling with sudden vexation and impait was all her self-command could do to keep tience, and her heart within her demanding down a fit of tears ; but she regained her utterance. But Andrew Carr took no notice: self-possession at last.
he did not even raise his head when she “You didna tell me when you wrote,” she bustled about the hearth and stretched up to said, apologetically.
place the lamp in its usual position. He “ And if I had, what wad hae been the shifted his chair a little, to give her room, guid ?” said Andrew Carr. “It's no in my without saying a word. Bell's patience was way writing letters. I wrote to you when-almost exhausted. when it happened; and I wrote you afore “There's James Lowther coming up the the term to come hame; and what could be brae,” she said at last, in a restrained expected from me mair ? "
voice. Another long silence fell upon the father “Ay?” said the old man, without surand daughter. Bell, with her hands in her prise. lap, in that unusual solemn Sabbath-day “You're aye friends yet, I suppose ? " said idleness, looked away into the wistful sum- Bell. mer evening sky, and watched it change Ou, ay-aye friends,” said her father, in and darken without perceiving what it was the same indifferent tone. she saw. Her father sat looking down into Bell was beside herself: her hand tremthe red glow of the peat fire. Their silence bled, as she fastened the lamp. The irrita
tion of grief and disappointment, and soli- the prospects of the hay ; how the turnips tude, seized upon her. “Eh me! and it were looking; and whether any disease had was for this I left my guid place ? ” she said yet been heard of among the potatoes. Anto herself under her breath, as she put fresh drew Carr spoke with great deliberation, and peats on the fire.
required little answer ; Bell darned rapidly, “What are ye saying, Bell ?." asked An- without ever raising her head ; and James drew Carr.
Lowther sat by, saying little, uneasy under “I'm saying nae doubt he's a married man the full glow of the fire. Behind the group and doing weel, that ye’re aye friends with the evening sky was still darkening through bim, faither,” said Bell.
the uncurtained windows, and opening out “He's just as muckle marriet as ye are," a streak of wistful light in the blue perspeccried the old man; “and if ye’re no ceevil to tive. It was a very still, placid, homely the decent lad, ye'll get little comfort here. scene, but, had these human creatures been She said it hersel before she was ta’en, and visible to the eye in the real sentiments I'll hae naebody ill-used in my house." which possessed them, how speedily would
Bell's pent-up feelings relieved themselves the group have risen into the world of pasin a long, heavy, impatient sigh: she saw sion. That old man, slowly droning there in a moment the whole course that lay about his fields, was as sternly determined before her the domestic persecution, the to bend his daughter's will to his own as if loathed love, all those assaults of rustic he had been a powerful despot, and she a courtship which from the wrong person are rebellious kingdom: behind the rustic lover's hard inflictions even to a country beauty. embarrassed looks, fierce love and jealousy She went hastily to the great aumrie at one were hidden: while Bell, all innocent in her end of the kitchen, and took from a corner domestic occupation, tingled to her very a large bundle of stockings put there to be finger-points with such excitement, irritamended. It was not very dainty work ; but tion, and obstinate resolve, such restrained Bell was only a country girl, and had no indignation and grief, as might have made a pretensions to be a young lady. She took passionate heroine of the humble young her seat near the fire, within reach of the woman. But, to see their homely ways and light, and drew one of the stockings over words, who could have imagined the little her arm to darn it. She was seated thus, drama secretly going on under this homely her face bent over her work, when the un- roof? welcome visitor entered.
“ There's no mony would take to their His personal appearance did not explain wark so industrious the very night they the secret of his bad reception. He was came hame,” said Lowther, at last-speakwell-enough looking, a brown-haired, ruddy, ing at, as he dared not directly address, the stalwart man of Annandale, lifting his feet lady of his love. high as he walked, as if he felt himself still “Ou, ay-Bell's grand at her wark ; she'll among the heather; and not without a gleam make a guid wife when her time comes," of real eagerness and lover-like anxiety in said Andrew Carr. his sunburnt face. He looked wistfully in “ And that'll never come,” exclaimed Bell, at the door, and lingered for the invitation, with sudden bitterness, surprised out of her “Come in bye! Jamie, come in bye!” self-control. which after all only came from the gruff “ The lasses aye say sae,” said James voice of Andrew Carr; and, when he had Lowther ; " but it's weel they're no sae ill obeyed, removed his cap and scratched his as their word, or what would become of us head, and looked at Bell, longing to speak. a'? They say, when ane's mair positive Bell took no notice of his bashful looks ; she than anither, that's a guid sign.” gave him a little dry nod without turning Bell did not condescend to answer ; but her eyes towards him, and with great devo- she raised her head, and gave her unlucky tion went on with her stocking. The em- admirer a look which made him pause in barrassing silence was only broken by the sudden discomfiture. For she was Andrew old man, who after awhile began the ordi- Carr's daughter, though she was not like nary topics of rural conversation : what were him. She was good and honest, but not meek, by nature. Did they think to over- speech, Bell dropped on her chair again for come her by such poor artifices ? A thou- a moment, and wept some hot, angry tears ; sand times, no!
then rising, wiped them indignantly away “Broomlees maun be pleasant the noo," with her apron, took a candlestick from the said the old man; “it's a bonnie bit. I shelf, lighted the candle at the fire, and went mind upon't in your grandfather's time, away with hasty, excited steps, holding her Jamie. You and yours have been lang on head high, and looking at nobody. Her that land.”
admirer sat and stared discomfited. Her “ Far langer than the laird,” said James, father said nothing. They kept silent when with a'laugh. “The Ha’ house has changed they were left alone till Bell's steps, echoing hands twice since Broomlees was in my her anger, had sounded up the wooden, name. But there's great need of a woman resounding stair, and were lost in the still. body about the place. It's no what it was ness of her own room. Then at last the old when
you kent it first, nor what we'll have man spoke – it again, in time, if I get my will."
“Ye'll take nae notice, Jamień” said the “Ay, ay ; I dare to say ye'll do weel, if farmer of Whinnyrig. ye get a guid wife," said Andrew Carr. “ No the noo,” said Lowther, vindictively;
Bell listened to this conversation with a then, changing his tone, “I'm meaning the perfect fever in her veins. Knowing what women maun hae their spite out,” he added. they meant, and knowing how well they “ No, I'll never heed." knew certain past events which were fresh “ I'm nae sae sure ye ken the crater after in her memory, it was intolerable to the a'," said Andrew Carr, with a movement of high-spirited girl to hear herself so spoken compunction. “She's like the wife in outat. But a certain natural sense of dignity ward appearance, but she's a rael Carr in acted as a curb upon her, and restrained her her spirit. If it was for her advantage to tongue.
have her ain way-but, it canna be that-it “I'm thinking ye'll be glad to be in your canna be that! Do you ever hear ony thing ain house," said the adventurous suitor, o'yon ne'er-do-weel, now?" after another pause;
a strange house can “ It's no likely," said Lowther, with a never be like ane's ain place, though it may little contempt; "if he's living he's at the be grander; and to you, that might be your other end o' the world, and I canna say I'm ain mistress, not to say have servants at so great in his favor as to make him write
letters to me." “ That's impossible !” cried Bell; “I Aweel, weel ; time tries a’; but I'll no dinna ca' Marget Brown a servant, nor never keep you ony later the night, Jamie, my will. Her man's our second cousin, as every- man,” said Bell's father. “Come back soon, body kens.”
but no ower-soon, and let bygones be by“But weel ye ken I wasna meaning Mar- gones ; it'll a' come about in time, if ye have get Brown," said the emboldened lover. but patience a bit.”
“I ken nothing about what ye mean," “ Patience ! " echoed Lowther to himself, cried Bell, rising up with angry haste, “nor as he stood on the broken moorland ground I care nothing, that's mair ; but ye might below, and looked back at the thatched house have had the sense to let a poor lass alane of whinnyrig and the light which streamed the first night she's come hame, and her from the attic window; "aye, patience ! mither away. If ye had held your peace But if I aince hae ye, I'll mak ye pay for and respected a person, I might have for- this, ye witch,” he muttered, shaking his fist given ye, Jamie Lowther. But eh, man, ye at the window and with this virtuous senmake me mind; ye bring it a' back to me timent strode slowly home from his lover's as clear as yesterday. I wouldna say there journey, leaving the father and daughter was anither man in Annandale but would still further apart than when he came. have had the sense to leave the poor auld man and me to ourselves the first night,
CHAPTER II. kenning a' the changes that hae been in this THE light shone faintly out of that attic house since I gaed away."
window long after all the neighborhood was When she had uttered this indignant hushed to sleep. The little room inside had
few attractions, and little to distinguish it as That was four long years ago. It was a maiden's bower. The sloping roof, the James Lowther, of Broomlees, that had put bare walls, the uncarpeted floor, and Bell's that stigma on his sailor cousin. He said great box standing under the window, were the boy had been trained, and loved, and set unlovely surroundings. ' But the farmer's out in life by old Broomlees, his uncle and daughter of Whinnyrig was not fastidious guardian, and that Bell's lover had not only nor fanciful. She sat at the little table with used his uncle with the basest ingratitude, her Bible open before her, vainly trying to but had appropriated to his own purposes fix her thoughts to what she had been read- money entrusted to him, and brought the ing, while, instead of the sacred words, a old man into trouble. Some circumstances phantasmagoria of past scenes kept gliding of dissipation and fickleness had not been before her eyes, and drew her mind astray. wanting to increase the force of the picture. She clasped her hard but comely hands over Andrew Carr, entirely convinced, had forher forehead, and shut out the light from her bidden Bell ever to see the culprit, or let eyes, suffering those visions which would not him know the reason of his dismissal. Her be forbidden-homely pictures, no way sub- mother, wiser in her humility, would not limated out of that homely scene, yet full of yield implicit credit to the tale-bearer, and the deepest primitive emotion. She saw yet would not justify the accused. All that herself come into that same apartment all the good woman could do was to stroke with dewy-eyed and blushing, half afraid of her her kind hand that passionate young cheek, own beauty and happiness, the beaming face and “wait for Providence,” as she said. But that caught her eye in the little glass; and Bell was too young, too impatient, too hotfollowing her came the mother, quick to blooded to wait for Providence. She wrote mark that crisis, to hear the half-told tale, a passionate, appealing letter to Willie at and shelter the girl from her own secret, sea, calling on him to come forward and shamefaced terror. Oh, hour of tenderest clear himself. She denounced James Lowgladness ! almost sweeter than the troth- ther with all the fiery vehemence of a woman plight which preceded it. But darker were and a Carr. Things came to a violent crisis, the scenes that followed. She saw the and threatened disruption of all the peace doubtful household looks, the mother's hasty and union of the household. Day by day glance in at her chamber-door, not waiting poor Bell, with dry eyes burning with anxexcept to say good-night, afraid of confer- iety, looked for Willie's letter ; day by day ence. Then the tender, troubled, suggestive her father stalked about his little farm, with speeches, the hints about sailors and their outbursts of impatient wrath and indignatemptations, the father's angry preference of tion against the drooping girl ; day by day “ a decent lad at hame,” all the slowly accu- her mother soothed her compassionately, mulating distrust, dislike, and doubt which looked on and prayed, and said nothing ; rose like a mist round the figure of her and night by night James Lowther disturbed sailor-lover-then, unaware of his secret en- the household with his hateful presence, and emies, far off at sea. Then, when the clouds sought the heart in its rebound. that had gathered to their darkest, that storm changeable female heart of which so many that at last had violently rent the two asun- a song and story is told; but which was no der. But the sobs broke poor Bell's heart more like the strong-beating, passionate, as she remembered herself fallen upon that honest heart of Isabell Carr than midnight bed in her despair, and her mother silent, is like noon. thinking nothing was to be said, stroking Such things could have been borne ; but the poor cheek from which that tempest had a harder agony followed the unexplainable taken all the youthful color. “ Willie thank- mystery and anguish of Bell's life. Willie's less ! Willie a traitor! Tell me I'm dead, letter did not come, Willie did not writem and I'll believe you sooner,” sobbed out Bell, even more, did not return--never was heard repeating in imagination her own very words, of—disappeared totally into that blank, and thinking she felt her mother's hand, aching, dreadful darkness which everywhere hopeless of all other comfort, stroking with encompasses the little bit of the world we a pathetic, silent caress her eighteen-year- see. If his ship had been lost, the dreadful old colorless cheek.
secret might have been explained. But his