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From The St. James' Magazine. terly jealous of preference, would under such
circumstances have savagely married, loved, By the Author of " Margaret Maitland,” etc., etc. hated, and cursed her, with a sullen con
sciousness of injury amid his selfish passion; PART II.-CHAPTER I.
and Bell would have felt herself no delicate The three days passed in an agony of de- martyr, but a perjured soul—a woman selfliberation and self-counsel. Bell had no soiled and desecrated. Such was the plain asfriend to go to for advice. The only woman pect matters took to her unsophisticated mind. near at hand whom she could have consulted To adopt this revolting expedient never once was Marget, whose perplexed advices would occurred to her. Nothing, not even filial have thrown little light upon the subject; duty, could excuse or justify such a falseand Bell, the only child of her mother, had hood. Bell's thoughts indeed could scarcely been too much accustomed to depend on that be called deliberations. She pondered painsole and closest counsellor to be able to turn fully what she should do in the event of beto other aids when she was no longer at hand. ing turned from her father's door. She never Though a greater part of the inhabitants even accepted as possible the idea that she of the parish were Carrs, the household of might change her mind in respect to her unWhinnyrig had no relative nearer than dis- welcome lover, or be induced to marry one tant cousins, and Andrew Carr was too un- man while her heart was occupied with angenial and self-willed a man to have kept up other. That piece of wrong-doing, so often any warm degree of friendship with the scat- justified and called by dainty names, was intered branches of his race. Bell was alone conceivable and impossible to Bell. in the kindly countryside, though every But the three days passed, and Andrew “neighbor” at kirk and market knew her, Carr still asked no more questions of his and hailed with friendly greetings the moth- daughter. They took their meals together erless young woman. . She had to take coun- with very little conversation. Simple dosel of her own heart as she went, active but mestic references now and then, communi. silent—her presence no longer betraying it- cations about the milk and butter, served as self, as it once did, in involuntary, uncon- a thread of human intercourse to make their scious songs and laughter-about the little life tolerable ; but conversation, which is alfarmyard. She attended to the “beasts" ways scant in their class, was next to unand the house, made her father's dinner, and known, except in moments of passion or ele“suppered” her cows, and darned her stock- vated feeling, in the silent house of the ings, with an ache in her heart and a throb Dumfriesshire farmer. This peculiarity, the of painful thought in her.mind. Pondering result in the present as in many other cases over and over again, no light came over that of a higher tone of mind than usual, and a dark matter. Bell's character was not with- fastidious réserve in the expression of sentiout a capacity of sacrifice ; but it did not oc- ment which is almost peculiar to the Scotch cur to her to sacrifice her honest heart and character, made it more difficult to enter true love to her father's arbitrary mandate. upon subjects of interest beyond the everyThat was simply impossible to the straight-day routine, and was an absolute protection forward imagination of the country girl. to Bell in her loneliness. She knew, and Willie might be forgetful-might be dead; her father knew, that when that matter was she might never so much as hear his name returned to and the ice once broken, the again ; but the casuistry of a romantic con- very excess of reserve in both their minds tract, by which a bride of higher education would overthrow all ordinary boundaries, and more refined habits of thought might and no compromise be possible. And perhave been beguiled—the idea of confiding to haps the old man, when he had once exher future husband the fact that she had no pressed what was in his mind, was glad to heart to give him, or of resigning herself to leave the matter, and suffer time to work his love for her father's sake, was out of the what persuasion or force might not accomquestion to her plain, simple understanding. plish. At all events, he did not hold to his Jamie Lowther would have comprehended word so far as this limit of time was conno such compact-Jamie Lowther, indiffer- cerned. The subject was tacitly dropped, ent to any refinement of affection, yet bit-though never forgotten. Both were involuntarily aware that neither had changed, of a possible heiress, but with the more keen and that when the inevitable moment came and painful gaze of a poor man's daughter, a final struggle must ensue: but, with some anxiously concerned lest there should not touch of natural feeling or tenderness unu- always be enough to satisfy all claims. This sual to his character, Andrew Carr deferred new fear, first suggested by Marget Brown, that hour. He sat in his arm-chair within rejected, reconsidered, trembled over for the glow of the red peat-fire through the long many an hour since, added an additional summer evenings-sat and talked slowly at pang of pain and uncertainty to all Bell's intervals with James Lowther, who fre- embarrassments. She watched the tone of quented the place almost as regularly as the James Lowther's address to her father-the evening came, and whom Bell, seated by the manner of Andrew Carr's response. Dread window, mending or making, with the dark pictures of dismal rural bankruptcy arose moss gleaming before her in the wistful dis- upon her troubled mind. She would not tance, and all the changing glories of the leave the old man, whatever she might sufsummer-evening sky above, steadily refused fer. So she sat, agitated but silent, often to notice. They were a singular group, all roused to the wildest impatience, yet always self-concentrated and individualized by the restraining herself-perceiving with intolerwonderful reserve which enveloped them, able indignation and offence that her suitor and by the passions which lay hidden, yet began to take courage, and to look upon her not imperceptible, behind that veil. Of the with a certain satisfied glance of ownership, three, Bell suffered most, in the tedious and and that both her father and he were configalling restraint to which she was subjected. dent in their power of overcoming her opThe very vivacity of her feminine percep- position. She perceived all this, and did tions told against her in contrast with the not take it meekly, patience not being a steadier persistence of her companions. She prominent quality in this young woman's was ready to have flung up her weapons and character ; but at the same time it is not to fled from the field with womanish impatience, denied that her heart and strength rallied while they stood obstinately to their point, to the struggle with a certain rising flush of secure of overcoming her. In the silence of resistance and pugnacity. She retreated into the homely room, all reddened with the glow dreams and visions, as she sat by the clear of the peat-fire, yet with the calm, cool even- wistful window, with all the evening light ing light coming sweetly in through the un- glimmering and changing outside—not viscurtained window, a close observer might ions such as she had once indulged in, of the have heard, through the tedious, dropping absent sailor coming, indignant in all the talk, the loud heart-beats of the humble her- force of truth and virtue, to clear his repuoine, whose female temper and constancy tation and claim his bride. Such dreams were being tried to desperation, and to whom had long proved themselves vain. Bell the very presence of this lover, not to speak closed her lips tight when Willie's neverof his lowering, fiery looks of love and re- spoken name came to them involuntarily in sentment, was intolerable. But Bell could irrestrainable appeals from her heart, and not help herself—could not run away, as her turned aside to cogitate painful plans of impulse was, from that stake. The want of household thrift and labor, of butter-making, “ a woman-body about the house” had made and all the uses of the “milkness," which itself pathetically apparent to Bell in various had not been put to full profit in past days. ways since her return. Her homely practi- If her father was indeed in the power of cal eyes saw, as clearly as if but cattle and Jamie Lowther, what a triumph to set him housewifery had been before them, that the clear of those toils, and restore that indelonely household could not go on long under pendence which was life and breath to the the old man's stern but failing sway, and stern old man! With a certain stern satisthat his speculations and his parsimonies faction, which proved her share in her fahad become alike wayward and uncertain, ther's temper, Bell betook herself to labor and would soon wear out, if they had not al- through the day and plans by night. They ready worn out, the slender substance pain- might turn her evening rest into a species fully gathered through a toiling lifetime, of torture for her high spirit and lively temwhich Bell did not contemplate with the eyes per they might take what little comfort
there was in it out of her toilsome coura- self, with a certain scornful indifference to geous life, but they could neither overcome him in the midst of her displeasure which Bell's resolution nor drive her from her post. did not fail to strike the disconcerted wooer, In this indomitable spirit she hardened her- in freeing herself from the brambles. The self against the perpetual persecution; and motion was trifling in itself, but it exasperit was thus, in an activity that admitted lit- ated Lowther. His love and rage boiled tle leisure, and with a firmness that knew no over in a sudden explosionwavering, that the summer passed away. Eh, woman! if I didna like ye ower weel
for ony man's comfort, I would hate ye like CHAPTER II.
murder !" cried Jamie. “ To see you stand“ THE auld man's weel eneuch,” said ing there dauring me, with your hands James Lowther, in his deep voice, with his among the bramble-bushes, and no condehead bent, and his eyes gleaming up from scending so muckle as a glance to see the under his heavy eyebrows. “He's—weel, mischief you and the likes of you can do he's your faither, Bell. Maist women would in a man's heart! But I wouldna bid ye gie a man a blink of kindness for pleasuring gang ower far!” said the baffled lover, lifttheir kin—but there's nae pleasing you. I ing his thundery eyebrows to emit a glare of dinna gang a' the gate to Whinnyrig, night passionate light out of eyes full of mingled after night, for a twa-handed crack wi' An- fondness and fury. “I'm in that condition, drew Carr. A'the parish kens that, if you with a' I've come through, that I'm as like dinna ;
and if I am never to get word or look to do ye an injury as a pleasure. Nicht after o' you"
nicht ye've seen me sit, and never spent a * Ye never shall, and that ye ken—mair word on me. I'm no as patient as Job, and than what's ceevil,” cried Bell, the words he never was in love with a thrawart lass bursting from her in spite of herself. that I ever heard o'. It's best for yourself,
“ Ceevil!” cried the baffled lover, with a if ye kent a', that ye dinna drive a man ower muttered oath : "if I sought ceevility I far." could gang other places; there's leddies in “A woman may be driven ower far as this countryside, though ye mayna think it, weel as a man," answered Bell indignantly; that wouldna object to Broomlees--but a “ I want naething to say to you, Jamie Lowman canna resist his fortune. It's you I ther; I'm just a servant lass, as you say, and want, though you're but a servant lass, and nae match for a grand gentleman like young your faither a ruined man—and it's you I'll Broomlees. I ask nae service at your hands have, for a' your ceevility and unceevility, but just to let me bemand as for injury—" whether you will or no. So, Bell, it's nae “I would take time to think ower that!” use struggling ; it's far mair suitable for me cried the exasperated lover ; "there's no and better for you to make up your mind.” anither fool in the countryside would let you
“ Never! if it was my last breath !” cried off as I do. Here am I, that might be maisBell, with all the intensity of passion. ter and mair, coming about Whinnyrig like
The two stood in the midst of the calmest a ploughman lad, with my hat in my hand, aye Sabbatical landscape ; distant chimes of looking for a pleasant word, when I might church-bells in the air, and all the hushed turn ye a' to the door, and take the bread tranquillity of an autumn afternoon-a Sun- out o' your mouths, and bring ye to your day afternoon—the crown of dreamy, medi- knees, Bell Carr-ay, and will, if ye dinna tative quiet brooding over the scene. They mend.” were on the borders of the moor, on a by- Bell lifted her eyes steadily upon him, road which wound through an old plantation growing pale, but not wavering. “Maybe towards the kirk-going path. Bell had been ye ken what you mean yoursel';” she said, on her way to church when her solitude was with a subdued but defiant voice; "it's past suddenly intruded upon by her desperate my finding out. I never yet heard that love lover. She stood now arrested-half by his and ill-will could live thegether ; and as for presence, half by the long shoots of bram- bringing me to my knees, ye'll do mony a bles which encumbered the way and caught greater thing, Jamie Lowther, before ye'll at her black dress. As she confronted him, do that!" indignant and determined, she occupied her- “ If you kent what I can do, you would
take mony a thought before you daured me he went lingeringly away, and to spend hours to it," said Lowther, fiercely. “ I can do you in the darkness, framing the plans of his reand yours mair mischief than a' your friends venge—that revenge which was at once to can mend."
punish and subdue the object of all his “Dinna speak to me!” cried Bell, roused thoughts—to bring Bell Carr to her knees entirely beyond her self-control. “Do I no and to his heart. ken what you can do already? You can For, with the inconsiderateness of passion, slander an honest lad and break an innocent Lowther did not perceive how unlikely these lassie's heart. You can send them away two results were, and how unaccordant with ower land and seas that ye're no worthy to each other. He had a certain power over be named beside. Ye can make them deso- the fortunes of this defiant, resisting girl. late that never harmed nor minted harm at He did not concern himself with any unnecyou. You've done your warst lang, lang ere essary metaphysics concerning the effect of now, Jamie Lowther, and what you can do a father's ruin upon his daughter's heart. mair is as little matter to me as this bram'le He was not seeking her heart; he wanted thorn. Say or do as you like, the warst's herself—however, he could have her, whether done; and those that have borne the warst she would or not, as he himself expressed it. are free of fear. Since you've made me ower When the little household was desolate and late for the kirk, I'm gaun hame."
friendless, then Bell would be but too glad Saying which, Bell turned majestically to marry him, he concluded, with a common back, and threaded her way firmly and swiftly coarseness not confined to any one class of through the narrow paths, all slippery with men. He pondered how he was to do it with the spiky leaflets of fir which lay in heaps, a fierce satisfaction. He loved her, yet he the growth of successive years. Prepared to would not spare her a single sting of the oppose her onward progress, Lowther was punishment he had in store. He cursed her quite disconcerted by this sudden return. at the height of his passion, and vowed she He stood gazing after her with a blank look should suffer for all her freaks and haughtiof mortification and disappointment, taken ness. But in the midst of all his schemes by surprise then made a few hurried steps of revengeful love, that strange element of in pursuit—then paused, thinking better of ignorance ran through the elaborate but, it. He watched till her figure, elastic yet abortive scheme. He knew nothing of the substantial, had reached the rising slope creature he pursued with such unrelenting which led to Whinnyrig. Then he turned fondness. The idea of her standing at bay, back, and went away in the opposite direc- refusing to yield, despising him the more for tion, with troubled looks and a heart ill at his power and the use he made of it, did not ease. He could not defend himself from enter into his comprehension. He laid all his those continued rebuffs by the simple but plans on a small scale, as any tyrant might difficult expedient of withdrawing his unwel- have laid them on a great scale-calculating come attentions, and leaving the unwilling everything with the utmost nicety except the object of his affections at rest. He would one thing which by a touch could upset all make her as uneasy as himself, and destroy other calculations--that human heart, wonher peace, as she had destroyed his. That derfullest agency, which will answer to no was the only expedient which occurred to abstract rule, but has to be considered him; and, secure of having increased Bell's through complex shades of individuality, inunhappiness, however little he might have comprehensible to lovers as to kings. lightened his own, he went home, gloomily
CHAPTER III. pondering extreme measures; but only to
It may be supposed that this Sabbath return, when the early autumn twilight fell, to evening contained little comfort for poor linger about the open door from which the Bell, in the seclusion of her chamber and of firelight shone, to be asked in as usual by An- her heart. When the evening prayers were drew Carr's gruff voice-to sit in sight of over, and her father had gone to his early that silent figure, in every movement of which rest, Bell, glad yet terrified to be alone, he could trace a swell of indignation and re- stood by her own little attic window and sentment not yet calmed down—to find even leaned out to court the night breeze which the ordinary “good-night” denied him when sighed round the lonely house. There was
THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 796
no moon visible, but the subdued lightness She turned from her own view of the matter in the air told that somewhere in the clouded with a mournful outbreak of love and awe firmament that hidden light was shining, and and pity. “ The auld man ! oh, the auld the wind sighed out pathetic admonitions of man!” cried Bell to herself, wringing her the coming rain. Bell leant out, looking sadly hands in an agony. Would he die of it, in upon the familiar landscape-the long stretch the passionate despair of sublimated pride of the moon falling blank into the darkness, and poverty? Would he live heartbroken the trees of the little plantation in which that _shamed, in the dismal woe of old age ? interview had taken place bending and sway- Once more Bell wrung her hands. It was ing in the breeze; the little cottage of Rob- too dreadful to speculate upon. She turned ert Brown, all shut up and silent in the early away from that picture with a suppressed conclusion of the day of rest—all the children sob of excitement and terror. Andrew Carr safe asleep, and the laborious pair making had been a just man all his life severe but up the waste and toil of the week in the ad- just, wronging no man, serving God after ditional repose which crowned with an exter- his fashion. Feeling the intolerableness of nal benediction the spiritual quiet of the this misery, Bell caught with a sobbing panic weekly holiday: and, above the stillness of at the protection of Heaven; though we all the cottage, the dark farmhouse all shut up know how seldom Providence affords these and silent too, so far as appeared, with those miraculous protections how often God, in wistful young eyes gazing out into the dark- the calm of that Divine composure which ness upon that indefinite cloud of ruin which knows of no better blessings than earthly in drew nearer and nearer-ruin hard to be un- reserve for his servants, permits the heaviest derstood or identified, yet coming with a slow downfalls ; yet Nature always, true, but inevitable progress. Bell's heart beat loud short-sighted, makes her infallible appeal to in her troubled breast. That unformed shad- that one sure hope—God will deliver! Bell owy presence darkly approaching roused bent her hot eyes into her hands and leaned mingled terrors and resistance and an over- against the rough edge of the thatch which, whelming excitement in her mind. It seemed somehow, by the prick of natural contact, impossible to go quietly to rest and rise qui- gave a certain ease to her thoughts. There etly to labor while every hour brought ruin was the only hope ! Something might yet and shame nearer to the devoted house. occur to prevent the approaching overthrow What if one sat and watched and forestalled -Providence itself might interpose ! its coming, presenting always a dumb front When Bell lifted her head, a pale gleam of defiance to the misfortune which should of light from the hidden moon was slanting crush neither heart nor spirit! Alas! it with a mystic whiteness over the dark moor. might crush neither spirit nor heart in her In that track of light moved the figure of a own young indomitable bosom; but what of man. She watched, with a certain wild the old man, struck to the soul in that pro- thrill – half of curiosity, half of fright. found pride of his—the only passion which Was it some wandering stranger merely, had outlived all the dulling influences of age ! late out, unaware of the habitudes of the Bell shuddered, and withdrew from the country, in the sacred calm of Sabbath thought as it came before her. She clasped night ? Was it Jamie Lowther, whom love her hands tight, and drew a long, sighing and revenge forbade to rest! She watched, breath. She thought of the cows taken from with her heart beating louder and louder. the byer and the sheep from the hill of Rob- The figure drew nearer, with lingering, unert Brown's cart, with his furniture and his certain steps disappeared in the plantation, children, going sadly down the brae, and all while Bell stood breathless-came out again the household gods of Whinnyrig turned into the pale, luminous darkness, slowly outside to the cold daylight and pitiless eyes ascending the brae. No dog barked nor of country purchasers. The shame of it was creature stirred about Whinnyrig. Did quite enough to wring the heart of the coun- these footsteps wake no sound in the still try girl on her own account ; but she could dim world that breathed about the lonely go forth erect and undaunted, too young and wayfarer P O Heaven ! it was not Jamie brave to be overcome even by such a mis- Lowther, with his fiery love and hate it fortune. It was hard, but not fatal to Bell. I was no stranger belated on that moor. It