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It was a very simple straightforward sermon, after all; with now and then a gleam of eloquence, and now and then an unexpected metaphor, and always a glow of real earnestness about it on the hackneyed text, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,”. illustrated with the obvious lines of argument as to the various motives for "giving in charity," as it is called, -the ambition to be thought well of by men, the superstitious hope to atone by good works for evil deeds, as of old great robbers built fine churches; on which principle Milan Cathedral is traditionally said to have been founded; being begun by a penitent nephew, in memory of an esteemed uncle whom he had murdered. He touched also on the "shame-faced giving," because our neighbours give; the customary giving, – as one drops a piece of money into a church-plate; and so forth. Nor did Mr. Saville Heaton become particularly impressive till rather more than half way on in his discourse; when he dwelt on the secret motives, and even wicked motives, which may produce apparently good actions; and in that part of his sermon his nervous hesitation seemed to leave him, and he spoke with more boldness and more eloquence of language than usual; the faces of his listeners being still noted in a sort of careless way by Maggie - while she occasionally broke the tedium of the time by irreverently and surreptitiously cracking green hazel nuts with her fine white teeth, and eating them.
And those faces would have made a good study for a painter. The warm approval,
the sympathy with all that was true and earnest, in the countenance of Old Sir Douglas; the serene, attentive, angelic brow and eyes of his young wife; Lorimer, with folded arms and set compressed mouth, looking apparently only at the uninteresting straw hassock at his feet; Alice, demure, and yet restless, furtively blinking from time to time side glances at the preacher; and Mr. James Frere (for he also attended, though his patroness at the Castle had tossed her head in scorn at the proposal) with his dark bright eyes fixed on Saville Heaton, rather with an expression of curiosity to learn how this man would handle the matter, than with any reference to the matter itself; but all attention to his words.
Then it was as the speaker dwelt on the power of God, "to whom all hearts be open, all desires known," to sift and discern the variety of motives that may produce one common result; when he warned his hearers in the language of Scripture that "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known;" that "whatsoever has been spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light, and that which was whispered in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops, "with all argument pertaining to those solemn texts and withering denunciations of the pharisaical hypocrisy which deludes man, but never can delude God; then it was, as I have said, that this shy and common-place minister became extremely impressive; and spoke indeed so forcibly and so well, that an electric thrill seemed to go through his small congregation, both among the learned and the unlearned.
Alie Ross sat stiller than ever; but her glance wandered from Heaton to Sir Douglas, and back again with sidelong skill to others of the group: while Mr. Frere's eyes were withdrawn from the preacher, though the expression of attention and curiosity even deepened in his face. He seemed to be resolving some problem in his mind. Suddenly his fine eyes flashed upwards again, and turned Lorimer Boyd !
not on Heaton, but on
Their eyes met. Lorimer seemed to have been observing him. Some ripple of movement, which did not even amount to one of Mr. Boyd's "grim smiles," flickered round his mouth: and some of that inexplicable shrinking, which is visible in the human eye even when its gaze is not withdrawn in moments of fear, suspicion, or conscious duplicity-contracted for a second or two the bright, bold, clever orbs
perience of the sex, was just sufficiently startled to pause before he said:
"No: I am not easily beaten, Alice Ross."
which had "charmed" Miss Alice Ross. Then another expression passed into them. Not of fear; of defiance; of hard resolution; an accordance for the moment of the eyes with the hard, resolute, animal mouth: and then Mr. James Frere's countenance became, as before, simply attentive, and watchful of the preacher's closing words.
But there had been, in that short moment, between those two men, that strange spiritual communication which all of us who have any experience of life, know so well. Mr. Frere became aware that Mr. Boyd distrusted him; and Mr. Boyd, that he and bis distrust were alike defied and set at nought by the eloquent stranger.
Nay, when Mr. Frere turned back after escorting her, and shook hands with Sir Douglas, and lamented that he could not stay to dinner, but must return to the Dowager Clochnaben, he saw, with great satisfaction, that pussy-cat Alice had glided out of the party at the castle door, and was standing alone and en cachette against a mass of thick laurels, watching him as he walked away.
Nor did it need the sealing of the conviction in Mr. Frere's mind that Lorimer had something to do with the sermon," which was naturally produced by over-hearing Mr. Saville Heaton on their walk homewards answer Sir Douglas's kindly congratulations on the excellence of that discourse, by the modest deprecatory reply, "Well, I had the advantage of talking the subject over with Mr. Boyd: indeed, of reading the sermon to him, and receiving some valuable suggestions. He is a very superior man: a great scholar: a most cultivated mind: I feel greatly indebted to him for the interest he has shown in my plans and my school; and I consider my composition, such as it was, much benefited by his remarks." when he reached the vantage ground of a When Mr. James Frere heard this mod- slight ascent which prefaced the more rugest reply to Sir Douglas's compliments, heged climb to come he paused at that knoll,. was walking immediately behind the group; and lifting his hat, not in token of salutation, side by side with Miss Alice Ross. Invol- but as relieving himself of a formal encumuntarily he turned to her, to see how she brance, stood and gazed at the red sky of 'took" the answer so made, and perhaps evening and the picturesque scenery, believ-. to make some disparaging comment on Mr. ing (not in vain) that those shrewd grey Boyd's interference, by way of guarding his eyes were still fixed upon him, and that he own interests in that quarter. He met himself appeared to the full as picturesque Alice's glance as he had previously met as any other object within their view. Lorimer's; and received much the same degree of enlightenment from it, though of a more satisfactory kind.
If Mr. Frere had been a commonplace gentleman he might have stopped, and waved his hand perhaps, in token of farewell, and of his consciousness that she was thus occupied. But he knew better. Not: Isaac, when he went forth to meditate im the fields at eventide, could seem moreutterly unconscious of observation. Only,.
He decided that it was quite unnecessary to make any observation. He therefore merely sighed, and, casting his eyes wistfully over the hills and intervening scenery, he said, "I would I were away from this place! I must think of leaving Clochnaben."
And Alice Ross did not say in any foolish tender way, "Pray don't leave us," or "Oh, I should be so sorry;" but, with a little hard short laugh, and slow drawling utterance, she said "You are easily beaten, Mr. Frere."
And Mr. Frere, though he had some ex
Whether she noticed his calling her by her name, and approved or disapproved the liberty so taken, could not be guessed from outward evidence. She certainly approved the sentiment, if the smile of odd sinister triumph that slowly left her small thin mouth spoke true: and she made no attempt to withdraw from his companionship, and join some one else in the walking party.
BUT Mr. Saville Heaton was not destined to enlighten his congregation with another sermon distilled through the alembic of Lorimer Boyd's mind. At Torrieburn, and at Glenrossie also, that Sunday evening, all was perplexity and alarm. News,
bad news, had come of Kenneth! Not this time of his conduct, or his debts, or anything which friends might remedy. No; but Kenneth lay ill of fever, dying, some' of the doctors thought,,at San Sebastian,
which port he had reached, intending to
his place was with her, not with Kenneth.
A brief and rather incoherent letter dictated to some woman, partly by Giuseppe, narrated the circumstances; how, having had a burning fever, he had apparently had been Kenneth's tutor; he was his steprecovered, but now it was a low nervous father; and though the rebellion and infever, and the young Signore could not lift gratitude of boyhood and adolescence had his hands to his head for weakness. been his sole return for much kindness, and the bitter speech had once been flung at him in one of Kenneth's rages,—“Your care of me! Who thanks you? You were paid for your care of me, such as it was," still, the gentle nature of the man, and his desire to do his best for Maggie's son, had upborne him through much insult and folly, and they had not been on bad terms during the latter years of Kenneth's youth, nor had Kenneth been much at home, either to provoke, or be provoked by, unwelcome communion. and
"And, indeed, it is now more than eight days that his young Excellency has not sworn, nor shown any symptoms of his usual animation, and my mind is at sea, and mi crepa il cuore; it breaks my heart; for, could I hear the well-beloved Excellency call me a dog, or find some fault, would revive; and, indeed, only yesterday, it was in my hope that he was about to throw at me the cup of lemonade (which he relished not, finding it bitter), for his eyes showed much anger; but with grief, I say, it passed, and he only set the cup on one side. And that same evening; my limbs all trembled, for he called and said. Giuseppe! death is coming; tell my uncle to forgive everything, as I do.' And with a great sigh his young Excellency sank in a great swoon. Now, if some friend will come to his Excellency, it will be good. Not for weariness, for I am strong, and will nurse the Signore as a child; but for cheering by words in the English tongue. and to understand well whether he should live or die; and if he die, to say what shall be done.
Saville Heaton was to go, then alone. As to being accompanied by his wife, it was not to be thought of for a moment. Maggie raving and sobbing by a sick bed, where, of all things, quiet was most desirable; Maggie struggling to explain herself in broad Scotch among foreigners, to whom even English was barely comprehensible; Maggie travelling and living in foreign hotels, who had never stirred from Torrieburn;-it was simply an impossibility.
"And with much misery I recommend myself to all saints of mercy as also I commend to God and His goodness your most noble Excellency, and the young Excellency who is dying, and all the good family,
Luckily it never appeared to that wilful female in any other light. She shrieked and sobbed over Kenneth's state incessantly during the two or three hours of preparation that intervened between the receipt of the ill tidings and her husband's departure, but she never thought of pleading to go with him. She rocked herself to and fro in spasmodic sobbings, and left the packing and arranging of his scanty comforts to the yet more ignorant servant lassie. She repeatedly told him he would be killed and eaten "amang they outlandish men," and then, starting to her feet, urged him to begone, and reproached him for slowness, "while, maybe, Kenneth lay deeing.” When at length he attempted to bid her farewell "and start, she clung to him as if she had never intended him to leave her; and, as the dog-cart rapidly drove away, above the sound of its wheels came the sharp successive cries of her distress. Nor did her mood alter, until provoked by the efforts of the poor awkward servant to console and quiet her, and persuade her to leave greeting and step ben, like a dear leddie," she turned suddenly, and administered to her would-be sympathiser a most sound and
"I am, "Your most devoted and most humble, "GIUSEPPE.”
In a hand nearly illegible, but evidently scrawled by Kenneth, was added, "Tell my mother I think of her and Torrieburn."
Little had he written, poor Kenneth, to that mother, or his uncle, or any one else during his wanderings. “Au jour, le jour' was his motto, and the careless enjoyment of passing hours his sole object in life. Now life was trembling in the balance, and this moan from a foreign land came, like a sick child's cry at midnight, to startle them all.
Who should go to Kenneth? Sir Douglas could not. Dearly as he loved this Absalom, he had holier and closer ties that held him back. His young wife was ailing, was soon to be a mother;
vigorous box on the ear. The girl retreated "ben" into the house, and Maggie's renewed howling was only put a stop to, as usual, by sheer bodily exhaustion.
By the time her father, the miller-to whom her mother had gone to communicate the "awfu' tidins"- arrived at Torrieburn House, Maggie was quiet enough; and the three sat down in the parlour to a bowl of extremely stiff whisky toddy. The "auld wife" retained sufficient discretion to drag her daughter upstairs after a while, and put her to bed before she retired to her own; but the miller was still asleep on the horsehair sofa, with all his clothes on, when the morning shone with fullest light in at the windows of the room where Saville Heaton's books and better occupations lay scattered about, testifying alike to the contrast of his tastes with those who had surrounded him, and to the haste with which he had departed. No place, no corner of the wildest desert or the deepest wood is so silent as the room in which we have been accustomed daily to hear a familiar voice. When Maggie came down in the mid-day, there was more weeping. And, when later in the afternoon, Sir Douglas, in his pity, rode over to see her, and actually proposed that she should come up and dine at Glenrossie, she shook her head, saying, she would rather" stay amang her mon's bukes and think o' Kenneth; a piece of vague sentiment which found favour with the tender-hearted soldier; though, indeed, there mingled with Maggie's real sorrow a covert repugnance to be sorrowful in presence of Gertrude, whom she persisted in looking upon as a "fause-hearted jilt," and a "proud jade," and connecting her with Kenneth's long absence and heavy discontents, as show in his own angry letters and confessions.
shining hair, and the gay patterned tapestry border she was working.
As he looked, he sighed; and at the sound of that sigh she looked up, and then she softly rose, and coming towards him, tenderly kissed his saddened brow.
"Oh, my love; my dearest love; I wish," said Sir Douglas hesitatingly, " that I knew about Kenneth!"
"We shall have news of him soon," Gertrude answered, in her low quiet voice.
Some inexplicable link in that chain of memory, wherewith we are darkly bound," brought vividly back to old Sir Douglas a scene of the past. He saw his Gertrude, his young wife, in her actual form; but he saw also, beyond, and as it were through, that bright visible presence,
- his Gertrude yet younger; the fair girl of the Villa Mandorlo, the night he had yearned to ask her about Kenneth, and had refrained. Then, also, she had kissed him. It was her first caress; the caress not of passion, but of a tender and instinctive wish to comfort.
Sir Douglas's heart ached as he sat through the silent dinner, where all were thinking in their various ways of Kenneth; and ached next day when he sat in his wife's beautiful morning room, gazing abstractedly over his book at the light on her
And then and now the sense of anxiety - of love unutterable- and of being baffled in his wish for some clear certainty about his graceless nephew, blended into pain and oppressed him.
But, she was there, that lovely wife who loved him! He ought to be happy and contented, if ever man was. He could not vex her.
So, day by day, they waited Kenneth, in silence and hope.
SAVILLE HEATON CONQUERED.
NEWS came. First bad and depressing, then better; Kenneth more cheerful, greatly pleased at Saville Heaton coming out to him; Giuseppe invaluable, as gentle as a nurse, and as active and robust as he was gentle. Then a fluctuation of worse again. Kenneth had a relapse, and was in an alarming state of depression and weakness; messages were received from him, of penitence and remorse for wasted years and misapplied energies; which tender Sir Douglas wept over, exulted over, repeated with a quivering smile to his wife; and then went back to old memories, old plans, old hopes, that had begun when he thought he would get Kenneth the brother sent to Eton, and "made a man of;" and flowered
life) when little Kenneth the orphan was trusted to his benevolence.
Kenneth was to get well, to reform, to marry, to be once more beloved, and cordially welcomed. All was to come right.
And, as far as Kenneth's recovery was concerned, all did come right. Saville Heaton's simple straightforward letters gave a most graphic account of the increasing strength and irritability of the patient; and he dwelt with much sympathy on the naïve gladness with which Giuseppe accepted all instances of ill-temper and impatience as so many proofs of convalescence. He especially narrated how once, when Kenneth had passionately stamped and sworn at the young Italian for some slight delay in bringing a bath, Giuseppe was afterwards met by him in the street, with his eyes lifted in beaming prayer to a painted wooden Madonna in a blue gown covered with golden stars, fixed over the door of a corner house, and, being greeted by Mr. Heaton as he passed, joyously informed him he had been "rendering thanks to Mary and the Santo Bambino; and there had been some confusion in a for certainly now the young Excellency recommendation he apparently desired to was becoming quite himself again." And make to Sir Douglas, that he would enquite himself again Kenneth accordingly deavour that Kenneth should do his duty by his mother" (at least so the Vice-consul understood him); but at the last he was extremely clear and collected, and his final words, in answer to an expression of compassion which escaped that gentleman as to his being alone in such an hour, were "Not so alone as I appear. It is a great thing to die with perfect trust in God's mercy, and perfect trust in some surviving friend." After which brief utterance he sighed once or twice, shivered, sighed again, and lay still.
once more (after the disappointment of that | Heaton," the Vice-consul would have the goodness to see that his papers, and all things belonging to him, were properly taken care, of, and transmitted to the care of Sir Douglas Ross, in Scotland. The Vice-consul was happy to assure Sir Douglas that such also had been the sole instructions given him by the dying man; who had indeed expressed himself in a way that must give Sir Douglas much pleasure; saying that he was " the best friend he ever had, and the best man he ever knew.” That he had shown anxiety that some little valuables (ornaments of some sort) should be safely transmitted to his widow, with the message that during the very few opportunities he had had of being out in the open air during Kenneth's illness, he had endeavoured to find something that would please her, to wear for his sake. That he had sunk with such extreme rapidity at last (not being of a robust constitution), that he had been unable to write particulars, as he desired, to his wife and Sir Douglas; but that he had died most peacefully. There had been delirium, or course;
Something "had happened" to Mr. Saville Heaton, according to the possibility indicated in the letter from Granada - Death had happened.
After that desirable consummation, for a while the accounts became scanty and confused; and all that could be gathered was, that Saville Heaton was very unwell, then worse, then prostrated with low typhoid fever, then too weak to send personal accounts, and then, after a pause, a letcame from the English Vice-consul, stating that the Rev. Saville Heaton was DEAD; that he had been buried with great respect and attention, had been followed to the grave by three or four English residents at San Sebastian, and by the Vice-consul himself; who had been much impressed by his kindly and devoted care of the first invalid, Mr. Kenneth Ross (whom he had since understood to be his step-son), and much pleased with his gentlemanly and diffident manners. That news had been sent to Granada, whither young Mr. Kenneth Ross had betaken himself as soon as he was able to move, of the extreme danger of his step-father, in order that that young gentleman might consider whether it would not be advisable for him to return; but that he had merely sent a letter (after rather an anxious period of suspense on the part of those who had addressed him) expressing his regret at the news, and desiring that "if anything happened to Mr. Saville
When the news came to Torrieburn the results were pretty much what might have been expected. Great regret and respect were expressed by some members of his scanty flock; great weeping and wailing on the part of Maggie; great pity from Sir Douglas and his wife.
Lorimer was at Clochnaben when the accounts were sent over to him. He read them slowly, set his teeth hard, clenched his hand, and looked gloomily at his mother, who had been talking meanwhile in an under-tone to Alice, respecting the news. Mr. James Frere was present, and very silent.