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The Elect Lady by George MacDonald

Part 4 out of 4

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It was a terrible shock. Alexa cried out with indignation. Dawtie turned
white and then red, but uttered never a word.

"Dawtie," said her mistress, "tell me what you know about the cup. You
do know something that you have not told me!"

"I do, ma'am, but I will not tell it except I am forced."

"That you are going to be, my poor girl! I am very sorry, for I am
perfectly sure you have done nothing you know to be wrong!"

"I have done nothing you or anybody would think wrong, ma'am."

She put on her Sunday frock, and went down to go with the policeman. To
her joy she found her mistress at the door, ready to accompany her. They
had two miles or more to walk, but that was nothing to either.

Questioned by the magistrate, not unkindly, for her mistress was there,
Dawtie told everything--how first she came upon the likeness and history
of the cup, and then saw the cup itself in her master's hands.

Crawford told how the laird had warned him against Dawtie, giving him to
understand that she had been seized with a passion for the goblet such
that she would peril her soul to possess it, and that he dared not let
her know where it was.

"Sir," said Dawtie, "he could na hae distrusted me like that, for he gae
me his keys, and sent me to fetch the cup when he was ower ill to gang

"If that be true, your worship," said Crawford, "it does not affect the
fact that the cup was in the hands of the old man when I left him and
she went to him, and from that moment it has not been seen."

"Did he have it when you went to him?" asked the magistrate.

"I didna see't, sir. He was in a kind o' faint when I got up."

Crawford said that, hearing a cry, he ran up again, and found the old
man at the point of death, with just strength to cry out before he died,
that Dawtie had taken the cup from him. Dawtie was leaning over him, but
he had not imagined the accusation more than the delirious fancy of a
dying man, till it appeared that the cup was not to be found.

The magistrate made out Dawtie's commitment for trial. He remarked that
she might have been misled by a false notion of duty: he had been
informed that she belonged to a sect claiming the right to think for
themselves on the profoundest mysteries--and here was the result! There
was not a man in Scotland less capable of knowing what any woman was
thinking, or more incapable of doubting his own insight.

Doubtless, he went on, she had superstitiously regarded the cup as
exercising a Satanic influence on the mind of her master; but even if
she confessed it now, he must make an example of one whose fanaticism
would set wrong right after the notions of an illiterate sect, and not
according to the laws of the land. He just send the case to be tried by
a jury! If she convinced the twelve men composing that jury, of the
innocence she protested, she would then be a free woman.

Dawtie stood very white all the time he was speaking, and her lips every
now and then quivered as if she were going to cry, but she did not.
Alexa offered bail, but his worship would not accept it: his righteous
soul was too indignant. She went to Dawtie and kissed her, and together
they followed the policeman to the door, where Dawtie was to get into a
spring-cart with him, and be driven to the county town, there to lie
waiting the assizes.

The bad news had spread so fast that as they came out, up came Andrew.
At sight of him Dawtie gently laughed, like a pleased child. The
policeman, who, like many present, had been prejudiced by her looks in
her favor, dropped behind, and she walked between her mistress and
Andrew to the cart.

"Dawtie!" said Andrew.

"Oh, Andrew! has God forgotten me?" she returned, stopping short.

"For God to forget," answered Andrew, "would be not to be God any

"But here I am on my road til a prison, Andrew! I didna think He would
hae latten them do't!"

"A bairn micht jist as weel say, whan its nurse lays't intil its cradle,
and says: 'Noo, lie still!' 'Mammy, I didna think ye would hae latten
her do't!' He's a' aboot ye and in ye, Dawtie, and this is come to ye
jist to lat ye ken 'at He is. He raised ye up jist to spen' His glory
upo'! I say, Dawtie, did Jesus Christ deserve what He got?"

"No ae bit, Andrew! What for should ye speir sic a thing?"

"Then do ye think God hae forgotten Him?"

"May be He thoucht it jist for a minute!"

"Well, ye hae thoucht jist for a minute, and ye maun think it nae mair."

"But God couldna forget _Him_, An'rew: He got it a' for doin' His will!"

"Evil may come upon as from other causes than doing the will of God; but
from whatever cause it comes, the thing we have to see to is, that
through it all we do the will of God!"

"What's His will noo, An'rew?"

"That ye tak it quaietly. Shall not the Father do wi' His ain child what
He will! Can He no shift it frae the tae airm to the tither, but the
bairn maun girn? He has ye, Dawtie! It's a' richt!"

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!" said Dawtie.

She raised her head. The color had come back to her face; her lips had
ceased to tremble; she stepped on steadily to where, a few yards from
the door, the spring-cart was waiting her. She bade her mistress
good-bye, then turned to Andrew and said:

"Good-bye, An'rew! I am not afraid."

"I am going with you, Dawtie," said Andrew.

"No, sir, you can't do that!" said the policeman; "at least you can't go
in the trap!"

"No, no, Andrew!" cried Dawtie. "I would rather go alone. I am quite
happy now. God will do with me as He pleases!"

"I am going with you," said Alexa, "if the policeman will let me."

"Oh, yes, ma'am! A lady's different!--I've got to account for the
prisoner you see, sir!"

"I don't think you should, ma'am," said Dawtie. "It's a long way!"

"I am going," returned her mistress, decisively.

"God bless you, ma'am!" said Andrew.

Alexa had heard what he said to Dawtie. A new light had broken upon her.
"God is like that, is He?" she said to herself. "You can go close up to
Him whenever you like?"



It would be three weeks before the assizes came. The house of Potlurg
was searched by the police from garret to cellar, but in vain; the cup
was not found.

As soon as they gave up searching, Alexa had the old door of the laird's
closet, discernible enough on the inside, reopened, and the room
cleaned. Almost unfurnished as it was, she made of it her
sitting-parlor. But often her work or her book would lie on her lap, and
she would find herself praying for the dear father for whom she could do
nothing else now, but for whom she might have done so much, had she been
like Dawtie. Her servant had cared for her father more than she!

As she sat there one morning alone, brooding a little, thinking a
little, reading a little, and praying through it all, Meg appeared, and
said Maister Andrew wanted to see her.

He had called more than once to inquire after Dawtie, but had not before
asked to see her mistress.

Alexa felt herself unaccountably agitated. When he walked into the room,
however, she was able to receive him quietly. He came, he said, to ask
when she had seen Dawtie. He would have gone himself to see her, but his
father was ailing, and he had double work to do. Besides, she did not
seem willing to see him! Alexa told him she had been with her the day
before, and had found her a little pale, and, she feared, rather
troubled in her mind. She said she would trust God to the last, but
confessed herself assailed by doubts.

"I said to her," continued Alexa, "'Be sure, Dawtie, God will make your
innocence known one day!' She answered: 'Of course, ma'am, there is
nothing hidden that shall not be known; but I am not impatient about
that. The Jews to this day think Jesus an impostor!' 'But surely,' said
I, 'you care that people should understand you are no thief, Dawtie!'
'Yes, I do,' she answered; 'all I say is, that is does not trouble me. I
want only to be downright sure that God is looking after me all the
time. I am willing to sit in prison till I die, if He pleases.' 'God
can't please that!' I said. 'If He does not care to take me out, I do
not care to go out,' said Dawtie. 'It's not that I'm good; it's only
that I don't care for anything He doesn't care for. What would it be
that all men acquitted me, if God did not trouble Himself about His

"You see, ma'am, it comes to this," said Andrew: "it is God Dawtie cares
about, not herself! If God is all right, Dawtie is all right. The _if_
sometimes takes one shape, sometimes another, but the fear is the
same--and the very fear is faith. Sometimes the fear is that there may
be no God, and that you might call a fear for herself; but when Dawtie
fears lest God should not be caring for her, that is a fear for God; for
if God did not care for His creature, He would be no true God!"

"Then He could not exist!"

"True; and so you are back on the other fear!"

"What would you have said to her, Mr. Ingram?"

"I would have reminded her that Jesus was perfectly content with His
Father; that He knew what was coming on Himself, and never doubted
Him--just gloried that His Father was what He knew Him to be."

"I see! But what did you mean when you said that Dawtie's very fear was

"Think, ma'am: people that only care to be saved, that is, not to be
punished for their sins, are anxious only about themselves, not about
God and His glory at all. They talk about the glory of God, but they
make it consist in pure selfishness! According to them, He seeks
everything for Himself; which is dead against the truth of God, a
diabolic slander of God. It does not trouble them to believe such things
about God; they do not even desire that God should not be like that;
they only want to escape Him. They dare not say God will not do this or
that, however clear it be that it would not be fair; they are in terror
of contradicting the Bible. They make more of the Bible than of God, and
so fail to find the truth of the Bible, and accept things concerning God
which are not in the Bible, and are the greatest of insults to Him!
Dawtie never thinks about saving her soul; she has no fear about her
soul; she is only anxious about God and His glory. How the doubts come,
God knows; but if she did not love God, they would not be there. Jesus
says God will speedily avenge His elect--those that cry day and night to
Him--which I take to mean that He will soon save them from all such
miseries. Free Dawtie from unsureness about God, and she has no fear
left. All is well, in the prison or on the throne of God, if He only be
what she thinks He is. If any one say that doubt can not coexist with
faith, I answer, it can with love, and love is the greater of the two,
yea, is the very heart of faith itself. God's children are not yet God's
men and women. The God that many people believe in, claiming to be _the_
religious because they believe in Him, is a God not worth believing in,
a God that ought not to be believed in. The life given by such a God
would be a life not worth living, even if He made His votaries as happy
as they would choose to be. A God like that could not make a woman like
Dawtie anxious about Him! If God be not each as Jesus, what good would
the proving of her innocence be to Dawtie! A mighty thing indeed that
the world should confess she was not a thief! But to know that there is
a perfect God, one for us to love with all the power of love of which we
feel we are capable, is worth going out of existence for; while to know
that God himself, must make every throb of consciousness a divine

Andrew's heart was full, and out of its fullness he spoke. Never before
had he been able in the presence of Alexa to speak as he felt. Never
before had he had any impulse to speak as now. As soon would he have
gone to sow seed on a bare rock, as words of spirit and life in her

"I am beginning to understand you," she said. "Will you forgive me? I
have been very self-confident and conceited! What a mercy things are not
as I thought they were--thought they ought to be!"

"And the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the
sea!" said Andrew. "And men's hearts shall be full of bliss, because
they have found their Father, and He is what He is, and they are going
home to Him."

He rose.

"You will come and see me again soon--will you not?" she said.

"As often as you please, ma'am; I am your servant."

"Then come to-morrow."

He went on the morrow, and the next day, and the day after--almost every
day while Dawtie was waiting her trial.

Almost every morning Alexa went by train to see Dawtie; and the news she
brought, Andrew would carry to the girl's parents. Dawtie continued
unwilling to see Andrew: he had had trouble enough with her already, she
said; but Andrew could not quite understand her refusal.



Two days before the assizes, Andrew was with Alexa in her parlor. It was
a cool autumn evening, and she proposed they should go on the heath,
which came close up to the back of the house.

When they reached the top of the hill, a cold wind was blowing, and
Andrew, full of care for old and young, man and woman, made Alexa draw
her shawl closer about her throat, where, with his rough, plow-man
hands, he pinned it for her. She saw, felt, and noted his hands; a
pitying admiration, of which only the pity was foolish, woke in her; and
ere she knew, she was looking up in his face with such a light in her
eyes that Andrew found himself embarrassed, and let his fall. Moved by
that sense of class-superiority which has no place in the kingdom of
heaven, she attributed his modesty to self-depreciation, and the
conviction rose in her, which has often risen in such as she, that there
is a magnanimity demanding the sacrifice, not merely of conventional
dignity, but of conventional propriety. She felt that a great lady, to
be more than great, must stoop; that it was her part to make the
approach which, between equals, was the part of the man; the patroness
_must_ do what the woman might not. This man was worthy of any woman;
and he should not, because of the humility that dared not presume, fail
of what he deserved!

"Andrew," she said, "I am going to do an unusual thing, but you are not
like other men, and will not misunderstand! I know you now--know you as
far above other men as the clouds are above this heath!"

"Oh, no, no, ma'am!" protested Andrew.

"Hear me out, Andrew," she interrupted--then paused a little.

"Tell me," she resumed, "ought we not to love best the best we know?"

"Surely, ma'am!" he answered, uncomfortable, but not anticipating what
was on the way.

"Andrew, you are the best I know! I have said it! I do not care what the
world thinks; you are more to me than all the worlds! If you will take
me, I am yours."

She looked him in the face with the feeling that she had done a brave
and a right thing.

Andrew stood stock-still.

"_Me_, ma'am!" he gasped, and grew pale--then red as a foggy sun. But he
made scarcely a moment's pause.

"It's a God-like thing you have done, ma'am!" he said. "But I can not
make the return it deserves. From the heart of my heart I thank you. I
can say no more."

His voice trembled. She heard a stifled sob. He had turned away to
conceal his emotion.

And now came greatness indeed to the front. Instead of drawing herself
up with the bitter pride of a woman whose best is scorned, Alexa behaved
divinely. She went close to Andrew, laid her hand on his arm, and said:

"Forgive me, Andrew. I made a mistake. I had no right to make it. Do not
be grieved, I beg; you are nowise to blame. Let us continue friends!"

"Thank you, ma'am!" said Andrew, in a tone of deepest gratitude; and
neither said a word more. They walked side by side back to the house.

Said Alexa to herself:

"I have at least been refused by a man worthy of the honor I did him! I
made no mistake in _him_!"

When they reached the door, she stopped. Andrew took off his hat, and
said, holding it in his hand as he spoke:

"Good-night, ma'am! You _will_ send for me if you want me?"

"I will. Good-night!" said Alexa, and went in with a strange weight on
her heart.

Shut in her room, she wept sorely, but not bitterly; and the next day
old Meg, at least, saw no change in her.

Said Andrew to himself:

"I will be her servant always."

He was humbled, not uplifted.



The next evening, that before the trial, Andrew presented himself at the
prison, and was admitted. Dawtie came to meet him, held out her hand,
and said:

"Thank you, Andrew!"

"How are you, Dawtie?"

"Well enough, Andrew!"

"God is with us, Dawtie."

"Are you sure, Andrew?"

"Dawtie, I can not see God's eyes looking at me, but I am ready to do
what He wants me to do, and so I feel He is with me."

"Oh, Andrew, I wish I could be sure!"

"Let us take the risk together, Dawtie!"

"What risk, Andrew?"

"The risk that makes you not sure, Dawtie--the risk that is at once the
worst and the least--the risk that our hope should be in vain, and there
is no God. But, Dawtie, there is that in my heart that cries Christ
_did_ die, and _did_ rise again, and God is doing His best. His perfect
love is our perfect safety. It is hard upon Him that His own children
will not trust Him!"

"If He would but show Himself!"

"The sight of Him now would make us believe in Him without knowing Him;
and what kind of faith would that be for Him or for us! We should be bad
children, taking Him for a weak parent! We must _know_ Him! When we do,
there will be no fear, no doubt. We shall run straight home! Dawtie,
shall we go together?"

"Yes, surely, Andrew! God knows I try. I'm ready to do whatever you tell
me, Andrew!"

"No, Dawtie! You must never do what I tell you, except you think it

"Yes, I know that. But I am sure I should think it right!"

"We've been of one mind for a long time now, Dawtie!"

"Sin' lang afore I had ony min' o' my ain!" responded Dawtie, turning to
her vernacular.

"Then let us be of one heart too, Dawtie!"

She was so accustomed to hear Andrew speak in figures, that sometimes
she looked through and beyond his words.

She did so now, and seeing nothing, stood perplexed.

"Winna ye, Dawtie?" said Andrew, holding out his hands.

"I dinna freely un'erstan' ye, An'rew."

"Ye h'avenly idiot," cried Andrew. "Wull ye be my wife, or wull ye no?"

Dawtie threw her shapely arms above her head--straight up, her head fell
back, and she seemed to gaze into the unseen. Then she gave a gasp, her
arms dropped to her sides, and she would have fallen had not Andrew
taken her.

"Andrew! Andrew!" she sighed, and was still in his arms.

"Winna ye, Dawtie?" he whispered.

"Wait," she murmured; "wait."

"I winna wait, Dawtie."

"Wait till ye hear what they'll say the morn."

"Dawtie, I'm ashamed o' ye. What care I, an' what daur ye care what they
say. Are ye no the Lord's clean yowie? Gien ye care for what ony man
thinks o' ye but the Lord himsel', ye're no a' His. Gien ye care for
what I think o' ye, ither-like nor what He thinks, ye're no sae His as I
maun hae ye afore we pairt company--which, please God, 'ill be on the
ither side o' eternity."

"But, An'rew, it winna do to say o' yer father's son 'at he took his
wife frae the jail."

"'Deed they s' say naething ither! What ither cam I for? Would ye hae me
ashamed o' ane o' God's elec'--a lady o' the Lord's ain coort?"

"Eh, but I'm feart it's a' the compassion o' yer hert, sir. Ye wad fain
mak' up to me for the disgrace. Ye could weel do wantin' me."

"I winna say," returned Andrew, "that I couldna live wantin' ye, for
that wad be to say I wasna worth offerin' ye, and it would be to deny
Him 'at made you and me for ane anither, but I wad have a some sair
time! I'll jist speak to the minister to be ready the minute the Lord
opens yer prison-door."

The same moment in came the governor with his wife; they were much
interested in Dawtie.

"Sir, and ma'am," said Andrew, "will you please witness that this woman
is my wife?"

"It's Maister Andrew Ingram o' the Knowe," said Dawtie. "He wants me to
merry him."

"I want her to go before the court as my wife," said Andrew. "She would
have me wait till the jury said this or that. The jury give me my wife.
As if I didn't know her."

"You won't have him, I see," said Mrs. Innes, turning to Dawtie.

"Hae him!" cried Dawtie, "I wad hae him gien there war but the heid o'

"Then you are husband and wife," said the governor; "only you should
have the thing done properly by the minister--afterward."

"I'll see to that, sir," answered Andrew.

"Come, wife," said the governor, "we must let them have a few minutes
alone together."

"There," said Andrew, when the door closed, "ye're my wife, noo, Dawtie.
Lat them acquit ye or condemn ye, it's you an' me, noo, whatever come!"

Dawtie broke into a flood of tears--an experience all but new to
her--and found it did her good. She smiled as she wiped her eyes, and

"Weel, An'rew, gien the Lord hasna appeart in His ain likeness to
deliver me, He's done the next best thing."

"Dawtie," answered Andrew, "the Lord never does the next best. The thing
He does is always better than the thing He does not."

"Lat me think, an' I'll try to un'erstan'," said Dawtie, but Andrew went

"The best thing, whan a body's no ready for 't, would be the warst to
gie him--or ony gait no the thing for the Father o' lichts to gie.
Shortbreid micht be waur for a half hungert bairn nor a stane. But the
minute it's fit we should look upo' the face o' the Son o' Man, oor ain
God-born brither, we'll see him, Dawtie; we'll see him. Hert canna think
what it'll be like. And noo, Dawtie, wull ye tell me what for ye wouldna
lat me come and see ye afore?"

"I wull, An'rew; I was nae suner left to mysel' i' the prison than I
faun' mysel' thinkin' aboot _you_--you first, and no the Lord. I said to
mysel', 'This is awfu'. I'm leanin' upo' An'rew, and no upo' the First
and the Last.' I saw that that was to brak awa' frae Him that was
nearest me, and trust ane that was farther awa'--which wasna i' the holy
rizzon o' things. Sae I said to mysel' I would meet my fate wi' the Lord
alane, and wouldna hae you come 'atween Him and me. Noo ye hae 't,

Andrew took her in his arms and said:

"Thank ye, Dawtie. Eh, but I _am_ content And she thought she hadna
faith. Good-night, Dawtie. Ye maun gane to yer bed, an' grow stoot in
hert for the morn."



Through the governor of the jail Andrew obtained permission to stand
near the prisoner at the trial. The counsel for the prosecution did all
he could, and the counsel for the defense not much--at least Dawtie's
friends thought so--and the judge summed up with the greatest
impartiality. Dawtie's simplicity and calmness, her confidence devoid of
self-assertion, had its influence on the jury, and they gave the
uncomfortable verdict of "_Not Proven_," so that Dawtie was discharged.

Alexa had a carriage ready to take her home. As Dawtie went to it she
whispered to her husband:

"Ye hae to tak me wantin' a character, Andrew."

"Jesus went home without a character, and was well received," said
Andrew, with a smile. "You'll be over to-night to see the old folk?"

"Yes, Andrew; I'm sure the mistress will let me."

"Don't say a word to her of our marriage, except she has heard, and
mentions it. I want to tell her myself. You will find me at the croft
when you come, and I will go back with you."

In the evening Dawtie came, and brought the message that her mistress
would like to see him.

When he entered the room Alexa rose to meet him. He stopped short.

"I thank you, ma'am," he said, "for your great kindness to Dawtie. We
were married in the prison. She is my wife now."

"Married! Your wife?" echoed Alexa, flushing, and drawing back a step.

"I had loved her long, ma'am; and when trouble came her the time came
for me to stand by her side."

"You had not spoken to her then--till--"

"Not till last night. I said before the governor of the prison and Mrs.
Innes that we were husband and wife. If you please, ma'am, we shall have
the proper ceremony as soon as possible."

"I wish I had known," said Alexa--almost to herself, with a troubled

"I wish you had, ma'am," responded Andrew. She raised her face with a
look of confidence.

"Will you please to forget, Andrew?"

Nobility had carried the day. She had not one mean thought either of him
or the girl.

"To forget is not in man's power, ma'am; but I shall never think a
thought you would wish unthought."

She held out her hand to him. They were friends forever.

"Will you be married here, Andrew? The house is at your service," she

"Don't you think it ought to be at her father's, ma'am?"

"You are right," said Alexa; and she sat down.

Andrew stood in silence, for he saw she was meditating something. At
length she raised her head, and spoke.

"You have been compelled to take the step sooner than you intended--have
you not?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Then you can hardly be so well prepared as you would like to be!"

"We shall manage."

"It will hardly be convenient for your mother, I fear! You have nowhere
else to take her--have you?"

"No, ma'am; but my mother loves us both. And," he added, simply, "where
there's room for me, there's room for her now!"

"Would you mind if I asked you how your parents take it?"

"They don't say much. You see, ma'am, we are all proud until we learn
that we have one Master, and we all are brethren. But they will soon get
over it"

When I see a man lifting up those that are beneath him, not pulling down
those that are above him, I will believe in his communism. Those who
most resent being looked down upon, are in general the readiest to look
down upon others. It is not principle, it is not truth, it is themselves
they regard. Of all false divinities, Self is the most illogical.

"If God had been the mighty monarch they represent Him," continued
Andrew, "He would never have let us come near Him!"

"Did you hear Mr. Rackstraw's sermon on the condescension of God?" asked

"The condescension of God, ma'am! There is no such thing. God never
condescended, with one Jove-like nod, all his mighty, eternal life! God
condescend to His children--their spirits born of His spirit, their
hearts the children of His heart! No, ma'am! there never was a falser,
uglier word in any lying sermon!"

His eyes flashed and his face shone. Alexa thought she had never seen
him look so grand.

"I see!" she answered. "I will never use the word about God again!"

"Thank you, ma'am."

"Why should you thank me?"

"I beg your pardon; I had no right to thank you. But I am so tried with
the wicked things said about God by people who think they are speaking
to His pleasure and not in his despite, that I am apt to talk foolishly.
I don't wonder at God's patience with the wicked, but I do wonder at His
patience with the pious!"

"They don't know better!"

"How are they to know better while they are so sure about everything! I
would infinitely rather believe in no God at all, than in such a God as
they would have me believe in!"

"Oh, but Andrew, I had not a glimmer of what you meant--of what you
really objected to, or what you loved! Now, I can not even recall what
it was I did not like in your teaching. I think it was that, instead of
listening to know what you meant, I was always thinking how to oppose
you, or trying to find out by what name you were to be called. One time
I thought you were an Arminian, another time a Socinian, then a
Swedenborgian, then an Arian! I read a history of the sects of the
middle ages, just to see where I could set you down. I told people you
did not believe this, and did not believe that, when I knew neither what
you believed, nor what you did not believe. I thought I did, but it was
all mistake and imagination. When you would not discuss things with me,
I thought you were afraid of losing the argument. Now I see that,
instead of disputing about opinions, I should have been saying: 'God be
merciful to me a sinner!'"

"God be praised!" said Andrew. "Ma'am, you are a free woman! The Father
has called you, and you have said: 'Here I am.'"

"I hope so, Andrew, thanks to God by you! But I am forgetting what I
wanted to say! Would it not be better--after you are married, I mean--to
let Dawtie stay with me awhile?--I will promise you not to work her too
hard," she added, with a little laugh.

"I see, ma'am! It is just like you! You want people to know that you
believe in her!"

"Yes; but I want also to do what I can to keep such good tenants.
Therefore I must add a room or two to your house, that there may be good
accommodation for you all."

"You make thanks impossible, ma'am! I will speak to Dawtie about it. I
know she will be glad not to leave you! I will take care not to trouble
the house."

"You shall do just as Dawtie and you please. Where Dawtie is, there will
be room for you!"

Already Alexa's pain had grown quite bearable.

Dawtie needed no persuading. She was so rich in the possession of Andrew
that she could go a hundred years without seeing him, she said. It was
only that he would come and see her, instead of her going to see him!

In ten days they were married at her father's cottage. Her father and
mother then accompanied her and Andrew to the Knowe, to dine with
Andrew's father and mother. In the evening the new pair went out for a
walk in the old fields.

"It _seems_, Dawtie, as if God was here!" said Andrew.

"I would fain see him, Andrew! I would rather _you_ went out than God!"

"Suppose he was nowhere, Dawtie?"

"If God werena in _you_, ye wadna be what ye are to yer ignorant Dawtie,
Andrew! She needs her Father in h'aven sairer nor her Andrew! But I'm
sayin' things sae true 'at it's jist silly to say them! Eh, it's like
h'aven itsel' to be oot o' that prison, an' walkin' aboot wi' you! God
has gien me a' thing!--jist _a' thing_, Andrew!"

"God was wi' ye i' the prison, Dawtie!"

"Ay! But I like better to be wi' Him here!"

"An' ye may be sure He likes better to ha'e ye here!" rejoined Andrew.



The next day Alexa set Dawtie to search the house yet again for the
missing goblet.

"It must be somewhere!" she said. "We are beset with an absolute
contradiction: the thing can't be in the house! and it must be in the

"If we do find it," returned Dawtie, "folk'll say them 'at could hide
could weel seek! I s' luik naegait wantin' you, mem!"

The study was bare of books, and the empty shelves gave no hint of
concealment They stood in its dreariness looking vaguely round them.

"Did it ever come to ye, mem," said Dawtie, "that a minute or twa passed
between Mr. Crawford comin' doon the stair wi' you, and me gaein' up to
the maister? When I gaed intil the room, he lay pantin' i' the bed; but
as I broodit upo' ilka thing alane i' the prison, he cam afore me, there
i' the bed, as gien he had gotten oot o' 't, and hidden awa' the cup,
and was jist gotten intil't again, the same moment I cam in."

"Dying people will do strange things!" rejoined her mistress. "But it
brings us no nearer the cup!"

"The surer we are, the better we'll seek!" said Dawtie.

They began, and went over the room thoroughly--looking everywhere they
could think of. They had all but given it up to go on elsewhere, when
Dawtie, standing again in the middle and looking about in a sort of
unconscious hopelessness, found her eyes on the mantel-shelf, and went
and laid her hand upon it. It was of wood, and she fancied it a little
loose, but she could not move it.

"When Andrew comes we'll get him to examine it!" said Alexa.

He came in the evening, and Alexa told him what they had been doing. She
begged him to get tools, and see whether there was not a space under the
mantel-shelf. But Andrew, accustomed to ponder contrivances with Sandy,
would have a good look at it first He came presently upon a clever
little spring, pressing which he could lift the shelf: there under it,
sure enough, in rich response to the candle he held, flashed the gems of
the curiously wrought chalice of gold! Alexa gave a cry, Andrew drew a
deep breath, Dawtie laughed like a child. How they gazed on it, passed
it from one to the other, pored over the gems, and over the raised work
that inclosed them, I need not tell. They began to talk about what was
to be done with it.

"We will send it to the earl!" said Alexa.

"No," said Andrew; "that would be to make ourselves judges in the case!
Your father must have paid money for it; he gave it to Mr. Crawford, and
Mr. Crawford must not be robbed!"

"Stop, Andrew!" said Alexa. "Everything in the next room was left to my
cousin, with the library in this; whatever else was left him was
individually described. The cup was not in the next room, and was not
mentioned. Providence has left us to do with it as we may judge right. I
think it ought to be taken to Borland Hall--and by Dawtie."

"Well! She will mention that your father bought it?"

"I will not take a shilling for it!"

"Is not that because you are not quite sure you have the right to
dispose of it?"

"I would not take the price of it if my father had left the cup
expressly to me!"

"Had he done so, you would have a right to what he paid for it. To give
the earl the choice of securing it, would be a service rendered him. If
he were too poor to buy it, the thing would have to be considered."

"Nothing could make me touch money for it. George would never doubt we
had concealed it in order to trick him out of it!"

"He will think so all the same. It will satisfy him, and not a few
beside, that Dawtie ought to have been convicted. The thing is certainly
Mr. Crawford's--that is, his as not yours. Your father undoubtedly meant
him to have the cup; and God would not have you, even to serve the
right, take advantage of an accident. Whatever ought to be done with the
cup, Mr. Crawford ought to do it; it is his business to do right in
regard to it; and whatever advantage may be gained by doing right, Mr.
Crawford ought to have the chance of gaining it. Would you deprive him
of the opportunity, to which at least he has a right, of doing justice,
and delivering his soul?"

"You would have us tell the earl that his cup is found, but Mr. Crawford
claims it?" said Alexa.

"Andrew would have us take it to Mr. Crawford," said Dawtie, "and tell
him that the earl has a claim to it."

"Tell him also," said Andrew, "where it was found, showing he has no
_legal_ right to it; and tell him he has no more moral right to it than
the laird could give him. Tell him, ma'am," continued Andrew, "that you
expect him to take it to the earl, that he may buy it if he will; and
say that if, after a fortnight, you find it is not in the earl's
possession, you will yourself ascertain from him whether the offer has
been made him."

"That is just right," said Alexa.

And so the thing was done. The cup is now in the earl's collection, and
without any further interference on her part.

A few days after she and Dawtie carried the cup to Crawford, a parcel
arrived at Potlurg, containing a beautiful silver case, and inside the
case the jeweled watch--with a letter from George, begging Alexa to
accept his present, and assuring her of his conviction that the moment
he annoyed her with any further petition, she would return it. He
expressed his regret that he had brought such suffering upon Dawtie, and
said he was ready to make whatever amends her husband might think fit.

Alexa accepted the watch, and wore it. She thought her father would like
her to do so.



The friendship of the three was never broken. I will not say that, as
she lay awake in the dark, the eyes of Alexa never renewed the tears of
that autumn night on which she turned her back upon the pride of self,
but her tears were never those of bitterness, of self-scorn, or of

"If I am to be pitied," she would say to herself, "let the Lord pity me!
I am not ashamed, and will not be sorry. I have nothing to resent; no
one has wronged me."

Andrew died in middle age. His wife said the Master wanted him for
something nobody else could do, or He would not have taken him from her.
She wept and took comfort, for she lived in expectation.

One night when she and Alexa were sitting together at Potlurg, about a
month after his burial, speaking of many things with the freedom of a
long and tried love, Alexa said, after a pause of some duration:

"Were you not very angry with me then, Dawtie?"

"When, ma'am?"

"When Andrew told you."

"Told me what, ma'am? I must be stupid to-night, for I can't think what
you mean."

"When he told you I wanted him, not knowing he was yours."

"I ken naething o' what ye're mintin' at, mem," persisted Dawtie, in a
tone of bewilderment.

"Oh! I thought you had no secrets from one another."

"I don't know that we ever had--except things in his books that he said
were God's secrets, which I should understand some day, for God was
telling them as fast as He could get his children to understand them."

"I see," sighed Alexa; "you were made for each other. But this is my
secret, and I have the right to tell it. He kept it for me to tell you.
I thought all the time you knew it"

"I don't want to know anything Andrew would not tell me."

"He thought it was my secret, you see, not his, and that was why he did
not tell you."

"Of coarse, ma'am. Andrew always did what was right."

"Well, then, Dawtie--I offered to be his wife if he would have me."

"And what did he say?" asked Dawtie, with the composure of one listening
to a story learned from a book.

"He told me he couldn't. But I'm not sure what he _said_. The words went

"When was it he asked you?" said Dawtie, sunk in thought.

"The night but one before the trial," answered Alexa.

"He micht hae ta'en you, then, i'stead o' me--a lady an' a'. Oh, mem! do
you think he took me 'cause I was in trouble? He micht hae been laird

"Dawtie! Dawtie!" cried Alexa. "If you think that would have weighed
with Andrew, I ought to have been his wife, for I know him better than

Dawtie smiled at that.

"But I do know, mem," she said, "that Andrew was fit to cast the
lairdship frae him to comfort ony puir lassie. I would ha' lo'ed him a'
the same."

"As I have done, Dawtie," said Alexa, solemnly. "But he wouldn't have
thrown _me_ away for you, if he hadn't loved you, Dawtie. Be sure of
that. He might have made nothing of the lairdship, but he wouldn't have
made nothing of me."

"That's true, mem. I dinna doobt it."

"I love him still--and you mustn't mind me saying it, Dawtie. There are
ways of loving that are good, though there be some pain in them. Thank
God, we have our children to look after. You will let me say _our_
children, won't you, Dawtie?"

Some thought Alexa hard, some thought her cold, but the few that knew
her knew she was neither; and some of my readers will grant that such a
friend as Andrew was better than such a husband as George.


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