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Donal Grant by George MacDonald

Part 6 out of 11

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In the morning Donal learned from Simmons that his master was very
ill--could not raise his head.

"The way he do moan and cry!" said Simmons. "You would think sure he
was either out of his mind, or had something heavy upon it! All the
years I known him, he been like that every now an' then, and back to
his old self again, little the worse! Only the fits do come

Towards the close of school, as Donal was beginning to give his
lesson in religion, lady Arctura entered, and sat down beside Davie.

"What would you think of me, Davie," Donal was saying, "if I were
angry with you because you did not know something I had never taught

Davie only laughed. It was to him a grotesque, an impossible

"If," Donal resumed, "I were to show you a proposition of Euclid
which you had never seen before, and say to you, 'Now, Davie, this
is one of the most beautiful of all Euclid's propositions, and you
must immediately admire it, and admire Euclid for constructing
it!'--what would you say?"

Davie thought, and looked puzzled.

"But you wouldn't do it, sir!" he said. "--I know you wouldn't do
it!" he added, after a moment.

"Why should I not?"

"It isn't your way, sir."

"But suppose I were to take that way?"

"You would not then be like yourself, sir!"

"Tell me how I should be unlike myself. Think."

"You would not be reasonable."

"What would you say to me?"

"I should say, 'Please, sir, let me learn the proposition first, and
then I shall be able to admire it. I don't know it yet!'"

"Very good!--Now again, suppose, when you tried to learn it, you
were not able to do so, and therefore could see no beauty in
it--should I blame you?"

"No, sir; I am sure you would not--because I should not be to blame,
and it would not be fair; and you never do what is not fair!"

"I am glad you think so: I try to be fair.--That looks as if you
believed in me, Davie!"

"Of course I do, sir!"


"Just because you are fair."

"Suppose, Davie, I said to you, 'Here is a very beautiful thing I
should like you to learn,' and you, after you had partly learned it,
were to say 'I don't see anything beautiful in this: I am afraid I
never shall!'--would that be to believe in me?"

"No, surely, sir! for you know best what I am able for."

"Suppose you said, 'I daresay it is all as good as you say, but I
don't care to take so much trouble about it,'--what would that be?"

"Not to believe in you, sir. You would not want me to learn a thing
that was not worth my trouble, or a thing I should not be glad of
knowing when I did know it."

"Suppose you said, 'Sir, I don't doubt what you say, but I am so
tired, I don't mean to do anything more you tell me,'--would you
then be believing in me?"

"No. That might be to believe your word, but it would not be to
trust you. It would be to think my thinks better than your thinks,
and that would be no faith at all."

Davie had at times an oddly childish way of putting things.

"Suppose you were to say nothing, but go away and do nothing of what
I told you--what would that be?"

"Worse and worse; it would be sneaking."

"One question more: what is faith--the big faith I mean--not the
little faith between equals--the big faith we put in one above us?"

"It is to go at once and do the thing he tells us to do."

"If we don't, then we haven't faith in him?"

"No; certainly not."

"But might not that be his fault?"

"Yes--if he was not good--and so I could not trust him. If he said I
was to do one kind of thing, and he did another kind of thing
himself, then of course I could not have faith in him."

"And yet you might feel you must do what he told you!"


"Would that be faith in him?"


"Would you always do what he told you?"

"Not if he told me to do what it would be wrong to do."

"Now tell me, Davie, what is the biggest faith of all--the faith to
put in the one only altogether good person."

"You mean God, Mr. Grant?"

"Whom else could I mean?"

"You might mean Jesus."

"They are one; they mean always the same thing, do always the same
thing, always agree. There is only one thing they don't do the same
in--they do not love the same person."

"What do you mean, Mr. Grant?" interrupted Arctura.

She had been listening intently: was the cloven foot of Mr. Grant's
heresy now at last about to appear plainly?

"I mean this," answered Donal, with a smile that seemed to Arctura
such a light as she had never seen on human face, "--that God loves
Jesus, not God; and Jesus loves God, not Jesus. We love one another,
not ourselves--don't we, Davie?"

"You do, Mr. Grant," answered Davie modestly.

"Now tell me, Davie, what is the great big faith of all--that which
we have to put in the Father of us, who is as good not only as
thought can think, but as good as heart can wish--infinitely better
than anybody but Jesus Christ can think--what is the faith to put in

"Oh, it is everything!" answered Davie.

"But what first?" asked Donal.

"First, it is to do what he tells us."

"Yes, Davie: it is to learn his problems by going and doing his
will; not trying to understand things first, but trying first to do
things. We must spread out our arms to him as a child does to his
mother when he wants her to take him; then when he sets us down,
saying, 'Go and do this or that,' we must make all the haste in us
to go and do it. And when we get hungry to see him, we must look at
his picture."

"Where is that, sir?"

"Ah, Davie, Davie! don't you know that yet? Don't you know that,
besides being himself, and just because he is himself, Jesus is the
living picture of God?"

"I know, sir! We have to go and read about him in the book."

"May I ask you a question, Mr. Grant?" said Arctura.

"With perfect freedom," answered Donal. "I only hope I may be able
to answer it."

"When we read about Jesus, we have to draw for ourselves his
likeness from words, and you know what kind of a likeness the best
artist would make that way, who had never seen with his own eyes the
person whose portrait he had to paint!"

"I understand you quite," returned Donal. "Some go to other men to
draw it for them; and some go to others to hear from them what they
must draw--thus getting all their blunders in addition to those they
must make for themselves. But the nearest likeness you can see of
him, is the one drawn by yourself while doing what he tells you. He
has promised to come into those who keep his word. He will then be
much nearer to them than in bodily presence; and such may well be
able to draw for themselves the likeness of God.--But first of all,
and before everything else, mind, Davie, OBEDIENCE!"

"Yes, Mr. Grant; I know," said Davie.

"Then off with you! Only think sometimes it is God who gave you your

"I'm going to fly my kite, Mr. Grant."

"Do. God likes to see you fly your kite, and it is all in his March
wind it flies. It could not go up a foot but for that."

Davie went.

"You have heard that my uncle is very ill to-day!" said Arctura.

"I have. Poor man!" replied Donal.

"He must be in a very peculiar condition."

"Of body and mind both. He greatly perplexes me."

"You would be quite as much perplexed if you had known him as long
as I have! Never since my father's death, which seems a century ago,
have I felt safe; never in my uncle's presence at ease. I get no
nearer to him. It seems to me, Mr. Grant, that the cause of
discomfort and strife is never that we are too near others, but that
we are not near enough."

This was a remark after Donal's own heart.

"I understand you," he said, "and entirely agree with you."

"I never feel that my uncle cares for me except as one of the
family, and the holder of its chief property. He would have liked me
better, perhaps, if I had been dependent on him."

"How long will he be your guardian?" asked Donal.

"He is no longer my guardian legally. The time set by my father's
will ended last year. I am three and twenty, and my own mistress.
But of course it is much better to have the head of the house with
me. I wish he were a little more like other people!--But tell me
about the ghost-music: we had not time to talk of it last night!"

"I got pretty near the place it came from. But the wind blew so, and
it was so dark, that I could do nothing more then."

"You will try again?"

"I shall indeed."

"I am afraid, if you find a natural cause for it, I shall be a
little sorry."

"How can there be any other than a natural cause, my lady? God and
Nature are one. God is the causing Nature.--Tell me, is not the
music heard only in stormy nights, or at least nights with a good
deal of wind?"

"I have heard it in the daytime!"

"On a still day?"

"I think not. I think too I never heard it on a still summer night."

"Do you think it comes in all storms?"

"I think not."

"Then perhaps it has something to do not merely with the wind, but
with the direction of the wind!"

"Perhaps. I cannot say."

"That might account for the uncertainty of its visits! The
instrument may be accessible, yet its converse with the operating
power so rare that it has not yet been discovered. It is a case in
which experiment is not permitted us: we cannot make a wind blow,
neither can we vary the direction of the wind blowing; observation
alone is left us, and that can be only at such times when the sound
is heard."

"Then you can do nothing till the music comes again?"

"I think I can do something now; for, last night I seemed so near
the place whence the sounds were coming, that the eye may now be
able to supplement the ear, and find the music-bird silent on her
nest. If the wind fall, as I think it will in the afternoon, I shall
go again and see whether I can find anything. I noticed last night
that simultaneously with the sound came a change in the
wind--towards the south, I think.--What a night it was after I left

"I think," said Arctura, "the wind has something to do with my
uncle's fits. Was there anything very strange about it last night?
When the wind blows so angrily, I always think of that passage about
the prince of the power of the air being the spirit that works in
the children of disobedience. Tell me what it means."

"I do not know what it means," answered Donal; "but I suppose the
epithet involves a symbol of the difference between the wind of God
that inspires the spiritual true self of man, and the wind of the
world that works by thousands of impulses and influences in the
lower, the selfish self of children that will not obey. I will look
at the passage and see what I can make out of it. Only the spiritual
and the natural blend so that we may one day be astonished!--Would
you like to join the music-hunt, my lady?"

"Do you mean, go on the roof? Should I be able?"

"I would not have you go in the night, and the wind blowing," said
Donal with a laugh; "but you can come and see, and judge for
yourself. The bartizan is the only anxious place, but as I mean to
take Davie with me, you may think I do not count it very dangerous!"

"Will it be safe for Davie?"

"I can venture more with Davie than with another: he obeys in a

"I will obey too if you will take me," said Arctura.

"Then, please, come to the schoolroom at four o'clock. But we shall
not go except the wind be fallen."

When Davie heard what his tutor proposed, he was filled with the
restlessness of anticipation. Often while helping Donal with his
fuel, he had gazed up at him on the roof with longing eyes, but
Donal had never let him go upon it.



The hour came, and with the very stroke of the clock, lady Arctura
and Davie were in the schoolroom. A moment more, and they set out to
climb the spiral of Baliol's tower.

But what a different lady was Arctura this afternoon! She was
cheerful, even merry--with Davie, almost jolly. Her soul had many
alternating lights and glooms, but it was seldom or never now so
clouded as when first Donal saw her. In the solitude of her chamber,
where most the simple soul should be conscious of life as a
blessedness, she was yet often haunted by ghastly shapes of fear;
but there also other forms had begun to draw nigh to her; sweetest
rays of hope would ever and anon break through the clouds, and mock
the darkness from her presence. Perhaps God might mean as thoroughly
well by her as even her imagination could wish!

Does a dull reader remark that hers was a diseased state of mind?--I
answer, The more she needed to be saved from it with the only real
deliverance from any ill! But her misery, however diseased, was
infinitely more reasonable than the healthy joy of such as trouble
themselves about nothing. Some sicknesses are better than any but
the true health.

"I never thought you were like this, Arkie!" said Davie. "You are
just as if you had come to school to Mr. Grant! You would soon know
how much happier it is to have somebody you must mind!"

"If having me, Davie," said Donal, "doesn't help you to be happy
without me, there will not have been much good done. What I want
most to teach you is, to leave the door always on the latch, for
some one--you know whom I mean--to come in."

"Race me up the stair, Arkie," said Davie, when they came to the
foot of the spiral.

"Very well," assented his cousin.

"Which side will you have--the broad or the narrow?"

"The broad."

"Well then--one, two, three, and away we go!"

Davie mounted like a clever goat, his hand and arm on the newel, and
slipping lightly round it. Arctura's ascent was easier but slower:
she found her garments in her way, therefore yielded the race, and
waited for Donal. Davie, thinking he heard her footsteps behind him
all the time, flew up shrieking with the sweet terror of love's

"What a darling the boy has grown!" said Arctura when Donal overtook

"Yes," answered Donal; "one would think such a child might run
straight into the kingdom of heaven; but I suppose he must have his
temptations and trials first: out of the storm alone comes the true

"Will peace come out of all storms?"

"I trust so. Every pain and every fear, every doubt is a cry after
God. What mother refuses to go to her child because he is only
crying--not calling her by name!"

"Oh, if I could but believe so about God! For if it be all right
with God--I mean if God be such a God as to be loved with the heart
and soul of loving, then all is well. Is it not, Mr. Grant?"

"Indeed it is!--And you are not far from the kingdom of heaven," he
was on the point of saying, but did not--because she was in it
already, only unable yet to verify the things around her, like the
man who had but half-way received his sight.

When they reached the top, he took them past his door, and higher up
the stair to the next, opening on the bartizan. Here he said lady
Arctura must come with him first, and Davie must wait till he came
back for him. When he had them both safe on the roof, he told Davie
to keep close to his cousin or himself all the time. He showed them
first his stores of fuel--his ammunition, he said, for fighting the
winter. Next he pointed out where he stood when first he heard the
music the night before, and set down his bucket to follow it; and
where he found the bucket, blown thither by the wind, when he came
back to feel for it in the dark. Then he began to lead them, as
nearly as he could, the way he had then gone, but with some, for
Arctura's sake, desirable detours: over one steep-sloping roof they
had to cross, he found a little stair up the middle, and down the
other side.

They came to a part where he was not quite sure about the way. As he
stopped to bethink himself, they turned and looked eastward. The sea
was shining in the sun, and the flat wet country between was so
bright that they could not tell where the land ended and the sea
began. But as they gazed a great cloud came over the sun, the sea
turned cold and gray as death--a true March sea, and the land lay
low and desolate between. The spring was gone and the winter was
there. A gust of wind, full of keen hail, drove sharp in their

"Ah, that settles the question!" said Donal. "The music-bird must
wait. We will call upon her another day.--It is funny, isn't it,
Davie, to go a bird's-nesting after music on the roof of a house?"

"Hark!" said Arctura; "I think I heard the music-bird!--She wants us
to find her nest! I really don't think we ought to go back for a
little blast of wind, and a few pellets of hail! What do you think,

"Oh, for me, I wouldn't turn for ever so big a storm!" said Davie;
"but you know, Arkie, it's not you or me, Arkie! Mr. Grant is the
captain of this expedition, and we must do as he bids us."

"Oh, surely, Davie! I never meant to dispute that. Only Mr. Grant is
not a tyrant; he will let a lady say what she thinks!"

"Oh, yes, or a boy either! He likes me to say what I think! He says
we can't get at each other without. And do you know--he obeys me

Arctura glanced a keen question at the boy.

"It is quite true!" said Davie, while Donal listened smiling. "Last
winter, for days together--not all day, you know: I had to obey him
most of the time! but at certain times, I was as sure of Mr. Grant
doing as I told him, as he is now of me doing as he tells me."

"What times were those?" asked Arctura, thinking to hear of some odd
pedagogic device.

"When I was teaching him to skate!" answered Davie, in a triumph of
remembrance. "He said I knew better than he there, and so he would
obey me. You wouldn't believe how splendidly he did it, Arkie--out
and out!" concluded Davie, in a tone almost of awe.

"Oh, yes, I would believe it--perfectly!" said Arctura.

Donal suddenly threw an arm round each of them, and pulled them down
sitting. The same instant a fierce blast burst upon the roof. He had
seen the squall whitening the sea, and looking nearer home saw the
tops of the trees between streaming level towards the castle. But
seated they were in no danger.

"Hark!" said Arctura again; "there it is!"

They all heard the wailing cry of the ghost-music. But while the
blast continued they dared not pursue their hunt. It kept on in fits
and gusts till the squall ceased--as suddenly almost as it had
burst. The sky cleared, and the sun shone as a March sun can. But
the blundering blasts and the swan-shot of the flying hail were all
about still.

"When the storm is upon us," remarked Donal, as they rose from their
crouching position, "it seems as if there never could be sunshine
more; but our hopelessness does not keep back the sun when his hour
to shine is come."

"I understand!" said Arctura: "when one is miserable, misery seems
the law of being; and in the midst of it dwells some thought which
nothing can ever set right! All at once it is gone, broken up and
gone, like that hail-cloud. It just looks its own foolishness and

"Do you know why things so often come right?" said Donal. "--I would
say always come right, but that is matter of faith, not sight."

Arctura did not answer at once.

"I think I know what you are thinking," she said, "but I want to
hear you answer your own question."

"Why do things come right so often, do you think, Davie?" repeated

"Is it," returned Davie, "because they were made right to begin

"There is much in that, Davie; but there is a better reason than
that. It is because things are alive, and the life at the heart of
them, that which keeps them going, is the great, beautiful God. So
the sun for ever returns after the clouds. A doubting man, like him
who wrote the book of Ecclesiasties, puts the evil last, and says
'the clouds return after the rain;' but the Christian knows that

One has mastery
Who makes the joy the last in every song."

"You speak like one who has suffered!" said Arctura, with a kind
look in his face.

"Who has not that lives?"

"It is how you are able to help others!"

"Am I able to help others? I am very glad to hear it. My ambition
would be to help, if I had any ambition. But if I am able, it is
because I have been helped myself, not because I have suffered."

"Will you tell me what you mean by saying you have no ambition?"

"Where your work is laid out for you, there is no room for ambition:
you have got your work to do!--But give me your hand, my lady; put
your other hand on my shoulder. You stop there, Davie, and don't
move till I come to you. Now, my lady--a little jump! That's it! Now
you are safe!--You were not afraid, were you?"

"Not in the least. But did you come here in the dark?"

"Yes. There is this advantage in the dark: you do not see how
dangerous the way is. We take the darkness about us for the source
of our difficulties: it is a great mistake. Christian would hardly
have dared go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, had he not
had the shield of the darkness all about him."

"Can the darkness be a shield? Is it not the evil thing?"

"Yes, the dark that is within us--the dark of distrust and
unwillingness, but not the outside dark of mere human ignorance.
Where we do not see, we are protected. Where we are most ignorant
and most in danger, is in those things that affect the life of God
in us: there the Father is every moment watching his child. If he
were not constantly pardoning and punishing our sins, what would
become of us! We must learn to trust him about our faults as much as
about everything else!"

In the earnestness of his talk he had stopped, but now turned and
went on.

"There is my land-, or roof-mark rather!" he said, "--that
chimney-stack! Close by it I heard the music very near me
indeed--when all at once the darkness and the wind came together so
thick that I could do nothing more. We shall do better now in the
daylight--and three of us instead of one!"

"What a huge block of chimneys!" said Arctura.

"Is it not!" returned Donal. "It indicates the hugeness of the
building below us, of which we can see so little. Like the volcanoes
of the world, it tells us how much fire is necessary to keep our
dwelling warm."

"I thought it was the sun that kept the earth warm," said Davie.

"So it is, but not the sun alone. The earth is like a man: the great
glowing fire is God in the heart of the earth, and the great sun is
God in the sky, keeping it warm on the other side. Our gladness and
pleasure, our trouble when we do wrong, our love for all about us,
that is God inside us; and the beautiful things and lovable people,
and all the lessons of life in history and poetry, in the Bible, and
in whatever comes to us, is God outside of us. Every life is between
two great fires of the love of God. So long as we do not give
ourselves up heartily to him, we fear his fire will burn us. And
burn us it does when we go against its flames and not with them,
refusing to burn with the fire with which God is always burning.
When we try to put it out, or oppose it, or get away from it, then
indeed it burns!"

"I think I know," said Davie.

Arctura held her peace.

"But now," said Donal, "I must go round and have a peep at the other
side of the chimney-stack."

He disappeared, and Arctura and Davie stood waiting his return. They
looked each in the other's face with the delight of consciously
sharing a great adventure. Beyond their feet lay the wide country
and the great sea; over them the sky with the sun in it going down
towards the mountains; under their feet the mighty old pile that was
their home; and under that the earth with its molten heart of fire.

But Davie's look soon changed to one of triumph in his tutor. "Is is
not grand," it said, "to be all day with a man like that--talking to
you and teaching you?" That at least was how Arctura interpreted it,
reading in it almost an assertion of superiority, in as much as this
man was his tutor and not hers. She replied to the look in words:--

"I am his pupil, too, Davie," she said, "though Mr. Grant does not
know it."

"How can that be," answered Davie, "when you are afraid of him? I am
not a bit afraid of him!"

"How do you know I am afraid of him?" she asked.

"Oh, anybody could see that!"

She was afraid she had spoken foolishly, and Davie might repeat her
words: she did not desire to hasten further intimacy with Donal;
things were going in that direction fast enough! Her eyes, avoiding
Davie's, kept reconnoitring the stack of chimneys.

"Aren't you glad to have such a castle all for your own--to do what
you like with, Arkie? You know you could pull it all to pieces if
you liked!"

"Would it be less mine," said Arctura, "if I was not at liberty to
pull it all to pieces? And would it be more mine when I had pulled
it to pieces, Davie?"

Donal was coming round the side of the stack, and heard what she
said. It pleased him, for it was not a little in his own style.

"What makes a thing your own, do you think, Davie?" she went on.

"To be able to do with it what you like," replied Davie.

"Whether that be good or bad?"

"Yes, I think so," answered Davie, doubtfully.

"Then I think you are quite wrong," she rejoined. "The moment you
begin to use a thing wrong, that moment you make it less yours. I
can't quite explain it, but that is how it looks to me."

She ceased, and after a moment Donal took up the question.

"Lady Arctura is quite right, Davie," he said. "The nature, that is
the good of a thing, is that only by which it can be possessed. Any
other possession is like slave-owning; it is not a righteous having.
The right and the power to use it to its true purpose, and the using
it so, are the conditions that make a thing ours. To have the right
and the power, and not use it so, would be to make the thing less
ours than anybody's.--Suppose you had a very beautiful picture, but
from some defect in your sight you could never see that picture as
it really was, while a servant in your house not only saw it as it
was meant to be seen, but had such delight in gazing on it, that
even in his dreams it came to him, and made him think of things he
would not have thought of but for it:--which of you, you or the
servant in your house, would have the more real possession of that
picture? You could sell it away from yourself, and never know
anything about it more; but you could not by all the power of a
tyrant take it from your servant."

"Ah, now I understand!" said Davie, with a look at lady Arctura
which seemed to say, "You see how Mr. Grant can make me understand!"

"I wonder," said lady Arctura, "what that curious opening in the
side of the chimney-stack means! It can't be for smoke to come out

"No," said Donal; "there is not a mark of smoke about it. If it had
been meant for that, it would hardly have been put half-way from the
top! I can't make it out! A hole like that in any chimney must
surely interfere with the draught! I must get a ladder!"

"Let me climb on your shoulders, Mr. Grant," said Davie.

"Come then; up you go!" said Donal.

And up went Davie, and peeped into the horizontal slit.

"It looks very like a chimney," he said, turning his head and
thrusting it in sideways. "It goes right down to somewhere," he
added, bringing his head out again, "but there is something across
it a little way down--to prevent the jackdaws from tumbling in, I

"What is it?" asked Donal.

"Something like a grating," answered Davie; "--no, not a grating
exactly; it is what you might call a grating, but it seems made of
wires. I don't think it would keep a strong bird out if he wanted to
get in."

"Aha!" said Donal to himself; "what if those wires be tuned! Did you
ever see an aeolian harp, my lady?" he asked: "I never did."

"Yes," answered lady Arctura, "--once, when I was a little girl. And
now you suggest it, I think the sounds we hear are not unlike those
of an aeolian harp! The strings are all the same length, if I
remember. But I do not understand the principle. They seem all to
play together, and make the strangest, wildest harmonies, when the
wind blows across them in a particular way."

"I fancy then we have found the nest of our music-bird!" said Donal.
"The wires Davie speaks of may be the strings of an aeolian harp! I
wonder if there could be a draught across them! I must get up and
see! I must go and get a ladder!"

"But how could there be an aeolian harp up here?" said Arctura.

"It will be time enough to answer that question," replied Donal,
"when it changes to, 'How did an aeolian harp get up here?'
Something is here that wants accounting for: it may be an aeolian

"But in a chimney! The soot would spoil the strings!"

"Then perhaps it is not a chimney: is there any sign of soot about,

"No, sir; there is nothing but clean stone and lime."

"You see, my lady! We do not even know that it is a chimney!"

"What else can it be, standing with the rest?"

"It may have been built for one; but if it had ever been used for
one, the marks of smoke would remain, had it been disused ever so
long. But to-morrow I will bring up a ladder."

"Could you not do it now?" said Arctura, almost coaxingly. "I should
so like to have the thing settled!"

"As you please, my lady! I will go at once. There is one leaning
against the garden-wall, not far from the bottom of the tower."

"If you do not mind the trouble!"

"I will come and help," said Davie.

"You mustn't leave lady Arctura. I am not sure if I can get it up
the stair; I am afraid it is too long. If I cannot, we will haul it
up as we did the coal."

He went, and the cousins sat down to wait his return. It was a cold
evening, but Arctura was well wrapt up, and Davie was hardy. They
sat at the foot of the chimney-stack, and began to talk.

"It is such a long time since you told me anything, Arkie!" said the

"You do not need me now to tell you anything: you have Mr. Grant!
You like him much better than ever you did me!"

"You see," said Davie, thoughtfully, and making no defence against
her half-reproach, "he began by making me afraid of him--not that he
meant to do it, I think! he only meant that I should do what he told
me: I was never afraid of you, Arkie!"

"I was much crosser to you than Mr. Grant, I am sure!"

"Mr. Grant is never cross to me; and if ever you were, I've
forgotten it, Arkie. I only remember that I was not good to you. I
am sorry for it now when I lie awake in bed; but I say to myself you
forgive me, and go to sleep."

"What makes you think I forgive you, Davie?"

"Because I love you."

This was not very logical, and set Arctura thinking. She did not
forgive the boy because he loved her; but the boy's love to her
might make him sure she forgave him! Love is its own justification,
and sees itself in all its objects: forgiveness is an essential
belonging of love, and must be seen where love is seen.

"Are you fond of my brother?" asked Davie, after a pause.

"Why do you ask me?"

"Because they say you and he are going to be married some day, yet
you don't seem to care much to be together."

"It is all nonsense!" replied Arctura, reddening. "I wish people
would not talk foolishness!"

"Well, I do think he's not so fond of you as of Eppy!"

"Hush! hush! you must not speak of such thing."

"I saw him once kiss Eppy, and I never saw him kiss you!"

"No, indeed!"

"Is it right of Forgue, if he's going to marry you, to kiss
Eppy?--That's what I want to know!"

"He is not going to marry me."

"He would, if you told him you wished it. Papa wishes it."

"How do you know that?"

"From many thing. Once I heard him say, 'Afterwards, when the house
is our own,' and I asked him what he meant, and he said, 'When
Forgue marries Arctura, then the castle will be Forgue's. That is
how it ought to be, you know! Property and title ought never to be

The hot blood rose to Arctura's temples: was she a mere wrappage to
her property--the paper of the parcel! But she called to mind how
strange her uncle was: but for that could he have been so imprudent
as to talk in such a way to a boy whose simplicity rendered the
confidence dangerous?

"You would not like having to give away your castle--would you,
Arkie?" he went on.

"Not to any one I did not love."

"If I were you, I would not marry, but keep my castle to myself. I
don't see why Forgue should have your castle!"

"You think I should make my castle my husband?"

"He would be a good big husband anyhow, and a strong--one to defend
you from your enemies, and not talk to you when you wanted to be

"That is all true; but one might get weary of a stupid husband,
however big and strong he was."

"There's another thing, though!--he wouldn't be a cruel husband!
I've heard papa often speak about some cruel husband! I fancied
sometimes he meant himself; but that could not be, you know."

Arctura made no reply. All but vanished memories of things she had
heard, hints and signs here and there that all was not right between
her uncle and aunt, vaguely returned: could it be that he now
repented of harshness to his wife, that the thought of it was
preying upon him, that it drove him to his drugs for
forgetfulness?--But in the presence of the boy she could not go on
thinking in such a direction about his father. She felt relieved by
the return of Donal.

He had found it rather difficult to get the ladder round the sharp
curves of the stair; but at last they saw him with it on his
shoulder coming over a distant roof.

"Now we shall see!" he said, as he leaned it up against the chimney,
and stood panting.

"You have tired yourself!" said lady Arctura.

"Where's the harm, my lady? A man must get tired a few times before
he lies down!" rejoined Donald lightly.

Said Davie,

"Must a woman, Mr. Grant, marry a man she does not love?"

"No, certainly, Davie."

"Mr. Grant," said Arctura, in dread of what Davie might say next,
"what do you take to be the duty of one inheriting a property? Ought
a woman to get rid of it, or attend to it herself?"

Donal thought a little.

"We must first settle the main duty of property," he said; "and that
I am hardly prepared to do."

"Is there not a duty owing to your family?"

"There are a thousand duties owing to your family."

"I don't mean those you are living with merely, but those also who
transmitted the property to you. This property belongs to my family
rather than to me, and if I had had a brother it would have gone to
him: should I not do better for the family by giving it up to the
next heir? I am not disinterested in starting the question;
possession and power are of no great importance in my eyes; they are
hindrances to me."

"It seems to me," said Donal, "that the fact that you would not have
succeeded had there been a son, points to the fact of a disposer of
events: you were sent into the world to take the property. If so,
God expects you to perform the duties of it; they are not to be got
rid of by throwing the thing aside, or giving them to another to do
for you. If your family and not God were the real giver of the
property, the question you put might arise; but I should hardly take
interest enough in it to be capable of discussing it. I understand
my duty to my sheep or cattle, to my master, to my father or mother,
to my brother or sister, to my pupil Davie here; I owe my ancestors
love and honour, and the keeping of their name unspotted, though
that duty is forestalled by a higher; but as to the property they
leave behind them, over which they have no more power, and which now
I trust they never think about, I do not see what obligation I can
be under to them with regard to it, other than is comprised in the
duties of the property itself."

"But a family is not merely those that are gone before; there are
those that will come after!"

"The best thing for those to come after, is to receive the property
with its duties performed, with the light of righteousness radiating
from it."

"But what then do you call the duties of property?"

"In what does the property consist?"

"In land, to begin with."

"If the land were of no value, would the possession of it involve

"I suppose not."

"In what does the value of the land consist?"

Lady Arctura did not attempt an answer to the question, and Donal,
after a little pause, resumed.

"If you valued things as the world values them, I should not care to
put the question; but I fear you may have some lingering notion
that, though God's way is the true way, the world's way must not be
disregarded. One thing, however, is certain--that nothing that is
against God's way can be true. The value of property consists only
in its being means, ground, or material to work his will withal.
There is no success in the universe but in his will being done."

Arctura was silent. She had inherited prejudices which, while she
hated selfishness, were yet thoroughly selfish. Such are of the
evils in us hardest to get rid of. They are even cherished for a
lifetime by some of the otherwise loveliest of souls. Knowing that
herein much thought would be necessary for her, and that she would
think, Donal went no farther: a house must have its foundation
settled before it is built upon; argument where the grounds of it
are at all in dispute is worse than useless.

He turned to his ladder, set it right, mounted, and peered into the
opening. At the length of his arm he could reach the wires Davie had
described: they were taut, and free of rust--were therefore not iron
or steel. He saw also that a little down the shaft a faint light
came in from the opposite side: there was another opening somewhere!
Next he saw that each following string--for strings he already
counted them--was placed a little lower than that before it, so that
their succession was inclined to the other side of the
shaft--apparently in a plane between the two openings, that a
draught might pass along their plane: this must surely be the
instrument whence the music flowed! He descended.

"Do you know, my lady," he asked Arctura, "how the aeolian harp is
placed for the wind to wake it?"

"The only one I have seen," she answered, "was made to fit into a
window; the lower sash was opened just wide enough to let it in, so
that the wind entering must pass across the strings."

Then Donal was all but certain.

"Of course," he said, after describing what he had seen, "we cannot
be absolutely sure without having been here with the music, and
having experimented by covering and uncovering the opening; and for
that we must wait a south-easterly wind."



But Donal did not feel that even then would he have exhausted the
likelihood of discovery. That the source of the music that had so
long haunted the house was an aeolian harp in a chimney that had
never or scarcely been used, might be enough to satisfy some, but he
wanted to know as well why, if this was a chimney, it neither had
been nor was used, and to what room it was a chimney. For the
question had come to him--might not the music hold some relation
with the legend of the lost room?

Inquiry after legendary lore had drawn nearer and nearer, and the
talk about such as belonged to the castle had naturally increased.
In this talk was not seldom mentioned a ghost, as yet seen at times
about the place. This Donal attributed to glimpses of the earl in
his restless night-walks; but by the domestics, both such as had
seen something and such as had not, the apparition was naturally
associated with the lost chamber, as the place whence the spectre
issued, and whither he returned.

Donal's spare hours were now much given to his friend Andrew Comin.
The good man had so far recovered as to think himself able to work
again; but he soon found it was little he could do. His strength was
gone, and the exertion necessary to the lightest labour caused him
pain. It was sad to watch him on his stool, now putting in a stitch,
now stopping because of the cough which so sorely haunted his thin,
wind-blown tent. His face had grown white and thin, and he had
nearly lost his merriment, though not his cheerfulness; he never
looked other than content. He had made up his mind he was not going
to get better, but to go home through a lingering illness. He was
ready to go and ready to linger, as God pleased.

There was nothing wonderful in this; but to some good people even it
did appear wonderful that he showed no uneasiness as to how Doory
would fare when he was gone. The house was indeed their own, but
there was no money in it--not even enough to pay the taxes; and if
she sold it, the price would not be enough to live upon. The
neighbours were severe on Andrew's imagined indifference to his
wife's future, and it was in their eyes a shame to be so cheerful on
the brink of the grave. Not one of them had done more than peep into
the world of faith in which Andrew lived. Not one of them could have
understood that for Andrew to allow the least danger of evil to his
Doory, would have been to behold the universe rocking on the
slippery shoulders of Chance.

A little moan escaping her as she looked one evening into her
money-teapot, made Donal ask her a question or two. She confessed
that she had but sixpence left. Now Donal had spent next to nothing
since he came, and had therefore a few pounds in hand. His father
and mother had sent back what he sent them, as being in need of
nothing: sir Gibbie was such a good son to them that they were
living in what they counted luxury: Robert doubted whether he was
not ministering to the flesh in allowing Janet to provide beef-brose
for him twice in the week! So Donal was free to spend for his next
neighbours--just what his people, who were grand about money, would
have had him do. Never in their cottage had a penny been wasted;
never one refused where was need.

"An'rew," he said--and found the mother-tongue here fittest--"I'm
thinkin' ye maun be growin' some short o' siller i' this time o'

"'Deed, I wadna won'er!" answered Andrew. "Doory says naething aboot
sic triffles!"

"Weel," rejoined Donal, "I thank God I hae some i' the ill pickle o'
no bein' wantit, an' sae in danger o' cankerin'; an' atween brithers
there sudna be twa purses!"

"Ye hae yer ain fowk to luik efter, sir!" said Andrew.

"They're weel luikit efter--better nor ever they war i' their lives;
they're as weel aff as I am mysel' up i' yon gran' castel. They hae
a freen' wha but for them wad ill hae lived to be the great man he
is the noo; an' there's naething ower muckle for him to du for them;
sae my siller 's my ain, an' yours. An'rew, an' Doory's!"

The old man put him through a catechism as to his ways and means and
prospects, and finding that Donal believed as firmly as himself in
the care of the Master, and was convinced there was nothing that
Master would rather see him do with his money than help those who
needed it, especially those who trusted in him, he yielded.

"It's no, ye see," said Donal, "that I hae ony doobt o' the Lord
providin' gien I had failt, but he hauds the thing to my han', jist
as muckle as gien he said, 'There's for you, Donal!' The fowk o'
this warl' michtna appruv, but you an' me kens better, An'rew. We
ken there's nae guid in siller but do the wull o' the Lord wi'
't--an' help to ane anither is his dear wull. It's no 'at he's short
o' siller himsel', but he likes to gie anither a turn!"

"I'll tak it," said the old man.

"There's what I hae," returned Donal.

"Na, na; nane o' that!" said Andrew. "Ye're treatin' me like a
muckle, reivin', sornin' beggar--offerin' me a' that at ance! Whaur
syne wad be the prolonged sweetness o' haein' 't i' portions frae
yer han', as frae the neb o' an angel-corbie sent frae verra hame
wi' yer denner!"--Here a glimmer of the old merriment shone through
the worn look and pale eyes.--"Na, na, sir," he went on; "jist talk
the thing ower wi' Doory, an' lat her hae what she wants an' nae
mair. She wudna like it. Wha kens what may came i' the
meantime--Deith himsel', maybe! Or see--gie Doory a five shillins,
an' whan that's dune she can lat ye ken!"

Donal was forced to leave it thus, but he did his utmost to impress
upon Doory that all he had was at her disposal.

"I had new clothes," he said, "before I came; I have all I want to
eat and drink; and for books, there's a whole ancient library at my
service!--what possibly could I wish for more? It's a mere luxury to
hand the money over to you, Doory! I'm thinkin', Doory," for he had
by this time got to address her by her husband's name for her,
"there's naebody i' this warl', 'cep' the oonseen Lord himsel',
lo'es yer man sae weel as you an' me; an' weel ken I you an' him wad
share yer last wi' me; sae I'm only giein' ye o' yer ain gude wull;
an' I'll doobt that gien ye takna sae lang as I hae."

Thus adjured, and satisfied that her husband was content, the old
woman made no difficulty.



When Stephen Kennedy heard that Eppy had gone back to her
grandparents, a faint hope revived in his bosom; he knew nothing of
the late passage between the two parties. He but knew that she was
looking sad: she might perhaps allow him to be of some service to
her! Separation had fostered more and more gentle thoughts of her in
his heart; he was ready to forgive her everything, and believe
nothing serious against her, if only she would let him love her
again. Modesty had hitherto kept him from throwing himself in her
way, but he now haunted the house in the hope of catching a glimpse
of her, and when she began to go again into the town, saw her
repeatedly, following her to be near her, but taking care she should
not see him: partly from her self-absorption he had succeeded in
escaping her notice.

At length, however, one night, he tried to summon up courage to
accost her. It was a lovely, moonlit night, half the street black
with quaint shadows, the other half shining like sand in the yellow
light. On the moony side people standing at their doors could
recognize each other two houses away, but on the other, friends
might pass without greeting. Eppy had gone into the baker's; Kennedy
had seen her go in, and stood in the shadow, waiting, all but
determined to speak to her. She staid a good while, but one
accustomed to wait for fish learns patience. At length she appeared.
By this time, however, though not his patience, Kennedy's courage
had nearly evaporated; and when he saw her he stepped under an
archway, let her pass, and followed afresh. All at once resolve,
which yet was no resolve, awoke in him. It was as if some one took
him and set him before her. She started when he stepped in front,
and gave a little cry.

"Dinna be feart, Eppy," he said; "I wudna hurt a hair o' yer heid. I
wud raither be skinned mysel'!"

"Gang awa," said Eppy. "Ye hae no richt to stan' i' my gait!"

"Nane but the richt o' lo'ein' ye better nor ever!" said Kennedy,
"--gien sae be as ye'll lat me ony gait shaw 't!"

The words softened her; she had dreaded reproach, if not indignant
remonstrance. She began to cry.

"Gien onything i' my pooer wud mak the grief lichter upo' ye, Eppy,"
he said, "ye hae but to name 't! I'm no gauin' to ask ye to merry
me, for that I ken ye dinna care aboot; but gien I micht be luikit
upon as a freen', if no to you, yet to yours--alloot onyw'y to help
i' yer trible, I mean, I'm ready to lay me i' the dirt afore ye. I
hae nae care for mysel' ony mair, an' maun do something for
somebody--an' wha sae soon as yersel', Eppy!"

For sole answer, Eppy went on crying. She was far from happy. She
had nearly persuaded herself that all was over between her and lord
Forgue, and almost she could, but for shame, have allowed Kennedy to
comfort her as an old friend. Everything in her mind was so
confused, and everything around her so miserable, that she could but
cry. She continued crying, and as they were in a walled lane into
which no windows looked, Kennedy, in the simplicity of his heart,
and the desire to comfort her who little from him deserved comfort,
came up to her, and putting his arm round her, said again,

"Dinna be feart of me, Eppy. I'm a man ower sair-hertit to do ye ony
hurt. It's no as thinkin' ye my ain, Eppy, I wud preshume to du
onything for ye, but as an auld freen', fain to tak the dog aff o'
ye. Are ye in want o' onything? Ye maun hae a heap o' trible, I weel
ken, wi' yer gran'father's mischance, an' it's easy to un'erstan'
'at things may well be turnin' scarce aboot ye; but be sure o' this,
that as lang's my mither has onything, she'll be blyth to share the
same wi' you an' yours."

He said his mother, but she had nothing save what he provided her

"I thank ye, Stephen," said Eppy, touched with his goodness; "but
there's nae necessity; we hae plenty."

She moved on, her apron still to her eyes. Kennedy followed her.

"Gien the yoong lord hae wranged ye ony gait," he said from behind
her, "an' gien there be ony amen's ye wad hae o' him,--"

She turned with a quickness that was fierce, and in the dim light
Kennedy saw her eyes blazing.

"I want naething frae your han', Stephen Kennedy," she said. "My
lord's naething to you--nor yet muckle to me!" she added, with
sudden reaction and an outburst of self-pity, and again fell a
weeping--and sobbing now.

With the timidity of a strong man before the girl he loves and
therefore fears, Kennedy once more tried to comfort her, wiping her
eyes with her apron. While he did so, a man, turning a corner
quickly, came almost upon them. He started back, then came nearer,
looked hard at them, and spoke. It was lord Forgue.

"Eppy!" he exclaimed, in a tone in which indignation blended with

Eppy gave a cry, and ran to him. He pushed her away.

"My lord," said Kennedy, "the lass will nane o' me or mine. I sair
doobt there's nane but yersel' can please her. But I sweir by God,
my lord, gien ye du her ony wrang, I'll no rest, nicht nor day, till
I hae made ye repent it."

"Go to the devil!" said Forgue; "there's an old crow, I suspect, yet
to pluck between us! For me you may take her, though. I don't go

Eppy laid her hand timidly on his arm, but again he pushed her away.

"Oh, my lord!" she sobbed, and could say no more for weeping.

"How is it I find you here with this man?" he asked. "I don't want
to be unfair to you, but it looks rather bad!"

"My lord," said Kennedy.

"Hold your tongue; let her speak for herself."

"I had no tryst wi' him, my lord! I never said come nigh me," sobbed
Eppy. "--Ye see what ye hae dune!" she cried, turning in anger on
Kennedy, and her tears suddenly ceasing. "Never but ill hae ye
brocht me! What business had ye to come efter me this gait, makin'
mischief 'atween my lord an' me? Can a body no set fut ayont the
door-sill, but they maun be followt o' them they wud see far

Kennedy turned and went, and Eppy with a fresh burst of tears turned
to go also. But she had satisfied Forgue that there was nothing
between them, and he was soon more successful than Kennedy in
consoling her.

While absent he had been able enough to get on without her, but no
sooner was he home than, in the weary lack of interest, the feelings
which, half lamenting, half rejoicing, he had imagined extinct,
began to revive, and he went to the town vaguely hoping to get a
sight of Eppy. Coming upon her tête à tête with her old lover, first
a sense of unpardonable injury possessed him, and next the
conviction that he was as madly in love with her as ever. The tide
of old tenderness came throbbing and streaming back over the ghastly
sands of jealousy, and ere they parted he had made with her an
appointment to meet the next night in a more suitable spot.

Donal was seated by Andrew's bedside reading: he had now the
opportunity of bringing many things before him such as the old man
did not know to exist. Those last days of sickness and weakness were
among the most blessed of his life; much that could not be done for
many a good man with ten times his education, could be done for a
man like Andrew Comin.

Eppy had done her best to remove all traces of emotion ere she
re-entered the house; but she could not help the shining of her
eyes: the joy-lamp relighted in her bosom shone through them: and
Andrew looking up when she entered, Donal, seated with his back to
her, at once knew her secret: her grandfather read it from her face,
and Donal read it from his.

"She has seen Forgue!" he said to himself. "I hope the old man will
die soon."



When lord Morven heard of his son's return, he sent for Donal,
received him in a friendly way, gave him to understand that, however
he might fail to fall in with his views, he depended thoroughly on
his honesty, and begged he would keep him informed of his son's

Donal replied that, while he fully acknowledged his lordship's right
to know what his son was doing, he could not take the office of a

"But I will warn lord Forgue," he concluded, "that I may see it
right to let his father know what he is about. I fancy, however, he
understands as much already."

"Pooh! that would be only to teach him cunning," said the earl.

"I can do nothing underhand," replied Donal. "I will help no man to
keep an unrighteous secret, but neither will I secretly disclose

Meeting him a few days after, Forgue would have passed him without
recognition, but Donal stopped him, and said--

"I believe, my lord, you have seen Eppy since your return."

"What the deuce is that to you?"

"I wish your lordship to understand that whatever comes to my
knowledge concerning your proceedings in regard to her, I will
report to your father if I see fit."

"The warning is unnecessary. Few informers, however, would have
given me the advantage, and I thank you: so far I am indebted to
you. None the less the shame of the informer remains!"

"Your lordship's judgment of me is no more to me than that of yon
rook up there."

"You doubt my honour?" said Forgue with a sneer.

"I do. I doubt you. You do not know yourself. Time will show. For
God's sake, my lord, look to yourself! You are in terrible danger."

"I would rather do wrong for love than right for fear. I scorn such

"Threats, my lord!" echoed Donal. "Is it a threat to warn you that
your very consciousness may become a curse to you? that to know
yourself may be your hell? that you may come to make it your first
care to forget what you are? Do you know what Shakspere says of

Besides, his soul's fair temple is defaced;
To whose weak ruins muster troops of cares,
To ask the spotted princess how she fares--?"

"Oh, hang your preaching!" cried Forgue, and turned away.

"My lord," said Donal, "if you will not hear me, there are preachers
you must."

"They will not be quite so long-winded then!" Forgue answered.

"You are right," said Donal; "they will not."

All Forgue's thoughts were now occupied with the question how with
least danger Eppy and he were to meet. He did not contemplate
treachery. At this time of his life he could not have respected
himself, little as was required for that, had he been consciously
treacherous; but no man who in love yet loves himself more, is safe
from becoming a traitor: potentially he is one already. Treachery to
him who is guilty of it seems only natural self-preservation; the
man who can do a vile thing is incapable of seeing it as it is; and
that ought to make us doubtful of our judgments of ourselves,
especially defensive judgments. Forgue did not suspect himself--not
although he knew that his passion had but just regained a lost
energy, revived at the idea of another man having the girl! It did
not shame him that he had begun to forget her, or that he had been
so roused to fresh desire. If he had stayed away six months, he
would practically have forgotten her altogether. Some may think
that, if he had devotion enough to surmount the vulgarities of her
position and manners and ways of thought, his love could hardly be
such as to yield so soon; but Eppy was not in herself vulgar. Many
of even humbler education than she are far less really vulgar than
some in the forefront of society. No doubt the conventionalities of
a man like Forgue must have been sometimes shocked in familiar
intercourse with one like Eppy; but while he was merely flirting
with her, the very things that shocked would also amuse him--for I
need hardly say he was not genuinely refined; and by and by the
growing passion obscured them. There is no doubt that, had she been
confronted as his wife with the common people of society, he would
have become aware of many things as vulgarities which were only
simplicities; but in the meantime she was no more vulgar to him than
a lamb or a baby is vulgar, however unfit either for a Belgravian
drawing-room. Vulgar, at the same time, he would have thought and
felt her, but for the love that made him do her justice. Love is the
opener as well as closer of eyes. But men who, having seen, become
blind again, think they have had their eyes finally opened.

For some time there was no change in Eppy's behaviour but that she
was not tearful as before. She continued diligent, never grumbled at
the hardest work, and seemed desirous of making up for remissness in
the past, when in truth she was trying to make up for something else
in the present: she would atone for what she would not tell, by
doing immediate duty with the greater devotion. But by and by she
began occasionally to show, both in manner and countenance, a little
of the old pertness, mingled with uneasiness. The phenomenon,
however, was so intermittent and unpronounced, as to be manifest
only to eyes familiar with her looks and ways: to Donal it was clear
that the relation between her and Forgue was resumed. Yet she never
went out in the evening except sent by her grandmother, and then she
always came home even with haste--anxious, it might have seemed, to
avoid suspicion.

It was the custom with Donal and Davie to go often into the fields
and woods in the fine weather--they called this their observation
class--to learn what they might of the multitudinous goings on in
this or that of Nature's workshops: there each for himself and the
other exercised his individual powers of seeing and noting and
putting together. Donal knew little of woodland matters, having been
chiefly accustomed to meadows and bare hill-sides; yet in the woods
he was the keener of the two to observe, and could the better teach
that he was but a better learner.

One day, as they were walking together under the thin shade of a
fir-thicket, Davie said, with a sudden change of subject--

"I wonder if we shall meet Forgue to-day! he gets up early now, and
goes out. It is neither to fish nor shoot, for he doesn't take his
rod or gun; he must be watching or looking for something!--Shouldn't
you say so, Mr. Grant?"

This set Donal thinking. Eppy was never out at night, or only for a
few minutes; and Forgue went out early in the morning! But if Eppy
would meet him, how could he or anyone help it?



Now for a while, Donal seldom saw lady Arctura, and when he did,
received from her no encouragement to address her. The troubled look
had reappeared on her face. In her smile, as they passed in hall or
corridor, glimmered an expression almost pathetic--something like an
appeal, as if she stood in sore need of his help, but dared not ask
for it. She was again much in the company of Miss Carmichael, and
Donal had good cause to fear that the pharisaism of her would-be
directress was coming down upon her spirit, not like rain on the
mown grass, but like frost on the spring flowers. The impossibility
of piercing the Christian pharisee holding the traditions of the
elders, in any vital part--so pachydermatous is he to any spiritual
argument--is a sore trial to the old Adam still unslain in lovers of
the truth. At the same time nothing gives patience better
opportunity for her perfect work. And it is well they cannot be
reached by argument and so persuaded; they would but enter the
circles of the faithful to work fresh schisms and breed fresh

But Donal had begun to think that he had been too forbearing towards
the hideous doctrines advocated by Miss Carmichael. It is one thing
where evil doctrines are quietly held, and the truth associated with
them assimilated by good people doing their best with what has been
taught them, and quite another thing where they are forced upon some
shrinking nature, weak to resist through the very reverence which is
its excellence. The finer nature, from inability to think another of
less pure intent than itself, is often at a great disadvantage in
the hands of the coarser. He made up his mind that, risk as it was
to enter into disputations with a worshipper of the letter, inasmuch
as for argument the letter is immeasurably more available than the
spirit--for while the spirit lies in the letter unperceived, it has
no force, and the letter-worshipper is incapable of seeing that God
could not possibly mean what he makes of it--notwithstanding the
risk, he resolved to hold himself ready, and if anything was given
him, to cry it out and not spare. Nor had he long resolved ere the
opportunity came.

It had come to be known that Donal frequented the old avenue, and it
was with intent, in the pride of her acquaintance with scripture,
and her power to use it, that Miss Carmichael one afternoon led her
unwilling, rather recusant, and very unhappy disciple thither: she
sought an encounter with him: his insolence towards the
old-established faith must be confounded, his obnoxious influence on
Arctura frustrated! It was a bright autumnal day. The trees were
sorely bereaved, but some foliage yet hung in thin yellow clouds
upon their patient boughs. There was plenty of what Davie called
scushlin, that is the noise of walking with scarce lifted feet
amongst the thick-lying withered leaves. But less foliage means more

Donal was sauntering along, his book in his hand, now and then
reading a little, now and then looking up to the half-bared
branches, now and then, like Davie, sweeping a cloud of the fallen
multitude before him. He was in this childish act when, looking up,
he saw the two ladies approaching; he did not see the peculiar
glance Miss Carmichael threw her companion: "Behold your prophet!"
it said. He would have passed with lifted bonnet, but Miss
Carmichael stopped, smiling: her smile was bright because it showed
her good teeth, but was not pleasant because it showed nothing else.

"Glorying over the fallen, Mr. Grant?" she said.

Donal in his turn smiled.

"That is not Mr. Grant's way," said Arctura, "--so far at least as I
have known him!"

"How careless the trees are of their poor children!" said Miss
Carmichael, affecting sympathy for the leaves.

"Pardon me," said Donal, "if I grudge them your pity: there is
nothing more of children in those leaves than there is in the hair
that falls on the barber's floor."

"It is not very gracious to pull a lady up so sharply!" returned
Miss Carmichael, still smiling: "I spoke poetically."

"There is no poetry in what is not true," rejoined Donal. "Those are
not the children of the tree."

"Of course," said Miss Carmichael, a little surprised to find their
foils crossed already, "a tree has no children! but--"

"A tree no children!" exclaimed Donal. "What then are all those
beech-nuts under the leaves? Are they not the children of the tree?"

"Yes; and lost like the leaves!" sighed Miss Carmichael.

"Why do you say they are lost? They must fulfil the end for which
they were made, and if so, they cannot be lost."

"For what end were they made?"

"I do not know. If they all grew up, they would be a good deal in
the way."

"Then you say there are more seeds than are required?"

"How could I, when I do not know what they are required for? How can
I tell that it is not necessary for the life of the tree that it
should produce them all, and necessary too for the ground to receive
so much life-rent from the tree!"

"But you must admit that some things are lost!"

"Yes, surely!" answered Donal. "Why else should he come and look
till he find?"

No such answer had the theologian expected; she was not immediate
with her rejoinder.

"But some of them are lost after all!" she said.

"Doubtless; there are sheep that will keep running away. But he goes
after them again."

"He will not do that for ever!"

"He will."

"I do not believe it."

"Then you do not believe that God is infinite!"

"I do."

"How can you? Is he not the Lord God merciful and gracious?"

"I am glad you know that."

"But if his mercy and his graciousness are not infinite, then he is
not infinite!"

"There are other attributes in which he is infinite."

"But he is not infinite in all his attributes? He is partly
infinite, and partly finite!--infinite in knowledge and power, but
in love, in forgiveness, in all those things which are the most
beautiful, the most divine, the most Christ-like, he is finite,
measurable, bounded, small!"

"I care nothing for such finite reasoning. I take the word of
inspiration, and go by that!"

"Let me hear then," said Donal, with an uplifting of his heart in
prayer; for it seemed no light thing for Arctura which of them
should show the better reason.

Now it had so fallen that the ladies were talking about the doctrine
called Adoption when first they saw Donal; whence this doctrine was
the first to occur to the champion of orthodoxy as a weapon
wherewith to foil the enemy.

"The most precious doctrine, if one may say so, in the whole Bible,
is that of Adoption. God by the mouth of his apostle Paul tells us
that God adopts some for his children, and leaves the rest. If
because of this you say he is not infinite in mercy, when the Bible
says he is, you are guilty of blasphemy."

In a tone calm to solemnity, Donal answered--

"God's mercy is infinite; and the doctrine of Adoption is one of the
falsest of false doctrines. In bitter lack of the spirit whereby we
cry Abba, Father, the so-called Church invented it; and it remains,
a hideous mask wherewith false and ignorant teachers scare God's
children from their Father's arms."

"I hate sentiment--most of all in religion!" said Miss Carmichael
with contempt.

"You shall have none," returned Donal. "Tell me what is meant by

"The taking of children," answered Miss Carmichael, already spying a
rock ahead, "and treating them as your own."

"Whose children?" asked Donal.


"Whose," insisted Donal, "are the children whom God adopts?"

She was on the rock, and a little staggered. But she pulled up
courage and said--

"The children of Satan."

"Then how are they to be blamed for doing the deeds of their

"You know very well what I mean! Satan did not make them. God made
them, but they sinned and fell."

"Then did God repudiate them?"


"And they became the children of another?"

"Yes, of Satan."

"Then God disowns his children, and when they are the children of
another, adopts them? Miss Carmichael, it is too foolish! Would that
be like a father? Because his children do not please him, he
repudiates them altogether; and then he wants them again--not as his
own, but as the children of a stranger, whom he will adopt! The
original relationship is no longer of any force--has no weight even
with their very own father! What ground could such a parent have to
complain of his children?"

"You dare not say the wicked are the children of God the same as the

"That be far from me! Those who do the will of God are infinitely
more his children than those who do not; they are born of the
innermost heart of God; they are then of the nature of Jesus Christ,
whose glory is obedience. But if they were not in the first place,
and in the most profound fact, the children of God, they could never
become his children in that higher, that highest sense, by any
fiction of adoption. Do you think if the devil could create, his
children could ever become the children of God? But you and I, and
every pharisee, publican, and sinner in the world, are equally the
children of God to begin with. That is the root of all the misery
and all the hope. Because we are his children, we must become his
children in heart and soul, or be for ever wretched. If we ceased to
be his, if the relation between us were destroyed, which is
impossible, no redemption would be possible, there would be nothing
left to redeem."

"You may talk as you see fit, Mr. Grant, but while Paul teaches the
doctrine, I will hold it; he may perhaps know a little better than

"Paul teaches no such doctrine. He teaches just what I have been
saying. The word translated adoption, he uses for the raising of one
who is a son to the true position of a son."

"The presumption in you to say what the apostle did or did not

"Why, Miss Carmichael, do you think the gospel comes to us as a set
of fools? Is there any way of truly or worthily receiving a message
without understanding it? A message is sent for the very sake of
being in some measure at least understood. Without that it would be
no message at all. I am bound by the will and express command of the
master to understand the things he says to me. He commands me to see
their rectitude, because they being true, I ought to be able to see
them true. In the hope of seeing as he would have me see, I read my
Greek Testament every day. But it is not necessary to know Greek to
see what Paul means by the so-translated adoption. You have only to
consider his words with intent to find out his meaning, and without
intent to find in them the teaching of this or that doctor of
divinity. In the epistle to the Galatians, whose child does he speak
of as adopted? It is the father's own child, his heir, who differs
nothing from a slave until he enters upon his true relation to his
father--the full status of a son. So also, in another passage, by
the same word he means the redemption of the body--its passing into
the higher condition of outward things, into a condition in itself,
and a home around it, fit for the sons and daughters of God--that we
be no more like strangers, but like what we are, the children of the
house. To use any word of Paul's to make human being feel as if he
were not by birth, making, origin, or whatever word of closer import
can be found, the child of God, or as if anything he had done or
could do could annul that relationship, is of the devil, the father
of evil, not either of Paul or of Christ.--Why, my lady," continued
Donal, turning to Arctura, "all the evil lies in this--that he is
our father and we are not his children. To fulfil the poorest
necessities of our being, we must be his children in brain and
heart, in body and soul and spirit, in obedience and hope and
gladness and love--his out and out, beyond all that tongue can say,
mind think, or heart desire. Then only is our creation
finished--then only are we what we were made to be. This is that for
the sake of which we are troubled on all sides."

He ceased. Miss Carmichael was intellectually cowed, but her heart
was nowise touched. She had never had that longing after closest
relation with God which sends us feeling after the father. But now,
taking courage under the overshadowing wing of the divine, Arctura

"I do hope what you say is true, Mr. Grant!" she said with a longing

"Oh yes, hope! we all hope! But it is the word we have to do with!"
said Miss Carmichael.

"I have given you the truth of this word!" said Donal.

But as if she heard neither of them, Arctura went on,

"If it were but true!" she moaned. "It would set right everything on
the face of the earth!"

"You mean far more than that, my lady!" said Donal. "You mean
everything in the human heart, which will to all eternity keep
moaning and crying out for the Father of it, until it is one with
its one relation!"

He lifted his bonnet, and would have passed on.

"One word, Mr. Grant," said Miss Carmichael. "--No man holding such
doctrines could with honesty become a clergyman of the church of

"Very likely," replied Donal, "Good afternoon."

"Thank you, Mr. Grant!" said Arctura. "I hope you are right."

When he was gone, the ladies resumed their walk in silence. At
length Miss Carmichael spoke.

"Well, I must say, of all the conceited young men I have had the
misfortune to meet, your Mr. Grant bears the palm! Such
self-assurance! such presumption! such forwardness!"

"Are you certain, Sophia," rejoined Arctura, "that it is
self-assurance, and not conviction that gives him his courage?"

"He is a teacher of lies! He goes dead against all that good men say
and believe! The thing is as clear as daylight: he is altogether

"What if God be sending fresh light into the minds of his people?"

"The old light is good enough for me!"

"But it may not be good enough for God! What if Mr. Grant should be
his messenger to you and me!"

"A likely thing! A raw student from the hills of Daurside!"

"I cherish a profound hope that he may be in the right. Much good,
you know, did come out of Galilee! Every place and every person is
despised by somebody!"

"Arctura! He has infected you with his frightful irreverence!"

"If he be a messenger of Jesus Christ," said Arctura, quietly, "he
has had from you the reception he would expect, for the disciple
must be as his master."

Miss Carmichael stood still abruptly. Her face was in a flame, but
her words came cold and hard.

"I am sorry," she said, "our friendship should come to so harsh a
conclusion, lady Arctura; but it is time it should end when you
speak so to one who has been doing her best for so long to enlighten
you! If this be the first result of your new gospel--well! Remember
who said, 'If an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you
than I have preached, let him be accursed!"

She turned back.

"Oh, Sophia, do not leave me so!" cried Arctura.

But she was already yards away, her skirt making a small whirlwind
that went after her through the withered leaves. Arctura burst into
tears, and sat down at the foot of one of the great beeches. Miss
Carmichael never looked behind her. She met Donal again, for he too
had turned: he uncovered, but she took no heed. She had done with
him! Her poor Arctura.

Donal was walking gently on, thinking, with closed book, when the
wind bore to his ear a low sob from Arctura. He looked up, and saw
her: she sat weeping like one rejected. He could not pass or turn
and leave her thus! She heard his steps in the withered leaves,
glanced up, dropped her head for a moment, then rose with a feeble
attempt at a smile. Donal understood the smile: she would not have
him troubled because of what had taken place!

"Mr. Grant," she said, coming towards him, "St. Paul laid a curse
upon even an angel from heaven if he preached any other gospel than
his! It is terrible!"

"It is terrible, and I say amen to it with all my heart," returned
Donal. "But the gospel you have received is not the gospel of Paul;
it is one substituted for it--and that by no angel from heaven, but
by men with hide-bound souls, who, in order to get them into their
own intellectual pockets, melted down the ingots of the kingdom, and
re-cast them in moulds of wretched legalism, borrowed of the Romans
who crucified their master. Grand, childlike, heavenly things they
must explain, forsooth, after vulgar worldly notions of law and
right! But they meant well, seeking to justify the ways of God to
men, therefore the curse of the apostle does not fall, I think, upon
them. They sought a way out of their difficulties, and thought they
had found one, when in reality it was their faith in God himself
that alone got them out of the prison of their theories. But gladly
would I see discomfited such as, receiving those inventions at the
hundredth hand, and moved by none of the fervour with which they
were first promulgated, lay, as the word and will of God, lumps of
iron and heaps of dust upon live, beating, longing hearts that cry
out after their God!"

"Oh, I do hope what you say is true!" panted Arctura. "I think I
shall die if I find it is not!"

"If you find what I tell you untrue, it will only be that it is not
grand and free and bounteous enough. To think anything too good to
be true, is to deny God--to say the untrue may be better than the
true--that there might be a greater God than he. Remember, Christ is
in the world still, and within our call."

"I will think of what you tell me," said Arctura, holding out her

"If anything in particular troubles you," said Donal, "I shall be
most glad to help you if I can; but it is better there should not be
much talking. The thing lies between you and your Father."

With these words he left her. Arctura followed slowly to the house,
and went straight to her room, her mind filling as she went with
slow-reviving strength and a great hope. No doubt some of her relief
came from the departure of her incubus friend; but that must soon
have vanished in fresh sorrow, save for the hope and strength to
which this departure yielded the room. She trusted that by the time
she saw her again she would be more firmly grounded concerning many
things, and able to set them forth aright. She was not yet free of
the notion that you must be able to defend your convictions; she
scarce felt at liberty to say she believed a thing, so long as she
knew an argument against it which she could not show to be false.
Alas for our beliefs if they go no farther than the poor horizon of
our experience or our logic, or any possible wording of the beliefs
themselves! Alas for ourselves if our beliefs are not what we shape
our lives, our actions, our aspirations, our hopes, our repentances

Donal was glad indeed to hope that now at length an open door stood
before the poor girl. He had been growing much interested in her, as
one on whom life lay heavy, one who seemed ripe for the kingdom of
heaven, yet in whose way stood one who would neither enter herself,
nor allow her to enter that would. She was indeed fit for nothing
but the kingdom of heaven, so much was she already the child of him
whom, longing after him, she had not yet dared to call her father.
His regard for her was that of the gentle strong towards the weak he
would help; and now that she seemed fairly started on the path of
life, the path, namely, to the knowledge of him who is the life, his
care over her grew the more tender. It is the part of the strong to
serve the weak, to minister that whereby they too may grow strong.
But he rather than otherwise avoided meeting her, and for a good
many days they did not so much as see each other.



The health of the earl remained fluctuating. Its condition depended
much on the special indulgence. There was hardly any sort of
narcotic with which he did not at least make experiment, if he did
not indulge in it. He made no pretence even to himself of seeking
therein the furtherance of knowledge; he wanted solely to find how
this or that, thus or thus modified or combined, would contribute to
his living a life such as he would have it, and other quite than
that ordered for him by a power which least of all powers he chose
to acknowledge. The power of certain drugs he was eager to
understand: the living source of him and them and their
correlations, he scarcely recognized. This came of no hostility to
religion other than the worst hostility of all--that of a life
irresponsive to its claims. He believed neither like saint nor
devil; he believed and did not obey, he believed and did not yet

The one day he was better, the other worse, according, as I say, to
the character and degree of his indulgence. At one time it much
affected his temper, taking from him all mastery of himself; at
another made him so dull and stupid, that he resented nothing except
any attempt to rouse him from his hebetude. Of these differences he
took unfailing note; but the worst influence of all was a constant
one, and of it he made no account: however the drugs might vary in
their operations upon him, to one thing they all tended--the
destruction of his moral nature.

Urged more or less all his life by a sort of innate rebellion
against social law, he had done great wrongs--whether also committed
what are called crimes, I cannot tell: no repentance had followed
the remorse their consequences had sometimes occasioned. And now the
possibility of remorse even was gradually forsaking him. Such a man
belongs rather to the kind demoniacal than the kind human; yet so
long as nothing occurs giving to his possible an occasion to embody
itself in the actual, he may live honoured, and die respected. There
is always, not the less, the danger of his real nature, or rather
unnature, breaking out in this way or that diabolical.

Although he went so little out of the house, and apparently never
beyond the grounds, he yet learned a good deal at times of things
going on in the neighbourhood: Davie brought him news; so did
Simmons; and now and then he would have an interview with his half
acknowledged relative, the factor.

One morning before he was up, he sent for Donal, and requested him
to give Davie a half-holiday, and do something for him instead.

"You know, or perhaps you don't know, that I have a house in the
town," he said, "--the only house, indeed, now belonging to the
earldom--a not very attractive house which you must have seen--on
the main street, a little before you come to the Morven Arms."

"I believe I know the house, my lord," answered Donal, "with strong
iron stanchions to the lower windows, and--?"

"Yes, that is the house; and I daresay you have heard the story of
it--I mean how it fell into its present disgrace! The thing happened
more than a hundred years ago. But I have spent some nights in it
myself notwithstanding."

"I should like to hear it, my lord," said Donal.

"You may as well have it from myself as from another! It does not
touch any of us, for the family was not then represented by the same
branch as now; I might else be thin-skinned about it. No mere
legend, mind you, but a very dreadful fact, which resulted in the
abandonment of the house! I think it time, for my part, that it
should be forgotten and the house let. It was before the castle and
the title parted company: that is a tale worth telling too! there
was little fair play in either! but I will not trouble you with it

"Into the generation then above ground," the earl began, assuming a
book-tone the instant he began to narrate, "by one of those freaks
of nature specially strange and more inexplicable than the rest, had
been born an original savage. You know that the old type, after so
many modifications have been wrought upon it, will sometimes
reappear in its ancient crudity amidst the latest development of the
race, animal and vegetable too, I suppose!--well, so it was now: I
use no figure of speech when I say that the apparition, the
phenomenon, was a savage. I do not mean that he was an exceptionally
rough man for his position, but for any position in the Scotland of
that age. No doubt he was regarded as a madman, and used as a
madman; but my opinion is the more philosophical--that, by an arrest
of development, into the middle of the ladies and gentlemen of the
family came a veritable savage, and one out of no darkest age of
history, but from beyond all record--out of the awful prehistoric

His lordship visibly and involuntarily shuddered, as at the memory
of something he had seen: into that region he had probably wandered
in his visions.

"He was a fierce and furious savage--worse than anything you can
imagine. The only sign of any influence of civilization upon him was
that he was cowed by the eye of his keeper. Never, except by rarest
chance, was he left alone and awake: no one could tell what he might
not do!

"He was of gigantic size, with coarse black hair--the brawniest
fellow and the ugliest, they say--for you may suppose my description
is but legendary: there is no portrait of him on our walls!--with a
huge, shapeless, cruel, greedy mouth,"--

As his lordship said the words, Donal, with involuntary insight, saw
both cruelty and greed in the mouth that spoke, though it was
neither huge nor shapeless.

--"lips hideously red and large, with the whitest teeth inside
them.--I give you the description," said his lordship, who evidently
lingered not without pleasure on the details of his recital, "just
as I used to hear it from my old nurse, who had been all her life in
the family, and had it from her mother who was in it at the
time.--His great passion, his keenest delight, was animal food. He
ate enormously--more, it was said, than three hearty men. An hour
after he had gorged himself, he was ready to gorge again. Roast meat
was his main delight, but he was fond of broth also.--He must have
been more like Mrs. Shelley's creation in Frankenstein than any
other. All the time I read that story, I had the vision of my
far-off cousin constantly before me, as I saw him in my mind's eye
when my nurse described him; and often I wondered whether Mrs.
Shelley could have heard of him.--In an earlier age and more
practical, they would have got rid of him by readier and more
thorough means, if only for shame of having brought such a being
into the world, but they sent him with his keeper, a little man with
a powerful eye, to that same house down in the town there: in an
altogether solitary place they could persuade no man to live with
him. At night he was always secured to his bed, otherwise his keeper
would not have had courage to sleep, for he was as cunning as he was
hideous. When he slept during the day, which he did frequently after
a meal, his attendant contented himself with locking his door, and
keeping his ears awake. At such times only did he venture to look on
the world: he would step just outside the street-door, but would
neither leave it, nor shut it behind him, lest the savage should
perhaps escape from his room, bar it, and set the house on fire.

"One beautiful Sunday morning, the brute, after a good breakfast,
had fallen asleep on his bed, and the keeper had gone down stairs,
and was standing in the street with the door open behind him. All
the people were at church, and the street was empty as a desert. He
stood there for some time, enjoying the sweet air and the scent of
the flowers, went in and got a light to his pipe, put coals on the
fire, saw that the hugh cauldron of broth which the cook had left in
his charge when he went to church--it was to serve for dinner and
supper both--was boiling beautifully, went back, and again took his

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