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know what a dangerous sign it is to give her you, a young lassie without a care, dwining confidence thus.
and mourning — and just look at me!" “ The night the sloop was lost,” said Ay, pretty Euphie, let her look at you — Agnes, speaking very low, and only with through her own wet eyelashes — through difficulty refraining from a burst of tears. her mist of unshed tears through the sud" late at night, when every creature was den caprice of renewed sorrow which comes sleeping, I saw a man's figure cross along the upon her like a cloud ; - let her look at you, shore. It was terrible bright moonlight, so independent in your wifely consequence, rich that I could see as clear as day, and the haill and proud in your honors of young mothertown was still, and no a whisper in the air ; hood, unquestioned in your daily doings, unbut I saw the figure moving, and heard the chidden in your frequent waywardness. And step, straight on - and now I mind it Agnes, lifting her head, looks and looks straight towards Kirstin Beatoun's door.' again, vaguely, yet with trouble in her eyes,
" The night the sloop was lost ?" said Comes it all of being married — of “having Colin — and then he added, with a gay burst a house of her ain” - this precious freeof laughter, “ Keep your heart, Nancy ; it was dom? For if is was so, poor little, unreasonnae appearance
it was me!" able, capricious Nancy could find it in her “You!” Agnes Raeburn suddenly turned heart to be married too. very pale, and recoiled from hi
For she is very unreasonable, and knows start.
it; and the knowledge only hurries those “I had seen my bonnie lassie just that day tears of vexation and weakness faster from - I mind it as weel as if it had been yes- her downcast eyes. She has nothing to comtreen - and I came east the shore at twelve plain of - nothing to object to in her dilligent o'clock at night to see the house she was in; and devoted suitor - nothing to urge against so you see it was your ain true sweetheart, the powerful arguments with which she feels Nancy, and naething to be feared for, after convinced her mother is about to plead his
Poor Agnes does not know what she Trembling and shivering, cold and pale, wants, nor what she would be at; is very Agnes began to cry quietly, with a hysterical well aware that Colin Hunter has distressed weakness, and turned to go home.
her sadly, and given her most unwitting of“ You 're do to be vexed now - I've said fence to-night, and yet would not by any naething to vex ye," said her suitor, hasten- means stop her tears if she were told that ing to press upon her a support from which Colin Hunter had satisfied himself with her she shrank. “I'll no fash ye the night ony past refusals, and would trouble her no more. mair, and, to let ye see how forbearing I am, Over all the more immediate chaos, the I'll no fash ye the morn; but after that, shadowy form of Patie Rintoul floats like a Nancy, I'll take naė mair naysays. Ye'll cloud ; and Agnes could break her heart to have to learn a good honest Yes, and make think that the visitation which has filled her me content ance for a'.”
with awe through all this twelvemonth was no visitation after all, and feels her face flush
over with vexation and anger to think how “It's nae use asking me where Nancy's she had been deceived. Patie Rintoul! Pabeen," said Mrs. Raeburn, with a little indig- tie Rintoul !-- were all the sights and sounds nation. “She's come that length now that, of that night vanity, and did nothing, after whaever she takes counsel with, it's never all, come to her from him ? And Agnes with her mother; and though I canna shut yearns and longs with a sick, fainting wonder, my een from seeing that she's come in a' to think that she had been deceived, and that shivering, and cauld, and white, like as she maybe he did not care for her after all. had ta’en a chill or seen a spirit, I canna Still she is shivering, trembling, pale and take upon me to say what 's the cause ; for cold, starting at sounds without, feeling her I 'm no in my bairn's favor sae far as to be heart leap and throb with unrensoning expecttellt what her trouble means.
ation! What is Agnes looking for? that “Oh mother!” Poor Agnes shrunk into Patie himself should rise, all chill and her corner by the fireside, and again fell into ghastly, from the dark caves of the sea, and a little quiet weeping, but made no other re- say, to satisfy her longing heart, the words ply.
he had no opportunity of saying in this " Nannie, woman, canna ye_keep up a world! But Agnes cannot tell what it is she heart!” exclaimed Euphie. * There is me, looks for! - cannot give any reason for her that is come through far mair trouble than emotion — feels her heart beating through all you ever kent, and had a house to keep, and its pulses with a hundred contradictions a man to fend for, no to speak of that we wishes and hopes and terrors which will not sinner”' — and the important young mother be reconciled to each other; and at last, as at shook her hand at little Johnnie, triumphant first, can do nothing but cry – cry like a on his grandmother 's knee. “ But there 's child, and refuse to be comforted !
“ Bless me, mother, what's come owre this “ Bless me, what for will ye no take him lassie ?" said Euphie, with some anxiety. then?” said Euphie with astonishment. “I'm sure I canna tell what to make of it, “ Because I'm no wanting him," said the unless she 's just petted like a bairn. Nan- capricious Agnes. nie, woman, canna ye haud up your head, Mother and daughter exchanged glances of and let folk ken what ails you ?"
marvelling impatience, and Mrs. Raeburn “ There 's naething ails' me,” said Agnes, shook her head, and lifted up her hands; but with a new flow of tears ; “if folk would just Agnes dried her tears, and, rising from her let me alane."
corner, went about some piece of household " What ails ye to take young Colin Hunter, business. She had no desire to suffer further then, when ye 're so set on your
?"catechizing. interposed Mrs. Raeburn. " The lad's clean “ But I wouldna aggravate her, mother, if carried, and canna see the daylight for ye; I was you,” said the astute Euphie," with and as lang as he is that infatúre, he wouldna saying she 'll get naebody else, for that 'll do be like to cross your pleasure; and if you naething but set a' her pride up to try; and were in
your ain house, ye might have twenty I wouldna tempt her into contradiction with humors in a day, and naebody have ony right praising him : far better to misca' him, to speer a wherefore
- no to speak of a grand mother, till she wearies and takes his part ; house like the Girnel, and weel-stockit byres, and she's no sae sweard to do that as it is. and a riding-horso, and maids to serve ye I dinna ken if I ever would have set my mind hand and fit. It 's a miracle to me what the even on our John, if ye hadna gi’en him such lassie would be at! And ye may just be sure an ill word when he came first about the of this, Nannie, that you 'll never get such house." another offer, if ye lose this one."
“ Ye might have done far better, Euphie,” “I'm no heeding,” said Agnes, speaking said Mrs. Raeburn with a sigh.When I low, and with a shadow of sullenness. consider what like a lassie ye was, and mind
“My patience! hear her how she faces of him coming here first - nae mair like a me!" exclaimed the incensed mother. “If wooer than auld Tammas Mearns is. But I were Colin Hunter, I would take ye at your it's nae use speaking, and ye 're a wiiful race, word, and never look again the road ye were the haill generation of ye; and ane canna on; and I'm sure it's my hope nae decent lad undo what 's done, and you 're wonderful weel will ever be beguiled again to put himself in pleased with your bargain, Euphie. your power. I wash my hands o't. Ye may “I have occasion,” said John Rintoul's gang to Kirstin Beatoun
or to your sister wife, drawing herself up. “ But if you 'll Euphie there, that belongs to the name of take my word, mother for I mind by mysel Rintoul as well; for I 'll hae nae mair to do ye 'll no take young Colin Hunter's part ony wi' an unthankful creature, that winna have mair, but misca' him with a' your heart, guid counsel when it is offered, and casts every single thing he does; and you 'll just away her guid chances out of clean contra- see if it doesna set Nannie, afore the week's diction. Just you bide a wee, my woman ; out, that she 'll never look anither airt, but ye 'll be thankful to take up wi’ the crooked- straight to the Girnel.” est stick in the wood before a 's done."
How Mrs. Raeburn profited by her daugh“ Before I took up with our John,” said ter's sage advice Euphie could not linger to Euphie, interposing with some authority,“ ye see, for just then John himself entered to said that to me, mother, every lad that caine convoy his wife home. He had been with to the house ; but for a' that, I suppose nae- his mother, and John's face was very grave body can deny that I've done very weel, and and sad. gotten as guid a man as is in a' the Elie, and Catching a glimpse of it as she bade them no crook about him, either in the body or in good night, the veil fell again over the imthe disposition. I'll no say, though, but that pressible, visionary mind of Agnes Raethe Girnel would be a grand downsitting for burn. Deep, settled, unbroken melancholy Nancy, if she hadna that great objections to always moved her strangely, as indeed every the lad. I think he's a gey decent lad my- other real and sincere mood did. Immediately sel, and no that ill to look upon. What gars there sprang up, among all her bewildering ye have such an ill opinion of him, Nan- thoughts, a hundred guesses and surmises 28 nie?"
to what might be then passing in the mind “I've nae ill opinion of him ; I ken nae- of John Rintoul ; and from John Rintoul her body that has,” said Agnes, with a little fancy wandered again to Patie, vividly recall. spirit — not perfectly satisfied, indifferent as ing every scene and incident of the fatal she was, to hear her own especial property so night. If Mrs. Raeburn had been minded cavalierly treated. “ He's just as guid as to put in instant operation the questionable other folk, and better-looking than soie ; and plan of Euphie, she would have succeeded ill I see nae reason onybody bas to speak of him to-night; but as the mother and daughter disdainfully."
sat alone together, it soon became quite suffi
cient employment for one of them to comment gave her the appearance of its daily praobitterly on the absence — a thing invariable tice. and certain - of Samuel Raeburn at his fa All the day through, agnes was silent, vorite “public;" while the other sat motion- responding only in faint monosyllables to her less at her seam, living over again the dreary mother's attempts at conversation. In the night which seemed to have become a lasting forenoon Mrs. Raeburn was fortunately occuinfluence, shadowing her very life. pied, and not much inclined to talk; the
afternoon she spent with Euphic; and thus CHAPTER XIII.
through all those long, still, sunshiny hours, “ He wasna to fash me last night, and he Agnes sat alone with the clock and the wasna to fash me the day.”. Agnes Raeburn cat and the kitten, demurely sewing, and awoke with these words in her mind; and a with a face full of brooding thoughtfulness. sense of relief, like a respite from condemna- But in spite of this opportunity for deliberation, in her heart.
tion, Agnes Raeburn was by no means And gradually, as the day went on, a de tempted to forestall her own fixed period for gree of strange excitement rose and increased the final decision - it was so much easier to in the sensitive heart of Agnes: unconsciously, let her mind glide away as usual into those as she went about all her daily homely duties, long wanderings of reverie than to fix it to she found herself looking forward to the even- the question, momentous as tha was. Poor ing as to an era — an hour of mark and note Agnes! it was to be a very reasonable decision, in her life. She had dedicated it to thought wise and sensible ; and reason, after all, was - to careful consultation with herself what so much out of her way. she should do; and only one so full of wan Samuel Raeburn has taken his tea, and dering fancies, yet so entirely unaccustomed again gone out to his usual evening's sederunt to deliberate thinking, could realize what a in the little sanded parlor of Mrs. Browest's solemn state and importance endued the hour public;" and now Agnes may make up the sacred to this grave premeditated exercise of fire and finally sweep the hearth, and put her reflective powers. Very true, she could away the cups and saucers, that her mother have accomplished this piece of thought quite may find no reprovable neglect if she comes well in her own little chamber, or even in the earliest home. But Agnes cannot tell what common family apartment, as she sat over the feeling is which prompts her to take out her sewing through all the long afternoon ; of the drawer the new camel's-bair shawl yet Agnes put off the operation, and appro- which has kept her in comfort all these winter priated to it, with extreme solemnity, a be- Sabbaths, and to put on the beaver hat, coming place and time. The place, from saucily looped up at one side, and magnificent some vague superstition which she did not with its gray feather, which no one has ever care to explain to herself, was the little cove seen her wear on “an every-day” before. upon the shore where John Rintoul found the What Mrs. Raeburn would say to this display fragment of the wreck. The time, the last is rather a serious question, and Agnes ashour of daylight, when she could leave her sumes the unusual bravery with a flutter at work unobserved ---- for Agnes did not care to her heart. visit the fated spot at night.
It still wants half an hour of sunset; and Now Agnes Raeburn all her life had borne Inchkeith throws a cold lengthened shadow, the character of thoughtfulness. Childhood enviously shutting out the water, which throbs and girlhood had added to her honors“; — "a impatiently under these dark lines of his, from thoughtful lassie” was her common repute the last looks of the sun. Black, too, in its among her neighbors; and no one, except contrast with the light, the nearer side of Agnes herself, had ever learned to suspect Inchkeith himself frowns with misanthropio that serious thought, after all, and everything gloom upon the brightened sands and glorified like deliberation or reflection, were things brow of Largo Law. A little white yacht, unknown, and almost impossible to her mind. bound for some of the smaller ports high up Powers of sympathy in such constant use and the Firth, where the quiet current only calls exercise, that the careless momentary mood of itself a river — just now shooting out of the another was enough to suggest, to Agnes' shadow, reels, as you can fancy, dazzled and impulsive spirit, states of feeling utterly giddy, under the sudden canonization which unknown to their chance originators — an throws a halo over all its shapely sails and imagination ever ready to fill with vivid spars ; and passing fisher-boats hail each other scenery and actors the vacant air, whereon with lengthened cries — only rustic badinage her mind, passive itself and still, was content and homely wit, if you heard them close at to look for hours — with a strong power of hand – but stealing with a strange half-pafancy, and a nature sensitive to every touch, thetic cadence over the distant water. Ashore were qualities which wrapped her in long and here, through the quiet rural high-road, the frequent musings, but disabled her almost as kye, with long shadows stalking after them, much for any real exercise of mind as they go soberly home from the rich clover-fields
that skirt the public road. And quite another the rising line of water now a glistening cadence, though even to it the distance lends group of sea-birds going home at nightfall to a strange charm of melancholy, have the voices their waiting, households on the May - now of the little herds and serving-maidens who a rustle of wind, or of a passing insect, soft call the cattle hoine.
among the grass whatever it is, constantly The tide is back, and all the beach glis- it is something; and Agnes sees the sky tens with little pools, each reflecting bravely darken, and all the light fade away in the its independent sunset. This larger basin, west, but her thinking has still failed to come which you might call the fairies' bath, has to a beginning, while the end looks hours or nearly lost the long withdrawing line of light years away. which only touches its eastern edge as with Just then a footstep, almost close upon a rim of gold — and the sun is gliding off the her, startles her. She has been so absorbed prominent fold of the brae, though it droops by all these passing fancies, that not the as if the weight of wealth were almost too deepest abstraction of philosophic thought much for the sweet atmosphere which bears could have made her more entirely unaware it, glowing in ruddy yellow glory, over the of this step in the distance, though for some sea-side turf. The gowans, like the birds, time it has been advancing steadily on. have laid their heads under their wing, and Turning suddenly round, she sees between the evening dews begin to glisten on the her and the pale clear light of the eastern grass the soft, short, velvet grass on which sky a dark figure in a sailor's dress. Her Agnes thinks she can almost trace the outline heart beat a little quicker with the surprise, still of the rude fragment, chronicle of death and her whole appearance, shyly drawing and fatal violence, which crushed the gowans back on her seat, with one hand fallen by her down, and oppressed the peaceful stillness, side, and the other leaning just as it had supon yon bright March morning, past a twelve-ported her hastily-lifted cheek on her knee, month and a day.
is of one suddenly started out of a dream. It A bit of yellow rock projecting from the is some minutes before she raises her eyes to rich herbage of the brae, and overtopped by a the face which now looks down wistfully little mound, like a cap, all waving and tuft- upon her ; but when she does so, the effect ed over with brainbles and upright plumes of is instantaneous. A sudden shiver running hawthorn, serves her for a seat — and Agnes through every vein - a backward crouch into composes herself solemnly, puts one small the very rock, as if there would be protection foot upon a little velvet hassock of turf, em- even in the touch of something earthly and bossed upon the pebbly saud, and, stooping palpable - a deadly paleness, leaving her her face to the support of both her hands, face — lips, and cheeks, and all — ashen gray looks far away into the distance, and begins like extreme age — a long, shuddering gasp her momentous deliberation. What is it so of breath, and eyes dilated, intense-shining soon that catches the dreamy eye, only too out upon the stranger in a very agony. The fully awake to every passing sight, though it stranger stands before her, as suddenly arputs on such a haze of thoughtfulness ? Noth-rested as she had been, and, crying : Nancy, ing but a long tuft of wiry grass waving out Nancy!" with a voice which rings into her of a little hollow on the top of the nearest heart like a dread adınonition, waits, all rock, with a forlorn complaining motion, as if trembling with suppressed joy and eagerness, it would fain look on something else than to receive some word of greeting. these waving lines of water, and fain escape “I've done you no wrong - I've done you the dangerous vicinity which sometimes no wrong!” gasps out at last, a broken, incrushes with salt and heavy spray, instead of terrupted voice. 6. If there 's vision given ye genial de wdrops, its glittering sharp blades. yonder to see what's done on enrth, ye might Agnes muses, in ber unconscious reverie, and see folks hearts as well ; and though you her thinking has not yet begun.
never said a word to me in this life, I've Waking up with a sudden start, she thought of none forby yoursel — never, never, changes her attitude a little, lets one hand though I did let Colin Hunter come after me; fall by her side, and rests her cheek on the and whatever you are now, oh, man! have other, before she makes another beginning. mind of folks mortal weakness, and dinna What now?
A glittering bit of ystal in look at me with such dreadful een, Patie Rinthe rock which the sun gets note of just as toul!" be is gliding from the point, and, having Nancy!” — still he could say nothing but little time to spare, uses what he has with this. such effect, that the eyes of the looker-on are “ I thought it was you the night the sloop half-blinded with the sparkling commotion. was lost — I thought you couldna leave this Ah dreamy, wandering, gentle eyes! how life, and no let me ken ; and I could bear to easy it is to charm them out of the abstraction think it was you then, for all my heart fainted, which they feign would assume!
baith with sorrow and fear; but I've done Now it is the flash and soft undulation of | naething to call you up with thue upbraiding
een, and I daurna look at ye now-I daurna takes an instant now to subdue her trembling look at ye now, and you been twelve months - the thought has strengthened her : “Eh, and mair at the bottom of the sea!"
Patie, your mother !-- her heart will break He made no answer, and Agnes dared not for joy." rise with her fainting, faltering limbs, to flee * But I come again my lane," said Patie from the imagined spectre. The cold dew sadly. "What wasna true for me, was true had gathered in great beads upon her brow - for my father, Nancy. I was washed off the her hands rose, all trembling and unsteady, deck of the sloop, and some way fought to cover her eyes, and shut out the face whose through the water till I got to a rock ; but fixed look afflicted her almost to madness; the auld man went down in her before my but the weak, hesitating arms fell again - very een, and that 'll be little comfort to my she could not withdraw her intense and ter- mother." rified gaze – could not turn away her fascin “ It 'll be comfort enough to see you, ated eyes from his.
Patie,” said Agnes quietly ; " let me slip in The steady figure before her moved a little before and warn her. I've heard of joy kill- the strong, broad breast began to heave ing folk —and come you in quiet, and speak and swell — and sobs, human sobs, reluctant to naebody, by the back of the town." and irrestrainable, broke upon the quiet It was the best arrangement, and Patie echoes. Then he leant over her, closer to reluctantly suffered his companion to leave her, shadowing the little nook she crouched him as they reached the outskirts of the little into ; and warm, human breath, upon her town. It was so dark now that the stranger brow, revived like a cordial her almost fainted was safe, and had little chance of being recheart. “I'm nae spirit - I've gotten hame, ognized. Nancy - I’m Patie Rintoul!" Patie Rintoul ! A succession of strong
CHAPTER XIV. shudderings, almost convulsive, come upon Forgetting entirely the exhaustion of her the relaxing form of Agnes ; she is looking at own late agitation; forgetting the usual eshim now with straining eyes, with lips parted treme decorum and gravity of her demeanor ; by quick, eager breath, with a face which, forgetting herself altogether, indeed, and even gradually flushing over, is now of the deepest forgetting her own somewhat embarrassing crimson. Patie Rintoul ! and superstition and share in the joy which she goes to intimate, terror and doubt disappear into a sudden pas- Agnes Raeburn passes, running, along Elie sion of shame and humiliation; for Agnes shore. The gossips have almost all withhas told unasked a secret which the living drawn from the open door to the warm firePatie might have begged for on his knees in side, as more suitable to this chill March vain; and now it is impossible even to hope evening, but still there are loungers enough that spirit or “appearance” could assume to get up a rather lively report of the sudden this bronzed, manly sailor face — this dress illness of little Johnnie Rintoul, confidently so indisputably real — these strong travelling vouched for by two or three who have seen shoes, clouted by hands of human cobbler, Nancy Raeburn flying at full speed “west and soiled by dust of veritable roadways; the toun" to bring the doctor. Nancy Raeand, burying her face in her hands, which burn, quite unconscious, careless and anobstill cannot conceal the burning flush under servant of who sees her, runs without a pause them, Agnes owns her error by faltering forth, to Kirstin Beatoun's door. in utter dismay and helplessness, “ Patie, I It is time for Kirstin Beatoun to go to her wasna meaning you!"
early rest : poor heart! there are no houseBut the generous Patie will not take advan- hold duties to keep her now from the kind, tage of his triumph. For a single moment oblivious sleep whích helps her for an hour or the little cove is startled by a sound of waver-two to forget her grief. "Pausing reverently ing laughter - laughter that speaks a mo- at the window, Agnes can see dimly through mentary ebullition of joy, greatly akin to the curtain and the thick panes a solitary tears -- and then, with a certain quiet au- figure sitting by the little fire, the faint lamp thority, the stranger draws the hands from burning high above her, an open book in her the hidden face, and half lifts the trembling lap, and by her side, upon the little table, Agnes from her seat. “I'll ask you anither a cup of weak, oft-watered tea, Kirstin's sole day what you mean," said the magnanimous cordial. In the old times the fire used to be Patie; “now I'm content just to be beside the household light here, casting all official ye again; but I'm just on my road to the lamps into obscurity ; but now the little red town - I've seen nane of our ain folk yet-glow of its much-diminished contents add no and, Nancy, ye must take me hame to my cheerfulness to the melancholy dim apartmother."
ment, while the projecting ledge of the manAnd in a moment there flows upon her telpiece, by which the lamp hangs, throws a sympathetic heart the blessedness of Kirstin deep shadow upon the hearth. The door is Beatoun receiving back her son. It scarcely shut, but Agnes, breathless and excited in