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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Elect Lady - Chapter 35. After The Verdict
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The Elect Lady - Chapter 35. After The Verdict Post by :rmcsh1 Category :Long Stories Author :George Macdonald Date :May 2012 Read :1007

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The Elect Lady - Chapter 35. After The Verdict

CHAPTER XXXV. AFTER THE VERDICT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Will you please to forget, Andrew?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yes, ma'am."

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

"We shall manage."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Thank you, ma'am."

"Why should you thank me?"

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

"They don't know better!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Already Alexa's pain had grown quite bearable.

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

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

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

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

"Suppose he was nowhere, Dawtie?"

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

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

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

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

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