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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWarlock O' Glenwarlock: A Homely Romance - Chapter 16. Through The Day
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Warlock O' Glenwarlock: A Homely Romance - Chapter 16. Through The Day Post by :AdrianMansilla Category :Long Stories Author :George Macdonald Date :May 2012 Read :3418

Click below to download : Warlock O' Glenwarlock: A Homely Romance - Chapter 16. Through The Day (Format : PDF)

Warlock O' Glenwarlock: A Homely Romance - Chapter 16. Through The Day

CHAPTER XVI. THROUGH THE DAY

It was a glorious morning. The wind had fallen quite, and the sun was shining as if he would say, "Keep up your hearts; I am up here still. I have not forgotten you. By and by you shall see more of me." But Nature lay dead, with a great white sheet cast over face and form. Not dead?--Just as much dead as ever was man, save for the inner death with which he kills himself, and which she cannot die. It is only to the eyes of his neighbours that the just man dies: to himself, and to those on the other side, he does not die, but is born instead: "He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die." But the poor old lord felt the approaching dank and cold of the sepulchre as the end of all things to him--if indeed he would be permitted to lie there, and not have to get up and go to worse quarters still.

"I am sorry to have to tell you, my lord," said the laird, re-entering, "that both our roads and your horses are in such a state that it is impossible you should proceed today."

His guest turned white through all the discoloration of his countenance. His very soul grew too white to swear. He stood silent, his pendulous under lip trembling.

"Though the wind fell last night," resumed the laird, "the snow came on again before the morning, and it seems impossible you should get through. To attempt it would be to run no small risk of your lives."

"Joan," said Lord Mergwain, "go and tell the rascal to put the horses to."

Lady Joan rose at once, took her shawl, put it over her head, and went. Cosmo ran to open the door for her. The laird looked on, and said not a word: the headstrong old man would find the thing could not be done!

"Will you come and find the coachman for me, Cosmo?" said Lady Joan when they reached the door--with a flash of her white teeth and her dark eyes that bewitched the boy. Then first, in the morning light, and the brilliance of the snow-glare, he saw that she was beautiful. When the shadows were dark about her, the darkness of her complexion obscured itself; against the white sheen she stood out darkly radiant. Specially he noted the long eyelashes that made a softening twilight round the low horizon-like luminousness of her eyes.

Through the deep snow between the kitchen and the stable, were none but his father's footsteps. He cast a glance at her small feet, daintily shod in little more than sandals: she could not put down one of them anywhere without sinking beyond her ankle!

"My lady," he said, "you'll get your feet soaking wet! They're so small, they'll just dibble the snow! Please ask your papa if I mayn't go and give his message. It will do just as well."

"I must go myself," she answered. "Sometimes he will trust nobody but me."

"Stop then a moment," said Cosmo. "Just come to the drawing-room. I won't keep you more than two minutes. The path there, you see, is pretty well trodden."

He led the way, and she followed.

The fire was alight, and burning well; for Grizzie, foreseeing how it must be, and determined she would not have strangers in the kitchen all day, had lighted it early. Lady Joan walked straight to it, and dropped, with a little shiver, into a chair beside it. To Cosmo the sight of the blaze brought a strange delight, like the discover of a new loveliness in an old friend. To Lady Joan the room looked old--fashioned dreariness itself, to Cosmo an ancient marvel, ever fresh.

He left her, and ran to his own room, whence presently he returned with a pair of thick woollen stockings, knitted in green and red by the hands of his grandmother. These he carried to Lady Joan, where she sat on the low chair, and kneeling before her, began, without apology or explanation, to draw one of them over the dainty foot placed on the top of the other in front of the fire. She gave a little start, and half withdrew her foot; then looking down at the kneeling figure of service before her, recognized at once the utterly honest and self-forgetful earnestness of the boy, and submitted. Carefully he drew the stockings on, and she neither opposed nor assisted him. When he had done, he looked up in her face with an expression that seemed to say--"There now! can't I do it properly?" but did not speak. She thanked him, rose, and went out, and Cosmo conducted her to the stable, where he heard the coachman, as she called him, not much better than a stable-boy, whistling. She gave him her father's order. . .

(Illustration: "COSMO CONDUCTED HER TO THE STABLE.")

The lad stared with open mouth, and pointed toone of the stalls. There stood an utterly wretched horse, swathed in a cloth, with his head hanging down, heedless of the food before him. It was clear no hope lay there. She turned and looked at Cosmo.

"The better for us, my lady!" replied Cosmo to her look; "we shall have your beautiful eyes the longer! They were lost in the dark last night, because they are made out of it, but now we see them, we don't want to part with them."

She looked at him and smiled, saying to herself the boy would be dangerous by and by, and together they went back to the kitchen, where since they left not a word had been spoken. Grizzle was removing the breakfast things; Lord Mergwain was seated by the fire, staring into it; and the laird had got his Journal of George Fox, and was reading diligently: when nothing was to be done, the deeper mind of the laird grew immediately active.

When Lady Joan entered, her father sat up straight in his chair: he expected opposition!

"One of the horses, my lord, is quite unfit," she said.

"Then, by my soul! we'll start with the other," he replied, in a tone that sounded defiance to heaven or earth or whatever said him nay.

"As your lordship pleases," returned Joan.

"My lord," said the laird, lowering his book to his knee, "if I thought four cart-horses would pull you through to Howglen to-night, you should have them; but you would simply stick fast, horses and all, in the snow-wreaths."

The old man uttered an exclamation with an awful solemnity, and said no more, but collapsed, and sat huddled up, staring into the fire.

"You must just make the best of your quarters here; they are entirely at your service, my lord," said the laird. "We shall not starve. There are sheep on the place, pigs and poultry, and plenty of oatmeal, though very little flour. There is milk too--and a little wine, and I think we shall do well enough."

Lord Mergwain made no answer, but in his silence seemed to be making up his mind to the ineludible.

"Have you any more of that claret?" he asked.

"Not much, I am sorry to say," answered the laird, "but it is your lordship's while it lasts."

"If this lasts, I shall drink your cellar dry," rejoined his lordship with a feeble grin. "I may as well make a clean breast of it. From my childhood I have never known what it was not to be thirsty. I believe thirst to be the one unfailing birth-mark of the family. I was what the methodists call a drunkard before I was born. My father died of drink. So did my grandfather. You must have some pity on me, if I should want more than seems reasonable. The only faculty ever cultivated in our strain was drinking, and I am sorry to say it has not been brought to perfection yet. Perfection is to get drunk and never know it; but I have bad dreams, sir! I have bad dreams! And the worst of it is, if once I have a bad dream, I am sure to have it again; and if it come first in a strange place, it will come every night until I leave that place. I had a very bad one last night, as you know. I grant it came because I drank too much yesterday, but that won't keep it from coming again to-night."

He started to his feet, the muscles of his face working frightfully.

"Send for your horses, Mr. Warlock," he cried. "Have them put to at once. Four of them, you said. At once--at once! Out of this I must go. If it be to--itself, go I must and will."

"My lord," said the laird, "I cannot send you from my house in this weather. As my guest, I am bound to do my best for you; especially as I understand the country, and you do not. I said you should have my horses if I thought they could take you through, but I do not think it. Besides, the change, in my judgment, is a deceitful one, and this night may be worse than the last. Poor as your accommodation is, it is better than the open road between this and Howglen; though, doubtless, before to-morrow morning you would be snug in the heart of a snow--wreath."

"Look here, sir," said Lord Mergwain, and rising, he went up to the laird, and laid his hand on his shoulder; "if I stop, will you give me another room, and promise to share it with me to-night? I am aware it is an odd request to make, but, as I tell you, we have been drinking for generations, and my nerves are the worse for it. It's rather hard that the sins of the fathers should be visited on the children! Before God, I have enough to do with my own, let alone my fathers'! Every one should bear his own burden. I can't bear mine. If I could, it's not much my fathers' would trouble me!"

"My lord, I will do anything I can for you--anything but consent to your leaving Castle Warlock to-day."

"You will spend the night with me then?"

"I will."

"But not in that room, you know."

"Anywhere you please in the house, my lord, except my mother's room."

"Then I'll stop.--Joan, you may amuse yourself; we are not going till to-morrow."

The laird smiled; he could not flatter himself with the hope of so speedy a departure. Joan turned to Cosmo.

"Will you take me about the place?" she said.

"If you mean in-doors," interposed the laird. "It is a curious old house, and might interest you a little."

"I should like nothing better. May I go with Cosmo?"

"Certainly: he will be delighted to attend your ladyship.--Here are the keys of the cabinets in the drawing-room, Cosmo. Her ladyship may like to look at some of their contents."

"I hardly know enough about them," returned Cosmo. "Won't you come yourself, father, and show them to us?"

It was the first time the boy used the appellation.

"If they are not worth looking at in themselves, the facts about them cannot be of much consequence, my boy," answered the laird.

He was unwilling to leave Lord Mergwain. Lady Joan and Cosmo went without him.

"Perhaps we may follow you by and by," said the laird.

"Is the place very old, Cosmo?" asked Lady Joan on their way.

"Nobody knows how old the oldest part of it is," answered Cosmo, "though dates are assigned to the most of what you will see to-day. But you must ask my father; I do not know much of the history of it. I know the place itself, though, as well as he does. I fancy I know nearly every visible stone of it."

"You are very fond of it, then?"

"There never could be any place like it to me, my lady. I know it is not very beautiful, but I love it none the less for that. I sometimes think I love it the more for its ruggedness--ugliness, if you please to call it so. If my mother had not been beautiful, I should love her all the same."--"and think there wasn't anybody like her," he was going to add, but checked himself, remembering that of course there was not.

Arrived in the drawing-room, whither Cosmo led her first, Lady Joan took her former place by the fire, and sat staring into it. She did not know what to make of what she saw and heard. How COULD people be happy, she thought, in such a dreary, cold, wretched country, with such poverty-stricken home-surroundings, and nothing to amuse them from one week's end to another? Yet they seemed to be happy to a degree she knew nothing of! For alas, her home was far from a blessed one; and as she had no fountain open in herself, but looked entirely to foreign supply for her life-necessities, and as such never can be so supplied, her life was not a flourishing one.

There are souls innumerable in the world, as dry as the Sahara desert--souls which, when they look most gay and summer-like, are only flaunting the flowers gathered from other people's gardens, stuck without roots into their own unproducing soil. Oh, the dreariness, the sandy sadness of such poor arid souls! They are hungry, and eat husks; they are thirsty, and drink hot wine; their sleep is a stupor, and their life, if not an unrest, then a yielded decay. Only when praised or admired do they feel as if they lived! But Joan was not yet of such. She had had too much discomfort to have entered yet into their number. There was water not yet far from the surface of her consciousness.

With no little pleasure and some pride, Cosmo proceeded to take the family treasures from their shelves; but, alas! most of them were common to the eyes of one who also had a family and a history, lived in a much larger, if not half so old a house, and had had amongst her ancestors more than one with a liking for antiquities, oddities, and bibelots. Lady Joan regarded them listlessly, willing to seem to attend to the boy, but, with her thoughts far away, while now and then she turned a weary gaze towards the next window: all she saw thence was a great, mounded country, dreary as sunshine and white cold could make it. Storm, driving endless whirls of spectral snow, would have been less dreary to her than the smiling of this cold antagonism. It was a picture of her own life. Evil greater than she knew had spread a winter around her. If her father suffered for the sins of his fathers, she suffered for his, and had for them to dwell in desolation and loneliness.

One thing after another Cosmo brought her, but none of them seemed much to interest her. She knew the sort of most of them.

"This is said to be solid silver," he remarked, as he laid on a chair beside her a curious little statuette of a horse, trapped and decorated in Indian graving, and having its whole surface covered with an involved and rich ornamental design. Its eyes were, or seemed to be rubies, and saddle and bridle and housing were studded with small gems. There was little merit in the art of it beyond the engraving, but Cosmo saw the eyes of the lady fixed upon it, with a strange look in them.

"That is the only thing they say the old captain ever gave his brother, my great-grand-father," said Cosmo. "But I beg your pardon," he added, "I have never told you the story of the old captain!"

The boy already felt as if he had known their guest of a night for years; the hearts of the young are divinely hospitable, which is one of the things that make children the SUCH of the kingdom of heaven.

Lady Joan took the horse in her hand, and looked at it more closely.

"It is very heavy!" she remarked.

"It is said to be solid silver," repeated Cosmo.

She laid it down, and put her hand to her forehead, but said nothing.

They heard the steps and voices of the two gentlemen ascending the stair. Lady Joan caught up the horse, rose hastily, and holding it out to Cosmo, said,

"Quick! quick! put it away. Don't let my father see it."

Cosmo cast on her one look of surprise, and obeyed at once, restored it to its place, and had just closed the doors of the cabinet, when Lord Mergwain and his father entered the room.

They, were a peculiar-looking pair--Lord Mergwain in antiquated dress, not a little worn, and neither very clean nor in very good condition--a snuffy, dilapidated, miserable, feeble old man, with a carriage where doubt seemed rooted in apprehension, every other moment casting about him a glance of enquiry, as if an evil spirit came running to the mouth of his eye-caves, looked out, and retreated; and the laird behind him, a head higher, crowned with his red night-cap, and dressed as I have already described, looking older than his years, but bearing on his face the repose of discomfort accepted, his eye keen and clear, and, when turned on his guest, filled with compassion rather than hospitality. He was walking more erect than usual, either in recognition of the lady's presence, or from a feeling of protection towards her father.

"Now, my lord," he said, as they advanced from the door, "we will set you in a warm corner by the fire, and you must make the best of it. We can't have things all as we should like them. That is not what the world was made for."

His lordship returned him no answer, but threw a queer look from under his black wig--a look of superior knowledge--of the wisdom of this world.

"You are an old fool," it said; "but you are master here! Ah! how little you know!"

He walked tottering to the fire where Cosmo had already set for him a chair. Something in the look of it displeased him. He glanced round the room.

"Fetch me that chair, my boy," he said, not unkindly, and Cosmo hastened to substitute the one he indicated. The laird placed a tall screen behind it. His lordship dropped into the chair, and began to rub his knees with his hands, and gaze into the fire. Lady Joan rearranged her skirts, and for a moment the little circle looked as if each was about to settle down to some mild enjoyment of the others. Cosmo drew a chair as near Lady Joan as he judged politeness would permit. The laird made up the fire, and turned away, saying he must go and see the sick horse.

"Mr. Warlock!" said Lord Mergwain, and spoke with a snarl, "you will not deprive us of the only pleasure we have--that of your company?"

"I shall be back in a few minutes, my lord," replied his host; and added, "I must see about lunch too."

"That was wonderful claret!" said his lordship, thoughtfully.

"I shall see to the claret, my lord."

"If I MIGHT suggest, let it be brought here. A gentle airing under my own eye, just an introduction to the fire, would improve what is otherwise perfect.--And look here," he added, as, with a kindly bow of assent, the laird was going, "--you haven't got a pack of cards, have you?"

"I believe there is a pack somewhere in the house," replied the laird, "but it is very old, and I fear too much soiled for your lordship's hands."

"Oh, confound the dirt!" said his lordship. "Let us have them. They're the only thing to make the time pass."

"Have you a library?" asked Lady Joan--mainly to say something, for she was not particularly fond of books; like most people she had not yet learned to read.

"What do you want with a library?" growled her father. "Books are nothing but a pack of lies, not half so good for killing time as a pack of cards. You're going to play a rubber, not to read books!"

"With pleasure, papa," responded Lady Joan.

"_I don't want to kill the time. I should like to keep it alive for ever," said Cosmo, with a worshipping look at the beautiful lady--a summer-bird of heaven that had strayed into their lonely winter.

"Hold your tongue; you are an idiot!" said his lordship angrily. "--Old and young," he went on, unaware of utterance, "the breed is idiotic. 'Tis time it were played out."

Cosmo's eyes flashed. But the rudesby was too old to be served as he had served the schoolmaster! He was their guest too, and the father of the lady by his side!

The hand of the lady stole to his, and patting it gently, said, as plainly as if it had been her mouth, "Don't mind him; he is an old man, and does not know what he is saying." He looked up in her face, and his anger was gone.

"Come with me," he said, rising; "I will show you what books we have. There may be one you would like another time. We shall be back before the cards come."

"Joan!" cried her father, "sit still."

She glanced an appeal for consideration to Cosmo, and did not move. Cosmo sat down again. A few minutes passed in silence. Father and daughter stared into the fire. So did Cosmo. But into what different three worlds did the fire stare! The old man rose and went to the window.

"I MUST get away from this abominable place," he said, "if it cost me my life."

He looked out and shuddered. The world seemed impassable as a dead world on which the foot of the living could take no hold, could measure no distance, make no progress. Not a print of man or of beast was visible. It was like a world not yet discovered.

"I am tied to the stake; I hear the fire roaring!" he muttered. "My fate has found me--caught me like a rat, and is going to make an end of me! In my time nobody believed such things! Now they seem to be coming into fashion again!"

Whoever would represent what is passing in a mind, must say more than the man himself knows how to say.

The laird re-entered.

"Well, have you brought the cards?" said Lord Mergwain, turning from the window.

"I have, my lord. I am sorry it is such a poor pack, but we never play.--I think, Cosmo, you had better come with me."

"Hold you, laird, we're going to have a rubber!"

"Cosmo does not understand the game."

"I will teach him," said Lady Joan. "He shall be live dummy for a few rounds; that will be enough."

"My lord will not care to play for counters," persisted the laird, "and we cannot play for money."

"I don't care what the points are," said Lord Mergwain, "--sixpence, if you like--so long as it is money. None but a fool cares for victory where nothing is to be got by it."

"I am sorry to disappoint your lordship," returned the laird, "but play for money neither my son nor myself will. But perhaps you would like a game of draughts, or backgammon?"

"Will you bet on the game or the gammon?"

"On nothing, my lord."

"Oh, confound you!"

He turned again and went to the window.

"This is frightful!" he said to himself. "Nothing whatever to help one to forget! If the day goes on like this, I shall out with everything.--Maybe I had better!--How the clodpoles would stare! I believe I should laugh in the middle of it.--And that fellow lurking somewhere all the time about the place, watching his chance when the night comes!--It's horrible. I shall go mad!" This last he spoke aloud.

"Papa!" said his daughter sharply.

Lord Mergwain started, and looked troubled. What he might have uttered, he could not tell.

"A rubber, then," he said, approaching the fire again, "--on any terms, or no terms at all!"

He took up the cards.

"Ha, there's blood on them," he cried, and dashing them on the table, turned once more to the window.

He was like a bird in a cage that knows he cannot get out, and yet keeps trying, as if he dared not admit the impossibility. Twenty times that morning he went to the window, saying, "I must get out of this!" and returned again to his seat by the fire. The laird had removed the pack, and he said nothing more about a rubber. Lady Joan tried to talk, and Cosmo did his best to amuse her. The laird did his endeavour with his lordship, but with small success. And so the morning crept away. It might have been a pleasant one to the rest, but for the caged lord's misery. At last came Grizzie.

"Sir, an' my lord," she said, "come ye doon the stair. The kail's het, an' the cheirs is set, an' yer denner's waitin' ye there."

It may have been already observed, that to Grizzie came not unfrequently an odd way of riming what she said. She was unaware of this peculiarity. The suggestion of sound by sound was as hidden from her as it was deep-seated in her and strong. And this was not all: the riming might have passed unperceived by others too, but for the accompanying tendency to rhythm as well. Nor was this by any means all yet: there was in her a great leaning to poetic utterance generally, and that arising from a poetic habit of thought. She had in her everything essential to the making of a poetess; yet of the whole she was profoundly ignorant; and had any one sought to develop the general gift, I believe all would have shrunk back into her being.

The laird rose and offered his arm to Lady Joan. Lord Mergwain gave a grunt, and looked only a little pleased at the news: no discomfort or suffering, mental or spiritual, made him indifferent to luncheon or dinner--for after each came the bottle; but the claret had not been brought to the drawing-room as he had requested!

When they reached the kitchen, he looked first eagerly, then uneasily round him: no bottle, quart or magnum was to be seen! A cloud gathered, lowering and heavy, on the face of the toper. The laird saw it, remembered that, in his anxiety to amuse him, he had forgotten his dearest delight, and vanished in the region behind.

Mrs. Warlock, according to her custom, was already seated at the head of the table. She bowed just her head to his lordship, and motioned him to a chair on her right hand. He took it with a courteous acknowledgment, of which he would hardly have been capable, had he not guessed on what errand his host was gone: he had no recollection of having given her offence.

"I hope your ladyship is well this morning?" he said.

"Ye revive an auld custom, my lord," returned his hostess, not without sign of gratification, "--clean oot o' fashion noo-a-days, excep' amang the semple. A laird's wife has no richt to be ca'd MY LEDDY,'cep' by auncient custom."

"Oh, if you come to that," returned his lordship, "three fourths of the titles in use are merely of courtesy. Joan there has no more right than yourself to be called MY LADY. Neither has my son Borland the smallest right to the title; it is mine, and mine only, as much as Mergwain."

The old lady turned her head, and fixed a stolen but searching gaze on her guest, and to the end of the meal took every opportunity of regarding him unobserved. Her son from the other end of the table saw her looks, and guessed her suspicions; saw also that she did not abate her courtesy, but little thought to what her calmness was owing.

Mrs. Warlock, ready to welcome anything marvellous, had held with Grizzie much conference concerning what had passed in the night--one accidental result of which was the disappearance for the time of all little rivalries and offences between them in the common interest of an awful impending denouement. She had never heard, or had forgotten the title to which Lord Borland of the old time was heir; and now that all doubt as to the identity of the man was over, although, let her strain her vision as she might, she could not, through the deformation of years, descry the youthful visage, she felt that all action on the part of the generation in possession was none the less forestalled and precluded by the presence of one in the house who had evidently long waited his arrival, and had certainly but begun his reprisals. More would be heard ere the next dawn, she said to herself; and with things in such a train she would not interfere by the smallest show of feud or offence. Who could tell how much that certain inmate of the house--she hesitated to call him a member of the family--and, in all righteous probability, of a worse place as well, had to do with the storm that drove Borland thither, and the storms that might detain him there! already there were signs of a fresh onset of the elements! the wind was rising; it had begun to moan in the wide chimney; and from the quarter whence it now blew, it was certain to bring more storm, that is snow!

The dinner went on. The great magnum before the fire was gathering genial might from the soft insinuation of limpid warmth, renewing as much of its youth as was to be desired in wine; and redeveloping relations, somewhat suppressed, with the slackening nerves and untwisting fibres of an old man's earthly being!

But there was not a drop to drink on the table, except water; and the toper found it hard to lay solid foundation enough for the wine that was to follow, and grumbled inwardly. The sight of the bottle before the fire, however, did much to enable him, not to be patient, but to suppress the shows of impatience. He eyed it, and loved it, and held his peace. He saw the water at his elbow, and hated it the worse that it was within his reach--hated its cold staring rebuke as he hated virtue--hated it as if its well were in the churchyard where the old captain was buried sixty years ago. --Confound him! why wouldn't he lie still? He made some effort to be polite to the old hag, as he called her, in that not very secret chamber of his soul, whose door was but too ready to fall ajar, and allow its evil things to issue. He searched his lumber-room for old stories to tell, but found it difficult to lay hold on any fit for the ears present, though one of the ladies was an old woman--old enough, he judged, not to be startled at anything, and the other his own daughter, who ought to see no harm when her father made the company laugh! It was a miserable time for him, but, like a much enduring magician awaiting the moment of power, he kept eying the bottle, and gathering comfort.

Grizzie eyed him from behind, almost as he eyed the bottle. She eyed him as she might the devil caught in the toils of the arch-angel; and if she did not bring against him a railing accusation, it was more from cunning than politeness. "Ah, my fine fellow!" her eyes said, "he is after you! he will be here presently!"

Grizzie afforded a wonderfully perfect instance of a relation which is one of the loveliest in humanity--absolute service without a shade of servility. She would have died for her master, but even to him she must speak her mind. Her own affairs were nothing to her, and those of her master as those of the universe, but she was vitally one of his family, as the toes belong to the head! In truth, she was of the family like a poor relation, with few privileges, and no end of duties; and she thought ten times more of her duties than her privileges. She would have fed, and sometimes did feed with perfect satisfaction on the poorest scraps remaining from meals, but a doubt of the laird's preference of her porridge to that of any maker in broad Scotland, would have given her a sore heart. She would have wept bitter tears had the privilege of washing the laird's feet been taken from her. If reverence for the human is an essential element of greatness, then at least greatness was possible to Grizzie. She dealt with no abstractions; she worshipped one living man, and that is the first step toward the love of all men; while some will talk glowingly about humanity, and be scornful as a lap-dog to the next needy embodiment of it that comes in their way. Such as Grizzie will perhaps prove to be of those last foredoomed to be first. With the tenderness of a ministering angel and mother combined, her eyes waited upon her master. She took her return beforehand in the assurance that the laird would follow her to the grave, would miss her, and at times think nobody could do something or other so much to his mind as old Grizzie. And if, like the old captain, she might be permitted to creep about the place after night-fall, she desired nothing better than the chance of serving him still, if but by rolling a stone out of his way. The angels might bear him in their hands--she could not aspire to that, but it would be much the same whether she got the stone out of the way of his foot, or they lifted his foot above the stone!

Dinner over, the laird asked his guest whether he would take his wine where he was, or have it carried to the drawing-room. The offering of this alternative the old lady, to use an Elizabethan phrase, took in snuff; for although she never now sat in the drawing--room, and indeed rarely crossed its threshold, it was HER room; and, ladies having been banished from the dining-room while men drank, what would be left them if next, bottle in hand, the men invaded the drawing--room? But happily their guest declined the proposal, and that on the very ground of respect for her ladyship's apartment; the consequence of which was that she very nearly forgave him the murder of which she never doubted him guilty, saying to herself that, whatever he might be when disguised, poor man--and we all had our failings--he knew how to behave when sober, and that was more than could be said for everybody! So the old lord sat in the kitchen and drank his wine; and the old lady sat by the fire and knitted her stocking, went to sleep, and woke up, and went to sleep again a score of times, and enjoyed her afternoon. Not a word passed between the two: now, in his old age, Lord Mergwain never talked over his bottle; he gave his mind to it. The laird went and came, unconsciously anxious to be out of the way of his guest, and consciously anxious not to neglect him, but nothing was said on either side. The old lady knitted and dozed, and his lordship sat and drank, now and then mingling the aesthetic with the sensual, and holding his glass to the light to enjoy its colour and brilliancy,--doing his poor best to encourage the presence of what ideas he counted agreeable, and prevent the intrusion of their opposites. And still as he drank, the braver he grew, and the more confident that the events of the past night were but the foolish consequences of having mingled so many liquors, which, from the state of the thermometer, had grown cold in his very stomach, and bred rank fancies! "With two bottles like this under my belt," he said to himself, "I would defy them all, but this wretched night-capped curmudgeon of a host will never fetch me a second! If he had not been so niggardly last night, I should have got through well enough!"

Lady Joan and Cosmo had been all over the house, and were now sitting in the drawing-room, silent in the firelight. Lady Joan did not yet find Cosmo much of a companion, though she liked to have him beside her, and would have felt the dreariness more penetrating without him. But to Cosmo her presence was an experience as marvellous and lovely as it was new and strange. He had never save in his dreams before been with one who influenced him with beauty; and never one of his dreams came up to the dream--like reality that now folded him about with bliss. For he sat, an isolating winter stretched miles and miles around him, in the old paradise of his mother's drawing-room, in the glorious twilight of a peat and wood fire, the shadows flickering about at their own wild will over all the magic room, at the feet of a lady, whose eyes were black as the night, but alive with a radiance such as no sun could kindle, whose hand was like warm snow, whose garments were lovely as the clouds that clothe a sunset, and who inhabited an atmosphere of evanescent odours that were themselves dreams from a region beyond the stars, while the darkness that danced with the firelight played all sorts of variations on the theme of her beauty.

How long he had sat lost in the dream-haunted gorgeous silence he did not know, when suddenly he bethought himself that he ought to be doing something to serve or amuse, or at least interest the heavenly visitant. Strangers and angels must be entertained, nor must the shadow of loneliness fall upon them. Now to that end he knew one thing always good, always at hand, and specially fitting the time.

"Shall I tell you a story, my lady?" he said, looking up to her from the low stool on which he had taken his place at her feet.

"Yes, if you please," she answered, finding herself in a shoal of sad thoughts, and willing to let them drift.

"Then I will try. But I am sorry I cannot tell it so well as Grizzie told it me. Her old-fashioned way suits the story. And then I must make English of it for your ladyship, and that goes still worse with it."

Alas! alas! the speech of every succeeding generation is a falling away from the pith and pathos of the preceding. Speech gains in scope, but loses in intensity.

"There was once a girl in the Highlands," began Cosmo, "--not very far from here it was, who was very beautiful, so that every young man in the neighbourhood fell in love with her. She was as good as she was beautiful, and of course would not let more than one be her lover, and said no to every one else; and if after that they would go on loving her, she could not help it. She was the daughter of a sheep--farmer, who had a great many sheep that fed about over the hills, and she helped her father to look after them, and was as good and obedient as any lamb of his flock. And her name was Mary. Her other name I do not know.

"Now her father had a young shepherd, only a year or two older than Mary, and he of course was in love with her as well as the rest, and more in love with her than any of them, because he was the most to be trusted of all in that country-side. He was very strong and very handsome, and a good shepherd. He was out on the hills all day, from morning to night, seeing that the sheep did their duty, and ate the best grass, so as to give plenty of good wool, and good mutton when it was wanted.--That's the way Grizzie tells the story, my lady, though not so that you would understand her.--When any of the lambs were weakly or ill, they were brought home for Mary to nurse, and that was how the young shepherd came to know Mary, and Mary to know him. And so it came to pass that they grew fond of each other, and saw each other as often as they could; and Mary promised, if her father would let her, she would marry Alister. But her father was too well-off to show favour to a poor shepherd lad, for his heart had got so full of his money that there was not room enough for the blood in it. If Alister had had land and sheep like himself, he would have had no objection to giving him Mary; but a poor son-in-law, however good he might be, would make him feel poor, whereas a rich son-in-law, if he were nothing but an old miser, would make him feel rich! He told Alister, therefore, that he had nothing to say to him, and he and Mary must have nothing to say to each other. Mary felt obliged to do what her father told her, but in her heart she did not give up Alister, and felt sure Alister did not give up her, for he was a brave and honest youth.

"Of course Alister was always wanting to see Mary, and often he saw her when nobody, not even Mary herself, knew it. One day she was out rather late on the hill, and when the gloaming came down, sat wishing in her heart that out of it Alister would come, that she might see him, though she would not speak to him. She was sitting on a stone, Grizzle says, with the gloamin' coming down like a gray frost about her; and by the time it grew to a black frost, out of it came some one running towards her.

"But it was not Alister; it was a farmer who wanted to marry her. He was a big, strong man, rich and good-looking, though twice Mary's age. Her father was very friendly to him. But people said he was a coward.

"Now just at that time, only it had not yet reached the glen, a terrible story was going about the country, of a beast in the hills, that went biting every living thing he could get at, and whatever he bit went raving-mad. He never ate any creature he attacked, never staid to kill it, but just came up with a rush, bit it, and was out of sight in a moment. It was generally in the twilight he came. He appeared--nobody ever saw from where--made his gnash, and was gone. There was great terror and dismay wherever the story was heard, so that people would hardly venture across their thresholds after sun-down, for terror lest the beast should dash out of the borders of the dark upon them, and leave his madness in them. Some'said it was a sheep-dog, but some who thought they had seen it, said it was too large for any collie, and was, they believed, a mad wolf; for though there are no wolves in Scotland now, my lady, there were at one time, and this is a very old story."

Lady Joan gaped audibly.

"I am wearying you, my lady!" said Cosmo, penitently.

"No, no! dear boy," answered Lady Joan, sorry, and a little ashamed. "It is only that I am very weary. I think the cold tires one."

"I will tell you the rest another time," said Cosmo cheerily. "You must lie down on the sofa, and I will cover you up warm."

"No, no; please go on. Indeed I want to hear the rest of it."

"Well," resumed Cosmo, "the news of this wolf, or whatever it was, had come to the ears of the farmer for the first time that day at a fair, and he was hurrying home with his head and his heart and his heels full of it, when he saw Mary sitting on the white stone by the track, feeling as safe as if she were in paradise, and as sad as if she were in purgatory.--That's how Grizzie tells it--I suppose because some of her people are papists.--But, for as much as he wanted to marry her, you could hardly say he was in love with her--could you, Lady Joan?--when I tell you that, instead of stopping and taking her and her sheep home, he hurried past her, crying out, 'Gang hame, Mary. There's a mad beast on the hill. Rin, rin--a' 't ye can. Never min' yer sheep.' His last words came from the distance, for he never stayed a step while he spoke.

"Mary got up at once. But you may be sure, my lady, a girl like that was not going to leave her sheep where she dared not stop herself. She began to gather them together to take them out of harm's way, and was just setting out with them for home, when a creature like a huge dog came bounding upon her out of the edge of the night. The same instant, up from behind a rock, a few yards away, jumped Alister, and made at the beast with his crook; and just as the wolf was upon Mary, for Alister was not near enough to get between the beast and her, he heaved a great blow at him, which would have knocked him down anyhow. But that instant Mary threw herself towards Alister, and his terrible blow came down upon her, and not upon the wolf, and she fell dead in his arms--that's what Grizzie says--and away went the wolf, leaping and bounding, and never uttering a cry.

"What Alister did next, Grizzie never says--only that he came staggering up to her father's door with dead Mary in his arms, carried her in, laid her on the bed, and went out again. They found the blow on on her head, and when they undressed her, they found also the bite of the wolf; and they soon guessed how it had been, and said it was well she had died so, for it was much better than going mad first: it was kind of Death, they said, to come and snatch her away out of the arms of Madness. But the farmer, because he hated Alister, and knew that Alister must have seen him running away, gave it out, that he himself was rushing to defend Mary, and that the blow that killed her was meant for him. Nobody however believed him.

"What people might think, was, however, a matter of little consequence to Alister, for from that day he never spoke to human being, never slept under a roof. He left his shepherding, and gave himself to the hunting of the mad wolf: such a creature should not be allowed to live, and he must do some good thing for Mary's sake. Mary was so good, that any good thing done would be a thing done for her. So he followed and followed, hunting the horrible creature to destroy him. Some said he lived on his hate of the wolf, and never ate anything at all. But some of the people on the hills, when they heard he had been seen, set out of their doors at night milk and cakes; and in the morning, sometimes, they would be gone, and taken as if by a human being, and not an animal.

"By and by came a strange story abroad. For a certain old woman, whom some called a witch, and whom all allowed to have the second sight, told that, one night late, as she was coming home from her daughter's house, she saw Alister lying in the heather, and another sitting with him; Alister she saw plainly with her first or bodily eyes; but with her second eyes, in which lay the second sight, she saw his head lying on a woman's lap--and that woman was Mary, whom he had killed. He was fast asleep, and whether he knew what pillow he had, she could not tell; but she saw the woman as plainly as if with her bodily eyes,--only with the difference which there always was, she said, and which she did not know how to describe, between the things seen by the one pair of eyes, and the things seen by the other. She stood and regarded them for some time, but neither moved. It was in the twilight, and as it grew darker she could see Alister less and less clearly, but always Mary better and better--till at last the moon rose, and then she saw Alister again, and Mary no more. But, through the moonlight, three times she heard a little moan, half very glad, and half a little sad.

"Now the people had mostly a horror of Alister, and had shunned him--even those who did not believe him to blame for what he had done--because of his having killed a human being, one made like himself, and in the image of God; but when they heard the wise woman's story, they began to feel differently towards Alister, and to look askance upon Mary's father, whose unkindness had kept them asunder. They said now it had all come through him, and that God had sent the wolf to fetch Mary, that he might give her and Alister to each other in spite of him--for God had many a way of doing a thing, every one better than another.

"But that did not help Alister to find the wolf. The winter came, however, and that did help him, for the snow let him see the trail, and follow faster. The wonder was that the animal, being mad, lived so long; but some said that, although the wolf was mad, he was not mad in any ordinary way--if he had been, he would indeed have been dead long ago; he was a wolf into which an evil spirit had entered; and had he been a domestic animal, or one for the use of man, he would immediately have destroyed himself; but, being a wild and blood-thirsty animal, he went on very much like his natural self, without knowing what sort of a fellow-tenant he had with him in the house.

"At last, one morning in the month of December, when the snow lay heavy on the ground, some men came upon a track which they all agreed must be that of the wolf. They went and got their weapons, and set out in chase. They followed, and followed, and better than followed, and the trail led them high into the hills, wondering much at the huge bounds with which the beast had galloped up the steepest places. They concluded that Alister had been after him, and that the beast knew it, and had made for the most inaccessible spot he was acquainted with. They came at length to a point where a bare-foot human track joined that of the wolf for a little way, and after that they came upon it again and again. Up and up the mountain they went--sometimes losing the track from the great springs the wolf took--now across a great chasm which they had to go round the head of, now up the face of a rock too steep for the snow to lie upon, so that there was no print of his horrid feet.

"But at last, almost at the top of the mountain, they saw before them two dark spots in a little hollow, and when they reached it, there was the wolf, dead in a mass of frozen blood and trampled snow. It was a huge, gaunt, gray, meagre carcass, with the foam frozen about its jaws, and stabbed in many places, which showed the fight had been a close one. All the snow was beaten about, as if with many feet, which showed still more plainly what a tussle it had been. A little farther on lay Alister, as if asleep, stretched at full length, with his face to the sky. He had been dead for many hours, they thought, but the smile had not faded which his spirit left behind as it went. All about his body were the marks of the brute's teeth--everywhere almost except on his face. That had been bespattered with blood, but it had been wiped away. His dirk was lying not far off, and his skene dhu close by his hand.

"There is but one thing more--and I think that is just the thing that made me want to tell you the story. The men who found Alister declared when they came home, and ever after when they told the story--Grizzie says her grandmother used always to say so--that, when they lifted him to bring him away, they saw in the snow the mark of the body, deep--pressed, but only as far as the shoulders; there was no mark of his head whatever. And when they told this to the wise woman, she answered only,'Of coorse! of coorse!--Gien I had been wi' ye, lads, I wad hae seen mair.' When they pressed her to speak more plainly, she only shook her head, and muttered, 'Dull--hertit gowks!'--That's all, my lady."

In the kitchen, things were going on even more quietly than in the drawing-room. In front of the fire sat the English lord over his wine; Mistress Warlock sat in her arm-chair, knitting and dozing--between her evanescent naps wide awake, and ever and anon sliding her eyes from the stocking which did not need her attention to the guest who little desired it; the laird had taken his place at the other corner, and was reading the Journal of George Fox; and Grizzie was bustling about with less noise than she liked, and wishing heartily she were free of his lordship, that she might get on with her work. Scarcely a word was spoken.

It began to grow dark; the lid of the night was closing upon them ere half a summer-day would have been over. But it mattered little: the snow had stayed the work of the world. Grizzie put on the kettle for her mistress's tea. The old lady turned her forty winks into four hundred, and slept outright, curtained in the shadows. All at once his lordship became alive to the fact that the day was gone, shifted uneasily in his chair, poured out a bumper of claret, drank it off hurriedly, and hitched his chair a little nearer to the fire. His hostess saw these movements with satisfaction: he had appeased her personal indignation, but her soul was not hospitable towards him, and the devil in her was gratified with the sight of his discomposure: she hankered after talion, not waited on penitence. Her eyes sought those of Grizzie.

"Gang to the door, Grizzie," she said, "an' see what the nicht's like. I'm thinkin' by the cry o' the win', it 'll be a wull mirk again.--What think ye, laird?"

Her son looked up from his book, where he had been beholding a large breadth of light on the spiritual sky, and answered, somewhat abstractedly, but with the gentle politeness he always showed her.

"I should not wonder if it came on to snow again!" Lord Mergwain shifted uneasily. Grizzie returned from her inspection of the weather.

"It's black theroot, an' dingin' 'oot, wi' great thuds o' win'," she said, quite unaware as usual of the style of her utterance.

"God bless me!" murmured his lordship, "what an abominable country!"

"Had we not better go to the drawing-room, my lord?" said the laird. "I think, Grizzie," he went on, "you must get supper early. --And, Grizzie," he added, rising, "mind you bring Lady Joan a cup of tea--if your mistress will excuse her," he concluded, with a glance to his mother.

Mistress Warlock was longing for a talk with Grizzie, and had no wish for Lady Joan's presence at tea.

"An old woman is bare company for a young one, Cosmo," she said.

His lordship sat as if he did not mean to move.

"Will you not come, Lord Mergwain?" said the laird. "We had better go before the night gets worse."

"I will stay where I am."

"Excuse me, my lord, that can hardly be. Come, I will carry your wine. You will finish your bottle more at your ease there, knowing you have not to move again."

"The bottle is empty," replied his lordship, gruffly, as if reproaching his host for not being aware of the fact, and having another at hand to follow.

"Then--" said the laird, and hesitated.

"Then you'll fetch me another!" adjoined his lordship, as if answering an unpropounded question that ought not to be put. Seeing, however, that the laird stood in some hesitation still, he added definitively, "I don't stir a peg without it. Get me another bottle--another MAGNUM, I mean, and I will go at once."

Yet a moment the laird reflected. He said to himself that the wretched man had not had nearly so much to drink that day as he had the day before; that he was used to soaking, and a great diminution of his customary quantity might in its way be dangerous; and that anyhow it was not for him to order the regimen of a passing guest, to whom first of all he owed hospitality.

"I will fetch it, my lord," he said, and disappeared in the milk-cellar, from which a steep stone-stair led down to the ancient dungeon.

"The maister's gane wantin' a licht," muttered Grizzie; "I houp he winna see onything."

It was an enigmatical utterance, and angered Lord Mergwain.

"What the deuce should he see, when he has got to feel his way with his hands?" he snarled.

"There's some things, my lord,'at can better affoord to come oot i' the dark nor the licht," replied Grizzle.

His lordship said nothing in rejoinder, but kept looking every now and then towards the door of the milk-cellar--whether solely in anxiety for the appearance of the magnum, may be doubtful. The moment the laird emerged from his dive into darkness, bearing with him the pearl-oyster of its deep, his lordship rose, proud that for an old man he could stand so steady, and straightened himself up to his full height, which was not great. The laird set down the bottle on the table, and proceeded to wrap him in a plaid, that he might not get a chill, nor heeded that his lordship, instead of showing recognition of his care, conducted himself like an ill-conditioned child, to whom his mother's ministrations are unwelcome. But he did not resist, he only grumbled. As soon as the process was finished, he caught up the first bottle, in which, notwithstanding his assertion, he knew there was yet a glass or two, while the laird resumed the greater burden of the second, and gave his guest an arm, and Grizzle, leaving the door open to cast a little light on their way, followed close behind, to see them safe in.

When they reached the drawing-room, his lordship out of breath with the long stair, they found Lady Joan teaching and Cosmo learning backgammon, which they immediately abandoned until they had him in his former chair, with a small table by him, on it the first bottle, and the fresh one at his feet before the fire: with the contents of one such inside him, and another coming on, he looked more cheerful than since first he entered the house. But a fluctuating trouble was very visible in his countenance notwithstanding.

A few poverty-stricken attempts at conversation followed, to which Lord Mergwain contributed nothing. Lost in himself, he kept his eyes fixed on the ripening bottle, waiting with heroic self-denial, nor uttering a single audible oath, until the sound of its opening should herald the outbursting blossom of the nightly flower of existence. The thing hard to bear was, that there were no fresh wine-glasses on the table--only the one he had taken care to bring with the old bottle.

Presently Grizzle came with the tea-things, and as she set them down, remarked, with cunningly devised look of unconsciousness:

"It's a gurly nicht; no a pinch o' licht; an' the win' blawin' like deevils; the Pooer o' the air, he's oot wi' a rair, an' the snaw rins roon' upo' sweevils."

"What do you mean, woman? Would you drive me mad with your gibberish?" cried his lordship, getting up, and going to the window.

"Ow, na, my lord!" returned Grizzie quietly; "mad's mad, but there's waur nor mad."

"Grizzie!" said the laird, and she did not speak again.

Lurking in Grizzie was the suspicion, less than latent in the minds of the few who had any memory of the old captain, that he had been robbed as well as murdered--though nothing had ever been missed that was known to belong to him, except indeed an odd walking-stick he used to carry; and if so, then the property, whatever it was, had been taken to the loss of his rightful heir, Warlock o' Glenwarlock. Hence mainly arose Grizzie's desire to play upon the fears of the English lord; for might he not be driven by terror to make restitution? Therefore, although, obedient to the will of her master, she left the room in silence, she cast on the old man, as she turned away, a look, which, in spite of the wine he had drunk, and the wine he hoped to drink, he felt freeze his very vitals--a look it was of inexplicable triumph, and inarticulate doom.

The final effect of it on her victim, however, was different from what she intended. For it roused suspicion. What if, he thought with himself, he was the victim of a conspiracy? What if the something frightful that befell him the night before, of which he had but a vague recollection, had been contrived and executed by the people of the house? This horrible old hag might remember else-forgotten things? What if they had drugged his wine? the first half of the bottle he had yesterday was decanted!--But the one he had just drunk had not been touched! and this fresh one before the fire should not be carried from his sight! he would not take his eyes off it for a moment! he was safe so far as these were concerned! only if after all--if there should be no difference--if something were to happen again all the same--ah, then indeed!--then it would only be so much the worse!--Better let them decant the bottle, and then he would have the drug to fall back upon! Just as he heard the loud bang of Grizzie's closure of the great door, the wind rushed all at once against the house, with a tremendous bellow, that threatened to drive the windows into the room. An immediate lull followed, through which as instantly came strange sounds, as of a distant staccato thunder. The moment the laird heard the douf thuds, he started to his feet, and made for the door, and Cosmo rose to follow.

"Stop! stop!" shouted Lord Mergwain, in a quavering, yet, through terror, imperative voice, and looked as if his hair would have stood on end, only that it was a wig.

Lady Joan gave Cosmo a glance of entreaty: the shout was ineffectual, the glance was not. The laird scarcely heard his visitor's cry, and hastened from the room, taking huge strides with his long thin legs; but Cosmo resumed his seat as if nothing were the matter.

Lord Mergwain was trembling visibly; his jaw shook, and seemed ready to drop.

"Don't be alarmed, my lord," said Cosmo; "it is only one of the horses kicking against his stall."

"But why should the brute kick?" said his lorship, putting his hand to his chin, and doing his best to hide his agitation.

"My father will tell us. He will soon set things right. He knows all about horses. Jolly may have thrown his leg over his halter, and got furious. He's rather an ill-tempered horse."

Lord Mergwain swallowed a great glass of wine, the last of the first bottle, and gave a little shiver.

"It's cold! cold!" he said.

The wine did not seem to be itself somehow this evening!

The game interrupted, Lady Joan forgot it, and stared into the fire. Cosmo gave his eyes a glorious holiday on her beautiful face.

It was some time before the laird returned. He brought the news that one of the strange horses was very ill.

"I thought he looked bad this morning," said Cosmo.

"Only it's not the same horse, my boy," answered his father. "I believe he has been ill all day; the state of the other has prevented its being noticed. He was taken suddenly with violent pain; and now he lies groaning. They are doing what they can for him, but I fear, in this weather, he will not recover. Evidently he has severe inflammation; the symptoms are those of the worst form of the disease now about."

"Hustled here in the dark to die like a rat!" muttered his lordship.

"Don't make a trap of the old place, my lord," said the laird cheerily. "The moment the roads will permit, I will see that you have horses."

"I don't doubt you'll be glad enough to get rid of me."

"We shall not regret your departure so much, my lord, as if we had been able to make your lordship comfortable," said the laird.

With that there came another great howling onset of wind. Lord Mergwain started almost to his feet, but sat down instantly, and said with some calmness,

"I should be obliged, Mr. Warlock, if you would order a wine-glass or two for me. I am troublesome, I know, but I like to change my glass; and the wine will be the worse every moment more it stands there.--I wish you would drink! We should make a night of it."

"I beg your pardon, my lord," said the laird. "What was I thinking of!--Cosmo, run and fetch wine-glasses--and the cock-screw."

But while Cosmo was returning, he heard the battery of iron shoes recommence, and ran to the stable. Just as he reached the door of it, the horse half reared, and cast himself against the side of his stall. With a great crash it gave way, and he fell upon it, and lay motionless.

"He's deid!" cried one of the men, and Cosmo ran to tell his father.

While he was gone, the time seemed to the toper endless. But the longer he could be kept from his second magnum, the laird thought it the better, and was not troubled at Cosmo's delay.

A third terrible blast, fiercer and more imperious than those that preceded it, shook the windows as a dog shakes a rat: the house itself it could shake no more than a primeval rock. The next minute Cosmo entered, saying the horse was dead.

"What a beastly country!" growled his lordship.

But the wine that was presently gurgling from the short neck of the apoplectic magnum, soon began to console him. He liked this bottle better than the last, and some composure returned to him.

The laird fetched a book of old ballads, and offered to read one or two to make the time pass. Lord Mergwain gave a scornful grunt; but Lady Joan welcomed the proposal: the silent worship of the boy, again at her feet, was not enough to make her less than very weary. For more than an hour, the laird read ballad after ballad; but nobody, not even himself, attended much--the old lord not at all. But the time passed. His lordship grew sleepy, began to nod, and seemed to forget his wine. At length he fell asleep. But when the laird would have made him more comfortable, with a yell of defiance he started to his feet wide awake. Coming to himself at once, he tried to laugh, and said from a child he had been furious when waked suddenly. Then he settled himself in the chair, and fell fast asleep.

Still the night wore on, and supper-time came. His lordship woke, but would have no supper, and took to his bottle again. Lady Joan and Cosmo went to the kitchen, and the laird had his porridge brought to the drawing-room.

At length it was time to go to bed. Lady Joan retired. The laird would not allow Cosmo to sit up another night, and he went also. The lord and the laird were left together, the one again asleep, and dreaming who knows what! the other wide awake, but absorbed in the story of a man whose thoughts, fresh from above, were life to himself, and a mockery to his generation.

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