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when the words were half formed on his did, and she would have still been lips, and nothing but a chivalrous, perfectly content had she known it visionary sense of the respect he owed much more profoundly. If he had reto a woman had prevented him putting garded her as he could have regarded an end to Lauderdale's recollections by a his ideal woman, Alice would not have confession which would have closed his understood, and probably even would friend's lips for ever. Fortunately he have been embarrassed and made uneasy had been saved from that danger; and by, such devotion. She had all that now nobody, even in the depths of their she had ever dreamed of in the way of hearts, could say or feel that Alice had love. Her ideal, such as it was, was been ever regarded by her husband fully realized. Colin's tenderness, which otherwise than as the chosen of a man's had so much remorse in it, was to Alice heart, the companion of his existence, the most perfect of all manifestations of should be regarded. He had by turns attachment. When his heart was full a hard enough struggle during these of compunctions for not giving her weeks, when he took refuge in his study enough, hers was smiling with the at Lafton, in the midst of the disor- sweetest pride and satisfaction in reganized house, where things were being ceiving so much. It even seemed to her prepared for the arrival of his wife, and odd by turns howaman so superior should in her garden, where Lauderdale had be so fond of her, as she said to herself, done more than a day's work, and had, in her innocence: for, to be sure, Arthur, indeed, taken the charge of re-arrange- though he was not equal to Colin, had ment into his hand. But the garden, given but a very limited consideration to in those lingering, never-ending summer his little sister. And her sense of the twilights, in their northern sweetness, difference between Arthur's estimation was too much for Colin ; when the early of her and the rank she held with her stars came out on the skirts of the slow betrothed was like the sweetest flattery departing day, they seemed to cast re- to her mind. And, to be sure, Alice proachful glances at him, as if he had had reason in these conclusions of hers. abandoned that woman in the clouds. She described Colin's affection perfectly He used to go in with a sigh, and shut in her simple words.
It was as true to himself up in his study, and light his say he was fond of her, as it was that he candles ; and then, after all, it was a did not love her according to his estigreat good fortune that she had never mate of love. But then his estimate of come down out of those wistful distances, love was not hers, and she was entirely and walked upon the common soil, and content. looked him in the face. As for Alice, Thus it came about that these two if anybody had betrayed to her the were married after all the long delay exact state of affairs, if she had been and separation. Alice recovered her made aware of this mysterious and in- health by magic as soon as she began to visible rival, towards whom, in the be happy. And Mr. Meredith, notwithdepths of his heart, Colin sighed, the standing that he smarted a little under chances are that she would only have the affront put upon him by his new laughed, in the supreme security of her son-in-law, in that singular and quite ignorance. She could no more have original development of disinterestedunderstood the rivalry that was in that ness, which Alice's father, being Low dream than she could have compre
Church, could not but think most unlike hended any other or better description
a clergyman, was yet so exhilarated by of love than that which her betrothed the unrivalled success of his expedient gave her. For the fact is, that nobody to save his daughter, that all the lesser need in the least bemoan Alice, or think
annoyances were swallowed up. And that her position was one to call for then he had always the little one resympathy. She was perfectly content, maining, whom he could make an knowing so little of Colin's heart as she heiress of. It was a quiet wedding
for the Merediths were comparatively salutations of everybody who met him strangers in Westmoreland—but, at the As for Alice herself, in her wistfulness same time, it was not in the least a sad and happiness, with only one anxiety one, for Mr. Meredith did not think of remaining in her heart, just enough to weeping, and there was nobody else to give the appealing look which suited take that part of the business. Alice them best to her soft eye, she was as had only her little sister to leave, who near beautiful as a woman of her unimwas too much excited and delighted with posing stature and features could be. all the proceedings, and with her own She was one of those brides who appeal future position as Miss Meredith, to be to everybody, in the shy radiance of much overcome by the parting. It was, their gladness, to share and sympathize indeed, a beginning of life almost en- with them. There are some people tirely without drawbacks to the bride. whose joy is a kind of affront and She had nothing much to regret in the insult to the sorrowful ; but Alice was past; no links of tender affection to not one of them. Perhaps at that supreme break, and no sense of a great blank hour of her life she was thinking more left behind, as some young women have. of the sad people under the sun-the On the contrary, all that was dark mourners and sufferers—than she had and discouraging was left behind. The done when she used to lie on her sofa most exquisite moments of her life, the at Holmby, and think to herself that she winter she had spent in Frascati under never would rise from it, and that he the tender and chivalrous guardianship never would come. The joy was to of the companions who had devoted all Alice like a sacrament, which it was so their powers to amuse and console hard to think the whole world could Arthur's sister, seemed but an imperfect not share, and, as her beauty was rehearsal, clouded with pain and sorrow, chiefly beauty of expression, this tender for the perfect days that were to come. sentiment shed a certain loveliness over “I wish for nothing but Sora Antonia her face as she stood by Colin's side, to kiss me, and bid God bless us," she with her white veil thrown back, and said, with the tears of her espousals in the tender countenance, which was veiled her eyes. And it was the best thing Alice in simplicity, and required no other could have said. The idyll for which covering, turned towards Ramore. Her Colin felt himself so poor a hero now, one remaining anxiety was, that perhaps had existed, in a way, among the pale Colin's mother might not respond to olive-groves, on the dear Albine hills. the longing affection that was in her "Dio te benedica,” he said, as he took heart—might not take to her, as she away his bride from her father's door. said ; and this was why her eyes looked It meant more than a blessing when he 80 appealing, and besought all the world said it, as Sora Antonia might have said to take her into their hearts. When it it, in that language which was consecrated came to the moment, however, when to them both by love and death.
Colin lifted her out upon the glistening The scene and the circumstances were beach, and put her hand into that of his all very
different when a few weeks later father, who was waiting there to receive Colin took his bride to the Holy Loch. them, Alice, as was her nature, recoIt was evening, but perhaps Colin had vered her composure. She held up her not time for the same vivid perceptions soft cheek to Big Colin of Ramore, who of that twilight and peaceful atmosphere was half abashed by the action, and yet which a few months before had made wholly delighted, although in Scotch him smile, contrasting it with the move- reserve he had contemplated nothing ment and life in his own mind. But more -familiar than a hearty clasp of her perhaps this was only because he was more hand. She was so fair a woman to his occupied by external matters; by Alice at homely eyes, and looked so like a little his side, to whom he had to point out princess, that the farmer had scarcely everything; and by the greetings and courage to take her into his arms, or,
as he himself would have said, excitement was over, she was glad to so much freedom” with such a dainty find her boy by himself for a moment, little lady. But Alice had something to bid God bless him, and say what was more important in her mind than to in her heart. “If it wasna that she's remark Big Colin's hesitation. “Where wiled the heart out of my breast," said is she?" she cried, appealing to him Mrs. Campbell, putting up her hand to first, and then to her husband; “where
her shining eyes.
« Eh, Colin, my is she, Colin ?" And then they led her man, thank the Lord ; it's like as if it up the brae to where the Mistress, trem- was an angel He had sent you out of bling and excited, propped herself up heaven.” against the porch awaiting her. Alice “She will be a daughter to you, sprang forward before her escort, when mother,” said Colin, in the fulness of she saw this figure at the door. She left his heart. Colin's arm as she had never left it But at this two great tears dropped before, and threw herself upon his out of Mrs. Campbell's eyes. “She's mother. She took this meeting into her sweet and bonnie; eh, Colin, she's own hands, and accomplished it her own bonnie and sweet; but I'm an awfu’ way, nobody interfering. “Mamma," hardhearted woman,” said the Mistress. said Alice, “I should have come to “I cannot think ony woman will ever you four years ago, and they have never take that place. I'm aye so bigoted for let me come till now. I have been my ain ; God forgive me; but her that longing for you all this time. Mamma, is my Colin's wife has nae occasion for kiss me, and say you are glad, for I love ony other name,” she said with a tender you dearly,” cried Alice. As for the artifice, stooping over her boy and putting Mistress, she could not make any reply. back those great waves of his hair which She said “my darling” faintly, and took were the pride of her heart. “And I the clinging creature to her bosom. And have none of my ain to go out of my that was how the meeting took place, house a bride,” the Mistress added, under for which Alice had been longing, as she her breath, with one great sob. Colin said, for four long years. When they could not tell why his mother should took her into the homely parlour of say such words at such a moment. But Ramore, and placed her on the old- perhaps Alice, though she was not so fashioned sofa, beside the Mistress, it clever as Colin, had she been there, was not without a little anxiety that might have divined their meaning after Colin regarded his wife, to see the effect the divination of her heart. made
upon her by this humble interior. It is hard to see what can be said But, to look at Alice, nobody could have about a man after he is married, unless found out that she had not been accus- he quarrels with his wife and makes tomed to Ramore all her life, or that the her wretched and gets into trouble, or Mistress was not her own individual pro- she does as much for him. This is not perty. It even struck Colin with a a thing which has happened, or has the curious sense of pleasure that she did least chance of happening, in Colin's not say “mother," as making a claim on Not only did Alice receive a his mother for his sake, but claimed her very flattering welcome in Lafton, and, instantly as her own, as though somehow what was still more gratifying, in St her claim had been meant. “ Sometimes Rule's, where, as most people are aware, I thought of running away and coming very good society is to be found; but to you,” said Alice, as she sat by the she did more than that, and grew very Mistress's side, in radiant content and popular in the parish, where, to be sure, satisfaction ; and it would be vain to no curate could have been more serviceattempt to describe the admiration and able. She had undoubted Low Church delight of the entire household with tendencies, which helped her on with Colin's little tender bride.
many of the people, and in conjunction As for the Mistress, when the first with them she had little High Church
habits, which were very quaint and himself up in a corner, and preach himcaptivating in their way; and, i all un- self and his people to death, as he once conscious as she was of Colin's views said. He wanted to keep the Christian in respect to Church reformation, Alice feasts, and say the universal prayers, and was “the means," as she herself would link the sacred old observances with have said, of introducing some edifying the daily life of his dogmatical congrecustoms among the young people of the gation, which preferred logic. All this, parish, which she and they were equally however, he pursued in a milder way unaware were capable of having been after that famous journey to Winderinterpreted to savour of papistry had mere, upon which he had set out like a the power and inclinations of the lion, and from which he returned home Presbytery been in good exercise as of like a lamb. For it would be painful old. As for Colin, he was tamed down to think that this faithful but humble in his revolutionary intentions without history should have awakened any terrors knowing how. A man who has given in the heart of the Church of Scotland hostages to society, who has married a in respect to the revolutionary in her wife, and especially a wife who does bosom ; and it is pleasant to be able to not know anything about his crotchets, restore the confidence to a certain exand never
can understand why the tent of the people and presbyters of that bishop (seeing that there certainly is a venerable corporation. Colin is there, bishop in the kingdom of Fife, though and no doubt he has his work to do in few people pay any attention to him) the world ; but he is married and subdoes not come to Lafton and confirm dued, and goes about it quietly like the catechumens, is scarcely in a position a man who understands what interests to throw himself headlong upon the are involved; and up to the present established order of things and prove moment he has resisted the urgent its futility. No. I. of the “Tracts appeals of a younger brotherhood, who for the Times” got printed certainly, have arisen since these events, to continue but it was in an accidental sort of way, the publication of the “ Tracts for the and, though it cannot be said to have Times." been without its use, still the effect It is at this point that we leave Colin, was transitory, in consequence of the who has entered on a period of his life want of continuous effort. No doubt which is as yet unfinished, and accordit made a good deal of sensation in the ingly is not yet matter for history. Scotch papers, where, as such of the Some people, no doubt, may be disposed readers of this history as live north of to ask, being aware of the circumstances the Tweed may recollect, there appeared of his marriage, whether he was happy at one time a flood of letters signed by in his new position. He was as happy parish ministers on this subject. But as most people are ; and, if he was not then, to be sure, it came into the minds perfectly happy, no unbiassed judge can of sundry persons that the Church of refuse to acknowledge that it was his Scotland had thoughts of going back to
He was young, full of the ante-Laudian times in robes of genius, full of health, with the sweetest penitence, to beg a prayer-book from little woman in the kingdom of Fife, as her richer sister—which was not alto- many people thought, for his wife, and gether Colin's intention, and roused his not even the troublesome interpellations national spirit. For we have already of that fantastic woman in the clouds found it necessary
young to disturb his repose. She had waved man, notwithstanding that he had many her hand to him for the last time from gleams of insight, did not always know among the rosy clouds on the night what he would be at, or what it was before his marriage day; for if a man's precisely that he wanted. What he
marriage is good for anything, it is surely wanted, perhaps, was to be catholic and good against the visitings of a visionary belong to Christendom, and not to shut creature who had refused to reveal her
self when she had full time and oppor- for that sort of recreation. And the tunity to do so. And let nobody sup
fact was, that from time to time Colin pose that Colin kept a cupboard with a went in and shut the door behind him, skeleton in it to retire to for his private and was utterly alone underneath the delectation when Alice was sleeping, as distant wistful skies. When he came it is said some people have a habit of out, perhaps his countenance now and doing. There was no key of that de- then was a little sad ; and perhaps he scription under his pillow; and yet, if did not see so clear as he might have you will know the truth, there was a done under other circumstances. For key, but not of Bluebeard's kind-it Colin, like Lauderdale, believed in the was a key that opened the innermost quattr' occhi—the four eyes that see a chamber, the watch-tower and citadel of landscape at its broadest and heaven his heart. So far from shutting it up at its nearest. But then a man can from Alice, he had done all that tender live without that last climax of existence affection could do to coax her in, to when everything else is going on well watch the stars with him and ponder in his life. their secrets; but Alice had no vocation