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indomitable cheerfulness. She had early | other. Alike when the worst came, or made reckonings with her own heart as to when fear faded through hope into glad what were its absolute necessities, and certainty, she could be spared, and then had found that with her, love, and the others might come to console or to conpower of loving service far outweighed gratulate. But she had always been the all privations and struggles, and so had best angel of the waiting hours, whose resolutely accepted her full burden of touch was soft enough for hearts palpitat. these. Perhaps she had never before felting with uncertainty and who knew how such a sinking of her soul as she did to to steer between that dread that is too day, for at last change and pain were like despair, and that hope which seems stealing into the very home and home ties to tried hearts too much like indifference. for which she had wrought and suffered. Many a night through had she watched in It was time for Robert, her first-born, to narrow Shetland huts, while the wind go out and seek his fortunes in the great tramped over the roof with a sound as of world. And now the very day of his de- chariots and horses, and the sea roared parture had come.
and growled below like a fierce wild beast “ But as it is in the course of nature, it seeking his prey. She had known when must be the will of God,” said the brave to speak and when to keep silence; when little woman to herself ; "and if one lets to murmur a soothing text, and when only one's self begin to cry out against that, to trim the little iron lamp, or to add anone never knows where one may end." other peat to the glowing pile; when to
It troubled her sorely that during the kneel down and call out to God with that recently past days she had not always strange deep trust which we all find lying been able to restrain her tears. For the still and deep at the bottom of our bearts sight of them vexed Robert, and had when storms of sorrow or fear are agitatcaused him to speak to her more than ing our lives, and when simply and silently once in sharp words and with a morose to prepare and proffer a cup of tea. But manner, which she felt sure would return she knew, too, what all this had cost her. upon his heart to sting it with a tender “There's enough waiting in life which remorse when he should have gone away no human hand can hinder, Robert,” she out of her sight.
went on, struggling valiantly for speech, She felt thankful that she did not think for she did not want to slacken pace, since she should lose command of herself to-day. Robert might need all his time. All the pathetic parting preparations had had my share of that. I can see it was been completed, and with nothing more the lesson I needed, for I was of an im. but the end full in view, a desperate calm- patient spirit. And I've certainly not had ness had settled on her.
too much of it, for I can't do it easily yet. " When one's pain is worst, one shows But I think it's a lesson we should leave it least. I know that,” she decided to in God's hand, and not one we should set herself. “I believe that is the case with each other. So you'll take care about the Robert. He has been feeling all the time, letters, Robert ? like I feel to-day.”
" I'll do my best, mother,” said the lad. • Now, Robert,” she gasped, for they “But I expect I shall be often very busy. were walking at a considerable speed and If you don't get word of me you may be the wind nearly took away her breath, sure it is all right with me. Somebody " you won't forget always to let us have a else would soon take care to let you know letter. You know it is such a long while if anything went wrong." between our posts, that if none comes by “I'm not so sure of that,” she returned. one of them, we shall have a dreadful “ I've been thinking about that. waiting for the next." Her life had been remember when the poor Norwegian sailor worn down by constant waitings — wait- with his leg broken was carried up to our ings for her husband's return from er house from the wreck of the 'Friga'? rands of duty and mercy, amid perils of Well, he wouldn't write home to his darkness and cliff and wave - waitings mother till he was sure his leg wouldn't for tidings of death amony her own peo. have to be cut off. He said she would ple in the far southern mainland. And think no news was good news, and would somehow, too, she had always been the be spared all trouble about his calamity if one summoned to share other people's she never heard of it till it was over. waitings — the vigils of fishers' wives who And I thought so too, at that time; but knew not yet whether they were widows, somehow now I don't. If I don't hear and who craved for her presence and were from you I shall be apt to fancy, 'Some. consoled by it when they could bear none thing is wrong with Robert; but he and
his friends are saying that we will think gazing out upon its waste of gray waters no news is good news,' and that so they dashing up against the fortress-like rocks won't trouble us till they have good news which guarded the low, dank green hills to seod. But of course we don't want and the little hamlets peeping up among you to be writing letters home when it is them. Something to say yet! There your duty to be doing anything else," she was a world of yearning love and solicitude added, with true love's ready alarm and seething in her mother's heart, but then reluctance lest it become a drag and a such love and solicitude have to be confetter on the progress of active life ; “but densed into much the same words as suit a line will not take you long, and it will more common needs. She felt Robert made me do double the spinning and give a slight, quick movement beside her; koitting on the day it comes in.”
it might be of impatience, it might be of “Yes, yes, I understand all that,” said restivespain. It must be ended. Robert. But do you know, mother, I “ Robert," she cried, “ we shall be althink you ought to go back? I can't bear ways thinking of you; and we do hope to see you gasping and struggling against you'll always try to believe we did our very the wind as you are doing, and there is best for you. And in time bring us back pot time to walk more slowly or even to your own old self improved. God help pick our way. You know I said you you to be good, Robert. God send you shouldn't have come out at all,” he added all true happiness. God keep you. God in a rather gentler tone.
bless you. Good-bye, good-bye," and “ Your fatber could not leave the then, as she released his hands from her school,” she answered; " and I could not straining clasp and looked up into his bear that neither of us should put you a face, her love threw a playful thought up. bit on your way.” (“She'll begin to cry on the wealth of its passion, like a rose now," thought the lad, for her voice fal. on the top of a jewel.case, as she added, tered; but she did not.) “Yet, of course, “ And give my love to the trees, Robert; I must not hinder you. I think I'll leave and be sure you know them when you see you at the Moull. I have just a few words them to say yet — I won't take long about them. And so she smiled upon bim and turned Robert, my boy, I and your father pray away, and in a moment the curve of the that you may prosper with God's blessing, hill bid them from each other. but that you may always keep God's bless. She did not stand still; if she had let ing, whether you prosper or not. And herself do that she might have been you won't forget your sister Olive, will tempted to hurry after him for yet another you? She'll have to depend upon herself, farewell. She hastened back' along the just like you, when we're taken, and we'd lonely road which she had just trodden in not grudge parting from her sooner, if we his dear company. She did not list up saw it was for her future good. You'll her voice and weep in the loneliness. Her keep a watch for opportunities to suggest imaginative nature had realized this pain to us for Olive, won't you, Robbie? You too vividly beforehand to be startled by know we are so out of the world down any sudden stabs. Only, though the here."
wind was behind her now, she still felt “Of course I will, mother, if I see any," scarcely able to draw breath. There said the lad, “ but it is scarcely likely that were lowly houses in sight, where the simsuch will come my way.”
ple island hospitality would have readily “What we are looking for is always to rendered her rest and refreshment, but be seen sooner or later, and those in Lon- there are times when nature's is the only don are at the heart of everything," ob- face we can bear to look upon. Besides, served Mrs. Sinclair. “But here we are basten how she might, it would be dark at the Moull,” she said, stopping short. before she reached home. "Just stand still one moment, Robert – 1 which had not looked frankly from the won't come farther.” They were at a sky all day, now displayed a lurid light point where the way wound between a behind the low hills to the west, throwing high, mossy bill and a steep cliff. When them into deep purple and violet shadow. they parted each would be out of sight of She hurried on, for though there was the other in a moment, so that there would nothing to fear in an island whose guile. be no heartrending lookings back. She less population of many thousands scarce. bad thought of this.
ly needs the presence of a single police“Stand still one moment,” she repeated. man, and though, of course, Mrs. Sinclair “I think there is something to say yet.” was quite above all belief in the mischieve She stood with her face towards the sea, ous fairies, the mysterious "tangies," or
The Sun, inward agony.
ghostly ponies, and other grotesque crea- | and longer, and when she and Olive would tions of the simple local imagination, yet take their spinning-wheels or their knitin the darkness of a inoonless night itting out of doors, and watch the school. would not be very pleasant travelling on a boys at football, but no more Robert way where the dryest walking was to be among them; and when the fishing fleets found by jumping from stone to stone io would go and come, but there would be the bed of candid little watercourses that no Robert to go down to the boats and were far more to be trusted than the bring in the latest news? How would treacherous moss, which received one's she bear to see the blue waves dancing in foot only to close over it. At sundown, the sunshine, and to know they rolled betoo, the wind was almost sure to rise. It tween her and her boy, between him and was well that Mrs. Sinclair was one of all the old life that had been, and could those who instinctively avoid all avoidable be no more? discomforts as being apt to throw one And then again her heart reproached aside from one's power to serve, and to her, for she was a woman who sought to compel one to be burdensome to others, walk in the ways of divine wisdom; and for she was in that state of mind when the the precepts, " Take no thought for the more selfish and reckless are inclined to morrow : sufficient unto the day is the court outward suffering as a relief from evil thereof," seemed breathed into her
ears almost as by an audible voice. No, There was scarcely a sharp word which she would not think of the future. It, she had ever spoken to Robert, however and how she would bear it, was God's much for his good, which did not now seem business, and not hers. to her to have been a harsh word; and Then, with a strange rebound, such as had she not often allowed him to see her only highly strung, wrung natures can disheartened, weary, and ailing, when by comprehend, her thoughts went back to trying just a little harder she might have the past, to the richly wooded, bowery made believe to be as bright and well as Surrey vale, which she had left more usual? And had she done Robert justice than twenty years ago, and had never to the very utmost of her power? The seen since, and she saw before her, with dear father was such an easy man, so all the startling clearness and detail of ready to let things take their own way, absolute vision, her ancient, moss.grown and so sure that everything was for the cottage home, with its sweet, old-fashioned best. That was his nature, and could not flower garden, and the grey tower of the be altered, she thought; and a sweet and village church among its guardian yews. sunny nature it was. She only wished Surely for one moment a balıny breeze her own was like it, except that it might from ihat vanished past softened the fierce not do for two such to run together in winds of Ultima Thule! Surely she caught such a troublesome world. Had they a waft from the myrtles which used to really done their best for Robert ? Would stand in a row on the parlor window-sill ! he not find himself terribly behindhand Oh, what a magician memory is ! Mrs when he went among other people who Sinclair could have thrown herself down had lived all their lives in the polished in the dark on the rough, wet ground, to places of the world? Perhaps it had been cry her heart out in yearning for the a mere petty pride, an unworthy shrink- homely faces of old neighbors, for the caw ing from patronage, which had made her of the rooks in the squire's park, and the withhold the lad from too much frequent ringing of the English bells on a Sunday ing of the houses of the one or two neigh, morning. boring proprietors; and perhaps Robert No, no, no; this would never do. Again would blame her for it some day!
the ancient oracle, to which she had never Ah! she knew she did not miss Robert willingly turned a deaf ear, had its brac
not yet — while the grasp of his ing word for her about " forgetting those hand was still warm upon her own, and things which are behind, and reaching while his last words were still ringing in forth unto those things which are before." her ears. She could almost be glad just Neither the future nor the past must lay now that he was going away from the violent hands on the present. constant storm and privation – from the
Was it tears or rain on her face? dark, monotonous, empty days which she Either way, the rain soon washed off the had often felt must be trying both to the tears, for it began to fall in torrents, soakboy's temper and moral nature. But how ing even the thick native shawl which she would she bear the summer-time, when wore pinned about her head, a more apthe separation would be growing longer propriate covering in such a climate than
any bonnet or hat could be. It was dark now, and every moment the ground grew wetter and heavier, clogging the weary
NEW ACQUAINTANCES. progress of her poor tired feet.
AFTER his mother left him, Robert Sin"l'in glad of the rain,” she thought ; clair plodded steadily on his road. He "it will keep down the wind. Robert thought she was a good little woman to won't get wet in the cabin, and it will give let him go at the last with so little fuss. him the smoother passage.".
Very likely he would not have to walk The way suddenly broadened into the alone far. One other young Shetlander, valley where her journey ended. Here at least, was also to sail in the same ship and there a solitary light sent out a spark which would take Robert away from the of human cheer and habitation. She made island. Robert was almost sure to overstraight to her own house, daring, now it take Tom Ollison presently, or at any was in sight, to realize that she was very rate to meet him at the half-way house, tired. She lifted the latch. A glow of where travellers were wont to break their peat-smelling light and warmth rushed out journey by a brief rest beside the fire, and to welcome her.
a temperate meal of strong tea and home. "It's well to reach home on such a baked bread. pight,” she said cheerily.
" And there's If Robert's way onward was somewhat father waking up from a pleasant dream ! less picturesque than his mother's home. And there's my Olive got the tea all ready ward one, it was also less lonely, that part for her mother! Won't it be grand when of the country nearer its little capital be. it's Robert himself that we welcome back ing more populous than its remoter reagain ? And what a deal he will have to gions. Robert Sinclair quickened bis tell us! It's terrible, this going away; pace, when he came in sight of a beautiful but then there could be no coming home little bay, with many houses nestling without it. And I've been thinking, Olive, among its cliffs, and a tiny church and a we must begin at once to spin some of big manse standing on the lip of the sea. our finest wool, or even some flax, if One more up-hill tug, and he would reach there's any still to be had in the island, to his temporary resting-place. make Robert some light socks for the He found the good woman of the little warm suminers down south.”
house bustling about in a state of unOne is tempted to wonder sometimes wonted excitement. If Tom Ollison had why God makes such as Mrs. Sinclair to not yet arrived, and Robert's inquiries live in a world like this, where they seem ascertained that he had not, she had other doomed to the endurance of exquisite guests of much greater importance in her agonies which others never feel or even eyes. Not that she might not have preguess at, and so many of which, alas ! ferred Tom, for she had all the old-fash. others could often avert by a word, or ioned island distrust of strange faces. even by a look -- how much more by ac. But then strangers always meant money, tion ! But let it be remembered that at ready inoney, and that is no small boon every point at which pain can be received, in a place where life rubs on mostly by a there must be an equal capacity for re. series of exchanges, of doubifully ascerceiving pleasure. And let it be observed tained values. that though the quivering nerves of these Robert found no less than three people sensitive natures may only receive pleas. already awaiting the hostess's ministra. ure once for ten times that they are thrilled tions. But they were not all together — with agony, yet so exquisite is that pleas one sat alone and apart, quile extin. ure, that it seems almost to neutralize guished by the presence of the others. their huge disproportion of suffering, He recognized this one, and she got up
And what would the world be like if all and curtseyed to him because she knew souls were already so tempered ? – ready be was the schoolmaster's son at Quodda. to receive little but pain, yearning to ren. This was little Kirsty Mail. He thought der nought but joy? Would not that be now that he had heard his mother say the very kingdom and will of God come something about Kirsty's soon going to upon earth, for which we pray daily, but a servant's place in the south ; but his over which we too seldom ponder? mother was always taking so much interest
Let us think of these martyr-souls with in this kind of people and things, that he a reverent exultation. They are God's could not be expected to remember all best pledge of what he has in store when the details. all hearts - even these — shall be satis- The other two were strangers, perfect fied forevermore.
strangers, Robert was sure of that the
moment he saw them. They were seated “This isn't a licensed house, sir," said in front of the open fire, spreading out Mrs. Yunson. “There is not one nearer their garments to dry in its genial heat. than Lerwick; there are very good ones They both turned and looked at him; but there." they made no room for him at the fire, any Well, I don't know how you get on in more than they evidently had done for such a climate without something to com. Kirsty Mail; probably it did not occur to fort you," observed the visitor.
“ But I them that anybody was travelling but dare say you know how to take care of themselves. The one was a big, burly yourselves. There are nice little places gentleman with a face which would have among the rocks, where nice little boats been fine, but that its once noble outlines can leave nice little kegs, eh? And, upon were blurred by too much flesh. It was my word, I don't see who could blame the same with its expression. It was odd you. The revenue folk oughtn't to be how so much good-humor and kindliness | hard on people living in such a place." could remain apparent among such palpa. “ Indeed, and that's very true, sir," reble traces of peevishness, irritability, and sponded Mrs. Yunson, going on with her something very like discontent. His long, hospitable duties, olive-green overcoat was richly furred I
suppose you really do have a good about the neck and wrists, and there was deal of smuggling bere?” inquired the a magnificent signet ring on the hand he guest, lowering his voice to a more conheld out over the glowing fire.
fidential tone. The other was quite a young girl, and Mrs. Yunson shook her head. “ Not it was almost ridiculous to see the fea- now, sir," she answered demurely. tures of the father's heavy, rather voluptu- " There's a little tobacco, maybe, pow ous countenance translated into her deli- and again, but not enough to be worth the cate beauty. But it was not everybody trouble and risk. It is done more for the who would have eyes to see that his ex- íun of the thing, than anything else, I do pression was also translated into hers, and believe. The cloth is quite fresh and still fewer, that it did not even gain by clean, miss,” she interpolated, seeing the the transfer. Young vices go under such young lady's eyes fixed with suspicious euphonious names: they are called "sweet disfavor on sundry pale stains upon it. petulance" and "airy scorn," and "inno." Those marks are just off the haystack, cent thoughtlessness.” Alas! It is so on which it was dried. That's the only often only when it is too late, when they way we can manage in winter
the have taken firm hold on the life and have ground is that soft and dirty, and the ravaged it, and spread poison around it, wind's too high for lines.” that they are recognized for what they Miss Etta Brander began to sip her
tea. She said nothing about its quality, “ I hope that good woman won't be long which was really excellent, but she rein giving us something to eat, Etta,” said marked that she could not touch the bread the gentleman to the young lady. "I'd she would rather starve - it was like to be into the town before dusk if lumpy. possible ; but I suppose it isn't. There's • Well, Etta," growled her father, “I no knowing what the way may be like. should really think you could put up for What did she say she could let us have, once without grumbling with what other
people have to live upon all their days.” “She said something about eggs,” an. Etta smiled superciliously; she knew swered the girl indifferently.
she owed the reproof only to her father's “And tea, eh?” added the gentleman own irritation at having to go without his with a disgusted tone. At that moment usual midday indulgence of a “tot” of Mrs. Yunson bustled into the apartment brandy. to spread a clean, coarse cloth on the Mrs. Yunson asked if they had done rough table. So he directed his inquiries with the teapot, that she inight take it to her.
away to supply the wants of Robert and “You don't mean to say you can't let little Kirsty Mail. me have anything stronger than that," he Etta looked calmly at her, as if she said, as she set forth a dim tin tea-kettle. either did not hear or did not understand
" It's real good, sir,” she answered. what she said. But her father answered, “ Tea's a thing that keeps well, and we "Certainly, certainly: Why did you not
. , can get that good.”
ask for it before ? I did not know they “ But I want some brandy — or at any were travellers too. I thought they were rate some beer,” he said.
your own boy and girl.”