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low over a desk, and he seemed to see the cheerful voices of those gathered about and hear nothing till Tom said,
it. “ Is there anything I can begin to do, He could not help wondering to what sir?"
other use the lower rooms were devoted, He looked up with a start and a frown, that he had to pass over two flats and go but said, " Good! That's it! You needn't on to the attic foor. He was rather glad begin to-day, though. Take a bit of pleas- of it, however; the big, low room, with its ure first."
sloping corners, was a little more in the “I'd rather take it second, sir," Tom style of Clegga than were the rest of his answered with a shy smile. “ I'd enjoy it new surroundings. The association was more."
carried out by the rude simplicity of the Mr. Sandison's grey eyes flashed at him furniture, by an old maimed spinningbeneath their shaggy brows.
“ Good!” wheel which stood at rest in one corner, he said again. “Always do what you like. and by the pictures on the walls, an old Then one person at least is pleased. Self- print of “Shetland Shelties,” an engravinterest is the only principle by which the ing of a scene from "The Pirate," and a world can go on."
fresh photograph of the Skerries lightTom selt puzzled. He had never before house. Tom thought that Mr. Sandison beard such sentiments candidly expressed, bad kept very true to the associations of though, for all his simple-hearted genial- his early youth, and he rather wondered ity, he was acute enough to recognize that how he had brought a spinning-wheel to they formed the secret creed according to the south with him, since Tom knew that · which many act. But how could he rec- he had migrated from the island, a lonely opcile Mr. Sandison's words with what lad like himself. How could Tom im. bis father had told him, namely, that the agine that the old print and the new pho. only terms on which the bookseller would tograph and even the decrepit wheel, were consent to train him were of so liberal a all the purchases of the last few days, kind, that Tom's utmost diligence and made in preparation for his own arrival, vigilance could scarcely make the contract because the grim bookseller had rememfair? Tom looked up at his master with bered how the sight of a pair of “rivlins” a lalf.laugh, expecting that some turn of (or Shetland skin-shoes) and of a knitting. his lip or twinkle in his eye would belie his pin sheath, exposed on a stall at a fancy cynical utterance and reveal that it had fair as "articles of interest from Ultima been made only in jest. But Mr. Sandi. Thule,” had refreshed his own homesick son's visage was sober and serious, almost heart, years and years before, and had saturnine.
opened up a store of innocent memories He took Tom at his word, and set himn which had diverted him from accepting an a task of comparing the contents of two invitation to a gaming.table ! catalogues of different dates, which kept " Let us give everybody every chance the lad hard at work for three hours. Then we have had ourselves," Mr. Sandison he bade him return to the back parlor, had said to himself, as he had put up the and "see if he could find anything more wheel and hung the pictures. Though to eat.” This time, Tom caught a glimpse it's ten chances to one if they take it. I of a domestic, an old woman, who spoke believe it's these dumb preachers that do sharply and in inconsequent answer to one half of the good - it's little enougb – or two civil remarks on which Tom ven- that gets done in the world, and they are tured. It was not till afterwards that be in no danger of glorifying themselves ! ” discovered she was quite deaf.
Tom grew less bewildered, but far more Mr. Sandison told Tom he did not want pathetic, after he had opened his boxes him any more in the shop that night; he and sorted out his possessions. There could go out for a walk if he liked. Tom were no traces of mother or sister among said he would rather go to his own room them no supererogatory stitching – no and unpack. He had such a curious feel quaint personal plan, none of those tender ing of having lost his identity, that he little daintinesses which lads, in miogled wanted to reassure himself by the sight pride and shamnefacedness, scarcely know of his little belongings. As he crept up whether to display or to hide. For Tom's the dark, narrow staircase, past the closed mother was in her grave in a wild Shetdoors of silent rooms, it was really hard to land burying-ground, and his only sister, believe he was in the same world with the eldest of the Ollison family, had been crazy, cosy old Clegga, interpenetrated by married and away from her home for the warmth of the great kitchen, and by years. It seems singular bow often the
bliss of these close, natural ties is not en- and gave a significant sniff. Each time joyed to the fullest by those who seem Tom had seen her there had been somebest able to appreciate them, but who are thing in her gait which made him feel left to sow broadcast those seeds of love uncomfortable, as if he had somehow unwhich others plant in their own gardens consciously offended her. for their own ingathering. God must Mr. Sandison spoke, looking straight know why it is, and must have a purpose before him, and not seeming to address in it. Is not the whole world the Father's either of his auditors. garden, and is not the sole object of the “ This was the habit in Shetland,” he children's enclosed plots to train them to said. “It is ill to break old habits till work on his wider plan? Are not fathers one has better new ones, Let us read the and brothers and mothers and sisters thirteenth chapter of the Book of Provgiven us only to teach us how, as St. Paul erbs.” beautifully expresses it, to treat all elders It struck Tom that this was the thiras fathers and mothers, all men as breth-teenth day of the month. Mr. Sandison ren, all women as sisters? And who shall read in a low, even, not unmusical voice ; say that those who can only sow in their it might have been the voice of a much Father's larger garden shall not surely younger and very different man from the reap in their Father's longer day? gaunt, taciturn old bachelor. He made
Such relics of home and homely affec. no comment on what he read, but he lintion as Tom could boast of, he spread out gered over some verses, and paused after tenderly. The stout, leather-bound Bible, them, as if repeating them to bimself. his father's gift, was. laid on his toilet. Just as he had completed the last there table, and Tom looked reverently at the came a rap on the shop door — the shop stiff inscription which had been so labo. was closed now — and Mr. Sandison shut riously written on its fly-leaf, and thought the Bible, rose, and went out himself to of the love and goodness that was in it, see what was wanted. The old servant and not of the final “e” that was omitted rose too, with another warlike soiff. She from the adjective by “his affectionate chose to see something wrong with the father.” He hung up the comb-and-brush arrangements on the supper table, and lin. bag which the servant lass had made and gered to readjust them. Then she looked given him, and did not scoff at its gaudy up at Tom, with angry eyes, and, pointing chintz, bright with red, green, and yellow. to the Bible, said harshly, Perhaps a soft moisture dimmed his blue “What's the good of him doing that eyes when he found, nestled away among when he doesn't believe in it a bit? The his new stock of island hosiery, a goodly master doesn't believe in a God.” bag of sweeties secretly stowed there by “Does he say so?" poor Tom venhis father's old housekeeper. He took tured to ask, much shocked, but especially one or two instantly, just because he felt sorry, and still oblivious to the fact that he that the worthy daine had so stored them was addressing a deaf woman. for his solace in his first loneliness; but She knew that Tom had spoken, though he put the rest away in his drawer. They only an inarticulate sound reached her. were the essence of home, and must be She never owned she was deaf; she much consumed but slowly, like the last pre preferred to be thought rude or disagree. cious luxuries of an Arctic voyager.
able. So she hazarded no answer beyond In due time he heard the heavy clang. another hostile grunt, and presently went ing of a bell, and although be had not on to say, been warned to expect such a summons, 6 You'd better beware of the master's he thought he had better go down and see queerideas yourself, young man. There's if he was wanted. He found Mr. Sandi- no knowing what they may lead you into. son and the old servant, whom her master I'll go bail there's something in his owo called “Grace," both in the little parlor, life that accounts for his holding 'em. which looked less cheerless now the lamp | There's them that don't choose to believe was lit. Some frugal refresliments, a jug in a God because it don't suit 'em to think of milk, and a few biscuits, were set forth of his judgments. Look there!” She upon the table.
Thereon also lay an seized the big Bible with no very tender open family Bible, before which Mr. San. hands, and turned to its front fly-leaves. dison sat. The old woman looked over There were two or three of them, evi. his shoulder as she passed him, found a dently made in provision for a family reg. place in a small Bible which she carried, ister, and very pathetic to see in the old and then plumped herself down with a bachelor's Bible. peculiar emphasis on a chair in a corner, Old Grace came round the table to
A CHRISTMAS MYSTERY.
Tom, pushing the heavy book before her Tom went to sleep, soothed and comwith an air of biting triumph.
forted. He had not been quite unim" Look here !” she repeated. “D'ye peachable in his knowledge of “The see that? There's two leaves fastened up Catechism, with Proofs.” He had been together — fastened so tightly that they'd addicted to sit beside his father on Sunnever be separated without spoiling the day afternoons, gazing dreamily over book; but you can just see there's papers Clegga Bay, talking of simple inatters, between 'em. I reckon that's the master's which often led back to the dead mother secret, and that it ain't to his credit, and to “sacred thoughts of the heart," though, mayhap, he's got some reason of rather than to attend the minister's some. his own for wanting it found out after what theological Sabbath class. Perhaps he's gone himself an' is done with, as he those very talks with the good old father thinks. Į saw him the other day, a-read- had led Tom to a truer feeling about ing a book which said our bodies don't go prayer than too many have. To Tom inio dust at all, but into gases. I shouldn't prayer was “talking with God' – trying be surprised if the master's got a wife to enter into his will and his purpose. It and children living somewhere. I reckon was not mere begging from God. Tom he's bad bis wild times before now. had made few requests to his earthly faWben a man doesn't believe in a God, ther. He had been able to trust him to nor the judgment-day, nor hell, there's a give what was best for his son.
His own reason for it, so you look after yourself, desire had rather been that “ father would my lad; and mind, I've done my duty by tell him what he ought to do." you and given you warping."
If all prayer took this form there would As Tom went through the shop to the be little cavil over the power of prayer. staircase he passed bis master, once more bending over his books. Tom thought he might have easily heard all that Grace had said in her unnodulated tones. Yet, perhaps, he was too absorbed, for even Two or three days later brought a note Tom's footsteps did not make him look from Robert Sinclair to Tom Ollison. It up. But as Tom went by, and said softly, was a short epistle, containing little more “Good night, sir," he lifted sad, searching than an invitation for Tom to journey eyes to the bright young face, and let down to the Surrey village on Christmas them gaze on it before he held out his eve, and remain there till boxing.day, so hand, and answered kindly, “Good-night, that he and his Shetland schoolfellow
might spend together the first festive sea. Those sad, searching eyes seemed to son happening in their absence from follow Tom into the lonely darkness of home. The proviso was added, " in the the silent house. He was glad to find event of there being no circumstance himself in his own room. Strange as it which might make it discourteous for Tom was, it had already become a retreat and on such an occasion to leave the house. refuge.
hold where he was himself a member." Tom had read and heard of people who The invitation, couched in these terms, were said not to believe in God. He had was sent through Robert by the miller thought of such as quite apart from hu- and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Black. Rob. man sympathy. But then he had never ert emphasized this by quotation commas,
and set forth his own sense of the super"O our Father !” said poor Tom, erogation of its politeness and considera“bless father and the folks at home, and tion, by appending to it a dozen lively keep ine straight in all these new ways notes of exclamation. where you have set me; and is it not a By the time this invitation arrived, Tom dreadful pity if Mr. Sandison cannot be Ollison bad learned much about the surlieve in you? How sorry you must be! roundings of his life from the old servant But, then, you know you'll take care of Grace. He had also discovered her in. bim, just as parents do of children who firmity of deafness, and had found how are a little wrong in their beads. I don't impossible it was to interrupt her harsh think I ever loved my father so much as monologues by questions which might when I got better from the fever, and bave drawn forth, however reluctantly, found how he had sat and watched and qualifying answers. Among other things nursed me while I was so delirious that I he had been informed that his master had called him a bear coming to eat me up, never been away from home for the last and even tried to strike him."
years, and for how much longer Grace
could not say — that being the time when she had such a generally low opinion, that she took service with Mr. Sandison. She "they had no bothering nonsense of had also told him that “Sunday and Sat- Christmas dinoer — nothing at all to make urday were all the same in that house, so the day different from other days, only far as the master were concerned; the that every Christmas eve somebody al. shop shutters were up, of course, and Mr. ways sent her a parcel containing a dress Sandison might go out a bit, but not at or a shawl. There was no name with it. church time.' Tom had so far verified But she reckoned there were one or two her words. He had seen very little of his people in the world who well knew her master on the day of rest; they had their value, though, maybe, they hadn't known meals together, and Mr. Sandison told it in time, and perhaps their conscience him all the books were at his service. gave them a prick, or perhaps they thought Tom noticed, however, that nothing such a man as Peter Sandison was not cooked appeared on the table, except the likely to be too liberal in his wages — not hot water for tea. Grace's duties were that she complained; she knew her innever oppressive;_but on Sunday they firmities, and that the weak must expect were a sinecure. Tom had gone alone to to be put upon." the big parish church, venturing shyly in- Tom felt quite surprised at himself for to its cavernous shadows, out of which, as the longing he experienced to accept this his eyes grew accustomed to them, there invitation, because it gave him a chance loomed a vision of crimson velvet and of seeing Robert's familiar face; for dusty carving, tesselated pavement, and young Sinclair and he, though always monumental skulls and cross-bones — a friendly, had not been special friends in mingling of the gloomy solemnity of a Shetland; but now Tom could enter into mausoleum with the cold state of a public that sick yearning after somebody with a palace, but with very little of the cheery few common interests and mutual memo. welcome of the Father's house. The beau. ries which often binds the exile or the tiful service of the English Church was aged with ties which seem most inexplistrange to Tom, who could understand so cable and uncongenial to those who are little of the iotoning of a very indifferent not in their pathetic secret. choir that he could scarcely follow the Tom was half afraid to prefer his re. order in his Prayer-book. So he had sat quest for leave of absence to this tacituro and thought of the little church of Scant- master, who seemed in his own experi. pess, which had been so like his own dear ence to have proved the common relaxa. home; its rudely fagged floor, bare tions of humanity to be unnecessary. benches, and big stove seeming but a dig. Poor Tom was but an inexperienced lad, nified version of Clegga Farm set in simple not yet initiated into the world's strange order for the higher occasions of its Mas- "rules of contrary," whereby it is the ter. And his heart had sickened with a rich man who thinks that the poor should strange sinking which he could not quite be poorer still, and the idle man who con. understand, for, like most fortunate stay. siders that the busy do not work half at-home folk, he had hitherto thought of enough; for seldom it is, that the “easy"homesickness rather as a half-fanci- going" make life easy for those about ful name for a half-fanciful sentiment, and them. had never dreamed that it can be a suffer. “Sir," said Tom, timidly addressing ing so real, as in some rare cases even to Mr. Sandison, "my old schoolfellow, Rob. sap away life itself.
ert Sinclair, has written to me, inviting Grace had further told him that “they me to spend Christmas in the country didn't keep Christmas," and Tom's only with him." comfort had been that the day of the En- Mr. Sandison looked up suddenly, and glish festivity would not be embittered by did not speak for a moment.
He even the thought of genial merriment going on looked down again and resumed his writ. at Clegga (though he knew he would be ing before he replied, missed), because, in the northern isles, Go, by all means; I think the weather Christmas is kept a few days later, accord- will be good for the season of the year.” ing to the old style of reckoning. At any “Thank you very much," Tom replied, rate, he could be quite sure he was not not so much relieved as he might have disgracing his master's hospitality by ab. been by the permission, because he senting himself on the occasion. Grace thought a shadow had darkened on Mr. had told him with bitter triumph, as if Sandison's face. He lingered, as if in here, at least, was one habit which she hopes of another encouraging word. could admire and uphold in him of whom Go, by all means," repeated the book.
seller. His tone was less frigid this time, a constraint in his manner. He was mak. but he did not lift his eyes from his ledger, ing arrangements for shutting up, as Tom and Tom bad to be satisfied.
prepared to go. How could the lad wish Tom bought Christmas cards for his
a merry Christmas to the saturnine father, and for every servant on Clegga man, whose lonely plans he knew so well? Farm. Then he bethought him that as he And yet he could not go in silence. There was to spend Christmas with Robert, it was something in the bookseller's sad would be a kindly attention to send one to eyes which drew Tom towards him, de. Mrs. Sinclair at Quodda schoolhouse, and, spite all old Grace's hints and warnings. instead of buying a fourpenny one for her, Good-bye, sir," said the lad, and the he bought two at twopence apiece, and other words came as by a happy inspiraenclosed the other for Olive Sinclair. Hetion. “Thank you for your kindness to had never seen much of Olive — had only me, and I wish you all good Christmas spoken to her once or twice, and remem. wishes." bered her only as a gaunt, black-eyed girl, A porter entered the shop and threw who answered in monosyllables. But he down on the counter a big parcel for thought how much she must miss her “Mrs. Grace Allan” just as Tom passed brother! His little purchases, postage out. The bookseller followed the lad to stamps and all, did not exceed half-a- the door and stood looking after him as he crown; for he had the truly gentle sense went down the street. tbat the value of such tokens of remem- " I thought I was only thinking of the brance is not their cost but their kindli boy in what I meant to do," be murmured
This was the first money he had inaudibly, “but I find I was like all the laid out in London. And let any who rest of them, only thinking to please my: are inclined to sneer at the boyish extrav. self, for when I find he can please himself agance, and to suggest that he had better better than I could please him, then I am have opened an account with a savings displeased! Well
, well, my purchases bank, give a thought to a certain box of shan't be wasted. If one could only be ointment, which was once poured forth, as sure that somebody gains by every and to the rebuke which was administered loss !” — and he sighed heavily. to those who cavilled at it. The best in. That night, a poor, well-meaning, but vestment of money is in human joy. shiftless family, called Shand, living in a Tom's half-crown certainly gave much court opening off Penman Row, heard a pleasure of the simplest and purest kind ring at the door-bell, and on answering it, to eight or nine people. Yet it gave one found a hamper of Christmas dainties little pang, too, and that was to none other standing on the doorstep, superscribed than Mrs. Sinclair. She never found it with their name. words; she strove to keep it from crys. tallizing.into a thought. But that was the only card from the south which arrived at Quodda, and there was no other letter by the same post. Oh! how wicked she was
From The Cornhill Magazine. to give a half-reproachful thought to Rob- THE SANATORIUM OF THE SOUTHERN ert. Why should he waste his money on such things? the love which was between We have recently heard much concernthem had no need for such trifles. Anding the wonderland of Wyoming - that yet But she would never, never amazing volcanic region where thousands have thought of any omission if it had of active geysers spout ceaselessly or in. not been for this token from a mere neigh- termittingly as the case may be — where bor, She almost wished it had not come ! the hills are rainbow-tinted by the extraorShe gave it to Olive to keep, and some dinary deposits of mineral waters, where how after she did that, Olive took her own rivers which might justly be described as card down from the mantelshelf where she infernal rush through deep chasms be. bad set it, and put them both away - out twixt cyclopean cliffs, from whose every of sight.
crevice rise columns of white steam, esThe shop in Penman Row was closed caping with deafening roar or shrill whistle on Christinas eve, at the earlier hour on strange features, in truth, to adorn a which it was closed on Saturdays. Mr. recreation ground - and altogether marSandison inquired by what train Tom vellous is this majestic national park, ought to travel, and bade him take care which takes its name, the Yellowstone, and get off in good time. This sounded from one of the mighty rivers which rises kindly, but Tom still thought there seemed | within its boundaries, boundaries which