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life-work lay, that perhaps such a repu- made poor Peter understand that it tation might be good for him rather than wouldn't be nice on bis part to take her bad; but still it was a pity, considering from her genteel home, and turn her into how Tom had been brought up.
a wife and a general servant all at once. However, Robert said nothing on this I dare say she made him believe that, for subject. Perhaps he was all the niore her own part, she was ready with any eager to proceed with his news, because angelic sacrifice for his sake,” laughed Tom manifested so little curiosity: Robert, with the manner of one who knows
“Well, of course, you know that Mr. the wiles of the sex — – the easy confidence Sandison came from Shetland," he nar- of the serpent-charmer, who will not be rated, “and perhaps, though he was such: bitten. a friend of your father's, that is all you do “Well?" said Tom Ollison, with a know. It is wonderful how much we all sharp note of interrogation. Robert Sintake for granted, especially concerning clair's mirth jarred and fretted him. As our elders. But when I was in the north he would tell this story, let him hasten to this time, the old men who came to my its end. father's funeral, in their natural desire to Well," echoed Robert quite complaknow all about things in London, let fall cently, " that happened which might have expressions which let me know that there been expected to happen. While Peter was a mystery somewhere, and once I Sandison was toiling and moiling among had got as far as that, be sure I lost no his books and catalogues, laying shilling time in getting as far as I could go. So to shilling, and pound to pound, a certain you really have not the least idea that smart fellow, who knew both of the courtPeter Sandison is no Shetlander, excepting couple, dashed into a bold speculaby repute, and that he has no better right tion, made his fortune, and carried off the to the name he bears?"
lady's heart. It was only a modern ver. “I only know that he and my father sion of the old ballad, don't you know, were friends from their earliest
Let him take who has the power, that one of iny first memories is of hear
And let him keep who can ! ing his name mentioned with respect at Clegga.” Tom spoke with a coldness They say she made excuses that she was quite foreign to his usual manner. He beginning have doubts about Peter wished to check Robert's communications, she thought that some of his views were yet he would not absolutely silence him, queer, and that perhaps it was risky to lest it should seem as if he feared what trust herself to a man with so doubtful an might be said.
origin. But of course one can see what Robert went on. " They say he was all that was worth. Well, I don't blame brought to the island in a ship, when he her. It is easy to blame people. But we was a baby, and was given in charge of must each do the best for ourselves, and a the old couple, who provided him with a woman's marriage is always her best or name and a starting-point in life. One of her worst bit of business. She hasn't the old men said that Peter Sandison had markets every week.” been a very dashing, eager sort of boy, What could Tom Ollison say ? All the but that a great change came over him true romance of his pure young heart was after bis foster parents' death. It was up in arms against such a defilement and thought that then he first discovered the desecration of life's sweetest sanctities, secret of his birth."
And yet by this time he fully realized that Tom said nothing. He was silently to argue over them with Robert Sinclair adjusting this new fact beside many an would be worse than useless, would only old one. Robert went on.
lead to further desecration, like a struggle " Then they say there was a rumor that in a church with one who has insolently he had another terrible come down in spat on its altar steps. And every nerve of London, years after. They had only a his warm, true nature was tingling in symvague story of that, without names or pathy with Peter Sandison. Atheist, was dates, gathered from the reports in home he? If so, then whose was the root of letters of other Shetlanders in the metrop- the blame? The beloved disciple had olis. They said that he had fallen in love pertinently asked, “ He that loveth not his with a young lady, who was supposed to brother whom he hath seen, how can he be rather above him in circumstances; love God, whom he hath not seen?” Was not that she had any money of her own, a grievous perverting of Scripture for they said, but she was the daughter of Tom to feel that in the very spirit of that some government pensioner, and she question another might be asked,
who finds no ground for faith in his broth- “ If you thought she was going wrong er whom he hath seen, how can he have you should have spoken to somebody," faith in God whom he bath not seen ?” said Tom. “Even Mrs. Brander herself,"
Ob! how glad he was to think that at he added rather faint-heartedly, “though the very beginning he had not been tempt. she might have discharged her, might ed to swerve from his allegiance to his have kept an cye on her, or have interfather's friend, even for that bright, peace. ested those in her who would have done ful Stockley life which Robert had held so." so lightly! But while he pondered, Rob. Robert shook his head.
“Not likely," ert went on again.
he observed easily. “And besides, it does “The old sogies told me all this news not do to mix one's self up with these quite simply — just as they knew it. They matters. It isn't understood. If one could supply no dates, no margin narrower does so, people think there is something than a decade. Nor did they know the at the bottom of it. And before one names of this false lady and her successo knows where one is there is a mysterious ful lover. The beauty of it was that I saw rumor floating about one. And it will directly that I could supply both. They turn up some day to do one damage, when only gave the other half to a half story I and where one least expects it.” half knew before. But as they never Well, good bye now, Robert," said dreamed of that I got off without any sus. Tom quite suddenly, unable longer to enpicious questionings. Does nothing strike dure his companion's mental and moral you, Tom? Don't you see through this?” atmosphere. It had never before occurred
· No,” said Tom stubbornly; " I only to him that probably the self-condemned hear all you have told me.”
accusers of the sinful woman in the New “But don't you feel a clue? You must Testament had barely crept away from the surely have heard something on which presence of her and her inerciful Master, this throws a light? Do you know, I before they began to whisper innuendoes should not have been a bit surprised if against him whom they had left speaking you had taken the wind out of my sails by to her with kindly courtesy. It is scarcely telling me you knew all about this long in early youth that we discover that soci. ago. Do you mean to say you cannot ety, like the air, is filled with floating matgive a guess as to the identity of the ter, ready to settle everywhere, and to dameless parties in my tale? Try." convert wholesomeness into poison. So
"I am not going to try," said Tom. “I while we hermetically seal the food we shall know when I am told. Guessing on wish to preserve, let us consider the wis. such subjects is an unjustifiable throwing dom which directed that the right hand about of inud, and then some may stick on should not know what the left hand did, quite innocent people.”
and which was feign to seal every good Robert was silent for a few minutes, deed with secrecy “ See thou tell no perhaps only because he was lighting a
man." cigar. Probably it would have been quite That very afternoon Tom availed him. impossible for him to trace the line of self of a leisure hour to go to the railway thought which carried him on to his next station, in the hope of seeing Kirsty, and remark.
of making some appeal to her better feel. “Have you heard anything of Kirsty ings and good sense. Mail since she left the Branders' ser. He found another."young lady” at the vice?"
refreshment buffet. This one bad black For Tom had never told him of his hair and bold black eyes, with which she chance encounter with her at the railway stared at him for a full minute before she refreshment buffet on the day when Rob- answered his quiet inquiry after “Miss ert went to the north. Tom could scarcely Mail." have told whether his silence on the sub- “Miss Mail?” she echoed, “ Miss ject had been instinctive or intentional. Chrissie ? ” with a mocking emphasis on He told him the facts of the case now, as the abbreviated name. “Oh! we don't briefly and baldly as possible.
know anything of her here, and don't want Robert puffed his cigar for a minute. to. She's gone." “That girl will come to no good," he de. Tom felt his face hot under the girl's cided. " She was one of those who will cruel glance. have their pleasure and their leisure at “She had a cousin, barmaid at the any cost. If I had told all I knew she Royal Stag," she went on.
- That one would have been out of the Branders' took to robbery - at least a man she knew house long before she was.”
did, a man that had run away from Edin. 2486
IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT.
burgh with her, and she was put into the more general information as to the welldock with him, only they let her off. I being and prosperity of the son and don't say your Miss Chrissie did anything brother. But now that he had seen Olive in that style, but she lost her place here Sinclair again, he felt he must see more through her carryings on, and when the of her, and to his dismay he found that man got his sentence I suppose the two henceforth ber friendly letters were no girls went off together. Nobody has longer a welcome, temperate pleasure, but heard of 'em since.
a longed-for, passionate delight. Tom turned and went back to Penman In those years, Tom's life enlarged Row. By that time it was twilight; and greatly in many ways. He went abroad it seemed to him that at every corner he more than once, deputed by Mr. Sandison, saw a face and beard a laugh which might to do work which had been offered to that have belonged to Kirsty Mail.
well-known and respected, “though eccen.
tric,” bookseller and book hunter. He lived CHAPTER XV.
a real life in those foreign cities, working amid their workers, and making friends
among them. He was more than once at AND so for years, while Olive Sinclair the great book fair at Leipsic. But he toiled and spared in the old attic in Kirk- always came back, with an unspoiled wall, and while her mother waited and heart, into the strange, subdued life in prayed and sealed her yearning maternal Penman Row, and the hearty, homely so. love in a gentle silence, the life of the two ciality of the homely folk among whom be young men in London advanced steadily worshipped. up the grooves which each had found for Tom paid occasional visits to the Bran. himself. Tom Ollison saw his father sev. ders', though the intervals between such eral times, but not by his going to Shet. visits grew ever longer. He could ill land, or by the old gentleman coming up brook to bear the ignorant contempt with to London; they agreed to break the long which the whole family regarded the simjourney for each other by meeting at Ed. ple peasantry of his native island, from inburgh, which spared Tom the sea voy, whom too, he knew by his father's letters, age for which he had little leisure, and every penny was being extorted and every saved the father from travelling on" those right gradually withdrawn, and to whom railway lines ” which, despite their smooth- were extended none of the amenities ness, he mistrusted far more than the which once made feudal power a possible roughest waves of his own North Sea. form of friendly protection. Once, indeed, Tom went to Shetland. He There were times when it almost dawned did not stop in Kirkwall, except on his on Etta Brander's darkened perceptions, return journey while the vessel in which that about this young man with his “ Quix. he journeyed lay in dock to take in pas. otic ideas " there was something tiner sengers and cattle. Mrs. Sinclair and than about her father and Robert Sin. Olive came down to the shore to see him, clair. She even got so far once as to and to exchange a few friendly words dur- think to herself that the world might be a ing the brief interval. It pained Tom to ple nter world if everybody was like see how the schoolmaster's widow had him. But then it was no use to dream of become quite an old lady, with silvery hair what "might be;" it was clear that the smoothed beneath her black bonnet, and world was full of quite another sort of with pain and patience writ large on her people, and “it was of no use to be singu. sweet and mobile face. But what an in. lar.” She was inclined to pity Tom a teresting woman Olive had grown! rather little for the long hours which his work too slight, perhaps, but gaunt no longer. seemed to absorb, and for the nature of What fine lines had come out in her coun. his recreations, the long country rambles tenance! What a wonderful light there was or boatings on the river, solitary, or with in her eyes! Tom only wished he could some companion as hard-working as himhave prolonged his stay. Yet though there self the occasional game of cricket or was nothing in the neat black garments of quoits during his Saturday afternoons at mother and daughter to rouse in his mas. liis favorite Stockley. How different all culine unconsciousness any suspicion of these were from the gay, exciting diverthe hard life of struggle and privation sions the dances, the polo, the operas, which they were living, somehow he felt and the pigeon-shooting matches, with that he would not have much cared to out which she felt she could not live! enlarge on Robert's career to them, and And yet young Mr. Ollison never looked that perhaps it was well he was limited to bored, as she constantly felt. Why, she
even wearied so utterly of the monotony men. Already strangers had been seen of travelling in Switzerland, that she got about Stockley, who dropped suspicious her father to push on to the southern hints concerning a big new public-house, gaming tables that she might snatch the a possible distillery, and plenty of specufeverish delights of rouge-et-noir. After- lative building, as facts looming in that wards she always said that she did not future which was only held back by the wonder that gentlemen enjoyed specula- frail life of one ageing man. Tom would tion.
have been ready to deduct a good deal of Mrs. Brander did not make much de. the evil report of the Stockleyites concernmur over the transformation her daughter ing young Carson, as due to their fond worked in the family sphere. She herself clinging to a happy old régime, and their had been brought up in the straitest old natural shrinking from a new and doubt. fashion not to dance, not to go to a play, ful one. But Tom had not been left to not to read a novel. Some forgotten an. form his opinion of the man from these cestor of hers had rejected these things, alone. At that solitary supper of Robert's perhaps in the days of public Maypoles, at which Tom bad put in appearance, be of the libertine Wycherley and of the no- had heard Carson tell a foul story and torious Mrs. Aphra Behn. For genera- crack a vile joke. His name had figured tions afterwards the family had walked disreputably once or twice in the daily blindly in that ancestor's footsteps, doing papers, and was seldom omitted from the right (as far as it was right) wrongly, since suggestive chat of society journals. Mr. they did it not on any principle, but be. Brander did not disguise his own judg. cause it was “the custom” of the most ment of the man, especially of late, since select section of the “respectable” society the interests of his succession had been in which they had been content to move mortgaged, as he said, “ to their very
bilt." in those days. But now things were Nay, Mrs. Brander herself saw no neces. changed. Mrs. Brander's new friends sitý for disguising her knowledge that were “ fashionable," and had other stand. " the poor dear captain had been very ards. So for these, she quietly deserted wild," while she went on to say
" what her own.
She did not honestly change perfect manners be bad, and how sweet them, as anybody may change any custom, his disposition seemed, and how she was even in sheer loyalty to the very principle quite sure bis heart was thoroughly good wbich may underlie it. When she alluded at bottom." to her changed social tactics, she did not Tom Ollison could not help thinking say, “ Things are changed,” or “ My views what different measure was meted to Caphave changed.” She only sighed, “The tain Carson and to Kirsty Mail. But he times are changed,” “ People think differ. knew that to draw any such parallel would ently nowadays.”
seem to Mrs. Brander like insanity, and She little knew that it was words of would be regarded by her as a personal hers which put an end, finally, to Tom insult. So, wishing his words to carry Ollison's few and far-between visits to some conviction, rather than to merely Ormolu Square.
relieve his own feelings, he only said, On that evening, she had first descanted “The more attractive such men as Caplong on the graces and accomplishments tain Carson inay be, the more pestilential of Captain Carson, whom Tom had met are they in society.' there again and again. Long before this, “Oh, now you are uncharitable ! ” cried Tom had known that the captain was the the lady; " we must always hope for the heir of the good squire of Stockley, the best. I don't believe the captain would unworthy heir, to whose advent into place, harm a fly. There are so many tempta. the Blacks, and all the other old tenants, tions for men of rank and wealth that we looked forward with dislike, and even ter must not judge them hardly. I believe the ror; since the young man's character was captain really aspires after better things. of a kind calculated to check and destroy He told me that he finds it a real treat to all the good infuence of preceding genera. go sometimes to St. Bevis's Church, it is tions, while it had already betrayed bim. so sweet to hear the trained choir singing self into the power of eager, mercenary in the dim, religious light. There is al. men like Mr. Brander, who would put ways hope for a man who is religiously every pressure on their weak and self. disposed.” There she paused for a while indulgent tool to force him to extort from and then asked, “ Is it true, as Robert his ancestral acres more rapid and showy says, that your poor Mr. Sandison is an gains than golden harvests and rosy
atheist ? orchards, and a race of loyal and honest Tom felt his face flush. Had his sacred,
though rash confidence been thus bandied set against him; on the other, a perpetual about?
struggle to keep his resources up to the “ Madam,"
,” he said, “I have never heard ever.rising water-mark of his ainbitions, Mr. Sandison name God.”
and the needs which grew out of them. " Ah,” sighed the lady, “I feared and People told Etta that she was “a very for. foresaw that it would be so. And once it tunate girl," and Etta grew quite satisfied was so different. He thought and spoke that to consult high-art authorities on the a great deal of sacred things. And most furniture of one's future home, and to reverently, too — or, of course, I should invent æsthetic novelties for one's trous. pot have allowed it. Only he permitted seau, was vastly better than any idyllic bimself to think too deeply, and to venture love in a cottage, though somehow all the to think in new ways. I foresaw how it poets and the painters seemed to find the would end.” She sighed again sentimen- latter the better subject whereon to exertally, and then bending over her crewel cise their gifts, and she found it very nice work, said, in a lower voice, “ He and I to buy pretty pictures of people whom in were once rather friendly. Poor dear real life she would have only pitied and Peter! Without doubt, he has mentioned patronized. For her, there were few lovthat to you, when be has heard of your ers' confidences in the gloaming, few visits here."
lovers' roamings in forest or op seashore, “He never did so, madam,” Tom was but she saw quite as much of Robert as glad to be able to reply. Tom had been she wished at the balls and dinner par. unable to suppress sundry conjectures ties to which they were both invited. which Robert's hints had aroused, but he Etta's own ambitions were growing daily, had never given then voice. “ He never and as she knew that “business meant mentioned that, madam. But when I said means to gratify them, she never grudged I had never heard him name God, I was to find “business” her very successful going on to say, that had I gone into his rival. house a pagan, I am sure I should have Etta," said one of her friends to her asked what God my master served, whose once, “at one time, I half thought you service made him so tender and true in were in love with that naughty Captain his dealings with all men. Perhaps he Carson." has learned, maybe too bitterly, to trust “Perhaps I was,” Etta calmly admitted, words less and deeds more.”
“ I think I liked him better than I ever For many a little secret had Tom dis. liked any other man.” covered to his master's credit, as, for in
said the friend signifi stance, he had come across the hotel bill cantly. for that Christmas dinner for the Shands “And yet I shall marry Robert Sin. which had aroused Grace's ire (though clair,” Eita answered; "that is quite a even now he could not guess that the fes. different thing." tivity had been first planned in kindliness Eua had heard little — and asked nothto himself); and he had discovered that ing — about the mother and sister in the the wheel and the Shetland prints had far north. “They were living quietly in been bought to give the old attic a homely a cathedral town there,” she said. That look for his eye. And was he going to bad a pretty and an aristocratic sound. discuss the mute agonies of the noble soul To do her justice, she knew nothing more. which haunted Peter Sandison's pathetic Possibly Robert bad encou
couraged her dis. eyes, with this shallow dame, who fancied like to the thought of ever visiting those she bad faith because she did not know remote islands. Mr. Brander himself had that faith is of the heart and the life, and gone to his northern estate several times, not of the lip? No, never. And from and had always returned in a bad temper, that day be never returned to Ormolu saying "he would be glad to wash his Square.
hands of the whole concern; it was the Etta Brander and Robert Sinclair had worst investment he had ever made; he been long openly engaged, and their ap- might as well have acted like an old proaching marriage was even being dis woman, and put the money into con. cussed by this time. Everybody regarded sols ! ” Robert as one of “the most rising young It was just before Robert and Etta were men in the City.” He had made one or married, ihat one evening, as Mr. Sanditwo very lucky hits. But life was a hard son and Tom sat together at supper in and constant strain upon him, being, in the dining-room at Penman Row, Grace one of its aspects, a gambling game, in came in and announced, in her very sourwhich at any time much of the luck might est manner, “that somebody had been
". And yet