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What a simple thing this is the easiest ment of wealth, by loving cost almost in the world! If ye were not all a poor, more than beauty. She was, however, too little, cautious set of people, you would well instructed to be led into the mistake do the same. Not afford it?' Pooh! a of making that luxurious modern room bagatelle like that! All this was in the into the semblance of anything ancient or laugh, which was even more eloquent than faded, while Mr. Williamson was too fond la langue Turque. There were sure to of everything bright and fresh to be per: be some sensitive people who did not like suaded' even by fashion into such an it; but they were very hard to please. anachronism. There was a faint suspiAnd the rich man was in fact so truly kind cion in the mirrors and gilding and all the and willing to make everybody comforta. conveniences and . luxuries, of the style ble, that the most sensible even of the of grandeur peculiar to the saloon of a sensitive people forgave him. And as splendid steamer, to which the steamthe majority in society is not sensitive yacht, which was the chief object in the when its own advantage and pleasure is immediate prospect as seen from the concerned, his house was always full of plate-glass window, gave additional likelivisitors, among whom he moved briskly, hood. Walter for his part was strangely always pleased, always endeavoring to startled, when, out of the seriousness of elicit the expression of a wish which he his own lonely thoughts, and the sense of could satisfy. Katie took less trouble. having arrived at a great crisis, he sud. She was less conscious of being rich. denly stepped into the flutter and talk of She was willing to share all her own ad- this large assembly, in which some halfvantages, but it did not appear to her, as dozen neighbors on the loch, most of them to her father, half so ridiculous that other young men in more or less attendance people should not be rich. The house upon Katie, mingled with strangers of all was always full of visitors staying there, classes whom Mr. Williamson had picked and there was not a day that there were not up here and there. There was a little neighbors dropping in to lunch or invited pause in the hum of voices at his own to dinner, keeping up a commotion which name, and a slight stir of interest, various delighted Mr. Williamson and amused of the guests turning round to look as he Katie, who was to the manner born, and came in. The master of the house adunderstood life only in this way. It hap. vanced with a large hand held out, and an pened thus that it was into a large party effusive welcome; but the little lady of that Walter, coming with a sense that he Birkenbraes paid Walter the much greater was under the dominion of fate, and was compliment of pursuing her conversation about to settle the whole tenor of his life, undisturbed, without betraying by a move. plunged unaware. He heard the sound ment that she knew he was there. Katie of many voices before he had got near the was not rude. It was not her habit to great drawing-room, the door of which pay so little attention to a new-comer: stood open, giving vent to the murmur of she was profoundly conscious of bis entalk from about twenty people within. He trance, and of every step he made among had scarcely ever gone up so magnificent the groups distributed about; but as the a staircase, broad, and light, and bright matter was a little serious, and his appearas became a new palace, with footmen ance of some importance, she showed a moving noiselessly upon the thick pile of slight stir of mind and thoughts, which the carpets.
could scarcely be called agitation, in this “ There is a party, I suppose ?” he said, way. It was only when her father called hesitating
loudly, " Katie, Katie, do you not see Lord “ No more than usual, my lord,” said Erradeen ? " that she turned, not moving the elegant functionary in black, who was from her place, and suddenly held out her about to announce hiin, with a bland and hand with a smile. soft smile of superiority and a little pity “ How do you do? I heard you had like his master's for the man who knew come,” said Katie; and then returned to no better, “ Two or three gentlemen have ber talk.
“ As for the influence of scenery dropped in to lunch.”
upon the mind of the common people, 1 The drawing.room was a large room, think it has more influence in the Highwith a huge round bow-window giving lands than anywhere, but very little when upon the loch. It was furnished and dec. all is said. You don't think much of what orated in the most approved manner, with you see every day, unless, indeed, you quantities of pretty things of every costly think everything of it. You must be todescription: for Katie, like her father, tally indifferent, or an enthusiast,” sail betrayed the constitution and tempera- the philosophical young lady.
Walter meanwhile stood before her, Iial member. " That will indeed be to almost awkwardly, feeling the rigidity gather knowledge at the fountain head.” upon his countenance of a somewhat un. “Do you think we may say she is a meaning smile.
nymph, Lord Erradeen? Oh yes — what “ And to which class does Miss Wil- do you call those classical ladies that liamson belong ?” said her companion, take care of the water - naiads ? Oona is who was a virtuous young member of Par. something of that sort. But better than liament, anxious to study national pecul- the classics, for she has water above and iarities wherever he might happen to be. water below for a great part of the year.
“ To neither,” said Katie, with a slight | You don't know how many superstitions coldness, just enough to mark that she we have remaining in this wild part of the did not consider herself as one of the country. We have ghosts, and wandering
common people." And she turned to Jews, and mysterious lights: Lord ErraWalter with equally marked meaning, deen will tell you “ Have you seen the Forresters since you Katie paused with the malice bright in came, Lord Erradeen ? "
She did not mean to affront "I have seen no one,” said Walter, the recovered attendant who might turn soniewhat astonished, and wondering out a suitor, and upon whom it was possiwhether any one could have seen and ble she might be induced to smile ; so she already betrayed his pause and instinc- paused with a little laugh, and allowed tive exclamation when he came in sight Braithwaite to break in. of the isle. “I came only last night, and “Do you call this a wild part of the am here today by your father's invita- country, Miss Williamson? 'Then what tion
must the cultivated portions look like? “I know,” said Katie, with greater cor- I see nothing but beautiful villas and paldiality. “You speak as if I wanted you aces, and all the luxuries of art.” to account for yourself. Oh, no! only “ The comforts of the Saut Market," one must begin the conversation some- said Katie with a shrug of her shoulders. how — unless I plunged you at once into “ It is more easy to carry them about with my discussion with Mr. Braithwaite (Mr. you than in Bailie Nicol Jarvie's time. Braithwaite, Lord Erradeen) about the But there is luncheon! Papa is always characteristics of the inhabitants of a formal about our going in, though I tell mountain country: Do you feel up to him that is out of date nowadays. So it?” she added, with a laugh.
you must wait, if you please, Lord Erra“But you avoid the question,” said deen, and take me.” There was then a the member of Parliament. “You say pause, until, as they brought up the rear
neither.' Now, if it is interesting to of the procession down-stairs, Katie said, know what effect these natural phenom- with the slightest pressure on his arm to ena have upon the common mind, it is call his attention, “ That is a member of still more interesting when it is a highly Parliament in search of information and cultivated intelligence which is in ques. statistics. If you hear me talk more non. tion."
sense than usual you will know why.” Help me out!” cried Katie, with a “ Do you expect Miss Forrester this glance at Walter. “ I have never been afternoon?” asked Walter, quite irrele. educated - no woman is, you know. How vant. are we to know what the highly cultured Katie's heart gave a little jump. She 'feel ? Papa is not cultured at all — he did not like to be beat. It was the healthdoes not pretend to it, which is why peo- ful instinct of emulation, not
any tremor ple approve of him; and as for me!” she of the affections. She gave him a keen spread out her hands like a sort of excla- glance, half of anger, half of enjoyment, mation. “And Lord Erradeen cannot for she loved a fray. give you any information either,” she “ Better than that,” she cried gaily, “we added demurely, "for he has not known are going down to the loch to see her. the loch very long — and I think he does Don't you remember Mrs. Forrester's not like it. No, but you shall see one scones, Lord Erradeen ? You are unwho can really be of some use this after- grateful, for I know you have eaten them. Don't you think she is the very
you shall come, too.” person, Lord Erradeen? Oona for she If this had been said on the stairs, has lived on the loch, or rather in the Walter, probably, would have given a loch, all her life.”
dignified answer to the effect that his en“And when shall I see this — nymph gagements would scarcely permit – but is she, or water.goddess ?” said the gen- | they were by this time in the dining room
in the little flutter of taking places which “ I have other work in haod," Walter always attends the sitting down of a said; at which youog Tom stared and party, an operation which Katie, with lit- colored still more, and a slight move. ile rapid indications of her pleasure, sim- ment showed itself along the table, which plified at once; and Walter found himself Mr. Braithwaite, the knowledge-seeker, seated by her side and engaged in conver- being newly arrived, did not understand. sation by the enterprising Braithwaite at Tom cried hastily, "I beg your pardon," his other hand before he could utter any and many eyes were turned with sudden remonstrance. Mr. Braithwaite set it interest upon Lord Erradeen. But this down in his journal that Lord Erradeen was what Walter had anticipated as little was a dull young fellow, petted by the as the Parliamentary inquirer. He grew women because he was a lord, no other so red that Tom Campbell's healthy blush reason being apparent - and wondered a was thrown into the shade. "I ought little at the bad taste of Miss Williamson rather to say," he added hastily, “ that who ought to have known better. As for my time here is too short for amusement." Katie, she exerted herself to smooth There was an uneasy little pause, and down Walter's slightly ruffled plumes. then everybody burst into talk. Both the There was no use, she thought, in hand- silence and the conversation were signifi. ing him over at once to Oona by thus cant. Lord Erradeen turned to Katie wounding his amour propre. She in- with an instinctive desire for sympathy, quired into his travels. She asked where but Katie was occupied, or pretended to he had disappeared when they all left be so, with her luncheon. It was not town.
here that sympathy on that point was to " I expected we should find you at be found. "I wonder,” said Katie, someAuchnasheen for the 12th,” she said. what coldly, “ that you do not remain “ You are the only man I know who is longer when you are here. Auchnasheen philosopher enough not to care for the is very nice, and you ought to know your grouse.' One is driven to believe about neighbors, don't you think, Lord Érra. that time of the year that men can think of deen? If it is merely business, or duty, nothing else.”
that brings you “Perhaps, Katie,” said young Tom of " I wish I knew which it was,” he said Ellermore, “if you were to speak to Lord in a low tone. Erradeen, whom we don't know as yet, as Katie turned and looked at him with we have never had the chance of calling” those eyes of common sense in which (here the young men exchanged bows, ac- there is always a certain cynicism. companied by a murmur from Katie, “ I did not think in this century," she “Mr. Tom Campbell, Ellermore," while said, " that it was possible for any man the color rose in young Tom's cheek), not to know why he was doing a thing; “perhaps he would be charitable to us but you perhaps like to think that an old others ihat are not philosophers.” family has rules of its own, and ought to
“ Have ye not enough grouse of your keep up the past.”. own, Tom Campbell ? ” cried Mr. Wil. "I should think," said Mr. Braithwaite, liamson, who, in a pause of the conversa- not discouraged by the lower tone of this tion, had heard this address. “Man! if conversation, “that the past must have a I were you I would think shame to look a very strong hold upon any one who can bird in the face."
suppose himself a Highland chieftain.” “And why?” cried the young fellow; "A Highland chief !” cried Katie, open. “that was what they were made for. Do ing her brown eyes wide : and then she you think otherwise that they would be laughed, which was a thing strangely allowed to breed like that, and eat up offensive to Walter, though he could everything that grows ?
scarcely have told why. “ Heather,” said the head of the house, “ I fear,” he said coldly," that though " and bracken. Profitable crops, my I am to some extent a Highland laird, I word !"
have no pretension to be a chief. There Here Walter interrupted the discussion is no clan Methven that I ever heard of: by a polite speech to young Tom whose though indeed I am myself almost a eyes blazed with pleasure and excitement stranger and of no authority.” at the offer made him.
“ Mrs. Forrester will tell you, Mr. “But I hope,” he said, “ you will join Braithwaite,” said Katie. “ She is a sort us yourself. It will be like stealing a of queen of the loch. She is one of the pleasure to have such an enjoyment, and old Macnabs, who once were sovereign the master of it not there."
here. These people,” she said, waving
her hand towards the various scions of of fir-trees was reflected and beautified in the great clan Campbell," are mushrooms the still water, that broke with a ripple the in comparison : which is a comfort to our fantastic doubling of every substance, but feelings, seeing that we sink into insig. lent a glory to the color and brilliancy of nificance as creatures of to-day before every outline. The gay party swept along them. The very original people are highly over the reflected woods, themselves all consolatory to the upstarts, for we are brilliant in reflection, and making the loch just much the same as the middling-old as gay as a Venetian canal. On the little people to them. They are worlds above landing place at the isle the whole small us all."
population was collected to meet them. Here Tom of Ellermore leaned over his Mrs. Forrester, in her white cap, shiverimmediate neighbors and reminded Katie ing slightly, and glad to draw round her that the days were short in October, and the fur cloak which Mysie was putting on that it was a stiff row to the isle: and the her shoulders from behind, "for the sun conversation terminated in the hurried has not the strength it once had,” she ex. retirement of the ladies, and selection of plained, “now that we are just getting rugs and wrappers to make them com round the corner of the year :" Hamish, fortable. Mr. Williamson bad, as he said, always in his red shirt, kneeling on the “ more sense,” than to set out upon any little wooden landing which he had such ridi ulous expedition. stood wheeled out to receive the party, order and watched the preparations with his to catch the prow of the first boat; and thumbs stuck into the armholes of his Oona, a little apart, standing looking out, waistcoat.
with a faint thrill of excitement about her, “ Ye had much better take the yacht," consequent on having just heard the news he said. “She could get up steam in of Walter's arrival, but no expectation to half an hour, and take you there in ten make this excitement tangible. They minutes, and there is plenty of room for made a pretty show upon the little beach, ye all, and the cabin in case of rain. But reflected, too, in the clear depths below: as ye like! A wilful man will have his the bit of ribbon on the mother's cap, the way. If ye would rather work yourselves knot of pale roses on Oona's breast, culthan have the work done for je — and a. minating in Mysie's stronger tints on one shower in prospect! But it's your own side, and the red of Hamish's garment on affair."
the other. The party, however, preferred the boats, “What a pretty picture it would make," and Katie put her father's remonstrance Katie said. ". Hospitality,' you ought to aside with a wave of her hand.
call it, or “Welcome to the Isle.' But “ It is all these boys are ever good for," there ought to be a gentleman to make it she said, “and why would you stop them? perfect; either an old gentleman to repre. Besides, it is far nicer than your mechan- sent Oona's father, or a young one for her ical steam, and tea on board, and all the husband. Don't you think so, Lord Erra. rest of it. Lord Erradeen, you are to deen?' steer. If you don't know the currents I It was perhaps at this moment, when he can tell you. Here is your place beside was listening with a somewhat distracted me: and you can tell me what you have look, smiling against the grain, and standbeen doing all this time, for there were so ing up in the boat to steer, that Oona saw many interruptions at lunch I got no good bim first. It cannot be denied that the of you,” the young lady said.
shock was great. In her surprise she had Thus Walter was swept along in Katie's almost made a false step on the slippery train. As he was quite unaware of any shingle, and Mrs. Forrester grasped her understanding between the girls, he was dress with an "Oona! you'll be in the of course ignorant that any special signifi- water if you don't take more care.” Oona cance could attach to his arrival in this recovered berself with a blush, which she manner at the isle. And for his own part would have given anything in the world to he was pleased by the thought of seeing banish from her countenance. It was so Oona for the first time in an accidental then! This man, who had, all unawares, way, without any responsibility, so to produced so much effect upon her life and speak, of his own. It was a little chilly thoughts, was coming back within her for a water-party, but on the lochs people little circle of existence in Katie Williamare prepared for that and it interferes with son's train! She smiled to herself a mo. no one's pleasure. The afternoon was ment after, holding her head high, and full of sunshine, and every bit of broken with a sense of ridicule pervading the bank, and every island and feathery crest being which had been momentarily trans.
fixed by that keen arrow of surprise and ascended the slope, and that is saying pain. She said to herself that the humor much. Mrs. Forrester led the way in of it was more than any one could have the highest satisfaction. believed, but that all was well. Oh, more “ Mysie, ye will stand on no ceremony than well! - for was not this the thing of about following,” she said,
" but run on all others that was good for her, that before and see that the tea is masked: would put the matter on the easiest foot. but not too much, to get that boiled taste. iny? All this flew through her mind like It is perhaps extravagant, but I like to lightning while the boat came close, amid have just what you may call the first flavor the friendly shouts and greetings of the of the tea. And let the scones be just crew, all of themi “neighbors' sons.” Mr. ready to bring ben, for Miss Williamson Braithwaite, the English observer, sat by must not be kept too late on the water at admiring while these brotherly salutations this time of the year. To tell the truth,” were gone through. Perhaps he did not she said, turning with her smiles to the note in his diary that the young aborig- member of Parliament, a functionary for ines called each other by their Christian whom she had a great respect, counting names, but he did make a remark to that him more important than a young lord, effect in his mind. And then there en- who after all was in the position of a sued the little tumult of disembarking, in " neighbor's son,” “to tell the truth I the midst of which Oona, holding out her have just to be inhospitable at this season hand, frankly greeted Lord Erradeen. and push them away with my own hands: “We heard you had come back,” she said, for it is always fresh upon the loch, and a giving him a look of full and confident score of young creatures with colds, all composure which puzzled Walter. She because I let them stay half an hour too meant him, and not him only, to perceive late would be a dreadful reflection. This the frankness of a reception in which will be your first visit to the loch? Oh, I there was not a shade of embarrassment, am sure we are delighted to see you, both no recollection of the strange moment Oona and me. We are always pleased to they had spent together, or of the encoun. meet with strangers that have an appreciter that had taken place upon the isle. I ation. Some people would think it was a When one pair of eyes look into another very lonely life upon the isle; but I as. with that momentary demonstration it is sure you if I could give you a list of all a proof of some meaning more than meets the people that come here! It would be the eye. And Walter, whose own eyes rather a good thing to keep a list, now were full too of a something, subdued and that I think of it, you would see some concealed so far as possible a depre- names that would be a pleasure to any cating, wistful look in which there was
Yes, I think I must just set pardon sought (though he had consciously up a visiting book, as if we were living in done ber no wrong; but in doing wrong some grand place in London, say Grosve. at all had he not offended Oona as Dante nor Square. What are you saying, Katie, offended Beatrice, although she might my dear? Oh yes, I have shaken hands never know of what sins he had been with Lord Erradeen. I am very glad to guilty ?) and homage offered was still see him back, and I hope he will stay inore perplexed by that open gaze in which longer and let us see more of him than there was nothing of the soitness of the last year. This is one of our finest views, look with which Oona had watched him I always stop here to point it out to stran. going away, and which had so often regers,” she added, pausing, for indeed it curred to his mind since. What did it was her favorite spot to take breath. mean? It gave him welcome, but a wel- And then the group gathered at the come that felt like the closing of a door. turning, and looked out upon KinlochHe was far too much occupied with in. bouran, lying in shadow, in the dimness vestigating this problem to remark the cf one of those quick-flying clouds which corresponding look, the slight, almost give so much charm to a Highland land. imperceptible smile that passed between scape. The old grey ruin lying upon the Oona and Katie as they met. In the dulled surface, steel blue and cold, of the midst of all the cheerful din, the merry water, which round the isle was dancing voices on the air, the boats run up upon in sunshine, gave a curious effectiveness the beach, the cheerful movement towards to the landscape. the house, such fine shades of feeling and " It is the ghost-castle.” “It is the dramatic purpose can make themselves haunted house,” said one of the visitors, apparent to those who are in the secret, in a whisper, who would have spoken but to no other. A merrier party never | loud enough but for the presence of Wal.
one to see.