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thort, “he was your late cousin's body. I had no faith whatever in the other man, servant. The late Lord Erradeen gave He submitted accordingly to the ministrabim a very warm recommendation. There tions of the family retainer, with a great might be things perhaps in which he deal of his old impatience, tempered by a would be of use.'
sense of the humor of the situation. It " Thanks,” said Walter impulsively. seemed that he was never to have any “ I have a man coming. I am afraid the control over himself. He bad barely recommendation is a little too late.” escaped from the tutelage of home when
This unfortunately was not true; but he fell into this other which was much the young man felt that to allow himself more rigid. “Poor mother!” he said to to be saddled with a sort of governor in himself, with an affectionate recollection the slape of the late lord's servant was of her many cares, her anxious watchfulmore than could be required of him; and ness; and laughed to himself at the that he must assert himself before it was thought that she was being avenged. too late.
Mr. Milnathort's table was handsome “You will settle that at your pleasure, and liberal; the meal even too abundant my lord,” said old Milnathort, and he for the solitary pair who sat alone at a went away, shutting the door carefully, corner of the large table, amid a blaze of his steady, slow step echoing along the light. Miss Milnathort did not appear. passage. The man was not apparently in • She never comes down. She has ihe least daunted by Walter's irritation. never sat down at table since she had her He went on mechanically, lightly brush. accident, and that is thirty years since." ing out a crease, and unfolding the coat There was something in Mr. Milna. with that affectionate care which a good thort's tone as he said this that made servant bestows upon good clothes. Wal. Walter believe that her accident too bad ter longed to have brought his old coat something to do with the family. Everywith him that everything should not have thing tended towards that, or sprang from been so distressingly new.
it. Had he been to the manner born, this " That will do," he said, “that will do. would no doubt have seemed to himn nat. It is a pity to give you so much trouble ural enough; but as it was he could not when, as I tell you, I have another man keep himself from the idea either that he engaged.”
was being laughed at, or that some design "It is po trouble, my lord; it is a pleas- was hidden beneath this constant refer
I came out of attachment to the ence. The dinner, however, went off very family. I've been many years about my quietly. It was impossible to discuss late lord. And however ye may remind anything of a private character in the yourself that you are but a servant, and presence of Milnathort's serious butler, service is no heritage, yet it's not easy to ånd of the doubly grave apparition of keep yourself from becoming attached.” Symington, who helped the other to wait.
“My good man,” said Walter, half im- Walter bad never dined so solemnly patient, half touched,“ you never saw me before. It must be added, however, that in your life before. I can't see how you be had seldom dined so well. It was a can have any attachment to me."
pity that he was so little knowing in this Symington had a long face, with a some particular. Mr. Milnathort encouraged what lugubrious expression, contradicted him through the repast by judicious words by the twinkle of a pair of humorous, of advice and recommendation. He was deep-set eyes. He gave a glance up at very genial and expansive at this most Walter from where he stood fondling the generous moment of the day. Fond of lappels of the new coat.
good fare himself he liked to communi“There are many kinds of attachments, cate and recommend it, and Walter's apmy lord,” he said oracularly ; some to petite was excellent, if perhaps bis taste the person and some to the race.
was uncultivated. The two noiseless atnumber of years past I have, so to speak, tendants circulating about the table served just identified myself with the Erradeens: them with a gravity in perfect keeping It's not common in England, so far as I with the importance of the event, which can hear, but it's just our old Scots way. was to the old lawyer the most interesting I will take no other service. So, being of the day. free, if your lordship pleases, I will just When they were left alone finally, the look after your lordship's things till 'the aspect of affairs changed a little. Mr. other man comes."
Milnathort cleared his throat, and laid Walter perceived in a moment by the aside his napkin. He said, – way Symington said these words that he “ We must not forget, Lord Erradeen,
that we have a great deal of business to go through. It is understood that once a get through. But you have had a fa- year, wherever he may be, Lord Erradeen tiguing day, and probably very little sleep should pass, say a week, say two or three last night
days, in the old castle of Kinloch-houran, “I slept very well, I assure you,” Wal. which is the old seat of the family, the ter replied cheerfully.
original of the Methven race." " Ay, ay, you are young," said Mr. Mil. Walter bad been listening with some nathort, with a half sigh. “Still all the anxiety. He drew a long breath as Mr. financial statements, and to give you a Milnathort came to a pause. “Is that just view of all that's coming to you, will all ? ” he cried, with a voice of relief. take time. With your permission we'll | Then he laughed. “I was winding mykeep that till to-morrow. But there's just self up to something heroic, but if it is a thing or two Lord save us !” he only a periodical retirement to an old cried suddenly, "you're not the kind of castle to think, I suppose, upon one's person for this. There is many a one I sins and examine one's conscience know that would have liked it all the bet. “Something very like that,” said the old ter - till they knew — for what's attached man, somewhat grimly. to it. I thought as much when I first set “Well! It might be a great inconveneyes upon you. This will be one that ience; but there is nothing very appallwill not take it all for gospel, I said to ing in the prospect, if that is all.” myself - one that will set up his own * It is all, Lord Erradeen - if ye exjudgment, and demand the reason why." cept what passes there, a thing that is
Walter, a little uncertain at first how to your own concern, and that I have never take this, ended by being gratisied with pried into for my part. And just this besuch an estimate of himself. It showed, side, that you are expected there at once he felt, more perception than he had and without delay.” looked for, and he answered, with a little “ Expected at once and without de. complacency, “ I hope you think that is lay." Walter grew red with anger at the right way of approaching a new sub- these peremptory words. 5 This sounds ject."
a little arbitrary,” he said. "Expected? “I am not unbiased myself,” said the by whom ? and to what purpose ? I don't lawyer, “and I have had to do with it all understand my life. There are conditions connected “Nor do I, my young lord. But it's so with your inheritance, Lord Erradeen, in the documents, and so has it been with that may seem out of the way to a stran: every Lord of Erradeen up to this period. ger. If you had succeeded in the way of It is the first thing to be done. Before you nature, as your father's son, they would come into enjoyment of anything, or take not have been new to you, and you would your place in the country, there is this have been prepared. In that way it is visit - if you like to call it a visit: this hard upon you. There was one of your sojourn:not a long one, at least, you may ancestors that laid certain conditions, as be thankful - to be made I was saying, upon every heir. He was " To what purpose?” Walter repeated, one that bad, as you may say, a good almost mechanically. He could not, himright to do that, or whatever else he self, understand the sudden tempest of pleased, seeing he was the making of the resistance, of anger, of aların that got up family. In old days it was no more than within him. “ There is reason in every: a bit small Highland lairdship. It was thing," he said, growing pale. " What is he that gave it consequence; but he has it for? What am I to do?” held a beavy hand upon his successors " Lord Erradeen, a minute since you ever since.”
said, was that all ? And now you change “Would it be he by any chance of color: you ask why, and wherefore whom Mr. Bannatyne was discoursing to Walter made a great effort to regain me,” said Walter, “under the title of the command of himself. “ It is inconsistent, warlock lord ?"
I allow," he said. 'Somehow, the order “Ah! John Bannatyne took that upon to go now is irritating and unpleasant. I him?” cried Mr. Milnathort, with vivac. suppose it's simple enough, a piece of ity. His eyes gleamed from under his tyranny such as people seem to think they deep-set brows. “ The less a man known may indulge in after they're dead. But it the more ready he is to instruct the is abominably arbitrary and tyrannicai. world: but I never thought he would take What good does the old beggar think — " that upon him. So you see, as I was “Hold your peace,” cried Mr. Milnasaying, there are certain formalities to thort, with a little trepidation. 66 We have
no right to call names, and I would not knitting, with drawing materials, were arlike it to be thought .” Here he paused ranged within reach. One of these made with a sort of uneasy smile, and added, into a desk and put itself across her couch "I am speaking nonsense,” with a vague by another adaptation. It was evident glance about him. “I think we might join that the tenderest affection and care had my' sister up-stairs; and, as she knows made this prison of hers into a sort of just as much as I do, or, maybe, more, you museum of every ingenuity that had ever can speak as freely as you please before been called to the help of the suffering. her - oh, quite freely. But, my dear She lay, or rather sat, for that was her young lord, call no names !” cried Mr. general position, with an air of pleasant Milnathort. He got up hurriedly, leaving expectation on her face, and received his wine which he had just filled out, a them with smiles and hands held out. demonstration of sincerity which made a “Come away, come away,” she said in her great impression upon Walter, and threw soft Scotch." I have been wearying for open the door.
Putting off the busi- you.” Walter thought there was somedess details till to-morrow, I know noth- thing of age in her voice, but that might ing else that we cannot discuss before have been only the Scotch, and the unAlison,” he said.
usual form of her salutation. She pointed Walter was much startled when he went out a chair to bim carefully placed for her ba to the inner drawing-room and found convenience in seeing an hearing it lighted. Miss Milnathort did not em- “Come and tell me what you think about ploy any of those devices by which light it all,” she said. is softened to suit the exigencies of beauty " I have not heard much," said Walter, which has passed its prime. The light “ to think about: except that I am to go (alas for the prejudices of the æsthetic away directly, which does not please me reader!) was gas; and, though it was at all, Miss Milnathort." slightly disguised by means of opal glass, "Oh, you will come back, you will come it still poured down in a brilliant food, back," she said. and the little room was almost as light as “I hope so: but the reason why I day. She lay in her chaise longue placed should go doesn't seem very plain. What under this illumination. Her face was would happen, I wonder, if I didn't?" preternaturally young, almost childish, Walter said lightly. He was surprised small, and full of color, her hair snow- to see how much effect was produced white. She seemed to have been ex- upon his companions by this very simple empted from the weight of years, in com- utterance. Miss Milnathort put ber pensation, perhaps, for other sufferings; bands together, as if to clasp them in triher skin was smooth and unwrinkled, her umph. Her brother stood looking down eyes full of dewy brightness like those of upon the others, with his back to the a girl. Her dress, so far as it was visible, light, and an air of alarmed displeasure. was white, made of cashmere
"One result would be that certain of other woollen material, solid and warm, the lands would pass to the next heir,” he but with lace at the neck, and pretty rib- said; “besides, perhaps - other penal. bons breaking the monotony of the tint. ties; that I would not incur, Lord ErraShe looked like a girl dressed for some deen, if I were you.” simple party, who had lain there waiting What penalties? But do you think for ihe little festivity to begin, for no one at this time of day,” said Walter, " that could imagine how many years. Her ridiculous conditions of this kind that bands were soft and round and young can mean nothing could really be upheld like her face. The wind had not been al. by the law now that bequests of all lowed to visit her cheek too roughly for a kinds are being interfered with, and even lifetime. What had happened before the charities ?” event which she and her brother had both " Robert, that is true. There was the referred to as her “accident” belonged Melville mortification that you had so to a period which had evidently nothing much trouble about, and that was a charto do with the present. Walter saw at ity. How much more, as young Lord a glance that every possible convenience Erradeen is saying, when it is just enwhich could be invented for an invalid tirely out of reason.' surrounded her. She had a set of book- " You should hold your peace on legal shelves at one side with vacant spaces subjects, Alison. What can you know where she could place the book she was about them? I disapprove of all interferreading. Tables that wheeled towards ence with the will of a testator, Lord her at a touch, with needlework, with | Erradeen. I hold it to be against the
law, and against that honor and honesty Walter did not much like to hear him. that we owe to the dead as well as the self described as a far-away collateral. It living. But there has always been a sounded like a term of reproach, and as license allowed in respect to charities. he did not choose to say anything more So far as they are intended to be for the on this matter, he made the best change good of the poor, we have a right to see of subject he could. that the testator's meaning is carried out, “I wonder,” he said, “what would hapeven if it be contrary to his stipulations. pen with any of the fantastic old feudal But in a private case there is no such tenures if a new heir, a new man like mylatitude. And you must always respect self, should simply refuse to fulfil them.” the testator's meaning, which is very "Mostly they take a pride and a pleas. clear in this case, as even you will allow, ure in fulfilling them,” said the old lawAlison."
yer. • Ay, clear enough,” cried the young. “ But suppose," cried Walter, "for the old lady, shaking her white head. “But sake of argument, that a new Duke of I'm on your side, Lord Erradeen. I Marlborough should say, 'What rubbish! would just let them try their worst, and Why should I send that obsolete old Aag see what would come of it, if, instead of a to Windsor?' That is a modern instance; lame woman, I was a young man, lively or suppose and strong like you.”
“ Just that,” cried Miss Milnathort, “ The question is,” said Walter, “for I striking in with a ficker of her pretty have become prudent since I have had hands. “Suppose young Glenearn should property — whether for such an insignifi. refuse when he comes of age to hear a cant affair it is worth while losing a sub- word about that secret cha'mer stantial advantage, as Mr. Milnathort “ What would happen?" said Walter, says.
And then, perhaps, a new man with the laugh of profane and irreverent like myself, coming into an antiquated youth. routine, there would be a sort of dis- Mr. Milnathort rose to his full height; courtesy, a want of politeness He he pushed back his chair with an indig. laughed. “One ought, I suppose, to be nant movement. on one's best behavior in such circum- “ You may as well ask me,” he said, stances,” he said.
“what would happen if the pillars of the Miss Milnathort's countenance fell a earth should give way. It is a thing that little. She did not make any reply; but cannot be, at least till the end of all things she had been listening with an air so is at hand. I will ring for prayers, Alison. eager and full of vivacity, anxious to My Lord Erradeen is young; he knows speak, that the young man at once per- litile; but this kind of profane talk is not ceived the disappointinent in her expres to be justified from you and me.” sive little face. He said quickly,
Then the bell was rung; the servants “That does not please you? What came trooping up-stairs, and Symington would you have me do?" with an involun- gave Walter a sidelong look as he took tary sense that she had a right to an his seat behind their backs. It seemed opinion.
to assert a demure claim of proprietorMr. Milnathort at this moment sat heav- ship, along with a total want of faith in ily down on the other side, giving great em. the other man.” Young Lord Erradeen phasis to his interruption by the sound of found that it was all he could do to rehis chair drawn forward, a sound which strain an irreverent laugh. The position she protested against with a sudden con- was so comic, that his original sense of traction of her forehead, putting up a deli- angry resistance disappeared before it. cate band.
He was going off against his will to pass “I beg your pardon, my dear, for mak- through a mysterious ordeal in an old ing a noise. You must not consult Ali. ruined house, under charge of a servant son, Lord Erradeen; she is prejudiced on whom he did not want, and in obedience one side - and 1- perhaps I am, if not to a stipulation which he disowned. He prejudiced, yet biased, on the other. You was not half so free an agent as he had must act on your own instinct, which, as been when he was poor Walter Methven, far as I can judge, is a just one. It would knocking about the streets of Sloebury be a great incivility, as you say, for a far. and doing much what he liked, though he away collateral, that is really no more thought himself in bondage. Bondage ! than a stranger, to set himself against the he did not know in the old days what ihe traditions of a house."
word would mean.
knew that this was not so, and was angry
with himself for the thought. But how The day on which Walter set out for find his way out of the perplexity?: He Kinloch-houran was fine and bright, the shook it off, which is always the easiest sky very clear, the sun shining, the hills way; and soon the landscape began to standing out against the blue, and every attract his attention, and he forgot by line of the tall trees clearly marked upon degrees that there was anything very unthe transparent atmosphere. It was not usual in the circumstances of his journey. till two days after the conversation above It was not till the first long stage of this recorded — for there had been much to journey was over that he was suddenly explain, and Walter was so little acroused to a recollection of everything inquainted with business that-instructions volved, by the appearance of Symington of various kinds were necessary. Miss at the carriage window, respectfully reMilnathort was visible much earlier than questing to know whether he had wanted usual on the morning of his departure, anything. Walter had not remembered, and he was admitted to see her. She was or if he had remembered had thought no paler than before, and her little soft face more of it, that this quietly officious rewas full of agitation; the corners of her tainer had taken all trouble from him at mouin turned down, and her upper lip, the beginning of his journey, as he had which was a trifle too long, quivering. done during his stay in Mr. Milnathort's This added rather than took away from house. her appearance of youth. She was like a “What! are you here ?” he said with child who had exhausted itself with cry surprise, and a mixture of amusement and ing, and still trembled with an occasional | offence. sob. She stretched up ber arms to him “I beg your pardon, my lord,” said as if she would have put them round his Symington, with profound and serious reDeck, and bade God bless him with a spect, yet always a twinkle in his eye, tremulous voice.
"but as the other man did not turn up “You must have plenty of courage," and your lordship could scarcely travel she said; "and you must never, never without some attendance give up your own way.”
He had to rush behind to get his place Walter was touched to the heart by this the train in the midst of his sentence, look of trouble on the innocent, young-old and Walter was left to think it over alone. face.
In the balance between anger and amuse" I thought it was always right to give ment the latter fortunately won the day. up one's own way," he said, in the light | The comic side of the matter came uppertone which he had come to employ with most. It seemed to him very droll that her.
he should be taken possession of, against She made an effort to smile in response. his will, by the valet who professed an at.
“Oh yes, oh yes, it's the fashion to say tachment to the race, not io the individual so. You are a self-denying race, to believe members of it, whose head was garlanded yourselves; but this time you must not with crape in the quaint Scotch way for yield.”
Walter's predecessor, and who had “iden“To whom am I supposed to be about tified himself with the Erradeens.” He to yield ?” he asked. “ You may be sure reminded himself that he was in the counI shan't unless I can't help myself.” try of Caleb Balderstone and Ritchie
The tears overflowed her bright old Moniplies, and he resigned himself to eyes; her hands shook as they held his. necessity. Syunington's comic yet so re
“God bless you! God bless you!” spectful consciousness that "the other she said. “I will do nothing but pray man" was a mere imagination, was joke for
you, and you will tell me when you enough to secure his pardon, and Walter come back."
felt that though the need of attendance He left her lying back upon her cush- was quite new in his life, that it might be ions, solɔbing under her breath. All this well on his arrival in a strange country hall perplexed, half amused the young and a lonely ruined house, to have some
She was a very strange little crea. one with him who was not ignorant either ture, he felt, neither old nor young; there of the locality or the household. was no telling the reason of her emotion. The country increased in interest as he She was so much indulged in all her went on, and by-and-by he forgot himself whims, like a spoiled child, that perhaps in gazing at the 'inountains which appeared these tears were only her regrets for'a in glimpses upon the horizon, then seemed lost playmate. At the same time Walter to draw nearer, closing in upon the road,