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hastily snatched up to hide dishevelled hair; while little bare pink feet would sometimes show themselves. But the young ladies only peeped out behind the window-curtains, in the background of the noisy demonstrative band of youngsters.
Distant voices, excited and impatient, were soon heard; then the jingle of spurs, and the clank of swords, as half-bashful yepmen descended the stairs for their debut on the street. At last appeared important familiar persons, now strikingly transformed by their martial dress, but terribly uncomfortable and self-cqnscious.
The horses were led to the doors; and to the women who stayed at home the mounts were the events of the day. The return of the members of the troop, now broken to their work, and detached into groups of threes and fours, and chatting and laughing at their ease, was quite tame in comparison. The country gentlemen and farmers were, of course, generally well used to the saddle, and could get upon their Bucephaluses without difficulty, and rule cavalierly, or prick briskly out of sight, as they were in good time or too late. But here and there a solicitor, or banker, or wealthy shopkeeper, ambitious of being among the yeomen, would meet with unhappy enough adventures. He might be seen issuing from his doorway with pretended unconcern, but with anxious clearings of the throat and ominously long breaths, while his nag, strange to him as John Gilpin's, was brought up to the mounting-place. The worthy man would plant his foot in the stirrup next him, but, not throwing himself round decidedly enough, the horse would swerve and rear, while he looked on beseechingly and helpless. Then he would try the other side, still failing to swing himself into the saddle. He would grow more and more flustered. His wife, in her clear muslin cap and spotless calico wrapper, with her little lads and lassies — one, two, three — would then step out on the pavement to give cautious advice. The would-be yeoman would become more and more nervous, while his comrades rode by with jeering glances, and the passengers stood still. Little boys would begin to whoop and hurrah; and a crowd, even at this early hour, would gather round to enjoy the experiment. "Hey, Nancy I get me a kitchen chair," the townbred yeoman at last would say, in desperation, to his elderly commiserating maid-servant in the distance; and from that steady half-way stand he would climb into the saddle with a groan, settle himself sack fashion, and, working the bridle laboriously with his anus, trot off, to return very saddle-sick.
Then some stubborn young fellow, possessed with the notion of showing off a dashing horse, would insist on riding a vicious, almost dangerous, animal, which would on no account endure the sight of his flaming regimentals on the occasions of his mountings and dismountings. Once in the saddle, he would master it thoroughly, and pay it back in kind with whip and spur, compelling the furious beast to face a whole line of red coats, and wheel, march, charge, and halt with perfect correctness. But the horse would have its moment of revenge as its rider leapt to and from the saddle. If it encountered the scarlet, and the glitter of brass and steel at that instant, it would get quite wild, paw the air, fling out its hoofs, snort, and dash off wildlv, to the danger of its own and its master's life. But the young soldier would not like to be beat. Day after day the contest would be renewed. At length he would resort to a compromise, and his groom would bring out the horse, with its head ignominiously muffled in a sack; and
now the yeoman would mount with comparative safety.
But the bugle is sounding to drill in the early summer morning. "Tra-li-la," the clear music suit* with the songs of the birds and the dew on the grass. The last lagging yeoman is off, gone to receive a public reprimand from his strict commanding officer, but sure to have the affront rubbed out next morning by a similar fault and a similar experience on thepart of a comrade.
The drill ends at the common breakfast hoar, when the yeoman may be supposed to return and feast sumptuously. Then " civil " work begins, yeomen who had offices or shops attending them with slight relics of their uniform. A stranger might have been pardoned had he imagined an invasion was daily expected, or that an intestine war wa» on the point of breaking out. In consideration of the hot weather undress uniform was permitted, on all save field days, and thus the toiling yeomen enjoyed a little cool in their white ducks and jackets, though the red mark, the helmet's line, was still to be traced on their sun-browned foreheads.
There was an afternoon's drill. It was a little of a fag, being in fact rather like a dish heated np a second time, as a duty twice done mostly always k But the evening was particularly gay. Then the yeomen were supposed to be enjoying themselves. Pleasant, if they had always enjoyed themselves in an innocent fashion. That many of them did so, it is only charitable to believe. And while the fast and foolish, the gross and wicked were swilling and roistering in evil localities, generous, manly, gentle souls gratified the matrons with whom they were billeted by walking with them and their daughter* through the streets, or into the nearest meadow; or perhaps they treated them to the play.
I have only heard of those days. But I should have liked to have seen the bluff, kind faces above the stiff stocks and scarlet coats, and the joyous smiles which shone upon them. I should have liked to have heard the quiet town ringing with such blithe laughter. Little jokes would cause the people to laugh as little accidents would cause them to shake their heads. Sandy Hope's horse, for instance, lost a shoe while at the gallop, stumbled and threw its rider, dislocating his shoulder and breaking his arm. What a sensation the news created! It could scarcely have been greater even had Sandy's brains been dashed out. Not only Sandy himself, but Sandy's kindred to the remotest degree, were deeply commiserated. The commanding officer sent his compliments every morning, with inquiries after him. The troop doctor was besieged by anxious acquaintances. Sandy's comrades never ceased calling upon him, and would sit for hours drinking beer at his open window. Delicious messes and refreshing drinks, a thousand times better than beer, were sent to Sandy. Then the nosegays, th« books he got I Sandy received a perfect ovation. It was even proposed that the ball should be put off because Sandy was lying in pain; and it was certain that no fewer than three reputed sweethearts of Sandy stayed at home on the ball night. Yet the stupid fellow was so slightly hurt that within the fortnight he was walking the streets of Priorton more briskly than ever I
Priorton was kindly in its gayety, and each had an interest in the other. I should have liked to have known the old town when it was thus given np for ten days, half to military exercises, half to fraternity and feasting. I should have been sorr/
•when the feasting was intemperate, but I would no more have condemned the general feasting because of that circumstance, than I would condemn the gift of speech because some of ua are so left to ourselves as to tell lies or say bad words.
It was a well-known and accredited fact, that in consequence of these festivities of the yeomen more marriages were made up in this brief interval than during any other period of the year. Match-making individuals seriously counted on the Yeomanry weeks; and probably far-seeing young ladies had fitting matches in their eye, as well as the fireworks and the introductory gayety, when they came in troops to Priorton to entertain the lucky yeomen.
"My dear," said Mrs. Spottiswoode, the wife of the chief magistrate, who was likewise banker of Priorton, to her spouse, "your cousin Bourhope has asked his billet with us: I must have my sister Corrie in to meet him."
Mrs. Spottiswoode was a showy, smart, good-humored woman, but not over scrupulous. She was very ready at adapting herself to circumstances even when the circumstances were against her. For that reason she was considered very clever as well as very affable among the matrons of Priorton. Mr. Spottiswoode was "slow and sure "; and it was because of the happy alliance of these qualities in him that the people of Priorton had elected him chief magistrate.
"My dear," deliberately observed long, lanky Mr. Spottiswoode, " would it not be rather barefaced to have Bonrhope and Corrie here together 1"
"O, I '11 take care of that," answered the lady, with a laugh and a toss of her ribbons. "I shall have some other girl of my acquaintance to bear Corrie company, — some worthy, outof-the-way girl, to whom the visit will be like entering another world," continued Mrs. Spottiswoode with a twinkle of her black eyes. "What do you think of Corrie and my cousin Chrissy Hunter of Blackfaulds? The Hunters have had such a deal of distress, and so much fighting with embarrassment, — though I believe they are getting clearer now, — that the poor lassie has had no amusement but her books, and has seen absolutely nothing."
Mr. Spottiswoode had no inclination to contradict his wife for contradiction's sake, and as he could rely on her prudence as on her other good qualities, he said, " Well, Agnes, I have no objection; Hunter of Blackfanlds is an honest man though he is poor, and he is righting himself now."
The invitations were despatched, and accepted gratefully. The guests arrived before Bourhope occupied his quarters ; ostensibly they came so soon in order to prepare for him. Corrie had nothing Roman about her except her name, Cornelia. She was a tall, well-made, fair-faced, serene beautv, the sole remaining maiden daughter of a Scotchman who had returned from the Indies with a fortune, as so many returned then. He had already endowed Mrs. Snottiswoode with a handsome "tocher," and since his marriage had settled within five miles of Priorton. Chrissy, again, was one of a large, struggling family, — a small girl, a very little crooked in figure, and with irregular features and a brown complexion. If she had not possessed a bright, intelligent expression, she would certainly have been plain, — as indeed she was to those who did not heed expression. It was a delightful chance to her, this brief transplanting into the nourishing, cheerful
town house, amid the glowing gayety of the yeomanry weeks. Accordingly she was constantly engaged in checking off every little detail on the finger-points of her active mind, in order that she might be able to describe them to her secluded sisters and her sick mother at home. She was determined not to miss one item of interest; never to sleep-in so as to lose the mount; never to stray in her walks and fail to be in the house for the return from the afternoon drill. She would pace the meadows among the gay promenaders even when the evening wag cloudy, and would not care though she walked alone; she would enjoy the play when Mrs. Spottiswoode chose to take her, and not even object to a squeeze in the box. The squeeze was really part of the fun! But she did not care to have her attention distracted from the stage, even by the proffers of fruit from the yeomen.
As to the ball, she did not allow herself to think much of that. Who would ever have dreamt of Chrissy figuring at a fine yeomanry ball I She would not trouble herself because she had only an old worked white frock of her mother's, taken up by tucks to suit her, and yellowed by frequent washing and long keeping: she would not fret because she could not spend money upon a hair-dresser. She must dress her own hair, — which was scanty, like every other outward adornment of hers. This was little matter, she reflected, for it would not dress under the most skilful artist into those enormous bows on the crown of the head which everybody then wore, — it would only go into combcurls like little hair-turrets on each side of her round, full forehead, which was by no means scanty. She had no ornaments in the way of jewelry, save a coral necklace; while Corrie had a set of amethysts, — real amethysts, — ear-rings, brooch and necklace, and a gold cross, and a gold watch which she rarely wound up, and which was therefore, as Chrissy said, " a dead-alive affair." But Corrie was a beauty and an heiress, and ornaments became her person and position; while on Chrissy, as she herself admitted with great good sense, they would only have been thrown away. And what did Chrissy care for her appearance so long as her dress was modest and neat: She could walk about and listen to the ravishing music, and study the characters she saw, from Corrie up to the Countess, wife of the one Earl who came to Priorton, and who was Colonel of the yeomanry. The day or two before the yeomanry arrived was spent by the two girls in walking about, shopping and making calls. Corrie, though a beauty, proved herself a very dull companion for another girl to walk with. Very pretty to look at was Corrie, in a fair, still, swan-like style of beauty; and she had a great many pretty dresses, over which she became a Uttle more animated when Chrissy, as a last resource, would ask her to turn them over and show them again. Corrie, of course, never dreamt of offering poor Chrissy a loan of any of those worked pelerines or aprons, which would have fitted either equally well. But Chrissy did not want them, and she got a use out of them as they were brought out one by one and spread before her. Ere the yeomanry came, Chrissy knew the stock by heart, and could have drawn them and cut out patterns and shapes of them, and probably did so, the little jade, when she got home.
Bourhope came with his fellows, and was specially introduced to Corrie and Chrissy. He had had some general acquaintance with both of them before. He gallantly expressed his pleasure at the prospect of having their society during his stay at Priorton. He was a farmer, whose father had made money at war prices. He had bought his own farm, and thus constituted his son a Email laird. He had an independent bearing as well as an independent portion of the world's goods; he was really a manly fellow, in his brown, ruddy, curly, strapping comeliness. But, better still, was an intelligent fellow, who. read other things than the newspapers, and relished them. He was a little conceited, no doubt, in consequence of comparing himself with others, but he had a good heart. Corrie and Chrissy both regarded him with scarcely concealed interest and admiration. Chrissy wished that the lads at home would grow up to be as comely and manly; Corrie made up her mind to have just such a husband as this Spottiswoode of Bpurhope.
It was evident the very first night that Bourhope was taken with Corrie. He stared and stared at her, admiring her waxen complexion, the bend of her white throat, and the slope of her white shoulders; and even changed his seat at one time, as it seemed, in order to see her better. He quickly claimed her as his partner at loo, and engaged her to walk out with him to hear the band practising next evening. Chrissy thought it all very natural, and all the more enjoyable. But she caught herself fancying Bourhope and Corrie married, and rebuked herself for carrying her speculations so far. Only she could not help thinking how Bourhope would , weary after the marriage, — say when there was a snow-storm, or a three day's fall of rain at the farmhouse. But that was Bourhopc's affair: if he was pleased, what business was it of hers? Bourhope had this in common with Chrissy, — he could entertain himself.
During the first three days of the week, Bourhope was zealous in attaching himself to Corrie. But a sharp observer might have remarked that after this he flagged a little, taking more as matter of course and politeness the association he had established between her and him at tea, loo, and the evening promenade. He would even stifle a yawn while in Corrie's company, though he was a mettlesome and not a listless fellow. But that was only like men, to prize less what they had coveted when it was half won.
Thus for a short time matters stood. Corrie, fair and swan-like, Bourhope reasonably impressionable, Mr. and Mrs. Spottiswoode decidedly favorable, Chrissy Hunter harmless, if not helpful. Mrs. Spottiswoode knew that those who dally with a suggestion are in great danger of acting on it, and had very little doubt that the next ten days, with the crowning performance of the ball, would decide the desirable match between Bourhope and Corrie.
At this juncture it struck Bourhope, riding home from the morning drill, to ask himself what could possibly take Chrissy Hunter out so early every morning. He had already seen her once or twice keeping out of the way of him and his companions, and returning again from the opposite end of Priorton, which was flanked by the doctor's house. Corrie, he noticed, was never with her. Indeed, Bourhope had a strong suspicion that Corrie retreated to her pillow again after showing him her lovely face, — lovely even in the pink cutl-papers. But Chrissy certainly dressed immediately and took a morning walk, by which her complexion, at least, did not profit. Not being a very strong little woman, her brown face was apt to look jaded and streaky
when Bourhope, resting from the fatigues of his drill, lounged with the girls in the early forenoon in Mrs. Spottiswoode's drawing-room. So it Wm worth while, he thought, to spur up to Chrissy and inquire what took her abroad at such an untimely hour.
When Bourhope caught a nearer glimpse of Chrissy he was rather dismayed to gee that she had been crying. Bourhope hated to see girls crying, particularly girls like Chrissy, to whom it was not becoming. He had no particular fancy for Cinderella: or other beggar maids. He would have hated to find that his kinsfolk and friendly host and hostess, for whom he had a considerable regard, were mean enough and base enough to maltreat a poor little guest of their own invitation. Notwithstanding these demurs, Tom Spottiswoode of Bourhope rode so fast up to Chrissy as to cause her to give a violent start when she turned.
"Hallo I Do you go to market, Miss Chrissy, or what on earth takes you out in the town before the shutters are down?" pointing with his sheathed sword to a closed shop.
Chrissy was taken aback, and there was something slightly hysterical in her laugh, but she answered frankly enough, "I go to Dr. Stark's, Mr. Spottiswoode. Dr. Mark attends my mother, and is at Blackfaulds every day. I wait in his laboratory till he comes there before setting out; he goes his rounds early, you know. He lets me know now mother was yesterday, and as he is a kind man he carries our letters, — Maggie and Arabella and I are great writers, and postage comes to be expensive, — a great deal too expensive for us at BlackfauUs; but the doctor is a kind man and he 'favors' our letters. And Mr. Spottiswoode," she said, warming with her subject, and impelled to a bit of confidence, "do you know, Dr. Stark thinks my mother will be about again in a few months. You are aware her knee-joint, has been affected. We were even afraid she would never put down her foot again. It would have been a dreadful trial to all of us." • Chrisy spoke simply, in a rather moved voice, •
Bourhope was slightly moved, too. He had nerer heard much about Mrs. Hunter of Blackfaulda, except that she was a woman who had been long ailing; and also occasional remarks about the consequences of her being lost or spared to her family.
Chrissy was grateful for his evident sympathy, and gratified by it; but, as if half ashamed of baring elicited it she :K once began to prattle to him on other subjects. Bourhope had leapt from his horse, and was doing her the honor of walking at her side, his beast's bridle over his arm, and his spurs ringing on the pavement. A sparkling pr^ tie that was, of Chrissy's, about the fine morning, the town and the yeomanry, — few topics, but well handled, and brilliantly illustrated. Bourhope dared to confess to himself how sorry he was when he reached Mi. Spottiswoode's door.
Next morning Bourhope detached himself from his comrades when he approached the town, and looked narrowly for Chrissy. It would be but cml to inquire for poor Mrs. Hunter. So bent w* he on being thus civil that though Chriwy wa* far in advance he knew her by the pink pingbio trimming of her morning bonnet, fluttering u»* rose leaves in the morning sun. He came up to her, and politely asked after her mother. Chrisy was a little confused, but she answered pleasantly enough. She was not nearly so talkative, however, as on the preceding morning, though Bourbope made witty comments on the letter she held a her
hand, and pertinaciously insisted on her telling him whether she mentioned him in her return letters! He reminded her that they were cousins, in a way. This was the first time Chrissy had known of any one hunting up a relationship with her, and though pleased in her humility, — Chrissy was no fool in that humility of hers, — Bourhope she knew was destined for her cousin Corrie. He was out of Corrie's way just now, and was only courteous and cordial to her as living for a time under the same roof. She liked the ruddy, curly, independent, clever fellow of a fanner laird who, out of the riches of his kindness, could be courteous and cordial to a poor, plain girl. But Bourhope could never overtake Chrissy coming from Dr. Stark's again. He spied and peeped and threw out hints, and hurried or loitered on the way to no purpose. Chrissy took care that people should not notice the fact of her being escorted home in the early morning by Bourhope.
A chance conversation between Mrs. Spottiswoode and Corrie was overheard one day by Bourhope, when they imagined him deep in Blackwood; for it was the days of the "Noctes." Mr. Hunter of Redcraigs, Corrie's father, had not been well, and a message had been sent to that effect to her. But she was philosophic and not unduly alarmed. "Papa makes such a work about himself," she said candidly to Mrs. Spottiswoode. "Very likely he has only taken lobster to supper, or his Jamaica rum has not agreed with him, and he is bilious this morning, I think I will send out a box of colocynth, and a bit of nice tender veal, to put him in good humor again. You know, Agnes, if I were to drive out, I could not get back in time for the evening walk in the meadows. Besides, I was to see Miss Aikin about the change in the running on of my frills. It would overturn all my plans to go; and my head gets so hot, and I look so blowsy when my plans are disarranged," Corrie concluded, almost piteously.
"Yes; but, Corrie," hesitated Mrs. Spottiswoode, "you know Dr. Stark is not easy about papa just now. I think I had better go out myself. It is unlucky that Spottiswoode is to have several yeomen, who do business at the bank, at dinner to-day with Bourhope ; but I dare say Mary will manage that, as Chrissy will mix the pudding for her. Sol will go myself to Redcraigs; all things considered, it would be a pity for you not to be in your best looks —"
Bourhope, at this point, fell into a fit of coughing, and lost the rest of the dialogue; but perhaps his occasional snort of disapprobation was called forth as much by this interlude as bv the audacious judgments of the Shepherd and Tickler.
The day unluckily turned out very rainy, and the drill was gone through in a dense white mist ,which caused every horse to loom large as an elephant, and every rider to look a Gog or Magog. The young ladies, so fond of a change of costume at this time in Priorton, could do no shopping; the walk in the meadows at sunset with the lounging yeomen had to be given up. The green meadows were not inviting, the grass was dripping, the flowers closed and heavy, and the river red and drumly. All was disappointing, for the meadows were beautiful at this season with their summer snow of daisies, — not dead-white snow either, for it was broken by patches of yellow buttercups, crow's-foot, lady's finger and vetch, and by the crimson clover flowers, and the rusty red of sorrel, and the black pert heads of the nib-wort plantain, whose black upon the white of
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Instead of walks there were gatherings round shining tables; and bottles and glasses clinked cheerily in many a parlor. But Mr. Spottiswoode was sober by inclination. The impressiveness of office, which had quite the contrary effect on many provosts of his era, only added to his characteristic caution. The yeomen, too, knew well where hilarity ended and excess began. So there was little fear of excess in Mr. Spottiswoode's house. Mrs. Spottiswoode, a genius in her own line, had a cheerful fire in her drawing-room, and sat by the hearth, with her children tumbling round her, while Corrie, fairer than ever in the blinking fire-light, and Chrissy, brown and merry, sat on either side of her. She invited the farmer laird to enter that charmed ring, which of course he could not help contrasting with the loneliness and comfortlessness of Bourhope. But though he sat next Corrie, a certain coldness crept over the well-arranged party. He caught himself glancing curiously at the book Chrissy Hunter had been almost burning her face reading by the firelight before he came in. Mrs. Spottiswoode did not much care for reading aloud, but she took the hint part, and called on Chrissy to tell what her
apprentice, and his master, for the purpose of enabling Robbie to share his enthusiasm, would lend the apprentice an uncut copy. Robbie brought it out to Blackfaulds, and then all would sit up, sick mother among the rest, to hear it read aloud, till far into the small hours.
Who can tell what that cordial of pure, healthful intellectual diversion may have been even to the burdened father and sick mother of Blackfaulds, and to Chrissy! The very speaking of it made her clasp her hands over her knee and her gray eyes to shine out like stars — as Bourhope thought to himself.
How sujHjestively Chrissy discoursed of Glendearg and the widow Elspeth Glendinning, her two lads, and Martin and Tib Tacket, and the gentle lady and Mary Avcnel. With what breadth, yet precision, she reproduced pursy Abbot Boniface, devoted Prior Eustace, wild Christie of the Clinthill, buxom Mysie Hopper, exquisite Sir Percy Shafton, and even tried her hand to some purpose on the ethereal White Lady. Perhaps Chrissy enjoyed the reading as much as the great Enchanter did the writing. Like great actors, she had an instinctive consciousness of the effect she produced. Bourhope shouted with laughter when the incorrigible Sir Percy, in the disguise of the dairy-woman, described his routing charge as "the milky mothers of the herd.'' Corrie actually glanced in affright at the steaming windows and the door ajar, and pinched Chrissy's arm when she repeated, for the last time, the words of the spell: —
"Thrice to the holly brake, —
Thrice to the well; —
The assembly paid Chrissy the highest compli
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their schemes, their anxieties, themselves even, to fasten their eyes and hearts on the brown girl, — the book dropping from her hand, but the story written so graphically on her memory. Corrie was the first to recover herself. "O dear !" she cried, "I forgot I was to take down my hair for Miss Lothian to point it at eight o'clock," and hurried out of the room.
Mrs. Spottiswoode roused herself next, and spoke a few words of acknowledgment to Chrissy. "Upon my word, Chrissy, your recital has been quite as good as the play. We are much obliged to you. I am afraid your throat must be sore; but stay, I have some of the theatre oranges here. No, bairns, you are not to have any; it is far too late for you to be up. Dear me; I believe you have been listening to Chrissy's story like the rest of us!" But Mrs. Spottiswoode was not under any apprehension about the success of Chrissy's reading. She proved this by immediately leaving Chrissy tete-a-tete with Bourhope while she went to put the children to bed, and see if Mr. Spottiswoode, who was doing a quiet turn of business in his office, would have a game of cards before supper. She had really never heard of a girl being married simply for her tongue's sake! Perhaps she knew the line in the song too, —
"Very few marry for talking,"
and had found its truth in her own experience, for she was a shrewd, observant woman.
Bourhope, it should be understood, was longest subjected to the influence of Chrissy's story-telling power. Indeed, when he did somewhat recover from it, his fancy created fine visions of what it would be to have such a story-teller at the farmhouse during the long, dark nights of winter and the endless days of summer. Bourhope was no ignoramus. He had some acquaintance with " Winter's Tales" and summer pastorals, but his reading was bald and tame to this inspiration. He thought to himself it would really be as good as a company of players purely for his own behoof, without any of the disadvantages. He stammered a little in expressing the debt he owed to Chrissy, and she could only eagerly reply by saying: "Not to me, not to me the praise, Mr. Spottiswoode, but to the Great Unknown. O I would like to know him!"
Bourhope was stimulated to do at once what he was sure to do ultimately, — he presented his hospitable entertainers with a box at the play. No doubt this was a great delight to Chrissy, for it was in the days when actors were respectable artists, and playgoing was still universal. Chrissy in her freshness enjoyed the provincials as well as if they had been first-rate performers, took the good and left the bad, and sat quite entranced.
Bourhope, although he was decidedly intellectual for his calling, watched Chrissy rather than the stage. He read the feeling of the moment reflected in her sagacious yet sensitive face. Once he turned round and tried the same experiment with Corrie. He might as well have expected to borrow a living soul from well-moulded stucco or marble. He now realized in a more lively manner than ever that geese may look as fair and white and soft and shapely as swans, till they expose their waddling. He tried in church the process he had learned at the play, and, it must be confessed, not without effect, — Chrissy's expression giving a fair notion of the good Priorton minister's earnestness and eloquence.
But at length Chrissy, aware of the liberty Bourhope took in thus making her his study, got restless
and troubled in her sound head and warm heart. She was no fool in her simplicity. She knew that Bourhope did not in any sense belong to Mrs. Spottiswoode and Corrie, and she had shrewdly suspected of late that their anticipated projects would not be carried out. She could not help occasionally turning over in her mind the circumstance that Cecilia was very plain, but that depressed Mortimer Delville nevertheless bestowed his heart on her, though the gift like her fortune was disastrous to her for many a long day. Chrissy thought that if Bourhope were independent and original enough to like her — to love her, he was his own master, there was nothing between him and his inclination save her inclination and her father and mother's will. And there was little doubt about their will with respect to a man so worthy, so unexceptionable, and so well endowed as Bourhope.
Nor was there anything like duty to the Spottiswoodes to stand between Bourhope and Chrissy. But still Chrissy's nice sense of honor was disturbed, for had she not a guess that a very different result had been expected? Nay, she had even a halfcomical notion that she herself had been expressly selected as a companion to Corrie Hunter during the gayeties of the yeomanry weeks, to prove a sort of harmless foil. A dream of love was a grand shock to Chrissy's quiet life, making wild, yet plaintive music, like all nature's true harmonies, within her; and filling her mind with tremulous light which glorified every object and was fain even to dazzle herself. It was not unnatural that Bourhope should excite such a dream. But Chrissy was not completely dazzled. It was only a dream as yet, and she would be the mistress of her dream; it should not be the mistress of her. So she resolved, showing herself a reasonable, thoughtful, conscientious woman, as well as a loving, fairly proportioned and lovely human spirit.
Chrissy retained all her sober senses. She recollected what was due both to the hero and to the others concerned. She was neither a weak victim, nor a headstrong, arrogant, malicious conqueror. Like all genuine women, she struggled against yielding herself without her due, — without a certainty that there was no irreversible mistake in the matter. She was not a girl to get lovesick at the first bout, nor one to run away at a worthy lover's beckoning, though she would sacrifice much, and do it proudly, joyously, for true affection, when once it had confessed itself. So she shrank from Bourhope, slipped away from him, and managed to avoid him. He was puzzled and vexed and almost exasperated by doubts as to whether she cared for, or wished to accept his notice and regards. Little brown Chrissy taught the bold yeoman a lesson in her own quiet way. She slowly forced upon him the conviction that any gifts or attainments of his —the prosperous, cultivated farmer laird — were as dross compared with the genius and acquirements of Chrissy Hunter, whom many short-sighted men called insignificant and plain amid the poverty and cares of Blackfaulds. Bourhope was not radically mercenary; he had no certainty that his superiority in worldly estate would secure the strange good upon which he set his heart, and he was at once stimulated and incensed by her indifference to his advances. So he had no communication with Chrissy, apart from a demure interchange of words in general conversation, for three days before the grand review and the ball, except in a single incident touching the pipe-claying of his belts.