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the pure all things are pure,' if Sandy was not as innocent as a bairn,) or that I will flaunt like a butterfly, when, for aught I can tell, my brother Sandy, who was a hundred times more dutiful than I have ever been, may be pining in a garret or perishing in the streets.''
"O whisht, Jess, whisht!" implored Mrs. Stewart.
"Why do you bid me ' whisht,' mother; why do you not interfere ?" eried Jess, worked into a noble passion, sweeping backwards and forwards through the confined space of the manse parlor, herself like a mother robbed of her young. "Why do you not stand up for Sandy? He is your son, and you liked him, with reason, twice as well as your daughter. I would not suffer my father's tyranny."
"Jess, Jess, you do not know what you are saying. I could not rebel against the minister. And do not you misjudge your father: he groans in his sleep; and think how good a man he 19. And oh, Jess! you cannot mind, but I can, how he took the candle and held it over Sandy in the cradle. And when your little sister died, and your father at the Glenork preachings, and I sent the nearest elder to meet him to break to him the distress at home, he guessed it before Mr. Allan could get out the words. He was always a sharp man, your father, and he just put up his hand and pled with the messenger, 'Not Sandy; tell me it is not Sandy.' It was not that he was not fond of his lasses, Jess, you know; but they could not bear his name and uphold his Master's credit as his lad would do."
Though Mrs. Stewart did nothing, — could do nothing, — when Jess came to think of it, sobbing in her own room in the reaction after her recantation, both for Sandy and for Birkholm, from that day's confidence mother and daughter were knit together as they had not been before. In the beginning Jess had been a little too vigorous and energetic for her mild, tender mother; but Mrs. Stewart clung to Jess in the end with mingled fond respect, deep gratitude, and yearning affection.
On Sabbath days, when the minister left his wife in the kirk porch to go into the session-room, it was on Jess's arm that Mrs. Stewart now leant for the short distance up the aisle to the minister's bucht, on the right hand of the pulpit. On the few other occasions when she crossed her threshold, while she was able to move about among her flowers, or stroll to the Kames for the spectacle of the setting of the sun, which shone on other lands besides Scotland, she sought to have Jess on the one side of her and the minister on the other.
Another peculiarity of Mrs. Stewart's this summer was her struggle against her feebleness, her efforts to convince herself and others that she was gaining strength, the eagerness with which she applied every means for the restoration of her health, — new milk, port wine, even to the homely, uncouth superstitious of a stocking from the minister's foot wrapped round her throat at night, and the breath of the cows in the cow-house the first thing of a morning. It was as if something had happened which would not let her die when her time came.
It was well for Jess that she was much with her mother during the summer, and that their communion was that of perfect love; for before the summer was ended Mrs. Stewart was attacked by a sudden increase of illness, and after a week's suffering was gone where she might have clear intelligence of Sandy, to which all the knowledge of this world would have been no more than the discordant words of an unknown tongue. j
There could have been no time to write for Sandy, I even had the minister and Jess known where he was to be found, and Mrs. Stewart had not asked for her son. No immediate danger had been anticipated by the doctor, or apprehended by the patient and her relations, until within a few hours of her death, and then speech and in part consciousness had failed her. Unless the look of the eyes, which, heavy with their last long slumber, roused themselves to search round the room, once and again, referred to the absence of Sandy, Mrs. Stewart passed away with her love, perhaps like most great love, silent.
But when all was over, Jess thought with a break- j ing heart of the ignorance of him who had most cause to mourn, and of his place filled by others lew entitled to be there on the day when the wife acd mother was borne to her grave beside her baby who had passed from her mother's bosom to the bosom of the second mother of us all, the earth, who, if the had lived, would have been an older woman than Jess; and beside the old divines who had filled the minister's pulpit, and their faithful wives, of centuries back, in the grassy kirkyard within sight of the windows of her old hoine, where a stormy wind might carry the leaves from her garden and scatter them on the mound. That mound, whether white with May gowans or December snows, would never be out of the minister's and Jess's minds, and near it distance-divided families and former neighbors would still meet and " be glad to have their crack in the kirkyard," and not forget to say softly in her praise what a fine gentlewoman the minister's wife had been, and how the minister, poor man, would miss her.
If Adam Spottiswoode had been at Birkholm. Jess might have applied to him in her desperation to learn if he had heard anything of Sandy, and to beg of him to intercede with her father for his son. But Birkholm was absent at the moors, and Jess had respect for her father's affliction, and would not torture him to no end. Therefore Mr. Stewart and Jess bore the brunt of that dark day — the darker that it was in the height of summer, the prime and pride of the year — alone, but for sorrowing neighbors and dependents.
When Mr. Stewart returned to the manse after the funeral party was dispersed, and retired to his room, Jess could not intrude on him. It was the room to which he had brought her a bride, and she had died in it. It was her room now while his time of the manse lasted, though she had vacated it humbly during her life. Jess had too much fellow-feeling with her father not to divine that no hand but his own would be suffered to dispose of its mistress's little shawl and cap, which in the hurry of her last illness had been put on the side-table among his books. He would see them there, sitting in the gloaming at his meditations, and half believe that her light foot — at her feeblest it was a light one — would be heard again on the threshold, and her fair, faded face, which had been to him as none other but Sandy's, would look in upon him, smiling, while she asked some simple kind question, Why was he sitting without a light? Was he sure he had shifted his feet on coming in from christening the bairn at the Cotton Bog? Was he ready to ask a blessing on the sowens for supper? Jess had her own sorrows, but they were a little lightened when, the long afternoon over, her father re-entered, the sleeves of his coat looking conspicuous in their white cuffs, with which she would grow so familiar that they would seem more than any other details of his
dress — white neckcloth and black vest— a part of the man, as he would come to her every second day and stand patiently while she removed and replaced them for him.
The minister wanted his tea, and tried to speak on indifferent subjects, — on the long drought and the burned-up pasture, — but stopped abruptly because he could not put back the thought, and he knew that Joss shared it, that Mrs. Stewart not ten days ago had been lamenting the drought in that room, and had been making her arrangements to send out the servants every evening with their hooks to cut grass at the ditch-sides, and bring back their aprons full of a fresh, green supper for her beasts.
lie walked to the window and looked out beyond the flowery garden, where the evening wind soughed sadly in the grass of the kirkyard. Then he turned and said, emphatically, " Our wound is deep, though we need not let it be seen. But, Jess, it is not by a gloomy token like that that she would like us to mind her; not that it is not good in its way, — everything is good or changed to good, even parting and death, when they are but a stage to meeting and everlasting life. But, Jess, we must take care of heV beasts and birds and flowers, that they may never miss her as we shall do, always (though we troubled the last of her days with our discord). We must keep up her habits, that every day may have its trace of her." He went on speaking with unusual openness for a strong, reserved man, on the sweet and winning morning light which had lingered with his wife and Jess's mother amidst the dust and clouds of the heat of the day; on her love of animals and plants, quaint books, plaintive old songs, primitive sayings; her walks to the Kames to see the sun set; her reveries looking into the blazing coals on the winter hearth. And Jess knew she was her father's trusted friend, and that he saw in her one who comprehended and shared his life-long lots and sorrow.
III. — THE PICTURE.
For some time after her mother's death, Jess was thrilled with a nervous expectation that Sandy would "cast up," as she expressed it, in the gloaming or the dawning, any Jay, to take his part in their mourning. The news of his mother's death would reach him through friends or the announcement in the newspapers. But as months passed, Jess was forced to renounce the expectation, and submit to the obscurity which hung over Sandy.
The minister and Jess lived together in strict seclusion, until the sharp edge was worn off their sorrow; and then the minister had grown a quiet, absorbed, gray student, whom Jess could only wile from his household gods — the books — for the benefit of his health, by ingenious stratagems and unremitting pains. And Jess was a fine-looking, composed woman, with the eye and the hand of a mother, and the carriage of a duchess.
It was summer again at Clovenford, and the whole place and people were pervaded with a grave, shaded, softened brightness, not wanting in flashes of mirth, relieving what was pensive in domestic life, — for both Jess and the minister possessed the composite quality of humor, and not only raised the laugh in others, but were subject themselves to sudden ringing peals of laughter; the wisdom being as old and common as sin and misery, which the wit of Grizcl Baillie set in one memorable line, — "Werena my heart light I would dee."
The month of May, with its lilac — lily-oak they called it at Clovenford — and hawthorn, was about its close, and the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland was about to conclude for the season its time-honored, pious, benevolent, virulent squabbles.
The minister of Clovenford was not a member this year, but he took it into his head late one evening that he would like to be present at a certain debate next night, and, with constitutional rapidity, fixed that he would go to Edinburgh next morning by the early coach which passed through Woodend, take Jess with him for a treat, be present in the gallery of the Assembly, spend what was left of the night at Jess's Aunt Peggy's, and return by the late coach the next night to Clovenford; "for there will be nobody sitting up for us at home," he put in, with an involuntary touch of pathos, when he found how easy the scheme was. But the minister had not been in such good spirits for a long time, and it was with something of his old animation that he entered into the details, congratulated Jess that she would have an opportunity of seeing the Lord High Commissioner, and graphically detailed the marks by which she might distinguish the leaders of the kirk.
Jess was glad that her father should feel able for the excursion, and soberly pleased with it on her own account. She had been in Edinburgh just once before, and had seen the Castle, Holyrood, Princes Street, George Street, and St Andrew's Square already. Two days in Edinburgh were of such rarity and importance that few country-women of her circle attained them more than once in their lives, and then it was on such momentous occasions as the celebration of their marriages in the capital, or the scarcely less serious step of going with bridegrooms, mothers, and matronly friends, to buy their "marriage things" out of metropolitan shops, gloriously combining love and adventure, pleasure and profit. Jess, though far behind in other respects, felt a little elated at the double feat.
The minister and Jess were on foot by five o'clock next morning; found even the end of May rather raw on the top of a coach at that early hour; spent the greater part of the day on the road, indcfatigably enjoying the scenery, and sheltering themselves under cloak and mantle from pelting showers; alighting and swallowing slices of salt beef from perennial rounds, glassfuls of sherry and tumblerfuls of porter, leisurely, while the coach was changing horses in the inn-yards of country towns; and, after inquisitively scrutinizing and formally addressing fellow-travellers, ending by establishing fast friendships with them before the coach and its burden rolled up the High Street of that Auld Reekie which, whether in ancient or modern guise, is one of the most picturesque of cities.
T he journey, which occupies so large an amount of old travellers' narratives, safely and creditably performed, the rest of the play remained to be played out.
Aunt Peggy received her unexpected visitors with a cordial recollection of summer weeks spent by her and her old maiden servant in country quarters at Clovenford, and attended them to the Assembly, where the minister procured the party's admission. And Jess saw his Grace the Commissioner; was duly impressed by his throne; heard, with all the interest a minister's daughter ought to feel, the question of " tends " amply discussed; and just as her high head, with its gypsy bonnet, was beginning to nod in a manner the most undignified and unlike Jess, and when she was thinking she could not keep her eyes open a moment longer, though the Commissioner asked it of her as a personal favor, or threatened to turn her out by his usher if he caught her napping, the vote was taken, and Jess was released, to repair to Aunt Peggy's and her bed.
The next morning the minister and Jess were abroad betimes, while Aunt Peggy gave herself wholly to solemn preparations for the midday dinner. The walk was for Jess's pleasure, that she might see again the more remote rugged lion couchant, Arthur's Seat, and the nearer, smooth, polished, glittering lions, the shops and the passengers. Among the fellow-passengers of Jess and the minister, while there were some women who ridiculed the country cut of Jess's black silk pelisse, there was more than one man who turned to look after the pair, and remark what a noble-looking lass that was with the gray, stout, old black coat.
The minister had fully discharged his obligations as a cicerone. He had pointed out the "White Hart," at which Dr. Johnson alighted on his way to his tour in the Hebrides; the bookseller's shop where Robbie Burns, in boots and tops, with a riding-whip dangling over his arm, once corrected proof-sheets of his songs; Richardson's, frequented by young Mr. Scott, the author of the poem of Marmion; the houses of Professors Dugald Stewart and Sir John Hall, — Captain Basil, the great traveller's father; and the Flesh Market Close, where the best beefsteaks in the kingdom were to be eaten. And Jess had wondered, but found it impossible to ask, whether they were near the street where she remembered Sandy's lodgings had been, and where it was just within nature he might be.
"Father," said Jess, suddenly, with a rush of color into her face, "I would like to go in here."
Mr. Stewart and Jess had been proceeding on the plan of a fair division of labor and recreation. The minister's part performed, he had been walking along abstractedly, only waking up occasionally at the distant glimpse of a book-stall, where Jess stood quietly beside him, as he stood quietly beside Jess when the attraction was a linen-draper's or a jeweller's window.
The minister had inquired of Jess whether she wanted anything, and Jess, after a few modest purchases, had answered in the negative; but he supposed now she had met with an irresistible temptation, or recalled a forgotten commission. He followed her into the entrance of what looked more like a museum than a shop, and yielded up his stick, not without an inclination to resist the demand, to a porter, while Jess was hurriedly getting two tickets.
The minister stopped short in the doorway of another room, aggrieved and ireful; but he had never turned back in his life, — never refused to face an annoyance or a difficulty, — and his hesitation terminated in his marching sulkily at the heels of Jess into one of the Royal Society's earliest exhibitions.
The minister and Jess entered into no explanation and offered no comment as they walked slowly up the room, literally dazzled by the display on the walls. However connoisseurs might have disdained the crude attempts of Wilkie, Allan, and Thomson, they were marvels to the country folk, who were only acquainted with the simpering or scowling representations of ladies, like full-blown roses in their own persons, clasping rose-buds between their fingers and thumbs, and gentlemen with fierce tops of hair, breaking the seals of letters, with as much
cruel satisfaction as if they had been crushing beetles. But all at once both Jess and the minister's eyes were fixed, while their feet were drawn to a picture some yards in advance of them, which they could distinguish through the scanty sprinkling of visitors at that hour in the room.
It was not one of the classic pieces, which were the stock pieces there, nor of the battle-fields, nor of the landscapes, but a little family group which was strangely well known to them. They had seen the round table, the straight-backed chairs, the very ivory netting-box, many a time before; and even these dumb pieces of furniture, so far from home, awoke a thousand associations.
Then what of the figures, with living eves looking out at them? The elderly man putting down his book to ponder its contents; the young man with his face half hidden by his hand, as if weary or sad; the girl entering the room on some household errand; and she was there, sitting in the centre of them as she would sit no more, looking not as she had looked when she was passing away, not as Mr. Stewart with a backward bound of his memory had been given to see her lately, the innocent, ingenuous, lovely girl who had come to the manse of Clovenford, bringing with her sunshine, poetry, and the first tremulous dewy bloom of life, but Sandy and Jess's mother, whose presence, weak woman as she was, had been like a shelter and a stay, full of the security and serenity of experience, the sweetness of the household content.
The drawing might be faulty, the coloring streaky, but there again was the family, — those of them who were still going about the streets, and one who on this earth was not. It was a God-given faculty and a loving heart which thus reproduced and preserved the past.
The minister and Jess stood as if spell-bound among the unheeding spectators,, and gazed at the image of what they had lost as if it had been given back to them, with inexpressible longing; when, at a start from Jess, the minister turned round and saw his wife's dead face in Sandy's living one, gazing at them in agitation, as they were gazing at the picture. he was in mourning like themselves, but except that he looked older, his brown hair darker, and that his blue eyes were dimmed for the moment, he was not altered, — had as much the air of a gentleman as ever, and had emerged from a knot of gentlemen who were making the circuit of the room and an examination of the pictures with the ease and free-masonry of privileged professional frequenters of the place.
Jess scarcely noticed this at first. Her heart leaped to greet her brother, and at the same time she was terrified lest her father should think there had been an appointment perhaps through Aunt Peggy, and that she had deliberately betrayed him into a meeting with his son; whereas Jess had known nothing even of the picture, had been as much struck by the sight of it as the minister, and had only entered the exhibition on the impulse of the moment when she read its name, determined to pay that mark of respect to Sandy, and with what lurking notion of establishing a communication or provoking an encounter between them she had not dared to tell herself.
Jess was in dread of how the minister would behave to Sandy; she might have known her father better, in his sound sense and old-fashioned code of politeness
"How are you, Sandy?" the minister asked,
holding out his hand to his son, as if nothing had happened.
Sandy was a great deal more put out as he took the offered hand and shook it, and said in a breath, "I am glad to see you looking so well, father; and, Jess, when did you come to town?"
Mr. Stewart satisfied his son's curiosity with a word, and then it was in entire keeping with the man, that his next words were in indignant reprobation,—
"Sandy, how dared you make your family a gazing-stock on the walls of a public exhibition without even asking their leave?"
"I did not think you would dislike it so much, sir," stammered Sandy. "There are many portraits here. I have not put the names, and I did not fancy the original would be generally recognized. The picture is sold to a friend."
"Sold!" exclaimed Mr. Stewart, with a great increase of anger and a quaver of consternation in his voice: "how could you do such a thing? Who is the buyer?"
"I meant to take a copy, as I could not afford to keep what I believe is the best thing I have done, though I have sold some other subjects readily enough since my return. I dare say I should have altered this, had not the buyer been an old friend. He bought it at my own price the first morning he saw it," Sandy expatiated, with pardonable pride. "He should be a judge of the likenesses, when he is one of your own parishioners. He was here to-day, and vondcr he is finding you out —- Birkholm."
Misfortunes do not come alone, nor do old friends meet singly. Adam Spottiswoode was delighted to come in this manner upon the Stewarts, and share the pledge of reconciliation which the group implied,— to take it boldly as an omen of other alliances. For Birkholm still hankered after Jess with an inextinguishable hankering, which was beginning to deepen into the glow of true love. In all his experience of life for the last year or two, he had seen nobody yet to come up to Jess Stewart.
People from the same parish of Clovenford, the Stewarts and the laird, encountering each other in the wilderness of a city, were like one family already, and the laird improved the occasion by attaching himself assiduously to the Stewarts, as he would not have had the confidence to do in the Den of Birkholm, acting on the principle that it would be disrespectful to his minister not to join his ranks when they turned up in a public place among strangers, and that in these circumstances he had as good a right to investigate narrowly when the minister and Jess had come, where they were staying, and when they were going home, as if he were as minutely acquainted with the daily routine of their lives when he was at Birkholm and they at Clovenford. And without doubt Birkholui's comely, manly, gentlemanlike presence was like a " kind, kenned face " to the minister and Jess in Edinburgh, however lightly they might regard it in their parish. Jess opened her eyes a little at his attention, but she did not repulse him, and the minister only staggered him for a moment.
"Birkholm, you 'll give up that picture; it is mine by a double right?"
The next instant Birkholm was eagerly assuring the minister, "It is yours, Mr. Stewart; do not say another word about it," and accrediting with a throb of triumph that he had earned the minister's gratitude.
The picture was not Mr. Stewart's, however, in
the sense which Birkholm intended at first. The minister would pay him back every pound of his money for it, though it should stint his small purse; and the laird had the wit to see, soon, that if he would stand well with the high-spirited old man, he must refrain from offering him a gift of his wife and children's portraits (as for the'minister's own, the minister might not have minded that). Until Birkholm had a title to be painted on the same canvas, he had better be modest in his favors.
Mr. Stewart took another lingering look at the picture after it was his own, and examined Sandy strictly on its removal and packing, a little nettled that it was at the service of the Academy for a week or two longer. Afterwards the minister made the rest of the round of the room on Sandy's arm, freely availing himself of his son's information, and making pertinent remarks, which were honorable to the shrewd criticism of an old prejudiced ignoramus
Before a picture of " John Knox Preaching to the Regent," not without corresponding fire in the handling, Mr. Stewart stood still again, and commended it warmly. He finished by a more personal admission, worthy of the minister, a half-smile playing over his powerful features: " Sandy, your art is far below the cure of souls, yet I own there is Something in it, after all. But it was your mother's face that beat me."
Birkholm accompanied Jess, and saw no necessity for concealing from her what had been his intention regarding the picture; and Jess was not offended, but thanked him softly even when he spoke of a copy, and his project of hanging it opposite the pictures of his father and mother in the dining-room at Birkholm. And if that was not a broad hint, the laird did not know what was.
Jess was so happy— and humble in her happiness — that she could not find it in her heart to contradict Birkholm; and the young laird, not being at all used to his own way with Jess Stewart, and finding it intoxicating, went on at a fine pace. But first he had the grace to tell her how well Sandy was spoken of among artists, of what promise he was held, and to point out some of Sandy's friends who were not like the portrait painters Jess had seen at Woodend; and to say the picture of the family had excited a sensation, and that if Jess and the minister were doubly recognized as two of the originals, and as the sister and the father of the artist, they would have to bear some staring for Sandy's sake. Here Jess's credulity broke down. This statement was more than she could swallow, though she had been devouring the rest, — the notion that though Sandy should be the greatest painter in the land, the minister would be pointed at as Sandy's father!
Next, Birkholm's tongue wagged wildly on his own affairs. There was word of his sister Ellie's marriage, — indeed, he might say it was as good as settled, — with one of the Edinburgh writers; and Betsy's captain was with his ship, and Betsy, who was not sailing with him on his present station, was delicate, and wanted Nancy to keep her company in her lodgings at an English seaport, and he would be left all by himself at Birkholm. It seemed he thought no shame of appealing to the charity of a friend, and arrived speedily at direct insinuations that Jess might visit Edinburgh again with him and the minister in a month or two, — after harvest and before the hunting season, —or even might make the present visit serve two purposes, as, where people were of one mind, the sooner '■ these things " were done the better.
Jess was forced to interpose and put a check on the honest, gallant lain!, lest he should come to the point of affronting her by proposing plainly that her stay in town should extend over the Sabbath, and then there would be time to send word to the session clerk and precentor of Clovcnford to have their names cried in the kirk, and the minister would celebrate the ceremony on the Monday, without the trouble of wedding clothes or wedding guests, or "riding the broose." "These things," as the laird called them with agreeable, self-conscious vagueness, were thus performed frequently.
The world had awakened to perceive a want of delicacy in the old ostentatious parade and riotous rejoicings at marriages, and had run into the opposite extreme by encouraging couples to steal off and be married in secret, — fine ladies at Richmond, their maids at Chelsea. Half of Jess's acquaintances quitted their homes, not in the accomplishment of elopements, but with the full consent of friends and relatives, and posted in the all but universal white gowns and yellow buckskins, affording no clue to their design, to Edinburgh or some other large town, to be married in the privacy of a crowd.
But Jess Stewart was not so minded. If Birkholni had penetrated her secret, she had arrived at her conclusion with the swiftness of lightning, while mechanically reviewing the specimens of early Scotch art in the Exhibition. Women are seldom at fault when they stumble unawares on the leading transaction of their lives, — they have rehearsed it too often in imagination, — and women like Jess Stewart, never.
"I shall not be back in Edinburgh till the spring," said Jess, composedly, glancing at her black silk pelisse; "I think my Aunt Peggy wants me over at that time," she added, with the duplicity which even a woman like Jess could not resist being guilty of, in the strait. Had she been clear as crystal in this as in other matters, she would further have comforted the laird; "and then, Birkholm, after I have accustomed my father to the thought of not seeing me every day in my mothei-'s place, and have made every provision for his comfort, we will be wed, — but I think on a bonnic April afternoon, in the Clovenford dining-room, where the sound of the healths and the cheering will reach to the kirkyard, as far as my mother's grave. You and me have spirit enough not to be feared at the ringing and firing; we would rather give the folk the play." As to Birkholm, he took the comfort for granted, and did not need it expressed in words.
Birkholm dined with the family at Aunt Peggy's on the dainty early lamb and the mythically-sounding forced potatoes and strawberries, — the stereotyped luxuries of the Assembly weeks in Edinburgh. Aunt Peggy, that estimable and convenient kinswoman, though she had never been in the same room with the laird and her niece before, her eyes probably opened by her hospitality and its good cheer, followed Jess when she retired to prepare for her homeward journey, and folded her in her arms as soon as they were in the best bedroom; called her a fine lass, who had done her duty by father and mother and brother, and enthusiastically predicted her reward. For Aunt Peggy's part, she had always promised that she would give Jess her tea china, and she would take care that Jess had a set which would not disgrace the brass-mounted tea-table of old Lady Birkholm. She would not say but, all things considered, Jess might not count on her tea trays forbye.
Jess and the minister hied home to Clovenford, well supported. They had the willing convoy of both the young men, — Sandy to remain for a month's holidays. He was to inaugurate his picture, and be a witness to all the parish coming to see and admire it, and to the minister never tired of showing it off till he succeeded in discovering subtle touches which the painter had never laid on. "My hand is closed on my spectacles. Jess- is bringing in the eggs. She is copying a leaf from her rosetree in her work. She had the first China rose in Clovenford, and she was very ingenious. It is from his mother he takes his talent."
But beforehand, when Mr. Stewart and the young people returned late in the summer night to Clovenford, and the latter delayed for a moment at the manse gate to take leave of Birkholm and enter into an appointment with him for the next day, the minister walked up the garden path alone to the door. "It is all dark," he thought, looking up in the purple gloom at the quiet little house and the neighboring kirk and kirkyard, on which the morning would soon dawn in midsummer gladness, "where her light should have shone, and she would have liked well to have seen the two lads and the lass come home, and to have got her picture by her son's hand, though she had behooved to admit for once that I had been in the wrong. But who says she's blind? She has gone where faith is sight, and where they know the end from the beginning, and she has her share of the knowledge. I warrant she sees farther than any of us,—to having us all round her again, and her, lionny Jean Clephane, restored to immortal youth. I cannot rightly understand how the lass and the wife and mother can be one and the same; but I am sure it shall be, and that will bo perfection. And oh! Jean, woman, when I 've sorted and settled the bairns, and done something more for my Master, I will be blythe to go home to my old friend and my young wife."
MANUSCRIPT HUNTING IN ENGLAND.
The bibliophiles of the present century have seen, more especially since the tall of the first French Empire, the largest and most important part of rare and valuable books taking their way to England; thus, instead of being disseminated in the public libraries of Continental Europe, they are now to be found in English libraries. It happens, therefore, that Continental scholars and antiquaries are constantly in want of information which cannot be got at except in England. Hence arises an everrecurring demand for literary researches in the collections on this side of the Channel.
When the books or manuscripts wanted arc in the public libraries of London, Oxford, or Cambridge, the task of a literary correspondent is easy enough. But if they are in a private collection, it is quite another question, and one by no means to be solved without a great deal of trouble, expense, and loss of time.
On the Continent, time is not money, distances are next to nothing, and anybody at all known as a literary character is at liberty to introduce himself to an amateur of old books, whatever may be the social position of the latter. On the Continent, literary treasures arc kept in town residences, and their inspection, rather pressed on visitors than otherwise, is readily available. In England, the best part of the private collections is to be found out of large towns, scattered all over the country, at immense