only to find her dead. I actually prayed in the train that
she might be alive. Tibby says you were with her to the
last and that she was very happy. She looks so." Jamie
bade her be silent. There was yet life in the body and
he thought that Margaret might still be aware of them
though she could give no sign. The doctor had said
she might live for hours in that coma. If that was liv-
ing, what was death? And what died? Margaret had
never been so living to him. He seemed to possess all
her life, to be absolved from the divisions that had
separated them. Death might have the still white body.
That which had stirred in it, the desire and the will,
remained. He felt wonderfully happy and not at all
sad. Grief he had none. Death also was a fulfilment.
Nothing in him was shocked, nothing repelled. "Would
it be different," he suddenly asked himself, "if it were I
who was dying? How could it be different? She was
better than I, a stronger and a nobler spirit. There is
nothing in my life that I value more than her. There
is nothing that I value for its own sake. If it were I
it could not be different." "What are you thinking,
Jamie?" asked Mary. He told her, and she pursed up
her lips. "I am afraid," she said, "because I know that
it must some day be I." "It is nothing," he muttered.
"That," replied Mary, "is what is so terrible." "I mean,
MARGARET GATHERS HER FAMILY ROUND 543
it ends nothing. It is only a moment in being, which
has no end." "Is that what you believe?" "Yes."
"I couldn't. I want some compensation." "Compensa-
tion for the wonder of living?" "No, for failure in it."
"Surely then, death is compensation enough." "I
wish she would speak or make some sign."- -"She is
dead," said Jamie, for even as his sister spoke he knew
that it was so.
Mary knelt by the bedside and Jamie stood towering
above her. Suddenly Mary broke into sobs and he
caught her up in his arms and carried her away. On
the stairs he met the old woman who had been called in
to make all decent for the dead.
Downstairs Mary controlled herself and she clung to
Jamie and said : "What I mind so fearfully is that some-
thing has gone with her that I never knew."- -"And
I," he said, "never knew it till last night. All those years
it was denied and crushed, sacrificed wickedly to un-
worthy things. That that is why I hate the world as
we have made it. The true loveliness of every one of us
is denied." Mary's tears rained down. She clung to
her brother and implored him never to let her go, never
to keep his love from her.
There came a sharp rat-tat at the door. It was Tom.
Tibby admitted him and showed him into the room.
consider," he said, "that I ought to have been informed
of this days ago." "Everything was done," answered
Jamie, "in accordance with her wishes."- -"At least,"
said Tom, "I claim the right to take charge of the ar-
rangements." "Certainly." Tom grunted and went up-
"Is that," asked Mary, "what Thrigsby has made of
Tom?" "To-morrow," replied Jamie, "I will show you
what Tom has made of Thrigsby. He is a maker of
544 THREE SONS AND A MOTHER
modern England and he is proud of it." "But he was
fond of her." "He will grieve more than any of us."-
"He is terrible," said Mary.
All three brothers and the two sisters were present at
the funeral which Tom had arranged perfectly, even to
wine for the lawyers and the epitaph for his mother's
MARGARET KEITH LAWRIE
The beloved wife of THOMAS LAWRIE, A.M. (Edin.)
of Carsphairn N.B.
She . had . no . thought . but . for . her . children
No . ambition . but . for . her . sons
She . lived . to . serve . Almighty . God
And . did . good . works
She . died . in . the . love . of . Jesus . Christ
A . sainted . woman
A . mother . blessed . in . the . love
Of . her . children.
The wings of angels touched above her head,
And from her life was evil banished.
Margaret had managed to save two thousand pounds
out of her small income, and this hoard except for fifty
pounds she left to her grandchildren. "Good," said
John, when the will was read. Tom was flushed and
sulky : "At least," he said, "the expenses of the funeral
should be borne by the estate." "Not at all," replied
John. "I think it should be borne by us three equally."
Then began a squabble into which Jamie was not to be
drawn. He was thinking of the body of his mother
being lowered into the ground. With her, it seemed to
him, went all that had bound them together. What
had he to do with hard, angry Tom, slighted because
MARGARET GATHERS HER FAMILY ROUND 545
his childlessness debarred him from participation in his
mother's estate? John and Maggie from their sojourn
in the South of England were already foreigners. They
had adopted other manners, almost another speech.
Only Mary was left and it seemed that the family was
buried with Margaret. Already the lustre was gone
from the Keiths and the Greigs and the name of Lawrie
could cast no spell, for where was their achievement?
They had exploited the fag end of a tradition. Tom and
John were rich, but to what end ? Their riches served no
purpose : they enslaved many and freed none. "We are
as separate," said Jamie to Mary, "as though we were
at the ends of the earth. We have worshipped and
served a thing that had no being, a thing that could be
dropped into a hole in the earth." "Not I," said Mary.
-"Even you, for you expected wonders from me merely
because I was a Lawrie and the eldest of them. But I am
a poor man and a failure and glad to be so." "What
are you talking about?" asked Mary. "The donkey's
hind leg," replied Jamie with a great laugh, "for we have
already talked it off. Dear old Tom is a joy for ever
and we have been very unjust to him."
Mary's Hon. and Rev. had allowed her only three
days as ample time in which to bury her mother. She
had therefore to return after a vain attempt to make
friends with Catherine who distrusted her and disap-
proved of her ease and intelligence. It was no good.
Jamie could not help at all for life for him had stopped
momentarily. His mother's death had chilled him and
removed him from the conduct of ordinary life. It was
nothing to him that Catherine and Mary could not under-
stand each other. Mutual understanding seemed to him
so rare and high mystery that it was not to be looked for
in common life. Why should Catherine and Mary com-
546 THREE SONS AND A MOTHER
prehend each other? They shared no purpose. Mary's
life was in the minds of intellectual men. She was a
puzzle even to himself. Catherine's pleasure lay in sim-
ple household things, and she was a puzzle to him also.
Everything was a puzzle to him for the change in him,
the consummation of so many dreams and hopes, was so
sudden and violent that he looked for everything else to
be changed also. And when he looked, nothing was
changed. Catherine was as she always was, and he could
swear that wee Mary had not altered by a line or a
thought since she used to do his school tasks for him.
"A born governess," he said, and was pleased at hitting
her off with a phrase.
It was only when Tibby came to the house that he
began to thaw into life again, and with fresh eyes to see
new beauty in Catherine and a wonder of loyalty in wee
Mary. Then it seemed to him that nothing was gone
from him, that his life was full indeed and fair of prom-
ise, and he took up the task of interpreting between
Catherine and Mary, wifehood and spinsterhood. But
here was another failure for Catherine marked his tender
sympathy with Mary and. his keen interest in all her
thoughts and projects and was jealous.
Mary had marked the change in her brother when
Tibby came to the house and her thoughts were deep.
She left Thrigsby sad at heart. Jamie saw her to the
station. She was to travel down with John and Maggie
and, at the last moment, Tom turned up to say good-
bye. The train steamed out, Mary and Maggie waved
their black-edged handkerchiefs until they were out of
sight. As they turned away Tom said : "John is getting
quite fat. He tells me he is thinking of getting mar-
ried again. I call it disgusting. O! Agnes told me to
ask you to dinner before you go." "Thanks," said
MARGARET GATHERS HER FAMILY ROUND 547
Jamie, "but I think Catherine will not be able to spare
me." "Agnes will be sorry. How long will you be
away?"- -"Six months. Perhaps a year." "And then?"
-"I don't know." "I should think you might do well
as a journalist. If you like I'll speak to Macalister at
my club. He's editor of The Daily Express, you know."
Jamie whacked on the ground with his stick : "Tom !"
he cried, "will you understand once and for all that I do
not wish you to interfere in my affairs or even to think
about them." "As you please," said Tom.
They came to the bottom of the station slope and there
Two days later Jamie was in Liverpool, by the river
where long ago he had found romance and relief from
the torment of the black city, the wide river and the sea
beyond, with great ships coming and going. He had not
been on the water since his first coming from Scotland.
Now he boarded a vessel and an hour later she was
towed out of the river and soon was out on the wide
sea. The land fell away and was lost. The moon came
up in the west, a comical red moon with a merry face
and a wisp of cloud across it for a moustache. He stood
on deck with the wind blowing cold through his hair
and beard and gazed up at the moon, which set him
tingling with such a vague hungry longing as he had not
known since he was a boy and in love with Selina Leslie.
The face in the moon reminded him of Mr. Wilcox as
Dogberry. The longing in him grew into passionate
hope and he told himself that he was going towards the
New World where there had been wars of liberty.
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