sight," die people said. They pitied him even
more than her, for though she might be talking
gaily to him and leaning heavily on him, they
could see that she mistrusted him. At the end of
a sweet smile she would give him an ugly, furtive
" She's like a cat you've forced into your lap,"
they said, " and it lies quiet there, ready to jump
the moment you let go your grip."
They wondered would he never weary. He
never wearied. Day after day he was saying the
same things to her, and the end was always as the
beginning. They came back to her entreaty that
she should be allowed to go home as certainly as
they came back to the doctor's house.
" It is a long time, you know, Grizel, since you
lived at Double Dykes â€” not since you were a
"Not since I was a child," she said as if she
" Then you went to live with your dear, kind
doctor, you remember. What was his name ? "
"THE MAN WITH THE EYES '
"Dr. McQueen. I love him."
" But he died, and he left you his house to live
in. It is your home, Grizel. He would be so
grieved if he thought you did not make it your
" It is my home," she said proudly ; but when
they returned to it she was loath to go in. " I want
to go home ! " she begged.
One day he took her to her rooms in Corp's
house, thinking her old furniture would please her ;
and that was the day when she rocked her arms
joyously again. But it was not the furniture that
made her so happy; it was Corp's baby.
" Oh, oh ! " she cried in rapture, and held out
her arms ; and he ran into them, for there was still
one person in Thrums who had no fear of Grizel.
" It will be a damned shame," Corp said huskily,
"if that woman never has no bairns o' her ain."
They watched her crooning over the child, play-
ing with him for a long time. You could not
have believed that she required to be watched.
She told him with hugs that she had come back
to him at last; it was her first admission that
she knew she had been away, and a wild hope
came to Tommy that along the road he could not
take her she might be drawn by this little child.
She discovered a rent in the child's pinafore and
must mend it at once. She ran upstairs, as a mat-
ter of course, to her work-box, and brought down a
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
needle and thread. It was quite as it she was at
home at last.
" But you don't Hve here now, Grizel," Tommy
said, when she drew back at his proposal that they
should go away; "you live at the doctor's house."
"Do I, Gavinia?" she said beseechingly.
" Is it here you want to bide ? " Corp asked, and
she nodded her head several times.
"It would be so much more convenient," she
said, looking at the child.
" Would you take her back, Gavinia," Tommy
asked humbly, " if she continues to want it ? "
Gavinia did not answer.
" Woman I " cried Corp.
" I'm mortal wae for her," Gavinia said slowly,
" but she needs to be waited on hand and foot."
" I would come and do the waiting on her hand
and foot, Gavinia," Tommy said.
And so it came about that a week afterwards
Grizel was reinstalled in her old rooms. Every
morning when Tommy came to see her she asked
him, icily how Alice was. She seemed to think
that Alice, as she called her, was his wife. He
always replied, " You mean Elspeth," and she as-
sented, but only, it was obvious, because she feared
to contradict him. To Corp and Gavinia she
would still say passionately, " I want to go home I "
and probably add fearfully, " Don't tell him."
Yet though this was not home to her, she seemed
"THE MAN WITH THE EYES"
to be less unhappy here than in the doctor's house,
and she found a great deal to do. All her old
skill in needlework came back to her, and she
sewed for the child such exquisite garments that
she clapped her hands over them.
One day Tommy came with a white face and
asked Gavinia if she knew whether a small brown
parcel had been among the things brought by
Grizel from the doctor's house.
" It was in the box sent after me from Switzer-
land," he told her, " and contained papers."
Gavinia had seen no such package.
" She may have hidden it," he said, and they
searched, but fruitlessly. He questioned Grizel
gently, but questions alarmed her, and he de-
" It does not matter, Gavinia," he said, with a
ghastly smile; but on the following Sunday, when
Corp called at the doctor's house, the thought "Have
they found it *? " leaped in front of all thought of
Grizel. This was only for the time it takes to ask
a question with the eyes, however, for Corp was
looking very miserable.
" I'm sweer to say it," he announced to Tommy
and David, " but it has to be said. We canna keep
Evidently something had happened, and Tommy
rose to go to Grizel without even asking what it
was. " Wait," David said, wrinkling his eye-
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
brows, " till Corp tells us what he means by that.
I knew it might come, Corp. Go on."
" If it hadna been for the bairn," said Corp,
" we would hae tholed wi' her, however queer she
was; but wi' the bairn I tell you it's no mous.
You'll hae to tak' her awa'."
" Whatever she has been to others," Tommy
said, " she is always an angel with the child. His
own mother could not be fonder of him."
" That's it," Corp replied emphatically. " She's
no the mother o' him, but there's whiles when she
thinks she is. We kept it frae you as long as we
" As long as she is so good to him " David
" But at thae times she's not," said Corp. " She
begins to shiver most terrible, as if she saw fear-
some things in her mind, and syne we see her
looking at him like as if she wanted to do him a
mischief She says he's her brat ; she thinks he's
hers, and that he hasna been well come by."
Tommy's hands rose in agony, and then he
covered his face with them.
" Go on, Corp," David said hoarsely ; " we must
have it all."
" Sometimes," Corp went on painfully, " she
canna help being fond o' him, though she thinks
she shouldna hae had him. I've heard her saying,
' My brat ! ' and syne birsing him closer to her, as
"THE MAN WITH THE EYES"
though her shame just made him mair to her.
Women are so queer about thae things. I've seen
her sitting by his cradle, moaning to hersel', ' I did
so want to be good I It would be sweet to be
good I ' and never stopping rocking the cradle, and
a' the time the tears were rolling down."
Tommy cried, " If there is any more to tell,
Corp, be quick."
" There's what I come here to tell you. It was
no langer syne than jimply an hour. We thocht
the bairn was playing at the gavle-end, and that
Grizel was up the stair. But they werena, and
I gaed straight to Double Dykes. She wasna
there, but the bairn was, lying greetin' on the floor.
We found her in the Den, sitting by the burn-side,
and she said we should never see him again, for
she had drowned him. We're sweer, but you'll
need to tak' her awa'."
" We shall take her away," David said, and
when he and Tommy were left together he asked:
" Do you see what it means ? "
" It means that the horrors of her early days
have come back to her, and that she is confusing
her mother with herself"
David's hands were clenched. " That is not
what I am thinking of We have to take her
away ; they have done far more than we had any
right to ask of them, Sandys, where are we to
take her to ? "
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
" Do even you grow tired of her ? " Tommy
David said between his teeth : " We hope there
will soon be a child in this house, also. God for-
give me, but I cannot bring her back here."
" She cannot be in a house where there is a
child I " said Tommy, with a bitter laugh. " Gem-
mell, it is Grizel we are speaking of I Do you re-
member what she was *? "
" I remember."
" Well, where are we to send her '? "
David turned his pained eyes full on Tommy.
" No ! " Tommy cried vehemently.
" Sandys," said David, firmly, '' that is what it
has come to. They will take good care of her."
He sat down with a groan. " Have done with
heroics," he said savagely, when Tommy would
have spoken. " I have been prepared for this ;
there is no other way."
" I have been prepared for it, too," Tommy said,
controlling himself; "but there is another way:
I can marry her, and I am going to do it."
" I don't know that I can countenance that,"
David said, after a pause. " It seems an infernal
" Don't trouble about me," replied Tommy,
hoarsely; "I shall do it willingly."
And then it was the doctor's turn to laugh.
" You ! " he said with a terrible scorn as he looked
''THE MAN WITH THE EYES"
Tommy up and down. " I was not thinking of
you. All my thoughts were of her. I was think-
ing how cruel to her if some day she came to her
right mind and found herself tied for life to the
man who had brought her to this pass."
Tommy winced and walked up and down.
" Desire to marry her gone ? " asked David,
" No," Tommy said. He sat down. " You
have the key to me, Gemmell," he went on quietly.
" I gave it to you. You know I am a man of
sentiment only; but you are without a scrap of it
yourself, and so you will never quite know what
it is. It has its good points. We are a kindly
people. I was perhaps pluming myself on having
made an heroic proposal, and though you have
made me see it just now as you see it, as you see it
I shall probably soon be putting on the same grand
airs again. Lately I discovered that the children
who see me with Grizel call me ' the Man with
the Greetin' Eyes.' If I have greetin' eyes it was
real grief that gave them to me ; but when I heard
what I was called it made me self-conscious, and
I have tried to look still more lugubrious ever
since. It seems monstrous to you, but that, I be-
lieve, is the kind of thing I shall always be doing.
But it does not mean that I feel no real remorse.
They were greetin' eyes before I knew it, and
though I may pose grotesquely as a fine fellow for
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
finding Grizel a home where there is no child and
can never be a child, I shall not cease, night nor
day, from tending her. It will be a grim business,
Gemmell, as you know, and if I am Sentimental
Tommy through it all, why grudge me my comic
David said, " You can't take her to London."
" I shall take her to wherever she wants to go."
" There is one place only she wants to go to,
and that is Double Dykes."
" I am prepared to take her there."
" And your work '? "
" It must take second place now. I must write ;
it is the only thing I can do. If I could make a
hving at anything else I would give up writing
" She would be pleased if she could understand,
and writing is the joy of my life â€” two reasons."
But the doctor smiled.
" You are right," said Tommy. " I see I was
really thinking what a fine picture of self-sacrifice I
should make sitting in Double Dykes at a loom I "
They talked of ways and means, and he had to
admit that he had little money. But the new
book would bring in a good deal, David supposed.
" The manuscript is lost," Tommy replied,
crushing down his agitation.
" Lost ! When '? Where ? "
"THE MAN WITH THE EYES"
" I don't know. It was in the bag I left behind
at St. Gian, and I supposed it was still in it when
the bag was forwarded to me here. I did not look
for more than a month. I took credit to myself for
neglecting my manuscript, and when at last I looked
it was not there. I telegraphed and wrote to the
innkeeper at St. Gian, and he replied that my
things had been packed at his request in presence
of my friends there, the two ladies you know of
I wrote to them, and they replied that this was so,
and said they thought they remembered seeing in
the bottom of the bag some such parcel in brown
paper as I described. But it is not there now, and
I have given up all hope of ever seeing it again.
No, I have no other copy. Every page was writ-
ten half a dozen times, but I kept the final copy
" It is scarcely a thing anyone would steal."
" No ; I suppose they took it out of the bag at
St. Gian, and forgot to pack it again. It was
probably flung away as of no account."
"Could it have been taken out on the way
here ? "
" The key was tied to the handle so that the cus-
tom officials might be able to open the bag. Perhaps
they are fonder of English manuscripts than one
would expect, or more careless of them."
" You can think of no other way in which it
might have disappeared ? "
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
" None," Tommy said ; and then the doctor faced
" Are you trying to screen Grizel ? " he asked.
" Is it true, what people are saying ? "
" What are they saying ? "
" That she destroyed it. I heard that yesterday,
and told them your manuscript was in my house,
as I thought it was. Was it she *? "
'' No, no. Gavinia must have started that story.
I did look for the package among Grizel's things.''
" What made you think of that ? "
" I had seen her looking into my bag one day.
And she used to say I loved my manuscripts too
much ever to love her. But I am sure she did
not do it."
"Be truthful, Sandys. You know how she
always loved the truth."
" Well, then, I suppose it was she."
After a pause the doctor said : " It must be about
as bad as having a limb lopped off."
" If only I had been offered that alternative ! '*
"And yet," David mused, better pleased with
him, " you have not cried out."
" Have I not ! I have rolled about in agony,
and invoked the gods, and cursed and whimpered ;
only I take care that no one shall see me."
" And that no one should know poor Grizel had
done this thing. I admire you for that, Sandys."
''THE MAN WITH THE EYES"
"But it has leaked out, you see," Tommy said;
"and they will all be admiring me for it at the
wedding, and no doubt I shall be cocking my
greetin' eyes at them to note how much they are
But when the wedding-day came he was not
doing that. While he and Grizel stood up before
Mr. Dishart, in the doctor's parlour, he was thinking
of her only. His eyes never left her, not even when
he had to reply " I do." His hand pressed hers
all the time. He kept giving her reassuring little
nods and smiles, and it was thus that he helped
Had Mr. Dishart understood what was in her
mind he would not have married them. To her
it was no real marriage ; she thought they were
tricking the minister, so that she should be able to
go home. They had rehearsed the ceremony
together many times, and oh, she was eager to make
" If they were to find out I " she would say
apprehensively, and then perhaps giggle at the sly-
ness of it all. Tommy had to make merry with
her, as if it was one of his boyish plays. If he
was overcome with the pain of it, she sobbed at
once and wrung her hands.
She was married in gray silk. She had made
the dress herself, as beautifully as all her things
were made. Tommy remembered how once, long
TOxMMY AND GRIZEL
ago, she had told him, as a most exquisite secret,
that she had decided on gray silk.
Corp and Gavinia and AiHe and Aaron Latta
were the only persons asked to the wedding, and
when it was over, they said they never saw any-
one stand up by a woman's side looking so anxious
to be her man ; and I am sure that in this they
did Tommy no more than justice.
It was a sad day to Elspeth. Could she be ex-
pected to smile while her noble brother did this
great deed of sacrifice ? But she bore up bravely,
partly for his sake, partly for the sake of one
The ring was no plain hoop of gold; it was
garnets all the way round. She had seen it on
Elspeth's finger, and craved it so greedily that it
became her wedding-ring. And from the moment
she had it she ceased to dislike Elspeth, and pitied
her very much, as if she thought happiness went
with the ring. " Poor Alice ! " she said when she
saw Elspeth crying at the wedding, and having
started to go away with Tommy, she came back to
say again, " Poor, poor Alice ! "
Corp flung an old shoe after them.
tommy's best work
And thus was begun a year and a half of as
great devotion as remorseful man ever gave to
woman. When she was asleep and he could not
write, his mind would sometimes roam after aban-
doned things; it sought them in the night as a
savage beast steals forth for water to slake the thirst
of many days. But if she stirred in her sleep they
were all dispelled; there was not a moment in
that eighteen months when he was twenty yards
from Grizel's side.
He would not let himself lose hope. All the
others lost it. " The only thing you can do is to
humour her," even David was reduced in time to
saying ; but Tommy replied cheerily, " Not a bit
of it." Every morning he had to begin at the
same place as on the previous morning, and he
was always as ready to do it, and as patient, as if
this were the first time.
" I think she is a little more herself to-day," he
would say determinedly, till David wondered to
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
" She makes no progress, Sandys."
*' I can at least keep her from slipping back."
And he did, and there is no doubt that this
was what saved Grizel in the end. How he strove
to prevent her slipping back I The morning was
the time when she was least troubled, and had he
humoured her then they would often have been
easy hours for him. But it was the time when he
tried most doggedly, with a gentleness she could
not ruffle, to teach her the alphabet of who she
was. She coaxed him to let her off those mental
struggles ; she turned petulant and sulky ; she was
willing to be good and sweet if he would permit
her to sew or to sing to herself instead, or to sit
staring at the fire : but he would not yield ; he
promised those things as the reward, and in the
end she stood before him like a child at lessons.
" What is your name ? " The catechism always
"Grizel," she said obediently, if it was a day
when she wanted to please him.
"And my name*?"
" Tommy." Once, to his great delight, she said,
" Sentimental Tommy." He quite bragged about
this to David.
" Where is your home ? "
" Here." She was never in doubt about this,
and it was always a pleasure to her to say it.
" Did you live here long ago ^ "
TOMMY'S BEST WORK
" And then did you live for a long time some-
where else ? "
" Where was it ? "
" No, it was with the old doctor. You were his
little housekeeper; don't you remember? Try to
remember, Grizel ; he loved you so much."
She tried to think. Her face was very painful
when she tried to think. " It hurts," she said.
" Do you remember him, Grizel ? "
" Please let me sing," she begged, " such a sweet
song I "
" Do you remember the old doctor who called
you his little housekeeper? He used to sit in that
The old chair was among Grizel's many posses-
sions that had been brought to Double Dykes, and
her face lit up with recollection. She ran to the
chair and kissed it.
" What was his name, Grizel ? "
" I should love to know his name," she said
He told her the name many times, and she
repeated it docilely.
Or perhaps she remembered her dear doctor
quite well to-day, and thought Tommy was some
one in need of his services.
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
*' He has gone into the country," she said, as she
had so often said to anxious people at the door ;
" but he won't be long, and I shall give him your
message the moment he comes in."
But Tommy would not pass that. He explained
to her again and again that the doctor was dead,
and perhaps she would remember, or perhaps,
without remembering, she said she was glad he was
" Why are you glad, Grizel ? "
She whispered, as if frightened she might be
overheard : " I don't want him to see me like this."
It was one of the pathetic things about her that she
seemed at times to have some vague understanding
of her condition, and then she would sob. Her
tears were anguish to him, but it was at those times
that she clung to him as if she knew he was trying
to do something for her, and that encouraged him
to go on. He went over, step by step, the time
when she lived alone in the doctor's house, the
time of his own coming back, her love for him
and his treatment of her, the story of the garnet
ring, her coming to Switzerland, her terrible walk,
her return ; he would miss out nothing, for he was
fighting for her. Day after day, month by month,
it went on, and to-morrow, perhaps, she would in-
sist that the old doctor and this man who asked
her so many questions were one. And Tommy
argued with her until he had driven that notion
TOMMY'S BEST WORK
out, to make way for another, and then he fought
it, and so on and on all round the circle of her de-
lusions, day by day and month by month.
She knew that he sometimes wrote while she
was asleep, for she might start up from her bed or
from the sofa, and there he was, laying down his
pen to come to her. Her eyes were never open
for any large fraction of a minute without his
knowing, and immediately he went to her, nodding
and smiling lest she had wakened with some fear
upon her. Perhaps she refused to sleep again un-
less he promised to put away those horrid papers
for the night, and however intoxicating a point he
had reached in his labours, he always promised, and
kept his word. He was most scrupulous in keep-
ing any promise he made her, and one great result
was that she trusted him implicitly. Whatever
others promised, she doubted them.
There were times when she seemed to be cast-
ing about in her mind for something to do that
would please him, and then she would bring pieces
of paper to him, and pen and ink, and tell him to
write. She thought this very clever of her, and
expected to be praised for it.
But she might also bring him writing materials
at times when she hated him very much. Then
there would be sly smiles, even pretended affection,
on her face, unless she thought he was not looking,
when she cast him ugly glances. Her intention
TOMMY AND GRIZEL
was to trick him into forgetting her so that she
might talk to herself or slip out of the room to the
Den, just as her mother had done in the days when
it was Grizel who had to be tricked. He would
not let her talk to herself until he had tried endless
ways of exorcising that demon by interesting her
in some sort of work, by going out with her, by
talking of one thing and another till at last a sub-
ject was lit upon that made her forget to brood.
But sometimes it seemed best to let her go to
the Den, she was in such a quiver of desire to go.
She hurried to it, so that he had to stride to keep
up with her; and he said little until they got there,
for she was too excited to listen. She was very like
her mother again ; but it was not the man who
never came that she went in search of â€” it was
a lost child. I have not the heart to tell of the
pitiful scenes in the Den while Grizel searched for
her child. They always ended in those two walk-
ing silently home, and for a day or two Grizel would
be ill, and Tommy tended her, so that she was
soon able to hasten to the Den again, holding out
her arms as she ran.
" She makes no progress," David said.
" I can keep her from slipping back," Tommy
still replied. The doctor marvelled, but even he
did not know the half of all her husband did for
Grizel. None could know half who was not there
by night. Here, at least, was one day ending
TOMMY'S BEST WORK
placidly, they might say when she was in a tract-
able mood, â€” so tractable that she seemed to be
one of themselves, â€” and Tommy assented brightly,
though he knew, and he alone, that you could
never be sure the long day had ended till the next
Often the happiest beginning had the most
painful ending. The greatest pleasure he could
give her was to take her to see Elspeth's baby girl,
or that sturdy rogue, young Shiach, who could now
count with ease up to seven, but swayed at eight,
and toppled over on his way to ten ; or their mothers
brought them to her, and Grizel understood quite
well who her visitors were, sometimes even called
Elspeth by her right name, and did the honours of
her house irreproachably, and presided at the tea-
table, and was rapture personified when she held
the baby Jean (called after Tommy's mother), and
sat gaily on the floor, ready to catch little Corp
when he would not stop at seven. But Tommy,
whom nothing escaped, knew with what depres-