S. R. (Samuel Rutherford) Crockett.

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[Chap, xliv



AN UMBRELLA LECTUUE



KIT KENNEDY

GOUNTBY BOY



By
S. R. CROCKETT

)r of "the reb axe " " lochil'
"the gray man" etc.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY

A. I. KELLER




HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
NEW YORK AND LONDON

1899



Br S. R. CROCKETT.



THE RED AXE. A Novel. Illustrated by Frank

IllOlIAKllS.

Not only will his faithful readers be satisfied by " The
Red Axe," but it is likely to add numerous new friends
to his constituency. — Pldladdphia Press.

LOCniNVAR. A Novel. Illustrated by T. dr Tudl-

STRUP.

It would be hard to find a more stirring and attractive
story of adventure than this. — Independent, N. Y.

THE GRAY ]\I AN. A Novel. Illustrated by Sevmour

Lucas, R.A.

A strong book, . . . masterly in its portrayals of char-
acter and historic events. — Boston Congregationalist.

Post Svo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 50 per volume.



HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
NKW YORK AND LONDON.



Copyright, 1899, by Harpeh & Brothees.



.4 U Tiijhti reterved.



CONTENTS



CHAPTKK « PAOE

I. The Belle op the Parish 1

II. The Marriage Lines 11

III. After Eight Years 21

IV. The Derelict 26

V. The Red Lion 36

VI. Lilias Armour's Two Husbands 41

VII. A Woman Despised and Forsaken 49

VIII. Heather Jock and His Billy-O 57

IX. The Spoils op War 64

X. The Sprig op Heather 71

XL Kit Kennedy's First Fight 78

XII. A Royal Road to Learning 90

XIII. AVheels Within Wheels 100

XIV. A Strip op Blue Paper 104

XV. The Sheriff's Officer Ill

XVI. Fraternal Consolation 117

XVII. An Offer of Marriage 120

XVIII. The Taking op the Buik 138

XIX. The Roup of the Armours 133

XX. Kit Kennedy's Sale by Auction 140

XXI. Ruling Elder and Stone-breakeb 148

XXII. The Two Tru.vnts 157

XXIII. Kit's Eyes are Opened 1G3

XXIV. Kit Begins to be a Great Man 169

XXV. A Broken Heart 175

XXVI. Kit's Kind Friend 183






iv CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGH

XXVII. Kit Runs Away prom Home 186

XXVIII. After JMany Days 194

XXIX. On the Trail 201

XXX. The Ne'er-do-weel 209

XXXI. Kit's Classical Tutor 221

XXXII. "Penna, aPen" 228

XXXIII. Kit Goes Home 234

XXXIV. Kit's Rival 245

XXXV. The Examination Day 251

XXXVI. The Innocence of Betty Landsborough . . . 261

XXXVII. The Great Day 267

XXXVIII. The Flag upon the Pine 277

XXXIX. Entrance into Life 288

XL. A New Acquaintance 303

XLI. A Kind Brother , , . 311

XLIL Sponton's o .... 818

XLIII. His Father's Son 324

XLIV. The Infidel Lecturer 333

XLV. The Broken Hinges 343

XLVI. The Pretty Girl Grows Practical .... 348

XLVII. ]\Iary Improves Dick's Arithmetic 364

XLVIII. The Pretty Girl Takes Charge 371

XLIX. Kit's Mother's Letter 379

L. Baxter's Folly 384

LI. "How Long, O Lord, How Long?" 389

LII. The Night-watch 393

LIII. Baxter's Heuchs 399

LIV. Walter MacW alter Meets Mary Bisset . . 403

Epilogue , 406



ILLUSTRATIONS



AN UMBRELLA LECTURE Frontispiece

bell's denial Facing p. 18

a safe retreat " 22

a decided answer " 124

" 'mind, do not deceive me ' " " 1^2

kit's hour of triumph «' 280



KIT KENNEDY



CHAPTER I,

THE BELLE OF THE PARISH

The world is very fair at four of the morning during
the heats of high summer. The flowers which have slept
with drooping heads and during a few brief hours re-
tracted their perfume, as a woman withdraws herself
when she has ventured overmuch, prink themselves again
and give forth a good smell.

So at least thought Christopher Kennedy, scholar and
gentleman, as he aroused himself in the accustomed dawn
to go forth to meet with Lilias Armour.

It was a strange time for wooing, yet their only ; for
Fate, which takes upon itself to interfere with all things,
had made Christopher classical master in the academy of
Cairn Edward, and Lilias the daughter of his chiefest
enemy, Matthew Armour by name, farmer in the moor
farm of Black Dornal, and Euling Elder in the Camero-
nian congregation called the Kirk on the Hill.

For the Elder, having returned one night from the
market of Dumfries, where he had both seen and heard
Mr. Christopher Kennedy, had sternly forbidden one of
his family to hold any further intercourse with that blas-
phemer and ribald, a man (so ho declared) as alien from
grace as he was outlaw from the Covenants.
1



2 KIT KENNEDY

This, had Matthew Armour known it, was an excellent
device, only it came too late. For Lilias, his sole daugh-
ter and the desire of his eyes, was already so holden in the
toils of the schoolmaster's bright glances and loving words
that not for father or mother, kirk or covenant, would
she break the bond.

So, exactly at four of the old-fashioned gold-faced watch
which had ticked all night by his bedstead in the house of
Tibby Allen, spinster, gossip, and householder in Queen
Street, Cairn Edward, Mr. Christopher Kennedy stepped
out into the little white street of the burgh, clean swept
of people, and with the sunshine flooding it silently and
emptily from end to end, just as if it were a fine summer
Sabbath day during the morning diet of worship.

That young man appeared to consider it the most
natural thing in the world that he should rise with the
lark, and betake himself to the heather and woodland with
his botanical case at his back. He offered no explanation
when he returned at eight to his frugal breakfast, though
he had not brought back a single plant and his boots were
" a fair sicht to be seen," as his landlady averred. "' AVhat
wi' lashin' through the dew on the meadow and splashin'
through the dubs o' the moss, they are nocht less than a
disgrace. And how he can for verra shame expect a pro-
fessin' Christian woman to clean them in time for him to
gang to the schule at nine passes Tibby Allen's compre-
hension !"

But neither his landlady's caustic comment over the wall
of the pig-sty at the yard-head to her neighbor Mistress
Sheepshanks, nor yet the window blinds which were so
gingerly put aside with one finger to enable burghers'
daughters, in extreme dishabille, to speculate on what took
handsome Christopher Kennedy tramping along the streets
of Cairn Edward so early, had the slightest effect on that
headstrong young man.

Yet despite his early rising Christopher had been late



THE BELLE OF THE PARISH 3

at the social club (christened by himself The Tuneful Nine)
in the Cross Keys the night before. Yesterday he had
wrestled all day in the grammar school with the stupidity
and the yet more irritant cleverness of the rural youth.
He had slept the short, broken, uneasy slumber of over-
heated blood and ungoverned temperament. Nevertheless,
this morning he rose with a certain elastic readiness,
humming a stave of a Greek song he had set to his own
music as he drew on his clothes after a hasty bath. He
was ready to walk ten miles before breakfast, help Lilias
Armour to gather in her cows, make the prettiest and
most convincing of love in the shady places of the loaning,
encounter (if he had bad luck) the stern eyes of her father,
and after all be back again in time to see the early 'pren-
tices taking down their snuff-brown shutters, and stacking
them in neat piles behind the shop doors in the High
Street of the little town, at the exact moment when his
brother teachers were turning sleepily out of their beds to
the music of the morning milk -cans rattling at their
doors.

So, recklessly, and yet with a sort of kingly prodigality
which to many women made him irresistible, the young
classical master, concerning whose future his professors
had entertained such great expectations, flung away with
both hands the unreturning gold of love and youth.

He was easily first at the trysting- place. For half an
hour he sat alone, whistling and twirling a spray of early
hawthorn in his hand, on the edge of the heathery bank
above the scanty pasture-fields of the farm of Black Dornal.
His post of vantage was situated just at the place where
the great black and purple flowe of peat-muir overlooked
with a sullen eyebrow the green fields, bowering trees, and
white homestead buildings Avhich till now had closed in the
life of Lilias Armour. Here long day and short day she
had been happy, lifting a light-heart carol level with the
larks, and laying her head in as lowly a nest with the fall-



4 KIT KENNEDY

ing of the night — that is, till Christopher Kennedy came
by and the song ceased.

Then in a moment all was changed. Tlie old life grew
inexpressibly dull, not to be thought of, or returned upon
without a shudder — a dreary waste of time wanting alike
profit, beauty, or happiness.

Lilias, too, like her lover, had slept but little and lightly
that short, breathing, merciful night of latest May. She
had been making up her mind to speak a word of soberest
intent to the man she loved — always a difficult matter to a
loving woman, who rightly and naturally would rather lis-
ten while such words are whispered in her ear.

At last she came out. The quick eyes of Christopher
Kennedy saw her pass, a slender slip of a maiden enough,
athwart the dusky tree-shadowed farmyard. Then she was
momentarily lost to sight as she threw open the gates,
ready for the cows she Avas to bring back with her upon
her return. She reappeared presently a more indistinct
flitting figure, her light summer print indefinite against
the fresh whitewash of the barn wall. Then the long green
loaning swallowed her, and only a fleck of shadowy sun-
bonnet nodding over the hedge -rows or the glimmer of
swift whiteness through a gap told the classical master of
the approach of the girl who was risking so many things
to meet him.

Eising from his seat he went forward a hundred yards to
greet her, and then stood aside in a hidden nook to feast
his eyes unseen upon her eager, untouched beauty as she
came towards him. For the space of a blackbird's burst of
song in the coppice behind him, he saw no further sign of
his sweetheart ; but as the song ceased he heard the patter
of quick footsteps. And lo ! there she was beneath him,
her wide blue eyes looking eagerly ahead, her hair confined
by a single ribbon as was the custom of the place and time,
then as if resenting the restraint going spraying and ten-
driling down her back. Her lips were parted with expecta-



THE BELLE OF THE PARISH 5

tioii and the haste she had made uphill. Well might a man
erect himself and hasten to meet such a maid as Lilias Ar-
mour was at twenty-two.

"■ Why, little girl/' he said, smiling easily down upon
her, " you are late this morning. What kept you ? I have
been waiting here more than half an hour !"

At the first unexpected sound of his voice she caught
her hands together upon her bosom with a little frighted
cry. She stood still a moment while Christopher Kennedy
rau towards her down the bank. Then with her hands
clasped and held beneath her chin she yielded herself to
be gathered against his breast.

There she rested a little while breathlessly as in a shelter,
while his hand caressed her shoulder and was lost among
her hair. She tried to speak, but, something suddenly
choking her utterance, she j)ut her head down, and un-
clasping her hands she slid them up till they rested on the
young man's shoulders.

*' Lilias, Lilias — dearest," he said, reproachfully, trying
to look into her eyes, " what is the matter ? This is not
like my girl — to break down like this. What have they
done to you now ? Have they been speaking against me
again ? Well, that is nothing new I"

Then, receiving no answer, he submitted with a sigh to
the incomprehensible nature of women and let the girl
weep her fill, only at intervals touching her lightly with his
hand upon the further cheek which ran wet with warm
tears. Once, too, he stooped and kissed her hair, from
which the sunbonnet had fallen back, when he had first
drawn her to him. Then he took the girl yet closer to
him and was silent also.

After a little she exhausted herself, and rested quiet with
her face against Kennedy's coat, nestling as a bird does in
a safe covert in time of storm. Her bosom fluttered like a
bird's, and a sharp dry sob clicked recurrently in her throat,
so that he felt all her slender body shake within his arms.



6 KIT KENNEDY

" Noiv can you tell me ?" he said, tenderly, and added
notliing more. For, foolish in all else, this young man
was wise in love — that is, if the object of love- wisdom be
to Avin other love, not to hold it worthily when it is won.

'''Be patient with me, Chris," she whispered, "be very
patient, and I will tell yon all. It is so hard, so hard for
me at home. I want you to take me away. They speak
against you all the time, or at least my mother does. My
father says nothing, but I know his heart is more and
more set to hate you ever since that night he saw you
in Dumfries. Oh Chris, if you love me, how can you go to
such places ?"

The young man moved impatiently and uneasily under
the hands which were laid upon his shoulders with so
gentle a restraint. His bold admiring gaze quailed before
the honest upward appeal of the wet blue eyes now for the
first time turned upon him. He hesitated before he spoke.

"Why, a man must live," he said at last, with a short
laugh; "I have been used to company, and if I did not
sometimes go among men who are not afraid to be men, I
should mould and dry-rot hoth at once in this place. It is
all that keeps one alive in such a dull dog's hole as Cairn
Edward."

The blue eyes were still upon him with a yearning in them
that made even the selfishness of Christopher Kennedy wince.

"And what of me?" she said, soft as a breathing, yet
with an accent that pierced to the dividing asunder of soul
and marrow.

" Lilias, Lilias," he cried, in genuine pain, " I love you, I
tell you so. That rights all. What difference does it make
what people may say ? What do a parcel of farmer folk and
villagers matter to us ? You know what your Bible says,
something about ' for this cause shall a man leave father
and mother and shall cleave unto his wife !' "

She kept her eyes fixedly uj)on him, and their regard
was deep and steady as the sea when it is stillest.



THE BELLE OF THE PARISH 7

'' His wife !" She breathed the two words again, and
the wind among the waterside willow trees was not softer,
nor the dying soul's parting cry more tragic.

" His wife !"

The young man nerved himself, and dashed in the rapid
voice of one who fears interruption, into an obviously pre-
meditated speech.

"Listen, Lilias," he said, "I have told you why I can-
not marry you openly, though God knows I would be glad
and proud to do it to-morrow. My father put me through
college, and I promised to repay him before I married. He
is poor and needs the money. Besides, it would ruin me
in Cairn Edward if such a thing were known, and I have
good hopes of the headmastership. Then again your
father thinks me godless and debauched. He told me so
openly, upon the Plainstones of Dumfries when I met him
there three months ago. He forbade me ever again to
enter his door. He forbade me to meet you. He would
never consent. But happily we live in a land where mar-
riage is easy. Lilias, will you marry me privately ? I
know it is against your kirk rules, but it is according to
the law of the land, and to the full as binding as if twenty
ministers were present."

He paused a little breathlessly himself and looked down
upon her, smiling an anxious, forced smile.

The girl drew herself back a little way from him, and
reaching np her hands she kept his handsome head, with
its high forehead and weak irresolute mouth, at a dis-
tance, so that she might look into his eyes.

" You have left me no choice, Chris," she said, still look-
ing steadily into his soul ; "^you have made me love you so
terribly. I must marry you when you bid me."

"Ah, that is right," the young man cried, cheerfully,
stooping to kiss her, "that is all right. Now smile and
put your sadness away ! A bride does not look like that."

But she held him still at a distance, and her gaze did



8 KIT KENNEDY

not falter. She was a child even at two-and-twenty, this
Lilias, though she had long been climbing on the perilous
ridges which to such a temperament as hers form the water-
shed of life and death.

"Tell me what it is that you propose !" she said. ''No
— do not touch me — yet ! I want to understand."

"I have but short time, little one," he made answer,
''and I have not yet thought it fully out. But if you bring
a friend with you I will bring another — friends whom we
can trust, I mean — and we will make the declaration that
we are man and wife before witnesses. I, on my part, will
bring Alister French the lawyer with me, and he will see that
all is right and draw up the papers. Whom will you bring?"

"I do not know; I have had no one to trust, to speak
to, except you ; I do not want any other," she answered
him, the firmness of her gaze wavering under his burning
glances. She felt the weakness inherent to all loving
women coming over her.

" Another we must have. Would not Bell Kirkpatrick
serve ?" he suggested, with a quick downward glance at
her face, to see how she took the suggestion.

"I do not like Bell. I could not trust her !" said Lilias
Armour, uncertainly.

" And pray why not ?" he urged ; " she is clever and
secret. Besides, being with you in the house she could
help us more than any one else !"

" I do not like her !" persisted the girl.

"Well, think it over. I must go at once or I sliall be
late ; I am late as it is. Think it well over. I will see
you again on Saturday. Be ready to tell me then what
you will do. And oh ! Look here, Bell is Avilling to help.
In fact, I have spoken to her myself — "

There came a quick, leaping terror into the girl's face.
She caught the classical master by the arm.

" Chris," she whispered, "what have you told her — what
does she know ?"



THE BELLE OF THE PARISH 9

He smiled and patted her fondly on the shoulder,

" Silly one, only what I Avould that all the world knew,"
he said, " that I love yon and would like to marry you !"

She was silent, but she sighed the long, weariful sigh of
hope deferred.

" Good-bye !" he said, and bending a long moment to
her, he was gone.

At the top of the moor, before he plunged down the
long, rough, heathery steep, he turned and waved a white
handkerchief. Lilias Armour stood where he had left her.
She did not wave a response, but kept her hands clasjoed
before her, looking steadfastly after her lover.

As he ran down the slope he pulled out his watch.

"■An hour and ten minutes," he said ; "I can do it ; I
shall have time to see French and look iii at the Cross
Keys as well. This sort of thing takes it deucedly out of
a fellow whose business it is to explain the accusative and
infinitive all day long."

An hour later Lilias Armour sat in her appointed place
at the douce and sober morning worship of a Cameronian
home. As was the daughter's duty, she had brought
down the great Bible, covered with worn calf skin with
the hair outside, and laid it before her father at the head
of the table. Before doing so, she had taken away the
breakfast dishes and respread the board with a white cloth
like that which is laid upon a communion table, for the
more fit offering up of the morning sacrifice.

Her mother, bustling, masterful, loquacious housewife
that she was, had been so long among the poultry in the
yard that the Elder was compelled to sit full five minutes
silent among his family, with the Bible open before him
ere he could give out the psalm to be sung. Then his
wife, flustered to find them all silent and waiting, sat
down and endeavored to smooth her hair with one hand,
while she found the place with the other, naturally enough
failing in both. But there were tears in the eyes of one



10 KIT KENNEDY

within the wide sumiy honse-place of Dornal as they sang
to the wistful rise and fall of the Elder's favorite Colesliill
the final verse of the opening song of praise :

"I, like a lost sheep, went astray :
Thy servant seek and find :
For thy commands I suffered not
To slip out of my mind."



CHAPTER II

THE MARRIAGE LINES

c< Bitter are the rigors of righteousness, and by them
the merciful are shamed and sinners confirmed in their
evil way."

This may not be a text out of the written Word, never-
theless it embalms somewhat of the spirit of the Great
Forgiver of sins.

It was the morn of the Sabbath some months after the
early meeting between the classical master and Lilias Ar-
mour. The solemn Taking of the Book was over in the
farmhouse of Dornal, but Matthew Armour, Euling Elder
in the Cameronian Kirk, still sat with the Bible ojDen be-
fore him. His face, with its shock of silvering hair sweep-
ing back from the noble cliff-like brow, was sober with
more than Roman gravity. His wife gathered together
the folded white handkerchief, the spectacles and the
psalm-book which were her indispensables at any function
of a religious character. She had learned by the expe-
rience of half a lifetime, added to her original store of
woman's instinct, when it "wasna chancy" at such times
to stand long in the way of her husband. Now in that
hush of Sabbath silence which she knew so well, she was
especially eager to be gone.

But even in the doorway the voice of the Elder ar-
rested her.

" Margaret Armour, bid our daughter Lilias come
hither to me !" he said.



12 KIT KENNEDY

''Hoot, Matthew," nrged his wife, ''be canny. I ken
the young man is no a great professor, and his ways are
no oor ain hamely ways — but dinna fret the young lass.
The lad is weel-to-do, and of a decent family enough,
though they say an Episcopalian,"

" Silence, woman, do as I bid you instantly," commanded
the Ruling Elder ; "it is with my daughter and yours that
I desire to speak !"

"Mathy — Mathy, mind that we are a' sinners," the
mother pleaded, " mind that ye were yince young your-
seF."

"And if so, think you not that I have suffered in the
flesh for the deeds of the flesh. Think you that I do not
wet my j^illow many a night for the sins of my youth. And
if my children must suffer, it shall not be because no warn-
ing word has been spoken, or no strong hand outstretched
to deliver. Send in the lass !"

With a little helpless appeal of the hands and a sidelong
sway of the head in acknowledgment of the fact that
oL" course her word went for nothing, Margaret Armour
took herself off to do as she was bid. She found Lilias
standing with a book in her hand under the great beech-
tree by the house gable. But she was not reading. Her
eyes, large and vague, their sometime bright blue dimmed
with sadness and tears unshed, were fixed on the distant
hills at the foot of which lay Cairn Edward.

She did not hear her mother come near her, and she
started with a piteous gesture of fear when a large hard
hand was laid on her arm.

" Lilias, my lass, ye are to gang your Avays ben to your
faither," she said, " and oh ! mind — be kind and canny wi'
him. Be not angry nor rebellious, for that is never any
way Avith your faither. Gie up the young man gin he bids
you — at least for the present. Your heart winna break,
though you may think it will. And dinna forget that,
whatever your faither may say, he speaks for your good."



THE MARRIAGE LINES 13

Lilias Armour looked at her mother witli so steady a
gaze that the eyes of that good bustling housewife fell be-
fore them. The daughter laughed a little laugh, hard to
listen to from one so young, it was so full of bitter knowl-
edge of the past and carelessness for the future.

'' Gie him up — and if I do, that will end it, will it ?" she
said.

" Aye, surely," said her mother, " it is the way wi' a' the
young. I hae been that gait mysel'. I thocht that there
was nae lad like ane that I hae mind on. For sax months
I wad hae gi'en a' my shapin' claes for him. But my ain
mither advised me, and I took her advice. And ye will do
the like, my hinnie, like a good lass. There are better
lads than him to be gotten — aye, and no that far to seek —
responsible, God-fearin' men, too, wi' farms weel plenished
and siller in the bank. There was ane that spak' to me
Sabbath eight days nae farther gane. Ye could get him
for a look — aye, and be a decent married wife within a
month gin ye willed it."

Lilias Armour listened wearily to her mother, but did
not answer her exhortations and appeals.

" I will go in and see my father," she said. And straight-



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