Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

A border shepherdess; a romance of Eskdale online

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doubt but that he will wear it with honor."
Then smiling pleasantly in Faith s face, he
added, "do you know the value of the ring?"

" I ken naething anent jewels, duke ; but I
am vera sure that nae siller at a could buy it
now from the lad wha is to wear it."

" I am pleased to hear you say that ; yet, if
a question of sale should ever rise, the Duke of
Lauderdale will always give one thousand
pounds for it. The ruby is the finest in Scot
land and it has associations associations !

"It will be a sair strait a strait o lif: and
death, that will make any kin o min . turn faith
and kindness into just common sovereign.. V

" Give me your hand, Miss Harribee, Late
as the call upon me is and you see I am in
the gloaming of life I am proud to answer it."

So they parted, and Faith said nothing as to
the wherefore of her journey to any one but
Sandy Todd, and he took what information she
chose to give him with a satisfactory indiffer

"You are a wise woman and a lucKy
woman," he said, "and I hope you can leave


your luck wi your siller for them as are to come
after you."

" The blessing is to the third and fourth gen-
eration, Sandy, and it will be renewed ere it
runs out ; I dare hope that, too. The lads are
baith wise-like, and Matthew is heart-pious, and
seeking, as you ken, the way into the holy

In June the young men returned home. They
had both done more than well, and Faith was
very proud of the honors they had achieved.
Then for a few weeks she gave herself up to
the enjoyment of their presence. " We will
speak o the future, dear lads," she said, "when
you hae rested brain and body a wee. Gae up
to the hill-tops and breathe the airs o heaven,
and talk wi the shepherds, for they hae seen
wonderful things in the mountains, and eat,
and sleep, and grow strong for whate er work
is before you. And when the right hour
strikes I sail hae something to say to you

Not one of them seemed inclined to hurry
the right hour. In this green valley the days
came to them full of peace. It was a summer
holiday, charmful and restful, the very labors


of which were as the singing and playing of a
pastoral idyll.

But one September morning a stranger came
to see Faith. He was an agent of the Duke
of Lauderdale, and he left with her papers
which she regarded as David and Matthew s
call to the real work of life. She held them in
her hands, with a heart subdued to grateful
tears and yet throbbing with high and holy

As she sat musing, David put his head into
the room. " Come up the fells, Aunt Faith,"
he said, " Laddie is sick for a run, and I think
I never saw such a glorious haze over the
heather. It looks as if we might manage to
catch some of it in our hands."

" I will go wi you, David gladly. Is that
you, Laddie ? Come awa baith o you."

What a rarefied freshness there was in the
air ! How full it was of passing aromas, and
of wandering sounds, that in the wide expanse
lost themselves, ere one could tell whence they
rose, or where they died away. Faith walked
slower. She had grown paler and more slen
der; but her eyes were as young as they were
at twenty, and her smile was not an inadver-


tent one ; it was a blending of such freshness,
such sweet graciousness and benignant love, as
filled the receiver with an instantaneous joy.

Nothing was said until they reached a great
boulder on the summit of the first fell. Here
they sat down to rest. The place was misty
with blue bells, and the grass was vividly green,
for a little beck went tumbling past, and with
clear gurglings and limpid whispers spread
freshness all around. There, in that sweet
loneliness, she gave David the duke s ring and
message, and put into his hand his commission
in the Cameronians.

Destiny loves surprises, and David took his
with that joyful enthusiasm which belongs alas!
only to youth. The imposing military paper,
the sparkling jewel ; he looked from one to the
other with a wondering delight, that was only
equaled by the joy and satisfaction in Faith s
own heart.

" I didna ken, David," she said, touching the
ring, " that I was leaving a thousand pounds
lying round sae careless like. It has been a
these years in your grandfayther s open desk. I
am vera sure he didna ken its worth either, or
he had turned the lock on it."


" Why did the duke give it to grandfather?"
" It was weel deserved, nae doubt o that,
though I ne er heard the particulars Matthew
Harribee wasna the man to praise his ain deeds
but he saved the duke s life during the re
form riots in Glasgow, and I hae heard my
mother say it was a deed beyond ordinary for
its daring and courage. Now then, Captain
Graeme, gie me your young, strong arm and
we will tak the way hame again, for I hae some
words also to speak to your brother, Matthew."
They found Matthew in the garden. It was
all ablaze with dahlias and hollyhocks, and he
stood with a book in his hand, leaning upon the

" What are you reading, Matthew ? "
" Nothing, at present, aunt. It is a volume
of sermons by Dr. Chalmers upon the glory of
the firmament above us, but I was not reading
it. I was looking over the glory of this fair
land. The barley is ready for the sickle. You
will be harvesting soon ?"

" Next week we begin the ingathering."
"The Harribees chose a fair bit of earth for
themselves, Aunt Faith."

" I am right glad you think sae, Matthew ;


for from this day, their name and their house
and their land is yours. You are now Matthew
Harribee and your name makes you heritor of
a that goes with the name."

Faith had worked for this hour, and dreamed
of this hour for many a year, and it did not dis
appoint her. It was a wonderful day to all !
In the sweet garden how short was that sum
mer afternoon ! And when the first wonder
and surprise was over, what enthralling talks
they had of those who would have been so glad
in their joy !

Faith spoke with pride and tenderness to
them of their grandparents the sturdy sense
and piety of Matthew Harribee, the sweet gen
tleness of his wife. She told them of their
uncle David and his shattered little life. She
encouraged their own reminiscences of their
never-forgotten home. She added her memo
ries of the sweet and childlike Agnes. She
listened with interest to their stories of their
gay, kindly father. She even suffered herself
to trust that there might be a hope for one who
had been such a loving husband and father, and
such a generous helper of his poorer brethren.
" There is nae limit," she whispered, " to God s


power and the secret o God is doubtless a
secret o mercy." Nor did they forget the uncle
who had died so suddenly and who had added
so much to their boyhood s happiness. They
talked long of him, recalling incident after in
cident with affectionate pride, and Faith listened
silently with unvoiced prayers and tear-dimmed

The next day Matthew had found a difficulty
and he came to Faith with it. " Aunt, if I am
to be Harribee of Harribee Home, what comes
of the grander hopes that both of us have had ?
I shall soon be a preacher of the word, and I
truly think that I have a call to preach which I
dare not disobey."

" Oh, Matthew ! Are you sae faithless to
me ? Did you really think I had forgotten that ?
Why, man ! the siller has been gatherin in Ha-
wick bank the siller that is to build your kirk
for many a year. There is a remnant of the
grand old faith scattered through these hills and
dales just a few sheep in the wilderness, Mat
thew but you shall be their shepherd and feed
them with the strong meat o the word. They
are mostly poor daytal laboring men, and they
can spare little o their substance, but what


then ? The farm shall be your manse, and the
sheep and the grain are for your stipend. This
has been my prayer and my hope for long,
and if you will take your call from me, you
are a placed minister as soon as your license is
in your hands."

So there was a solemn compact between these
two, and henceforward there was a higher pur
pose in Faith s labor and just a touch of greater
dignity in her manner. Never afterward were
the boys any thing in Harribee household, but
the minister and the captain, and it was 4
high offense in Faith s eyes to omit these hono
rable titles.

Soon after this momentous day Faith was
again alone. Captain Graeme joined his regi
ment at Stirling, and Matthew went to Edin
burgh to take the last steps toward the office he
was to fill. In December David would attain his
majority. In December the question of the
Graeme succession would have to be decided.

Early in the month Lady Seaton returned
home. Her son, a bright handsome lad, with
his mother s haughty manner, called at Harri
bee with a letter for Faith. He was superbly
mounted and attended by a groom in livery;


and he had doubtless received some charges
which made him as conciliating as possible.
The sight of the child saddened Faith. After
his visit she could not eat, nor sleep of nights.
If it were only possible to pass by the affair and
leave all as it was ! She told herself that David
had his commission and was proud and happy
in the duties it brought him, and that also, he
was to be the heir of the large sum of money she
had saved : " For Matthew will hae the house,
and the land, and the kirk forbye, and I will
give David every penny in Hawick and else
where. Isna that better than the auld castle,
and the auld name that hasna a noble deed
to season it? And what for will I tell him
then ? Maybe, I will only set him up and
ruin him ! "

But this specious reasoning did not satisfy
her. At the last she always came to the same
conclusion : " I must do the right thing. That
is my duty. The consequences, I hae naething
to say anent. They are in God s hands."

She did not at once answer Terres request
to see her. " What for should I go at her beck
and call?" she asked herself with a touch of
reasonable pride. " Phemie is mair to me than


she is, and Phemie I dinna care to leave her

But when four days had passed Terres grew
uneasy. She humbled her pride and went to
call upon Faith. She was now over fifty years
of age. She had grown stout and lost every
trace of her youthful beauty and fine carriage.
Her face shewed plainly the marks of evil
passions willingly indulged ; and it was a great
effort for her to meet Faith with any show of
courtesy or kindness.

" Why did you not answer my letter Miss

" I wasna minded to, my lady. I had nae
new thing to say. The time I had spoken of

" But I wished to see you."

" I dinna think it, Lady Seaton. And I
wasna caring to see you. You said things vera
hard to hear at our last meeting."

41 1 did not suppose you would bear malice.
I though Christians were told to forgive."

4< Likewise they are told to keep out o the
way o temptation. I said harder words mysel
that day, than is my ordinar. I didna want to
hae to say them again."


" You are not very polite, but that is neither
here nor there. What are you going to do about
Graeme? "

" Naething. I sail leave it to the heir him
self to do what he thinks right in the matter.
He is a wise and kind lad ; and he has a gude
heart. I am not feared for him doing right."

" I hear that he is joined the army. That
looks as if he did not mean to make any

" He doesna yet ken that he has any claim to
make. I thocht if he had a few weeks in bar-
racks, he would be mair able to decide on which
life would suit him better lordo yonder dreary
castle, or lord o his ain sword and fortune. I
sail not say this nor that, to waver him."

" It is not right to leave so important a ques
tion to a silly young man in the first flush of
his military pride and social life. The very title
will decide him."

" He isna a silly young man ; and I dinna
think he will care a snap o his fingers for the
auld world title. It is o er blood-stained."

" Yet you would have taken it."

" You ll no say them words again Lady
Seaton. I hae told you different, and you


ken better. I am thinking you would be wiser

to keep ill words in yourain heart. Why came

you here? I didna send for you."

" I am always doing and saying the wrong

thing. What did you think of my boy ? Saw

you ever a nobler looking child ? "
" I thought he was a fine laddie."
" Oh how can you injure him, Faith ? "
" Dinna tak my Christian name up. There

is nae kindness in the uptak."

" I think you are very rude, Miss Harribee."
"You should hae keepit awa . I hae been

vera patient with you, for the sake o one not

to be named between us. I hae done you nae

harm. I hae wished you nane."

"What are you going to do this month?"
" Naething, just naething. David is auld

enough, and wise enough to sort his ain affairs.

Whate er he does, I sail stand by."

" You are a cruel woman ! Look at my


" Remember young Roland Graeme, and

dinna talk to me o cruelty ! Dinna bid me

mind the past, or I sail be hot to make the

present pay for the past. Gae your ways lady

Seaton, I will not speak mair words on this


subject with you ; but if in any other way I
can be friend or helper, you hae claims on me,
and I ll ne er deny them."

So indeterminate, so full of resentful humili
ation was this visit, that both women deeply
regretted it. It only made Terres still more
miserable. It decided Faith to send at once
for her nephews. Both were a little startled
at her urgent demand.

" If it be possible," she wrote to each, " if
it be at all possible reach Harribee on the morn
ing of the twenty-seventh of December. I
have most important affairs for you to decide



" Having reaped and garnered, bring the plow
And draw new furrows neath the healthy morn,
And plant the great Hereafter in this Now,"

" Her soul was stirring gently, as a bird
Stirs in its nest, about to take its flight
To brighter lands."

" The bitterness of Death behind her lies,
And not before. Henceforth shall mysteries
Of heavenly love be with her from the lands
Of light."

MATTHEW reached Harribee on the
twenty-sixth, David not until the noon
hour of the twenty-seventh. He was in his
uniform, and Faith thought she had never
seen a lordlier looking youth. Phemie watched
him with speechless admiration. There was
not a servant on the farm who had not a hearty
pride in this revelation of military splendor
and authority. It was the one form of power
which they had an instinctive admiration for,
and yet were unfamiliar with.


In the moment of his arrival he understood
that he had been summoned for some very im
portant reason. Faith was white with emotion,
her hands trembled, her voice was full of tears,
as she led the young men to the best parlor,
which had been opened and warmed for this

They sat down together at a table on which
the family Bible was lying, Faith facing her
nephews. After a moment s pause, she said :

" My dear lads, you hae come to the gravest
hour o your lives." Then with a pathetic
seriousness she told them the long sad story of
sin and remorse. At first she had not intended
to compromise Lord Graeme, but as she spoke
she forgot every thing but the truth ; and in the
light of truth, the man s contrition and atone
ment seemed to her grand enough to cancel
his fault. At this point she faltered and broke
down ; and the young men drew close to her,
and soothed her with gentle words and assur
ances, and more than all, with outspoken praises
of the one who had wronged them. It was
a sorrowful, shameful tale to tell, and Faith
suffered almost as much as if she had been the
wrong-doer. But when it was told, she looked


straight into David s and Matthew s faces, and
that look gave her an instant sense of sympa
thy and relief.

" I hope you dinna think I hae done wrong
to you, in keeping back the news."

"You have acted wisely and kindly, Aunt
Faith," said David. " Even a year ago, I
might have been tempted to decide as I would
scorn to decide now. As far as I am con
cerned, I will do as my brave-hearted father
did, make my own living, and carve my own
name. I have been among lords in Edinburgh
and Stirling. I think little of them. What honor
is there in the name a dead man won ? I will
only have the title which I can win for my

Faith looked proudly at him, and then
glanced at Matthew, who sat with eyes down
cast upon the table. " Matthew," she said,
"you are next heir to David ; if David should
die and leave no son, you would be lord of

" I will not think of honor or increase that is
to come by David s death."

" Those are but a few kind words, Matthew.
You be to think of every side of this question


now ; you canna alter your decision in after
years. Are you quite willing to give up such
prospects as are yours in this matter ? If not,
then David will have no power to resign a
position which clasps your right as well as his

There were some minutes of intense silence.
Matthew remained lost in thought. Faith and
David both waited for his decision. They were
neither astonished nor hurt by his delay. He
was known to be careful and cautious even on
the most ordinary subjects. Still he hesitated
so long that David grew slightly impatient, and
played nervously with the tassel on his sword

" I wanted to be sure, Aunt Faith : Sure,
quite sure, David. No regrets afterward.
Now I am ready to speak." He drew the
Bible toward him, and laying his hand upon
it, said :

" The thing that has been told me, shall be
as if I had never heard it. I will have no part
or lot in the lordship of Graeme. I will enter
tain no unkind thought of him who wronged
my father. I believe that he was most truly pen
itent ; and I truly forgive him. I shall always


love him. I will, therefore, for his sake also,
make no question which would give occasion
for evil-speaking about him. This I say, and
swear to, in God s presence, and on God s

Then David laid his hand upon the book.
" Aunt Faith, all that Matthew has said, I say
with him. I will have no part in Graeme lord
ship ; and for your sake I will not have the
name of one you loved made a talk and a by
word of. Let him rest in peace. I pray God
to forgive him, as I do this hour."

" My dear lads, I thank you both. I thank
you ! I ll no deny but what the thocht of all
that would be printed, and said, has many a
time made me heart sick with fear. I must
hae gone into this court and that court wi my
evidence ; I must hae been questioned, and sus
pected, and had my most sacred feelings exam
ined ; I should hae been gazed at by folks, and
thocht ill of, and had ill said of me, for the vera
kindness there was between me and Lord Til-
bert. Whichever way I turned I saw trouble,
and the strife of tongues, and ill-will without
end. I wouldna point this out to you before,
lest you might put my gude name and peace o


mind, before your ain wishes and welfare. But
oh, my dear David ; oh, my dear Matthew,
you hae lifted a sair and heavy burden from
my heart this day ! "

" It was our great pleasure to do it ; and
now, aunt, what further steps must I take?"

" Here are all the papers necessary to certify
your claim. This bundle contains the origi
nals this one, the copies I had made of the
originals. I think you should call upon your
aunt, Lady Seaton, at once, and tell her that
you have decided to give up your right in favor
of her son. You will find her haughty and
insolent, I fear. Heed her not. What you
have done has not been done for her pride, but
for my gude name, and gude repose in my late

David rose at once. " I will go now. The
sooner we can bury the subject forever,
the better, dear aunt. And oh ! how proud I
am of your prudence, your kindness, and your
wise love for me ! " He put his handsome
head down and kissed her fondly, and Matthew
clasped her hands and said words just as loving
and grateful.

Then Faith rose up with a bright face, and


she said, " to-day, I feel very proud and weel
contented. Now I will go to my ain room. It
is a sort of giving up o my stewardship, and I
canna be happy till I hae, also, God s well
done. "

Then the young men went to the stables
together. David would ride at once to Seaton
Court, and Matthew followed him full of a new
idea which he could not well express for a
moment or two. But as David was leaving the
yard, he stopped him, and asked, "have you
both packages of papers with you ? "

"Yes; I have both."

" Let me keep the originals until you return.
When you have had an interview with Lady
Seaton, you will know better if it is wise to
give her them. Remember, they are all we
have to prove our father s honorable birth, and
to defend our aunt against the innuendos, or the
open charges, which defeated malice, or ungen
erous obligation may choose to make. Take
my advice, David."

" Very well, I will." Then he examined the
papers, and gave Matthew the packet contain
ing the original proofs.

At Seaton Court, Lady Seaton was watching


for his visit. She had contrived to send Lord
Seaton to Graeme ; she thought she was fully
prepared for the very worst that could happen.
When David was introduced to her presence,
she met him with an air of painful interroga
tion, and as soon as the servant had retired,
she said :

" Captain Graeme, there is no necessity for
us to exchange empty compliments. You
understand I know, that your claim clashes
with the claim of my son ? "

" It shall do so no longer, Lady Seaton. I
have come to assure you of my unwillingness
to disturb in any way the presumed succes
sion. Not for all the lordships in Scotland
would I have my aunt Faith s name
brought into public dispute, or her most pure
motives misjudged. Nevertheless, my claim
is a just one, as these papers will prove to

She took them eagerly, glanced at their
captions, and then turning rapidly round, flung
them into the blazing fire. She was quite pre
pared to stand guard over their destruction, if
necessary, but David made not the slightest
attempt to rescue them. Still she saw when


she faced him again the wavering shadow
of his contempt, and she answered it defi

" No one has injured your aunt s pure name.
As for her pure motives, allow me to judge
them as I please. Her influence over my
brother was a sort of witchcraft. She could
have made him write or forge any paper she
wanted. Poor Tilbert ! Ah ! his death was a
merciful one for himself!"

" Lady Seaton, I have one condition to make
with you."

" Sir, I will make no conditions with you "
and she laughed mockingly and looked at the
filmy ash which was all that remained of the
burnt papers.

"Then we will consider my relinquishment
null and void. I can at least leave you to make
conditions with the law."

"You should have kept your proofs, sir."

" I have kept them. The papers you burned
were only copies of the originals. You can have
another set from Sandy Todd."

She started to her feet in a fury of passion,
and David was compelled to hear silently her
violent words. When she paused, he inquired,


" Will you listen to my condition, Lady

" What have you to say ? "

" I insist that you shall neither by word or
.ook insinuate or declare any thing likely to
annoy my aunt, Miss Harribee. If you do,
then I will reassert my right, and make her
restitution of the most perfect kind. And
though I may go far away from here, my
brother stays in Harribee, and he will watch
and listen, as I would watch and listen. So,
then, Lady Seaton, beware of your words, and
even of your looks, for I vow that you hold
Graeme for your son on your own good be

" Oh, but you are an insolent cock-o-my-
thumb ! Your tongue proves you a Graeme, at
any rate. How old is your sword, pray? A
man who wears a sword ought to know that his
first duty is courtesy to women. Pshaw ! you
show the clown s blood, too."

" Clown or gentleman, I have told you the
truth. So long as you observe my condition,
so long you may call your son Lord of Graeme.

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrA border shepherdess; a romance of Eskdale → online text (page 14 of 15)