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Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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with heavenly-sweet convincingness, and left their
echo forever there. For awhile he remained motion
less and speechless, and let the comforting revelation
fill him with adoring love and gratitude. And those
few minutes of pause and praise were not only sacri
ficial and sacramental, they were strong with absolu
tion. He knew what he must do; he had not a
doubt, not a reservation of any kind. In a space
of time so short that we have no measure for it,
he had surrendered everything, and been made
worthy to receive everything.

O, Mystery of Life, from what a depth proceed
thy comforts and thy lessons ! Even the chance ac
quaintance had had his meaning, and had done his
work. Robert had some wonderful confidences with
him, as he lay for a week free of pain, and quietly
gathering strength for the journey he must take the
moment he was able for it. He had no hesitation



A Reconstructed Marriage 375

as to this journey. He knew that he must go back
to Theodora back to the same goal he had turned
away from. Peradventure the blessing he had re
jected might yet be waiting there.

In ten days Dr. Stuart permitted him to travel,
and without pause or regret he reached San Fran
cisco, refreshed himself, and taking a carriage drove
out to the Newtons'. It was afternoon when he
reached the place, and it had the drowsy afternoon
look and feeling. He sent the carriage to the stable,
and told the driver to wait there for further orders
and then walked up to the house. As he passed
Mr. Newton's study he saw him sitting reading, and
he opened the door and went in. The preacher
looked up in astonishment, rose and walked towards
him.

" Robert," he said softly, " is that you? "
" Yes, father. I have been very ill. I have come
back to ask your forgiveness and hers if she will
listen to me."

" I am glad to see you. Sit down. You look
ill what can I do for you?"

" Listen to me! I will tell you all."
Then he opened his heart freely to the preacher,
who listened with intense sympathy and understand
ing sometimes speaking a word of encouragement,
sometimes only touching his hand, or whispering,
" Go on, Robert." And perhaps there was not an
other man in California, so able to comprehend the
marvellous story of Robert's return unto his better
self. For he had in a large measure that penetrative



376 A Reconstructed Marriage

insight into spiritualities, which connect man with the
unseen world; and that mystical, incommunicable
sense of a life, that is not this life. He knew its
voices, intuitions, and celestial intimations things,
which no one knoweth, save they who receive them.
And when Robert had finished his confession, he
said:

" I also, Robert, have stood on that shining table
land which lies on the frontier of our consciousness;
and there received that blessed certainty of God
which can never again leave the soul. And you must
not wonder at the suddenness and rapidity of the
vision. Every experience of this kind must be
sharply sudden. That chasm dividing the seen from
the unseen, must be taken at one swift bound, or not
at all. You cannot break that leap. Thank God,
you have taken it! This remembrance, and the
power it has left behind, can never depart from you ;
for

' Whoso has felt the Spirit of the Highest,

Cannot confound, nor doubt Him, nor deny.'

\

The whole world may deny, but what is the voice
of the whole world to those, who have seen and
heard and known

'A deep below the deep,

And a height beyond the height,
Where our hearing is not hearing,
And our seeing is not sight ' ?



A Reconstructed Marriage 377

What you have told me, Robert, also goes to con
firm what I have before noticed that this great
favor of vision is usually the cup of strength, given
to us in some great agony or strait."

" Now, father, may I see Theodora? "

" She went to her room to rest after our early
dinner. She also has suffered."

" She is in the parlor. I hear her singing. Let
us go to her."

At the parlor door they stood a minute and listened
to the music. It was strong and clear, and her voice
held both the sorrow and the hope that was in her
heart :

"My heart is dashed with cares and fears,

My song comes fluttering and is gone,
But high above this home of tears
Eternal Joy sings on sings on! "

The last strain was a triumphant one, and to its
joy they entered. Then Theodora's face was trans
figured, she came swiftly towards them, and Mr.
Newton laid her hand in Robert's hand, and so left
them. And into the love and wonder and thanks
giving of that conversation we cannot enter; no,
not even with the sweetest and clearest imagination.
In a couple of hours David came, and Robert
joined his father and brother, and Theodora went to
assist her mother in preparing the evening meal. She
found her standing by an open window, wringing her
thin, small hands, and silently weeping.



378 A Reconstructed Marriage

" Mother, mother! " cried Theodora, clasping her
in her strong arms; " why are you weeping? "

" It is that man here again," Mrs. Newton fal
tered. " I thought that trouble was over. I can
bear no more of it, dear."

" He will never give you another moment's grief,
dear mother. He is totally changed. He has had
an experience; he has been what we call converted
^-mother."

" Do you believe that? "

" With all my soul! He has given up everything
that made sin and trouble."

" Then all is well. I am satisfied."

" Robert will not be happy until you have wel
comed him."

" Then I will go and do so."

That evening as they sat together David said:
" Father and mother, I wish to speak for my brother
and myself. We are going into a business partner
ship, as soon as Robert has been to Glasgow, and
turned all his property into cash. Whatever he is
worth, I will double, and ' Campbell Brothers,
Bankers,' I believe, will soon become an important
factor in the financial world of San Francisco."

" It is a good thing, David. You two working as
one will be a multitude. No one knows the financial
conditions here better than you do, David, and as
an investor, I do not believe you have ever made a
mistake."

" I think not, father. Well, then, we will all go
into San Francisco as soon as Robert has rested a



A Reconstructed Marriage 379

little, and select a home for him. I know of two
houses for sale, either of which would be suitable."

" And when the house is chosen," said Robert, " I
hope, mother, you will assist Theodora in furnishing
it just as she wishes, keeping her in mind, however,
that she must be quite extravagant. Simplicity and
economy are out of place in a banker's home, for
entertaining on a large scale will have to be done."

It was arranged that David should go East with
Robert, and see him safely on board a good liner,
and the details of these projects occupied the family
happily for three days; at the end of which they
went to San Francisco. When Theodora's future
home had been selected, David and Robert took the
train for New York; the whole family sending them
off with smiles and blessings. And Robert thought
of his previous leaving, and was unspeakably happy
and grateful.

On their journey to New York, the brothers settled
every detail of their banking business, and Robert
was amazed at his brother's financial instinct and
business enterprise. " We shall make a great deal
of money, Robert," he said, " and we must do a
great deal of good with it. I have some ideas on
that subject which we will talk over at the proper
time."

So the journey was not tiresome, and when it was
over, both were a little sorry. But work was to do,
and Robert knew that he would be restless until he
had finished his preparations for his new life, and
got rid of all encumbrances of the past.



380 A Reconstructed Marriage

The sea journey was short and pleasant, and it
removed the most evident traces of his illness. His
face was thinner, but that was an improvement; and
his figure, if more slender was more active, and there
was about him the light and aura of one who is thor
oughly happy, and at peace with God and man.

As soon as he arrived in Glasgow, he went to
his club, and looked over the accumulation of letters
waiting him. It was raining steadily that summer
rain which we feel to be so particularly unwanted.
The streets were sloppy, the air damp, the sky dull,
and not brightened by the occasional glints of pale
sunshine; but when he had relieved his mind of its
most pressing business, he went to Traquair House.
Jepson opened the door for him, but the man looked
ill, and said he was on the point of leaving Glasgow.
Robert could now sympathize with him, for he had
learned the agony of constant headache, and he said
so. The man looked at him in amazement, and he
told McNab of the circumstance, adding: " The mas
ter was never so kind to me in all his life, as he
was to-day." McNab answered curtly :

" No wonder ! He has been living wi' decent folk
lately, and decency tells. Them Californians are
the civilest o' mortals. You'll mind my ain lad, that
was here about four years syne ? "

" I'll never forget him, Mistress McNab. A per
fect gentleman."

11 Weel, he was, in a way, a Californian born, of
course, in Scotland, but knocked about among the
Californians, until he learned how to behave himsel'



A Reconstructed Marriage 381

to rich and poor and auld and young, and special to
women and bairns."

While this conversation was going on Robert sat
in the old dining-room. It was dismal enough at all
times, especially so in rainy weather, and more spe
cially so when it was summer rain, and no blazing
fire brightened the dark mahogany and the crimson
draperies.

His mother was at home, but he was told Chris
tina was occupying the little villa he had bought at
Inverkip. He had not been asked for its use, and
it contained a good deal of Theodora's needlework,
and much summer clothing. For a few minutes he
was angry, but he quickly reasoned his anger away.
" There are no happy memories about any of the
things. It is better they should not come into our
future life," he said to himself. He wondered his
mother did not come, and asked Jepson if she had
been told. " Yes, she had been told, and had sent
word ' she would be down as soon as dressed.' '

It was an hour before she was dressed, and Robert
felt the gloom and chill of waiting. Indeed, he
was so uncomfortably cold, that he asked for a fire,
and was standing before it enjoying its blaze and
warmth when Mrs. Campbell entered.

"Good gracious, Robert!" she cried, "a fire in
August! I never heard tell of such a thing."

" I am just from a warm, sunny country,
mother, and I have also been ill, and so I feel the
cold."

" Well, well ! Put a screen between me and the



382 A Reconstructed Marriage

blaze. I am not auld enou' yet, to require a blaze
in August."

" To-morrow, it will be the first of September.
How are you, mother? "

" Fine. That foolish fellow you left over the
works came here came special, mind ye to tell me
you were vera ill. He said he had received a letter
from a Dr. Stuart, living in a place called Denver,
saying you were at Death's door, or words to that
effect; but I sent him back to his proper business
wi' a solid rebuke for leaving it. I'm not the woman
to thank any one for bringing me bad news lies,
too, very likely."

" No, I was very ill."

" Say so, where was there any necessity for the
man to be sending word o' it half round the world?
Nobody here could help. It was just making dis
comfort for no good at all."

" I suppose he thought, if I died, my friends
might possibly like to know what had become of
me."

" I wasna feared for you dying. Not I ! I knew
Robert Campbell had mair sense than to die among
strangers. Then there was the works left to them
selves, as it were, and that weary woman you've
been seeking mair than four years, just found out,
and I said to myself, if I know Robert Campbell,
he won't be stravaganting to another world, whilst
his affairs in this world are all helter-skelter."

" I have come here to put my affairs as I desire
them. Then I am going back to California."



A Reconstructed Marriage 383

44 I do not believe you. You are just leeing to
me."

" Mother, I am going to sell the works. I want
to live in California."

" To please Theodora," she said scornfully.

" To please Theodora and myself. I like the coun
try; it is sunny and delightful, and the people are
wonderfully gracious and kind."

44 Of course, they have to be more than ordinary
civil, or what cjecent people would live among the
crowd that went there? "

44 That element has disappeared. There are no
finer men and women in the world than the Cali-
fornians. I shall ask for citizenship among them."

Then the temper she had been trying to control
broke loose, and carried all before it. ' You base
fellow ! " she cried, " you traitor to all good ! You
are unworthy of the country, the home, and the busi
ness you desert. I am ashamed to have brought you
into the world. To surrender everything for a crea
ture like your runaway wife is monstrously wicked
is incredibly shameful ! "

44 If I could surrender more for Theodora, I would
gladly do it, so that I might atone for what I, and
you, made her suffer. And she has not taken me to
California you drove her there."

44 I'm gey glad I did."

44 And as she will not come back here, I must go
to her there. Your own work, mother."

44 Very good. I accept it. I'm proud o' it."

44 My dear mother "



384 A Reconstructed Marriage

" Stop palavering! You can cut out * dear.' '

" Let us talk reasonably. I came here to ask
whether you will remain a shareholder in the works,
or withdraw your money? "

" I'll withdraw every bawbee out o' them. Your
sisters can do as they like. And may I ask, what
you are going to do? Become a miner, and carry
a pick and a dinner-pail? That would be a proper
ending for Robert Campbell."

" I am going to join my brother David in a bank
ing business in San Francisco."

"Your brother David! Your brother David!
So he is in California, too? Dod! I might have
known it the very place for the like o' him."

" He is one of the princes of Californian finance.
He dwells in a palace. He is worth many millions
of dollars."

"Dollars!" and she spit the word out of her
mouth with inexpressible scorn " dollars ! what kind
o' money is that? I wouldn't gie you a copper half
penny for your dollar."

"A dollar is worth just one hundred half
pennies."

" I'm not believing you. Why should I ? And
pray how did you foregather wi' your runawa'
brother?"

" He is Theodora's neighbor, and she is educating
his daughters."

" And pray how did Dora happen on your brother?
It is a vera singular coincidence, and I am no be
liever in coincidences. If the truth were known, they



A Reconstructed Marriage 385

have all o' them been carefully planned, and weel
arranged."

" She met my brother here in Glasgow."

" She did nothing o' the kind."

" She met him at the Oliphants'."

" Oh, oh ! I see, I see ! The dark man so often
riding about wi' Mistress Oliphant was your
brother?"

" He was my brother David, and he was also
McNab's foster-son."

" Great heavens ! What a fool Margaret Camp
bell has been for once! To think o' Flora McNab
making a mock o' me. She told me he was her
son."

" So he was, in a way. McNab suckled him, and
mothered him, as well as she could. She was the
only mother he had."

" You lie, Robert Campbell. I was his mother."

" You ought to be proud of it."

"Is his wife alive or dead?"

" She is dead. He will marry again soon."

" Some of the Oliphant kin, I suppose? "

" No. She is not a Scotchwoman."

" I hope to goodness she isn't English."

" She is Spanish-American, a great beauty, and
almost as rich as David himself."

" Humph! I am believing no such fairy-tale.
Why would a rich beauty be wanting David Camp
bell?"

" David is a very handsome man."

"Mrs. Oliphant seemed to think so!"



386 A Reconstructed Marriage

" Every one thinks so."

" I hope she is not a Methodist."

" She is a Roman Catholic."

" A Roman Catholic ! A Campbell can get no
further downward than that. Your forefathers
fought and, thank God, mostly killed a Roman
Catholic on sight. Ah weel, I suppose it is the
money."

" Oh, no! David would not marry for money."

" He didn't anyhow. He married a poor, plain,
beggarly sewing-girl."

" She was a minister's daughter, and he loved her."

" Weel, Robert Campbell, I hope you have
emptied your creel o' bad news. If you have any
more tak' it back to where it came from. I'll not
listen to another word from you."

" I must ask you, what you wish about this house?
If you desire to remain here, I will not sell it."

" I'll not stop in it, any longer than it takes me to
move out o' it. You are no kin to me now, and
thank God, I am not come to a dependence on a
Scotch turncoat, or even an American citizen!"

" Do you think Christina would like the use o'
it? "

" Christina is doing better. Rathey is going to
be man-of-law and private secretary to Sir Thomas,
and they are to have the Wynton Dower House to
live in, a handsome place in a big garden."
'Will you go with her, mother? "

" It is none of your business where I go. I would
not ask a shelter from you, if I were going to the



A Reconstructed Marriage 387

poor-house. I am going where I'll be rid of whim
pering wives, and whining bairns, and fleeching, flat
tering folk, who want siller for their fine words.
I'm done with the old, unhappy house. Sell it as
soon as you like. It was an ill day when I stepped
o'er its threshold."

" Then good-bye, mother. Say a kind word to
me. We may meet no more in this world." He
advanced towards her and put out his hand.

She rose and lifted her solitaire pack of cards
which was lying on the table by which she stood
and began shuffling them in her hands. " You un
grateful son of your mother Scotland and your
mother Campbell!" she cried. "You traitor to
every obligation due your family! You slave to a
Methodist wife, go to your Papist-loving brother.
California is a proper home for you. Dod! I am
sick of the whole lot o' you lads and lassies baith
Isabel is o'er much ' my lady ' for any sensible
body to thole; and Christina is aye sniffling and
worrying about her bairns, or her silly, fiddling hus
band. I am sick, tired heart and soul tired o'
the serpent brood o' you Campbells; and you may
scatter yoursel's o'er the face o' the whole earth, for
aught I care," and with these words she flung the
cards in her hand far and wide, over the large room.
She was in an incredible passion, and Robert put
his hand on her arms, crying in terror and amaze
ment:

" Mother! Mother! Mother! For God's sake I
entreat "



388 A Reconstructed Marriage

"Out o' my sight instanter!" she answered.
" Scotland and Margaret Campbell is weel rid o'
the like o' you." She shook off his restraining hands,
and clasping her own behind her back, she went to
a window and stood there looking far over the dull,
wet street to some vision conjured up by her raging,
scornful passion.

Robert again approached her. " I am going,
mother," he said. " God forgive us both ! Fare
well ! " and he once more offered her a pleading
hand. She looked at it a moment, but kept her own
resolutely clasped behind her, and finally with an
imperative motion uttered one fierce word:

"Go!"

She was still at the window when he reached the
sidewalk, and he raised his hat, and looked at her
as he passed. But her gaze was intentionally far
off, and if she saw this last act of entreaty, she was
beyond the wish, or even the ability to notice it.

Robert was very miserable, so much so that he
forgot to write to Theodora, and when he awoke
after a restless night and remembered the omission
he said with a sigh: "Theodora is right. It must
be everything or nothing. If I could get her to
come back here, it would be the old trouble over
again and worse."

That day he went to the Wyntons', and talked
with Sir Thomas about the sale of the works. He
was in hopes that he could form a syndicate, buy
the works, and make himself president. And at
first the baronet was enthusiastic about the scheme,



A Reconstructed Marriage 389

but day after day, and week after week went on,
and nothing definite was arrived at. Isabel had
strong family feeling, and she was sullenly silent
about the sale of the furnaces, and her brother's
settlement in America. The works had done so well
under Robert's direction, that her income had been
nearly doubled, and she thought that he ought to
continue his labor, where Providence had enabled him
to do so well for the family. Finally, Robert aban
doned the Wynton scheme, and went to Sheffield to
see his old business friend Priestley. The visit was
destined and propitious, and in three weeks the trans
fer of the Campbell Iron Works to a Yorkshire iron
company was completed, and Robert was ready to
return home.

He was glad of it. His visit had been a painful
and separating one. His sisters had disappointed
him. He was sure Isabel had prevented her hus
band's desire to buy the works, and she had let him
feel, in her cold, silent way, that she disapproved of
his selling them, and still more disapproved of his
settlement in America. And the selfish little soul
of Christina complained constantly of Robert leaving
her money in strange hands. She thought it was
his duty to stay in Glasgow and manage the works
for his mother's and sisters' benefit; and when the
sisters talked of the matter together, they expressed
themselves very plainly about that " Englishwoman
who had been so unfortunate to their house."

Robert went from Sheffield to Liverpool, and did
not return to Glasgow. He was glad and grateful



390 A Reconstructed Marriage

to set his face westward and homeward. Nothing
of importance happened on the journey, and when
he reached San Francisco his brother David was wait
ing at the railway depot to welcome him. They
clasped hands and looked into each other's eyes,
and everything was well said that words would have
said clumsily. It was then nearly dark, and they
went to the hotel for the night. Far into the mid
night hours they sat discussing their business future,
and David was astonished at the fortune which Rob
ert had made out of the old works. And Robert
was still more astonished at the fortune which his
brother had made out of his relatively small capital,
and his own business sagacity and native industry
and prudence.

In the early morning David wished his brother
to go and look over the new home which Theodora
had been preparing, but Robert said he wanted to
see Theodora above all things, and would go at once
out to the Newtons'.

" Very good," replied David, " then you will go
alone, for I am to bring Mercedes with me, and I
cannot call for her before ten. It is a charming
thing, Robert, that Mercedes and Theodora love
each other dearly. They have worked together con
stantly over your new home, and made it a lovely
place. I suppose you will be married this after
noon."

"Married! Married! Does Theodora expect
it?"

" I think all preparations are made for the little



A Reconstructed Marriage 391

ceremony. I would not disapprove, if I were you,
Robert."

" Disapprove! What do you mean? I shall be
the most joyful man in the world."

Breakfast was scarcely over when Robert reached
Newton Place; and Theodora came running to meet
him with a large apron over her pretty white
dress. But oh, how beautiful was her beaming,
smiling face, how tender her embrace, how sweet the
loving words with which she welcomed him. He
was paid, and overpaid, for all he had suffered, and
all he had resigned.

" We shall be married this afternoon, eh darling? "
he asked.

" All shall be as you wish, my love. I am ready,"
she answered.

Such a delightful morning! Such a happy hurry
in the house ! Such sweet laughter, and pleasant
calling of each other's names ! Such enthusiasm over
Mercedes' beauty in her pink satin costume! Such
an enjoyable little lunch at one o'clock! Such a
bewildering number of pleasant events crowded into
a few hours. If ever there was in any earthly home
a sense of heavenly love and joy, it was in the New
ton house that day. Angels might and probably
did rest in the flower-scented atmosphere of its spot
less rooms, for if angels rejoice with the sinner for
given and accepted, surely still more will they rejoice
in the fruition of tried and accepted love, and in the
unselfish affection of those who rejoice, because others
rejoice.



392 A Reconstructed Marriage


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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrA reconstructed marriage → online text (page 22 of 23)