immense tract of the noble rolling Colorado prairie. Then he
determined to bring the Crawfords down, and plant them in this garden
of the Lord. It was for this end he had written to his father for
¬£4,000. This sum had sufficed to transplant them to their new home,
and give them a start. He had left them happy and contented, and felt
now that in this matter he had absolved his conscience of all wrong.
"But you ought to hae told the laird. It was vera ill-considered. It
was his affair more than yours. I like the thing you did, Colin, but I
hate the way you did it. One shouldna be selfish even in a good wark."
"It was the laird's own fault; he would not let me explain."
"Colin, are you married?"
"Yes. I married a Boston lady. I have a son three years old. My wife
was in Texas with me. She had a large fortune of her own."
"You are a maist respectable man, Colin, but I dinna like it at all.
What are you doing wi' your time? This grand house costs something."
"I am an artist - a successful one, if that is not also against me."
"Your father would think sae. Oh, my dear lad, you hae gane far astray
from the old Crawford ways."
"I cannot help that, dominie. I must live according to my light. I am
sorry about father."
Then the dominie in the most forcible manner painted the old laird's
hopes and cruel disappointments. There were tears in Colin's eyes as
he reasoned with him. And at this point his own son came into the
room. Perhaps for the first time Colin looked at the lad as the future
heir of Crawford. A strange thrill of family and national pride
stirred his heart. He threw the little fellow shoulder high, and in
that moment regretted that he had flung away the child's chance of
being Earl of Crawford. He understood then something of the anger and
suffering his father had endured, and he put the boy down very
solemnly. For if Colin was anything, he was just; if his father had
been his bitterest enemy, he would, at this moment, have acknowledged
his own aggravation.
Then Mrs. Crawford came in. She had heard all about the dominie, and
she met him like a daughter. Colin had kept his word. This fair,
sunny-haired, blue-eyed woman was the wife he had dreamed about; and
Tallisker told him he had at any rate done right in that matter. "The
bonnie little Republican," as he called her, queened it over the
dominie from the first hour of their acquaintance.
He stayed a week in London, and during it visited Colin's studio. He
went there at Colin's urgent request, but with evident reluctance. A
studio to the simple dominie had almost the same worldly flavor as a
theatre. He had many misgivings as they went down Pall Mall, but he
was soon reassured. There was a singular air of repose and quiet in
the large, cool room. And the first picture he cast his eyes upon
reconciled him to Colin's most un-Crawford-like taste.
It was "The Farewell of the Emigrant Clan." The dominie's knees shook,
and he turned pale with emotion. How had Colin reproduced that scene,
and not only reproduced but idealized it! There were the gray sea and
the gray sky, and the gray granite boulder rocks on which the chief
stood, the waiting ships, and the loaded boats, and he himself in the
prow of the foremost one. He almost felt the dear old hymn thrilling
through the still room. In some way, too, Colin had grasped the
grandest points of his father's character. In this picture the man's
splendid physical beauty seemed in some mysterious way to give
assurance of an equally splendid spiritual nature.
"If this is making pictures, Colin, I'll no say but what you could
paint a sermon, my dear lad. I hae ne'er seen a picture before." Then
he turned to another, and his swarthy face glowed with an intense
emotion. There was a sudden sense of tightening in his throat, and he
put his hand up and slowly raised his hat. It was Prince Charlie
entering Edinburgh. The handsome, unfortunate youth rode bareheaded
amid the Gordons and the Murrays and a hundred Highland noblemen. The
women had their children shoulder high to see him, the citizens,
bonnets up, were pressing up to his bridle-rein. It stirred Tallisker
like a peal of trumpets. With the tears streaming down his glowing
face, he cried out,
"How daur ye, sir! You are just the warst rebel between the seas! King
George ought to hang you up at Carlisle-gate. And this is painting!
This is artist's wark! And you choose your subjects wisely, Colin: it
is a gift the angels might be proud o'." He lingered long in the room,
and when he left it, "Prince Charlie" and the "Clan's Farewell" were
his own. They were to go back with him to the manse at Crawford.
It was, upon the whole, a wonderful week to Tallisker; he returned
home with the determination that the laird must recall his banished.
He had tried to induce Colin to condone all past grievances, but Colin
had, perhaps wisely, said that he could not go back upon a momentary
impulse. The laird must know all, and accept him just as he was. He
had once been requested not to come home unless he came prepared to
enter into political life. He had refused the alternative then, and he
should refuse it again. The laird must understand these things, or the
quarrel would probably be renewed, perhaps aggravated.
And Tallisker thought that, in this respect, Colin was right. He would
at any rate hide nothing from the laird, he should know all; and
really he thought he ought to be very grateful that the "all" was so
much better than might have been.
The laird was not glad. A son brought down to eat the husk of evil
ways, poor, sick, suppliant, would have found a far readier welcome.
He would gladly have gone to meet Colin, even while he was yet a great
way off, only he wanted Colin to be weary and footsore and utterly
dependent on his love. He heard with a grim silence Tallisker's
description of the house in Regent's Place, with its flowers and
books, its statues, pictures, and conservatory. When Tallisker told
him of the condition of the Crawfords in Canada, he was greatly moved.
He was interested and pleased with the Texan struggle. He knew nothing
of Texas, had never heard of the country, but Mexicans, Spaniards, and
the Inquisition were one in his mind.
"That at least was Crawford-like," he said warmly, when told of
Colin's part in the struggle.
But the subsequent settlement of the clan there hurt him terribly. "He
should hae told me. He shouldna hae minded what I said in such a case.
I had a right to know. Colin has used me vera hardly about this. Has
he not, Tallisker?"
"Yes, laird, Colin was vera wrong there. He knows it now."
"What is he doing in such a grand house? How does he live?"
"He is an artist - a vera great one, I should say."
"He paints pictures for a living! He! A Crawford o' Traquare! I'll no
believe it, Tallisker."
"There's naught to fret about, laird. You'll ken that some day. Then
his wife had money."
"His wife! Sae he is married. That is o' a piece wi' the rest. Wha is
"He married an American - a Boston lady."
Then the laird's passion was no longer controllable, and he said some
things the dominie was very angry at.
"Laird," he answered, "Mrs. Colin Crawford is my friend. You'll no
daur to speak any way but respectful o' her in my presence. She is as
good as any Crawford that ever trod the heather. She came o' the
English Hampdens. Whar will ye get better blood than that?"
"No Hampdens that ever lived - "
"Whist! Whist, laird! The Crawfords are like a' ither folk; they have
twa legs and twa hands."
"He should hae married a Scots lass, though she had carried a
"Laird, let me tell you there will be nae special heaven for the Gael.
They that want to go to heaven by themsel's arena likely to win there
at a'. You may as well learn to live with ither folk here; you'll hae
to do it to a' eternity."
"If I get to heaven, Dominie Tallisker, I'll hae special graces for
the place. I'm no going to put mysel' in a blazing passion for you
to-night. Yon London woman has bewitched you. She's wanting to come to
the Keep, I'll warrant."
"If ye saw the hame she has you wouldna warrant your ain word a minute
longer, laird. And I'm sure I dinna see what she would want to hae twa
Crawfords to guide for. One is mair than enough whiles. It's a wonder
to me how good women put up wi' us at all!"
"_Humff!_" said the laird scornfully. "Too many words on a spoiled
"I must say one mair, though. There is a little lad, a bonnie, brave,
bit fellow, your ain grandson, Crawford."
"An American Crawford!" And the laird laughed bitterly. "A foreigner!
an alien! a Crawford born in England! Guid-night, Tallisker! We'll
drop the subject, an it please you."
Tallisker let it drop. He had never expected the laird to give in at
the first cry of "Surrender." But he reflected that the winter was
coming, and that its long nights would give plenty of time for thought
and plenty of opportunities for further advocacy. He wrote constantly
to Colin and his wife, perhaps oftener to Mrs. Crawford than to the
young laird, for she was a woman of great tact and many resources, and
Tallisker believed in her.
Crawford had said a bitter word about her coming to the Keep, and
Tallisker could not help thinking what a blessing she would be there;
for one of Crawford's great troubles now was the wretchedness of his
household arrangements. The dainty cleanliness and order which had
ruled it during Helen's life were quite departed. The garden was
neglected, and all was disorder and discomfort. Now it is really
wonderful how much of the solid comfort of life depends upon a
well-arranged home, and the home must depend upon some woman. Men may
mar the happiness of a household, but they cannot make it. Women are
the happiness makers. The laird never thought of it in this light, but
he did know that he was very uncomfortable.
"I canna even get my porridge made right," he said fretfully to the
"You should hae a proper person o'er them ne'er-do-weel servants o'
yours, laird. I ken one that will do you."
"Wha is she?"
"A Mrs. Hope."
"No, not a widow, but she is not living with her husband."
"Then she'll ne'er win into my house, dominie."
"She has good and sufficient reasons. I uphold her. Do you think I
would sanction aught wrong, laird?"
No more was said at that time, but a month afterwards Mrs. Hope had
walked into the Keep and taken everything in her clever little hands.
Drunken, thieving, idle servants had been replaced by men and women
thoroughly capable and efficient. The laird's tastes were studied, his
wants anticipated, his home became bright, restful, and quiet. The
woman was young and wonderfully pretty, and Crawford soon began to
watch her with a genuine interest.
"She'll be ane o' the Hopes o' Beaton," he thought; "she is vera like
At any rate he improved under her sway, for being thoroughly
comfortable himself, he was inclined to have consideration for others.
One afternoon, as he came from the works, it began to snow. He turned
aside to the manse to borrow a plaid of Tallisker. He very seldom went
to the manse, but in the keen, driving snow the cheerful fire gleaming
through the window looked very inviting. He thought he would go in and
take a cup of tea with Tallisker.
"Come awa in, laird," cried old Janet, "come awa in. You are a sight
good for sair e'en. The dominie will be back anon, and I'll gie ye a
drap o' hot tay till he comes."
So the laird went in, and the first thing he saw was Colin's picture
of "The Clan's Farewell." It moved him to his very heart. He divined
at once whose work it was, and he felt that it was wonderful. It must
be acknowledged, too, that he was greatly pleased with Colin's
conception of himself.
"I'm no a bad-looking Crawford," he thought complacently; "the lad has
had a vera clear notion o' what he was doing."
Personal flattery is very subtle and agreeable. Colin rose in his
father's opinion that hour.
Then he turned to Prince Charlie. How strange is that vein of romantic
loyalty marbling the granite of Scotch character! The common-place man
of coal and iron became in the presence of his ideal prince a feudal
chieftain again. His heart swelled to that pictured face as the great
sea swells to the bending moon. He understood in that moment how his
fathers felt it easy to pin on the white cockade and give up
everything for an impossible loyalty.
The dominie found him in this mood. He turned back to every-day life
with a sigh.
"Weel, dominie, you are a man o' taste. When did you begin buying
"I hae no money for pictures, laird. The artist gave me them."
"You mean Colin Crawford gave you them."
"That is what I mean."
"Weel, I'm free to say Colin kens how to choose grand subjects. I
didna think there was so much in a picture. I wouldna dare to keep
that poor dear prince in my house. I shouldna be worth a bawbee at the
works. It was a wonderfu' wise step, that forbidding o' pictures in
the kirks. I can vera weel see how they would lead to a sinfu'
"Yes, John Knox kent well the temper o' the metal he had to work.
There's nae greater hero-worshippers than Scots folk. They are aye
making idols for themsel's. Whiles it's Wallace, then it's Bruce or
Prince Charlie; nay, there are decent, pious folk that gie Knox
himsel' a honoring he wouldna thank them for. But, laird, there is a
mair degraded idolatry still - that o' gold. We are just as ready as
ever the Jews were to fall down before a calf, an' it only be a golden
"Let that subject alane, dominie. It will tak a jury o' rich men to
judge rich men. A poor man isna competent. The rich hae straits the
poor canna fathom."
And then he saw in light as clear as crystal a slip of paper hid away
in a secret drawer.
Just at this moment a little lad bairn entered the room; a child with
bright, daring eyes, and a comically haughty, confident manner. He
attracted Crawford's attention at once.
"What's your name, my wee man?"
"Alexander is my name."
"That is my name."
"It is not," he answered positively; "don't say that any more."
"Will you hae a sixpence?"
"Yes, I will. Money is good. It buys sweeties."
"Whose boy is that, dominie?"
"Mrs. Hope's. I thought he would annoy you. He is a great pleasure to
"Let him come up to the Keep whiles. I'll no mind him."
When he rose to go he stood a moment before each picture, and then
"Whar is young Crawford?"
"A nice place for him to be! He'd be in Babylon, doubtless, if it was
on the face o' the earth."
When he went home he shut himself in his room and almost stealthily
took out that slip of paper. It had begun to look yellow and faded,
and Crawford had a strange fancy that it had a sad, pitiful
appearance. He held it in his hand a few moments and then put it back
again. It would be the new year soon, and he would decide then. He had
made similar promises often; they always gave him temporary comfort.
Then gradually another element of pleasure crept into his life - Mrs.
Hope's child. The boy amused him; he never resented his pretty,
authoritative ways; a queer kind of companionship sprang up between
them. It was one of perfect equality every way; an old man easily
becomes a little child. And those who only knew Crawford among coals
and pig iron would have been amazed to see him keeping up a mock
dispute with this baby.
One day, getting towards the end of December, the laird awoke in a
singular mood. He had no mind to go to the works, and the weather
promised to give him a good excuse. Over the dreary hills there was a
mournful floating veil of mist. Clouds were flying rapidly in great
masses, and showers streaming through the air in disordered ranks,
driven furiously before a mad wind - a wind that before noon shook the
doors and windows, and drove the bravest birds into hiding.
The laird wandered restlessly up and down.
"There is the dominie," cried Mrs. Hope, about one o'clock. "What
brings him here through such a storm?"
Crawford walked to the door to meet him. He came striding over the
soaking moor with his plaid folded tightly around him and his head
bent before the blast. He was greatly excited.
"Crawford, come wi' me. The Athol passenger packet is driving before
this wind, and there is a fishing smack in her wake."
"Gie us some brandy wi' us, Mrs. Hope, and you'll hae fires and
blankets and a' things needfu' in case O' accident, ma'am." He was
putting on his bonnet and plaid as he spoke, and in five minutes the
men were hastening to the seaside.
It was a deadly coast to be on in a storm with a gale blowing to land.
A long reef of sharp rocks lay all along it, and now the line of
foaming breakers was to any ship a terrible omen of death and
destruction. The packet was almost helpless, and the laird and
Tallisker found a crowd of men waiting the catastrophe that was every
"She ought to hae gien hersel' plenty o' sea room," said the laird. He
was half angry to see all the interest centred on the packet. The
little fishing cobble was making, in his opinion, a far more sensible
struggle for existence. She was managing her small resources with
"Tallisker," said the laird, "you stay here with these men. Rory and I
are going half a mile up the coast. If the cobble drives on shore, the
current will take a boat as light as she is over the Bogie Rock and
into the surf yonder. There are doubtless three or four honest men in
her, quite as weel worth the saving as those stranger merchant bodies
that will be in the packet."
So Crawford and Rory hastened to the point they had decided on, and
just as they reached it the boat became unmanageable. The wind took
her in its teeth, shook her a moment or two like a thing of straw and
rags, and then flung her, keel upwards, on the Bogie Rock. Two of the
men were evidently good swimmers; the others were a boy and an old
man. Crawford plunged boldly in after the latter. The waves buffeted
him, and flung him down, and lifted him up, but he was a fine surf
swimmer, and he knew every rock on that dangerous coast. After a hard
struggle, all were brought safe to land.
Then they walked back to where the packet had been last seen. She had
gone to pieces. A few men waited on the beach, picking up the dead,
and such boxes and packages as were dashed on shore. Only three of all
on board had been rescued, and they had been taken to the Keep for
succor and rest.
The laird hastened home. He had not felt as young for many years. The
struggle, though one of life and death, had not wearied him like a
day's toil at the works, for it had been a struggle to which the soul
had girded itself gladly, and helped and borne with it the mortal
body. He came in all glowing and glad; a form lay on his own couch
before the fire. The dominie and Mrs. Hope were bending over it. As he
entered, Mrs. Hope sprang forward -
"Eh? Father? What is this?"
"Father, it is Colin."
Then he knew it all. Colin stretched out a feeble hand towards him. He
was sorely bruised and hurt, he was white and helpless and death-like.
And the father knelt down beside him. Wife and friend walked softly
away. In the solemn moment when these two long-parted souls met again
there was no other love that could inter-meddle.
"My dear father - forgive me!"
Then the laird kissed his recovered son, and said tenderly,
"Son Colin, you are all I have, and all I have is yours."
"Father, my wife and son."
Then the old man proudly and fondly kissed Hope Crawford too, and he
clasped the little lad in his arms. He was well pleased that Hope had
thought it worth while to minister to his comfort, and let him learn
how to know her fairly.
"But it was your doing, Tallisker, I ken it was; it has your mark on
it." And he grasped his old friend's hand with a very hearty grip.
"Not altogether, laird. Colin had gone to Rome on business, and you
were in sair discomfort, and I just named it to Mrs. Hope. After a' it
was her proposal. Naebody but a woman would hae thought o' such a way
to win round you."
Perhaps it was well that Colin was sick and very helpless for some
weeks. During them the two men learned to understand and to respect
each other's peculiarities. Crawford himself was wonderfully happy; he
would not let any thought of the past darken his heart. He looked
forward as hopefully as if he were yet on the threshold of life.
O mystery of life! from what depths proceed thy comforts and thy
lessons! One morning at very early dawn Crawford awoke from a deep
sleep in an indescribable awe. In some vision of the night he had
visited that piteous home which memory builds, and where only in sleep
we walk. Whom had he seen there? What message had he received? This he
never told. He had been "spoken to."
Tallisker was not the man to smile at any such confidence. He saw no
reason why God's messengers should not meet his children in the
border-land of dreams. Thus he had counselled and visited the
patriarchs and prophets of old. He was a God who changeth not; and if
he had chosen to send Crawford a message in this way, it was doubtless
some special word, for some special duty or sorrow. But he had really
no idea of what Crawford had come to confess to him.
"Tallisker, I hae been a man in a sair strait for many a year. I hae
not indeed hid the Lord's talent in a napkin, but I hae done a warse
thing; I hae been trading wi' it for my ain proper advantage. O
dominie, I hae been a wretched man through it all. Nane ken better
than I what a hard master the deil is."
Then he told the dominie of Helen's bequest. He went over all the
arguments with which he had hitherto quieted his conscience, and he
anxiously watched their effect upon Tallisker. He had a hope even yet
that the dominie might think them reasonable. But the table at which
they sat was not less demonstrative than Tallisker's face; for once he
absolutely controlled himself till the story was told. Then he said to
"I'll no tak any responsibility in a matter between you and your
conscience. If you gie it, gie it without regret and without holding
back. Gie it cheerfully; God loves a cheerful giver. But it isna wi'
me you'll find the wisdom to guide you in this matter. Shut yoursel'
in your ain room, and sit down at the foot o' the cross and think it
out. It is a big sum to gie away, but maybe, in the face o' that
stupendous Sacrifice it willna seem so big. I'll walk up in the
evening, laird; perhaps you will then hae decided what to do."
Crawford was partly disappointed. He had hoped that Tallisker would in
some way take the burden from him - he had instead sent him to the foot
of the cross. He did not feel as if he dared to neglect the advice; so
he went thoughtfully to his own room and locked the door. Then he took
out his private ledger. Many a page had been written the last ten
years. It was the book of a very rich man. He thought of all his
engagements and plans and hopes, and of how the withdrawal of so large
a sum would affect them.
Then he took out Helen's last message, and sat down humbly with it
where Tallisker had told him to sit. Suddenly Helen's last words came
back to him, "Oh! the unspeakable riches!" What of? The cross of
Christ - the redemption from eternal death - the promise of eternal
life! Sin is like a nightmare; when we stir under it, we awake.
Crawford sat thinking until his heart burned and softened, and great
tears rolled slowly down his cheeks and dropped upon the paper in his
hands. Then he thought of the richness of his own life - Colin and
Hope, and the already beloved child Alexander - of his happy home, of
the prosperity of his enterprises, of his loyal and loving friend
Tallisker. What a contrast to the Life he had been told to remember!
that pathetic Life that had not where to lay its head, that mysterious
agony in Gethsemane, that sublime death on Calvary, and he cried out,
"O Christ! O Saviour of my soul! all that I have is too little!"
When Tallisker came in the evening, Hope noticed a strange solemnity
about the man. He, too, had been in the presence of God all day. He
had been praying for his friend. But as soon as he saw Crawford he
knew how the struggle had ended. Quietly they grasped each other's
hand, and the evening meal was taken by Colin's side in pleasant
cheerfulness. After it, when all were still, the laird spoke:
"Colin and Hope, I hae something I ought to tell you. When your sister