Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The beads of Tasmer online

. (page 15 of 16)
Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe beads of Tasmer → online text (page 15 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

unwittingly added the last drop to the cup of
petty injustice and mortification mingled for

370 The Secret of the Beads.

11 Here is a gold sovereign for you, Angus, and
I hope you will have a very happy Christmas
feast," he said.

" It iss ferry gladt I am of the sovereign, sir.
I wass safing aal my money to pring home again
my grandtfather and my grandtmother. A ferry
poor time they are hafing, sir, and it iss old they
are : and thinking, mirover, of the graves of Tor-
quil. They will not pe resting in any other
place whateffer, sir."

Donald did not answer. A great wave of feel
ing partly anger stirred him. Then he
remembered the holy festival close at hand, and
was ashamed and sorry. The bell was ringing
in the little church, and he went down there and
offered the sacrifice of thanksgiving. When he
returned home there was a large fire of blazing
logs on the hearth, and he sat down before it and
began to think on many things.

Presently, when his heart was very tender
being full of gratitude for Roberta s love, and
full of hope in that he trusted to bring back

The Secret of the Beads. 371

again his banished kin he. went into the oratory
and lifted the ivory Beads of Tasmer. He
thought of the men and the women whose claim
upon them had once been as strong as his own,
and the tremendous solidarity of the two worlds
of the dead and the living was present to his
conception in a strikingly personal manner.
The Communion of Saints ! The indivisibility
of the Church militant and the Church tri
umphant ! Oh, the unspeakable riches of that
grace which made him partaker, even in this life,
of the hope and the love of the holy dead !

Suddenly a few words that Father Contach
had spoken that night to his people came to him
with wonderful force :

" Take your morsel of bread and put it in the
Lord s hand for a blessing, and you shall eat and
be satisfied. When the tide comes in, it fills the
great caves as easily as the small sand-ripples.
Hold out both hands and God will fill them.
And, if the strait is a great one, God has special
helps for special occasions."

372 The Secret of the Beads.

How good the promise of such words ! He
let it fill his heart with gladness, as he knelt
humbly before the great crucifix, standing white
and solemn in the fitful light of the fire. Lost in
meditation, he remained until the sense of " pres
ence " was sweetly intense. Then he bowed his
whole soul to this majesty of the Unseen ; for his
faith was too sincere to refuse the consolation
of the mysterious.

" I have been visited," he said, joyfully, and
his fingers touched the large bead for the first
" Our Father."

It parted between his fingers as he held it.
His very soul shuddered as he felt the separa
tion, but he completed the prayer, and then rose
and looked at the broken bead. As he did so his
eyes grew fixed and large, a bright color spread
over his face, and after a few moments intent
gaze, he clasped his hands in adoration of
wonder and delight.

For the broken bead revealed the secret

The Secret of the Beads. 373

which the Tasmer Rosary had faithfully t kept
for seven hundred years. The beads were all
composed of two parts, so exquisitely fitting
that only oriental patience and ingenuity could
have fashioned them. And the ivory was but
the shell. In the interior of each bead there
was an uncut gem of great value.

As each bead yielded its treasure to Donald s
efforts, his soul was more and more joyful. He
foresaw now the fulfillment of all his hopes : the
home-bringing of the Torquils from exile ; the
building of new cottages for them ; the real
improvement of the estate ; Roberta s dreams of
a school for the children, of a hospital for the
sick, of a home for the homeless ; all the wells
of comfort that were to be the gift of the Beads
of Tasmer.

At last they lay before him sixty-three
jewels a glittering company of rubies and
diamonds. And he stood up before God and
thanked Him joyfully because that from among
all the sons of his race he had been chosen to


The Secret of the Beads.

dispense the gift of Knight Murdo s Rosary.
And he opened the small sandal-wood box which
had kept so long the prophecy of " The Beads,"
and read aloud with the glad confidence of faith
turned into sight :

" Tellen these trewe wordse :
Whaune Tasmer s fortune shalle wane and faide
Thaune aske of the Beads of Tasmer aide."



" Hail, Love ! the Death-defyer ! age to age

Linking with flowers in the still heart of man ;
Dream to the Bard and marvel to the Sage !
Glory and mystery since the world began."

" With her womanly beauty and queenly calm
She steals to my heart with a blessing of balm ;
And O, but the wine of Love sparkles with foam !
When I come home, when I come home,

Home, home, when I come home !"

Early in the morning he started for Edinburg,
with the gems next his heart. He went straight
to Roberta. She heard his voice and step, and
came hastily to meet him. With hands
extended, she stopped "at the sight of his face.
The glory of some strange, great blessing was

376 Bringing Home the Bride.

on it. Donald took her in his arms. He could
not speak, but she knew by his smile, by his
radiant presence, by the joyful confidence of his
manner, that some wonderful thing had come to

They went together to the parlor. Donald
took the precious packet from his breast, and
spread out the jewels before her. They were
too excited for much speech. The splendor and
the wonder of the gift ! The sudden granting of
all their desires! What words could express
their amazement and their gratitude

" You will go for the Torquils now, Donald ?"

" At once, dearest."

" They are to have new and far better cot
tages ?"

" We will plan them together. They shall be
as you desire."

" And the school, and the "

" You shall make all your dreams come true."

" I wish they knew about it. Write at once,

Bringing Home the Bride. 377

" No ; I will go at once. They would not
comprehend a letter."

" Then you will go very soon ?"

" As soon as I have turned the jewels into
gold, and set builders to work on the homes for
them. All the cottages pulled down at Easter-
Torquil shall be rebuilt. Oh, I hope old Hector
is alive, to lead the people back again."

" Let us tell my father."

The minister was in his study. He had been
filling his soul with the pathetic importunity of
Baxter and the Platonic loftiness of Howe ; and
when Roberta said : " Donald has found sixty-
three rubies and diamonds in the Beads of Tas-
mer, and he is going to bring home all the Tor-
quils from America, and build them new houses
and a school, and make them happy and pros
perous forever," he looked up at her with a
faint smile, and answered :

" All this would never be said, except in a
dream, Roberta."

378 Bringing Home the Bride.

"It is true! It is true! Comedown-stairs
and see."

Then Balfour went with his daughter, and his
amazement was quickly amenable to reason.
Humanity understands seeing better than

Preparatory arrangements were quickly made,
and Donald landed at Quebec early in February,
and with all possible speed reached the small
Scotch settlement sixty miles inward. The
weather was bitterly cold, the country lonely
and depressing. Only after three days hard
riding did he come in sight of the squalid log
huts which bore the name of New Tasmer.

He was alone and on horseback, and it was
the afternoon. There was a small inn at the
entrance of the village, and his heart smote him
when he saw the name " Donald Torquil " above
the door. Namesake and kin, and yet so far
from home so far away from home !

A man whom he did not recognize took his
horse, and pointed out to him the public door.

Bringing Home the Bride. 379

" Christine Torquil iss inside, sir, and she will
pe gifing you a welcome, sir."

He went into the cabin, and stood for a
moment looking at Christine. She was card
ing wool, and rocking the cradle of her babe
with her foot. Ere he could speak, she began
to sing. The soft, sibilant Gaelic had an inex
pressibly mournful sound ; the words were full
of tears. Donald s eyes filled as their meaning
smote his heart :

" From the lone shieling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas ;
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.
Fair these broad meads, these hoary woods are grand ;
But we are exiles from our native land !"

" Christine ! Christine ! I am come to take
you back again !"

She rose, white and trembling, and looked at
the young man. H had been well known to
her in the old days, and she had not forgotten
him. She let her wool and cards fall to the

380 Bringing Home the Bride.

ground ; she took his hands and kissed them ;
she murmured, amid broken sobs, passionate
welcomes and loving- ejaculations. Donald
answered her in Gaelic. The sound of the dear
words on his tongue completed her joy. She
made him sit down by the fire, and began to
prepare him food and a warm drink.

" It iss ferry poor I am, Sir Tonalt. My man
iss gone away from me ; tis three months since
he went away."

" And where has he gone, Christine ?"
" He iss gone from hence to death ; in the
Friday to holy heaven. O ! hon a rie ! O ! hon
a rie / My prave Tonalt iss gone away ! It iss
no more he will pe seeing the purple coasts of
Skye and Rona, nor the plue peaks of Harriss
peyont the gray Minch."

" Is old Hector Torquil still alive, Christine?"
" He iss ferry well. His son Hugh iss gone
away aalso ; but he iss not seeing ferry much

Bringing Home the Bride. 381

" Send to every cabin and tell the people to be
at Hector Torquil s this night at seven o clock."

Quickly flew the word from home to home.

" The Torquil hass come ; he hass come him
self ! We are going pack home, mirover !"

To Hector, Donald carried the news of his
own arrival. The old soldier had aged much.
He was sitting very quiet, his hands leaning on
his staff, his head bowed above them, his eyes
closed. Dreams of his stirring youth were fill
ing the silent chambers of his brain. Behind his
closed eyes he was seeing pictures of his native
hills ; mountains and mountains of amethyst,
lights and shadows coming and going all day
over them ; vales of emeralds here and there, and
leaping streams of silver, at sunrise turning to
rivers of gold. Oh, for the laughter and the
storm of the ocean ! Oh, for the corries misty
with blue-bells! Oh, for the little brown huts
nestling in the shadow of the mountains, and the
plaided human creatures, with collie dogs and
flocks of sheep moving to and fro among them !

382 Bringing Home the Bride.

It was from such a dream Donald awakened

" Itiss the Torquil !" he cried. " Bless God, it
is the voice of the Torquil /" And when Donald
said, joyfully: "Hector! Hector Torquil!"
the old man rose to his feet, erect and alert, as
it he had been at roll-call, and answered with a
glad promptness :

" Here, here, Sir Tonalt ! "

And what a congregation gathered that night
in Hector s cabin ! What joy to see again the
head of their sept ! What unspeakable joy to
hear him say :

" Come back home. Come, all of you. There
is enough for every Torquil on Torquil s land."

Donald stood in the midst of the room, and
the men were gathered bare-headed around him.
Most of them were of lofty stature, but Donald
was taller than any ; and \htglengary on his head,
with the eagle s feather in front, added a noble,
native grace to his beautiful form. Suddenly,
he lifted the cap from his bright, curling hair,

Bringing Home the Bride. 383

and, standing thus, with a voice tuned to glad
and sweet solemnity, he told them there the his
tory of the Beads of Tasmer, and of the miracu
lous happiness and prosperity they had brought
to the household of the Torquils. It was a story
that touched these simple, pious peasants to spir
itual enthusiasm. Faith was to them an easy
eflort of the mind. The more impossible a thing
was, the more necessity there was for spiritual
help ; and spiritual help was the help they most
of all trusted in. The old Rosary, the ancient
path of prayer ! Was it not the very way of the
angels ?

" Peace! Peace to Knight Murdo s soul !" said
old Hector, solemnly. " Those peyont have not
forgotten us. They haf peen sorry for our sor
row, now they are gladt in our joy."

It was not considered wise to move at once.
All possessed some trifle of property which they
could dispose of. A few had cleared land, and
began to like the independence of their new life.

384 Bringing Home the Bride.

Donald assisted such to still further improve
their condition.

But the majority had tasted the word
" home" in their hearts, and the idea grew
swiftly to a passionate longing, which nothing
but the misty headlands of the Minch and the
Hills of Ross could satisfy. They were
impatient for the spring and for the ship which
Donald was to send to Quebec for them.

Rapidly the months flew by. It had seemed
at first as if the year s delay would be hard to
get over. But time well-filled goes very
quickly. After Donald s return there was a
constant journeying between Tasmer and Edin-
burg. He had to consult Roberta about every
thing done. She drew the plans of the new
cottages and of the pretty school-house, though
Father Contach and Minister Balfour both gave
their advice in the matter.

And there had to be new industries set on
ioot for the employment of the home-coming
men. The game and the sheep, the lobster and

Bringing Home the Bride. 385

the deep-sea fishing- were to be arranged on a
basis profitable to all. The castle was to
refurnish throughout. For Roberta s special
pleasure a large conservatory was to be built.
Donald went to sleep every night happily
wearied out.

It was in these days he discovered, for the
first time, the blessedness of hours brim full of

" I will never be idle again," he said to Father

And the Father pointed out the fact that he
never could be if he continued to do his duty.
He would be compelled to plan, to order, to
supervise all the works he had laid out for the
daily employment of his people.

" Fifty or sixty families will take their bread
from your hand, Donald," he said ; " you will be
responsible for their well-doing. You are to
marry a wife and be responsible for her happi
ness. You must live now for the future as well

386 Bringing Home tJie Bride.

as for the present; for others as well as for

It was in the early days of autumn that Donald
brought home his bride those golden Septem
ber days when the air is fine and subtle, and the
amber rays shine through the shining branches.
The castle garden was full of the splendid
glories of dahlias and hollyhocks, of the scents
of sweet-brier and southernwood, and of all
kinds of nameless perfumes emanations ol the
earth, of the trunks of trees, of the ripened
fruit, of the turning foliage. Old ocean laughed
with incalculable dimples. The birds were
singing their latest songs in the woods. From
the church-tower in the village the bells sent
forth a grave, sweet harmony, dilating in the
air, wandering up to the castle-turrets and far
out to sea. As the morning advanced, a soft
yellow light fell like a glorious veil over earth
and ocean, making the mountains more like
clouds at sunsetting than real things.

There had been in Edinburgh a solemnly

Bringing Home the Bride. 387

quiet, religious ceremony, in which Minister
Balfour himself joined the hands of his daughter
and Sir Donald Torquil. Only Sara and
Maclane and a few of Roberta s kindred had
been present. A very blissful service it had
been, and Donald and Roberta, for themselves,
could have desired no nobler, no more blessed
sacrament of their love than that touching
service in the manse parlor.

But others had to be taken into consideration,
and it was necessary for the Torquil to take his
bride also by the ancient faith, in which his
fathers had lived and died ; and so, by its bless
ing, make Roberta indeed mistress of Tasmer.
In a little gray church where the old religion
had built itself a shrine, even in the city of John
Knox, Father Contach was waiting for them.
With infinite love and solemnity he joined their
hands in the irrevocable tie of the Church. And
thus they went forth to their new life, with its
obligations bound to them by holy prayers, and
its delights sanctified by holy blessings.

388 Bringing Home the Bride.

It had been resolved to hold the bride-feast in
Tasmer, and to call all the clan and all the
neighbors together for this festival. Sara and
Maclane took charge of the preparations for
this home-coming, and Nature crowned them
with the gift of a few days of heavenly beauty.
Early on the morning of the happy day, the ris
ing mist revealed the Minch covered with boats,
all making for Torquil pier. They were filled
with men in their Sabbath clothing and with
women in white caps, and lasses snooded with
ribbons. For every man, woman and child of
the Torquil blood, and all the Torquils who had
intermarried with the MacFarlanes or the Mac-
kenzies, were coming to Sir Donald Torquil s
bridal feast.

They filled the cottages to overflowing, and
found amusement enough in the fact of their
rare meeting and in watching the constant
arrival of the gentry in trig yachts or in fine car
riages. At ten in the morning the bells rang
out, and Father Contach was seen in the street

Bringing Home the Bride. 389

of the village, talking to a Torquil from Cairn-
dow or Bundalloch, or listening to a tale of joy
or sorrow from some girl whom he had, perhaps,
christened, confirmed and married.

When the full glory of the noontide was over
sea and land, Donald s carriage was seen at the
top of the hill, a mile away. Then old Hector,
leaning on the arm of Father Contach, went and
stood at the entrance of the village to bless and
welcome the Torquil and his bride. The people,
with that mannerly behaviour which belonged
to their temperament and education, ranged
themselves along the roadside with smiling
faces, casting handfuls of heather or ripe wheat,
or sweet-smelling broom in the path of the
bride s carriage. Their gentle blessing lingered
in the still, golden atmosphere, and came to
Roberta and Donald with the perfume of
the flowers and the heavenly echoes of the

When they reached the fir-wood, all sounds
became a softened, tremulous murmur of glad-

390 Bringing Home the Bride.

ness. Hector was in a carriage with Father
Contach, but the people spread themselves
before and behind and on each side in the green
shades the fishers, feeling as if they were in a
new world, solemnized by the tender, mystical
light, and gravely curious about the birds and
insects, of which the sea had taught them noth
Long tables had been laid for them in the big

granaries, and there already Malcolm Roy s
magic violin was heard calling them together in
those plaintive or delirious strains which not a
heart among them could resist. As the day
passed on, the sense of festival grew stronger.
The courts were full of carriages and servants.
Men known through all the country-side, and
richly garmented women, strolled among the
late flowers, or sauntered in the newly adorned
rooms of the castle. The tones of music, of low
laughter, of rippling conversation, and the frou
frou of silken robes, intoxicated the spirits like
wine. And Sara was everywhere present, full of

Bringing Home the Bride. 391

joy and welcome, to both peers and peasants :
her dress of blue velvet, her shimmering pearl
necklace, her coronal of bright hair, her charm
ing manners, making her a conspicuous and
delightful hostess.

At length the magnificent dining-hall was
thrown open, and all its splendid space was
thronged with guests of honor or renown. Then
Donald led in the lovely woman whom he had
made Lady of Torquil. A murmur, indescriba
ble and irrepressible, ran through the pleased
assemblage. Had such a pearl, indeed, come
out of the fishing village of Ellerloch ? For
Roberta s girlish beauty had merely indexed the
superb loveliness of her maturity. Within the
past year she fiad improved marvelously ; for, in
love and hope and joyful confidence, beauty
grows to its perfection.

She was tall enough to be mate for Donald s
lofty stature ; and her fine countenance, with its
wide, white brow and shining eyes and glorious
coloring, reflected a soul full of tenderness, intel-

392 Bringing Home tJie Bride.

lect and generosity, A robe of rich white satin
clothed her. It had borders of silver-work, and
the sapphires ot Tasmer gleamed on her white
throat and wrists, and clasped the supple silver
zone which marked her waist. Orange-blossoms
crowned her dark hair and lay among the laces
at her bosom. Every heart bowed down to her
every tongue praised her.

When the wedding toast was drunk, the whole
people came in. They stood around the hall in
rows four deep, and when Father Contach
blessed the bride-cup and lifted it toward heaven,
five hundred cups were lifted with it, and the
murmur of the "Amen" was a music that smote
each heart beyond the power of speech, beyond
all human interpretation, but such as eyes shin
ing through tears may give.

For a few days, Tasmer Castle held a pleasant
company, that gradually drifted away, each soul
back to its own joys and sorrows. At the end
of a week, Donald and Roberta were quite alone.
Their new life, full of noble plans and hopes,

Bringing Home the Bride. 393

was before them. They were eager to realize
all that it asked of them. They were one soul,
one heart and one hand in everything. They
still kept the dew of their youth ; all its illusions
and enthusiasms; all its fervor of self-sacrifice;
all its passionate wealth and strength of personal
affection. Their love had been well tested by
suffering and disappointment and delay. It had
been crowned with a miraculous gift of riches
and happiness. Like the blessed Shunamite
woman of old, they had the felicity she counted
of greater value than royal favor they could
" dwell among their own people."

They were sitting together one night, talking
softly over all these things. The twilight deep
ened, but they called not for lights ; the glow of
the fire was sufficient for their sweetly solemn
dreams and hopes of their future. Father Con-
tach entered. He blessed both and sat down be
side them.

" Hector is dead," he said. " He sent you

394 Bringing Home the Bride.

back your father s ring, Sir Donald, and with it
his eternal love/

Donald took the ring with a murmured prayer
and thoughtfully placed it on his finger.

" He went blessedly," continued the priest
"quite happy in the thought that he would sleep
with his fathers under the shadow of Torquil
church. In the last hour, he dictated to me the
verse for his stone. I have promised it shall be
placed above him."

" He is worthy to be remembered. What
said he?

" Hector is going to the assembly in heaven :
It was in Easter- Torquil he was reared ;
In blessed Torquil of many crosses he first read his psalms.
He fought a good fight, and he goes to his God and his

kindred ;
By grace of God and the Torquil, in Torquil lie is buried. "

A silence full of feeling followed. Through
the purple curtains the large crucifix shone white
and peaceful in its solemn place, and after a lit
tle conversation, the father retired there. The

Bringing Home the Bride. 395

young husband and his wife glanced at each
other. They knew the holy man was praying,
and they sat in communion with him. When
he returned to their company, he had the Beads
of Tasmer in his hand the large ivory beads
that had held their happy fortune.

" Children," he said, " these beads were not
only for your prosperity. Through God s bless
ing in your hearts, they have brought and they
shall bring comfort and salvation to hundreds
and thousands who will bear your name. Think
not that their material wealth was their great
treasure, for none shall ever lift them, with a
sincere faith in God and in Christ Jesu, and not
find in such prayer aid and blessing from the
Beads of Tasmer."






12mo. 373 Pages. Handsomely Bound in Cloth, Price, $1.00.
Paper Cover, 50 Cents.

Since the death of the author of " Old Ma mselle s Secret,"
Werner is the most popular of living German writers. Her

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15

Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe beads of Tasmer → online text (page 15 of 16)