Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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belongs to twenty years. At fifty you will
smile at your own folly, and be very grateful to
me for the decided step I am taking to-day.
Take the world as it is, sir, and not as it ought
to be in your opinion. You are probably wrong

164 Father and Son.

on every point, if you can imagine yourself

" Father, if what you say is true, and Tasmer
can really be made so wealthy, why not let the
Torquils and Mackenzies remain and help and
share in the new developments. Call them
together; tell them as you have told me, what
the forests and moors can be rented for. Build
on the seaside, where land is worth nothing, new
cottages for those who must remove from the
hills. Out of the increased rental, surely a com
pensation could be given them. There must be
some way ot getting all this good, without doing
all this evil."

" Donald, in your nurse s arms you cried for
the moon. You are crying for it again, and you
are as likely to get it in this case, as you were in
the first."

" Then excuse me, this morning, sir. I will
think over what you have said. To-morrow I
will give you an answer."

" The best answer, the shortest answer, is

Father and Son.


doing the thing you are asked to do. Let me
assure you, I shall not change my purpose. If
you agree to work with me, I shall be glad ; if
not, Lovat and I are both determined. That
which two will takes effect. Good morning,




Donald s dismission was curt and authorita
tive, and he showed plainly his sense of offence
in it. He saw that his opposition had but con
firmed Sir Rolfe in his intentions. He feared
that he had spoken unwisely ; perhaps he ought
to have temporized, have yielded a little here, in
order that he might have gained a little there ;
that, in short, compromise would have served
the interests of all better than reproaches and
opposition. But a young man of twenty-two,
who knows how to arrange his cloak to suit the
wind, is simply not a young man at all.

He went with burning cheeks and uplifted
head through the long, shivery passages, and
down the gloomy stairs. There was a fire burn-

Father Matthew for the People. 167

ing in the main hall, but the sticks were green
and wet, and Fergus was growling at the wrong
wind and the damp air, as he tried in various
, ways to coax the smoke up the wide chimney.

" There is not a screen nor a draught to please
the fire this morning, whateffer. It iss out, it
will haf to go. A fire that will not burn ; it is
out, it will have to go. No fire at all will be
better than one that iss smoking."

Donald scarcely answered the old man, but
his words made an unpleasant impression on
him. People in trouble and perplexity are apt
to go back to augury and to take as oracles first
utterances and signs. So, Donald felt that as no
screen or draught would make the fire burn, no
entreaties or arguments would make Sir Rolfe
feel as he felt. The fire would have to be put
out. He would have to give up his efforts.
And, if no fire was better than smoke, so, also,
silence would be better than hopeless quar

Something like this train of thought was in

1 68 Father Matthew for the People.

his mind ; but, as yet, his mind was only a whirl
of angry and sorrowful thoughts. He longed
for Sara. She was not clever, and she did not
always agree with him, but they talked together
on terms of familiar confidence. While reason
ing with her he was really reasoning with him
self, and he generally felt satisfied and composed
after talking over any event with her. But,
Sara was not only far away, she was engrossed,
altogether engrossed, by the brilliant life she
was leading. He took her last letter and
re-read it. Fine dress, fine entertainments, rich
and noble lovers, these were its topics ; and
Donald felt how useless it would be to trouble
her gay hours with his own perplexities and

The carry of the storm was directly north
ward ; he stood mournfully at the window and
watched it. The rain, driven furiously before a
mad wind, was streaming through the air in dis
ordered ranks ; the clouds were flying rapidly
in great grotesque masses, touching the tops of

Father Matthew for the People, 169

the fir-trees like a gloomy veil ; the black ocean
was tossing and raging as if a battle were going
on among its billows. His thoughts, fleeter
than the wind, yet troubled as the waters, flew
swiftly to the small gray manse at Ellerloch.
How well he could see the girl he loved in it !
Her handsome face grave and tender with
thoughts of him. Her slim, tall figure, her busy
hands, her pleasant voice not he who raised
the shade of Helen had a greater power than
this true lover, for he thought of Roberta until
she seemed present with him; until the thought
like an actual presence soothed and comforted

The letter brought by Angus had been his
last communication from her. For two weeks
he had been unable to send any message ; the
wind had been so constantly adverse, that even
Angus had been afraid to risk the journey. But
Donald was not troubled by any of the doubts
or silly jealousies that some lovers delight in
encouraging. He trusted Roberta as he trusted

1 70 Father Matthew for the People.

himself. He knew that she understood how
rare and precious communication must be ; and
it had been decided that letters by the ordinary
mail would be useless and irritating the village
postmaster being a deacon in Mr. Balfour s
church a man who neither for gold nor pity
would favor love disallowed by a parent on
such religious grounds.

Still he did write to her. It was impossible
to bind affection so strong in bands of silence.
He told her of his love, his hopes and doubts
and loneliness, in long, long epistles, which were
dated and put away, until the happy oppor
tunity came for sending them. Angus was
watching for it ; he had the precious packet in
his possession ; the boat was ready to slip her
anchor at the first flurry of favorable wind, and
toward sundown there appeared a prospect of
it. In the west there was a streak of crimson ;
the wind had fallen and shifted southerly ; the
rain was nearly over. Donald hastily finished
the letter in hand, and went down to the village

Father Matthew for the People. i 71

to give it to Angus, for he thought it likely he
could leave with the turn of the tide.

He fancied that Helen Mackenzie received
him with constraint ; that even Angus was not
quite like himself. How could he expect it, if
they had heard of Sir Rolf e s intentions? And
how were they to know that he was not to
blame in the matter ? Yet he could not defend
himself without blaming Sir Rolfe, and he did
not dare, without good reason, to hurry any
such justification. On his return to the castle,
he called at the rectory to see Father Contach,
for Helen Mackenzie s coolness wounded him
very much, and he felt the need of comfort and

The father heard him silently and patiently,
his white, intellectual face growing finer as he
listened. Once, when Donald alluded to the
removal of the whole people, his cheeks crim
soned, but he instantly laid his hand over the
cross upon his breast, and suffered not himself
to speak. Indeed, after Donald had ceased, the

172 Father Matthew for the People.

silence was for some minutes unbroken; but
the young man understood the pause, and
communed solemnly with his own heart during it.

With a sigh, Father Matthew lifted his head
and looked at Donald. He sympathized keenly
with his sense of shame and wrong, but it was
his duty to assume the calmness he was very far
from feeling.

" My son, what is your anger about ?" he
asked. " Because you are likely to be spoken
evil of when you do not deserve it. It is
indeed, mortifying to your sensitive nature, but
one of the best penances which the heart can
offer is to endure a continual cross and abnega
tion of self-love."

" Is it right for me to be made the tool of
oppression ? No ; I will not disgrace my
manhood by turning these people out ol their
homes. They have as much right to them as I

" Stop, Donald. Can they show any legal
right to them ? Alas ! No."

Father Matthew for the People. 173

" Because they trusted to the Torquil, they
have the moral right. Is not that sufficient ?"

" If this earth were Heaven, if God s kingdom
had come, if His will were done, the moral right
would be the strongest of all rights."

" I cannot rest, Father. Helen Mackenzie has
made me thoroughly miserable. Come with me
to Tasmer, and speak to Sir Rolfe for me."

" Yes ; I will go. I have spoken once. I will
speak again. I did not think the matter was to
be hurried on so rapidly."

" The families in Easter-Torquil are to be
warned to leave at Whitsuntide. There are
thirty-six families, numbering nearly two hun
dred people ; what is to become of them ? Per
haps I ought to speak to them ; will they give
up the grazing if I ask them?"

" They cannot live without grazing-land.
They have not the sea to help them when the
soil fails. To refuse them grazing is virtually to
expel them from their cottages and crofts.

1 74 Father Matthew for the People.

There is no need to serve them with a notice of

" I know, and they are our own race and
blood. They won the lands we call ours to-day.
Father, you must prevent this great wrong. Sir
Rolfe is at present under the influence of Simon
Lovat ; he is not hard-hearted. He loves piety
and virtue. He will listen to you who are his
guide and confessor."

" Alas, my son ! They who listen not to the
witness which is within every man s breast are
not likely to heed either the law or the proph
ets ; no, nor yet listen, though one came from
the dead. I hope that you were patient and
respectful to Sir Rolfe ; reproaches will only
make him more determined to carry out his
plans in spite of you."

" I was angry, but I said little. It was hard to
be patient, and I fear I shall not be able to
restrain myself when we speak again."

" Hide the cross of our Lord within your

Father Matthew for the People. 175

breast. As long as you firmly clasp it in your
hand, surely the enemy will be at your feet."

As he spoke they left the rectory together.
The night was dark and the walk was not a cheer
ful one. The drops of rain from the firs wet
them like a shower, and the wind ran through
the old trees with those pitiful, sinister wails it
learns one knows not where. The old gray
castle looked unusually gloomy. There was the
dull glow of the fire in the parlor, but all the
windows up-stairs, except those in the Torquil s
room, were blank and dark. Fergus was long
in coming to open the door. He had been in the
kitchen discussing with the women the strange,
sad news which had only just become known to
them. When he saw Father Matthew, he prob
ably divined on what errand of mercy he had
come ; for he looked into his face and then sud
denly covered his eyes and began to cry like a

Donald could not bear it. He bent his head,
and his mouth was twitching with suppressed

i 76 Father Matthew for the People.

emotion. He did not wait to hear what request
the old man was making amid his passionate
sobs. He knew that he had daughters and
grandchildren in Easter-Torquil, and that his
son farmed and fished in the village below ; and
he understood the anxiety and fear that were in
his heart. But he would not wait to hear it
voiced, lest he should speak words that he might
regret ; and so, lifting a candle hastily, he went
to his room. The fire had been allowed to go
out. Donald never remembered such inatten
tion before. It said more to him than any words
of complaint could have done. Fergus must
indeed have been utterly miserable to neglect a
duty so necessary to his comfort.

Indeed, Fergus had never before known such
sorrow. The Celt has many faults, but he has a
heart overflowing with the tenderest domestic
affections. He, of all fathers on the earth, can
best understand that passionate wish of Hebrew
parental woe " Oh, my son ! Would to God
that I had died for thee !" Fergus could not

Father Matthew for the People. 1 77

endure the thought of his children and their
babies wanderers, seeking a home. He felt
that at least he must share their sorrow and
desolation ; and yet he had been fifty years in
Tasmer, and it was no light personal grief to
break bonds of such long growth, and to forsake
the roof that had been, in the main, such a happy

He said not a word of this condition of affairs,
but the almost childlike condition of helplessness
and grief in the old man s face was sufficient.
Father Matthew understood it all, and the good
priest went into the presence of the master of
Tasmer with a heart burning with just anger.
Sir Rolfe was sitting brooding over the fire.
Occasionally he lifted his eyes to the open door
of the oratory, whispering, when he did so, some
audible prayer ; for in the faintly lit gloom the
great white cross was solemnly visible.

It was the first object that met Father Mat
thew s vision, and with a rapid step he passed
Sir Rolfe, and for a few moments silently pros-

j 78 Father Matthew for the People.

trated himself in that silent presence. His face
was almost as pale as the lifted cross when he
re-entered the room and set his chair upon the
hearth, and Sir Rolfe was compelled to notice
the intense feeling in the usually placid coun

The subject was immediately opened, and
with an indisputable affection and authority, the
priest pleaded for his little congregation. He
went over the arguments which Donald had
suggested but not dared to press. He spoke of
the Highlander s intense love for his own land.

" They cling to these bens and straths like
Alpine trees to their rocks," he said. " How can
you tear up whole families by their roots, and
put the torch to so many happy, pious little
homes? They are dear to them as Tasmer is to
you. Is not one little Highland child worth all
the land in Kintail and Lochaber? You are a
soldier, Sir Rolfe. You know what the High
land soldier is. You have seen the 42d and the
93d in battle. They have possessed and defended

Father Matthew for the People. 1 79

these mountains from immemorial time. They
have filled the world with the glory of their
deeds. Have pity on your comrades in arms !
They are the children of the Most High. Have
pity upon those who kneel at the same altar
with you ?"

" Father, I have thought of all these things.
The past is past. We are come to an entirely
new era of development. The law of progress
is that it must tread under foot feelings hitherto
held sacred. These people have lived in semi-
barbarism and been content with it. When the
eagle thinks it time for her young to take to
their own wings and provide for themselves,
she tears up the nest. I, and you, have seen the
wise birds do it. If I now destroy these anti
quated huts, and send their inhabitants into the
world, they will learn that life has objects and
hopes, yes, and pleasures, they had not dreamed
of. In a few years they will thank me. I can
wait for my justification."

" You will send them from the pure, healthy

180 Father Matthew for the People.

life of these ancient hills, to the great cities,
where disease, degradation, poverty and death
await them. The oldest men and women among
them are but children simple, pious children.
They are not fit for the world. Have pity on
them !"

" If any wish to go to Canada, I will do all I
can to help them."

" Are you able to send them all together

"The idea is absurd. I might help some
young, strong fellow, who was able to make
good use of help ; but "

" Then you would only further break to
pieces the shattered homes. William Rufus
brought on himselt a violent death and the exe
cration of centuries for depopulating the New
Forest in order to make a hunting-park. That
was an act done in days of cruelty and darkness.
You and other Highland gentlemen, in an age
of high civilization, are about to turn ten coun
ties over to wild animals. Very soon, it will be

Father Matthew for the People. 1 8 1

forests from the south border of Perthshire to
the sea-board of Ross. From Deeside to Spey-
side we shall find nothing- but deer; no men, no
women, no children, no homes."

" Father, I do not interfere in your affairs."

" But you would have the right to interfere
in them if I were to violate my duty as you are
now violating yours. Every peasant in Torquil
would have the right to call me to account."

" Listen to me. There is right on my side,

" Surely, I will listen."

" I have immense deer forests. Hitherto they
have been lying idle. I can make six thousand
pounds a year out of them alone. Have I not
the right to make it ?"

" What harm do the few crofters do on the
fringe of these forests ?"

" They are forever quarreling with game
keepers, and forever claiming rights on the hills
which disturb the deer. These shooting-ranges
will be let entirely to rich Englishmen. They

1 82 Father Matthew for the People.

have none of our traditional interest in the
peasantry and the clans ; but they have all an
Englishman s ideas with regard to the sacred-
ness of property. They will not rent a shooting
unless these troublesome peasants, with their
antiquated notions of their own dignity and
rights, are removed. Father, your ideas would
disorganize society ; they are simply socialistic."

" And I am a socialist in the sense in which
Christ Jesus taught socialism. So is every
priest at the altar. So is every religieuse in our
fraternities and sisterhoods. He allowed only
one claim to power : that of a man serving his
fellows. Let him that would be first among
you be servant of all. "

"You are my friend, my counselor and my
confessor. In matters of piety I defer entirely
to you. In worldly matters, Father, you are not
able to judge for me. Are you not in the world,
yet not of the world ? A living man, and yet, as
regards all that makes daily life, a dead man ?"

" No, no, no ! It is you, Sir Rolfe, that are

Father Matthew for the People. 183

dead." Then, passing quickly to within the
door of the oratory, he stretched out his arms to
the Christ upon the cross, and cried out in an
ecstasy: "/ live ; yet not /, but Christ liveth in
me !"

Sir Rolfe was profoundly affected, but he was
not convinced. He rose, and taking the priest s
hands said humbly :

" Do not judge me with severity. My inten
tions are good. I have heard you say there is
no sin without intention. One of the dearest
objects I have is to rebuild and to beautify the
church at Torquil."

" Alas ! Alas ! Can you give stone and mor
tar as a ransom for the souls of men ? For the
living stones you are going to pull down and
break in pieces and scatter abroad ?"

He went away with the words ; leaving the
master of Tasmer to ponder the solemn question
he had asked,



" Love gives esteem, and then he gives desert ; he either
finds equality or makes it."

" To be heavenly is to know that the commonest relations,
the most vulgar duties, are God s commands."

" Respect we owe, love we give, and men mostly would
rather give than pay."

There are times in every life when it seems
best to cease reasoning about events, and let cir
cumstances decide for us. Sara Torquil, after
some weeks of triumphant social success, and
private heart-aching, doubts and fears, came one
morning in a certain way to this conclusion.
Her entrance into London fashionable life had
been made under very favorable circumstances.

The Ministers Interference. 185

Lady Moidart belonged to a set the most exclu
sive, and her radiantly lovely niece was at once
the fashionable beauty of the season. When she
arrived in London she found her advent had
been chronicled in somewhat extravagant terms,
and she could not help looking with a great deal
of interest through the number of the Court
fournal which had done her this honor.

She saw also in it a mention of Lord Lenox s
movements ; it was quite evident he was taking
his full share in the festivities of the world in
which he moved. Her cheeks glowed and her
eyes grew luminous as she reflected that he
would in all probability learn that morning of
her arrival in London. He was a favorite of
Lady Moidart s, and accustomed to visit at her
house ; she was, therefore, certain that he would
call upon them at once.

With the greatest care she arrayed herself in
the pale-blue tints he approved, and which cer
tainly gave a marvelous charm to the exquisite
coloring of her complexion and the crown of red-

1 86 The Ministers Interference.

brown hair which was a glory to her. So rest
less, so happy with expectation was she ! Yet
she forced herself to sit with apparent calmness
at her embroidery frame forced herself to
attend to Lady Moidart s plans, and even to
take an interest in them, though she was listen
ing with all her soul, at every clang of the
door-bell, for the sound of steps, which, how
ever light upon the thick carpets, she was cer
tain she would be able to detect.

Many visitors came, but Lenox came not.
Hour after hour passed, the whole day went,
the evening also. He did not call, and he did
not send either an apology or a message of con
gratulation. Lady Moidart never noticed the
omission. It appeared to Sara as if she talked
of every one but Lord Lenox. For a whole
week she endured this silent alternation of hope
and despair. Every morning brought the hope,
every night the despair. She did not meet him
in the Row, nor see him at the opera, and as she
was to be presented the following week, it had

The Ministers Interference. 187

been decided that she should accept no invita
tions until her homage at court had been paid.

Very often she was on the point of mention
ing his name to Lady Moidart, but a delicate
reserve about a matter so personal always sealed
her lips when the actual words were to be
spoken. At length one Sunday night he was
announced. It was just at dark when Lady
Moidart was half asleep upon a sofa. Sara was
at the window looking thoughtfully into the
gloomy square. She had not heard the bell ;
she had ceased to expect him. His entrance
was so unexpected that she could scarcely speak
the few words of courtesy necessary. He was
perfectly calm, and apparently as indifferent as
if they had never met before.

He paid his respects to Lady Moidart and
then turned to Sara with outstretched hand.
As she took it his eyes sought hers, and she was
compelled to endure that questioning look of
tenderness in them which she knew so well.
She dropped her white lids to hide the tremu-

1 88 The Ministers Interference.

lous joy which it was out of her power to con
trol. She forgot, she forgave his dilatory
notice of her arrival, she tried, as loving women
ever try, to be fair and sweet in his eyes.

Yet, his whole visit, when she reviewed it,
pained her deeply. He suffered Lady Moidart
to talk of plans and parties which entirely
ignored him, and he made no protest against
her neglect. He spoke of his own engagements
without reference to Sara ; he said, with a laugh
of affected self-depreciation, that he would have
been glad to be their escort to a sale at
Chrystie s, but that it would be detrimental to
Sara to be seen with such a poor fellow as he
was known to be. In a score of ways he made
the indignant, yet affectionate woman feel that
the love of Tasmer could not be transported to
London. And yet she told herself that he
might be trying to deceive Lady Moidart ; for
she could not misunderstand that sudden leap
ing up of feeling into his face, that reluctant
separation of their hands, that indefinable some-

The Ministers Interference. 189

thing, impalpable as the atmosphere, and yet
beyond all reasoning away.

In reality, Lenox did love her as much as it
was possible for him to love. But he was a man
who, without being vulgarly fond of money,
knew well the value of money. He was aware
that Sara s fortune was as yet a mere trifle. Sir
Rolfe, if he lived and carried out his clearance
policy, might become a rich man and leave his
daughter a handsome income, but and there
was so much hung upon that " but." He could
not afford to marry her for some years, unless
he preferred marriage and Continental econo
mies to a bachelor life of English comforts and
English society. There were hours in which
his decision on this matter wavered very much.
Sara was such a pearl among women. Her beauty

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