Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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from his communion with Heaven, his hands out
stretched, as if to assure them of his blessing and
assistance. They under stood that he wished to
speak to them, and quietly gathered around him.
" My children," he said, " the day of trouble
has come at last, but do not fear. God takes
particular care of the good, and those whom He
loves He saves. I know, and I am sure that
this trial shall in the end be for your welfare.
A little while you must wait upon God. Well,
then, wait here, in His precincts, in the shadow
of His sanctuary. Go into the church-yard, and
erect large booths there for your shelter. It is
God s acre, no man dare molest you. Many
old masts are lying around ; take them for sup
ports. The roofs can be made of furze and
straw, and under these shelters build your fires,
and spread your blankets around them. Over
the graves of your fathers you may dwell in
safety ; your Mother Church will hold you in
her arms ; and I at the altar will make con
tinual intercession for you. Here you must

216 The Clearance.

remain until I have another word for you. Be
patient, it will certainly come. Keep together,
for to scatter over the country looking for
work is to become paupers. You must suffer
together, and together you will be helped."

The words were like wine to the dejected
people, and they flew through the village like fire.
The fishers left their nets, the young, strong
women brought straw and whatever might be
useful, every lad and every lass that could lend
a helping hand worked willingly ; and against
the four corners of the church-yard wall which
made an excellent shelter on two sides they
erected four large booths. Father Matthew
went from group to group encouraging and
directing the workers. He sent the mothers to
the rectory to cook food, he folded the blankets
about the weary children. All night long the
fires burned brightly, and the work went bravely
on, and when the sun rose again, the living had
found homes among the dwelling-places of the



" Let still the woman take
An elder than herself ; so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband s heart."

In Tasmer Castle there was a wretchedness
which no one spoke of, but which every one was
sensitive to. Donald was kept fully aware of
every movement by Fergus, but no one could
have felt more completely helpless to avert or
even mitigate misfortune, than he did. To
express sympathy with the people was to con
demn his father ; he had nothing else to offer.
His own position was both humiliating and
unhappy. After the winter weather set in, he
could see little of Roberta; his boat was no
longer a refuge in times of trouble ; he was not

2i8 Sara.

a sportsman, and when he went to the hills, and
came home every day with an empty bag, he
laid himself open to his father s sarcasms, and
the disapproval and astonishment of the whole

More than once he had asked for his com
mission. It would at least give him an
independent living and enable him to offer a
home to Roberta if she would accept it. At any
rate, it would make marriage a possibility. But
Sir Rolfe heard these requests with an indig
nation that seemed unreasonable.

Your work is here, sir," he answered, " if you
would do it. You ought to be glad to assist me
in quadrupling the value of an estate which is to
be your own. It is a far greater work than
idling in some foreign station, or dangling after
women in home barracks. Military life is not
what it was in my day. Then, a man saw

" I should like to try it, father. I am of no use

Sara. 219

at home ; I am in the way. I am tired of doing

" Who told you that you were in the way? If
you are no use, it is your own fault. I cannot
afford to place you in the army until Sara is
married. However, that event is likely to occur
very soon. You will get your troop in a very
few months, I suppose."

Perhaps in his heart Donald was not very
sorry of the delay. Spring was at hand, summer
before him, and during the months when it was
possible to see Roberta, he did not feel much
regret at being detained in her neighborhood by
anything having the semblance of duty.

This conversation occurred a few days before
the clearance. It is useless to speak of the
shame and indignation he personally felt in the
coming tragedy, and at his own total inability
to oppose or prevent it. For it is the finest and
most honorable natures that are the easiest
enslaved by some domineering will that are
inapt to resist, harrassed by scruples, astonished

2 2O Sara.

at audacities they have a difficulty in compre
hending. Donald would have cheerfully given
his life for the people, and he could not lift a
finger to help them.

During all Whitsunday he walked about the
castle, restless, miserable, tormented with plans
which he knew at once were hopeless and
impracticable. And all day, though sunshine
filled the rooms, the atmosphere in Tasmer was
singularly sensitive. Several times Donald had
the impression that some one had come into the
room. There were visitings, answers, he knew
not what intelligences, about him. As the day
darkened the feeling deepened. He fell into a
kind of visionary state, in which he seemed to
lose all voluntary mental and physical power,
and to be the passive recipient of impressions
made by spiritual minds. The gloom upon his
face brightened ; a peace that passeth under
standing filled his soul. In about an hour he
rose up with a long sigh and went instantly to
his desk and began to write.

Sara. 221

It was a letter to Sara, telling her in strong,
graphic sentences the trouble that was at Easter-
Torquil, and begging her to hasten home and
use her influence with her father, in behalf of the
homeless peasants. Then he went to Father
Contach with the letter, for he knew the priest
was going to Balmacarra in the morning, and
could see it so far safely on its journey, for a sud
den anxiety for Sara s interference had become
the prominent idea in his mind. Father Mat
thew noticed this, and asked why he had not
thought of this influence before.

" I know not, Father. I supposed from Sara s
letters she was too busily employed with her
own affairs too happy to be troubled."

" You do your sister an injustice, Donald. I
never knew Sara Torquil put pleasure before
charity or duty. Who or what urged you to
appeal to her to-day ?" ,

Then Donald revealed to his friend something
of the spiritual experience he had just had
only something approximating it for he had no

222 Sara.

words to explain fully a condition transcending

" But, distinctly, as if you had breathed the
message in my ear, some one said to me, Write
to Sara Torquil. And I awoke if I were
asleep happy, comforted, assured of help. Can
you understand me, Father?"

" Thank God, I can understand you, Donald !
These infusions of heavenly light and comfort
that come, we know not how, often when we are
not looking for them, are blessed proofs of
what, think you ?"

" I know not."

" That we are united to other minds.
Thoughts come from minds ; they do not move
about in the air. Good minds are joined thus to
better minds, and the angels of God ascend and
descend for our help and counsel. Remember
what I tell you now, Donald : We are the inhab
itants of two worlds. We have senses that open
to all the beauties and sorrows of this portion
of our Father s mansion, and we have spiritual

Sara. 223

senses that can open to an inner, a higher, a
holier world. Blessed are they who have ears
to hear and eyes to see things which are often
hidden from the wise and recorded to the pure
in heart."

" Then, Father, if there be good angels ever
ready to teach and help the good, may there not
be bad angels ever ready to lead still further
astray the wicked ?"

"Alas, my son, who can doubt it? Whoso
ever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. To
a bad man there is constantly a series of sug
gestions being made, leading him to be worse.
He never shows himself as bad as he feels.
Something is always impelling him to pro-
founder depths of sin and folly. Something
worse than himself drags him lower and lower.
If good angels cannot approach you, be very
sure evil ones will. Choose, then, in whose
company and under whose influence you will

Then Donald perceived by the father s still

224 Sara.

face that he had finished the interview ; and
again commending Sara s letter to his care, he
went back to Tasmer with far nobler thoughts
than he had left it. His soul expanded to its
lofty and illimitable relationships ; he remem
bered " the cloud of witnesses." In the enthusi
asm of his contemplation, he lifted up his face
and spread out his hands to the Unseen, and
again under the solemn sighing branches of the
firs, realized that he was indeed the inhabitant
of two worlds. A great resignation and trust
succeeded to" the angry turmoil of passions
which had made him wretched for so many
weeks. He could not understand how his letter
to Sara was to procure help, but he firmly
believed it would do so, and was sure, also, that
he had inspired Father Matthew with the same

It arrived in London just as Sara had finished
her preparations for returning home. Her visit
had been prolonged much beyond its original
intention, Lady Moidart usually spending the

Sara. 225

Easter holidays .on her own estate. There was
in the house the feeling of outworn pleasure,
and the anticipation of a change. Trunks
encumbered, the halls, and the tables were
covered with packages, the last spoils of the
Regent Street shops. Sara looked at the parcels
in her own room with a sentiment of sadness
and regret. It is only the very young and
thoughtless who are not conscious of some dis
satisfaction after foolish and reckless expendi
ture. Her last day s shopping had been
altogether unnecessary. When Lady Moidart
had urged her to make out a list of indispensable
toilet adjuncts to take north with her, she had
made such a list, and felt in the making of it that
every item might be wanted at Tasmer, and
could not be procured- But the possession of so
many ribbons and gloves and scarfs was not half
so satisfying as she had anticipated. They
looked upon the whole a very paltry exchange
for thirty sovereigns, and she admitted the fact
to herself.

226 Sara.

" I ought not to have spent the money.
Father told me how hard it was to spare it, and
poor Donald would have thought himself rich
with thirty sovereigns."

She looked at the offending parcels with an
air of aversion and vexation, and at that moment
she received Donald s letter. She read it
slowly, and then stood up to read it again. It
was as if she had not been sure of her intelli
gence while in an attitude of inattention ; as if,
in the act of standing up, she gathered her
faculties together. Father Matthew had under
stood her well, for, as she slowly but fully real
ized the condition of affairs Donald had painted
in such vehement words, her countenance
changed, she let her hands fall down, and stood
pale and motionless for some minutes, just
where the sorrowful news had found her.

She was not a woman apt to act upon impulse.
She had discovered, when very young, that
impulse is a bad guide ; and, though she had
never heard of Euripides, she had arrived at his

Sara. 227

conclusion : " among mortals second thoughts
are best." So she took no particular heed of the
suggestion following immediately upon her first
sensations of shame, anger and pity. Until her
maid came to dress her for dinner, she thought of
the situation. Donald had not asked her for any
help, except her influence with Sir Rolfe. He
had expected no other help from her ; but there
was a feeling of " needs do " in her own soul,
and she knew she would not escape from its
strait until she had made an effort an effort she
was already dimly conscious of, and which she
was waiting for events to set clearly before her.

" You are very tired, Sara," said Lady
Moidart. " After the dance, the sleep. After
London, Tasmer. I think you are ready for the

" I am very unhappy, aunt !" Then she
opened Donald s letter and read it aloud. The
old lady showed her resentment much more
vividly than Sara had done.

" It is an unspeakable outrage," she said, pas-

228 Sara.

sionately. " I have thought ill of your father all
his days, but never that he would do so ill a
thing. Has the man lost all conscience, all
family pride and honor? He does not know
what he is undertaking. Only certain natures
born money-grabbers can make such wholesale
cruelty pay them. Sir Rolfe is a soldier with
some fine instincts left, which will perpetually
interfere such as sacrificing fifty pounds. Why
should he give any of the price of these poor
souls back? If he is going to take service with
the devil, then, in common-sense, let him keep
all the devil s wages. He must have a poor
conscience if he can bribe it for fifty pounds."

Hush ! dear aunt ! Father is not much to
blame ; he is completely under the influence of
Simon Lovat."

" That is no excuse, Sara. He need not be
under his influence. Lovat is not a malignant
contagion in the air which cannot be escaped ;
he is a poison which men deliberately lift and
drink yes, and hold in their hands and hesitate

Sara. 229

and think over. Lord Lenox is another exam
ple of his influence. Before he inherited the
Lenox lordship, when he had no hope of inher
iting it, when he was only a captain in the
Seaforth Highlanders, he was as pleasant and
good-hearted a young fellow as I ever knew.
I liked him. I helped him many a time. But
how he has changed ! The first clearance cost
him some hours of indecision and regret ; the
second, not a thought. I have been truly told
that the last of the crofters on his estate were
removed under circumstances of the most
unnecessary cruelty. I used to think him affec
tionate and honorable. I was mistaken. He is
nothing at all now, if he is not unscrupulous
and greedy of gold. 1 have no doubt he will
succeed in his plans. He will have no misgiv
ings and no relentings. In a few years his
estate will be highly productive, and in the
meantime he will marry Maria Crossley, whose
father made her a million by brewing beer.
But Sir Rolfe is too old to so completely

230 Sara.

change his nature. There will be a few old mil
itary and gentlemanly scruples he cannot con
quer: his whole policy will be weakened by
them. He will commit small business indiscre
tions that will ruin him."

" If you could only talk to him, aunt !"
" I ! child ; he would not listen to me if I told
how to save his life. And if you are dreaming
of influencing him, dismiss all such false hopes.
If Rolfe Torquil has made up his mind to carry
out the clearance policy on the Tasmer estate,
an angel from Heaven could not reason with

" My father is truly religious, aunt."
" 1 know it. There is a puzzle, a contradic
tion, in most characters, that none but God
Almighty understands. How Sir Rolfe recon
ciles his injustice to his people with the ten
commandments and the golden rule is beyond
my comprehension ; but I have not the slightest
doubt that he has done so."

Nothing more was said upon the subject, but

Sara. 231

Sara had plenty of matter for thought. It was
the first time Lady Moidart had expressed any
opinion about Lord Lenox. Sara had under
stood from him that the friendship between
them was of the kindest and most confidential
character, and she had wondered at their slight
intercourse and interest concerning each other.
She understood the change now ; she under
stood Lady Moidart s fixed politeness and appar
ent carelessness as to his future. Much that
had pained and perplexed her was now clear.

She never doubted a word her aunt had said.
Lady Moidart had faults, but she did not lie.
She was honorable even to an enemy. All she
had said of Lenox might be taken without excep
tions. No woman likes to be disenchanted. Even
when the process goes on with intermissions of
h ope, it is a painful process, but Sara had come
to the last hour of her illusion. She had often
wavered in her opinion, she had suffered and for
given, she had been as blind as those who will
not see, she had gone through all the hopes and

232 Sara.

despairs and self-humiliations of love s fitful
fever. At that hour she felt no pity for herself
and no love for Lenox ; she was only sorry for
the hours and the emotions wasted upon so
unworthy an object. " Something in my own
nature must be akin to him, or I should not have
loved him," she thought, and she was ashamed
under the self-condemnation. Still the renuncia
tion was not completed without suffering. A
first love, however unworthy, strikes its roots
deep into the affections. Sara had a bad night,
and in the morning, while the house was all in
confusion with the packing, she put on her cloak
and bonnet and went out.

Lady Moidart watched her a few moments,
and concluded she was going to walk in the
private park attached to the fashionable square
in which they lived. But Sara went further
than the park went through many a busy
street, until she turned into a silent court off a
great thoroughfare, and found at the head of it
the quiet church she wanted. How strange was

Sara. 233

its dimness and silence in the very heart of Lon
don s tide of life and turmoil. She glided into a
seat, in order to recover her thoughts and com
posure befere she ventured to offer her petition ;
and it was not many moments ere she felt the
soothing influence of the place.

A priest, in the white serge robes of the
Brotherhood of St. Dominic, knelt motionless on
the steps of the altar. There were a number of
people in the church, all of them so engrossed
with their own devotions that they knew not of
her advent. One young man, evidently from
the highest social ranks, was making the solemn
way of the cross. He was in a rapture of medi
tation at the foot of the crucifix at the twelfth
station. His hands were uplifted and clasped ;
his face raised and wet with tears. To him Cal
vary and the Christ upon it were as real facts as
his own existence. Not far from him, a poor
woman was whispering a heartful of grief into
Mary s ear. Like Hannah of old, " she was in
bitterness of soul, and she wept sore." The aged

234 Sara.

and the young, the rich and the poor were
there, each with their own sorrow, or hope, or
anxiety, and the holy silence was broken by no
sound but the sighing of the suppliant, or the
murmured prayers at the altars or the stations.

In holy meditation, in earnest supplications,
Sara spent her morning. She had much to give
thanks for ; she had counsel to inquire after ;
she had help to seek. She was surrounded by
other implorers, but she was alone with God.
The visit she had expected with so much youth
ful eagerness, was over. She had tried the
world at its very best, tasted of all its pleasures,
and she acknowledged to her soul, that morning,
that a day in God s house was better than a
thousand elsewhere.

She had gone into that house full of trouble
and anxiety ; she came away from it with a
heart at rest. There she had left all her worry
ing hopes and desires about Lenox. There she
had prayed for his soul s welfare and forever
resigned all personal affection for him. In the

Sara. 235

afternoon she expected Mr. Maclane. He had
written to request an hour s private interview
with her, and she understood quite well the
question she would have to answer. He would
ask her again to be his wife, and she had
resolved to accept him. Hence her solemn
renunciation of Lord Lenox. In the future,
every thought of her heart must be for the man
whose wife she had determined to be.

She had no misgivings ; she had put the last
one away. If she were not in love, she had an
affection and respect for him which she did not
fear to trust. She honored him, for he deserved
honor. She was proud of his political position,
proud of his talents, and not indifferent to his
great wealth. All her life long she had known
the misery that comes from the want of money.
She had reproached herself throughout the
winter because of Donald s position ; but if Mr.
Maclane made upon her the settlement he pro
posed, she would have gold enough to realize
every good intent, every loving desire. Her



union with him could make so many others
happy beside herself. And, surely, she thought
a marriage of that kind must be better than one
which gratified only a single selfish love.



" Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou showest thee in a child
Than the sea-monster !"

" Never anger
Made good guard for itself."

The temporary settlement of the expelled
crofters of Easter-Torquil in the church-yard of
Torquil was a matter of very serious annoyance
to Sir Rolfe ; but he did not feel as if he dared to
clash opinions with Father Matthew about it.
He knew that he had no legal right to urge
their removal from it, and he was not anxious to
enter into the moral right of the question in any
shape. Yet nothing could have happened so

238 The Minister Calls on the Baron.

entirely shocking to his deepest prejudices, and
so really uncomfortable to his conscience. It
was as if the wronged Torquils had appealed
from their living to their dead. He woke up
from his sleep with an uncanny feeling of the
great clan behind him being moved to wrath by
such an invasion of their territory. He could
barely reassure himself by considering that the
chiefs of the family would be sure to understand
and approve his motives. Had any of them in
their raids on their neighbors, or in their fights
with the Macdonalds, ever valued the lives of
the men they led? No. They had sacrificed
everything for the honor and perpetuity of their
sept; and he was only doing the same thing
according to the methods of the age in which
he lived.

Yet there was some troubled spiritual element
in the castle. Heavy footfalls were heard by
all, and voices as deep as the sound of multi
tudes in one, and low, mournful sighs thrilling
an atmosphere sensitive as life, and which to the

The Minister Calls on the Baron. 239

painfully attent ear seemed stirred by shadowy
wings. Doors that had closed for generations
were found open. One midnight, the great
shield of Fergus Torquil, first Earl of Ross, fell
to the ground with a ringing thud that woke
every one in the castle with a feeling of terror.
Donald, who had a temperament peculiarly
responsive to any spiritual influence, lived dur
ing these days with one foot in the other world.
And his confessor was too wise and holy a man
to make light of any ascendancy because it was
beyond mortal understanding and analysis.

" God has nowhere said He would not send
spirits to warn men ; and Christ by implication
taught that they did so when He said : Though
one came from the dead, some would not listen."

" But surely, dear Father, angels fit for the
perpetual adoration of Heaven will not soil white
souls with the sins and sorrows of earth?"

" Service is adoration. Are they not all min
istering spirits ? Angels are good men made
perfect. It is in this way the holy Scriptures

240 The Minister Calls on the Baron,

speak of them. In this way, also, the fathers and
saints regarded them. The first angels men
tioned in the Bible, those which appeared to
Abraham, are called three men. The angels
that appeared to Lot are called two men.
When Manoah said to the angel who appeared
to him, Art thou the man that speaketh unto
the woman ? he said, I am. The angel that
appeared to St. John forbade John to worship
him, saying, See thou do it not. I am thy fel
low-servant and of thy brethren that have the
testimony of Jesus. If the angels are good men
made perfect, who are more fit to minister unto
men, to warn them against sin, and guide them
in sorrow ? But as the same laws operate on
the good and on the evil, may not wicked and
undeterminate spirits still linger between two
worlds, troubled by the things of earth which
still hold them in dominion ? In that inter
mediate world which the Church calls purgatory
the place of judgment may not a part of the
soul s punishment depend upon its knowledge of

The Minister Calls on the Baron. 241

what still goes on among the things of which it
made idols ? For instance, if the man who
served gold instead of God, can see the gold for
which he sinned against his soul, squandered and
wasted, or in the hands of those whom he

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