Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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[Illustration: "Holding Bendigo's bridle, he had walked with her to the
Harlow residence." Page 43.]












My Friends:

I had a purpose in writing this novel. It was to honor and magnify the
sweetness and dignity of the condition of Motherhood, and of those
womanly virtues and graces, which make the Home the cornerstone of the
Nation. For it is not with modern Americans, as it was with the old
Greek and Roman world. They put the family below the State, and the
citizen absorbed the man. On the contrary, we know, that just as the
Family principle is strong the heart of the Nation is sound. "Give me
one domestic grace," said a famous leader of men, "and I will turn it
into a hundred public virtues."

A Home, however splendidly appointed, is ill furnished without the sound
of children's voices; and the patter of children's feet. It may be
strictly orderly, but it is silent and forlorn; and has an air of
solitude. Solitude is a great affliction, and Domestic Solitude is one
of its hardest forms. No number of balls and dinner parties, no visits
from friends, can make up for the absence of sons and daughters round
the family table and the family hearth.

Yet there certainly is a restless feminine minority, who declare, both
by precept and example, Family Life to be a servitude. Alas! They have
not given themselves opportunity to discover that self-sacrifice is the
meat and drink of all true affection.

But women have learned within the last two decades to listen to every
side of an argument. Their Club life, with its variety of "views," has
led them to decide that every phase of a question ought to be
attentively considered. So I do not doubt that my story will receive
justice, and I hope approval, from all the women - and men - that read it.

Affectionately to all,


















"Holding Bendigo's bridle, he had walked with her to the Harlow

"He knew her for his own ... as she stood with her father at the gate of
their little garden"...72

"He ran down the steps to meet her, and she put her hand in his"...168

"Noiselessly he stepped to her side and ...stood in silent prayer"...232




Gray sky, brown waters, as a bird that flies
My heart flits forth to these;
Back to the winter rose of Northern skies,
Back to the Northern seas.

* * * * *

The sea is His, and He made it.

I saw a man of God coming over the narrow zigzag path that led across a
Shetland peat moss. Swiftly and surely he stepped. Bottomless bogs of
black peat-water were on each side of him, but he had neither fear nor
hesitation. He walked like one who knew his way was ordered, and when
the moss was passed, he pursued his journey over the rocky moor with the
same untiring speed. Now and then he sang a few lines, and now and then
he lifted his cap, and stood still to listen to the larks. For the larks
sing at midnight in the Shetland summer, and to the music of their
heaven-soaring songs he set one sweet name, and in the magical radiance
over land and sea had that momentary vision of a beloved face which the
second-sight of Memory sometimes grants to a pure, unselfish love. Then
with a joyful song nestling in his heart, he went rapidly forward. And
the night was as the day, for the moon was full and the rosy spears of
the Aurora were charging the zenith from every point of the horizon.

Very early he came to a little town. It was asleep and there was no
sound of life in it; but a large yacht was lying at the silent pier with
steam visible, and he went directly to her. During the full tide she had
drifted a few feet from land, but he took the open space like a longer
step, walked straight to the wheel, and softly whistled.

Then the Captain came quickly up the companion-way, and there was light
and liking on his face, as he said,

"Welcome, sir! I was expecting thee."

"To be sure. I sent you word I should be here before sunrising. Are you
ready to sail?"

"Quite ready, sir."

"Then cast off at once," and immediately there was movement all through
the boat - the sound of setting sail, the lifting of the anchor, the rush
of steam, and the hoarse melancholy voices of the sailors. Then the man
laid his hand on the wheel, and with wind and tide in her favor, the
yacht was soon racing down the great North Sea.

"It is Yoden's time at the wheel, sir," said the Captain. "If so be he
is wanted."

"He is not wanted yet. I am going to take her as far as the Hoy - if it
suits you, Captain."

"Take your will, sir. I am always well suited with it."

Now John Hatton was a cotton-spinner, but he knew the ways of a boat,
and the winds and tides that would serve her, and the road southward she
must take; and at his will she went, as if she was a solan flying for
the rocks. When they first started, the sea-birds were dozing on their
perches, waiting for the dawn, and their unwonted silence lent a
stronger sense of loneliness to the gray, misty waters. But as they
approached the pillars of Hoy, the wind rose and the waves swelled
refulgent in the crimsoning east.

Then the man at the wheel was seen in all his great beauty - a man of
lofty stature perfectly formed and full of power and grace in every
movement. His head had an antique massiveness and was crowned with
bright brown hair thrown backward. His forehead was wide and
contemplative, his eyes large and gray and thickly fringed, lustrous but
_not_ piercing. His loving and vehement soul was not always at their
windows, but when there, it drew or commanded all who met its gaze. His
nose was long and straight, showing great refinement, and his chin
unblunted by animal passions. A wonderful face, because the soul and the
mind always found their way at once and in full force to it, as well as
to the gestures, the speech, and every action of the body. And this was
the quality which gave to the whole man that air of distinction with
which Nature autographs her noblest work.

When they reached the Hoy he left the wheel and stood in wonder and awe
gazing at the sea around him. For some time it had been cloudy and
unquiet, but among these great basaltic pillars and into their black
measureless caves it flung itself with the rush and roar of a ten-knot
tide gone mad. Yet the thundering bellow of its waves was not able to
drown the a√Ђrial clamor of the millions of sea-birds that made these
lonely pillars and cliffs their home. Eagles screamed from their
summits. Great masses of marrots and guillemots rocked on the foam.
Kittiwakes of every kind in incalculable numbers and black and
brown-backed gulls by the thousands filled the air as thickly as
snowflakes in a winter's storm; while from shelves and pinnacles of the
cliffs, incredible numbers of gannots were diving with prodigious force
and straight as an arrow, after their prey - all plunging, rising,
screaming and shrieking, like some maddened human mob, the more terrible
because of the ear-piercing metallic ring of their unceasing clamor.

After a long silence John Hatton turned to his Captain and said,

"Is it always like this, Captain?"

"It is often much livelier, sir. I have seen swarms of sea-birds miles
long, darkening the air with their wings. Our Great Father has many sea
children, sir. Next summer - God willing! - we might sail to the Faroe
Islands, and you would be among His whales, and His whale men."

"Then you have been to the Faroes?"

"More than once or twice. I used to take them on my road to Iceland. It
is a wayless way there, but I know it. And the people are a happy,
comfortable, pious lot; they are that! Most of them whale-hunters and


"To be sure, sir. When it is fresh, a roast of whale isn't half bad. I
once tried it myself."


"Well, then, I didn't want it twice. You know, I'm beef-bred. That makes
a difference, sir. I like to go to lonely islands, and as a general
thing I favor the kind of people that live on them."

"What is the difference between these lonely islanders and Yorkshire men
like you and me?"

"There is a good bit of difference, in more ways than one, sir. For
instance, they aren't fashionable. The women mostly dress the same, and
there are no stylish shapes in the men's 'oils' and guernseys. Then,
they call no man 'master.' God is their employer, and from His hand they
take their daily bread. And they don't set themselves up against Him,
and grumble about their small wages and their long hours. And if the
weather is bad, and they are kept off a sea that no boat could live in,
they don't grumble like Yorkshire men do, when warehouses are
overstocked and trade nowhere, and employers hev to make shorter hours
and less pay."

"What then?"

"The men smoke a few more pipes, and the women spin a few more hanks of
wool. And in the long evenings there's a good bit of violin-playing and
reciting, but there's no murmuring against their Great Master. And
there's no drinking, or dance halls. And when the storm is over, the men
untie their boats with a shout and the women gladly clean up the stour
of the idle time."

"Did you ever see a Yorkshire strike?"

"To be sure I hev; I had my say at the Hatton strike, I hed that! You
were at college then, and your father was managing it, so we could not
take the yacht out as expected, and I run down to Hatton to hev a talk
with Stephen Hatton. There was a big strike meeting that afternoon, and
I went and listened to the men stating 'their grievances.' They talked a
lot of nonsense, and I told them so. 'Get all you can rightly,' I said,
'but don't expect Stephen Hatton or any other cotton lord to run
factories for fun. They won't do it, and you wouldn't do it yersens!'"

"Did they talk sensibly?"

"They talked foolishness and believed it, too. It was fair capping to
listen to them. There was some women present, slatterns all, and I told
them to go home and red up their houses and comb up their hair, and try
to look like decent cotton-spinners' wives. And when this advice was
cheered, the women began to get excited, and I thought I would be safer
in Hatton Hall. Women are queer creatures."

"Were you ever married, Captain?"

"Not to any woman. My ship is my wife. She's father and mother and
brother and sister to me. I have no kin, and when I see how much trouble
kin can give you, I don't feel lonely. The ship I sail - whatever her
name - is to me 'My Lady,' and I guard and guide and cherish her all the
days of her life with me."

"Why do you say 'her life,' Captain?"

"Because ships are like women - contrary and unreasonable. Like women
they must be made to answer the rudder, or they go on the rocks. There
are, of course, men-of-war, and they get men's names, and we give them
fire and steel to protect themselves, but when your yacht with sails
set, goes curtsying over the waves like a duchess, you know she's
feminine, and you wouldn't call her after your father or yourself, but
your sweetheart's name would be just suitable, I'm sure."

John smiled pleasantly, and his silence encouraged the Captain to
continue. "Why, sir, the very insurance offices speak of a ship as
_she_, and what's more they talk naturally of the 'life and death of a
ship,' and I can tell you, sir, if you had ever seen a ship fight for
her life and go down to her death, you would say they were right. Mr.
Hatton, there is no sadder sight than a ship giving up the fight,
because further fight is useless. Once I was present at the death of a
ship. I pray God that I may never see the like again. Her captain and
her men had left her alone, and from the boats standing abaft, they
silently watched her sinking. Sir, many a man dies in his bed with all
his kin around, and does not carry as much love with him as she did.
_Why-a_! The thought of that hour brings a pain to my heart yet - and it
is thirty years ago."

"You are a true sailor, Captain."

"To be sure I am. As the Fife men say, 'I was born with the sea in my
mouth.' I thank God for it! Often I have met Him on the great deep, for
'His path is on the waters.' I don't believe I would have found Him as
easy and as often, in a cotton-spinning factory - no, I don't!"

"A good man like you, Captain, ought to have a wife and a home."

"I'm not sure of that, Mr. Hatton. On my ship at sea I am lord and
master, and my word is law as long as I stop at sea. If any man does not
like my word and way, he can leave my ship at the first land we touch,
and I see that he does so. But it is different with a wife. She is in
your house to stay, whether you like it or not. All you have is hers if
you stick to the marriage vow. Yes, sir, she even takes your name for
her own, and if she does not behave well with it, you have to take the
blame and the shame, whether you deserve it or not. It is a one-sided
bargain, sir."

"Not always as bad as that, Captain."

"Why, sir, your honored father, who lorded it over every man he met and
contradicted everything he didn't like, said, 'Yes, my dear,' to
whatever Mrs. Hatton desired or declared. I hed to do the same thing in
my way, and Mrs. Hatton on board this yacht was really her captain. I'm
not saying but what she was a satisfactory substitute, for she hed the
sense to always ask my advice."

"Then she acted under orders, Captain."

"To be sure. But I am Captain Lance Cook, of Whitby, a master navigator,
a fourth in direct line from Captain James Cook, who sailed three times
round the world, when that was a most uncommon thing to do. And every
time he went, he made England a present of a few islands. Captain James
Cook made his name famous among Englishmen of the sea, and I hevn't come
across the woman yet I considered worthy to share it."

"You may meet her soon now, Captain. There is a 'new woman' very much
the fashion these days. Perhaps you have not seen her yet."

"I have seen her, sir. I have seen all I want to see of her. She appears
to hev got the idea into her head that she ought to hev been a man, and
some of them have got so far in that direction that you are forced to
say that in their dress and looks there isn't much difference. However,
I hev heard very knowing men declare they always found the old woman in
all her glory under the new one, and I wouldn't wonder if that was the
case. What do you think, Mr. Hatton?"

"It may be, Captain, that it is the 'new man' that is wanted, and not
the 'new woman.' I think most men are satisfied with the old woman. I am
sure I am," and his eyes filled with light, and he silently blessed the
fair woman who came into his memory ere he added, "but then, I have not
a great ancestor's name to consider. The Hattons never gave anything in
the way of land to England."

"They hev done a deal for Yorkshire, sir."

"That was their duty, and their pleasure and profit. Yorkshire men are
kinsmen everywhere. If I met one in Singapore, or Timbuctoo, I would say
'_Yorkshire_?' and hold out my hand to him."

"Well, sir, I've seen Yorkshire men I wouldn't offer my hand to; I hev
that, and sorry I am to say it! I never was in Singapore harbor, and I
must acknowledge I never saw or heard tell of Timbuctoo harbor."

John laughed pleasantly. "Timbuctoo is in Central Africa. It was just an

"Illustration! You might have illustrated with a true harbor, sir - for
instance, New York."

"You are right. I ought to have done so."

"Well, sir, it's hard to illustrate and stick to truth. There is the
boatswain's whistle! I must go and see what's up. Pentland Firth is
ever restless and nobody minds that, but she gets into sudden passions
which need close watching, and I wouldn't wonder if there was not now
signs of a Pentland tantrum."

The Captain's supposition was correct. In a few minutes the ship was
enveloped in a livid creeping mist, and he heard the Captain shout,
"_All hands stand by to reef!_" Reef they did, but Pentland's temper was
rapidly rising, and in a few minutes there was an impetuous shout for
the storm jib, "_Quick_," and down came a blast from the north, and with
a rip and a roar the yacht leaped her full length. If her canvas had
been spread, she would have gone to the bottom; but under bare masts she
came quickly and beautifully to her bearings, shook herself like a gull,
and sped southward.

All night they were beating about in a fierce wind and heavy sea; and
Hatton, lying awake, listened to the mysterious hungering voice of the
waves, till he was strangely sad and lonely. And there was no Captain to
talk with, though he could hear his hoarse, strong voice above the roar
of wind and waters. For the sea was rising like the gable of a house,
but the yacht was in no trouble; she had held her own in far worse seas.
In the morning the sky was of snaky tints of yellow and gray, but the
wind had settled and the waves were flatting; but John saw bits of
trailing wreckage floating about their black depths, making the Firth
look savagely haggard.

On the second evening the Captain came to eat his dinner with John.
"The storm is over, Mr. Hatton," he said. "The sea has been out of her
wits, like an angry woman; but," he added with a smile, "we got the
better of her, and the wind has gone down. There is not breeze enough
now to make the yacht lie over."

"I could hear your voice, strong and cheerful, above all the uproar,
Captain, so I had no fear."

"We had plenty of sea room, sir, a good boat, and - "

"A good captain."

"Yes, sir, you may say that. The Pentland roared and raged a bit, but
the sea has her Master. She hears a voice we cannot hear. It says only
three words, Mr. Hatton, three words we cannot hear, but a great calm
follows them."

"And the three words are - ?"

"_Peace! Be still_!"

Then John Hatton looked with a quick understanding into his Captain's
face, and answered with a confident smile,

"O Saxon Sailor thou hast had with thee,
The Sailor of the Lake of Galilee."

"I hope, and I believe so, sir. I have been in big storms, and _felt_

"I got a glimpse of you in a flash of lightning that I shall never
forget, Captain Cook. You were standing by the wheel, tightening your
hat on your head; your feet were firm on the rolling deck, and you were
searching the thickest of the storm with a cheerful, confident face. Do
you like a storm?"

"Well, sir, smooth sea-sailing is no great pleasure. I would rather see
clouds of spray driving past swelling sails, than feel my way through a
nasty fog. Give me a sea as high as a masthead, compact as a wall, and
charging with the level swiftness of a horse regiment, and I would
rather take a ship through it, than make her cut her way through a
thick, black fog, as if she was a knife. In a storm you see what you are
doing, and where you are going, but you hev to steal and creep and sneak
through a fog, and never know what trap or hole may be ahead of you. I
know the sea in all her ways and moods, sir. Some of them are rather
trying. But my home and my business is on her, and in her worst temper
she suits me better than any four-walled room, where I would feel like a
stormy petrel shut up in a cage. The sea and I are kin. I often feel as
if I had tides in my blood that flow and ebb with her tides."

"I would not gainsay you, Captain. Every man's blood runs as he feels.
You were a different man and a grander man when you were guiding the
yacht through the storm than you are sitting here beside me eating and
drinking. My blood begins to flow quick when I go into big rooms filled
with a thousand power looms. Their noise and clatter is in my ears a
song of praise, and very often the men and women who work at them are
singing grandly to this accompaniment. Sometimes I join in their song,
as I walk among them, for the Great Master hears as well as sees, and
though these looms are almost alive in their marvelous skill, it may be
that He is pleased to hear the little human note mingling with the
voices of the clattering, humming, burring looms."

"To be sure He is. The song of labor is His, and I hev no doubt it is
quite as sweet in His ear as the song of praise. Your song is among the
looms, and mine is among the winds and waves, but they are both the
same, sir. It is all right. I'm sure I'm satisfied."

"How you do love the sea, Captain!"

"To be sure, I was born on it and, please God, I hope my death may be
from it and my grave in it, nearby some coast where the fisher-folk live
happily around me."

There was a few moments' silence, then John Hatton asked, "Are we likely
to have fine weather now?"

"Yes, sir, middling fine, until we pass Peterhead. At Aberdeen and
southward it may be still finer, and you might have a grand sail along
the east coast of Scotland and take a look at some of its famous towns."

This pleasant prospect was amply verified. It was soon blue seas and
white sea-birds and sunny skies, with a nice little whole-sail breeze in
the right direction. But John was not lured by any of the storied towns
of the east coast. "What time I can now spare I will give to Edinburgh,"
he said, in answer to the Captain's suggestion concerning St. Andrews,
Aberdeen, Anstruther and Largo. "I am straight for Edinburgh now. I feel
as if my holiday was over. I heard the clack of the looms this morning.
They need me, I dare say. I suppose we can be in Leith harbor by
Saturday night, Captain?"

"It may be Sunday, sir, if this wind holds. It is an east-windy
west-windy coast, and between here and Edinburgh the wind doesn't know
its own mind an hour at a time."

"Well, then, say Sunday. I will stay a few days in Edinburgh, and then
it must be Whitby and home."

It was Sunday afternoon when the yacht was snug in Leith harbor, and the
streets of Edinburgh were full of congregations returning home from the
different churches. He went to an hotel on Prince Street and ordered a
good dinner spread in his sitting-room. It was a large outlooking
apartment, showing him in the glorious sunset the Old Town piled as by a
dreamer, story over story, and at the top of this dream-like hill, the
gray ancient castle with bugles and the roll of drums sounding behind
its ramparts. Bridges leaped across a valley edged with gardens
connecting the Old Town with the New Town. Wherever his eyes fell, all
was romance and memories of romance, a magically

Towered, templed Metropolitan,
Waited upon by hills,
River, and wide-spread ocean; tinged
By April light, or draped and fringed
As April vapor wills.
Hanging like some vast Cyclops' dream
High in the shifting weather gleam.

After dinner he sat at the open window, thinking of many things, until
he finally fell asleep to dream of that illuminated vault in the castle,
in which glitters mysteriously the crown and scepter of the ancient
kings and queens of Scotland.

Into the glamour of this vision there came suddenly a dream of his
mother, and his home, and he awakened from it with an intense conviction
that his mother needed his presence, and that he must make all haste to
reach his home. In half an hour he had paid his bill and taken a
carriage for Leith harbor, and the yacht was speeding down the Firth ere
the wan, misty daylight brightened the colorless sea. The stillness of
sea and sky was magical and they were a little delayed by the calm, but
in due time the wind sprang up suddenly and the yacht danced into Whitby

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe Measure of a Man → online text (page 1 of 17)