« ElőzőTovább »
escaped our lips, when the clattering of horses' hoofs was heard, and two horsemen were seen trotting briskly up the lane. There was no mistaking their identity. It was my father, and my lost brother! Except the invalid, the whole household rushed out to greet them.
“Forgive the fright I have given you”—eagerly yet joyously exclaimed my brother, addressing my mother.—“It is the first time I have ever disobeyed the orders of my father, and it shall be the last. The explanation is shortly this–Dryburns, Little Lour, and Mickle Lour, and I, had all met in Morren's to dine together after the business of the day, and prepare for our homeward journey. Scarcely, however, had we taken our seats at the table, when the most tremendous storm of thunder and lightning broke over the town that we had ever witnessed. The rain came down like a cataract, flooding the streets as if it had been a deluge. Hours passed, and the storm raged with unabated fury. Darkness set in, and the feeble lamps began to twinkle and glimmer in the rainflooded, deserted streets. What was to be done ? By unanimous consent we judged discretion to be, at such a juncture, infinitely the better part of valour. And so we agreed to remain where we were for the night, with the fixed determination of returning home as early as we possibly could on the following morning. We kept our promise, but on the way remembering of some pressing business that required immediate attention at the market to-day in Forfar, I parted from my friends at the junction of the roads, at Tealing, and proceeded on my way to the county town. Proceeding along the High Street, in a few minutes I met my
father. He was, as you may well believe, overjoyed to see me; and so after a short paternal lecture on his part, and a solemn promise on mine, never to disobey orders again, we transacted the necessary business of the day; and here I am in the old house again—David, I am glad to hear, is better—but who is this? What! Jamie Langlands ?”—and the two friends most cordially joined hands, and warmly congratulated each other on the manly appearance each had assumed since they sat in their boyhood days, on the same form, at Daniel Robertson's wee school in the Bog.
The artful conduct of the tailor, and the non-fulfilment of his prediction in regard to the sailor, having been communicated to my father, he led the way to the house, gratefully exclaiming at the same time, “ To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to kill, and a time to heal ; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh ; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to love, and a time to hate ; a time of war, and a time of peace."
“ There is still the awfu' soond to be accounted for”. maliciously persisted the crest-fallen tailor; a remark which in the happy throng assembled in the kitchen, passed unheeded by all except my father, who merely said in reply--"God will bring every secret thing to judgment, whether it be for good, or whether it be for evil.”
The hilarity in the house became sympathetic in a high degree, so much so, that the convalescent invalid expressed an earnest wish to share in the general joy. For this purpose, and in opposition to the gentle remonstrances of my mother, he insisted on being partially dressed, and placed in the old arm-chair by the cheerful fire which burned so brightly in the cozy parlour. His wishes were complied with, and as one from the dead, his heart was lifted up to the throne on high, in silent yet heart-felt gratitude to the great Preserver for his merciful deliverance. “Now, goodwife," —coaxingly said my father,—“this is a
a night among nights; and I would like the whole household to assemble in the parlour, and that you, yourself should superintend the happy feast."
“ I'll do that with a right good will, goodman ”-emphatically replied my mother—"and all shall be seated at the table alike; no sitting above or below the salt; but all as one happy family met to rejoice together in each other's happiness.”
The damask table-cloth was accordingly laid, and the ample repast profusely spread. Doubt, and gloom, and grief had given way to confidence, and light, and joy. Peace and happiness rested lovingly together under the ancient rooftree of Airniefoul.
My father, regular and methodical in all his actions, took down the key from its accustomed place, and proceeded as was his wont every Saturday evening at the same hour, to wind
the old clock which stood at the east end of the sitting-room, in which we had all now assembled. Gently opening the door, he gazed for a moment in much surprise. Taking a candle from the table, he peered intently down to the bottom of the case, from which he lifted, in apparent wonderment, one of the heavy weights of the clock.
Placing the weight on the table in full view of every one present, he thus solemnly addressed the assembled guests—
Last Sabbath evening in the midst of the services of our family worship, a loud, strange, unearthly sound was suddenly heard, as if proceeding from this room. The mystery has remained unexplained until now. The rusty and worn-out wire, unable longer to sustain the weight, had, in a moment, given way, and down the heavy body came on the oaken floor with that supernatural weird-like sound, which so terribly paralyzed us all. The cause of the mysterious noise is now satisfactorily explained, thus severing in a moment the trying events of the by-gone week, with any superstitious agency whatever. Supposing, however, the cause had forever remained undiscovered, that was no reason why we, puny and insignificant mortals, that we are, should dare to interpret the mind of the Great Eternal ; far less to prophesy either good or evil from mysteries in Nature or Providence, which we can neither unravel nor comprehend."
All felt relieved as if some heavy burden had suddenly been removed from their oppressed spirits, for while the painful
incidents of the week had all terminated happily, the “Warning” had, until now, remained an unexplained mystery.
All eyes were now turned to the crest-fallen, disappointed tailor. He sat motionless and speechless, crouched and doubled up to half his usual size, in a further corner of the room, evidently smarting under the indirect yet well-merited rebuke just administered to him, and ashamed to look in the face those whose peace of mind he had intended to destroy, and by whom he was now so thoroughly despised.
The homely, yet substantial, feast was now heartily partaken of, and thoroughly appreciated ; and the happy enjoyment of the evening reached its culminating point, when the worthy host burst forth into song with all the energy and enthusiasm of his youth
Loud the timbrel sound,
Clash the cymbals high ;
Swell the minstrelsy.
Beat the martial drum,
Blow, ye trumpets, blow;
Hearts set all aglow.
Shoes, the golden ring,
Haste thee to me bring.
Mirth and song abound;
Smile on all around.
Storms and sobbing rain,
Rest in peace again.
Bliss without alloy ;
Never-ending joy !
Loud the timbrel sound,
Clash the cymbals high ;
Lov'd ones now are nigh!
During the hilarity that prevailed, the poor tailor had slunk away unobserved. Whether the rebuke administered to him had had the effect of curbing his propensity to proclaim warnings, and prophesy evil tidings, the records of the parish say not. One thing, however, is certain, that while he peregrinated the Glen as usual, he never again ventured within the precincts of Airniefoul !