« ElőzőTovább »
BEING A FIRESIDE HISTORY OF A
cient to maintain them at the necessary
From Blackwood's Magazine, altitudes. But among the elements THE STORY OF MARGREDEL : which are permitted to elevate themselves sufficiently, carbon now assumes
FIFESHIRE FAMILY.1 a distinctly prominent position iu virtue of the other remarkable property of
CHAPTER XIV. this element to which we have re
THE next forenoon saw Margrédel ferred. It is certain that the greater take her seat in the mail-coach among the distance from the solar centre, the a mixed company on its way to the lower must be the temperature
to ferry at Pettycur. She sat, unheedful which the materials are exposed. No of her neighbors, with a hard, fixed doubt in the interior of the sun the look, such as any traveller wears in our temperature is so high that even car
fast day, when it is a robbery of time bon must be there permanently gase
even to feel the wind on one's face ; But at a sufficient altitude above but it seemed so strange in a mailthe sun's surface or, to speak more coach, especially in a face so fair and accurately, at a sufficient distance from young, that there were few who did the sun's centre, the temperature is not remark it. One passenger at least, low enough to permit the carbon va
with some down upon his chin, thought pors to return to the liquid state and he should have liked to meet face to thus gather into the beads of liquid face with the man who caused her glowing carbon which forms the lumi- heaviness of heart. Doubtless the nous cloud. What then happens is fresh horses carried other heavy hearts clearly of the following nature. The as well as Margrédel's ; but he failed bigh velocities of the carbon molecules to observe them. Howsoever things are ever and anon conducting them to may change in fifty years, the habit is elerations in the solar atmosphere, like to last out time of young kuights where the temperature is sufficiently reading most need of a champion in low to reduce the carbon vapors to the pretty faces. cloudy state which they are so prone
Behind the hard eyes Margrédel was to assume.
Herein lies the essential conning the professor's message, wondifference between carbon
and the dering that he should have written it Other elements. In the first place if he could come out to the street to many of the elements never possess
deliver it to Rab), yet unable to think of sufficient molecular velocities to carry any cause for his sending it, save that them in any large quantities into the be required her by reason of illness. elevated regions. In the second place, From that her mind went back over among the elements which can attain many eccentricities of her uncle, and sufficient altitudes carbon is the most strange conduct of his in the past, with refractory, and therefore would be the the forebodings it bred; and all this first to take that step in condensation kept the memory of the last night's implied by its transformation into a emotions from overwhelming her, alcload.
though it gave tone to her thoughts, On these grouuds Dr. Stoney has even as the ground color of our canvas concluded that the same element, which comes up through what we paint upon is the great source of artificial light in it. And as not even the recuperative almost all forms on this earth, is also power of Margrédel's own land of the source of solar light. Our concep
France is stronger than that of youth tion of the important functions of car- and health, she was not within sight of bon in the universe is thus greatly the sea when the sunshine, and the Extended.
smell of leaves from under the hedgerows, and the joy of motion, drove
1 Published under arrangement with G. P. Putnam's Sons, the authorized American publishers of the book.
away her cares, and she grew curious from days in the sun and in the fields ; in the villages they passed through, and in her eyes, made familiar with and, while she talked but little, smiled their ruddiness, her uncle looked no at the small jokes which, as well as the paler than the shopkeepers, although wittiest, whiled away the road for the they were in their white aprons, and travellers. For Margréilel could not were out in the street, sun or no sun, become heavy-hearted all at once, any all day long, and would have left their more than the crafty look could have counters to mark the arrival of a. packcome in a day into the eyes of the pro- man. These pale - faced gentlemen, fessor, who was awaiting her iu front being in their aprons, touched their of the National Inn. Yet that day forelock to their children's teacher, as that look was very strong in his eyes; became tradesmen, and said, by and it is strange how, of a sudden, you by, that the professor's wench was notice fingers grown crooked with con- handsome ; while the women told one stant handling of guineas, or cheeks another that she had returned from pinched by long company with pov- Eden Braes, and that they 66 couldn't erty.
fathom her ever having been there, no Of course Margrédel was too de- more they could,” which was true. lighted to see him to notice this look, If it had been possible they should which was patent to others. As soon have fathomed it long ago, for this was
the coach jolted over the rough not the first time, by many hundreds, causeway, she was conscious of a feel that they had discussed the intimacy ing of new happiness at the thought of between the Oliphants and Margrédel. being home again. The sight of her “I haven't been well,” the professor uncle relieved her mind of its little said ; “but there's worse than that. fears; and whereas hitherto she had Another week would have meant ruin, always thought of him and of herself as you'll see.' as exiles in this grey street, her heart He laughed at her wonderment, and, now went out to the ragamuffins who letting her into the house, led her surrounded the coach, and to the shop- straight to where a little heap of broken keepers in their doorways, as to friends crockery lay in the kitchen. He did and neighbors. That showed how not tell her that in a whirl of passion deep had been the experience of the he had dashed to the ground the table past twenty-four hours, for she could and all that was on it, and that to the never have felt so towards Kirkcaldy coarseness of the household's ware aud Kirkcaldy folks had not the dip only did he owe it that he had been into the world outside been so disas- able to pick up much that was trous.
broken. But he blamed it all upon his When he had helped her to alight, clumsy hands, and said, I told you it he kissed her, and the onlookers meant ruin ; I am no housekeeper," as shrugged their shoulders. They were if he had broken one morning a cup, unaccustomed to kiss on the street or another morning a plate, piece by to slıake bands even, except one should piece, during the time she was away. so salute another in the market for Margrédel, the blood rushing to her sport or mockery. Then she noticed face with the thought of her uncle his paleness ; and he said, still hold- among the dishes each day (it would ing her in his arms and looking into her not have troubled her had she not seen face, as if they had been alone in the how, in Eden Braes, the men did nothhouse (only then he might have said ing in the house), cried out, it in French), —
"Oh, uncle I did I not say how it “And you're as brown as a berry, would be if I went away? I wish I Margrédel."
had not gone. You have had no comQuite relieved, she walked to the fort with me from home.” house on his arm). She had been liv- Yet she could not but laugh at the ing where all men's skins were brown comical face he made, like a vaughty
boy, as if he were wioking to himself Now that his eyes were directed to and not looking slyer than usual. it, the professor thought that the town
" But I have been ill," he replied. had an appearance of quiet and peace, "I should not have been, had I stuck with the smoke hanging lazily above to my own plain fare ; but I dived with it; so there he took Margrédel. Mr. Oliphant often, and drank his We kuow the rest ; how, as the even
years passed, now and then a chance He did not allow his voice to falter word, like Margréilel's recital of Opheas he spoke of this.
lia's wrong, would rouse the slumberMargréilel said, “Then . you would ing fury in him ; how the child came have been very ill if you had been to be able to set it asleep again. All with me;" whereupon his eye became the time, he was hiding their story brighter again, and he had a thousand from the neighbors, then from Marquestions to ask about Eden Braes, and grédel herself. This habit made him the doings there, and especially con- crafty, and passion lived long, being cerning Douglas.
covered like a gathered fire, till at To understand aright what it cost length at the discovery of the carving Robert Malbert to listen to Margrédel's in Margrédel's absence the volcano talk about Dug Oliphant, or how bitter wakeued and burned lurid. for bim was the kindness of her men- It was Douglas, of whose sailing and tion of bim, we must think what he story in Frauce Wull had spoken often, had suffered. As he had told Wull, it that the professor straightway marked was his sister Margrédel's memory that as bis enemy. He was not conscious had cheered him throughout the wars of arguing how it must have been and in his imprisonment. When he Douglas. It came like an inspiration returned to his home at leugth, it was with the discovery of his sister's name to find it desolate. His sister had gone in the old mansion-house. Burning in as a nurse to the neighboring garrison his brain was the figure of the dark town. But she was dead dead of lorseman whom Margrédel had pointed shame and of a broken heart and out from the windows as Jean's father; had left bebind hier this child, whom and he longed to coufront him in Eden the neighbors kept and called Margré- Braes, in his home, and When del. That, with the story of a hand- the spasm was past, the professor's some Englishman, was all ; the villagers palms were red, with nail-marks in bad had more to think of — building up them. He thought of Margréclel, and a their broken walls, and recalling the calm followed the tempest, until the memories of their own dead — than his low moaning of it began again with Dame or his route.
thoughts of how she should have her In a torrent of shame Robert Malbert rights, and of Eden Braes, and of the haid crossed the sea with the little Mar- mistress of Eden Braes. Why was she gréilel. In the land of his exile, some- there, while his pretty Margrédel slept where, he would find means of living at the back of the village forever ? away from hateful memories. The And the other Margrédel ought to be in sun, as he sailed up the Firth of Forth, Jeau's shoes, and should be, by the lay on the roofs of Kirkcaldy, and the holy Mary, let him once set fingers on town looked like a gold band round the this Douglas. His impulse was to ride bay, set with jewels where the wind- out at once to Eden Braes. No 1 Mar. mills struck sparks out of the sunlight. grédel was there ; and the fury died Iraning over the bulwarks at his side down, and doubt followed — the doubt was an old skipper, who without turn- if he might not be wrong, if there was ing his eyes pointed a finger in the proof of Douglas's wickedness. Any direction of the town.
one might know his niece as Margré“That's my toon,” he said, “an' del Malbert and carve her name. God!
back to't a hantle sicht She was as much Margréilel Molbert as puirer than I left it.”
any other name he knew of — Margré
del Malbert as soon as this pitiful Mar- ships that required fitting up anew; grédel English, which name he had and when he returned he was much given her before the neighbors in his occupied in public, for reform was early madness, and for his story's sake, greatly talked of, and the town was in a must stick to. But — Margrédel Oli- ferment of political feeling. phant! He fanned his fury by repeat- And oftentimes as she lay abed, ing the name again and again, and thinking of Jean, or of her uncle's new swore, looking on the stars from the love for the town's company, the problack, back windows, that he would fessor was lying longing to be in the prove this discovery.
old house, and to press his hands and Round and round in this circle had feed his eyes upon the carved letters in the professor's feelings worked during the dining-roon. the next day and night. The near approach of Margrédel's return found
CHAPTER XV. Craft at Passion's throat, keeping the “HULLO, Margrédel!" upper hand, although it struggled hard, It was in the last days of February, and got on its feet again, almost, when while Margrédel was walking homeMargrédel spoke kind words in its ears wards, under Mrs. Birrell's coufectionof the family at Eden Braes.
shop, opposite the narrow Kirk Wynd, So the fight lasted through the win-with its two stone sentries on which ter into the lengthening days, when the beggars sat, that Margrédel heard men ceased to speak of the summer her name called aloud. Looking round, that was past, and thought of that she scarce recognized young Willy Oliwhich was to conie. It was a poor phant of Eden Braes in the tall youth fight to write about, but stern if you who, with a smile on his face, was had seen how the knapsack sank deeper leading his horse towards her. He had between the professor's shoulders, and grown away from the schoolboy in how each morning found fresh grey these last months, and was a handsome hairs in his head.
young man, much like his Uncle Wull Still he learned nothing. He drank in the matter of looks and yellow hair, with the sailors on the quay, and with but perhaps firmer about the mouth, the old topers in the ions, and, drunk and with a dash of his mother's fire in or sober, could worm nothing from his eyes. He wore not a little of a them concerning Douglas, except the " milord” air, as became an Oliphant stories of old dissolute doings about the on Kirkcaldy streets. Moreover, he town. One hope remained. As soon looked well in his buckskins and new as summer was round he would go to boots, and it was perhaps because of France. He could not go sooner, for them that he dismounted daintily, not he must keep his pupils, for Margré- at all after the manner in which he del's future. He said to himself that was used to fling himself from the it was all for Margrédel's future, and brown pony. feigned belief that revenge was not When he held out his hand to Martugging at his heart's strings. So Pas- grédel, and she pleased him with the sion took a new tack, and flattered surprise in her eyes at the change in Craft to get the better of it.
him, you had thought every door and During this time Margrédel had one window and close-mouth within fifty or two letters from Jean, who said yards held a curious face — even as, nothing of Frank Hill. Margrédel, when Thrift crumbled the stale bread having been brought up out of the on the kitchen-sill, birds came flitting world, wondered if she could have to the tree-boughs in great flights and written so if her lover had proved sat there chatlering like women at a false. Nor, beyond what Jean wrote, well, so that you wondered that the did she hear much of Eden Braes. gardens could have bidden them That winter Wull Oliphant was away minute before. To judge from the in London, where he had bought some faces at the windows, they had much
to say on what they saw ; only, from uncle's door, he could see the crown the street you could not liear what was of Margrédel's bonnet under his eyes. spoken — which was a pity.
He could not have done that in the Beneath the very fine and gallant autumn. exterior of the boy now chatting to Margrédel's first Hush of pleasure at Margrédel was the veriest hobbledeboy meeting Willy past (for the genuine on this side the Firth. No sooner did laddie that he was delighted her like bis eyes light upon the confection-win- spring sunshine), her thoughts went dow, up to which they had often looked back to Eden Braes ; and there were wistfully when his uncle's house was many things concerning Jean which a boliday resort, than he must needs she would have liked to know, yet did sport his new manhood.
not care to ask about. Great was her "Granny Birrell's, by the Lord surprise, therefore, when Willy, lookHarry!” he said. · You like sugar- ing curiously at her, said,rock, Margrédel ?”
“Do you know, you've a better color Margrédel did ; and a rather bector- than Jean has ?" ing “Hullo there ! ” (because of the At Eden Braes they used to make little boys that were open-mouthed on fun of her “ town color,” and would the causeway) brought from behind say, “Put out your hand and make her counter, and down the one or two yourself at home. You maun grow steps, the white-capped, wbite-haired ruddy in the country ;” and no music old priestess of Willy's early temple. had ever sounded kinder to her ears. Such was the cheapness of the succu- So she replied to Willy,lept lusury, and the lavishness of our " Thanks to Eden Braes and the Foung squire, that I declare he cleared good friends there." the window-stock, so that so much But Willy said, afternoon sunshine never found its “Have you not heard that Jean's not way through the sweetie-shop panes well ?" before or since.
66 What ails her ? » When the old body returned with I Willy shook his head. know not how many sticks, he waved “Grown pale and soft,” he said. his hand, with a “For the lady," as if “ Taken to sitting in the house, and bis teeth had never watered where he that's not like her. It used to be, stood.
when I was at school, Willy, I'm dyBut Margrédel laughed outright, and ing for a gallop ;'or, Come along for protested.
a walk to Cage-whins and see the “ Hadn't you better ask Rab Hether- foxes. Now that I'm about the place wick to call for these ? ” she said, with all day long, she'll not stir a foot unless potle irony.
she's asked. Even then she's not a " He'll be doon the morn,” Granny mile from home when she turns Vic's. said, seeing no farther than a possible head. You see how fat he's getting.” loss of a large order.
He was riding Vic to-day. “I can't "Take one. They are yours," Willy make it out — with Jean. It's just said largely. "I'll carry some for you, since ad,” – for this did not dispose of the "Since when, Willy ?" Margrédel abole purchase yet, and it would never led him on. do to recall a pepny of what was spent
the regiment lifted.” on a lady – miserliness is not original His face was all aglow, and he stood 90,-" give the rest to the children, looking shamefacedly at his boots, and Is. Birrell."
tapping them savagely with his whip. He spoke as if childhood were for Margrédel turned to stroke Vic's glossy bin a far-off reminiscence. So it was. side, and kept her back to him. She Can anything be farther off than that had had several letters from Jean, but Thich has gone forever? As he led in none of them was there any mention bis borse slowly eastwards to her of Frank Hill. She knew that he had