Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science
Part 3 out of 4
But somehow or other, when the time for their departure was drawing
near, Mackenzie showed a strange desire that his guests should
spend the last two days in Stornoway. When Lavender first heard this
proposal he glanced toward Sheila, and his face showed clearly his
"But Sheila will go with us too," said her father, replying to that
unuttered protest in the most innocent fashion; and then Lavender's
face brightened again, and he said that nothing would give him greater
pleasure than to spend two days in Stornoway.
"And you must not think," said Mackenzie anxiously, "that it is one
day or two days or a great many days will show you all the fine things
about Stornoway. And if you were to live in Stornoway you would find
very good acquaintances and friends there; and in the autumn, when the
shooting begins, there are many English who will come up, and there
will be ferry great doings at the castle. And there is some gentlemen
now at Grimersta whom you hef not seen, and they are ferry fine
gentlemen; and at Garra-na-hina there iss two more gentlemen for the
salmon-fishing. Oh, there iss a great many fine people in the Lewis,
and it iss not all as lonely as Borva."
"If it is half as pleasant a place to live in as Borva, it will do,"
said Lavender, with a flush of enthusiasm in his face as he looked
toward Sheila and saw her pleased and downcast eyes.
"But it iss not to be compared," said Mackenzie eagerly. "Borva, that
is nothing at all; but the Lewis, it is a ferry different thing to
live in the Lewis; and many English gentlemen hef told me they would
like to live always in the Lewis."
"I think I should too," said Lavender lightly and carelessly, little
thinking what importance the old man immediately and gladly put upon
From that moment, Lavender, although unconscious of what had happened,
had nothing to fear in the way of opposition from Sheila's father. If
he had there and then boldly asked Mackenzie for his daughter, the
old man would have given his consent freely, and bade Lavender go to
And so they set sail, one pleasant forenoon, from Borvabost, and
the light wind that ruffled the blue of Loch Roag gently filled the
mainsail of the Maigh-dean-mhara as she lightly ran down the tortuous
"I don't like to go away from Borva," said Lavender in a low voice to
Sheila, "but I might have been leaving the island with greater regret,
for, you know, I expect to be back soon."
"We shall always be glad to see you," said the girl; and although he
would rather have had her say "I" than "we," there was something in
the tone of her voice that contented him.
At Garra-na-hina Mackenzie pointed out with a great interest to
Lavender a tall man who was going down through some meadows to the
Amhuinn Dhubh, "the Black River." He had a long rod over his shoulder,
and behind him, at some distance, followed a shorter man, who carried
a gaff and landing-net. Mackenzie anxiously explained to Lavender
that the tall figure was that of an Englishman. Lavender accepted
the statement. But would he not go down to the river and make his
acquaintance? Lavender could not understand why he should be expected
to take so great an interest in an ordinary English sportsman.
"Ferry well," said Mackenzie, a trifle disappointed, "but you would
find several of the English in the Lewis if you wass living here."
These last two days in Stornoway were very pleasant. On their previous
visit to the town Mackenzie had given up much of his time to business
affairs, and was a good deal away from his guests, but now he devoted
himself to making them particularly comfortable in the place and
amusing them in every possible way. He introduced Lavender, in
especial, to all his friends there, and was most anxious to impress
on the young man that life in Stornoway was, on the whole, rather a
brilliant affair. Then was there a finer point from which you
could start at will for Inverness, Oban and such great centres of
civilization? Very soon there would even be a telegraphic cable laid
to the mainland. Was Mr. Lavender aware that frequently you could see
the Sutherlandshire hills from this very town of Stornoway?
There Sheila laughed, and Lavender, who kept watching her face always
to read all her fancies and sentiments and wishes in the shifting
lights of it, immediately demanded an explanation.
"It is no good thing," said Sheila, "to see the Sutherland hills
often, for when you see them it means to rain."
But Lavender had not been taught to fear the rain of the Western
Isles. The very weather seemed to have conspired with Mackenzie to
charm the young man with the island. At this moment, for example, they
were driving away from Stornoway along the side of the great bay that
stretches northward until it finds its furthest promontory in Tiumpan
Head. What magnificence of color shone all around them in the hot
sunlight! Where the ruffled blue sea came near the long sweep of
yellow sand it grew to be a bright, transparent green. The splendid
curve of the bay showed a gleaming line of white where the waves
broke in masses of hissing foam; and beyond that curve again long
promontories of dark red conglomerate ran out into the darker waters
of the sea, with their summits shining with the bright sea-grass.
Here, close at hand, were warm meadows, with calves and lambs cropping
the sweet-scented Dutch clover. A few huts, shaped like beehives,
stood by the roadside, close by some deep peat cuttings. There was a
cutting in the yellow sand of the bay for the pulling up of captured
whales. Now and again you could see a solan dart down from the blue
heavens into the blue of the sea, sending up a spurt of water twenty
feet high as he disappeared; and far out there, between the red
precipices and the ruffled waters beneath, white sea-fowl flew from
crag to crag or dropped down upon the sea to rise and fall with the
At the small hamlet of Gress they got a large rowing-boat manned by
sturdy fishermen, and set out to explore the great caves formed in the
mighty wall of conglomerate that here fronts the sea. The wild-fowl
flew about them, screaming and yelling at being disturbed. The long
swell of the sea lifted the boat, passed from under it, and went on
with majestic force to crash on the glowing red crags and send jets of
foam flying up the face of them. They captured one of the sea-birds--a
young thing about as big as a hen, with staring eyes, scant feathers,
and a long beak with which it instinctively tried to bite its
enemies--and the parents of it kept swooping down over the boat,
uttering shrill cries, until their offspring was restored to the
surface of the water. They went into the great loud-sounding caverns,
getting a new impression of the extraordinary clearness of the
sea-water by the depth at which the bottom was visible; and here their
shouts occasionally called up from some dim twilight recess, far
in among the perilous rocks, the head of a young seal, which would
instantly dive again and be seen no more. They watched the salmon
splash in the shallower creeks where the sea had scooped out a tiny
bay of ruddy sand, and then a slowly rolling porpoise would show his
black back above the water and silently disappear again. All this was
pleasant enough on a pleasant morning, in fresh sea-air and sunlight,
in holiday-time; and was there any reason, Mackenzie may fairly have
thought, why this young man, if he did marry Sheila, should not come
and live in a place where so much healthy amusement was to be found?
And in the evening, too, when they had climbed to the top of the
hills on the south of Stornoway harbor, did not the little town look
sufficiently picturesque, with its white houses, its shipping, its
great castle and plantations lying in shadow under the green of the
eastern sky? Then away to the west what a strange picture presented
itself! Thick bands of gray cloud lay across the sky, and the sunlight
from behind them sent down great rays of misty yellow on the endless
miles of moor. But how was it that, as these shafts of sunlight struck
on the far and successive ridges of the moorland, each long undulation
seemed to become transparent, and all the island appeared to consist
of great golden-brown shells heaped up behind each other, with the
sunlight shining through?
"I have tried a good many new effects since coming up here," said
Lavender, "but I shall not try _that_."
"Oh, it iss nothing--it is nothing at all," said Mackenzie with a
studied air of unconcern. "There iss much more beautiful things than
that in the island, but you will hef need of a ferry long time before
you will find it all out. That--that iss nothing at all."
"You will perhaps make a picture of it some other time," said Sheila
with her eyes cast down, and as he was standing by her at the time, he
took her hand and pressed it, and said, "I hope so."
Then, that night! Did not every hour produce some new and wonderful
scene, or was it only that each minute grew to be so precious, and
that the enchantment of Sheila's presence filled the air around him?
There was no moon, but the stars shone over the bay and the harbor and
the dusky hills beyond the castle. Every few seconds the lighthouse at
Arnish Point sent out its wild glare of orange fire into the heart, of
the clear darkness, and then as suddenly faded out and left the eyes
too bewildered to make out the configuration of the rocks. All over
the north-west there still remained the pale glow of the twilight, and
somehow Lavender seemed to think that that strange glow belonged
to Sheila's home in the west, and that the people in Stornoway knew
nothing of the wonders of Loch Roag and of the strange nights there.
Was he likely ever to forget?
"Good-bye, Sheila," he said next morning, when the last signal had
been given and the Clansman was about to move from her moorings.
She had bidden good-bye to Ingram already, but somehow she could not
speak to his companion just at this last moment. She pressed his hand
and turned away, and went ashore with her father. Then the big steamer
throbbed its way out of the harbor, and by and by the island of Lewis
lay but as a thin blue cloud along the horizon; and who could tell
that human beings, with strange hopes and fancies and griefs, were
hidden away in that pale line of vapor?
A night journey from Greenock to London is a sufficiently prosaic
affair in ordinary circumstances, but it need not be always so. What
if a young man, apparently occupied in making himself comfortable and
in talking nonsense to his friend and companion, should be secretly
calculating how the journey could be made most pleasant to a bride,
and that bride his bride? Lavender made experiments with regard to the
ways and tempers of guards; he borrowed planks of wood with which to
make sleeping-couches of an ordinary first-class carriage; he bribed a
certain official to have the compartment secured; he took note of the
time when, and the place where, refreshments could be procured: all
these things he did, thinking of Sheila. And when Ingram, sometimes
surprised by his good-nature, and occasionally remonstrating against
his extravagance, at last fell asleep on the more or less comfortable
cushions stretched across the planks, Lavender would have him wake up
again, that he might be induced to talk once more about Sheila. Ingram
would make use of some wicked words, rub his eyes, ask what was the
last station they had passed, and then begin to preach to Lavender
about the great obligations he was under to Sheila, and what would be
expected of him in after times.
"You are coming away just now," he would say, while Lavender, who
could not sleep at all, was only anxious that Sheila's name should be
mentioned, "enriched with a greater treasure than falls to the lot of
most men. If you know how to value that treasure, there is not a king
or emperor in Europe who should not envy you."
"But don't you think I value it?" the other would say anxiously.
"We'll see about that afterward, by what you do. But in the mean
time you don't know what you have won. You don't know the magnificent
single-heartedness of that girl, her keen sense of honor, nor the
strength of character, of judgment and decision that lies beneath her
apparent simplicity. Why, I have known Sheila, now--But what's the use
"I wish you would talk, though, Ingram," said his companion quite
submissively. "You have known her longer than I. I am willing to
believe all you say of her, and anxious, indeed, to know as much about
her as possible. You don't suppose I fancy she is anything less than
"Well," said Ingram doubtfully, "perhaps not. The worst of it is, that
you take such odd readings of people. However, when you marry her, as
I now hope you may, you will soon find out; and then, if you are
not grateful, if you don't understand and appreciate _then_ the fine
qualities of this girl, the sooner you put a millstone round your neck
and drop over Chelsea Bridge the better."
"She will always have in you a good friend to look after her when she
comes to London."
"Oh, don't imagine I mean to thrust myself in at your breakfast-table
to give you advice. If a husband and wife cannot manage their own
affairs satisfactorily, no third person can; and I am getting to be an
elderly man, who likes peace and comfort and his own quiet."
"I wish you wouldn't talk such nonsense!" said Lavender impetuously.
"You know you are bound to marry; and the woman you ask to marry you
will be a precious fool if she refuses. I don't know, indeed, how you
and Sheila ever escaped--"
"Look here, Lavender," said his companion, speaking in a somewhat more
earnest fashion, "if you marry Sheila Mackenzie I suppose I may see
something of both of you from time to time. But you are naturally
jealous and exacting, as is the way with many good fellows who have
had too much of their own will in the world; and if you start off with
the notion now that Sheila and I might ever have married, or that such
a thing was ever thought of by either of us, the certain consequence
will be that you will become jealous of me, and that in time I shall
have to stop seeing either of you if you happen to be living in
"And if ever the time comes," said Lavender lightly, "when I prove
myself such a fool, I hope I shall remember that a millstone can be
bought in Victoria road and that Chelsea Bridge is handy."
"All right: I'm going to sleep."
For some time after Ingram was permitted to rest in peace, and it was
not until they had reached some big station or other toward morning
that he woke. Lavender had never closed his eyes.
"Haven't you been asleep?"
"What's the matter now?"
"You seem to have acquired a trick recently of looking at all the
difficulties of your position at once. Why don't you take them
singly? You've just got rid of Mackenzie's opposition: that might have
contented you for a while."
"I think the best plan will be to say nothing of this to my aunt at
present. I think we ought to get married first, and when I take Sheila
to see her as my wife, what can she say then?"
"But what is Sheila likely to say before then? And Sheila's father?
You must be out of your mind!"
"There will be a pretty scene, then, when I tell her."
"Scenes don't hurt anybody, unless when they end in brickbats or
decanters. Your aunt must know you would marry some day."
"Yes, but you know whom she wished me to marry."
"That is nothing. Every old lady has a fancy for imagining possible
marriages; but your aunt is a reasonable woman, and could not possibly
object to your marrying a girl like Sheila?"
"Oh, couldn't she? Then you don't know her: 'Frank, my dear, what are
the arms borne by your wife's family?' 'My dear aunt, I will describe
them to you as becomes a dutiful nephew. The arms are quarterly:
first and fourth, vert, a herring, argent; second and third, azure, a
solan-goose, volant, or. The crest, out of a crown vallery, argent,
a cask of whisky, gules. Supporters, dexter, a gillie; sinister, a
"And a very good coat-of-arms, too. You might add the motto _Ultimus
regum_. Or _Atavis editus regibus_. Or _Tyrrhena regum progenies_. To
think that your aunt would forbid your wedding a king's daughter!"
"I should wed the king's daughter, aunt or no aunt, in any case; but,
you see, it would be uncommonly awkward, just as old Mackenzie would
want to know something more particular about my circumstances; and he
might ask for references to the old lady herself, just as if I were a
tenant about to take a house."
"I have given him enough references. Go to sleep, and don't bother
But now Ingram felt himself just as unable as his companion to escape
into unconsciousness, and so he roused himself thoroughly, and began
to talk about Lewis and Borva and the Mackenzies, and the duties and
responsibilities Lavender would undertake in marrying Sheila.
"Mackenzie," he said, "will expect you to live in Stornoway at least
half the year, and it will be very hard on him if you don't."
"Oh, as to that," said the other, "I should have no objection; but,
you see, if I am to get married I really think I ought to try to get
into some position of earning my own living or helping toward it, you
know. I begin to see how galling this sort of dependence on my aunt
might be if I wished to act for myself. Now, if I were to begin to
do anything, I could not go and bury myself in Lewis for half the
year--just at first: by and by, you know, it might be different. But
don't you think I ought to begin and do something?"
"Most certainly. I have often wished you had been born a carpenter or
painter or glazier."
"People are not born carpenters or glaziers, but sometimes they are
born painters. I think I have been born nothing; but I am willing to
try, more especially as I think Sheila would like it."
"I know she would."
"I will write and tell her the moment I get to London."
"I would fix first what your occupation was to be, if I were you.
There is no hurry about telling Sheila, although she will be very glad
to get as much news of you as possible, and I hope you will spare
no time or trouble in pleasing her in that line. By the way, what an
infamous shame it was of you to go and gammon old Mackenzie into the
belief that he can read poetry! Why, he will make that girl's life a
burden to her. I heard him propose to read _Paradise Lost_ to her as
soon as the rain set in."
"I didn't gammon him," said Lavender with a laugh. "Every man thinks
he can read poetry better than every other man, even as every man
fancies that no one gets cigars as good and as cheap as he does, and
that no one can drive a horse safely but himself. My talking about
his reading was not as bad as Sheila's persuading him that he can
play whist. Did you ever know a man who did not believe that everybody
else's reading of poetry was affected, stilted and unbearable? I
know Mackenzie must have been reading poetry to Sheila long before I
mentioned it to him."
"But that suggestion about his resonant voice and the Crystal Palace?"
"That was a joke."
"He did not take it as a joke, and neither did Sheila."
"Well, Sheila would believe that her father could command the Channel
fleet, or turn out the present ministry, or build a bridge to America,
if only anybody hinted it to her. Touching that Crystal Palace: did
you observe how little notion of size she could have got from pictures
when she asked me if the Crystal Palace was much bigger than the
hot-houses at Lewis Castle?"
"What a world of wonder the girl is coming into!" said the other
meditatively. "But it will be all lit up by one sun if only you take
care of her and justify her belief in you."
"I have not much doubt," said Lavender with a certain modest
confidence in his manner which had repeatedly of late pleased his
Even Sheila herself could scarcely have found London more strange than
did the two men who had just returned from a month's sojourn in the
northern Hebrides. The dingy trees in Euston Square, the pale sunlight
that shone down on the gray pavements, the noise of the omnibuses and
carts, the multitude of strangers, the blue and mist-like smoke that
hung about Tottenham Court road,--all were as strange to them as the
sensation of sitting in a hansom and being driven along by an unseen
driver. Lavender confessed afterward that he was pervaded by an odd
sort of desire to know whether there was anybody in London at all
like Sheila. Now and again a smartly-dressed girl passed along the
pavement: what was it that made the difference between her and that
other girl whom he had just left? Yet he wished to have the
difference as decided as possible. When some bright, fresh-colored,
pleasant-looking girl passed, he was anxious to prove to himself that
she was not to be compared with Sheila. Where in all London could
you find eyes that told so much? He forgot to place the specialty of
Sheila's eyes in the fact of their being a dark gray-blue under black
eyelashes. What he did remember was that no eyes could possibly say
the same things to him as they had said. And where in all London was
the same sweet aspect to be found, or the same unconsciously proud
and gentle demeanor, or the same tender friendliness expressed in a
beautiful face? He would not say anything against London women, for
all that. It was no fault of theirs that they could not be sea-kings'
daughters, with the courage and frankness and sweetness of the sea
gone into their blood. He was only too pleased to have proved to
himself, by looking at some half dozen pretty shop-girls, that not in
London was there any one to compare with Princess Sheila.
For many a day thereafter Ingram had to suffer a good deal of this
sort of lover's logic, and bore it with great fortitude. Indeed,
nothing pleased him more than to observe that Lavender's affection, so
far from waning, engrossed more and more of his thought and his
time; and he listened with unfailing good-nature and patience to the
perpetual talk of his friend about Sheila and her home, and the future
that might be in store for both of them. If he had accepted half the
invitations to dinner sent down to him at the Board of Trade by his
friend, he would scarcely ever have been out of Lavender's club. Many
a long evening they passed in this way--either in Lavender's rooms
in King street or in Ingram's lodgings in Sloane street. Ingram quite
consented to lie in a chair and smoke, sometimes putting in a word of
caution to bring Lavender back from the romantic Sheila to the real
Sheila, sometimes smiling at some wild proposal or statement on the
part of his friend, but always glad to see that the pretty idealisms
planted during their stay in the far North were in no danger of dying
out down here in the South. Those were great days, too, when a letter
arrived from Sheila. Nothing had been said about their corresponding,
but Lavender had written shortly after his arrival in London, and
Sheila had answered for her father and herself. It wanted but a very
little amount of ingenuity to continue the interchange of letters
thus begun; and when the well-known envelope arrived high holiday was
immediately proclaimed by the recipient of it. He did not show Ingram
these letters, of course, but the contents of them were soon bit
by bit revealed. He was also permitted to see the envelope, as if
Sheila's handwriting had some magical charm about it. Sometimes,
indeed, Ingram had himself a letter from Sheila, and that was
immediately shown to Lavender. Was he pleased to find that these
communications were excessively business-like--describing how the
fishing was going on, what was doing in the schools, and how John
the Piper was conducting himself, with talk about the projected
telegraphic cable, the shooting in Harris, the health of Bras, and
other esoteric matters?
Lavender's communications with the King of Borva were of a different
nature. Wonderful volumes on building, agriculture and what not,
tobacco hailing from certain royal sources in the neighborhood of
the Pyramids, and now and again a new sort of rifle or some fresh
invention in fishing-tackle,--these were the sort of things that found
their way to Lewis. And then in reply came haunches of venison,
and kegs of rare whisky, and skins of wild animals, which, all very
admirable in their way, were a trifle cumbersome in a couple of
moderate rooms in King street, St. James's. But here Lavender hit upon
a happy device. He had long ago talked to his aunt of the mysterious
potentate in the far North, who was the ruler of man, beast and
fish, and who had an only daughter. When these presents arrived, Mrs.
Lavender was informed that they were meant for her, and was given
to understand that they were the propitiatory gifts of a half-savage
monarch who wished to seek her friendship. In vain did Ingram warn
Lavender of the possible danger of this foolish joke. The young man
laughed, and would come down to Sloane street with another story of
his success as an envoy of the distant king.
And so the months went slowly by, and Lavender raved about Sheila,
and dreamed about Sheila, and was always going to begin some splendid
achievement for Sheila's sake, but never just managed to begin.
After all, the future did not look very terrible, and the present
was satisfactory enough. Mrs. Lavender had no objection whatever to
listening to his praises of Sheila, and had even gone the length of
approving of the girl's photograph when it was shown her. But at the
end of six months Lavender suddenly went down to Sloane street,
found Ingram in his lodgings, and said, "Ingram, I start for Lewis
"The more fool you!" was the complacent reply.
"I can't bear this any longer: I must go and see her."
"You'll have to bear worse if you go. You don't know what getting to
Lewis is in the winter. You'll be killed with cold before you see the
"I can stand a good bit of cold when there's a reason for it," said
the young man; "and I have written to Sheila to say I should start
"In that case I had better make use of you. I suppose you won't mind
taking up to Sheila a sealskin jacket that I have bought for her."
"That you have bought for her!" said the other.
How could he have spared fifteen pounds out of his narrow income for
such a present? And yet he laughed at the idea of his ever having been
in love with Sheila.
Lavender took the sealskin jacket with him, and started on his journey
to the North. It was certainly all that Ingram had prophesied in the
way of discomfort, hardship and delay. But one forenoon, Lavender,
coming up from the cabin of the steamer into which he had descended
to escape from the bitter wind and the sleet, saw before him a strange
thing. In the middle of the black sea and under a dark gray sky lay
a long wonder-land of gleaming snow. Far as the eye could see the
successive headlands of pale white jutted out into the dark ocean,
until in the south they faded into a gray mist and became invisible.
And when they got into Stornoway harbor, how black seemed the waters
of the little bay and the hulls of the boats and the windows of the
houses against the blinding white of the encircling hills!
"Yes," said Lavender to the captain, "it will be a cold drive across
to Loch Roag. I shall give Mackenzie's man a good dram before we
But it was not Mackenzie's notion of hospitality to send Duncan to
meet an honored guest, and ere the vessel was fast moored Lavender had
caught sight of the well-known pair of horses and the brown wagonette,
and Mackenzie stamping up and down in the trampled snow. And this
figure close down to the edge of the quay? Surely, there was something
about the thick gray shawl, the white feather, the set of the head,
that he knew!
"Why, Sheila!" he cried, jumping ashore before the gangway was shoved
across, "whatever made you come to Stornoway on such a day?"
"And it is not much my coming to Stornoway if you will come all the
way from England to the Lewis," said Sheila, looking up with her
bright and glad eyes.
For six months he had been trying to recall the tones of her voice in
looking at her picture, and had failed: now he fancied that she spoke
more sweetly and musically than ever.
"Ay, ay," said Mackenzie when he had shaken hands with the young
man, "it wass a piece of foolishness, her coming over to meet you in
Styornoway; but the girl will be neither to hold nor to bind when she
teks a foolishness into her head."
"Is this the character I hear of you, Sheila?" he said; and Mackenzie
laughed at his daughter's embarrassment, and said she was a good lass
for all that, and bundled both the young folks into the inn, where
luncheon had been provided, with a blazing fire in the room, and a
kettle of hot water steaming beside it.
When they got to Borva, Lavender began to see that Mackenzie had laid
the most subtle plans for reconciling him to the hard weather of these
northern winters; and the young man, nothing loath, fell into his
ways, and was astonished at the amusement and interest that could
be got out of a residence in this bleak island at such a season.
Mackenzie discarded at once the feeble protections against cold and
wet which his guest had brought with him. He gave him a pair of his
own knickerbockers and enormous boots; he made him wear a frieze coat
borrowed from Duncan; he insisted on his turning down the flap of a
sealskin cap and tying the ends under his chin; and thus equipped they
started on many a rare expedition round the coast. But on their first
going out, Mackenzie, looking at him, said with some chagrin, "Will
they wear gloves when they go shooting in your country?"
"Oh," said Lavender, "these are only a pair of old dogskins I
use chiefly to keep my hands clean. You see I have cut out the
trigger-finger. And they keep your hands from being numbed, you know,
with the cold or the rain."
"There will be not much need of that after a little while," said
Mackenzie; and indeed, after half an hour's tramping over snow and
climbing over rocks, Lavender was well inclined to please the old man
by tossing the gloves into the sea, for his hands were burning with
Then the pleasant evenings after all the fatigues of the day were
over, clothes changed, dinner despatched, and Sheila at the open piano
in that warm little drawing-room, with its strange shells and fish and
Love in thine eyes for ever plays;
He in thy snowy bosom strays,
they sang, just as in the bygone times of summer; and now old
Mackenzie had got on a bit farther in his musical studies, and could
hum with the best of them,
He makes thy rosy lips his care,
And walks the mazes of thy hair.
There was no winter at all in the snug little room, with its crimson
fire and closed shutters and songs of happier times. "When the
rosy morn appearing" had nothing inappropriate in it; and if they
particularly studied the words of "Oh wert thou in the cauld
blast," it was only that Sheila might teach her companion the Scotch
pronunciation, as far as she knew it. And once, half in joke, Lavender
said he could believe it was summer again if Sheila had only on her
slate-gray silk dress, with the red ribbon round her neck; and sure
enough, after dinner she came down in that dress, and Lavender
took her hand and kissed it in gratitude. Just at that moment, too,
Mackenzie began to swear at Duncan for not having brought him his
pipe, and not only went out of the room to look for it, but was a
full half hour in finding it. When he came in again he was singing
Love in thine eyes for ever plays,
just as if he had got his pipe round the corner.
For it had been all explained by this time, you know, and Sheila had
in a couple of trembling words pledged away her life, and her father
had given his consent. More than that he would have done for the girl,
if need were; and when he saw the perfect happiness shining in her
eyes--when he saw that, through some vague feelings of compunction
or gratitude, or even exuberant joy, she was more than usually
affectionate toward himself--he grew reconciled to the ways of
Providence, and was ready to believe that Ingram had done them all a
good turn in bringing his friend from the South with him. If there
was any haunting fear at all, it was about the possibility of Sheila's
husband refusing to live in Stornoway, even for half the year or a
portion of the year; but did not the young man express himself as
delighted beyond measure with Lewis and the Lewis people, and the
sports and scenery and climate of the island? If Mackenzie could have
bought fine weather at twenty pounds a day, Lavender would have gone
back to London with the conviction that there was only one thing
better than Lewis in summer-time, and that was Lewis in time of snow
The blow fell. One evening a distinct thaw set in, during the night
the wind went round to the south-west, and in the morning, lo! the
very desolation of desolation. Suainabhal, Mealasabhal, Cracabhal were
all hidden away behind dreary folds of mist; a slow and steady rain
poured down from the lowering skies on the wet rocks, the marshy
pasture-land and the leafless bushes; the Atlantic lay dark under a
gray fog, and you could scarcely see across the loch in front of the
house. Sometimes the wind freshened a bit, and howled about the house
or dashed showers against the streaming panes; but ordinarily there
was no sound but the ceaseless hissing of the rain on the wet gravel
at the door and the rush of the waves along the black rocks. All signs
of life seemed to have fled from the earth and the sky. Bird and beast
had alike taken shelter, and not even a gull or a sea-pye crossed the
melancholy lines of moorland, which were half obscured by the mist of
"Well, it can't be fine weather always," said Lavender cheerfully when
Mackenzie was affecting to be greatly surprised to find such a thing
as rain in the island of Lewis.
"No, that iss quite true," said the old man. "It wass ferry good
weather we were having since you hef come here. And what iss a little
rain?--oh, nothing at all. You will see it will go away whenever the
wind goes round."
With that Mackenzie would again go out to the front of the house,
take a turn up and down the wet gravel, and pretend to be scanning the
horizon for signs of a change. Sheila, a good deal more honest, went
about her household duties, saying merely to Lavender, "I am very
sorry the weather has broken, but it may clear before you go away from
"Before I go? Do you expect it to rain for a week?"
"Perhaps it will not, but it is looking very bad to-day," said Sheila.
"Well, I don't care," said the young man, "though it should rain the
skies down, if only you would keep in-doors, Sheila. But you do go
out in such a reckless fashion. You don't seem to reflect that it is
"I do not get wet," she said.
"Why, when you came up from the shore half an hour ago your hair was
as wet as possible, and your face all red and gleaming with the rain."
"But I am none the worse. And I am not wet now. It is impossible that
you will always keep in a room if you have things to do; and a little
rain does not hurt any one."
"It occurs to me, Sheila," he observed slowly, "that you are an
exceedingly obstinate and self-willed young person, and that no one
has ever exercised any proper control over you."
She looked up for a moment with a sudden glance of surprise and pain:
then she saw in his eyes that he meant nothing, and she went forward
to him, putting her hand in his hand, and saying with a smile, "I am
very willing to be controlled."
"Are you really?"
"Then hear my commands. You shall _not_ go out in time of rain without
putting something over your head or taking an umbrella. You shall
_not_ go out in the Maighdean-mhara without taking some one with you
besides Mairi. You shall never, if you are away from home, go within
fifty yards of the sea, so long as there is snow on the rocks."
"But that is so very many things already: is it not enough?" said
"You will faithfully remember and observe these rules?"
"Then you are a more obedient girl than I imagined or expected; and
you may now, if you are good, have the satisfaction of offering me
a glass of sherry and a biscuit, for, rain or no rain, Lewis is a
dreadful place for making people hungry."
Mackenzie need not have been afraid. Strange as it may appear,
Lavender was well content with the wet weather. No depression or
impatience or remonstrance was visible on his face when he went to
the blurred windows, day after day, to see only the same desolate
picture--the dark sea, the wet rocks, the gray mists over the moorland
and the shining of the red gravel before the house. He would stand
with his hands in his pocket and whistle "Love in thine eyes for ever
plays," just as if he were looking out on a cheerful summer sunrise.
When he and Sheila went to the door, and were received by a cold blast
of wet wind and a driving shower of rain, he would slam the door to
again with a laugh, and pull the girl back into the house. Sometimes
she would not be controlled; and then he would accompany her about the
garden as she attended to her duties, or would go down to the shore
with her to give Bras a run. From these excursions he returned in
the best of spirits, with a fine color in his face; until, having got
accustomed to heavy boots, impervious frieze and the discomfort of
wet hands, he grew to be about as indifferent to the rain as Sheila
herself, and went fishing or shooting or boating with much content,
whether it was wet or dry.
"It has been the happiest month of my life--I know that," he said to
Mackenzie as they stood together on the quay at Stornoway.
"And I hope you will hef many like it in the Lewis," said the old man
"I think I should soon learn to become a Highlander up here," said
Lavender, "if Sheila would only teach me the Gaelic."
"The Gaelic!" cried Mackenzie impatiently. "The Gaelic! It is none of
the gentlemen who will come here in the autumn will want the Gaelic;
and what for would you want the Gaelic--ay, if you was staying here
the whole year round?"
"But Sheila will teach me all the same--won't you, Sheila?" he said,
turning to his companion, who was gazing somewhat blankly at the rough
steamer and at the rough gray sea beyond the harbor.
"Yes," said the girl: she seemed in no mood for joking.
Lavender returned to town more in love than ever; and soon the news
of his engagement was spread abroad, he nothing loath. Most of his
club-friends laughed, and prophesied it would come to nothing. How
could a man in Lavender's position marry anybody but an heiress? He
could not afford to go and marry a fisherman's daughter. Others came
to the conclusion that artists and writers and all that sort of people
were incomprehensible, and said "Poor beggar!" when they thought of
the fashion in which Lavender had ruined his chances in life. His
lady friends, however, were much more sympathetic. There was a dash of
romance in the story; and would not the Highland girl be a curiosity
for a little while after she came to town? Was she like any of the
pictures Mr. Lavender had hanging up in his rooms? Had he not even a
sketch of her? An artist, and yet not have a portrait of the girl he
had chosen to marry? Lavender had no portrait of Sheila to show. Some
little photographs he had he kept for his own pocket-book, while in
vain had he tried to get some sketch or picture that would convey to
the little world of his friends and acquaintances some notion of his
future bride. They were left to draw on their imagination for some
presentiment of the coming princess.
He told Mrs. Lavender, of course. She said little, but sent for Edward
Ingram. Him she questioned in a cautious, close and yet apparently
indifferent way, and then merely said that Frank was very impetuous,
that it was a pity he had resolved on marrying out of his own sphere
of life, but that she hoped the young lady from the Highlands would
prove a good wife to him.
"I hope he will prove a good husband to her," said Ingram with unusual
"Frank is very impetuous." That was all Mrs. Lavender would say.
By and by, as the spring drew on and the time of the marriage was
coming nearer, the important business of taking and furnishing a house
for Sheila's reception occupied the attention of the young man from
morning till night. He had been somewhat disappointed at the cold
fashion in which his aunt looked upon his choice, admitting everything
he had to say in praise of Sheila, but never expressing any approval
of his conduct or hope about the future; but now she showed herself
most amiably and generously disposed. She supplied the young man with
abundant funds wherewith to furnish the house according to his own
fancy. It was a small place, fronting a somewhat commonplace square in
Notting Hill, but it was to be a miracle of artistic adornment inside.
He tortured himself for days over rival shades and hues; he drew
designs for the chairs; he himself painted a good deal of paneling;,
and, in short, gave up his whole time to making Sheila's future home
beautiful. His aunt regarded these preparations with little interest,
but she certainly gave her nephew ample means to indulge the
eccentricities of his fancy.
"Isn't she a dear old lady?" said Lavender one night to Ingram. "Look
here! A cheque, received this morning, for two hundred pounds, for
plate and glass."
Ingram looked at the bit of pale green paper: "I wish you had earned
the money yourself, or done without the plate until you could buy it
with your own money."
"Oh, confound it, Ingram! you carry your puritanical theories too far.
Doubtless I shall earn my own living by and by. Give me time."
"It is now nearly a year since you thought of marrying Sheila
Mackenzie, and you have not done a stroke of work yet."
"I beg your pardon. I have worked a good deal of late, as you will see
when you come up to my rooms."
"Have you sold a single picture since last summer?"
"I cannot make people buy my pictures if they don't choose to do so."
"Have you made any effort to get them sold, or to come to any
arrangement with any of the dealers?"
"I have been too busy of late--looking after this house, you know,"
said Lavender with an air of apology.
"You were not too busy to paint a fan for Mrs. Lorraine, that people
say must have occupied you for months."
Lavender laughed: "Do you know, Ingram, I think you are jealous of
Mrs. Lorraine, on account of Sheila? Come, you shall go and see her."
"No, thank you."
"Are you afraid of your Puritan principles giving way?"
"I am afraid that you are a very foolish boy," said the other with a
good-humored shrug of resignation, "but I hope to see you mend when
"Ah, then you _will_ see a difference!" said Lavender seriously; and
so the dispute ended.
It had been arranged that Ingram should go up to Lewis to the
marriage, and after the ceremony in Stornoway return to Borva with
Mr. Mackenzie, to remain with him a few days. But at the last moment
Ingram was summoned down to Devonshire on account of the serious
illness of some near relative, and accordingly Frank Lavender started
by himself to bring back with him his Highland bride. His stay in
Borva was short enough on this occasion. At the end of it there came a
certain wet and boisterous day, the occurrences in which he afterward
remembered as if they had taken place in a dream. There were many
faces about, a confusion of tongues, a good deal of dram-drinking,
a skirl of pipes, and a hurry through the rain; but all these things
gave place to the occasional glance that he got from a pair of timid
and trusting and beautiful eyes. Yet Sheila was not Sheila in that
dress of white, with her face a trifle pale. She was more his own
Sheila when she had donned her rough garments of blue, and when she
stood on the wet deck of the vessel, with a great gray shawl around
her, talking to her father with a brave effort at cheerfulness,
although her lip would occasionally quiver as one or other, of her
friends from Borva--many of them barefooted children--came up to bid
her good-bye. Her father talked rapidly, with a grand affectation of
indifference. He swore at the weather. He bade her see that Bras was
properly fed, and if the sea broke over his box in the night, he was
to be rubbed dry, and let out in the morning for a run up and down
the deck. She was not to forget the parcel directed to an innkeeper
at Oban. They would find Oban a very nice place at which to break the
journey to London, but as for Greenock, Mackenzie could find no words
with which to describe Greenock.
And then, in the midst of all this, Sheila suddenly said, "Papa, when
does the steamer leave?"
"In a few minutes. They have got nearly all the cargo on board."
"Will you do me a great favor, papa?"
"Ay, but what is it, Sheila?"
"I want you not to stay here till the boat sails, and then you will
have all the people on the quay vexing you when you are going away. I
want you to bid good-bye to us now, and drive away round to the point,
and we shall see you the last of all when the steamer has got out of
"Ferry well, Sheila, I will do that," he said, knowing well why the
girl wished it.
So father and daughter bade good-bye to each other; and Mackenzie went
on shore with his face down, and said not a word to any of his friends
on the quay, but got into the wagonette, and, lashing the horses,
drove rapidly away. As he had shaken hands with Lavender, Lavender had
said to him, "Well, we shall soon be back in Borva again to see you;"
and the old man had merely tightened the grip of his hand as he left.
The roar of the steam-pipes ceased, the throb of the engines struck
the water, and the great steamer steamed away from the quay and out of
the plain of the harbor into a wide world of gray waves and wind and
rain. There stood Mackenzie as they passed, the dark figure clearly
seen against the pallid colors of the dismal day; and Sheila waved
a handkerchief to him until Stornoway and its lighthouse and all the
promontories and bays of the great island had faded into the white
mists that lay along the horizon. And then her arm fell to her side,
and for a moment she stood bewildered, with a strange look in her eyes
of grief, and almost of despair.
"Sheila, my darling, you must go below now," said her companion: "you
are almost dead with cold."
She looked at him for a moment, as though she had scarcely heard what
he said. But his eyes were full of pity for her: he drew her closer
to him, and put his arms round her, and then she hid her head in his
bosom and sobbed there like a child.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
Dutens and several others who have written upon gems and precious
stones during the last two centuries have asserted that the ancients
were unacquainted with the true emerald, and that Heliodorus, when
speaking nearly two thousand years ago of "gems green as a meadow in
the spring," or Pliny, when describing stone of a "soft green lustre,"
referred to the peridot, the plasma, the malachite, or the far rarer
gem, the green sapphire. But the antiquary has come to the rescue with
the treasures of the despoiled mounds of Tuscany, the exposed ashes of
Herculaneum and Pompeii, and now exhibits emeralds which were mounted
in gold two thousand years before Columbus dreamed of the New World,
or Pizarro and his remorseless band gathered the precious stones by
the hundred-weight from the spoils of Peru. Although these specimens
of antique jewelry set with emeralds may be numbered by the score or
more in the museums and "reliquaries" of Europe, but very few engraved
emeralds have descended to us from ancient times: This rarity is not
due to the hardness of the stone, for the ancient lapidaries cut the
difficult and still harder sapphire: therefore we must believe the
statement of the early gem-writers that the emerald was exempted
from the glyptic art by common consent on account of its beauty and
The emerald is now one of the rarest of gems, and its scarcity gives
rise to the inquiry as to what has become of the abundant shower of
emeralds which fairly rained upon Spain during the early days of the
conquest of Mexico and Peru, bringing down the value of fine stones
to a trifling price. As with all commercial articles, there is a waste
and loss to be accounted for during the wear of three centuries,
but this alone will not explain their present rarity in civilized
countries. Even in the times of Charles II., when the destitution of
the country was extreme, the dukes of Infantado and Albuquerque had
millions in diamonds, rubies and precious stones, yet hardly possessed
a single sou. So impoverished was the land, and so slender were the
purses of all, that the duke of Albuquerque dined on an egg and a
pigeon, yet it required six weeks to make an inventory of his plate.
At this period, when the nobles gave fetes the lamps were often
decorated with emeralds and the ceilings garlanded with precious
stones. The women fairly blazed with sparkling gems of fabulous value,
while the country was starving. Most, if not all, of this missing
treasure was transferred to Asia, and with the silver current which
flowed steadily from the Spanish coffers into India went many of the
emeralds also; for in those regions this gem is regarded as foreign
stone, and the natives, investing it with the possession of certain
talismanic properties, prize it above all earthly treasures.
When the Spaniards commenced their march toward the capital of Mexico,
they were astonished at the magnificence of the costumes of the chiefs
who came to meet them as envoys or join them as allies, and among the
splendid gems which adorned their persons they recognized emeralds and
turquoises of such rare perfection and beauty that their cupidity was
excited to the highest degree. During the after years of conquest and
occupation the avaricious spoilers sought in vain for the parent ledge
where these precious stones were found. Recent times have, however,
revealed the home of the Mexican turquoise, which has proved to be in
the northern part of Mexico, as the Totonacs informed the inquiring
Spaniards. The first of these mines, which is of great antiquity, is
situated in the Cerrillos Mountains, eighteen miles from Santa Fe.
The deposit occurs in soft trachyte, and an immense cavity of several
hundred feet in extent has been excavated by the Indians while
searching for this gem in past times. Probably some of the fine
turquoises worn by the Aztec nobles at the time of the Spanish
Conquest came from this mine. Another mine is located in the Sierra
Blanca Mountains in New Mexico, but the Navajos will not allow
strangers to visit it. Stones of transcendent beauty have been taken
from it, and handed down in the tribe from generation to generation
as heirlooms. Nothing tempts the cupidity of the Indians to dispose of
these gems, and gratitude alone causes them to part with any of these
treasures, which, like the mountaineers of Thibet, they regard with
mystical reverence. The Navajos wear them as ear-drops, by boring them
and attaching them to the ear by means of a deer sinew. Lesser stones
are pierced, then strung on sinews and worn as neck-laces. Even the
nobler Ute Indians, when stripping the ornaments of turquoise from
the ears of the conquered Navajos, value them as sacred treasures, and
refuse to part with them even for gold or silver.
All the Spanish accounts of the invasion of Mexico agree in the great
abundance of emeralds, both in the adornment of the chiefs and
nobles and also in the decoration of the gods, the thrones and the
paraphernalia. The Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl says the throne
of gold in the palace of Tezcuco was inlaid with turquoises and other
precious stones--that a human skull in front of it was crowned with an
immense emerald of a pyramidal form.
The great standard of the republic of Tlascala was richly ornamented
with emeralds and silver-work. The fantastic helmets of the chiefs
glittered with gold and precious stones, and their plumes were set
with emeralds. The mantle of Montezuma was held together by a clasp of
the green chalchivitl (jade), and the same precious gem, with emeralds
of uncommon size, ornamented other parts of his dress.
The Mexicans carved the obdurate jade and emerald with wonderful
skill, using, like the Peruvians, nothing but silicious powder and
copper instruments alloyed with tin. They also worked with exquisite
taste in gold and silver, and they represented Nature so faithfully
and so beautifully that the great naturalist Hernandez took many
of these objects thus portrayed for his models when describing the
natural history of the country.
When Cortes returned home he displayed five emeralds of extraordinary
size and beauty, and presented them to his bride, the niece of the
duke de Bejar. On his famous expedition along the Pacific coast and up
the Gulf of California he was reduced to such want as to be obliged to
pawn these jewels for a time. One of them was as precious as Shylock's
turquoise, and Gomara states that some Genoese merchants who examined
it in Seville offered forty thousand golden ducats for it. One of the
emeralds was in the form of a rose; the second in that of a horn;
the third like a fish with eyes of gold; the fourth was like a little
bell, with a fine pearl for a tongue, and it bore on its rim the
following inscription in Spanish: "Blessed is he who created thee!"
The fifth, which was the most valuable of all, was in the form of a
small cup with a foot of gold, and with four little chains of the same
metal attached to a large pearl as a button: the edge of the cup was
of gold, on which was engraved in Latin words, "Inter natos mulierum
non surrexit major." These splendid gems are now buried deep in the
sand on the coast of Barbary, where they were lost in 1529, when
Cortes was shipwrecked with the admiral of Castile whilst on their way
to assist Charles V. at the siege of Algiers.
The quantity of emeralds obtained by the Spaniards in their pillage
of Mexico was large, but it was trifling when compared with that
collected by Pizarro and his remorseless followers in the sack
of Peru. Many large and magnificent stones were obtained by the
Spaniards, but the transcendent gem of all, called by the Peruvians
the Great Mother, and nearly as large as an ostrich egg, was concealed
by the natives, and all the efforts of Pizarro and his successors to
discover it proved unavailing.
The immense uncut Peruvian emerald given by Rudolph II. to the elector
of Saxony is still preserved in the Green Vaults at Dresden. This
collection is the finest in the world, and is of the value of many
millions of dollars. The treasures are arranged in eight apartments,
each surpassing the previous one in the splendor and richness of its
contents. This museum dates from the early period when the Freyburg
silver-mines yielded vast revenues, and made the Saxon princes among
the richest sovereigns in Europe. With lavish hand these potentates
purchased jewels and works of art, and the treasures they have thus
accumulated are of immense value, and remind the traveler of the
gorgeous descriptions of Oriental magnificence.
The finest emerald in Europe is said to belong to the emperor of
Russia. It weighs but thirty carats, but it is of the most perfect
transparency and of the most beautiful color. There are many other
fine emeralds among the imperial jewels of the czar, some of which are
of great size and rare beauty. The ancient crown of Vladimir glitters
with four great stones of unusual brilliancy. The grand state sceptre
is surmounted by another emerald of great size. The sceptre of
Poland, which is now treasured in the Kremlin, has a long green stone,
fractured in the middle. It is not described, and may be one of the
Siberian tourmalines, some of which closely approach the emerald in
hue. The imperial _orb_ of Russia, which is of Byzantine workmanship
of the tenth century, has fifty emeralds. This fact alone would seem
to prove that emeralds were known in Europe or Asia Minor long before
the discovery of America; but, on the other hand, the ancient crown
which was taken when Kasan was subjugated in 1553 is destitute of
emeralds. And hence we are inclined to believe the imperial orb to be
of modern workmanship, especially as some of the ancient state chairs
do not exhibit emeralds among their decorations of gems and precious
Nowhere in North America do the true emeralds occur. Professor
Cleaveland, who was one of the best authorities of his day, maintained
nearly half a century ago that emeralds which exhibited a lively and
beautiful green hue were found in blasting a canal through a ledge
of graphic granite in the town of Topsham in Maine. Several of the
crystals presented so pure, uniform and rich a green that he ventured
to pronounce them precious emeralds. But to-day we are unable to verify
the assertion, or point to a single specimen similar in hue to the
emerald from the above-mentioned locality.
The nearest approach to the emerald in color, with the exception of
the incomparable green tourmalines from Maine, are the beryls of North
and South Royalston in the State of Massachusetts. These beautiful
stones exhibit the physical, characteristics of emeralds with the
exception of the color, in which they differ very perceptibly. But to
appreciate fully the difference in hue we must compare the two gems.
Then the lively green of the beryl fades away before the overpowering
hue of the emerald, whose rich prismatic green may be taken as the
purest type of that color known to the chemist or the painter.
Two summers ago we visited the localities in Massachusetts which were
famous in the days of Hitchcock and Webster. We found that the beryls
occurred in a very coarse granite, where the quartz appeared in masses
and the felspar in huge crystals. These also occur in finer granite,
and exhibit no indications of veins or connection with each other.
They are few in number, and are soon exhausted by blasting, being
generally very superficial. After removing several tons of the rock at
the locality at North Royalston, where the beryls appear on the summit
of the loftiest hill, our labors were at length rewarded with two
beautiful crystals. One of them was a fine prism an inch in diameter,
of perfect transparency and of a deep sea-green color, which, however
is far from being similar to the transcendent hue of the Granada
emeralds, which exhibit an excess of neither blue nor yellow. The
other was yellowish-green, resembling the chrysoberyls of Brazil.
Other but imperfect crystals were brought to light, some fragments of
which exhibited the deepest golden tints of the topaz, and others
the tints of the sherry-wine colored topazes of Siberia. Magnificent
crystals have been found in these localities in times long past, and
from the fragments and sections of crystals found in the debris of
early explorations we observed the wide range of color and the deep
longitudinal striae which characterize the renowned beryls from the
Altai Mountains, in Siberia. Lively sea- and grass-green, light and
deep yellow, also blue crystals of various shades, have been found
At the quarries on Rollestone Mountain in Fitchburg beryls of a
rich golden color have been blasted out. Some of these approach the
chrysoberyl and topaz in hardness and hue. Others so closely resemble
the yellow diamond that they may readily be taken for that superior
gem. The refractive power of these yellow stones is remarkable, and
the goniometer will probably reveal a higher index than is accorded to
all the varieties of beryl by the learned Abbe Hauey.
Beautiful transparent beryls have been found among the granite hills
of Oxford county in Maine, and the late Governor Lincoln nearly half a
century ago possessed a splendid crystal which would have rivaled the
superb prism found at Mouzzinskaia, and which the Russians value so
highly. The extended and unexplored ledges of granite which rise
from the shores of the ocean at Harpswell in Maine, and stretch
north-westward for nearly a hundred miles, quite to the base of the
White Mountain group, are not only rich in beryls, but they contain
many of the rarest minerals known to the mineralogist. And perhaps
there is no other field of equal extent in the country which offers to
the mineralogist such a harvest of the rare and curious productions of
the mineral kingdom.
At Haddam in Connecticut beautiful crystals of beryl have been
discovered, and one of these, of fine green color, an inch in diameter
and several inches in length, was preserved in the cabinet of Colonel
Gibbs. Professor Silliman possessed another fine one, seven inches in
The mountains in Colorado have yielded some fine specimens. But the
finest of the beryl species come from Russia. In the Ural Mountains
the crystals are small, but of fine color; in the Altai Mountains they
are very large and of a greenish blue; but in the granitic ledges of
Odon Tchelon in Daouria, on the frontier of China, they are found in
the greatest perfection. They occur on the summit of the mountain
in irregular veins of micaceous and white indurated clay, and are
greenish-yellow, pure pale green, greenish-blue and sky-blue. The
chief matrix of the beryl all over the world is graphic granite, but
it may occur in other rocks. The light green stones of Limoges in
France appear in a vein of quartz traversing granite. At Royalston we
observed them to spring seemingly from the felspar and project into
smoky quartz, becoming more transparent as they advanced into the
The beryl possesses the same crystalline form and specific gravity as
the emerald, but its hardness (especially in the yellow varieties) is
sometimes greater. The only perceptible difference in the two stones
is in the color. Cleaveland thought that as the emerald and beryl had
the same essential characters, they might gradually pass into each
other; and Klaproth, finding the oxides of both chrome and iron in one
specimen, was led to take the same view. The crystals of true emerald
are almost always small (with the exception of those found in the Wald
district in Siberia), whilst those of the beryl vary from a few
grains to more than a ton in weight. The crystals of both are almost
invariably regular hexahedral prisms, sometimes slightly modified.
Those of the beryl we sometimes find quite flat, as though they
had been compressed by force: then again they are acicular and of
extraordinary length, considering their slender diameter. Sometimes
their lateral faces are longitudinally striated, and as deeply as the
tourmaline, so that the edges of the prism are rendered indistinct.
Other crystals are curved, and some perforated in the axis like
the tourmaline, so as to contain other minerals. Sometimes they are
articulated like the pillars of basalt, and separated at some distance
by the intervening quartz. These modified forms give rise to curious
speculations as to their formation and origin. If we admit the action
of fire (which is improbable), then the separation may be easily
explained; but if we insist that they were deposited in the wet way
and by slow process, how can we account for the dislocation? "By
electricity," whispers a friend--"by telluric magnetism, that
wonderful unexplained and mysterious force which has caused the grand
geological changes of the globe, and is still at work."
No other gem has been counterfeited with such perfection as the
emerald; and in fact it is utterly impossible to distinguish the
artificial from the real gems by the aid of the eye alone: even the
little flaws which lull the suspicions of the inexperienced are easily
produced by a dexterous blow from the mallet of the skilled artisan.
Not only emeralds, but most of the gems and precious stones, are now
imitated with such consummate skill as to deceive the eye, and none
but experts are aware of the extent to which these fictitious gems
are worn in fashionable society, for oftentimes the wearers themselves
imagine that they possess the real stones. There is not one in a
hundred jewelers who is acquainted with the physical properties of the
gems, and very few can distinguish the diamond from the white zircon
or the white topaz, the emerald from the tourmaline of similar hue,
the sapphire from iolite, or the topaz from the Bohemian yellow
quartz. Jewelers are governed generally by sight, which they believe
to be infallible, whilst hardness and specific gravity are the only
Artificial gems rivaling in beauty of color the most brilliant and
delicately tinted of the productions of Nature are now made at Paris
and in other European cities. The establishments at Septmoncel in the
Jura alone employ a thousand persons, and fabulous quantities of the
glittering pastes are made there and sent to all parts of the world.
A fine specimen of prase when cut affords a fair imitation of
the emerald. The green fluor-spar which Hauey called "emeraude de
Carthagene" may also be substituted, but the application of the file
detects the trick with ease. Some of the green tourmalines approach
the emeralds in hue very closely, and by artificial light it is
impossible to distinguish them from each other. Fragments of quartz
may be stained by being steeped in green-colored tinctures. The Greeks
stained quartz so like the real gem that Pliny exclaimed against the
fraud while declining to tell how it was done. The Ancona rubies at
the present day are made by plunging quartz into a hot tincture of
cochineal, which penetrates the minute fissures of the rock.
But notwithstanding the high art reached by modern glass-makers, they
are yet far behind the ancients in imitating the emerald in point of
hardness and lustre. Many emerald pastes of Roman times still extant
are with difficulty distinguished from the real gem, so much harder
and lustrous are they than modern glass. The ancient Phoenician
remains found in the island of Sardinia by Cavalier Cara in 1856 show
fine color in their enamels and glass-works. The green pigment brought
home from the ruins of Thebes by Mr. Wilkinson was shown by Dr. Ure
to consist of blue glass in powder, with yellow ochre and colorless
glass. From Greek inscriptions dating from the period of the
Peloponnesian war we learn that there were signets of colored glass
among the gems in the treasury of the Parthenon.
Of all the emerald imitations that have descended to us from
antiquity, none are more remarkable, none more interesting to the
antiquary and historian, than the famous Sacro Catino of the cathedral
of Genoa. This celebrated relic is a glass dish or patera fourteen
inches in width, five inches in depth and of the richest transparent
green color, though disfigured by several flaws. It was bestowed upon
the republic of Genoa by the Crusaders after the capture of Caesarea
in 1101, and was regarded as an equivalent for a large sum of money
due from the Christian army. It was traditionally believed to have
been presented to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba, and afterward
preserved in the Temple, and some accounts relate that it was used by
Christ at the institution of the Lord's Supper. The Genoese received
it with so much veneration and faith that twelve nobles were appointed
to guard it, and it was exhibited but once a year, when a priest held
it up in his hand to the view of the passing throng. The state in
1319, in a time of pressing need, pawned the holy relic for twelve
hundred marks of gold (two hundred thousand dollars), and redeemed
it with a promptness which proved its belief in the reality of the
material as well as in its sanctity. And it is also related that the
Jews, during a period of fifty years, lent the republic four million
francs, holding the sacred relic as a pledge of security. Seven
hundred years passed away, when Napoleon came, and as he swept down
over Italy, gathering her art-treasures, he ordered the "Holy
Grail" to be conveyed to Paris. It was deposited in the Cabinet of
Antiquities in the Imperial Library, and the mineralogists quickly
discovered it to be glass. It is due to the memory of Condamine to
state that he was the first to doubt the material of the Sacro Catino,
for, when examining it by lamplight in 1757, in the presence of the
princes Corsini, he observed none of the cracks, clouds and specks
common to emeralds, but detected little bubbles of air. In 1815 the
Allies ordered its return to the cathedral of Genoa. During this
journey the beautiful relic was broken, but its fragments were
restored by a skillful artisan, and it is now supported upon a tripod,
the fragments being held together by a band of gold filigree. This
remarkable object of antiquity, which is of extraordinary beauty of
material and workmanship, furnishes a theme over which the antiquaries
love to muse and wrangle.
Another of the antique monster emeralds, weighing twenty-nine pounds,
was presented to the abbey of Reichenau near Constance by Charlemagne.
Beckman has also detected this precious relic to be glass. And
probably the great emerald of two pounds weight brought home from the
Holy Land by one of the dukes of Austria, and now deposited in the
collection at Vienna, is of the same material. The hardness of our
glass is yet far inferior to that of the ancients, and even the
ruby lustre of the potters of Umbria, which was so precious to the
dilettanti of the Cinque Cento period, has not been recovered.
The emerald has been a subject of controversy among the chemists
and mineralogists, and its character, especially the cause of its
beautiful color, is not clearly defined even at the present day. But
that distinguished chemist, Professor Lewy of Paris, seems to offer,
thus far, the most correct and plausible theory. Ten years ago he
boldly asserted that the hue is not due to the oxide of chromium,
and with this opinion he confronted such eminent men as Vauquelin,
Klaproth and others of high rank in the scientific world. Not content
with his researches in his laboratory in Paris, he resolutely crossed
the ocean and sought the emerald in its parent ledges in the lofty
table-lands of New Granada. Here he obtained new information of a
geological character which goes far to strengthen his position.
The experiments of M. Lewy indicate, if they do not prove, that the
coloring matter of the emerald is organic, and readily destroyed
by heat, which would not be the case if it was due to the oxide of
chromium. All my own fire-tests with the Granada emerald corroborate
the views of M. Lewy, for in every instance the gem lost its hue when
submitted to a red heat.
Nevertheless, the recent researches of Woehler and Rose give negative
results. These experienced chemists kept an emerald at the temperature
of melted copper for an hour, and found that, although the stone had
become opaque, the color was not affected. They therefore considered
the oxide of chromium to be the coloring agent, without, however,
denying the presence of organic matter. The amount of the oxide of
chromium found by many chemists varies from one to two per cent.,
while Lewy and others found it in a quantity so small as to be
inappreciable, and too minute to be weighed.
Before the ordinary blowpipe the emerald passes rapidly into a whitish
vesicular glass, and with borax it forms a fine green glass, while its
sub-species, the beryl, changes into a colorless bead: with salt of
phosphorus it slowly dissolves, leaving a silicious skeleton.[A]
M. Lewy visited the mines at Muzo in Granada, and from the results
of his analyses, together with the fact of finding emeralds in
conjunction with the presence of fossil shells in the limestone in
which they occur, he arrived at the conclusion that they have been
formed in the wet way--deposited from a chemical solution. He also
found that when extracted they are so soft and fragile that the
largest and finest fragments can be reduced to powder by merely
rubbing them between the fingers, and the crystals often crack and
fall to pieces after being removed from the mine, apparently from loss
of water. Consequently, when the emeralds are first extracted they are
laid aside carefully for a few days until the water is evaporated.
This statement relative to the softness of the gem and its subsequent
hardening has been met with a shout of derision from some of the
gem-seekers--none louder than that of Barbot, the retired jeweler.
Barbot seems to forget that the rock of which his own house in Paris
is constructed undergoes the same change after being removed from
the deep quarries in the catacombs under the city. This phenomenon is
observed with many rocks. Flints acquire additional toughness by the
evaporation of water contained in them. The steatite of St. Anthony's
Falls grows harder on exposure, and other minerals when quarried from
considerable depths become firmer on exposure to the action of the
air. Observations of this kind led Kuhlman to investigate the cause,
and he believes that the hardening of rocks is not owing solely to
the evaporation of quarry-water, but that it depends upon the
tendency which all earthy matters possess to undergo a spontaneous
crystallization by slow dessication, which commences the moment the
rock is exposed to the air.
The coloring matter of the emerald seems to be derived from the
decomposition of the remains of animals who have lived in a bygone
age, and whose remains are now found fossilized in the rock which
forms the matrix of the gem. This rock in Granada is a black
limestone, with white veins containing ammonites. Specimens of these
rocks exhibiting fragments of emeralds _in situ_, and also ammonites,
are to be seen in the mineralogical gallery of the Jardin des Plantes
in Paris. Lewy believes that the beautiful tint of these gems is
produced by an organic substance, which he considers to be a carburet
of hydrogen, similar to that called chlorophyll, which constitutes
the coloring matter of the leaves of plants; and he has shown that
the emeralds of the darkest hue, which contain the greatest amount
of organic matter, lose their color completely at a low red heat,
and become opaque and white; while minerals and pastes which are
well known to be colored by chromium, like the green garnets (the
lime-chrome garnets) of Siberia, are unchanged in hue by the action of
Since the time of the Spanish Conquest, New Granada has furnished
the world with the most of its emeralds. The most famous mines are at
Muzo, in the valley of Tunca, between the mountains of New Granada and
Popayan, about seventy-five miles from Santa Fe de Bogota, where
every rock, it is said, contains an emerald. At present the supply of
emeralds is very limited, owing to restrictions on trade and want of
capital and energy in mining operations.
Blue as well as green emeralds are found in the Cordillera of the
Cubillari. The Esmeraldas mines in Equador are said to have been
worked successfully at one period by the Jesuits. The Peruvians
obtained many emeralds from the barren district of Atacama, and in
the times of the Conquest there were quarries on the River of Emeralds
Emeralds are found in Siberia, and some of the localities may have
furnished to the ancients the Scythian gems which Pliny and others
mention. In the Wald district magnificent crystals have been found
embedded in mica-slate. One of these--a twin-crystal, now in the
Imperial Cabinet at St. Petersburg--is seven inches long, four inches
broad, and weighs four and a half pounds. There is another mass in the
same collection which measures fourteen inches long by twelve broad
and five thick, weighing sixteen and three-quarter pounds troy. This
group shows twenty crystals from a half inch to five inches long,
and from one to two inches broad. They were discovered by a peasant
cutting wood near the summit of the mountain. His eye was attracted
by the lustrous sparkling amongst the decomposed mica and where the
ground had been exposed by the uprooting of a tree by the violence of
the wind. He collected a number of the crystals, and brought them to
Katharineburg and showed them to M. Kokawin, who recognized them and
sent them to St. Petersburg, where they were critically examined by
Van Worth and pronounced to be emeralds. One of these crystals was
presented by the emperor to Humboldt when he visited St. Petersburg,
and it is now deposited in the Berlin collection. Quite a number
of emeralds are now brought from the Siberian localities, and it is
believed that enterprise and capital would produce a large supply of
The supply of emeralds from South America is very limited, and may
be ascribed to want of skillful mining, as well as to climate,
the political condition of the country and the indolence of its
inhabitants. The localities cannot be exhausted, for they are too
numerous and extensive. The elevated regions in Granada admit of
scientific exploration by Europeans, and at the present day the
only emerald-mining operations conducted in South America have been
prosecuted near Santa Fe de Bogota by a French company, which has
paid the government fourteen thousand dollars yearly for the right of
mining, all the emeralds obtained being sent to Paris to be cut by the
lapidaries of that city.
In the Atacama districts, and along the banks of the River of
Emeralds, the physical obstructions are difficult to overcome, and
pestilential diseases of malignant character forbid the long sojourn
of the European. Yet the introduction of Chinese labor may prove
successful and highly remunerative, since the coolie reared among
the jungles and rice-swamps of Southern China is quite as exempt from
malarial fevers as the negro.
The price of the emerald has no fixed and extended scale, like that of
the diamond, and the fluctuations of its value during the past three
centuries form an interesting chapter in the history of gems.
In the time of Dutens (1777) the price of small stones of the first
quality was one louis the carat; one and a half carats, five louis;
two carats, ten louis; and beyond this weight no rule of value could
be established. In De Boot's day (1600) emeralds were so plenty as
to be worth only a quarter as much as the diamond. The markets were
glutted with the frequent importations from Peru, and thirteen years
before the above-mentioned period one vessel brought from South
America two hundred and three pounds of fine emeralds, worth at
the present valuation more than seven millions of dollars. At the
beginning of this century, according to Caire, they were worth no more
than twenty-four francs (or about five dollars) the carat, and for a
long time antecedent to 1850 they were valued at only fifteen dollars
the carat. Since this period they have become very rare, and their
valuation has advanced enormously. In fact, the value of the emerald
now exceeds that of the diamond, and is rapidly approaching the ratio
fixed by Benevenuto Cellini in the middle of the sixteenth century,
which rated the emerald at four times, and the ruby at eight times,
the value of the diamond. Perfect stones (the emerald is exceedingly
liable to flaw, the beryl is more free, and the green sapphire is
rarely impaired by fissures or cracks) of one carat in weight are
worth at the present day two hundred dollars in gold. Perfect gems
of two carats weight will command five hundred dollars in gold, while
larger stones are sold at extravagant prices.
Most of our aqua-marinas come from Brazil and Siberia, and small
stones are sold at trifling prices. Some of them, however, when
perfect and of fine color, command fabulous sums. The superb little
beryl found at Mouzzinskaia is valued by the Russians at the enormous
sum of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, although the crystal
weighs but little more than one ounce. Another rough prism preserved
in the Museum at Paris, and weighing less than one hundred grains, has
received the tempting offer of fifteen thousand francs.
A.C. HAMLIN, M.D.
[Footnote A: A curious result happened to the elder Silliman when
experimenting with a Peruvian emerald before the compound blowpipe.
The reducing flame instantly melted it into a transparent green
globule. Perhaps the intense heat of this all-powerful flame, which
reduces even the diamond, recalled the colors which disappear at a
lower temperature. But this could not be done if the color was due
to organic matter, which is annihilated or modified beyond recall by
[Footnote B: Several of the natural crystals of the Siberian emeralds
of large size and beautiful color are now to be seen in the valuable
and choice collections of Messrs. Clay and William S. Vaux of
It rained during the night. The wind blew feebly in the morning,
and the sunlight glimmered dully from behind the flying gray clouds.
Catharine looked out of her window, anxiously pushing aside the boughs
full of wet white roses. The sense of desolation was not strong enough
upon her to make her forget that Peter had not yet cut the clover
in the lower meadow, and that such a rain was bad for the tomatoes.
Doctor McCall was at the gate, propping up an old Bourbon rose, an
especial favorite of her father's. Somebody tapped at her door, and
Miss Muller rustled in in a flounced white muslin and rose-colored
ribbons. She too hurried to the window and looked down.
"I asked him to meet me here, Kitty. I can't make you understand,
probably, but the Water-cure House is so bald and bare! There is
something in the shade here, and the old books, and this wilderness
of roses, that forms a fitting background for a friendship like ours,
"I'm very glad. It's lucky I told Jane to have waffles--"
"I'll go down," interrupted Miss Muller, "and direct her about the
table. Coarse tablecloths and oily butter would jar against the finest
emotions. What very pretty shoulders you have, child! Such women as
you, like potatoes, are best _au naturel_. Now, with those corsets,
and this red shawl over the back of your chair, you would make a very
good Madonna of the Rubens school. Men's ideal of womanhood then was
to be plump, insipid and a mother."
"But about the oily butter?" said Kitty, glancing back over the
aforesaid shoulders as she stooped to lace her shoes, while Maria
hurried off to the kitchen. "Jane will jar against her finer emotions,
I fancy, when she begins to order her about."
But Kitty lost all relish for fun before she sat down to the
breakfast-table. Mr. Muller came in. The poor little man hurried to
her side: "I passed a sleepless night, Catharine. I feared that I had
been rough with you. I forget so often how gentle and tender you are,
Catharine was puzzled: "Upon my word, I've forgotten what happened.
And I really never feel especially gentle or tender. You are mistaken
When she took her place behind the urn, Maria motioned her brother to
the foot of the table, and then nodded significantly. "Now you two can
imagine a month or two has passed," she said.
Even Doctor McCall smiled meaningly. Mr. Muller blushed, and glanced
shyly at Catharine. But she looked at him unmoved. "Our table will
not be like this," gravely. "You forget the three hundred blue-coats
between." Maria laughed, but Doctor McCall for the first time looked
steadily at the girl.
First of all, perhaps, Kitty was just then a housekeeper. She waited
anxiously to see if the steak was properly rare and the omelette
light, nodded brightly to Jane, who stood watchful behind her, and
then looked over at her betrothed, thinking how soon they would sit
down tete-a-tete for the rest of their lives, perhaps for eternity,
for, according to her orthodoxy, there could be no new loves in
heaven. How fat he was, and bald! The mild blue eyes behind their
glasses took possession of her and held her.
She listened to the talk between Doctor McCall and Miss Muller in a
language she had never learned. Maria's share of it was largely made
up of headlong dives into Spencer and Darwin, with reminiscences of
_The Dial_, while Doctor McCall's was anchored fast down to facts; but
it was all alive, suggestive, brilliant. They were young. They were
drinking life and love with full cups. She (looking over at the bald
head and spectacled eyes) had gone straight out of childhood into
middle age and respectability.
The breakfast was over at last. Miss Muller followed Doctor McCall
into the shop, where he fell to turning over the old books, and then
to the garden. What was the use of a stage properly set if the drama
would not begin?
"Pray do not worry any longer with that old bush," as he went back
to Peter's rose. "It is not a trait of yours to be persistent about
trifles. Or stay: give me a bud for my hair."
"Not these!" sharply, holding her hand. "I could not see one of these
roses on any woman's head."
She smiled, very well pleased: "You perceive some subtle connection
between me and the flower?"
"Nothing of the sort. There are some, planted, I suppose, by that
little girl, which will be more becoming to your face."
"You are repelled by 'the little girl,' I see, John. I always told you
your instincts were magnetic. That type of woman is antipathetic to
He laughed: "I have no instincts, hardly ideas, about either roses
or types of women. If I avoided Miss Vogdes, it was because her name
recalled one of the old hard experiences of my boyhood. The girl
herself is harmless enough, no doubt."
"And the rose?"
"The rose? Why, we have no time to waste in such talk as this. You
have not yet told me how you managed to get your profession. When I
last saw you you had set all the old professors in the university at
defiance. Did you carry lectures and cliniques by strategy or assault?
You have good fighting qualities, Maria."
She would rather not have gone over her battle with the doctors just
then: she would rather he had talked of her "magnetic instincts," her
hair, her eyes--anything else than her fighting qualities. But she
told him. There was an inexplicable delight to her in telling him
anything--even the time of day. Was he not a pioneer, a captain among
men, a seer in the realms of thought, keeping step with her in all her
high imaginings? Ordinary people, it is true, set McCall down as an
ordinary fellow, genial and hearty--not a very skillful physician,
perhaps, but a shrewd farmer, and the best judge of mules or peaches
in Kent county. Maria, however, saw him with the soul's eye.
Kitty meanwhile sat by the window mending the clothes that had come
out of the wash. Mr. Muller was reading some letters relative to the
school to her. This was the day of the week on which she always mended
the clothes, and Mr. Muller had fallen into the habit of reading to
her while she did so. But to-day the Reformatory rose before her a
prison, the gates of which were about to close on her. The heap of
stockings, the touch of the darning cotton, the sound of Mr. Muller's
droning voice, were maddening to her: every moment she made a tangle
in her thread, looking down at Maria under the Bourbon rose, and the
attentive face bent over her. Where should she go? What should she do?
Had the world nothing in it for her but this? Yesterday she had made
up her mind to go to Delaware to find Hugh Guinness, alive or dead,
and bring him to his father. That would be work worth doing. This
morning she remembered that Delaware was a wide hunting-ground--that
she had never been ten miles from home in her life. If there were
anybody to give her advice! This Doctor McCall had seemed to her
to-day as, in fact, he did to most people, practical, honest, full
of information. He would too, she somehow felt, understand her wild
"Why should Doctor McCall dislike _me_?" she broke in at the close of
one of Mr. Muller's expositions.
"What an absurd fancy, child!" looking up in amazement. "The man was
civil enough to you for so slight an acquaintance."
"It was more than dislike," vehemently. "He watched me all through
breakfast as though he owed me a grudge. I could see it in his eyes."
"You oughtn't to see any eyes but mine, Cathie dear," with anxious
playfulness. "Why should you care for the opinion of any man?"
"Because he is different from any man I ever knew. He belongs to the
world outside. I always did wonder if people would like me out there,"
said Kitty, too doggedly in earnest to see how her words hurt her
listener. "If one could be like those two people yonder! They seem to
know everything--they can do everything!"
"Maria is well enough--for a woman," dryly. "But I never heard McCall
credited with exceptional ability of any sort."
Kitty glanced at him: "Of course you're right," quickly. "Men only can
judge of character: we women are apt to be silly about such things."
Her kind heart felt a wrench at having hurt this good soul. She put
her fingers on his fat hand with a touch that was almost a caress. He
turned red with surprise and pleasure. "But it is pleasant," she said,
glancing down again to the Bourbon rose, "to see such love as that.
They will be married soon, I suppose?"
"Very likely. I never knew of any love in the case before. But Maria
is such a manager! And you think of love, then, sometimes?" timidly
putting his arm about her.
"Oh to be sure! How can you doubt that? But it grows chilly. I must
bring a sacque," hurrying away; and in fact she looked cold, and
"Doctor McCall recognizes the Book-house, just as I did, as the right
background for communion like ours," Miss Muller said complacently to
Kitty a week later. "He meets me here every day."
"Yes," said Catharine with a perplexed look. She had no special
instincts or intuitions, but her eyes were as keen and observant as a
lynx's. He came, she saw, to the Book-house every day. But had he no
other purpose than to meet Maria?
"I did not know that McCall affected scholarship," said Mr. Muller
tartly the next day. "He tells me that he has a peach-farm to manage.
August is no time to loiter away, poring over old books. Just the
"No," Kitty replied demurely. But her face wore again the puzzled
look. She began to watch Doctor McCall. He really knew but little, she
saw, of rare books: his reading of them was a mere pretence. He
was neither a lazy nor a morbid man: what pleasure could he have in
neglecting his work day after day, sitting alone in the dusky old shop
as if held there by some enchantment? Kitty knew that she herself had
nothing to do with it: she appeared to be no more in his way than a
tame dog would be, and, after the first annoyance which she gave
him, was really little more noticed. But there is a certain sense of
home-snugness and comfort in the presence of tame dogs and of women
like Kitty: one cannot be long in the room with either without
throwing them a kind word or petting them in some way. Doctor McCall
was just the man to fall into such a habit. Down on the farm, his
cattle, his hands, even the neighbors with whom he argued on politics,
could all have testified to his easy, large good-humor.
"Oh, we are the best of friends," he said indifferently when Maria
found Kitty chattering to him once, very much as she did to old Peter.
But when Miss Muller, who had no petty jealousies, enlarged on the
singular beauty of her eyes and some good points in her shape, he did
not respond. "I never could talk of a woman as if she were a horse,"
he said. "And this little girl seems to me unusually human."
"There's really nothing in her, though. Poor William! He is marrying
eyes, I tell him. It's a pitiable marriage!"
"Yes, it is," said Doctor McCall gravely.
After that he neglected the old books sometimes to talk to Kitty. He
thought she was such an immature, thoughtless creature that she would
not notice that the subject he chose was always the same--her daily
life, with old Peter for her chum and confidant.
"Mr. Guinness, then, has had no companion but you?" he said one day,
after a searching inspection of her face.
"No, nobody but me," quite forgetful, as she and Peter were too apt to
be, that her mother was alive.
"And has had none for years?"
"Not since his son died. Hugh Guinness is dead, you know."
Doctor McCall was looking thoughtfully at the floor. He rose presently
and took up his hat: "The old man cannot have been unhappy with such
love as you could give him. No man could."
Kitty was sitting, as usual, on a low stool pasting labels on some
dog-eared books: as long as McCall stood looking at her round cheeks
and double chin she pasted on, apparently unconscious that he was
there, but when he turned away she watched him shrewdly as he went
uneasily up and down the shop, and finally, with a curt good-bye,
turned out of the door. As the stout figure passed through the low
branches of the walnuts her gray eyes began to shine. Her Mystery was
Dropping paste and books in a heap, she ran after him, taking a short
cut through the currant bushes, so that when he passed on the outer
side of the garden fence there she was quietly waiting, her head and
face darkly framed by a thick creeper.
"Well?" smiling down, amused, as he might to a playful kitten.
"Doctor McCall," in the queer formal fashion that was Kitty's own, "I
should be glad if you would come back this evening. Without Maria.
I have some business--that is, a plan of mine. Well, it is a certain
"That you wish to consult me about?" after waiting for her to finish.
"Yes, that's it," nodding energetically.
"Very well." He stood looking at her arm on the fence, and the face
resting with its chin upon it. McCall, of all men, hated a scene, and
he had an uneasy consciousness that he had just betrayed unexplained
feeling in the house, and was therefore glad to slip back to
commonplaces. Besides, Kitty was exactly the kind of woman whom all
men feel an insane desire to help at first sight. "You have a plan,
eh? and you want advice, not knowing much about business?"
There was not the least necessity for him to say this, having asked
it before. But he did it, and waited to hear Kitty say yes again, and
waited still, before he lifted his hat and said good-bye, to see the
shadow of a waving branch creep over her white chin and lose itself in
her neck. Most men would have done the same, just as they would stop
to whistle a laugh from a fat, pretty baby on the street, and then go
on, leaving it behind. The last thing in the world to consult on their
business, or to ask for help or comfort when trouble met them, or
* * * * *
Miss Muller spent the whole day at the Book-house, but Doctor McCall
did not come, as she expected. As evening approached she began to
shiver, and had premonitory symptoms of clairvoyance, and went home at
last, to Kitty's relief. A slow drizzling rain set in: the damp fogs
that belong to that river-bottom walled in the house and hung flat
over the walnuts like a roof. Catharine had made her own corner of the
Book-shop snug and cheerful. The space was wide, the light soft and
bright. She placed her own chair by the table, Peter's not far from
it. She meant to produce a great effect on this man to-night, to
change the whole current of his life, without having the help of
either love or even friendship. Unconsciously she planned to bring
him close to her, though very likely she had never heard of personal
magnetism, or any of the curious secrets political speakers or
actors or revivalists could have told her of the deadening effects of
distance and empty benches.
Then Kitty, in her room overhead, looked at herself in the glass,
arrayed in a soft cashmere, in color blue, still farther toned down,
by certain softer fringes and loops, into the very ideal garb for
a man's type of "yielding, lovely woman." It was one of the sacred
"Maria could never look like this," tying a lace handkerchief about
her neck, pulling the soft rings of hair looser about her ears,
setting her head on one side, and half shutting her eyes to see the
thick and curly lashes.
There was no danger of interruption. Maria was safely lodged in the
Water-cure House, and the very idea of Mr. Muller's glossy black shoes
and dainty brown umbrella venturing out in the rain made Kitty laugh.
"The dear, good soul is finical as a cat," with the good-natured
indulgence of a mother for a child. Suddenly she stopped, stared at
herself in the glass. "Why, he is my husband!" she said, speaking to
the blushing, blue-robed figure as to another person. Then she hastily
unbuttoned, unlooped the pretty dress, threw it off, putting on her
usual gray wrapper and knotting her hair more tightly back than ever
in a comb. "He has been very good to me--very good to me," her chin
trembling a good deal.
Then she went down to meet Doctor McCall, who that moment came into
the Book-shop, stopping at the door to take off and shake his oilskin
"It is a wet night," she said, just as though he were a stranger. She
did not know what else to say or what he answered as she went about,
trimming the lamp, dragging out a chair for him, closing the window
curtains. Both McCall and Catharine were ordinary people, accustomed
to keep up a good flow of talk on ordinary subjects, the weather
or any joke or gossip that was nearest to them. There had been no
passages of love or hate between them to account for her forced
formality, her trembling and flushing, and urgent almost angry wish
to remind him that she was Mr. Muller's affianced wife. She felt this
with a new contempt for herself.
As for Doctor McCall, he leaned comfortably back in his arm-chair
and dried his legs at the grate filled with red-hot coals, while he
listened to the soft rustle of her skirts as she moved noiselessly
about him. It is the peculiarity of women like Kitty, to whom Nature
has denied the governing power of ideas or great personal beauty or
magnetism, such as she gave to Miss Muller, that there is a certain
impalpable force and attraction in their most petty actions and words,
to which men yield. Miss Muller could have watched Kitty all day
dragging chairs and trimming lamps, unmoved farther than to pronounce
her little better than an idiot. But Peter, Muller or John McCall
could not look at her for five minutes without classing her with
Cordelia and Desdemona and all the other sweet fools for whom men have
died, and whom the world yet keeps sacred in pathetic memory. Some
day too, when Catharine should be a mother--though giving to her older
children, little more than to the baby on her breast, soft touches and
gentle words--she would bind them to her as no other kind, of mother
could do--by such bonds that until they were gray-haired no power
should be like hers. Miss Muller neither saw nor foresaw such things.
But Doctor McCall did. "If I had had such a mother I should not have
been what I am," he thought. It was a curious fancy to have about a
young girl. But she seemed to embody all the womanliness that had been
lacking in his life. Of course she was nothing to him. She was to be
that prig Muller's wife, and he was quite satisfied that she should
be. If he married, Maria Muller would be his wife. Yet, oddly enough,
he felt to-night, for the first time, the necessity that Maria should
know how marriage was barred out from him, and felt, for the first
time, too, a maddening anger that it was so barred. However, Doctor
McCall was never meant by Nature for a solitary man housed alone with
morbid thoughts: he was the stuff out of which useful citizens are
made--John Andersons of husbands, doting, gullible fathers.
Remembering the bar in his life, his skeleton, ghost or whatever it
was, he was only moved to get up and stretch himself, saying, "I've
stayed in Berrytown too long. When you have told me your plan, I'll
say good-bye to you, Miss Vogdes, and this old house. I shall be off
Kitty had just caught a moth in the flame of the candle. She carried
it to the window. "You will come back soon, of course?" her back still
"No, I think not. I am neglecting my business. And I, of all men in
the world, have least right to loiter about this old house, to look in
on its home-life or on you."
Kitty gave him a sharp glance, as though some sudden emergency was
clear before her which her tact failed to meet. She was folding the
bits of muslin at which she had been sewing in a basket: she finished
slowly, put the basket away, and sat down at the table, with her elbow
on it and her chin on her hand, her gray eyes suggesting a deeper and
unspoken meaning to her words: "But for my plan?"
"Ah! to be sure! You want advice?" seating himself comfortably. Her
confusion was a pretty thing to watch, the red creeping up her neck
into her face, blotting out its delicate tints, the uncertain glances,
the full bitten lip. Doctor McCall quite forgot his own trouble in the
keen pleasure of the sight.
"Perhaps--You do not quite understand my position here? Mr. Guinness
is not my own father."
"No, I knew that."
"But you cannot know what he has been to me: _I_ never knew until the
last few days."
"Why within these few days, Miss Vogdes?"
"Because I saw you and Maria: I saw what love was. I began to think
about it. I never have loved anybody but him," she went on headlong,
utterly blind to all inferences. "There's a thing I can do for him,
Doctor McCall, before I marry Mr. Muller, and I must do it. It will
make his old age happier than any other part of his life has been."
McCall nodded, leaning forward. It was nothing but an imprudent girl
dragging out her secrets before a stranger; nothing but a heated face,
wet eyes, a sweet milky breath; but no tragedy he had ever seen on the
stage had moved him so uncontrollably--no, not any crisis in his own
life--with such delicious, inexplicable emotion.
"Well, what is it you can do?" after waiting for her to go on.
There was a moment's silence.
"My father," said Kitty, "had once a great trouble. It has made an old
man of him before his time. I find that I can take it from him."
She looked up at him with this. Now, there was a certain shrewd
penetration under the softness of Kitty's eyes. Noting it, McCall
instantly lost sight of her beauty and tears. He returned her look
"What was his trouble?"
"Mr. Guinness had a son. He has believed him to be dead for years: I
know that he is not dead."
Doctor McCall waited, with her eyes still upon him. "Well?" he said,
"And then," pushing back the table and rising, "when I heard that, I
meant to go and find Hugh Guinness, and bring him back to his father."
Whatever this matter might be to her hearer, it was the most real
thing in life to Catharine, and putting it into words gave it a sudden
new force. She felt that she ought to hold her tongue, but she could
not. She only knew that the lighted room, the beating of the rain
without, the watchful guarded face on the other side of the table,
shook and frightened and angered her unaccountably.
"You should not laugh at me," she said. "This is the first work I ever
set myself to do. It is better than nursing three hundred children."
"I am not laughing at you, God knows! But this Guinness, if he be
alive, remains away voluntarily. There must be a reason for that. You
do not consider."
"I do not care to consider. Is the man a log or a stone? If I found
him," crossing the room in her heat until she stood beside him--"if
I brought him to the old house and to his father? Why, look at this!"
dragging open the drawer and taking out the broken gun and rod. "See
what he has kept for years--all that was left him of his boy! Look,
at that single hair! If Hugh Guinness stood where you do, and touched
these things as you are touching them, could he turn his back on the
Now, Doctor McCall did not touch gun nor cap nor hair, but he bent
over the table, looking at them as if he were looking at the dead. He
seemed to have forgotten that Kitty was there.
At last he stood upright: "Poor little chap!" with a laugh. "There
seemed to be no reason, when he went gunning and fishing like other
boys, why he should not stand here to-day with as fair a chance for
happiness as any other man. Did there? Just a trifling block laid in
his way, a push down hill, and no force could ever drag him up again."
Kitty, her eyes on his, stood silent. Do what he would, he could not
shake off her eyes: they wrenched the truth from him, "I knew this man
Guinness once," he said.
She nodded: "Yes, I know you did."
"Sit down beside me here, and I will tell you what kind of man he
But she did not sit down. An unaccountable terror or timidity seemed
to have paralyzed her. She looked aside--everywhere but in his face:
"I wanted you to tell me how to reach him, how to touch him: I know
what manner of man he is."
"You have heard from your mother? A mixed Border Pike and
Mephistopheles, eh? The devil and his victim rolled into one?" He
shifted his heavy body uneasily, glancing toward the door. Chief
among the graver secret emotions which she had roused in him was
the momentary annoyance of not knowing how to deal with this
chicken-hearted little girl before him, scared, but on fire from head
Kitty was quite confident. If it had been Maria Muller who had thus
set herself to tamper with a man's life, she would have done it
trembling, with fear and self-distrust. She had brains which could
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