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clearly related to the rest, bis imagination roamed with a freshness of wonder that never diminished; each dawn and each sunset touched him with a new joy. “Te veniente die, te descendente canebat.' They were all incidents in the sure silent triumphal march of the divine order. And while such belief filled his life with an ideal rapture, it took away the sting from death. Death could only bring him a step closer—to What?-to the heart of this divine and glorious Order,—the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I fancy this is what is sometimes called transcendentalism,-well, it is the only scrap of transcendentalism that you will find in this book. But as Uncle Ned was really the ideal or transcendental element in the hard and prosaic life of the canny Peelboro burghers, it was expedient that I should try to indicate its main characteristic. That I have now done; and for the rest it will be enough to add that this long gaunt bony mender of old boats was-was-(may I take the liberty, Mr. Professor ?) a village H-x--y of the year One. The colourless brilliancy of the great teacher's style, the easy facility with which the drop of light forms itself into a perfect sphere as it falls from his pen, belong indeed to a consummate master of the art of expression, which Adam of course was not; but the mental lucidity, justice, and balance, as well as the reserve of power, and the Shakespearian gaiety of touch, which made the old man one of the most delightful companions in the world, were essentially H—leian.

To have asserted that the crazy bird-fancier was the one really notable man in the town would have utterly shocked the susceptibilities of Peelboro', where indeed the assertion that he was not mad as a hatter or a March bare would have been received with derision and incredulity. The Doctor was perhaps the only man in the place who did him full justice ; but the Doctor's jests, like his sermons, went over the heads of bis hearers. When he told the councillors of the burgh on an occasion of civic festivity that a bailie is made once it year, but a poet or a naturalist only once in many years, he took the precaution to veil the compliment in the obscurity of a learned language. (Consules fiunt quotannis, et novi proconsules, Solus aut rex aut poeta non quotannis nascitur '). So no harm was done : on the contrary, the Doctor's acquaintance with the tongues of antiquity was looked upon as a credit to the town.

Adam, I may add, was not a native of the burgh-he belonged to the fertile lowlands of Moray; but he had been little more than a lad when he migrated to Buchan. The great sorrow of his life had driven him away from his own people; but of it and of them he never spoke; and he had long ago taken root upon the bleak aud stormy headland where Peelboro' was built. For many years he had lived a solitary life—until little Alister? had been thrown upon his hands, little Alister' now two-and-twenty years old, six feet one in his stockings, and (in spite of his six feet) in the line of our days is drawn by night, and the various effects thereon by a pencil that is invisible; whereof, though we confess our ignorance, I am sure that we do not err if we say it is the hand of God.

This, more or less formulated, was the creed at which Adam bad arrived. He did not belong to any of the ecclesiastical factions which flourished in Peelboro’; he had worked out his own conclusions about life, death, and immortality; yet he had reached what, after all is said that can be said, is truly the divinest divinity. That vague something wbich philosophers call the · Ego''had become a quite subordinate consideration with Adam. It was merged in a wider life. He was utterly unselfish.

An old comrade who had gone to the south and died there, had left his books to Adam. One morning a parcel arrived by the London smack. It had been despatched from the metropolis three weeks before, but in the year One they thought little of three weeks. Uncle Ned valued it beyond silver and gold. To him, indeed, it was the true El Dorado. It contained the plays of Shakespeare, the works of Sir Thomas Browne, Walton's · Angler,' White's Selborne,' George Edwards' Book of Birds,' and a few others, all of which were duly placed on the shelf beside the box-bed in the wall. They grew into his life as the sea and the stars had grown. They represented to him in the moral and intellectual world that high and noble order which he had already discerned in the physical.

Such a man-strange as it may sound to outsiders—was bound to be happy. His surroundings were mean and homely; he was very poor. He had none of the luxuries of life; a crust of stale bread and a cup of cold water from the spring were the dainties to which he was used. But while he was munching his dry crust he was examining with almost passionate rapture the wing-feather of some new or rare bird which he had captured. A stale crust?—or the nectar and ambrosia of the gods? What did it matter when the whole ideal volume of science on which to feast was being opened to him? To such men life is a pure flame, and they live by an invisible sun within them.

Science seeks for the unity without us, as religion seeks for the unity within us. Nothing is so hateful to'science as isolation : nothing so hateful to religion. For isolation is selfishness, and selfishness at bottom is confusion and misery. Preachers have waxed pathetic upon the loneliness of a great soul; a truly great soul is never lonely. It has infinite relationships. Self ceases to be engrossing. The imperious instincts of the individual consciousness are subdued. It loses itself (as Christianity affirms) in Christ, or (as science affirms) in the immutable and unshaken order of the universe.

To Adam, as I have said, nature was simply the expression of that complaisant activity of which the sea was one aspect, and the Old Testament another, and Shakespeare another, and a rare fern and the skilful mechanism of a sea-bird's wing another and another. clearly related to the rest, bis imagination roamed with a freshness of wonder that never diminished; each dawn and each sunset touched him with a new joy. “Te veniente die, te descendente canebat. They were all incidents in the sure silent triumphal march of the divine order. And while such belief filled bis life with an ideal rapture, it took away the sting from death. Death could only bring him a step closer—to What?—to the heart of this divine and glorious Order,—the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I fancy this is what is sometimes called transcendentalism,-well, it is the only scrap of transcendentalism that you will find in this book. But as Uncle Ned was really the ideal or transcendental element in the hard and prosaic life of the canny Peelboro' burghers, it was expedient that I should try to indicate its main characteristic. That I have now done; and for the rest it will be enough to add that this long gaunt bony mender of old boats was-was-(may I take the liberty, Mr. Professor ?) a village H-x--y of the year

One. The colourless brilliancy of the great teacher's style, the easy facility with which the drop of light forms itself into a perfect sphere as it falls from his pen, belong indeed to a consummate master of the art of expression, which Adam of course was not; but the mental lucidity, justice, and balance, as well as the reserve of power, and the Shakespearian gaiety of touch, which made the old man one of the most delightful companions in the world, were essentially H—leian.

To have asserted that the crazy bird-fancier was the one really notable man in the town would bave utterly shocked the susceptibilities of Peelboro', where indeed the assertion that he was not mad as a hatter or a March bare would have been received with derision and incredulity. The Doctor was perhaps the only man in the place who did him full justice; but the Doctor's jests, like his sermons, went over the heads of his hearers. When he told the councillors of the burgh on an occasion of civic festivity that a bailie is made once a year, but a poet or a naturalist only once in many years, he took the precaution to veil the compliment in the obscurity of a learned language. (Consules fiunt quotannis, et novi proconsules, Solus aut rex aut poeta non quotannis nascitur'). So no harm was done : on the contrary, the Doctor's acquaintance with the tongues of antiquity was looked upon as a credit to the town.

Adam, I may add, was not a native of the burgh-he belonged to the fertile lowlands of Moray; but he had been little more than a lad when he migrated to Buchan. The great sorrow of his life had driven him away from his own people; but of it and of them he never spoke ; and he had long ago taken root upon the bleak aud stormy headland where Peelboro' was built. years he had lived a solitary life--until • little Alister? had been thrown upon his hands,— little Alister' now two-and-twenty years old, six feet one in his stockings, and (in spite of his six feet) in

For many

VII.

Poor QUEEN MARY paid but a brief and troubled visit to the country of her birth; but some of the domestics who came with her from France remained in Scotland after their mistress bad sailed across the Solway. Among these was Marie Touchet, who had been body servant to the Queen, and who was married in the spring of 1566, at the Palace of Holyrood, to a trusty retainer of the Earl of Erroll-one of the loyal noblemen who through good and evil report adhered to Mary. Loyalty had been a passion with the courtly and comely Hays ever since Robert the Bruce, after the disastrous eclipse of the great house of Comyn, had conferred on his tried friend the barony of Slains, which at that time included nearly the whole district that lies between the Ugie and the Ythan. was only natural tha the retainers of the great house of Erroll should be in favour at Court, and thus it happened that Anthony Holdfast had been permitted to take with him to his distant home among the bleak moors of Buchan the favourite servant of the Queen. Marie had been born among the leafy woodlands of Fontainebleau ; and Anthony, who was desperately in love with his charming little wife, gallantly proposed that her new home should be christened or re-christened after the place where she was bred. It was a pleasant fancy enough; and Marie was duly grateful, and thanked her Scotch husband in her pretty though rather incomprehensible French-Scots very sweetly for his loving devotion to la belle France and to herself. Yet there was a tear in her eye, and her gay smile grew wistful and doubtful when she compared the Fontainebleau of her girlhood with the Fontainbleau to which she was welcomed. The contrast between the sunny plains and the leafy forests of the South and this gaunt farm-house upon the barren seaboard of the Mare Tenebrosum was certainly very striking. As the melodious syllables of Fontainbleau' sound curiously out of place among

Gasks, and "Achnagatts,' and `Yokieshills, so the blythe little Frenchwoman must have felt ill at ease for a time among ber novel surroundings.

The Holdfasts, though neither lords nor Jairds, clung like limpets to their rocks; and thus it came about that in the year One a Mrs. Holdfast was still tenant of Fontainbleau. Her husband, Mark Holdfast, had died a month or two before his youngest daughter was born; so that for more than seventeen years Mrs. Holdfast had been a widow. She had had a numerous family; but the eldest son Mark was at least twenty years older than his sister Euphame. For after the birth of five sons in succession there had been a long break-an interval of ten years and upwards ; and then Dick had come, and then, a year later, Euphame or Eppie.' The elder sons had all swarmed off from the family hive—some were farmers, some were sailors, some

6

She was

gatt, the farm which marched' with Fontainbleau ; and Mark had married about the time that Eppie was born. So that Eppie and her nephews and nieces were nearly of an age, and might have been boon companions and bosom friends if Eppie had chosen. But in point of fact the relations between the two farm-houses were not particularly cordial, Young Mark and his comely wife and her comelier daughters were the simple, unpretending, honest sort of people that are to be met with in any average Buchan farm-house; but in Eppie there was a strain of unfamiliar blood. They were soft and gentle, and perhaps rather inclined to flabbiness, physical and intellectual ; she was keen, piquant, exacting. They were contented with their lot: a fitful fire burned in her veins. The Achnagatt girls were shy, timid, and undecided : the girl at Fontainbleau looked you straight in the face as a hawk looks at you without winking. Her bright black eyes might have been thought somewhat overbold in a less perfectly moulded face : but such a face disarms criticism. The Norsemen, who peopled these northern coasts, had no part in this girl. Eppie was half a Frenchwoman and half a gipsy.

This was how the estrangement between the two houses came about. Old Mrs. Holdfast had been a masterful woman. Euphame Keith in her maidenhood, and the Keiths, from the great Marshal down to the farmer at the Mains, were as obstinate as mules ; but this latest wild-flower softened her into graciousness. The girl was the spoilt.pet of her widowhood. Eppie was perfect, immaculate, without flaw or blemish of any sort. To eyes not blinded by love, this little gipsy-cat was by no means without flaw or blemish. Flawless, indeed, she would have missed her main attraction, like that kind of china which is only perfect when cracked. It would have been better for herself and for them all had she been broken in--to deccrum ; but then, perhaps, the wild violet, or rather the sweet-briar, flavour of her life-it is the sweet briar and not the sweet violet which scents the garden at Fontainbleau-might have evaporated; and this history might not have been written. For though mine is a novel without a heroine (as Vanity Fair' was a novel without a hero), I need not affect to disguise that the only maid to whom I mean to offer you even a casual introduction, who could have played the part had I decided to fill it, is Eppie Holdfast. But I have no heroineor at most one only—that tight little craft, the Crookit Meg.'

Mark, as I have said, was a plain man,-plain in manner and plain in speech, if not in person.

His affections were deep though by no means effusive; and he had a specially warm place in his heart for his mother, and for Eppie too. But he felt that a character with some very curious and unaccountable traits, which he did not pretend to fathom—they were not in his line—was being allowed to run to seed; and he spoke his mind frankly and bluntly. This was the beginning of the breach which gradually widened as Eppie's moods grew day after day more wilful and restive and incalculable. For

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