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before the art o' boat-buildin' had been brought to oor present perfection, so that there was a prejudice against the saut water amang his countrymen. But Shakespeare kent weel that the habitual motion o the sea was pleasant and blythesome; for when Perdita dances Florizel wishes her a wave o' the sea that she might do nothing but that; and in verra truth, the fa' o' a wave and the footfa' o' a blythe lass are twa o' the sweetest souns in this astonishin' warld.'.

It cannot be doubted, I think, that the ideal domain into which his companionship with Uncle Ned brought Alister Ross tended to enrich a character that would otherwise have been mainly noticeable for simplicity, shrewdness, and natural candour-a clear and limpid soul such as the gods love; but somehow or other the influence was, or seemed to be, wasted on Eppie: the ideal ran off her, as water off a duck's back. Uncle Ned loved her as if she had been his daughter, and perhaps he loved her none the less because he felt, as the old Puritans would have said, that he was fighting for her soul- that the struggle between him and the Devil for this precious piece of childhood' was still a drawn battle. Her wilfulness, her insensibility, the spirit of mockery by which she was possessed, were purely impish ; yet her dauntless courage, her directness, her brightness, fascinated and dazzled him. Her heart was still torpid, he would own; but love might thaw the ice, and breathe a woman's soul, a woman's sense of duty and devotedness, into the cold bosom of this wilful kelpie.

But, as I have said, the ideal solution which was to thaw her selfishness into sacrifice, her impishness into womanliness, had not yet begun to work. She was seventeen years of age; a choice piece of workmanship; in splendid health, and without a touch of fear. On her eighteenth birthday (her birthday fell in the winter-time-she was born in the terrible winter of '82) she had sat with Uncle Ned at ‘Charlie's Howff, while the great white gulls sailed majestically along the cliffs, and the raven and the peregrine screamed at the intruders out of the sky. There had been a sprinkling of snow during the night; the frost was keen, and the limpid stream that trickled from the Rood well was being gradually translated by incrustation into a pendent crystal,-an enormous icicle.

"See, Eppie,' said Uncle Ned, pointing to certain sharp and delicate imprints upon the snow, 'mony hae been here this mornin' besides you and me.

That's a rabbit's foot, and that's a roe's. What has brocht the buck doun to the sea ? He'll be oot o' sorts likely, and wantin' a taste o' the saut-water. A haill thicket o'patricks hae been scrapin' on the lee side o' this drift. And here's the lang taes o' the woodcock, and—Gude guide us, Eppie--the webbed fute o' a wild-goose ! There hae been some fine ploys here in the star-licht! That's a bare's seat beside the hedge : pussie has washed her face, and curled her whiskers, and noo she's aff to the neeps. There's mony a simple history, my dear, to be read by the hedgerows and the burn-side in the winter time : and I never weary o' spellin' oot the letters. I'm

wean.

For it's true what the Apostle says, tho' aiblins no in the sense he intendit : Ever learnin', and yet never able to come to the knowledge o'the truth. For the truth is unfathomable and unsearchable.'

'I don't see what good it has done you, Uncle Ned,' says the young realist in her blunt fashion. What's the good of a thing that's good for nothing?' she adds, in the very words of the philosophy of David Hume.

IX.

ALISTER loved Eppie, but Eppie did not love Alister. In this, however, there was no disparagement of Alister : for Eppie loved no one except herself. In point of fact Eppie liked Alister as much perhaps as she was capable of liking. There was a subtle vein of sensuousness in this chilly nature; but Love?-of that as yet she knew nothing. Alister was strong and active, a fine specimen of the Scandinavian type of manliness; and Eppie saw that he was true and simple and warm-hearted—and yet she did not love him. She admired his rustic bravery, his open-mindedness, his faith in herself, as well as the frank blue eyes and the stalwart limbs of his outer man, —somewhat in the way that a man admires a handsome woman, with whom he is minded to flirt, but whom he does not mean to marry. That was all.

Once indeed she had nearly thawed. They had been out in the Fontainbleau skiff, fishing and fowling, and they were floating homewards in the autumn moonlight-a fathom or two from the cliffs. The glamour of the moonlight was around them. Birds of calm sat brooding on the charmed wave. An occasional auk floated past with the tide, its head under its wing. Then they came to a huge stack of snow-white rocks on which the moonlight rested broad and full.

the cliff a blue heron- a bird seen once in fifty years or so, and associated with quaint and fantastic superstitions—was perched on one leg in a cleft of the precipice. It was blue in every feather

summer sky at morning. The ledge where it had posted itself was exaotly like a niche carved on purpose to hold a relic or a little statue or a picture of a saint. The moon was full, and the bird looked as if the cliff had been made for it. Something in the solitariness and the strangeness of the surroundings touched Eppie. She was sitting on the same seat with Alister, and a sort of pathetic gleam came into her eyes. He stole his arm round her waist without speak. ing. She did not resist; her head lay upon his shoulder ; she nestled closer and closer. A sudden awe, an unaccountable tenderness, had taken possession of her. Alister heard a smothered sob,—a hot tear dropped upon his hand. Then he bent his head—I do not know that he kissed her-but he whispered in her ear. Ay Alister, dear Alister, she answered in a broken voice, which was low and soft as a woman's. Had the crust cracked at last ?

But when the boat touched the shore she sprang from his arms, and thereafter she did not speak to him for a month. They had been

Half way up

as

a

before the art o' boat-buildin' had been brought to oor present perfection, so that there was a prejudice against the saut water amang bis countrymen. But Shakespeare kent weel that the habitual motion o the sea was pleasant and blythesome; for when Perdita dances Florizel wishes her a wave o’the sea that she might do nothing but that; and in verra truth, the fa' o’a wave and the footfa' o' a blythe lass are twa o' the sweetest souns in this astonishin' warld.'

It cannot be doubted, I think, that the ideal domain into which his companionship with Uncle Ned brought Alister Ross tended to enrich a character that would otherwise have been mainly noticeable for simplicity, shrewdness, and natural candour-a clear and limpid soul such as the gods love; but somehow or other the influence was, or seemed to be, wasted on Eppie: the ideal ran off her, as water off a duck's back. Uncle Ned loved her as if she had been his daughter, and perhaps he loved her none the less because he felt, as the old Puritans would have said, that he was fighting for her soul-- that the struggle between him and the Devil for this ‘precious piece of childhood' was still a drawn battle. Her wilfulness, her insensibility, the spirit of mockery by which she was possessed, were purely impish ; yet her dauntless courage, her directness, her brightness, fascinated and dazzled him. Her heart was still torpid, he would own ; but love might thaw the ice, and breathe a woman's soul, a woman's sense of duty and devotedness, into the cold bosom of this wilful kelpie.

But, as I have said, the ideal solution which was to thaw her selfishness into sacrifice, her impishness into womanliness, had not yet begun to work. She was seventeen years of age; a choice piece of workmanship; in splendid health, and without a touch of fear. On her eighteenth birthday (her birthday fell in the winter-time-she was born in the terrible winter of '82) she had sat with Uncle Ned at ‘Charlie's Howff, while the great white gulls sailed majestically along the cliffs, and the raven and the peregrine screamed at the intruders out of the sky. There had been a sprinkling of snow during the night; the frost was keen, and the limpid stream that trickled from the Rood well was being gradually translated by incrustation into a pendent crystal,-an enormous icicle.

"See, Eppie,' said Uncle Ned, pointing to certain sharp and delicate imprints upon the snow, 'mony hae been here this mornin' besides you and me.

That's a rabbit's foot, and that's a roe's. What has brocht the buck doun to the sea ? He'll be oot o' sorts likely, and wantin' a taste o' the saut-water. A haill thicket o' patricks hae been scrapin' on the lee side o' this drift. And here's the lang taes o' the woodcock, and—Gude guide us, Eppie--the webbed fute o' a wild-goose ! There hae been some fine ploys here in the star-licht! That's a bare's seat beside the hedge: pussie has washed her face, and curled her whiskers, and noo she's aff to the neeps. There's mony a simple history, my dear, to be read by the hedgerows and the burn-side in the winter time: and I never weary o' spellin' oot the letters. I'm wean. For it's true what the Apostle says, tho’aiblins no in the sense he intendit : Ever learnin', and yet never able to come to the knowledge o'the truth. For the truth is unfathomable and unsearchable.'

'I don't see what good it has done you, Uncle Ned,' says the young realist in her blunt fashion. What's the good of a thing that's good for nothing ?' she adds, in the very words of the philosophy of David Hume.

IX.

ALISTER loved Eppie, but Eppie did not love Alister. In this, however, there was no disparagement of Alister : for Eppie loved no one except herself. In point of fact Eppie liked Alister as much perhaps as she was capable of liking. There was a subtle vein of sensuousness in this chilly nature; but Love?—of that as yet she knew nothing. Alister was strong and active, a fine specimen of the Scandinavian type of manliness; and Eppie saw that he was true and simple and warm-hearted—and yet she did not love him. She admired his rustic bravery, his open-mindedness, his faith in herself, as well as the frank blue eyes and the stalwart limbs of his outer man, —somewhat in the way that a man admires a handsome woman, with whom he is minded to flirt, but whom he does not mean to marry. That was all.

Once indeed she had nearly thawed. They had been out in the Fontainbleau skiff, fishing and fowling, and they were floating homewards in the autumn moonlight-a fathom or two from the cliffs. The glamour of the moonlight was around them. Birds of calm sat brooding on the charmed wave. An occasional auk floated past with the tide, its head under its wing. Then they came to a huge stack of snow-white rocks on which the moonlight rested broad and full. Half way up the cliff a blue heron- a bird seen once in fifty years or so, and associated with quaint and fantastic superstitions-was perched on one leg in a cleft of the precipice. It was blue in every feather as a summer sky at morning. The ledge where it had posted itself was exaotly like a niche carved on purpose to hold a relic or a little statue or a picture of a saint. The moon was full, and the bird looked as if the cliff had been made for it. Something in the solitariness and the strangeness of the surroundings touched Eppie. She was sitting on the same seat with Alister, and a sort of pathetic gleam came into her eyes. He stole his arm round her waist without speaking. She did not resist; her head lay upon his shoulder; she nestled closer and closer. A sudden awe, an unaccountable tenderness, had taken possession of her. Alister heard a smothered sob, a hot tear dropped upon his hand. Then he bent his head—I do not know that he kissed her—but he whispered in her ear. “Ay Alister, dear Alister, she answered in a broken voice, which was low and soft as a woman's. Had the crust cracked at last ?

But when the boat touched the shore she sprang from his arms, and thereafter she did not speak to him for a month. They had been before the art o' boat-buildin' had been brought to oor present perfection, so that there was a prejudice against the saut water amang his countrymen. But Shakespeare kent weel that the habitual motion o the sea was pleasant and blythesome; for when Perdita dances Florizel wishes her a wave o' the sea that she might do nothing but that; and in verra truth, the fa' o' a wave and the footfa' o' a blythe lass are twa o' the sweetest souns in this astonishin' warld.'

It cannot be doubted, I think, that the ideal domain into which his companionship with Uncle Ned brought Alister Ross tended to enrich a character that would otherwise have been mainly noticeable for simplicity, shrewdness, and natural candour-a clear and limpid soul such as the gods love; but somehow or other the influence was, or seemed to be, wasted on Eppie: the ideal ran off her, as water off a duck's back. Uncle Ned loved her as if she had been his daughter, and perhaps he loved her none the less because he felt, as the old Puritans would have said, that he was fighting for her soul-that the struggle between him and the Devil for this precious piece of childhood' was still a drawn battle. Her wilfulness, her insensibility, the spirit of mockery by which she was possessed, were purely impish ; yet her dauntless courage, her directness, her brightness, fascinated and dazzled him. Her heart was still torpid, he would own; but love might thaw the ice, and breathe a woman's soul, a woman's sense of duty and devotedness, into the cold bosom of this wilful kelpie.

But, as I have said, the ideal solution which was to thaw her selfishness into sacrifice, her impishness into womanliness, had not yet begun to work. She was seventeen years of age; a choice piece of workmanship; in splendid health, and without a touch of fear. On her eighteenth birthday (her birthday fell in the winter-time-she was born in the terrible winter of '82) she had sat with Uncle Ned at “Charlie's Howff, while the great white gulls sailed majestically along the cliffs, and the raven and the peregrine screamed at the intruders out of the sky. There had been a sprinkling of snow during the night; the frost was keen, and the limpid stream that trickled from the Rood well was being gradually translated by incrustation into a pendent crystal,an enormous icicle.

"See, Eppie,' said Uncle Ned, pointing to certain sharp and delicate imprints upon the snow, 'mony hae been here this mornin' besides you and me.

That's a rabbit's foot, and that's a roe's. What has brocht the buck doun to the sea ? He'll be oot o' sorts likely, and wantin' a taste o' the saut-water. A haill thicket o' patricks hae been scrapin' on the lee side o' this drift. And here's the lang taes o' the woodcock, and–Gude guide us, Eppie--the webbed fute o' a wild-goose ! There hae been some fine ploys here in the star-licht! That's a bare's seat beside the hedge: pussie has washed her face, and curled her whiskers, and noo she's aff to the neeps. There's mony a simple history, my dear, to be read by the hedgerows and the burn-side in the winter time : and I never weary o' spellin' oot the letters. I'm

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