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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. 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 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

Half way up

wilful girl rebelled against the claim, which in a moment of incalculable weakness she had seemed to allow.

Then Alister was despatched to a station in the south, and they did not meet again for a year or two. When he came back, in the summer of the year One---promoted to a fair place in the service-he heard that old Hacket was on his death-bed, and that Harry Hacket would be the new laird of Yokieshill.

This, I think, was the turning-point of Eppie's life. Had she yielded at that time to the soft persuasions of her better nature, she might have been saved.

X. It was during the year of Alister's absence in the south that Eppie's acquaintance with young Hacket began-at some harvesthome or other rustic merry-making. The Hackets belonged to the gentry; but the old laird of Yokieshill was a complete recluse, having withdrawn himself before his boy grew up from the society of the county. He was in bad odour both as master and neighbour. Insolent and overbearing by nature, he became morose and savage as the darkness deepened round him. It was a gloomy house, haunted by memories of evil-doing, standing gauntly among the melancholy moors. Mrs. Hacket had died when her boy was born ; and thereafter no woman of the better sort had entered its doors. There was a tacit antipathy between father and son ; a dreary childhood-how unutterably dreary is the shy isolation of a child !—had matured into a sullen manhood; and altogether the outlook for Harry Hacket when he came of age was one which the most poverty-stricken hind on the estate need not have envied. He was grossly ignorant; he had no companions except his gun and his dogs; his conscience was obtuse; paroxysms of passion had acquired for him the reputation of a bully, while, in truth, the habitual ill-usage to which he had been exposed, by crushing the animal spirits and the native elasticity of childhood, had made him a coward.

• The stars in their courses fight against Sisera,' the Doctor said, discussing with Uncle Ned the character of the young squire.

• Ay, Doctor, but what business had the stars to tak’ ony part in the strife ? Hoo are we to guide oor battles if the stars come doun and fight like the auld gods on this side and on that? But there's some men who never get a chance: they are reprobates from the beginning. Heaven and earth have conspired against them. It's ane o' the mysteries o' this warld which metapheesics and theology have clean failed to expiscate. But between oorsels, Doctor, I've aye had great sympathy with Sisera. The stars werena verra particular in their choice o'tools. A nail in a sleepin' man's lug—it's no fair.'

Yet this swaggering young fellow was presentable enough. Although he knew nothing of the dainties that are bred in a book, he had a certain measure of natural shrewdness which served to keep features were massive ; his crisp black hair had a natural curl; the large black eyes were sombre but penetrating. Their stealthiness was not visible to the casual observer—the stealthiness of a wild animal which has been hunted from its cradle, whose ancestors have been hunted from immemorial time. There was an underbred look about him, it is true, which would have made him, in spite of bis broad chest and masterful air, distasteful to a woman of true cultivation ; but then the girls about Yokieshill were not gifted with the keen and educated perceptions of the gentlewoman. The lasses who worked on the neighbouring farms were, many of them, sufficiently comely; and as their moral standard was not high, the fact that Lizzie Shivas or Chirsty Murrison had been seen with the young laird in the gloaming was rather a feather in her cap

than otherwise. Harry had no scruples on this or on any other subject; desire and its gratification went hand in hand; and by the time he was five-andtwenty he had contrived to win for hiraself an unsavoury repute among honest women.

It was not to be wondered at in the circumstances that Harry Hacket should have sought the society of his inferiors. He could not, in fact, help himself. He was shut out, by his father's habits and by his own, from the great houses of the neighbourhood. Man is a gregarious animal, and Harry Hacket was driven by the social instinct, by the craving for companionship, to the public-house and tbe bothie. Then he was the young laird. A great part of the land round about had been inherited or acquired by his father. The fortunes of many of these simple people would by-and-by come to depend on bis good-will. He was not loved; but he was tolerated, invited, encouraged. He and his father were barely on speaking terms. The old man had grown very miserly ; it was his last enjoyment in a world which he did not love and more or less despised. Harry might commit as many follies as he pleased, but he must not expect his father to pay for them. At that time smuggling by land and by sea was in full swing; foreign wines and silks as well as homemade spirits were at famine prices; the illicit traffic was a lucrative one. Harry was driven by his necessities to consort with men who habitually and successfully evaded the law. Even by these men he was not trusted : a true instinct. warned them against one who was destitute of the rudimentary principles of honour which are current among thieves, who was at heart a coward; but then he was useful to them. Had he been openly hostile, the son of the resident proprietor, who was constantly wandering about the moors with his gun and his dogs, might have come inconveniently in their way. He would certainly have learnt that the Black Moss was frequented not by wild ducks only. Harry was proud in his coarse ignorant fashion ; he would not have married a cottar's daughter even to spite his father; for in his own conceit he belonged to the upper class which could do what it liked with the lower; and he internally resented the familiarities which he was forced to accept from his associates.

wilful girl rebelled against the claim, which in a moment of incalculable weakness she had seemed to allow.

Then Alister was despatched to a station in the south, and they did not meet again for a year or two. When he came back, in the summer of the year One-promoted to a fair place in the service—he heard that old Hacket was on his death-bed, and that Harry Hacket would be the new laird of Yokieshill.

This, I think, was the turning-point of Eppie's life. Had she yielded at that time to the soft persuasions of her better nature, she might have been saved.

x.

It was during the year of Alister's absence in the south that Eppie's acquaintance with young Hacket began—at some harvesthome or other rustic merry-making. The Hackets belonged to the gentry; but the old laird of Yokieshill was a complete recluse, having withdrawn himself before his boy grew up from the society of the county. He was in bad odour both as master and neighbour. Insolent and overbearing by nature, he became morose and savage as the darkness deepened round him. It was a gloomy house, haunted by memories of evil-doing, standing gauntly among the melancholy moors. Mrs. Hacket had died when her boy was born ; and thereafter no woman of the better sort had entered its doors. There was a tacit antipathy between father and son ; a dreary childhood-how unutterably dreary is the shy isolation of a child !-had matured into a sullen manbood; and altogether the outlook for Harry Hacket when he came of age was one which the most poverty-stricken hind on the estate need not have envied. He was grossly ignorant; he had no companions except his gun and his dogs; his conscience was obtuse; paroxysms of passion had acquired for him the reputation of a bully, while, in truth, the habitual ill-usage to which he had been exposed, by crushing the animal spirits and the native elasticity of childhood, had made him a coward.

• The stars in their courses fight against Sisera,' the Doctor said, discussing with Uncle Ned the character of the young squire.

Ay, Doctor, but what business had the stars to tak' ony part in the strife? Hoo are we to guide oor battles if the stars come doun and fight like the auld gods on this side and on that? But there's some men who never get a chance: they are reprobates from the beginning. Heaven and earth have conspired against them. It's ane o' the mysteries o' this warld which metapheesics and theology have clean failed to expiscate. But between oorsels, Doctor, I've aye had great sympathy with Sisera. The stars werena verra particular in their choice o' tools. A nail in a sleepin' man's lug-—it's no fair.'

Yet this swaggering young fellow was presentable enough. Although he knew nothing of the dainties that are bred in a book, he had a certain measure of natural shrewdness which served to keep

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features were massive; his crisp black hair had a natural curl; the large black eyes were sombre but penetrating. Their stealthiness was not visible to the casual observer-the stealthiness of a wild animal which bas been hunted from its cradle, whose ancestors have been hunted from immemorial time. There was an underbred look about him, it is true, which would have made him, in spite of his broad chest and masterful air, distasteful to a woman of true cultivation ; but then the girls about Yokiesbill were not gifted with the keen and educated perceptions of the gentlewoman. The lasses who worked on the neighbouring farms were, many of them, sufficiently comely; and as their moral standard was not high, the fact that Lizzie Shivas or Chirsty Murrison had been seen with the young laird in the gloaming was rather a feather in her cap than otherwise. Harry had no scruples on this or on any other subject; desire and its gratification went hand in hand; and by the time he was five-andtwenty he had contrived to win for himself an unsavoury repute among honest women.

It was not to be wondered at in the circumstances that Harry Hacket should have sought the society of his inferiors. He could not, in fact, help himself. He was shut out, by his father's habits and by his own, from the great houses of the neighbourhood. Man is a gregarious animal, and Harry Hacket was driven by the social instinct, by the craving for companionship, to the public-house and the bothie. Then he was the young laird. A great part of the land round about had been inherited or acquired by his father. The fortunes of many of these simple people would by-and-by come to depend on his good-will. He was not loved; but he was tolerated, invited, encouraged. He and his father were barely on speaking terms. The old man had grown very miserly ; it was his last enjoyment in a world which he did not love and more or less despised. Harry might commit as many follies as he pleased, but he must not expect his father to pay for them. At that time smuggling by land and by sea was in full swing; foreign wines and silks as well as homemade spirits were at famine prices; the illicit traffic was a lucrative one. Harry was driven by his necessities to consort with men who habitually and successfully evaded the law. Even by these men he was not trusted : a true instinct. warned them against one who was destitute of the rudimentary principles of honour which are current among thieves, who was at heart a coward; but then he was useful to them. Had he been openly hostile, the son of the resident proprietor, who was constantly wandering about the moors with his gun and his dogs, might have come inconveniently in their way. He would certainly have learnt that the Black Moss was frequented not by wild ducks only. Harry was proud in his coarse ignorant fashion ; he would not have married a cottar's daughter even to spite his father; for in his own conceit he belonged to the upper class which could do what it liked with the lower; and he internally resented the familiarities which he was forced to accept from his associates.

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