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Scotland in the year One--the home-bred son of the miserly or impecunious laird, whose education had been neglected, and whose morals had been worse than neglected. Uncle Ned was very tolerant: he believed that, rough-hew them how we may, a divinity shapes our ends; that the world would go topsy-turvy were there no hand behind the scenes to keep the puppets on their feet; and that without some such unseen direction education becomes an utterly hopeless enterprise. But even Uncle Ned admitted that Harry Hacket was a difficulty; and when, in spite of such warnings as he could give her, Eppie Holdfast's name began to be associated with the young laird's, he turned away with a dull but poignant feeling of pain and displeasure in his heart to which his simple nature had been hitherto unused.

But Eppie was not blinded.

XI.

I don't want to do Eppie any injustice. She was a remarkably fine animal-her physique was splendid-she had magnificent vitality. Her skin was pure and her eye bright with perfect health. But she had never been broken into harness, and at length she became unmanageable. What strict control and discipline might have effected I cannot pretend to say-something, not everything, for the vice was in the blood. It requires something more than the wise direction of man-it needs the fire of Almighty God—to warm the cold and calculating instincts of a worldly nature into the glow of sacrifice and the ideality of love. There were all sorts of superficial contrarieties in Eppie’s nature; she was hard yet cunning, icy yet sensitive, frank yet reticent. On one side she seemed rude, blunt, imperious; yet she had that native capacity for treachery which is bred in the bone of the wild-cat and the hawk. The girl was utterly fearless; yet nature had armed her with the stealthy arts with which she arms the weaker animals. You say that this is an unnatural combination ? But there are no vital inconsistencies in such a character as I am sketching. Given an original basis of urgent and clamant selfishness, and to compass its end any disguise can be assumed, or rather it can shape itself into any mould. Poor Eppie must have committed some dreadful crime in a prior state of existence, for even in her bluntest moments she was watchful—ever on the alert to guard against surprise.

Eppie was not blinded. But Harry was the young laird; and his wife might be-should be—would be-a great lady. Why not? said Eppie to herself. But to become a great lady it was necessary to marry this man; and then she had to ask herself if she loved him as she would love her husband. Well-she was not quite sure of her feelings—he repelled and attracted her as the loadstone attracts and repels. She knew by repute that he was sulky and passionate; she had a sort of moral conviction that he was a coward. He might have were not known to her; well, girls must look after themselves as she meant to look after herself; but cowardice—that was a crime in a man which it was difficult to forgive. And then there was Alister. Poor Alister! Lord of his presence and no land beside, as Uncle Ned

would say.

• Come, Mr. Hacket,' she said, “and I will show you the glede's nest.'

They had wandered across the heathery knolls until they had reached the Bloody Hole. A smile of malice suddenly lighted up Eppie's face, which had hitherto that day been simply grave and attentive; here she would test him. The Bloody Hole is shaped like a W; the peregrines had built their nest at the junction of the V's; had built it there beyond the memory of mortals. Going back the other day, I felt that there was something vitally amiss when I found that the eyrie was deserted, and that the birds rose, shrieking shrilly, from a distant bluff.

I take the W as the readiest available illustration ; but it is not a perfectly accurate one, for the central limb which divides the chasm into two profound gulfs is connected with the land by a narrow neck only, which for twenty or thirty yards is sharper than a knife at the summit. An acrobat, a rope-dancer, a Blondin could not find footing upon its polished and perilous edge. The invisible thread with which the Lilliput girl threads her invisible needle is barely finer. But along the north face of the cliff, a few feet from the summit, there is a narrow shelf—no, not a shelf—for there are merely a succession of detached knobs of rock, and an occasional bush of the common sea-pink. This is the road to the glede's nest; and with bis arms thrown across the edge, and moving his feet warily from knob to knob and from bush to bush, the hardy cragsman of the district can cross the mauvais pas. Eppie and Alister had been familiar with the place since they were children; and familiarity had made them bold and confident. It had no terrors for the girl, and leaving Harry upon the land she sped swiftly along the narrow footway.

Come,' she cried, in a voice shrill as a mocking-bird's, as she planted herself securely on the other bank; 'come, I am waiting for you. And then he knew that the attentive eyes were fixed curiously

upon him.

Well---he tried it, and he did not succeed. Half-way across, his head failed him, his nerve gave way. A tuft of grass to which he had trusted had not been securely rooted, and his feet dangled over the gulf in empty space. He became actually sick with fright. He felt that in another moment he would be tumbling through thin air into the abyss beneath. Ere that moment came Eppie was by his side. Be a man,' she said, 'or I canna help you.' Her steady voice steadied him. There's a crack in the rock at your foot-therethere.' The fear of death was upon him, but it made him quick to follow her guidance. Now lightly upon the grass—lightly—lightly -now on the rock. And thus they regained the solid land.

Scotland in the year One--the home-bred 'son of the miserly or impecunious · laird, whose education had been neglected, and whose morals had been worse than neglected. Uncle Ned was very tolerant : he believed that, rough-hew them how we may, a divinity shapes our ends; that the world would go topsy-turvy were there no hand behind the scenes to keep the puppets on their feet; and that without some such unseen direction education becomes an utterly hopeless enterprise. But even Uncle Ned admitted that Harry Hacket was a difficulty; and when, in spite of such warnings as he could give her, Eppie Holdfast's name began to be associated with the young laird's, he turned away with a dull but poignant feeling of pain and displeasure in his heart to which his simple nature had been hitherto unused.

But Eppie was not blinded.

XI.

I don't want to do Eppie any injustice. She was a remarkably fine animal-her physique was splendid—she had magnificent vitality. Her skin was pure and her eye bright with perfect health. But she had never been broken into harness, and at length she became unmanageable. What strict control and discipline might have effected I cannot pretend to say-something, not everything, for the vice was in the blood. It requires something more than the wise direction of man-it needs the fire of Almighty God—to warm the cold and calculating instincts of a worldly nature into the glow of sacrifice and the ideality of love. There were all sorts of superficial contrarieties in Eppie's nature; she was hard yet cunning, icy yet sensitive, frank yet reticent. On one side she seemed rude, blunt, imperious; yet she had that native capacity for treachery which is bred in the bone of the wild-cat and the hawk. The girl was utterly fearless; yet nature had armed her with the stealthy arts with which she arms the weaker animals. You say that this is an unnatural combination ? But there are no vital inconsistencies in such a character as I am sketching. Given an original basis of urgent and clamant selfishness, and to compass its end any disguise can be assumed, or rather it can shape itself into any mould. Poor Eppie must bave committed some dreadful crime in a prior state of existence, for even in her bluntest moments she was watchful——ever on the alert to guard against surprise.

Eppie was not blinded. But Harry was the young laird ; and his wife might be-should be—would be-a great lady. Why not? said Eppie to herself. But to become a great lady it was necessary to marry this man; and then she had to ask herself if she loved him as she would love her husband. Well-she was not quite sure of her feelings—he repelled and attracted her as the loadstone attracts and repels. She knew by repute that he was sulky and passionate ; she had a sort of moral conviction that he was a coward. He might have

were not known to her; well, girls must look after themselves as she meant to look after herself; but cowardice—that was a crime in a man which it was difficult to forgive. And then there was Alister. Poor Alister! Lord of his presence and no land beside, as Uncle Ned

would say.

• Come, Mr. Hacket,' she said, “and I will show you the glede's nest.

They had wandered across the heathery knolls until they had reached the Bloody Hole. A smile of malice suddenly lighted up Eppie's face, which had hitherto that day been simply grave and attentive; here she would test him. The Bloody Hole is shaped like a W; the peregrines had built their nest at the junction of the V's; had built it there beyond the memory of mortals. Going back the other day, I felt that there was something vitally amiss when I found that the eyrie was deserted, and that the birds rose, shrieking shrilly, from a distant bluff.

I take the W as the readiest available illustration; but it is not a perfectly accurate one, for the central limb which divides the chasm into two profound gulfs is connected with the land by a narrow neck only, which for twenty or thirty yards is sharper than a knife at the summit. An acrobat, a rope-dancer, a Blondin could not find footing upon its polished and perilous edge. The invisible thread with which the Lilliput girl threads her invisible needle is barely finer. But along the north face of the cliff, a few feet from the summit, there is a narrow shelf—no, not a shelf—for there are merely a succession of detached knobs of rock, and an occasional bush of the common sea-pink. This is the road to the glede's nest; and with bis arms thrown across the edge, and moving his feet warily from knob to knob and from bush to bush, the hardy cragsman of the district can cross the mauvais pas. Eppie and Alister had been familiar with the place since they were children ; and familiarity had made them bold and confident. It had no terrors for the girl, and leaving Harry upon the land she sped swiftly along the narrow footway.

Come,' she cried, in a voice shrill as a mocking-bird's, as she planted herself securely on the other bank; 'come, I am waiting for you. And then he knew that the attentive eyes were fixed curiously

upon him.

Well---he tried it, and he did not succeed. Half-way across, his head failed him, his nerve gave way. A tuft of grass to which he had trusted had not been securely rooted, and his feet dangled over the gulf in empty space. He became actually sick with fright. He felt that in another moment he would be tumbling through thin air into the abyss beneath. Ere that moment came Eppie was by his side. Be a man,' she said, 'or I canna help you. Her steady voice steadied him. There's a crack in the rock at your foot—therethere. The fear of death was upon him, but it made him quick to follow her guidance. Now lightly upon the grass—lightly-lightly —now on the rock. And thus they regained the solid land.

Wiping the perspiration from his brow, and eyeing her savagely, D-n it,' he said with a sulky oath, 'that's a pretty place to bring

a man!

But he was pale and cowed; and Eppie with a thrill of triumph felt that she was his master.

XII.

· HARRY,' said Eppie, as they stood on the Saplin Brae, 'I don't know that mither would like me to ride so far.'

Oh, never heed, Eppie ; we'll be hame before dark.'

Eppie was a bold rider, and she looked splendid in the rustic habit which her own deft fingers had woven. Her steed was only a shalt' or shaltie,' a half-bred, half-broken native of the farm, yet a wiry and indefatigable little beast. The breed of highland ponies has died out now, more's the pity.

It is the spring-time, a soft wind is blowing from the south, and the braes of Fontainbleau are white with cowslips. Eppie looks splendid; her face is flushed with the excitement of the gallop up the Saplin Brae to the ridge above Yokieshill; the young laird has dismounted to tighten a girth and adjust a stirrup; he gazes up into her face with eyes that are brimful of passion. He has never had a toy like this before ; his longing to clasp it, to seize it, to make it his own, takes away his breath at times; he is mad with desire. They have raced up the steep ascent; the horses took the bits between their teeth and flew like the wind; and now they are resting on the summit. And at their feet is the old house of Yokieshill, and the mosses round about that the wild duck love, and the blue sea edged with a white line of breakers, and circled by the sandhills of Slaids. And all the land between is owned by the laird of Yokieshill, who is dying at home in his bed.

The tempter selected an exceedingly high mountain from which to show the tempted all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.

Harry Hacket was but a coarse and rustic edition of Mephistopheles; yet he judged rightly when he brought Eppie in their rides to the Saplin Brae. For from thence she could behold all the goodly heritage which she coveted ; and distance gave the gaunt old Scotch house a charm which would not have stood the test of a closer acquaintance.

· Let me call you Eppie,' he had asked on one occasion as they stood on this spot.

My name's Euphame,' she had answered calmly. “There's aye been a Euphame Holdfast in Fontainbleau or ever there was a Hacket in Yokieshill; but you may call me Eppie if it pleases you, I am sure.'

* And you will call me Harry ?'

Surely,' she answered, returning his ardent glance with a shrug

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