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luctantly forward, till he stood be- feasting because her son who had fore her. It seemed to Mrs Ogilvy been lost was found: how he that she was paralysed. She could would come to her all in a moment, not move nor speak. This strange and fling himself down by her side, figure came into the peaceful circle with his head in her lap, as had of the little house closing up for been one of his old ways. Oh, and the night, separated from all the a hundred ways besides, like himworld—in silence, like a ghost, like a self, like herself, when the mother secret and mysterious Being whose and the son after long years would coming meant something very dif- look each other in the face, and ferent from the comings and goings all the misery and the trouble would of the common day. He stood all be forgotten ! But never like this. dark like a shadow before the old IIe said “ Mother," and she dropped lady trembling in her chair, with away from him, sank into the seat her white cap and white shawl behind her, putting out neither making a strange light in the dim hands nor arms. She did not lose picture. How long this moment consciousness—alas! she had not of silence lasted neither knew. It that resource, pain kept her faculties became intolerable to both at the all awake—but she lost heart more same moment. She burst forth, completely than ever before. А " Who are you, who
wave of terrible sickness came over man?” in a voice which shook and her, a sense of repulsion, a desire to went out at the end like the flame hide her face, that the shadows of a candle in the air. “Have you might cover her, or cover him who forgotten me—altogether ?” he said. stood there, saying no more: the
Altogether ?" she echoed, pain- man who was her son, who said he fully raising herself from her chair. was her son, who said “Mother" in It brought her a little nearer to a tone which, amid all these horrible him, to the brown beard, the shad- contradictions, yet went to her heart owed features, the eyes which like a knife. Oh, not with sweetlooked dimly from under the deep ness! sharp, sharp, cutting every shade of the hat. She stood for a
doubt away! moment tottering, trembling, recog- "Mother," he said again, "I nising nothing, feeling the atmos- would have sworn you would not phere of him sicken and repel her. forget me, though all the world And then there came into that forgot me.” wonderful pause a more wonderful No," she said, like one in a and awful change of sentiment, a
mother forget revolution of feeling. “Mother!” her—_" Her voice broke again he said.
and went out upon the air. She And with a low cry Mrs Ogilvy lifted her trembling hands to him. fell back into her chair. At such “Oh Robbie, Robbie! are you my moments what can be done but to Robbie ?” she said in a voice of appeal to heaven? “Oh my Lord anguish, with the sickness and the God !” she cried.
horror in her heart. She had looked for it so long, ' Ay, mother," he said, with a for years and years and years, an- tone of bitterness in his voice; ticipateil every particular of it: how “but take me in, for I'm tired to she would recognise him afar off, death." and go out to meet him, like the And then a great compunction father of the prodigal, and bring awoke within her: her son, for him home, and fill the house with whom she had longed and prayed
all these years—and instead of run- sup for twelve hours, nothing but a ning out to meet him, and putting cup of bad coffee this morning. My the best robe on him, a ring on his money's all run out." hand, and shoes on his feet, he had “Ob, my laddie !” she cried, and to remind her that he was tired to hurried to the bell but did not ring death! She took him by the hand it, and then to the door. But beand led him in, and put him in the fore she could reach the door, Janet
“I am all shaken," she came in with the lamp. said : “ both will and sense, they unconscious that any one was there, are gone from me: and I don't know with the sudden light illuminating what I am doing. Robbie, if ye are her face, and making all the rest of Robbie
the room doubly dark to her. She Do you
doubt me still, mother?" did not see the stranger sitting in He took off his bat and flung it on the corner, and gave a violent start, the floor. Though he was almost almost upsetting the lamp as she too much broken down for resent- placed it on the table, when with a ment, there was indignation in his half laugh he suddenly said, “And tone. And then she looked at him here's Janet !” out of the shade. again, and even in the dimness re- Janet turned round like lightning, cognised her son. The big beard with a face of ashes.
“Who's that," hid the lower part of his face, but she cried, "that calls me by my these were Robbie's eyes, eyes half name?” turned away, sullen, angry-as she “ We shall see,” he said, rising had seen him look before he went up, “if she knows me better than away, when he was reproved, when my mother.” Mrs Ogilvy stood by he had done wrong. She had for- with a pang which words could not gotten that ever he had looked like describe, as Janet flung up her arms that, but it flashed back to her with a great cry. It was true: the mind in a moment now. She had woman did recognise him without forgotten that he had ever been a moment's hesitation, while his anything but kind and affectionate mother had held back—the woman, and trusting, easily led away, oh, who was only the servant, not a 80 easily led away, but nothing drop's blood to him. The mother's worse than that. Now it all came humiliation could not be put into back upon her, the shadows that words. there had been to that picture even “Janet,” she said severely, masterat its best.
ing her voice, “set out the supper “Robbie,” she said, with falter- at once, whatever is in the house. ing lips, Robbie, ob, my dear! I It will be cold ; but in the meanknow you now," and she put those time put the chicken to the fire that trembling lips to his forehead. They you got for to-morrow's dinner: the were cold—it could not feel like a cold beef will do to begin with : and kiss of love; and she was trembling lose not a moment. Mr Robert,”from head to foot, chiefly with she paused a moment after those emotion, but a little with fear. She words, -“ Mr Robert has arrived could not help it: her heart yearned suddenly, as you see, and he has over him, and yet she was afraid had a long journey, and wants his of this strange man who was her supper. You can speak to him
after. Now let us get ready his He did not attempt to return the food.” salutation in any way.
He said She went out of the room before drearily, “I have not had bite nor her maid. She would not seem
jealous, or to grudge Janet's ready body watching outside that window, and joyful greeting. She went into which you keep without shutter or the little dining-room, and began curtain, in this lonely little house, to arrange the table with her own where any man might break in ?" hands. “Go you quick and put the He gave another suspicious glance chicken to the fire,” she said. Was at the window as he followed her she glad to escape from his presence, out of the room. “Tell Janet to from Robbie, her long absent son, put up the shutters," he said. her only child ? All the time she Then he sat down and occupied went quickly about, putting out the himself with his meal, eating shining silver, freshly burnished, as ravenously, like a man who had not it was Saturday; the fresh linen, put seen food for days. When the ready for Sunday; the best plates, chicken came he tore it asunder part of the dinner-service that was (tearing the poor old lady's heart kept in the dining-room.
à little, in addition to all deeper will do for the cold things," she wounds, by the irreverent rending said ; "and oh, make haste, make of the food, on which, she had also haste with the rest !” Then she remarked, he asked no blessing), took out the two decanters of wine, and ate the half of it without the port and the sherry, which no- stopping. His mother sat by and body drank, but which she had looked on. Many a time had she always been accustomed to keep sat by rejoicing, and seen Robbie, ready. The bread was new, just as she had fondly said, “devour” come in from the baker's, every- his supper, with happy laugh and thing fresh, the provisions of the jest, and questions and answers, the Saturday market, and of that in- boy fresh from his amusements, or stinct which prepares the best of perhaps, though more rarely, his everything for Sunday — the Sab- work—with so much to tell her, so bath —the Lord's Day. It was not much to say,—she beaming upon the fatted calf, but at least it was him, proud to see how heartily he the best fare that ever came into ate, rejoicing in his young vigour the house, the Sunday fare. and strength. Now he ate in
Then she went back to him in silence, like a wild animal, as if it the other room : he had not followed might be his last meal; while she her, but sat just as she had left sat by, the shadow of her head him, his head on his breast. He upon the wall behind her showing roused
the tremor which she hoped she had round as she came in, as if there overcome, trying to say something might be some horrible danger in now and then, not knowing what to that peaceful place. “Your supper say. He had looked up after his is ready," she said, her voice still first onslaught upon the food, and tremulous. “Come to your supper. glanced round the table. “Have
. It is nothing but cold meat to be you no beer?” he said. Mrs gin with, but the chicken will soon Ogilvy jumped up
up nervously. be ready, Robbie : there's nothing “ There is the table-beer we have here to fear
for Andrew," she said. “You will “I know," he said, rising slowly: have whisky, at least. '
I must “but if you had been like me, in have something to drink with my places where there was everything dinner,” he answered, morosely. Mrs to fear, it would be long before you Ogilvy knew many uses for whisky, got out of the way of it.
but to drink it, not after, but with I tell that there might not be some- dinner, was not one that occurred
to her. She brought out the old- arms and placed it on the bed. fashioned silver case eagerly from shall have nothing but the best," the sideboard, and sought among she said, spreading forth the snowy the shelves where the crystal was for linen with her own hands. Oh! the proper sized glass. But he how often she had thought of doing poured it out into the tumbler, to her that, going over it, spreading the horror, dashing the fiery liquid about bed for Robbie, with her heart and filling it up with water. “I dancing in her bosom! It did not suppose," he said again, looking dance now, but lay as if dead, but round him with a sort of angry for the pain of its deadly wounds. contempt, " there's no soda-water “And, Janet,” she said, “how it here?
is to be done I know not, but “We can get everything on Mon- Andrew must hurry to the town to day, whatever you like, my - my get provisions for to-morrow. It dear," she said, in her faltering will be too late to-night, and who voice.
will open to him, or who will sell Afterwards she was glad to leave to him on the Sabbath morning, is him, to go up-stairs and help Janet, more than I can tell; but we must whose steps she heard overhead in just trustthe room so long unused—his room, “Mem," said Janet, “I have where she had always arranged sent him already up Esk to Johnny everything herself, and spent many Small's to get some trout that he an hour thinking of her boy, among catched this afternoon, but couldall the old treasures of his child- na dispose o' them so late. And hood and youth. It was a room likewise to Mrs Loanhead at the next to her own—a little larger- Knowe farm, to get a couple of “for a lad has need of room, with chickens and as many eggs as he his big steps and his long legs," she could lay his hands on. You'll not had many a time said. She found be surprised if ye hear the poor Janet hesitating between two sets things cackling. We'll just thraw of sheets brought out from Mrs their necks the morn,
I maun say Ogilvy's abundant store of napery, again, as I have aye said, that for one fine, and one not so fine. “It's a a house like this to have nae regrand day his coming hame," Janet sources of its ain, no a chicken for said. "Ye'll mind, mem, a ring on a sudden occasion without flying to his finger and shoes on his feet: the neebors, is just a very puir it's true that shoon are first neces- kind of thing." saries, but no the ring on his finger.” “ And what would become of my
“Take these things away,” said flowers, with your hens and their Mrs Ogilvy, with an indignation families abouti” that was more or less a relief to “Flooers !” said Janet, her, pushing away the linen, which temptuously: and her mistress slid in its shining wbiteness to had not spirit to continue the the floor, as if to display its discussion. intrinsic excellence though thus “And now," she said, “that all's despised. She went to the press ready, I must go down and see after and brought out the best she had, my son.” her mother's spinning in the days Eh, mem, but you're a proud when mothers began to think of woman this night to say thae words their daughter's "plenishing” for again ! and him grown sic a grand her wedding as soon as she was buirdly man!” born, She brought it back in her The poor lady smiled-she could
do no more-in her old servant's her so keen a pang to think of as face, and went down-stairs to the stained or soiled. Was it the same dining-room, which she found to her feeling that arrested it on her lips astonishment full of smoke, and
now? those fumes of whisky which so "Am I bothering you, mother, often fill a woman's heart with sick- staying here a little quiet with my ness and dismay, even when there pipe? for I'll go, if that is what you is no need for such emotion. want." Robert Ogilvy sat with his chair She had coughed a little, much pushed back from the table, a against her will, unaccustomed to pipe in his mouth, and a tumbler the smoke. “Bothering me!" she of whisky-and-water at his hand. cried : “is it likely that anything The whisky and the food had should bother me to-night, and my perhaps given him a less hang- son come back ?” dog look, but the former had not He looked at her, and for the in the least affected him other first time seemed to remark her wise, nor probably had he taken countenance strained with a wistful enough to do so. But the anguish attempt at satisfaction, on the backof the sight was not less at the first ground of her despair. glance to his mother, so long un- "I am afraid," he said, shaking accustomed to the habits of even his head, “there is not much more the soberest men. She said nothing, pleasure in it to you than to me.” and tried even to disguise the trouble “There would be joy and blessin her expression, heart-wrung with ing in it, Robbie,” she cried, forcing a cumulation of experiences, each herself to utterance, “if it was a adding something to those that had pleasure to you."
“That's past praying for,” he “Your room is ready, Robbie, replied, almost roughly, and then
You will be wearied turned to knock out his pipe upon with this long day—and the excite- the edge of the trim summer firement,” she said, with a faint sob, place, all so daintily arranged for “of coming home.”
the warm season when fires were “I do not call that excitement," not wanted. Her
followed his he said : “a man that knows what movements painfully in spite of excitement is has other ways of herself, seeing everything which she reckoning-_"
would have preferred not to see. “But still,” she said, with a little And then he roso, putting the pipe gasp accepting this repulse, "it still not extinguished in his pocket. would be something out of the “If it's to be like this, mother,” he
you will have been said, “the best thing for me will travelling all day. Ilow far have be to go to bed. I'm tired enough, you come to-day, my dear ?” heaven knows; but the pipe's my
“Don't put me through my cate- best friend, and it was soothing me. chism all at once,” he said, with a Now I'll go to bedhasty wrinkle of anger in his fore- “Is it me that am driving you, head. “I'll tell you
all that another Robbie? I'll go ben to the parlour. time. I'm very tired, at least, whether I will leave you here. I will do I've come a short way or a long.” anything that pleases you—"
“I have put your bed all ready “No,” he said, with a sullen exfor you—Robbie.” She seemed to pression closing over his face, “I'll say
his name with a little reluctance: go to bed.” He was going without his bonnie name! which had cost another word, leaving her standing