Littell's Living Age/Volume 132/Issue 1709/The Marquis of Lossie - Part XI
THE MARQUIS OF LOSSIE.
BY GEORGE MACDONALD, AUTHOR OF "MALCOLM," ETC.
As the days passed on and Florimel heard nothing of Lenorme, the uneasiness that came with the thought of him gradually diminished, and all the associations of opposite complexion returned. Untrammelled by fear, the path into a scaring future seeming to be cut off, her imagination began to work in the quarry of her late experience, shaping its dazzling material into gorgeous castles, with foundations deep dug in the air, wherein lorded the person and gifts and devotion of the painter. When lost in such blissful reveries not seldom moments arrived in which she imagined herself — even felt as if she were capable, if not of marrying Lenorme in the flushed face of outraged society, yet of fleeing with him from the judgment of the all but all-potent divinity to the friendly bosom of some blessed isle of the southern seas, whose empty luxuriance they might change into luxury, and there living a long harmonious idyll of wedded love, in which old age and death should be provided against by never taking them into account. This mere fancy — which, poor in courage as it was in invention, she was far from capable of carrying into effect — yet seemed to herself the outcome and sign of a whole world of devotion in her bosom. If one of the meanest of human conditions is conscious heroism, paltrier yet is heroism before the fact, incapable of self-realization. But even the poorest dreaming has its influences, and the result of hers was that the attentions of Liftore became again distasteful to her. And no wonder, for indeed his lordship's presence in the actual world made a poor show beside that of the painter in the ideal world of the woman who, if she could not with truth be said to love him, yet certainly had a powerful fancy for him: the mean phrase is good enough, even although the phantom of Lenorme roused in her all the twilight poetry of her nature, and the presence of Liftore set her whole consciousness in the perpendicular shadowless gaslight of prudence and self-protection.
The pleasure of her castle-building was but seldom interrupted by any thought of the shamefulness of her behavior to him. That did not matter much. She could so easily make up for all he had suffered! Her selfishness closed her eyes to her own falsehood. Had she meant it truly, she would have been right both for him and for herself. To have repented and become as noble a creature as Lenorme was capable of imagining her — not to say as God had designed her — would indeed have been to make up for all he had suffered. But the poor blandishment she contemplated as amends could render him blessed only while its intoxication blinded him to the fact that it meant nothing of what it ought to mean — that behind it was no entire heart-filled woman. Meantime, as the past, with its delightful imprudences, its trembling joys glided away, swiftly widening the space between her and her false fears and shames, and seeming to draw with it the very facts themselves, promising to obliterate at length all traces of them, she gathered courage; and as the feeling of exposure that had made the covert of Liftore's attentions acceptable began to yield, her variableness began to reappear and his lordship to find her uncertain as ever. Assuredly, as his aunt said, she was yet but a girl incapable of knowing her own mind, and he must not press his suit. Nor had he the spur of jealousy or fear to urge him; society regarded her as his, and the shadowy repute of the boldfaced countess intercepted some favorable rays which would otherwise have fallen upon the young and beautiful marchioness from fairer luminaries even than Liftore.
But there was one good process, by herself little regarded, going on in Florimel: notwithstanding the moral discomfort oftener than once occasioned her by Malcolm, her confidence in him was increasing; and now that the kind of danger threatening her seemed altered, she leaned her mind upon him not a little, and more than she could well have accounted for to herself on the only grounds she could have adduced — namely, that he was an attendant authorized by her father, and, like herself, loyal to his memory and will; and that, faithful as a dog, he would fly at the throat of any one who dared touch her; of which she had had late proof, supplemented by his silent endurance of consequent suffering. Demon sometimes looked angry when she teased him — had even gone so far as to bare his teeth — but Malcolm had never shown temper. In a matter of imagined duty, he might presume, but that was a small thing beside the sense of safety his very presence brought with it. She shuddered, indeed, at the remembrance of one look he had given her, but that had been for no behavior to himself; and now that the painter was gone, she was clear of all temptation to the sort of thing that had caused it, and never, never more would she permit herself to be drawn into circumstances the least equivocal. If only Lenorme would come back and allow her to be his friend, his best friend, his only young lady friend, leaving her at perfect liberty to do just as she liked, then all would be well, absolutely comfortable! In the mean time, life was endurable without him, and would be, provided Liftore did not make himself disagreeable. If he did, there were other gentlemen who might be induced to keep him in check: she would punish him: she knew how. She liked him better, however, than any of those.
It was out of pure kindness to Malcolm, upon Liftore's representation of how he had punished him, that for the rest of the week she dispensed with his attendance upon herself. But he, unaware of the lies Liftore had told her, and knowing nothing, therefore, of her reason for doing so, supposed she resented the liberty he had taken in warning her against Caley, feared the breach would go on widening, and went about, if not quite downcast, yet less hopeful still. Everything seemed going counter to his desires. A whole world of work lay before him — a harbor to build; a numerous fisher-clan to house as they ought to be housed; justice to do on all sides; righteous servants to appoint in place of oppressors; and, all over, the heavens to show more just than his family had in the past allowed them to appear; he had mortgages and other debts to pay off, clearing his feet from fetters and his hands from manacles, that he might be the true lord of his people; he had Miss Horn to thank, and the schoolmaster to restore to the souls and hearts of Portlossie; and, next of all to his sister, he had old Duncan, his first friend and father, to find and minister to. Not a day passed, not a night did he lay down his head, without thinking of him. But the old man, whatever his hardships, and even the fishermen, with no harbor to run home to from the wild elements, were in no dangers to compare with such as threatened his sister. To set her free was his first business, and that business as yet refused to be done. Hence he was hemmed in, shut up, incarcerated in stubborn circumstance, from a long-reaching range of duties calling aloud upon his conscience and heart to hasten with the first that he might reach the second. What rendered it the more disheartening was, that, having discovered, as he hoped, how to compass his first end, the whole possibility had by his sister's behavior, and the consequent disappearance of Lenorme, been swept from him, leaving him more resourceless than ever.
When Sunday evening came he found his way to Hope Chapel, and, walking in, was shown to a seat by the grimy-faced pew-opener. It was with strange feelings he sat there, thinking of the past and looking for the appearance of his friend on the pulpit stair. But his feelings would have been stranger still had he seen who sat in the pew immediately behind him, watching him like a cat watching a mouse, or rather like a half-grown kitten watching a rat, for she was a little frightened at him, even while resolved to have him. But how could she doubt her final success when her plans were already affording her so much more than she had expected? Who would have looked for the great red stag himself to come browsing so soon about the scarecrow? He was too large game, however, to be stalked without due foresight.
When the congregation was dismissed, after a sermon the power of whose utterance astonished Malcolm, accustomed as he was to the schoolmaster's best moods, he waited until the preacher was at liberty from the unwelcome attentions and vulgar congratulations of the richer and more forward of his hearers, and then joined him to walk home with him. He was followed to the schoolmaster's lodging, and thence, an hour after, to his own, by a little boy — far too little to excite suspicion — the grandson of Mrs. Catanach's friend, the herb-doctor.
Until now the woman had not known that Malcolm was in London. When she learned that he was lodged so near Portland Place, she concluded that he was watching his sister, and chuckled over the idea of his being watched in turn by herself.
Every day for weeks after her declaration concerning the birth of Malcolm had the mind of Mrs. Catanach been exercised to the utmost to invent some mode of undoing her own testimony. She would have had no scruples, no sense of moral disgust, in eating every one of her words; but a magistrate and a lawyer had both been present at the uttering of them, and she feared the risk. Malcolm's behavior to her after his father's death had embittered the unfriendly feelings she had cherished toward him for many years. While she believed him base-born, and was even ignorant as to his father, she had thought to secure power over him for the annoyance of the blind old man to whom she had committed him, and whom she hated with the hatred of a wife with whom for the best of reasons he had refused to live; but she had found in the boy a rectitude over which, although she had assailed it from his childhood, she could gain no influence. Either a blind repugnance in Malcolm's soul, or a childish instinct of and revulsion from embodied evil, had held them apart. Even then it had added to her vile indignation that she regarded him as owing her gratitude for not having murdered him at the instigation of his uncle; and when, at length, to her endless chagrin, she had herself unwittingly supplied the only lacking link in the testimony that should raise him to rank and wealth, she imagined that by making affidavit to the facts she had already divulged she enlarged the obligation infinitely, and might henceforth hold him in her hand a tool for further operations. When, thereupon, he banished her from Lossie House, and sought to bind her to silence as to his rank by the conditional promise of a small annuity, she hated him with her whole huge power of hating. And now she must make speed, for his incognito in a great city afforded a thousandfold facility for doing him a mischief. And first she must draw closer a certain loose tie she had already looped betwixt herself and the household of Lady Bellair. This tie was the conjunction of her lying influence with the credulous confidence of a certain very ignorant and rather wickedly romantic scullery-maid, with whom, having in espial seen her come from the house, she had scraped acquaintance, and to whom, for the securing of power over her through her imagination, she had made the strangest and most appalling disclosures. Amongst other secret favors, she had promised to compound for her a horrible mixture — some of whose disgusting ingredients, as potent as hard to procure, she named in her awe-stricken hearing — which, administered under certain conditions and with certain precautions, one of which was absolute secrecy in regard to the person who provided it, must infallibly secure for her the affections of any man on whom she might cast a loving eye, and whom she could, either with or without his consent, contrive to cause partake of the same. This girl she now sought, and from her learned all she knew about Malcolm. Pursuing her inquiries into the nature and composition of the household, however, Mrs. Catanach soon discovered a far more capable and indeed less scrupulous associate and instrument in Caley. I will not introduce my reader to any of their evil councils, although, for the sake of my own credit, it might be well to be less considerate, seeing that many, notwithstanding the superabundant evidence of history, find it all but impossible to believe in the existence of such moral abandonment as theirs. I will merely state concerning them, and all the relations of the two women, that Mrs. Catanach assumed and retained the upper hand in virtue of her superior knowledge, invention, and experience, gathering from Caley, as she had hoped, much valuable information, full of reactions and tending to organic development of scheme in the brain of the arch-plotter. But their designs were so mutually favorable as to promise from the first a final coalescence in some common plan for their attainment.Those who knew that Miss Campbell, as Portlossie regarded her, had been in reality Lady Lossie and was the mother of Malcolm, knew as well that Florimel had no legal title even to the family cognomen; but if his mother, and therefore the time of his mother's death, remained unknown, the legitimacy of his sister would remain unsuspected even upon his appearance as the heir. Now, there were but three besides Mrs. Catanach and Malcolm who did know who was his mother — namely, Miss Horn, Mr. Graham, and a certain Mr. Morrison, a laird and magistrate near Portlossie, an elderly man, and of late in feeble health. The lawyers the marquis had employed on his death-bed did not know: he had, for Florimel's sake, taken care that they should not. Upon what she knew and what she guessed of these facts, regarded in all their relations according to her own theories of human nature, the midwife would found a scheme of action. Doubtless she saw, and prepared for it, that after a certain point should be reached the very similarity of their designs must cause a rupture between her and Caley: neither could expect the other to endure such a rival near her hidden throne of influence; for the aim of both was power in a great family, with consequent money, and consideration, and midnight councils, and the wielding of all the weapons of hint and threat and insinuation. There was this difference, indeed, that in Caley's eye money was the chief thing, while power itself was the Swedenborgian hell of the midwife's bliss.
AN INNOCENT PLOT.
Florimel and Lady Clementina Thornicroft — the same who in the park rebuked Malcolm for his treatment of Kelpie — had met several times during the spring, and had been mutually attracted — Florimel as to a nature larger, more developed, more self-supporting than her own, and Lady Clementina as to one who, it was plain, stood in sore need of what countenance and encouragement to good and free action the friendship of one more experienced might afford her. Lady Clementina was but a few years older than Florimel, it is true, but had shown a courage which had already wrought her an unquestionable influence, and that chiefly with the best. The root of this courage was compassion. Her rare humanity of heart would, at the slightest appearance of injustice, drive her like an angel with a flaming sword against customs regarded, consciously or unconsciously, as the very buttresses of social distinction. Anything but a wise woman, she had yet so much in her of what is essential to all wisdom, love to her kind, that if as yet she had done little but blunder, she had at least blundered beautifully. On every society that had for its declared end the setting right of wrong or the alleviation of misery she lavished, and mostly wasted, her money. Every misery took to her the shape of a wrong. Hence to every mendicant that could trump up a plausible story she offered herself a willing prey. Even when the barest-faced imposition was brought home to one of the race parasitical, her first care was to find all possible excuse for his conduct: it was matter of pleasure to her friends when she stopped there and made no attempt at absolute justification.
Left like Florimel an orphan, but at a yet earlier age, she had been brought up with a care that had gone over into severity, against which her nature had revolted with an energy that gathered strength from her own repression of its signs; and when she came of age and took things into her own hands, she carried herself in its eyes so oddly, yet with such sweetness and dignity and consistency in her oddest extravagances, that society honored her even when it laughed at her, loved her, listened to her, applauded, approved — did everything except imitate her; which, indeed, was just as well, for else confusion would have been worse confounded. She was always rushing to defence — with money, with indignation, with refuge. It would look like a caricature did I record the number of charities to which she belonged, and the various societies which, in the exuberance of her passionate benevolence, she had projected and of necessity abandoned. Yet still the fire burned, for her changes were from no changeableness: through them all the fundamental operation of her character remained the same. The case was that, for all her headlong passion for deliverance, she could not help discovering now and then, through an occasional self-assertion of that real good sense which her rampant and unsubjected benevolence could but overlay, not finally smother, that she was either doing nothing at all or more evil than good.
The lack of discipline in her goodness came out in this, at times amusingly, that she would always at first side with the lower or weaker or worse. If a dog had torn a child and was going to be killed in consequence, she would not only intercede for the dog, but absolutely side with him, mentioning this and that provocation which the naughty child must have given him ere he could have been goaded to the deed. Once, when the schoolmaster in her village was going to cane a boy for cruelty to a cripple, she pleaded for his pardon on the ground that it was worse to be cruel than to be a cripple, and therefore more to be pitied. Everything painful was to her cruel, and softness and indulgence, moral honey and sugar and nuts to all alike, was the panacea for human ills. She could not understand that infliction might be loving-kindness. On one occasion, when a boy was caught in the act of picking her pocket, she told the policeman he was doing nothing of the sort — he was only searching for a lozenge for his terrible cough; and in proof of her asserted conviction she carried him home with her, but lost him before morning, as well as the spoon with which he had eaten his gruel.
As to her person, I have already made a poor attempt at describing it. She might have been grand but for loveliness. When she drew herself up in indignation, however, she would look grand for the one moment ere the blood rose to her cheek and the water to her eyes. She would have taken the whole world to her infinite heart and in unwisdom coddled it into corruption. Praised be the grandeur of the God who can endure to make and see his children suffer! Thanks be to him for his north winds and his poverty, and his bitterness that falls upon the spirit that errs! Let those who know him thus praise the Lord for his goodness. But Lady Clementina had not yet descried the face of the Son of man through the mists of Mount Sinai, and she was not one to justify the ways of God to men. Not the less was it the heart of God in her that drew her to the young marchioness, over whom was cast the shadow of a tree that gave but baneful shelter. She liked her frankness, her activity, her daring, and fancied that, like herself, she was at noble feud with that infernal parody of the kingdom of heaven called Society. She did not well understand her relation to Lady Bellair, concerning whom she was in doubt whether or not she was her legal guardian, but she saw plainly enough that the countess wanted to secure her for her nephew; and this nephew had about him a certain air of perdition, which even the catholic heart of Lady Clementina could not brook. She saw too, that, being a mere girl, and having no scope of choice in the limited circle of their visitors, she was in great danger of yielding without a struggle, and she longed to take her in charge like a poor little persecuted kitten for the possession of which each of a family of children was contending. What if her father had belonged to a rowdy set, was that any reason why his innocent daughter should be devoured, body and soul and possessions, by those of the same set who had not yet perished in their sins? Lady Clementina thanked Heaven that she came herself of decent people, who paid their debts, dared acknowledge themselves in the wrong, and were as honest as if they had been born peasants; and she hoped a shred of the mantle of their good name had dropped upon her, big enough to cover also this poor little thing who had come of no such parentage. With her passion for redemption, therefore, she seized every chance of improving her acquaintance with Florimel; and it was her anxiety to gain such a standing in her favor as might further her coveted ministration that had prevented her from bringing her charge of brutality against Malcolm as soon as she discovered whose groom he was: when she had secured her footing on the peak of her friendship she would unburden her soul; and meantime the horse must suffer for his mistress — a conclusion in itself a great step in advance, for it went dead against one of her most confidently-argued principles — namely, that the pain of any animal is, in every sense, of just as much consequence as the pain of any other, human or inferior: pain is pain, she said, and equal pains are equal wherever they sting; in which she would have been right, I think, if pain and suffering were the same thing; but, knowing well that the same degree, and even the same kind of pain, means two very different things in the foot and in the head, I refuse the proposition.
Happily for Florimel, she had by this time made progress enough to venture a proposal — namely, that she should accompany her to a small estate she had on the south coast, with a little ancient house upon it — a strange place altogether, she said — to spend a week or two in absolute quiet; only she must come alone — without even a maid: she would take none herself. This she said because, with the instinct, if not quite insight, of a true nature, she could not endure the woman Caley.
"Will you come with me there for a fortnight?" she concluded.
"I shall be delighted," returned Florimel without a moment's hesitation. "I am getting quite sick of London. There's no room in it. And there's the spring all outside, and can't get in here. I shall be only too glad to go with you, you dear creature!"
"And on those hard terms — no maid, you know? " insisted Clementina.
"The only thing wanted to make the pleasure complete: I shall be charmed to be rid of her."
"I am glad to see you so independent."
"You don't imagine me such a baby as not to be able to get on without a maid? You should have seen me in Scotland! I hated having a woman about me then. And indeed I don't like it a bit better now; only everybody has one, and your clothes want looking after," added Florimel, thinking what a weight it would be off her if she could get rid of Caley altogether.
"But I should like to take my horse," she said: "I don't know what I should do in the country without Abbot."
"Of course: we must have our horses," returned Clementina. "And — yes — you had better bring your groom."
"Please. You will find him very useful. He can do anything and everything, and is so kind and helpful"
"Except to his horse," Clementina was on the point of saying, but thought again she would first secure the mistress, and bide her time to attack the man.Before they parted the two ladies had talked themselves into ecstasies over the anticipated enjoyments of their scheme. It must be carried out at once.
"Let us tell nobody," said Lady Clementina, "and set off to-morrow."
"Enchanting!" cried Florimel in full response.
Then her brow clouded. "There is one difficulty, though," she said. "No man could ride Kelpie with a led horse; and if we had to employ another, Liftore would be sure to hear where we had gone."
"That would spoil all," said Clementina. "But how much better it would be to give that poor creature a rest, and bring the other I see him on sometimes!"
"And by the time we came back there would not be a living creature, horse or man, anything bigger than a rat, about the stable. Kelpie herself would be dead of hunger, if she hadn't been shot. No, no; where Malcolm goes Kelpie must go. Besides, she's such fun — you can't think."
"Then I'll tell you what," cried Clementina after a moment's pause of perplexity: "we'll ride down. It's not a hundred miles, and we can take as many days on the road as we please."
"Better and better!" cried Florimel.
"Well run away with each other. But what will dear old Bellair say?"
"Never mind her," rejoined Clementina. "She will have nothing to say. You can write and tell her as much as will keep her from being really alarmed. Order your man to get everything ready, and I will instruct mine. He is such a staid old fellow, you know, he will be quite enough for protection. To-morrow mornning we will set out together for a ride in Richmond Park, that lying in our way. You can leave a letter on the breakfast-table, saying you are gone with me for a little quiet. You're not in chancery, are you?"
"I don't know," answered Florimel.
"I suppose I'm all right. Anyhow, whether I am in chancery or not, here I am, and going with you; and if chancery don't like it, chancery may come and fetch me."
"Send anything you think you may want to my house. I shall get a box ready, and we will write from some town on our way to have it sent there, and then we can write for it from The Gloom. We shall find all mere necessaries there."
So the thing was arranged: they would start quite early the next morning; and that there might be no trouble in the streets, Malcolm should go before with Kelpie and await them in the park.
Malcolm was overjoyed at the prospect of an escape to the country, and yet more to find that his mistress wanted to have him with her — more still to understand that the journey was to be kept a secret. Perhaps now, far from both Caley and Liftore, he might say something to open her eyes; yet how should he avoid the appearance of a tale-bearer?
It was a sweet fresh morning late in the spring — those loveliest of hours that unite the seasons, like the shimmering question of green or blue in the feathers of the peacock. He had set out an hour before the rest, and now, a little way within the park, was coaxing Kelpie to stand, that he might taste the morning in peace. The sun was but a few degrees above the horizon, shining with all his heart, and the earth was taking the shine with all hers. "I too am light," she was saying, "although I can but receive it." The trees were covered with baby leaves half wrapped in their swaddling-clothes, and their breath was a warm aromatic odor in the glittering air. The air and the light seemed one, and Malcolm felt as if his soul were breathing the light into its very depths, while his body was drinking the soft spicy wind. For Kelpie, she was as full of life as if she had been meant for a winged horse, but by some accident of nature the wing-cases had never opened, and the wing-life was forever trying to get out at her feet. The consequent restlessness, where there was plenty of space as here, caused Malcolm no more discomposure than, in his old fishing-days, a gale with plenty of sea-room. And the song of the larks was one with the light and the air. The budding of the trees was their way of singing, but the larks beat them at that. "What a power of joy," thought Malcolm, "there must be in God, to be able to keep so many larks so full of bliss!" He was going to say, "without getting tired;" but he saw that it was the eternal joy itself that bubbled from their little fountains: weariness there would be the silence of all song, would be death, utter vanishment to the gladness of the universe. The sun would go out like a spark upon burnt paper, and the heart of man would forget the sound of laughter. Then he said to himself, "The larks do not make their own singing: do mortals make their own sighing?" And he saw that at least they might open wider the doors of their hearts to the Perseus Joy that comes to slay the grief-monsters. Then he thought how his life had been widening out with the years. He could not say that it was now more pleasant than it had been; he had stoicism enough to doubt whether it would ever become so from any mere change of circumstances. Dangers and sufferings that one is able for are not misfortunes or even hardships; so far from such, that youth delights in them. Indeed, he sorely missed the adventure of the herring-fishing. Kelpie, however, was as good as a stiff gale. If only all were well with his sister! Then he would go back to Portlossie and have fishing enough. But he must be patient and follow as he was led. At three-and-twenty, he reflected, Milton was content to seem to himself but a poor creature, and was careful only to be ready for whatever work should hereafter be required of him: such contentment, with such hope and resolve at the back of it, he saw to be the right and the duty both of every man. He whose ambition is to be ready when he is wanted, whatever the work may be, may wait not the less watchful that he is content. His heart grew lighter, his head clearer, and by the time the two ladies with their attendant appeared he felt such a masterdom over Kelpie as he had never felt before. They rode twenty miles that day with ease, putting up at the first town. The next day they rode about the same distance. The next they rode nearly thirty miles. On the fourth, with an early start and a good rest in the middle, they accomplished a yet greater distance, and at night arrived at The Gloom, Wastbeach, after a journey of continuous delight to three at least of the party, Florimel and Malcolm having especially enjoyed that portion of it which led through Surrey, where England and Scotland meet and mingle in waste, heathery moor and rich valley. Much talk had passed between the ladies, and Florimel had been set thinking about many things, though certainly about none after the wisest fashion.
A young half-moon was still up when, after riding miles through pine woods, they at length drew near the house. Long before they reached it, however, a confused noise of dogs met them in the forest. Clementina had written to the house-keeper, and every dog about the place — and the dogs were multitudinous — had been expecting her all day, had heard the sound of their horses' hoofs miles off, and had at once begun to announce her approach. Nor were the dogs the only cognizant or expectant animals. Most of the creatures about the place understood that something was happening, and probably associated it with their mistress; for almost every live thing knew her, from the rheumatic cart-horse, forty years of age, and every whit as respectable in Clementina's eyes as her father's old butler, to the wild cats that haunted the lofts and garrets of the old Elizabethan hunting-lodge.
When they dismounted the ladies could hardly get into the house for dogs: those which could not reach their mistress turned to Florimel, and came swarming about her and leaping upon her, until, much as she liked animal favor, she would gladly have used her whip, but dared not, because of the presence of their mistress. If the theories of that mistress allowed them anything of a moral nature, she was certainly culpable in refusing them their right to a few cuts of the whip.
Mingled with all the noises of dogs and horses came a soft nestling murmur that filled up the interspaces of sound which even their tumult could not help leaving. Florimel was too tired to hear it, but Malcolm heard it, and it filled all the interspaces of his soul with a speechless delight. He knew it for the still small voice of the awful sea.
Florimel scarcely cast a glance around the dark old-fashioned room into which she was shown, but went at once to bed, and when the old housekeeper carried her something from the supper-table at which she had been expected, she found her already fast asleep. By the time Malcolm had put Kelpie to rest he also was a little tired, and lay awake no moment longer than his sister.