“I’ll never forgive him, Andrew.”
Mr. Daney walled his eyes toward the ceiling. “Thank God,” he murmured piously, “I’m pure. Hereafter, every time Reverend Mr. Tingley says the Lord’s prayer I’m going to cough out loud in church at the line: ’Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ You’ll hear that cough and remember, Hector McKaye.”
A deeper shadow of distress settled over The Laird’s stern features. “You’re uncommon mean to me this bitter day, Andrew,” he complained wearily. “I take it as most unkind of you to thwart my wishes like this.”
“I’m for true love!” Mr. Daney declared firmly. “Ah come, come now! Don’t be a stiff-necked old dodo. Forgive the boy.”
“In time I may forgive him, Andrew. I’m not sure of myself where he is concerned, but we canna receive the girl. ’Tis not in reason that we should.”
“I believe I’ll cough twice,” Daney murmured musingly.
And the following day being Sunday, he did! He sat two rows behind the McKaye family pew but across the aisle, and in a cold fury The Laird turned to squelch him with a look. What he saw in the Daney pew, however, chilled his fury and threw him into a veritable panic of embarrassment. For to the right of the incomprehensible general manager sat the young ex-laird of Port Agnew; at Daney’s left the old Laird beheld his new daughter-in-law, while further down the pew as far as she could retreat, Mrs. Daney, with face aflame, sat rigid, her bovine countenance upraised and her somewhat vacuous glance fixed unblinkingly at a point some forty feet over Mr. Tingley’s pious head. Donald intercepted the old man’s amazed and troubled glance, and smiled at his father with his eyes—an affectionate overture that was not lost on The Laird ere he jerked his head and eyes once more to the front.
Mrs. McKaye and her two daughters were as yet unaware of the horror that impended. But not for long. When the congregation stood to sing the final hymn, Nan’s wondrous mezzo-soprano rose clear and sweet over the indifferent-toned notes of every other woman present; to the most dull it would have been obvious that there was a trained singer present, and Mrs. McKaye and her daughters each cast a covert glance in the direction of the voice. However, since every other woman in the church was gazing at Nan, nobody observed the effect of her presence upon the senior branch of the McKaye family, for which small blessing the family in question was duly grateful.
At the conclusion of the service old Hector remained in his pew until the majority of the congregation had filed out; then, assuring himself by a quick glance, that his son and the latter’s wife had preceded him, he followed with Mrs. McKaye and the girls. From the church steps he observed Donald and Nan walking home, while Mr. Daney and his outraged spouse followed some twenty feet behind them. Quickly The Laird and his family entered the waiting limousine; it was the first occasion that anybody could remember when he had not lingered to shake hands with Mr. Tingley and, perchance, congratulate him on the excellence of his sermon.