“Ay. I believe they will,” he replied, and a deep silence followed.
After a time, as the silence seemed to become oppressive, and for the sake of saying something, Mrs. Sinclair said: “What kin o’ a meetin’ had you the night?”
“My! we had an awfu’ meeting, mither,” he said in reply, his eyes kindling with enthusiasm at the memory of it. “Smillie was askin’ for you, an’ he’s comin’ owre to see you the morn afore he goes awa’.”
“Oh, he had mind o’ me then,” she said, pleased at this information.
“Ay, an’ he talked rale kindly aboot my faither to Hardie, mither. Smillie’s a fine man, an’ I like him,” he said with simple enthusiasm.
“He is that, Rob. I’ve aye liked Bob for the way he has had to fecht. Lod, I dinna ken hoo he has managed to come through it a’. He’s been a gran’ frien’ to the miners. What kin’ o’ a man is Hardie?”
“He’s yin o’ the finest men I ever met,” he answered in quick enthusiasm. “You would hae enjoyed hearin’ him, mither. It’s an awfu’ peety that the weemin dinna gang to the meetin’s. I’m shair there’s no’ a woman in the place but wad hae liket him. My! if you had jist heard him, strong, sturdy, and independent. Efter hearin’ him, it fair knocked the stories on the heid aboot him bein’ oot to smash the hame, an’ religion an’ sic like. He’s clean and staunch, an’ a rale man. Nae sham aboot him, but a rale human bein’, an’ after listenin’ to him tellin’ what Socialism is, it mak’s you feel ashamed that you ever believed things that you did believe aboot it. It’s that simple an’ Tam Donaldson is fair carried awa’ wi’ it the night.”
“I’m glad you had a guid meetin’,” she said, her interest kindled too. “Tell me a’ aboot it,” and Robert told her, sketching the fine picture which Hardie had given to his memory to carry, as long as life lasted for him.
“I’ve been appointed delegate to the Miners’ Council,” he said after a while. “I’ll hae to gang to Hamilton once a month to attend the conferences.”
“Oh!” she said in surprise, and with pride in her voice. “What way hae they sent you?”
“I don’t ken,” he answered, “but I was a wee bit feart to take it. It’s only the very best men that should be sent there to represent the branches, an’ I thought they might hae sent an older man, wi’ mair kind o’ thought about him, an’ mair experience.”
“Oh, weel, Rob,” she said with pride, “ye are maybe as guid as ony o’ them, and a hantle better than some o’ them. I hope you’ll dae well and aye act fair.”
“I’ll dae my best,” he said simply. “Mony a time we hae been selt wi’ place-seekers, an’ maybe there are some still at it,” he went on, “but I can say this, mither, if ever I get an inklin’ o’ it, I’ll expose them to every honest man. We want men who can look at things withoot seem’ themsel’s as the center o’ a’ things. My, if you had only seen Hardie,” he broke off. “He was grand.”