The family has indeed been thoroughly impressed by the strange circumstances just related. In the light of their increasing interest in all things Catholic, Val is beginning to entertain hopes of the ultimate return of the Ashols to the Faith their fathers abandoned more than three hundred years ago.
“Now Ariel goes a-singing, by the
Dark yews, where flitter-mice were wont to cling.
All the world is turning golden, turning golden
In the spring.”
“Guess the latest news, Ted,” said my brother, coming in from parochial visits.
I shook my head.
“I’m no hand at riddles.”
“Well, there’s a marriage to come off in our parish before long, if matters can be satisfactorily arranged.”
“A marriage!” That roused me; it would be the first function of the kind I had seen in Ardmuirland. For our lads usually fetched partners from elsewhere, and maidens being accustomed to migrate to service in the south, found mates there—even as the swallows.
“I thought that would fetch you!” cried Val triumphant. “And now give a guess.”
But I racked my brains to no purpose.
“It’s not Widow Lamont, and it’s not Robina——”
“Why not?” he asked. But I saw he was quizzing.
“It’s a widow,” he said. “I’ll tell you that much.”
Even then I was nonplussed.
“Ted, you’ve no imagination! Is Christian Logan too old?”
“Christian Logan! Of course not! Who’s the happy man?”
“He’s not altogether happy yet,” returned Val. “There are obstacles in the way at present. Do you know the Camerons of Redbank Farm at all?”
“Camerons of Redbank! Why, they’re Protestants!”
“Tell me something I don’t know already,” he retorted.
“I can say very little about them. There are two brothers, I believe—one very middle-aged and the other less so. I may have passed the time of day with one or the other.”
“Well, it’s the less middle-aged one—Lachlan by name—who wants to marry Christian. It’s all right about religion. He’s ready to make all the necessary promises, and moreover, remarked quite spontaneously that he intended coming to church with his wife after they were married—a most unusual undertaking in these cases. He’s evidently merely ignorant of everything Catholic; not bigoted, really. With a wife like Christian, he is most likely to enter the Church himself eventually.”
“But what are these almost insurmountable obstacles?”