“Blessed Scottish law!” cried Val, when he had scanned the scrap of paper that meant so much to us. “It’s not an imposing document, but it’ll stand good in this country. Let’s take it to Dalziel at once.”
The lawyer corroborated Vat’s declaration. It was a holograph will, and therefore needed no witness; Gowan was man of business enough to realize that. He had probably slipped it into the drawer where some of his clothes were, meaning to hand it to Val. The drawer must have been over-full, and the mere opening of it would sweep the bit of paper to the back, where it had fallen behind the other drawers.
* * * * * *
Six months later we had a Catholic wedding in the little church at Ardmuirland. All the congregation flocked up for the ceremony and the nuptial Mass—for the bridegroom had suggested that it would be well to begin his married life in perfect union with his wife, and he had been received into the Church a month before.
The Camerons are very well off; for poor old Gowan, though not a millionaire, had put by pots of money. But it would suit neither Lachlan nor his wife to lead an idle life. They have got Redbank into their own hands and are turning it into quite a model farm.
The children are at school. Jeemsie is said to be able to do everything except talk. Tam is bent on being a priest.
Val got his shinty club and his parish hall, and if he wants anything for the church or for himself he has but to mention it. Indeed, he had almost to use force to prevent Christian handing over half her fortune.
Golden dreams do, now and again, it seems, get realized!
A RUSTIC PASTOR
Through the sequestered vale of rural life,
The venerable patriarch guileless held
The tenor of his way.”
The priest who ministered to the Catholic flock of Ardmuirland in the far-off days when “Bell o’ the Burn” was a lassie was known as “Mr. McGillivray”; for the repeal of the penal laws had not yet emancipated the people from the cautious reticence of the days of persecution, and they still spoke of “prayers” instead of “Mass,” and of “speaking to the priest” and “going forward” to intimate Confession and Holy Communion.
“He wes a stoot, broad-shouldered gentleman o’ middle size,” said Bell in one of her reminiscent moods; “when I first knew him he wes gettin’ bent wi’ age, and his hair wes snow-white and lang on his shoulders like. I couldna’ ha’ been muckle mair ner five or sax year auld when he took me by the hand and askit me if I’d like to come an’ herd his coos an’ leeve wi’ his niece at the chapel hoose. That wes in 1847, sir, ten years aifter Queen Victoria (God rest her!) cam’ to the throne. That’s a good bit back, ye ken.”