THE END OF CLEVERNESS.
“Where am I?
We are not what we deem,
The sins that hold my heart in thrall,
They are more real than all.”—Rev. I. Williams.
As the uncle and nephew came out of church, and approached the yew-tree gate, Rachel came swiftly to meet them. “Oh, Alick! oh, uncle!” she said breathlessly. “Bessie says she is shocked to have turned your house upside down, but we could not go any further. And her baby is born!” Then in answer to exclamations, half-dismayed, half-wondering, “Yes, it is all right, so Nurse Jones says. I could not send to you, for we had to send everywhere at once. Mr. Harvey was not at home, and we telegraphed to London, but no one has come yet, and now I have just written a note to Lord Keith with the news of his son and heir. And, uncle, she has set her heart on your baptizing him directly.”
There was some demur, for though the child had made so sudden a rush into the world, there seemed to be no ground for immediate alarm; and Mr. Clare being always at hand, did not think it expedient to give the name without knowing the father’s wishes with regard to that hereditary Alexander which had been borne by the dead son of the first marriage. A message, however, came down to hasten him, and when—as he had often before done in cottages—he demanded of Nurse Jones whether private baptism were immediately necessary, she allowed that she saw no pressing danger, but added, “that the lady was in a way about it,” and this both Rachel and her maid strongly corroborated. Rachel’s maid was an experienced person, whom Mrs. Curtis had selected with a view to Rachel’s weak state at the time of her marriage, and she showed herself anxious for anything that might abate Lady Keith’s excitement, to which they at length yielded, feeling that resistance might be dangerous to her. She further insisted that the rite should be performed in her presence; nor was she satisfied when Rachel had brought in her uncle, but insisted on likewise calling in her brother, who vaguely anxious, and fully conscious of the small size of the room, had remained down-stairs.
Mr. Clare always baptized his infant parishioners, and no one was anxious about his manner of handling the little one, the touch of whose garments might be familiar, as being no other than his own parish baby linen. He could do no otherwise than give the child the name reiterated by the mother, in weak but impatient accents, “Alexander Clare,” her brother’s own name, and when the short service was concluded, she called out triumphantly, “Make Alick kiss him, Rachel, and do homage to his young chieftain.”