all Colonel Keith’s doing, he said, every other
adversary he would have despised, but your array of
forces met him at every corner where he hoped to escape,
and the dear little Rosie gave him check-mate, like
a gallant little knight’s pawn as she is.
’Who could have guessed that child would have
such a confounded memory?’ he said, for Edward
had listened with a sort of interest that had made
him quite forget that he was Rose’s father, and
that this wicked cunning Colonel was working in his
cause. So off he goes to penal servitude, and
Edward is so much impressed and touched with his sharpness
as to predict that he will be the model prisoner before
long, if he do not make his escape. As to poor
Maria, that was a much more sad meeting, though perhaps
less really melancholy, for there can be no doubt
that she repents entirely, she speaks of every one
as being very good to her, and indeed the old influences
only needed revival, they had never quite died out.
Even that poor child’s name was given for love
of Ailie, and the perception of having been used to
bring about her master’s ruin had always preyed
upon her, and further embittered her temper.
The barbarity seemed like a dream in connexion with
her, but, as she told Ailie, when she once began something
came over her, and she could not help striking harder.
It reminded me of horrible stories of the Hathertons’
usage of animals. Enough of this. I believe
the Sisterhood will find a safe shelter for her when
her imprisonment is over, and that temptation will
not again be put in her way. We should never
have trusted her in poor dear Lucy’s household.
Rose calls for the letters. Good bye, dearest
Colin and conqueror. I know all this will cheer
you, for it is your own doing. I can’t
stop saying so, it is such a pleasant sound—Your
VANITY OF VANITIES.
“Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.”
The funeral was very quiet. By Colonel Keith’s
considerate arrangement the attendants met at Timber
End, so that the stillness of the Parsonage was not
invaded, a measure the more expedient, as Alick was
suffering from a return of his old enemy, intermitting
fever, and only was able to leave his room in time
to join the procession.
Many were present, for poor Bessie had been a general
favourite, and her untimely fate had stirred up feelings
that had created her into a saint upon earth; but
there was no one whose token of respect she would
have more esteemed than Colonel Hammond’s, who
in all the bustle of the remove to Edinburgh had found
time to come to Bishopsworthy to do honour to the
daughter of his old commanding officer. A flush
of gratitude came over Alick’s pale face when
he became aware of his colonel’s presence, and
when the choristers’ hymn had pealed low and
sweetly over the tranquil meadows, and the mourners
had turned away, Alick paused at the Parsonage gate
to hold out his hand, and bring in this one guest
to hear how near to Bessie’s heart the father’s
Highland regiment had been in all the wanderings of
her last moments.