Meantime he was keeping it as best he knew how under the circumstances, by minding his prayers more than he had ever done before, trying to attend when part of the service was read on Sundays, and endeavouring to follow the Evelyn sabbatical code, but only succeeding in making himself more dreary and savage on Sunday than on any other day.
By easy journeys they arrived at Engelberg early on a Friday afternoon, and found pleasant rooms in the large hotel, looking out in front on the grand old monastery, once the lord of half the Canton, and in the rear upon pine-woods, leading up to a snow-crowned summit. The delicious scent seemed to bring invigoration in at the windows.
However, Jock and Armine were both tired enough to be sent to bed, if not to sleep, immediately after the-as yet, scantily filled table d’hote. The former was lying dreamily listening to the evening bells of the monastery, when Cecil came in, looking diffident and hesitating.
“I say, Jock,” he began, “did you see that old clergyman at the table d’hote?”
“Was there one?”
“Yes; and there is to be a Celebration on Sunday.”
“O! Then Armine can have his wish.”
“Fordham has been getting the old cleric to talk to your mother about it.”
Armine was unconfirmed. The other two had been confirmed just before Easter, but on the great Sunday Jock had followed his brother Robert’s example and turned away. He had recollected the omission on that terrible night, and when after a pause Cecil said, “Do you mean to stay?” he answered rather snappishly, “I suppose so.”
“I fancied,” said Cecil, with wistful hesitation, “that if we were together it would be a kind of seal to—”
Jock actually forced back the words, “Don’t humbug,” which were not his own, but his ill-temper’s, and managed to reply-
“Being brothers in arms,” replied Cecil, with shy earnestness that touched the better part of Jock, and he made a sound of full assent, letting Cecil, who had a turn for sentiment, squeeze his hand.
He lay with a thoughtful eye, trying to recall some of the good seed his tutor had tried to sow on a much-trodden way-side, very ready for the birds of the air. The outcome was-
“I say, Evelyn, have you any book of preparation? Mine is-I don’t know where.”
Neither his mother, nor Reeves, nor, to do him justice, Cecil himself, would have made such an omission in his packing, and he was heartily glad to fetch his manual, feeling Jock’s reformation his own security in the ways which he really preferred.
Poor Jock, who, whatever he was, was real in all his ways, and could not lead a double life, as his friend too often did, read and tried to fulfil the injunctions of the book, but only became more confused and unhappy than ever. Yet still he held on, in a blind sort of way, to his resolution. He had undertaken to be good, he meant therefore to communicate, and he believed he repented, and would lead a new life-if-if he could bear it.