“Noble selfishness, perhaps,” said Armine. “He may have aimed at saving his country and coming out a glorious hero, like Gideon or Jephthah.”
“And would that have been self-seeking too, as well as the commoner thing?” said Babie.
“It is like a bit of New Testament in the midst of the Old,” said Armine. “They that are great are called Benefactors-a good sort of greatness, but still not the true Christian greatness.”
“And that?” said Babie.
“To be content to be faithful servant as well as faithful soldier,” said Armine, thoughtfully. “But what had it to do with the harvest?”
He got no satisfaction, Babie could remember nothing but Jock’s face, and Jock had taken the Bible, and was looking at the passages referred to He sat for a long time resting his head on his hand, and when at last he was roused to bid Armine goodnight, he bent over him, kissed him, and said, “In spite of all, you’re the wise one of us, Armie boy. Thank you.”
O well for him who breaks his dream
With the blow that ends the strife,
And waking knows the peace that flows
Around the noise of life.
“Jock! say this is not true!”
The wedding had been celebrated with all the splendour befitting a marriage in high life. Bridesmaids and bridesmen were wandering about the gardens waiting for the summons to the breakfast, when one of the former thus addressed one of the latter, who was standing, gazing without much speculation in his eyes, at the gold fish disporting themselves round a fountain.
“Sydney!” he exclaimed, “are not your mother and Fordham here? I can’t find them.”
“Did you not hear, Duke has one of his bad colds, and mamma could not leave him? But, Jock, while we have time, set my mind at rest.”
“What is affecting your mind?” said Jock, knowing only too well.
“What Cecil says, that you mean to disappoint all our best hopes.”
“There’s no help for it, Sydney,” said Jock, too heavy-hearted for fencing.
“No help. I don’t understand. Why, there’s going to be war, real war, out there.”
“What of that? It would lead to something. Besides, no one leaves a corps on active service.”
“It is all the same. You were going to get into one that is.”
“Curious reasoning, Sydney. I am afraid my duty lies the other way.”
“Duty to one’s country comes first. I can’t believe Mrs. Brownlow wants to hold you back; she-a soldier’s daughter!”
“It is no doing of hers,” said Jock; “but I see that I must not put myself out of reach of her.”
“When she has all the others! That is a mere excuse! If you were an only son, it would be bad enough.”