To Jock, the time had been a rest from the victory which had cost him so dear, and though the wounds still smarted, there had been nothing to call them into action; and he had fortified himself against the inevitable reminders he should meet with in London. He had been studying with all his might for the preliminary examination, and eagerness in so congenial a pursuit was rapidly growing on him, while conversations with Mr. Ogilvie had been equally pleasant to both, for the ex-schoolmaster thoroughly enjoyed hearing of the scientific world, and the young man was heartily glad of the higher light he was able to shed on his studies, and for being shown how to prevent the spiritual world from being obscured by the physical, and to deal with the difficulties that his brother’s materialism had raised for him. He had never lost, and trusted never to lose, hold of his anchor in the Rock; but he had not always known how to answer when called on to prove its existence and trace the cable. Thus the winter at St. Cradocke’s had been very valuable to him personally, and he had been willing to make return for the kindness for which he felt so grateful, by letting the Vicar employ him in the night-schools, lectures, and parish diversions-all in short for which a genial and sensible young layman is invaluable, when he can be caught.
And for their mother herself, she had been sheltered from agitation, and had gathered strength and calmness, though with her habitual want of self-consciousness she hardly knew it, and what she thanked her old friend for was what he had done for her sons, especially Armine. “He and I shall be grateful to you all the rest of our lives,” she said, with her bright eyes glistening.
David Ogilvie, in his deep, silent, life-long romance, felt that precious guerdons sometimes are won at an age which the young suppose to be past all feeling-guerdons the more precious and pure because unconnected with personal hopes or schemes. He still knew Caroline to be as entirely Joseph Brownlow’s own as when he had first perceived it, ten years ago, but all that was regretful jealousy was gone. His idealisation of her had raised and moulded his life, and now that she had grown into the reality of that ideal, he was content with the sunshine she had brought, and the joy of having done her a real service, little as she guessed at the devoted homage that prompted it.
CHAPTER XXXIV. BLIGHTED BEINGS.
Allen-a-Dale has no faggot for burning,
Allen-a-Dale has no farrow for turning,
Allen-a-Dale has no fleece for the spinning,
Yet Allen-a-Dale has red gold for the winning.