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became deeper when she saw Ranald, for “ Dead !" echoed the old man. “Big she felt quite certain that Ranald would Mack! God help me.” understand the meaning of her song. “ And they will be wanting a team,"
“I will go on with the cows,” said continued Ranald, “to go to Cornwall Ranald in a hoarse voice, and Mrs. Mur- to-morrow.” ray, alighting, gave him her pony to The old man stood for a few moments, lead.
looking stupidly at Ranald. Then, lifting Peter McGregor was a stern man to his hat from his gray head, he said, his own family and to all the world, with brokenly: the single exception of his only daughter, “My poor girl! Would God I had Bella. His six boys he kept in order died for him." with a firm hand, and not one of them Ranald turned away and stood looking would venture to take a liberty with him. down the lane, shrinking from the sight But Bella had no fear of his grim face of the old man's agony. Then, turning and stern ways, and “just twiddled her back to him, he said: father round her finger," as her mother
"The minister's wife is coming yonder said, with a great show of impatience. with Bella." But, in spite of all her petting from her The old man started, and, with a mighty big brothers and her father, Bella re- effort commanding himself, said, “ Now mained quite unspoiled, the light of her may God help me," and went to meet home and the joy of her father's heart. his daughter. It had not escaped the father's jealous Through the gloom of the falling night eye that Big Mack Cameron found occa- Ranald could see the frightened white sion for many a visit to the boys on an face and the staring, tearless eyes. They evening when the day's work was done, came quite near before Bella caught sight and that from the meetings he found his of her father. For a moment she hesishortest way home round by the McGreg- tated, till the old man, without a word, ors'. At first the old man was very gruff beckoned her to him. With a quick little with him, and was for sending him “about run she was in his arms, where she lay his business," but his daughter's happy moaning, as if in sore bodily pain. Her face and the light in her eyes, that could father held her close to him, murmuring mean only one thing, made him pause, over her fond Gaelic words, while Ranald and, after a long and sleepless night, he and Mrs. Murray went over to the horses surprised his daughter the next morning and stood waiting there. with a word of gentle greeting and an “I will go now to Donald Ross," unusual caress, and thenceforth took Big Ranald said in a low voice to the minisMack to his heart. Not that any word ter's wife. He mounted the colt and was or explanation passed between them; it riding off, when Peter called him back. had not come to that as yet; but Big “ The boys will take the wagon toMack felt the change, and gave him morrow,” he said. thenceforth the obedience and affection They will meet at the Sixteenth at of a son.
daylight,” replied Ranald; and then to The old man was standing in the yard, Mrs. Murray he said, “I will come back waiting to help with the milking.
for you. It will soon be dark.” Ranald drove the cows in, and then, But Bella, hearing him, cried to her: tying up the horses, went straight to him. “Oh, you will not go?"
“I bring bad news, Mr. McGregor," “ Not if you need me, Bella,” said Mrs. he said, anxious to get done with his sad Murray, putting her arms around her. task. “ There has been an accident on “ Ranald will run in and tell them at the river, and Mack Cameron is drowned.” home.” This Ranald promised to do,
“: What do you say, boy ?” said Peter, and rode away on his woeful journey; in a harsh voice.
and, before he reached home that night, “ He was trying to save a Frenchman, the news had spread far and wide, from and when they got him out he was dead," house to house, like a black cloud over a said Ranald, hurrying through his tale, sunny sky. for he saw the two figures coming up the The home-coming of the men from the lane and drawing nearer.
shanties had ever been a time of rejoicing
in the community. The Macdonald gang “ I will try,” said Ranald, simply. But were especially welcome, for they always Farquhar McNaughton looked at him came back with honor and with the doubtfully. rewards of their winter's work. There “ It is a peety," he said, there is not was always a series of welcoming gather- one with more experience. He is but a ings in the different homes represented lad.” in the gang, and there, in the midst of the But Donald Ross had been much imadmiring company, tales would be told of pressed with Ranald's capable manner the the deeds done and the trials endured, night before. of the adventures on the river and the "Never you fear, Farquhar," he replied; wonders of the cities where they had “ Ranald is not one to fail us.” been. All were welcome everywhere, As Ranald stood watching the wagons and none more than Big Mack Cameron. rumbling down the road and out of sight, Brimming with good nature, and with a he felt as if years must have passed since remarkable turn for stories, he was the he had received the letter that had laid center of every group of young people on him the heavy burden of this sad news. wherever he went; and at the “bees” That his uncle, Macdonald Bhain, should for logging or for building or for cradling, have sent the word to him brought Ranald Big Mack was held in honor, for he was sense of responsibility that awakened second in feats of strength only to the man in him, and he knew he would Macdonald Bhain himself. It was with no feel himself a boy no more. And with common grief that people heard the word that new feeling of manhood stirring that they were bringing him home dead. within him, he went about his work that
At the Sixteenth next morning, before day, omitting no detail in arrangement the break of day, Ranald stood in the that might secure the seemly conduct of gloom waiting for the coming of the the funeral. teams. He had been up most of the night Night was falling as the wagons rumbled and he was weary in body and sore at back again from Cornwall, bringing back heart, but Macdonald Bhain had trusted the shantymen and their dead companion. him, and there must be no mistake. One Up through the Sixteenth, where a great by one the teams arrived. First to appear company of people stood silent and with was Donald Ross, the elder. For years bared heads, the sad procession moved, he had given over the driving of his past the old church, up through the swamp, team to his boys, but to-day he felt that and so onward to the home of the dead. respect to the family demanded his pres- None of the Macdonald gang turned aside ence on uch an errand as this, and, to their homes till they had given their besides, he knew well that his son comrade over into the keeping of his own Dannie, Mack's special chum, would people. By the time the Camerons' gate expect him to so honor the home-coming was reached the night had grown thick of his dead friend. Peter McGregor, and black, and the drivers were glad fearing to leave his daughter for that long enough of the cedar bark torches that and lonely day, sent his son John in bis Ranald and Don waved in front of the place. It was with difficulty that Mack's teams to light the way up the lane. In father, Long John Cameron, had been silence Donald Ross, who was leading, persuaded to remain with the mother and drove up his team to the little garden to allow Murdie to go in his stead. gate and allowed the great Macdonald and
The last to arrive was Farquhar Mc- Dannie to alight. Naughton, Kirsty's Farquhar, with his At the gate stood Long John Cameron, fine black team and new light wagon. To silent and self-controlled, but with face him was to be given the honor of bearing showing white and haggard in the light of the body home. Gravely they talked and the Haring torches. Behind him, in the planned, and then left all to Ranald to shadow, stood the minister. For a few execute.
moments they all remained motionless “You will see to these things, Ranald, and silent. The time was too great for my man," said Donald Ross, with the air words, and these men knew when it was of one giving solemn charge. “Let all good to hold their peace. At length things be done decently and in order." Macdonald Bhain broke the silence, say.
ing in his great deep voice, as he bared neither go to my home nor up into my his head :
bed, but I will watch by the man who “Mr. Cameron, I have brought you was my faithful friend and companion till back your son, and, God is my witness, I he is laid away." And in this mind he would his place were mine this night.” and his men remained firm, taking turns
“Bring him in, Mr. Macdonald,” replied at the watching all that night and the the father, gravely and steadily. Bring next day. him in. It is the Lord; let Him do what As Macdonald finished speaking, the seemeth Him good."
minister came into the kitchen, bringing Then six of the Macdonald men came with him the mother and the children. forward from the darkness, Curly and The men all rose to their feet, doing Yankee leading the way, and lifted the respect to the woman and to her grief. coffin from Farquhar's wagon, and rever- When they were seated again, the minister ently, with heads uncovered, they followed rose and said: the torches to the door. There they “My friends, this is a night for silence stopped suddenly, for, as they reached the and not for words. The voice of the threshold, there arose a low, long, heart- Lord is speaking in our ears. It becomes smiting cry from within. At the sound of us to hear, and to submit ourselves to His that cry Ranald staggered as if struck by holy will. Let us pray." a blow, and let his torch fall to the ground. As Ranald listened to the prayer, he The bearers waited, looking at each other could not help thinking how different it in fear.
was from those he was accustomed to “Whisht, Janet, woman!” said Long hear from the pulpit. Solemn, simple, John, gravely. “Your son is at the and direct, it lifted the hearts of all door."
present up to the throne of God, to the " Ah, indeed, that he is, that he is! place of strength and of peace. There My son! my son !”
was no attempt to explain the “ mystery She stood in the doorway with hands of the Providence," but there was a uplifted and with tears streaming down sublime trust that refused to despair even her face. “Come in, Malcolm ; come in, in the presence of impenetrable darkness. my boy. Your mother is waiting for After the minister had gone, Macdonald you."
Bhain took Ranald aside and asked him Then they carried him in and laid him as to the arrangements for the funeral. in the "room,” and, retiring to the When Ranald had explained to him every kitchen, sat down to watch the night. detail, Macdonald laid his hand on his
In half an hour the father came out nephew's shoulder and said kindly, “ It is and found them there.
well done, Ranald. Now you will be “ You have done what you could, Mr. going home, and in the morning you will Macdonald," he said, addressing him for see your aunt, and if she will be wishing all, “ and I will not be unmindful of your to come to the wake to-morrow night, kindness. But now you can do no more. then you will bring her.” Your wife and your people will be waiting Then Ranald went home, feeling well you.”
repaid for his long hours of anxiety and And, piease God, in good time they toil. will be seeing us. As for me, I will
[TO BE CONTINUED)
By Arthur H. Smith
Special Commissioner for The Outlook in China.
stice reminds us that a year ago means the transition from the heterogene
the siege in Peking was just be- ous polyglot rule of all nations over a ginning. The Taku forts were being filled part of this province is to be replaced by with men, the Peiho was being mined, a trustworthy Chinese rule. For ten and the Admirals of the allied feet, months this part of China has practically which was riding at anchor ten miles out- been embarked upon a foreign fleet tossside the bar, saw that unless something ing about in a stormy sea. Now the was done all communication between time has arrived when the passengers themselves and their Legations in Peking, and crew must be transferred back to the as well as with all foreigners in Tientsin, old unseaworthy Chinese junks in which not to speak of other parts of China, they were before. The gangways are all would be cut off. They determined to down, the water is full of small sampans demand the surrender of the forts, which waiting to take men and cargo, but there was no doubt an “act of war” (certainly is so much of a swell that the exchange not one of peace), but a necessary one is not an easy one to effect, and some will under the unexampled circumstances into probably get drowned. which the world had allowed itself all To abandon marine allegories and come unconsciously to drift. The Tsungli- to fact, there are indications that the Yamên told the Ministers to quit Peking situation is fully comprehended by the within four and twenty hours, and had it Chinese, who have adapted themselves to not been for the murder of Baron von it with their usual rapidity and skill. An Ketteler, who somewhat rashly went to edict--this time of the “sure enough” the Yamên alone on the morning of June variety--recently appeared in the name 20, and who was shot by a Manchu mili- of the Emperor, naming the 19th of the tary official in full dress, probably no seventh moon (September 1) as the day foreigner in Peking would have escaped. on which a start is to be made for the At 4 P.M., with very un-Oriental punctu- capital. The age and the state of health ality, firing began all around the Legations, of his “mother” make it imperative to and the siege was begun !
accommodate the movement to her necesAfter more than ten months of military sities, so that the probability is that the occupation and of endless conferences of first halt may be in Honan, where the a diplomatic sort, we see the beginning of miseries of the famine in Shensi may be a new order of things. The troops have escaped and the appearance of a reoccubeen gradually pulling out, and the great pation of Peking kept up. That the EmGraf von Waldersee himself, specially peror should return alone, though much promoted and imported for the occasion, desired by foreigners and by the most has gladly shaken off the copious North patriotic Chinese, seems not to have been China dust from his shoes and left for suggested, and is at least not hinted at in Japan. A difficult and a thankless task the edict. This means, the Occidental his must have been, and he is supposed reader will do well to bear in mind, that to have performed it with “ tact,” which the relation of the Empress Dowager to constitutes so large a part of the needs the Chinese Government--a relation of of those who have to deal with such com- essential identity-is exactly what it was plex and irreconcilable interests. How when one year ago she gave the order to many troops are to be left in Tientsin, fire upon the Legations. It is not known Shanhaikuan, Taku, etc., seems not to be that the question of her right to rule the known to the public, but the number is Empire which she has brought to the not very large, and is not the essen- verge of ruin and disruption has been tial thing
The whole crux of the situa- before the Powers in any definite form. "Copyright, 1901, the Outlook Company.
There has been no effort to arrange to
have the Emperor put back on his throne, when that is mechanically adjusted the from which he was driven in September, troops can go, while China on her part 1898, and it may be that this is regarded willingly agrees to anything rather than as an irrelevant detail.
prolong the occupation, of which the The whole proceedings of the negotia- allies are only less weary than she, and tions in Peking, happily in detail still it then becomes easy to notify the Chienigmatical to the public, so far as they nese generally that the invading barbarian are known may apparently be summed up has at last been driven (or persuaded) out. in the one dissyllable discord. This does But we have omitted one important not mean that there is not unanimity, but condition of peace, which is, the Imperial that the results arrived at are the compo- edicts to be published all over China, sition of varied forces each of which could reciting the punishments inflicted, fornot be ignored, and which could in no bidding membership in any anti-foreign way be harmonized. One of the most society under pain of death, and recogfelicitous cartoons of the many which dur- nizing the responsibility of provincial ing the past months have exhibited the officials for outrages occurring in their caricaturist skill of the world was
districts, under penalty of removal from which represented all the Powers pull- office. Here is something practical and ing on a rope attached to the tongue of of the utmost importance. After the the Great Chinese Bell. As the parties murder of Mr. Margary in 1875, the uniexerting their strength surrounded the versal publication of an Imperial edict bell on all sides, there was no voice nor in a relatively permanent form all over sound, owing to the mutual extinction China proved of the greatest value. But of their efforts at motion.
are assured on excellent authority The impartial spectator will naturally that down to the present time nothing inquire, since the Empress Dowager tried whatever has been done about this vital to kill all the foreigners in the Empire a matter, every word and phrase of which year ago for supposed wrongs received, should be scrutinized with the utmost and because of a feminine fury, what is care, and its dissemination provided for to prevent a repetition of the same plan? and watched. Of all the twelve peace To this it may be answered that though conditions to which the Chinese were the Empress Dowager is in no way modi- obliged to assent, this alone contains the fied, but, on the contrary, far more exas- moral element through which only the perated than before by additional wrongs Chinese people are likely to be influenced. and much personal suffering, there are The prohibition of examinations in cities now some Legation Guards, and walls where foreigners have been murdered, (with semi-concealed loopholes) all about reckoned as a masterpiece of diplomacy the Legation area; there are foreign troops by some, and by others as only an ingenat various points mentioned; there have ious contrivance still further to embitter been several persons already executed, at the literati against foreigners, may easily least ten and perhaps fifteen, and others and not improbably be neutralized combanished, etc. ; there is (to be) a monu- pletely by being extended by the Chinese ment to Baron von Ketteler on the spot Government to all China, by which its where he was killed; and, best of all, there “face” would be saved and the burden is to be a great Chinese debt, which will so equalized. It is proposed to exempt the unify the interests of China with those of province of Kwangtung from the operathe Powers that the Chinese will has- tion of such a rule, if adopted, since the ten to tax themselves with joy, knowing results of the examinations there are conthat this is the only way to pay the in- nected with a lottery which brings the demnities, and if these are not paid there Government more than a million taels will be more trouble, more claims, and per annum. This single instance of the still more indemnities.
proviso for punishing guilty cities by curOf anything like regenerating influences tailing their chances for securing scholartending to remove the intolerable ills of ships, and hence official promotion, well Chinese (and Manchu) rule in the past illustrates the inherent difficulty of decidthere is not a hint. The financial problem ing what is best, and the facility with has been the key of the situation, and which unforeseen consequences emerge.