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ness of existence which had never body of his boy, half dead, would come back to himself; the hopes be thrust forth into his care. that had never blossomed again; But this was not how it happened. the assurance with which never While he waited, so intent that more he had been able to go about his whole frame seemed to be the world. And now his son would capable of hearing, he heard the be as himself—the glory gone out closing of the door, boldly shut of his living—his ambitions, his with a sound that rose in muffled aspirations wrecked. He had not echoes through the house, and Linbeen endowed as his boy was—he dores himself appeared, ghastly inhad been a plain, honest man, and deed as a dead man, but walking nothing more ; but experience and upright and firmly, the lines of his life had given him wisdom enough face drawn, and his eyes staring. to smile by times at the coquetries Lord Gowrie uttered a cry. He was of mind in which Lindores indulged. more alarmed by this unexpected Were they all over now, those freaks return than by the helpless prostraof young intelligence, those enthu- tion of the swoon which he had exsiams of the soul? The curse of the pected. He recoiled from his son as house had come upon him — the if he too had been a spirit. “Linmagnetism of that strange presence, dores !” he cried ; was it Lindores, ever living, ever watchful, present or some one else in his place ? The in all the family history. His boy seemed as if he did not see him. heart was sore for his son ; and yet He went straight forward to where along with this there was a certain the water stood on the dusty table, consolation to him in having hence- and took a great draught, then forward a partner in the secret— turned to the door. “Lindores !” some one to whom he could talk of said his father, in miserable anxiety; it as he had not been able to talk “ don't you know me?” Even then since his own father died. Almost the young man only half looked at all the mental struggles which Gow- him, and put out a hand almost as rie had known had been connected cold as the hand that had clutched with this mystery; and he had been himself in the Secret Chamber; a obliged to hide them in his bosom faint smile came upon his face. —to conceal them even when they “Don't stay here," he whispered; rent him in two. Now he had a "come ! come !" partner in his trouble. This was Lord Gowrie drew his son's arm what he was thinking as he sat within his own, and felt the thrill through the night. How slowly through and through him of nerves the moments passed! He was not strained beyond mortal strength. aware of the daylight coming in. He could scarcely keep up with him After a while even thought got sus- as he stalked along the corridor to pended in listening. Was not the his room, stumbling as if he could time nearly over? He rose and be- not see, yet swist as an arrow. gan to pace about the encumbered When they reached his room he space, which was but a step or two turned and closed and locked the in extent. There was an old cup- door, then laughed as he staggered board in the wall, in which there to the bed. " That will not keep were restoratives—pungent essences him out, will it ?” he said. and cordials, and fresh water which “Lindores,” said his father, “I he had himself brought—everything expected to find you unconscious was ready; presently the ghastly I am almost more frightened to find you like this. I need not ask if Lindores shivered. “I fled !” he you have seen him
said. “No honour in that. I had “Oh, I have seen him. The old not courage to face him longer. I liar ! Father, promise to expose will tell you by-and-by. But I him, to turn him out-promise to want to know about you." clear out that accursed old nest! It
ease it was to the is our own fault. Why have we
Why have we father to speak! For years and left such a place shut out from the years this had been shut up in his eye of day? Isn't there something breast. It had made him lonely in in the Bible about those who do the midst of his friends. evil hating the light?"
" Thank God," he said, " that I “Lindores ! you don't often quote can speak to you, Lindores. Often the Bible."
and often I have been tempted to “No, I suppose not; but there is tell your mother. But why should more truth in-many things than I make her miserable? She knows we thought."
there is something; she knows when “Lie down," said the anxious I see him, but she knows no more." father. “Take some of this wine When
you see him?" Lindores -try to sleep."
raised himself, with a return of his “Take it away; give me no first ghastly look, in his bed. Then more of that devil's drink. Talk he raised his clenched fist wildly, to me—that's better. Did you go and shook it in the air. “Vile through it all the same, poor papa? devil, coward, deceiver !” —and hold me fast.
“Oh hush, hush, hush, Lindores ! warm-you are honest !” he cried. God help us ! what troubles you He put forth his hands over his may bring !" father's, warming them with the “ And God help me, whatever contact. He put his cheek like a troubles I bring," said the young child against his father's arm.
“I defy him, father. An gave a faint laugh, with the tears accursed being like that must be
“Warm and honest,” less, not more powerful, than we he repeated. “Kind flesh and blood! are—with God to back us. Only and did you go through it all the stand by me : stand by me same?”
“ Hush, Lindores ! “My boy!" cried the father, feel it yet-never to get out of feeling his heart glow and swell hearing of him all your life ! He will over the son who had been parted make you pay for it—if not now, from him for years by that develop after ; when you remember he is
young manhood and ripen- there, whatever happens, knowing ing intellect which so often severs everything! But I hope it will not and loosens the ties of home. Lord be so bad with you as with me, my Gowrie had felt that Lindores half poor boy. God help you indeed if despised his simple mind and duller it is, for you have
more imagination imagination ; but this childlike and more mind. I am able to forclinging overcame him, and tears get him sometimes when I am occustood in his eyes.
“I fainted, I pied—when in the hunting-field, suppose. I never knew how it going across country. But you are ended. They made what they not å hunting man, my poor boy," liked of me.
But you, my brave said Lord Gowrie, with a curious boy, you came out of your own mixture of a regret, which was less will."
serious than the other. Then he
in his eyes.
lowered his voice. “Lindores, this The daylight was full in the is what has happened to me since room, breaking through shutters the moment I gave him my hand.” and curtains, and mocking at the
“I did not give him my lamp that still flared the hand.”
table. It seemed an emblem of “You did not give him your the disorders, mental and material, hand? God bless you, my boy! of this strange night; and, as such, You stood out ?" he cried, with tears it affected the plain imagination of again rushing to his eyes; "and Lord Gowrie, who would have fain they say—they say—but I don't got up to extinguish it, and whose know if there is any truth in it." mind returned again and again, in Lord Gowrie got up from his son's spite of him, to this symptom of side, and walked up and down with disturbance. By -and - by, when excited steps.
“ If there should Lindores' grasp relaxed, and he got be truth in it! Many people his hand free, he got up from his think the whole thing is a fancy. son's bedside, and put out the lamp, If there should be truth in it, putting it carefully out of the way. Lindores!”
With equal care he put away the “In what, father?”
wine from the table, and gave the They say, if he is once re- room its ordinary aspect, softly sisted his power is broken-once opening a window to let in the fresh refused. You could stand against air of the morning. The park lay him-you! Forgive me, my boy, as fresh in the early sunshine, still, I hope God will forgive me, to have except for the twittering of the thought so little of His best gifts,” birds, refreshed with dews, and cried Lord Gowrie, coming back shining in that soft radiance of the with wet eyes; and stooping, he morning which is over before morkissed his son's hand. “I thought tal cares are stirring. Never, peryou would be more shaken by haps, had Gowrie looked out upon being more mind than body,” he the beautiful world around his said, humbly. “I thought if I house without a thought of the could but have saved you from weird existence which was going on the trial ; and you are the con- so near to him, which had gone on queror !
for centuries, shut up out of sight “Am I the conqueror? I think of the sunshine. The Secret Chamall my bones are broken, father— ber had been present with him since out of their sockets," said the young
ever he saw it. He had never been man, in a low voice. “I think I able to get free of the spell of it. shall go to sleep."
He had felt himself watched, sur“Yes, rest, my boy. It is the rounded, spied upon, day after day, best thing for you,” said the father, since he was of the age of Lindores, though with a pang of momentary and that was thirty years ago. He disappointment. Lindores fell back turned it all over in his mind, as he upon the pillow. He was so pale stood there and his son slept. It that there were moments when the had been on his lips to tell it all to anxious watcher thought him not his boy, who had now come to insleeping but dead. He put his herit the enlightenment of his race. hand out feebly, and grasped his And it was a disappointment to him father's hand. “Warm-honest,” to have it all forced back again, and he said, with a feeble smile about silence imposed upon him once his lips, and fell asleep.
more. Would he care to hear it
when he woke? would he not rather, feeling, from some corner of the as Lord Gowrie remembered to have room, from behind some curtain, done himself, thrust the thought as those eyes upon him; and how, in far as he could away from him, and the difficulties of his life, that secret endeavour to forget for the moment inhabitant of the house had been —until the time came when he present, sitting by him and advising would not be permitted to forget? him. " Whenever there has been He had been like that himself, anything to do : when there has he recollected now. He had not been a question between two ways, wished to hear his own father's tale. all in a moment I have seen him by “I remember,” he said to himself; me: I feel when he is coming. It “I remember"—turning over every
does not matter where I am here or thing in his mind, if Lindores anywhere-as soon as ever there is might only be willing to hear the a question of family business; and story when he woke ! But then always he persuades me to the wrong he himself had not been willing way, Lindores. Sometimes I yield when he was Lindores, and he to him, how can I help it? He could understand his son, and could makes everything so clear; he makes not blame him; but it would be a wrong seem right. If I have done disappointment. He was thinking unjust things in my daythis when he heard Lindores' voice “ You have not, father." calling him. He went back hastily “I have: there were these Highto his bedside. It was strange to land people I turned out. I did see him in his evening dress with not mean to do it, Lindores ; but his worn face, in the fresh light of he showed me that it would be betthe morning, which poured in at ter for the family. And my poor
“Does my mother sister that married Tweedside and know?” said Lindores; “ what will was wretched all her life. It she think ?"
was his doing, that marriage; he “She knows something; she said she would be rich, and so she knows you have some trial to go was, poor thing, poor thing! and through. Most likely she will be died of it. And old Macalister's praying for us both; that's the way lease— Lindores, Lindores! when of women," said Lord Gowrie, with there is any business it makes my the tremulous tenderness which heart sick. I know he will come, comes into a man's voice sometimes and advise wrong, and tell mewhen he speaks of a good wife. something I will repent after." “I'll go and ease her mind, and tell "The thing to do is to decide her all is well over
beforehand, that, good or bad, you “Not yet. Tell me first,” said will not take his advice.” the young man, putting his hand Lord Gowrie shivered. “I am upon his father's arm.
not strong like you, or clever; I What an ease it was !
cannot resist. Sometimes I repent not so good to my father," he in time and don't do it; and then! thought to himself, with sudden But for your mother and you chilpenitence for the long - past, long- dren, there is many a day I would forgotten fault, which, indeed, he not have given a farthing for my had never realised as a fault before. life.” And then he told his son what had “Father," said Lindores, springbeen the story of his life—how he ing from his bed, “two of us tohad scarcely ever sat alone without gether can do many things. Give
me your word to clear out this curs- it," the young man said, with an ed den of darkness this very day.” oath out of which his emotion took
“Lindores, hush, hush, for the all profanity. His father said, sake of heaven!”
“Hush, hush.” With a look of “I will not, for the sake of terror and pain, be left bim; and heaven! Throw it open-let every- yet there was a thrill of tender body who likes see it- make an pride in his mind. How brave the end of the secret-pull down every- boy was ! even after he had been thing, curtains, walls. What do there. Could it be that this would you say ?—sprinkle holy water? Are all come to nothing, as every other you laughing at me?"
attempt to resist had done before? “I did not speak," said Earl Gowrie, growing very pale, and “I suppose you know all about grasping his son's arm with both it now, Lindores,” said his friend his hands. Hush, boy; do you Ffarrington, after breakfast ; “luckthink he does not hear?”
ily for us who are going over the And then there was a low laugh house. What a glorious old place close to them so close that both it is !" shrank; a laugh no louder than a “I don't think that Lindores enbreath,
joys the glorious old place to-day," “Did you laugh-father?” said another of the guests under his
“No, Lindores." Lord Gowrie breath. “How pale he is ! He had his eyes fixed. He was as pale doesn't look as if he had slept.” as the dead. He held his son tight “I will take you over every nook for a moment; then his gaze and where I have ever been,” said Linhis grasp relaxed, and he fell back dores. He looked at his father with feebly in a chair.
in his eyes. “ You see !" he said ; "whatever “Come with me, all of you. We we do it will be the same; we are
shall have no more secrets here." under his power."
“ Are you mad ?” said his father And then there ensued the blank in bis ear. pause with which baffled men con- “ Never mind,” cried the young front a hopeless situation. But at man. “Oh, trust me; I will do that moment the first faint stirrings it with judgment. Is every body of the house—a window being open- ready?” There was an excitement ed, a bar undone, a movement of feet, about him that half frightened, half and subdued voices—became aud- roused the party. They all rose, ible in the stillness of the morning. eager, yet doubtful. His mother Lord Gowrie roused himself at once. came to him and took his arm. “We must not be found like this," “Lindores ! you will do nothing he said; "we must not show how to vex your father; don't make him we have spent the night. It is unhappy. I don't know your seover, thank God! and oh, my boy, crets, you two; but look, he has forgive me! I am thankful there enough to bear.” are two of us to bear it; it makes “I want you to know our sethe burden lighter—though I ask crets, mother. Why should we have your pardon humbly for saying so. secrets from you ?” I would have saved you if I could, “Why, indeed ?" she said, with Lindores."
tears in her eyes. “But, Lindores, “I don't wish to have been saved; my dearest boy, don't make it worse but I will not bear it. I will end for him."