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   Chapter 15 WOO'D AND MARRIED AND A'.

A Daughter of Fife By Amelia Edith Barr Characters: 14357

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


"My love is fair, I could not he'p but choose him

My love is good, I could not bear to lose him.

My love is wise, oh, what could I refuse him?"

"And Love, our light at night and shade at noon,

Lulls us to rest with songs, and turns away

All shafts of shelterless, tumultuous day

Like the moon's growth, his face gleams through his tune,

And as soft waters warble to the moon

Our answering spirits chime one roundelay"

A "blythesome bridal" is a traditional Scotch law, not to be lightly broken by either rich or poor. Its non-observance usually implied some sorrowful element, and Mary's national, as well as natural desire, as therefore toward an elaborate festal ceremony. As soon as this intention was put into words their very echo seemed to be a prelude to the coming joy.

The old, still house acquired, no one could very well tell how, an air of expectation and pleasant hurry. Guest chambers, that had not been used for many years, were prepared for occupation.

The ceremony was to take place on New Year's Day; so that the lovers were to date a fresh life from a fresh year-a year in which they had shed no tears, nor feared, nor been in any strait or disappointment. They would write upon its first page their marriage joy; and in order to do so would not need to wipe out one sorrowful memory. In the meantime they dwelt in a land of delights. Wonderful things happened to Maggie every day. John Campbell never wearied of sending her presents. "She is my daughter," he said, "and what for will I not send her the plenishing for her bridal?" Allan gave her jewels. Mary ransacked her antique "awmries" and cabinets for the laces of by-gone Campbell beauties; and spent her sovereigns lavishly on modern fairy-like webs for the wedding garments.

It would have been unlovely and unwomanly in Maggie not to be happy; not to be a little excited, not perhaps, sometimes, to have been a little trying. For a great happiness is often depressing to those who have to witness its exultation, prolonged day after day. Ordinary mortals feel outside of it, and it strikes them with a vague, but certain, fear. Mary often said to herself-"I would not be so silly about any one as Maggie is about Allan. I hope if ever I do fall in love, a measure of common sense will be granted me."

Still people usually show a singular patience and tolerance with lovers. The old have "been in Arcadia," and have tender memories of it. The young have a wistful anticipation, a sympathetic curiosity. At any rate, the courtship was only to last six weeks, and Mary determined, however provoking the engaged pair might be, that she would put all down to the fact that lovers believe themselves to be a sublimated couple, quite out of the community of ordinary mortals; and being so happy and self-satisfied with themselves, they could not understand why every one else was not in the same supreme condition.

And Mary Campbell was right; for if love is to have anything like the place in real life, that it has in poetry-if we have any faith in that mighty ruler of hearts and lives, a genuine love affair, we ought not to dim the glory of marriage by denying it this sojourn in a veritable land of enchantment; for in its atmosphere many fine feelings blossom, that never would have birth at all, if the niceties and delicacies of courtship were superseded by the levelling rapidity of marriage. There is time for writing and reading love letters, and both tongue and pen get familiar with affectionate and noble sentiments. We may admit that love-making is an unreasonable and impracticable piece of business; but in this very circumstance all its charm lies. Love delights in asserting the incredible, and in believing the impossible. But it is precisely in the depths of this delicious foolishness that the heart attains its noblest growth. There may be many grander hopes, many calmer and more reasonable joys in store for us, but,

"There's nothing half so sweet in life

As Love's young dream."

At length the wonderful day arrived. It had been well prepared for, and all was in readiness. There was no hurry, no fret, no uncertainty. Early in the morning men began to hang the old battle flags and armor of the Campbells of Drumloch and to adorn the rooms with myrtle and fresh flowers. It was not the fashion then to turn the house into a conservatory, but the effect of the scattered groups of flowers, and bridal wreaths, was far more festal in character.

At four o'clock the party were all assembled, and in response to some understood signal, the clergy grouped themselves at one end of the large parlors. Then Allan entered at the other. With him was a minister in silk cassock and white lawn bands. It was Dr. Balmuto. Maggie followed, leaning upon John Campbell's arm. An involuntary stir, a murmur of admiration, greeted her. She was dressed in a robe of ivory-tinted silk, interwoven with threads of pure silver. Exquisite lace veiled her throat and arms; opals and diamonds glowed and glinted among it. Her fine hair was beautifully arranged, and in her hand she carried the small Testament upon which she would seal her vows.

Even David Promoter responded in some measure to the influence of the hour. Not often did he permit himself to lose sight of the great object of his existence; but this was an "occasion," when he felt that he might lawfully put his sister, and his natural interest in her, before other hopes and aims. And this day, he was really proud of Maggie. She had done well unto herself; she had justified all his own intentions toward her; she had allied him with one of the best families in the west of Scotland. He kissed her with a tender approval, and reminded her, as it was indeed his duty, how good God had been to her, and how, He had brought her also, unto her "desired haven."

He gave her this short homily, as he stood before her in Mary's little parlor, just ere the wedding service began. Maggie listened to him with a touching gratitude and humility. In her eyes David was something more than a brother. He had laid his hand upon the altar and was set apart for its ministering. And he looked, every inch of him, the priest of his people. For David had always considered the proper habit of his order a subject worthy of his careful attention; and on this auspicious occasion he was dressed with the utmost care. Even among the varied and splendid uniforms of the military officers present, David Promoter's rich and sombre vestment was very noticeable. No one could deny that he was a singularly handsome and distinguished-looking man. It was upon his arm Mary Campbell entered, and her delicate beauty, enhanced by a white robe of some diaphanous material, made a telling contrast to the young minister's tall form, and black raiment.

Maggie, on her father-in-law's arm, was but a few steps in advance of them. They saw Allan turn and watch her coming to him, and the light on his face transfigured it. This was the woman he had been born to meet; the woman that was the completion of his own nature. Once more he caught at a venture the beautiful eyes through which had come their firs

t recognition; and he saw that they met his full of glad confidence and happy expectation.

Dr. Balmuto's charge was a very solemn and a very loving one. The tears were on his cheeks as Maggie stood before him. He spoke to her as gently as if she were his own daughter. He bade her look forward to the joyful duties of her lot. He laid her hand in Allan's hand with a blessing. Then from every lip arose the triumphant strains of the one hundred and twenty-eighth psalm-the happy, hopeful wedding psalm-and with the gracious benediction, Allan and Maggie turned with smiling faces toward their future.

The first months of their married life were to be spent in Continental travel. Maggie was to see all the famous places, which, as yet, were only names to her, and Allan was to see them again through her eyes. They went away in the gay, splendid fashion of the time, in an open landau drawn by four horses, with outriders. The guests crowded the hall and the open door; the servants gathered below them; the tenants lined the road to the small station which they had selected for their starting point. And thus in a very triumph of joy they started upon their long life journey.

The festivities of the bridal were continued for many days, both in the castle and among the servants; and during them the young couple were abundantly discussed. One of these discussions, occurring between the factor of the estate and Miss Campbell's maid, is worth repeating, as it indicated a possible motive in the reticent little lady's life with which her friends were not familiar.

"Wha are these Promoters?" asked the factor.

"They are a Fife family."

"Wasna that handsome young minister her brother?"

"He was that."

"He seems to hae set his heart on the heiress o' Drumloch."

"Captain Manners has the same notion."

"The minister will win."

"The minister will not win. Not he!"

The words were so emphatically snapped out that they were followed by a distinct silence.

"Jessie," the factor said, "you are vera positive; but if there is one thing mair unreliable than anither, it is a woman's fancy. The minister is a braw lad."

"I ken ane that's worth twenty o' him, ay, I'll say, fifty o' him."

"You're no surely meaning that young Glasca' lawyer that comes here, whiles."

"You're no surely meaning to pass an insult on Miss Mary, factor. I'm thinking o' my Lord Forfar, and nae ither man to match him. He would kiss my lady's little shoon, and think the honor too much for king or kaiser. And for a' their plumes, and gold, and scarlet, the rattle o' their swords, and the jingle o' their spurs, there wasna an officer at the bridal I'd name in the same breath wi' Lord Lionel Forfar."

"But the minister"-

"Houts! What does a bonnie lady, young and rich and beautiful, want wi' a minister body, unless it be to marry her to some ither lad?"

"You're for Forfar because he is Fife."

"You're right-partly. I'm Fife mysel'. A' my gude common sense comes frae

Fife. But for that matter, the minister comes from the auld 'kingdom' too."

They were talking in a little room adjoining the servants' dining hall. The factor was smoking, Jessie stood on the stone hearth, tapping her foot restlessly upon it.

"What's the man thinking o'?" she exclaimed after a little. "One would say you were at a funeral instead o' a wedding."

"Thoughts canna always be sent here or there, Jessie. I was wondering what would come o' Drumloch if my lady took the Fife road. It would gie me sair een to see its bonnie braes in the market."

"Think shame o' yoursel' for the vera thought-

'The Campbells will sit in Drumloch's halls,

Till the crown be lost and the kingdom falls'

When the lady goes to her fate, there's a laird waiting, I trow, to take her place; and weel will he fill it."

"You'll be meaning Mr. John Campbell?"

"Wha else? He was born in the house, and please God, he'll die in its shelter. If my lady goes to Forfar Castle what will she want wi' Drumloch? A good sum o' lying siller will be better for her, and she would rather bide Miss Campbell a' the days o' her life, than take the hame o' the Campbells to strange folk."

"I wish her weel always, but I'm no against the thought o' serving John

Campbell again. Women are whiles vera trying in the way o' business.

There's naething but arithmetic needed in business, but they will bring a'

sorts o' im-prac-ti-ca-ble elements into it likewise."

"I hope you mean naething wrang by that big word, factor."

"Nae wrang, nae wrang, Jessie. Miss Campbell is easy to do for, and she has bonnie ladylike ways wi' her; but I'd like fine to see that grand, grey-headed auld gentleman laird o' the place. He'd bring a deal o' respect with him."

"He would that; and folks would hear o' Drumloch in London; for Miss Campbell said to that Glasca' law body, that her uncle would gie up the business to his son Allan, and go into parliament himsel'-goodness kens they need some douce, sensible men there. Hear to the fiddles! I feel them in the soles o' my feet! I never could sit still when 'Moneymusk' was tingling in my ear chambers. Come awa', factor, and let us hae a reel thegither!"

"Wi' a' my heart, Jessie. And though I am on the wrang side o' fifty, there's none has a better spring than I hae." He had laid down his pipe, and taken her hand as he spoke, and tripping and swaying to the enchanting strains they went into the dancing hall together.

"Nae wonder the fiddles made us come, it's the gypsy band, factor;" and Jessie pointed out five or six dark, handsome fellows with tumbled black hair, and half-shut gleaming eyes, who had ranged themselves with sullen shyness and half-rebellious order at the upper end of the room. But how wondrously their slim, supple fingers touched the bow, or the strings! They played like magicians, and wrought the slow, grave natures before them up to a very riot of ravishing motion. Faster and faster flew the bounding, sliding feet; the dancers being stimulated by the musicians, and the musicians driven to a passion of excitement by those exhilarating cries, and those snappings of the fingers, through which the canny Scot relieves the rapture of his delicious dancing.

But mere physical delight never satisfies even the humblest gathering of this douce nationality. In a few hours the fiddles were stopped, and the table set out, and the great bowl of wedding punch brought in, to brighten wit, and song, and story. It was then very near the close of the day, and with it came Mary Campbell to give the bridal toast. She had been dancing with her own friends, and her cheeks were like a delicate flame, and her eyes like twin stars. Never had she looked so beautiful, as when standing amid the standing crowd, she raised the tiny glass above her head, and said in the sudden stillness-

"Here's to the bonnie Bride! Long may she live! and happy may she be!"

Then hand clasped hand, and glass touched glass, and heart touched heart, and from every lip rang out, again and again, the loving, joyful invocation-

"Here's to the bonnie Bride!

Long may she live! and happy may she be!"

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