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At this did Doom sit mighty pleased and humming to himself a bar of minstrelsy.
“Look at my father there!” said Olivia; "he would like you to be thinking that he does not care a great deal for the Highlands of Scotland."
“Indeed and that is not fair, Olivia; I never made pretence of that,” said Doom. “Never to such as understand ; Montaiglon knows the Highlands are at my heart, and that the look of the hills is my evening prayer."
“Isn't that a father, Count Victor!” cried Olivia, quite proud of the confession. “But he is the strange father, too, that will be pretending that he has forgotten the old times and the old customs of our dear people. We are the children of the hills and of the mists; the hills make no change, the mists are always coming back, and the deer is in the corrie yet, and when you will hear one that is of the Highland blood say he does not care any more for the old times, and preferring the English tongue to his own, and making a boast of his patience when the Government of England robs him of his plaid, you must be watchful of that man, Count Victor. For there is something wrong. Is it not true that I am saying, father?” She turned a questioning gaze to Doom, who had no answer but a sigh.
“You will have perhaps heard my father miscall the breacan, miscall the tartan and "
“Not at all!” cried the Baron. “There is a great difference between condemning and showing an indifference.”
“I think, father," said Olivia, “we are among friends. Count Victor, as you say, could understand about our fancies for the hills, and it would be droll indeed if he smiled at us for making a treasure of the tartan. Whatever my father, the stupid man, the darling, may be telling you of the tartan and the sword, Count Victor, do not believe that we are such poor souls as to forget them. Though we must be wearing the Saxon in our clothes and in our speech, there are many like me--and my dear father therewho will not forget."
It was a curious speech all that, not without a problem as well as the charm of the unexpected and the novel to Count Victor. For somehow or other there seemed to be an under-meaning in the words: Olivia was engaged upon the womanly task-he thought-of lecturing some one. If he had any doubt about that, there was Mungo behind the Baron's chair, his face just showing over his shoulder, seamed with smiles that spoke of some common understanding between him and the daughter of his master; and once, when she thrust more directly at her father, the little servitor deliberately winked to the back of his master's head-a very gnome of slyness.
“But you have not told me about the ladies of France,” said she. “ Stay ! you will be telling me that again; it is not likely my father would be caring to hear about them so much as about the folk we know that have gone there from Scotland. They are telling me that many good brave men are there wearing their hearts out, and that is the sore enough trial.”
Count Victor thought of Barisdale and his cousingerman, young Glengarry, gambling in that frouziest boozing-ken in the Rue Tarane—the Café de la Paixwithout credit for a louis d'or; he thought of James Mor Drummond and the day he came to him behind the Tuileries stable clad in rags of tartan to beg a loan: none of these was the picturesque figure of loyalty in exile that he should care to paint for this young woman.
But he remembered also Cameron, Macleod, Traquair, a score of gallant hearts, of handsome gentlemen, and Lochiel, true chevalier-perhaps a better than his king!
It was of these Count Victor spoke,-of their faith, their valiancies, their shifts of penury and pride. He had used often to consort with them at Cammercy, and later on in Paris. If the truth were to be told, they had made a man of him, and now he was generous enough to confess it.
“I owe them much, your exiles, Mademoiselle Olivia," said he. “When first I met with them I was a man without an ideal or an aim, without a scrap of faith or a cause to quarrel for. It is not good for the young, that, Baron, is it? To be passing the days in an ennui and the nights below the lamps. Well, I met your Scots after Dettingen, renewed the old acquaintance I had made at Cammercy, and found the later exiles better than the first-than the Balhaldies, the Glengarries, Murrays, and Sullivans. They were different, ces gens-là. Ordinarily they rendezvoused in the Taverne Tourtel of St Germains, and that gloomy palace shared their devotion with Scotland, whence they came and of which they were eternally talking like men in a nostalgia. James and his Jacquette were within these walls, often indifferent enough, I fear, about the cause our friends were exiled there for; and Charles, between Luneville and Liége or Poland and London, was not at the time an inspiring object of veneration, if you will permit me to say so, M. le Baron. But what does it matter? the cause was there, an image to keep the good hearts strong, unselfish, and expectant. Ah! the songs they sang, so full of that hopeful melancholy of the glens you speak of, mademoiselle; the stories they told of Tearlach's Year; the hopes that bound them in a brotherhood - and binds them yet, praise le bon Dieu ! That was good for me. Yes, I like your exiled compatriots very much, Mademoiselle Olivia. And yet there was a maraud or two among them; no fate could be too hard for the spies who would betray them.”
For the first time in many hours Count Victor remembered that he had an object in Scotland, but with it somehow Cecile was not associated.
“Mungo has been telling me about the spy, Count Victor. Oh, the wickedness of it! I feel black burning shame that one with a Highland name and a Highland mother would take a part like yon. I would not think there could be men in the world so bad. They must have wicked mothers to make such sons; the ghost of a good mother would cry from her grave to check her child in such a villainy." Olivia spoke with intense feeling, her eyes lambent and her lips quivering.
“Drimdarroch's mother must have been a rock," said Count Victor.
“And to take what was my father's name!” cried Olivia; “Mungo has been telling me that. Though I am a woman, I could be killing him myself.”
"And here we're in our flights sure enough!” broke in the father, as he left them with a humorous pretence at terror.
“Now you must tell me about the women of France," said Olivia. “I have a friend who was there once and tells me, like you, he was indifferent; but I am doubting that he must have seen some there that were worth his fancy.”
"Is it there sits the wind ?" thought Montaiglon. “Our serene angel is not immune against the customary passions.” An unreasonable envy of the diplomatist who had been indifferent to the ladies of France took possession of him: still, he might have gratified her curiosity about his fair compatriots had not Doom returned, and then Olivia's interest in the subject oddly ceased.
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A SENTIMENTAL SECRET.
“GOOD NIGHT," said Olivia at last, and straightway Count Victor felt the glory of the evening eclipse. He opened the door to let her pass through...
“I go back to my cell quiet enough," she said in low tones, with a smiling frown upon her countenance.
“ Happy prisoner !” said he, “ to be condemned to no worse than your own company."
“Ah! it is often a very dull and pitiful company that, Count Victor,” said Olivia, with a sigh.
It was not long till he too sought his couch, and the Baron of Doom was left alone.
Doom sat long looking at his crumbling walls, and the flaming fortunes, the blush, the heat-white and the dead grey ash of the peat-fire. He sighed now and then with infinite despondency; once of twice he pshawed his melancholy vapours, gave a pace back and forward on the oaken floor, with a bent head, a bereaved countenance, and sat down again, indulging the passionate void that comes to a bosom reft of its joys, its hopes, and loves, and only mournful recollection left. A done man! Not an old man; not even an elderly, but a done man none the less, with the heart out of him, and all the inspi. ration clean gone!
Count Victor's advent in the castle had brought its own bitterness, for it was not often now that