And as he bowed his head he was suddenly startled by the words that broke forth. It seemed as if all his own soul's struggle had been transferred to the man at his side. Old John McAlpine had a wondrous gift of prayer, one that never failed to cast a solemn spell over his hearers, and to-night he pleaded for the soul of this young man as if for his life. His big hands were knotted, the perspiration stood in beads on his white forehead, and his agonised voice rose and went ringing away into the forest. Scotty was awesomely reminded of One who prayed in a garden, quite unlike this one of nature's wild making, and sweat drops of blood because of the sin he was to bear. And before the minister had ceased it seemed as if that other One came to his side and took up the petition, for Scotty felt his worldly desires slip from him like a garment. The struggle was over. Henceforth there could be no indecision, for he was not his own, but had been bought with a price.
When they arose from their knees the darkness had suddenly become transparent. A mysterious rustle and whisper of awakening life was on all sides, the dawn was on the point of breaking. Scotty's fire, like his worldly hopes, had died down to pale ashes, but far out on the faintly grey bosom of Lake Simcoe, and away beyond its dark forest-ring, soon to put all lesser lights to shame in their triumphant blaze, were kindling the fires of Heaven.
Oh, the East is but the West, with the sun a little hotter; And the pine becomes a palm by the dark Egyptian water; And the Nile's like many a stream we know that fills its brimming cup; We'll think it is the Ottawa as we track the batteaux up! Pull, pull, pull! as we track the batteaux up! It's easy shooting homeward when we're at the top. —WILLIAM WYE SMITH.
The Imperial transport, Ocean King, had loosed from her moorings at Montreal and was swinging down with the tide of the mighty St. Lawrence, and on her deck, many leaning eagerly over the railing to get a last glimpse of home, stood some four hundred stalwart sons of the Maple Land. Great, strong fellows they were, all with the iron muscles and steady, clear eyes of the expert riverman. For these were the famous voyageurs, trained from childhood on the rapids and cataracts of Canadian streams and summoned now to the help of the mother country on the ancient river of Egypt.
When Lord Wolseley found himself face to face with the tremendous task of reaching Gordon far up the hostile Nile, he remembered the assistance he had received in an earlier expedition in a western land from the daring, untiring, cool-headed, warm-hearted Canadian boatmen. And he asked that once more they might give him aid. And here they were, the best the country could produce, a rollicking, light-hearted crew, ready for anything—adventure, hard work, danger, death.
Among those who stood longest gazing at the receding land were two who had begun their years of apprenticeship for this great day on the little, noisy, foaming stream that scolded its way into the Oro river. And one of them, looking at the fast-fading outline of Mount Royal, saw instead an old log house among the enfolding Ontario hills, with a Silver Maple spreading its protecting branches above the roof. His home!—and the dear home faces, how they rose up from the misty shore; and another face, the most beautiful in the world, as he had seen it that winter night in the sunset glow!
And he had left all, had turned his back upon friends and home, and love itself, for what? A mere sentiment? A mad notion born of that night in the wilderness the spring before? The man who had been his guide and instructor, his staunchest friend and truest adviser from boyhood, had called his new impulse by just such a name, and the loss of his esteem had been one of the bitterest drops in Scotty's cup of renunciation. Apparently he had done injury to himself in every quarter, by giving up his connection with Raye & Hemming. Captain Herbert had been disgusted and had declared he washed his hands of him, Monteith had been filled with righteous indignation over such blind folly, and his grandparents had been keenly disappointed. And Isabel? That was the hardest part. What would Isabel think? Perhaps she, too, was offended, and he had had no opportunity to vindicate himself. And yet, through disappointments, estrangements and doubts, he clung tenaciously to his purpose. He was done forever with Raye & Hemming, and no power on earth could drive him back. Before he left Barbay, Monteith had come down upon him to bring him to a more reasonable state of mind. The schoolmaster had scolded, entreated, and had even brought up arguments which Scotty was powerless to combat. In his perplexity and bewilderment he could answer nothing; only there had come vividly to his mind the reply of another young man in somewhat similar circumstances; a young man, who, when clever people argued that the Man who had opened his eyes was at fault, could only say, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."
For that night in the wilderness had given this young man a clearer vision of right and wrong, the keen perception granted to those only who have passed by Calvary and seen the One who suffered there and conquered. And in that uplifting moment he had heard the voice of the Eternal say, "This is the way, walk ye in it"; and he could not but obey.
So Scotty had turned his back upon all his worldly prospects, because they had led from the way of integrity; and early in the summer had gone to seek employment amongst the lumbering centres of the Ottawa. And away back there he had been tracked and joined by his faithful henchman, Dan Murphy. This strange freak on Scotty's part had no effect on Danny's warm heart. What cared he that his chum preferred working in the bush to a college education? That mattered little, so long as they were together. For had Scotty turned Mohammedan and gone forth to convert the world to his beliefs, not one inch would his friend's loyalty have swerved.
And, while they worked on the upper Ottawa, the call for the Nile voyageurs had come. Here was an opportunity to see the world and serve the Empire, and the boys had gladly embraced it. And so Scotty was going down into Egypt, because the great Controller of Destiny had need of him there, as He had long before needed another young man in that same land to perfect His divine plans.
The Canadians commenced active work at a station on the Nile a few miles from Wady Halfa. The busy little trains, that came puffing up from Cairo, landed this latest addition to Britain's forces amid all the bustle and stir of the departing army. Here the naval detachment of the River Column was preparing to embark. The steel-keeled whaleboats, the especial care of the voyageurs, were being fitted up with masts and oars. As soon as ready they were filled with soldiers or Dongolese boatmen, the Canadian bowman and helmsman took their places, and out they shot up the swift, brown current.
Scotty and his chum found that their turn to embark was not likely to come for some time, and they employed their first day of leisure in looking about them. To their unaccustomed Western eyes the place presented endless interest. It was full of the noise and display of a military camp, and alive with potent signs of war. Trains loaded with ammunition went puffing out; bands of baggage-mules, driven by scantily-dressed natives, came down to the water's edge to drink; and stately camels swayed past.
Now and then a detachment of a regiment swung out desertward, whether on hostile acts intent or for exercise, only the initiated could tell. The boys stood watching them with absorbed interest. First came the Coldstream Guards, then the Grenadiers, and finally the Black Watch stepping out splendidly to the rousing scream of the pipers. Scotty had been taking in all the sights calmly, but this last was too much for his Highland blood; and, in spite of Dan's jeers, he leaped to his feet with a cheer, as they whirled past.
But even such spectacles as these began to pall. The Canadians soon discovered that an army is an unwieldy monster, and that even a flying column moves slowly. When the third day came and they still awaited their call to the boats, Dan became restless. This period of enforced idleness acted upon him like firewater upon a wild Indian, and his friend soon had his hands full keeping him from disaster.
On the last afternoon of their waiting Scotty composed himself under a gum acacia tree near the river to write home. They expected to go at any moment and he must leave a last message for Granny. With the aid of an old box for a writing desk and the battered lid of a tin can for an inkbottle he managed his task fairly well. The sun was blazing down on rock and sand and river, but the breeze from the north blew up cool and grateful, reminding him of the June zephyrs that came up from Lake Oro to stir the boughs of the Silver Maple.
Near him, stretched full length upon the ground, lay Dan, striving to be as cross as his light-hearted Irish spirits would permit. Scotty had just a moment before forcibly rescued him from a row with some idle, poker-playing Tommies, and the wild Irishman felt small gratitude towards his preserver. He rolled about restlessly, pronouncing serio-comic denunciations upon everything in Egypt from Lord Wolseley to the baggage-mules, and informing his inexorable keeper at short intervals, that if something didn't hurry up and happen, glory be, but he'd commit high treason—a crime of which Dan had only the vaguest notion, but one which he imagined immeasureably transcended all other forms of iniquity.
Scotty paid no attention to these threats; he finished his letter, packed his writing materials into his kit bag, and stood up to stretch his limbs. Over near the officers' quarters a couple of Tommies were making strenuous efforts to hold down a reluctant and evil-minded camel long enough to permit a fat and pompous Colonel to mount.
"That brute must be some relation to you, Dan," said Scotty laughingly, "he seems to have got up a mighty objection to everything in the way of common sense."
Dan did not reply; he had raised himself upon his elbow and was listening eagerly to something else. His attention had been caught by the conversation of a couple of officers who were coming up from the water-side. One was a young army subaltern, fresh from home, very innocent and well-meaning, but belonging to that class of youth who, because of a serene consciousness of vast inward resources, is certain to fall a prey to circumstances. His companion was slightly older, a young officer of the Naval Brigade under Lord Beresford. He was squarely-set, with a frank, good-humoured face.
The subaltern was evidently showing his newly-arrived friend the sights. "Those are the American Indians we've brought out to pilot the boats," he explained, with a nod in the direction of a group of French Canadians standing at the boat-slip; "rather a fine looking lot o' beggars, aren't they?"
His companion laughed. "Indians be hanged!" he exclaimed merrily. "More than half those fellows are no more Indians than you are. Jove, it does a fellow's eyes good to see something from home. I'm going to have a chat with them."
"Pshaw, you don't expect to find friends there, I hope. 'Pon honour, they're red Indians, every one of them. Wolseley got 'em. And Harcourt says they're the aboriginal thing."
"Your Colonel's an insular baa-lamb, Bobby; you can bet Wolseley never said it. Surely, as I was born and brought up in Canada I'm likely to know a red Indian from myself now, am I not?"
The subaltern looked annoyed. "I think you're mistaken this time," he said with some dignity; "perhaps an odd one or so may be white, but the majority are the real thing. Look at that big fellow there, now. I'll bet two to one he's a full blood, anyway."
The other glanced at the man indicated. Scotty's face and arms, always brown, had become almost copper-coloured in even his short exposure to the Egyptian sun, and his lithe, muscular figure, leaning easily against the tree, was not unlike that of the stalwart Caughnawagas from the St. Lawrence, but as the young naval officer looked at him he laughed derisively.
"Done with you," he cried gaily. "Go and ask him."
The subaltern marched up promptly to the voyageur. "I say, Canadian," he said somewhat stiffly, "here's a gentleman who says you're not an Indian. Just tell him politely that he's mistaken, please."
Scotty turned from his contemplation of the camel to find, to his surprise, that he was being addressed. But before he could reply, Dan had forestalled him. That young man, whose red hair and Hibernian features could have left no doubt even in the subaltern's mind as to his nationality, had been listening, with huge enjoyment, to the conversation. He had risen to his feet and was saluting with grave respect.
"Sure it's yourself that's right, sir," he said with an apologetic air. "Anybody can see he's an Indian. He belongs to one of our worst tribes—the Blood-drinkers, they call themselves. His name's Big Scalper. And sure," he added, lowering his voice fearfully, "it's the bloodthirsty brute he is, an' no mistake!"
The young naval officer came forward and gazed fixedly into the speaker's meek and innocent countenance, but could detect there no smallest sign of deceit. The subaltern looked solemn.
"Is that all true he's telling us, Big Scalper?" he asked dubiously.
"Sure, there's no use talkin' to him, sir," broke in Dan, with patient surprise; "he can't spake a word but his own outlandish jabber. The cratur was jist runnin' wild in the bush when Colonel Denison caught him an' brought him out here." The young man's air of kindly anxiety, mingled with innocent seriousness, was too much for mortal gravity. Big Scalper turned his back with strange suddenness and stared fixedly out upon the hot, grey glint of the river.
A little group of idle Canadians had begun to gravitate towards them. Dan Murphy had already earned a reputation among them as a source of entertainment, and was particularly interesting whenever anyone evinced a desire to learn anything of his native land. The officers were wont to question the voyageurs, and Dan played upon their ignorance of the western half of their Empire, which was deep enough to begin with, and made it abysmal.
"I told you," cried the subaltern triumphantly. "I've won my bet, old fellow!"
"Strange how he's going to pilot a boat-load of men up the river without the use of the English language," suggested the young naval officer, with a slightly sarcastic drawl.
"Aw, ye don't know him," cried Mr. Murphy in a tone expressive of fear, "he'll find a way to make them mind or he'll bash all their heads in. Sure, he's the Divil himself, sir. Jist look at the wicked eye o' him now, will ye?"
This was going too far for safety, and Big Scalper turned upon his loquacious showman. He was too much an artist to spoil the play by proclaiming it a sham, so he spoke a few rapid words in Gaelic. The Murphy's knowledge of that language was naturally limited, but there was never a boy in Glenoro school, be his nationality what it might, who did not pick up much of the war-vocabulary of the Fighting MacDonalds, and Dan had no difficulty in gathering from Scotty's remark that he was being strongly advised to immediately shut his mouth.
"What's he sayin'?" inquired the subaltern interestedly.
Dan's face was a study in pained and polite anxiety.
"I'm askin' yer pardon, sir," he said nervously, "but I think it would be safer if ye wouldn't be lookin' at him anny longer. He's askin' me which o' yer scalps I think would look best danglin' from his belt!"
There was a shout of long-suppressed laughter from the on-looking Canadians, and the young officer's face flamed up angrily.
"I shall report you for this insolence!" he cried, suddenly awakening to his ignominious position.
But his friend caught his arm and drew him away.
"Come out of this, Bob!" he cried in a choking voice. "You'll report nothing! You'd better not monkey with those fellows. That young Irish ruffian was improvising as he went along. And I'm awfully sorry, Bobby dear, but I'm afraid I've won my bet," he added, allowing his laughter to overcome him, "because—because—oh, Holy Maria, hold me up, I'm going to die!—because Big Scalper speaks a language that's amazingly like the stuff the pipers of the Black Watch jabber to one another!"
As Scotty moved down to the landing he gave his tormentor a good-humoured shaking. "It's lots of fun, I know, Dan; but you'd better keep that long, Irish tongue of yours still before the officers, or you'll get into trouble. I don't know what that fellow's going to do."
"Be jabers, it would be worth pickin' oakum for a year jist to take down his blamed consate. Did ye iver see such a banty rooster as the young wasp was? The little sailor chap wasn't half bad. And, say, Scot, did ye hear him say he was a Canadian or from Canady, or somethin' like that? It accounts for his good manners."
"Who, the bluejacket?" Scotty looked with interest after the young man's retreating form. There was something in his trim, straight figure that somehow seemed familiar.
"What's his name, I wonder?" he began, when a peremptory order interrupted. "Stanwell, into number 150!" cried the sharp voice of the overseer, and Scotty sprang into the stern of the boat and was off for his first battle with the cataracts of the Nile.
THE SECRET OF THE NILE
O mystic Nile! Thy secret yields Before us; thy most ancient dreams Are mixed with far Canadian fields And murmur of Canadian streams. —C. D. G. ROBERTS.
The awe-inspiring designation which Dan had bestowed upon his friend was not readily dropped. The Canadians seized and used it joyfully. Others who heard the name and were not aware of the joke in which it originated supposed that the bearer of it was really an Indian chief, about whose bloody prowess they were ready to believe any tales which the ingenious Mr. Murphy might invent. And so, for the remainder of the voyage, Scotty was known throughout the column as Big Scalper, the fiercest Indian from the Canadian wilds.
But in the days that followed Dan found few opportunities for indulging his reckless humour, for soon the army was moving forward rapidly and the boatmen were in the midst of stupendous toil. The River Column had been bidden to make haste. Gordon was shut up in Khartoum waiting his rescuers, and no one must rest. On they went, day after day, past dreary stretches of sand, broken only by an occasional and equally dreary dom palm; past barren ledges of rock, deserted mud villages and ruined temples; battling madly with a rapid, only to find when it was overcome that another lay ahead; toiling strenuously to catch up with the enemy, only to see at nightfall their spearheads disappearing over the last brown ridge of sand hills. Scotty felt himself becoming a machine, something that did the day's work mechanically. To toil all day in the bow or stern of a boat in the scorching heat of the pitiless sun, or walk over blistering rock and dazzling sand; to sleep at night inside a square of good British bayonets, chilled by the numbing wind from the north; to rise at the bugle-call and go at it again—that was the unvarying programme. Cataract and sand plain succeeded cataract and sand plain with such deadly monotony, that all sense of time, place, and progress was blotted out. They seemed stationary in an endless desert, toiling against an endless river, always moving but never advancing.
He often wondered, as he watched the brown, turbid water racing down to meet him, what secret the mysterious Nile held for him. What would be its bearing upon his life? But he always ended his questionings with the assurance that whatever the outcome might be, even though he should never see it, it was controlled by a higher Power, and he was content.
And through all the hardships and stress of the work, the struggle with the rapids, the hunger and privations, the new life which had been implanted in Scotty's heart was his greatest stay. Many a time in the face of temptation he blessed the saintly old woman far away in the Canadian backwoods for the godly training he had received beneath the Silver Maple. He found he needed all his strength in this new, wild life; for a more gaily-gallant, reckless, devil-may-care crew than the Canadian voyageurs, who fought and overcame the ancient Nile, surely never wielded paddles. His chief trial was his own faithful follower, for Dan Murphy strove to out-Canadian the wildest river-driver of the Ottawa valley. And had Scotty's strong hand not been often placed upon the unsteady tiller of his friend's life, there might have been a sadder wreck among the Nile voyageurs than has been set down in history. His vigilant oversight of Dan's conduct did not prevent him distinguishing himself in quite a unique way.
Ever since he had left Cairo that young man's one hope in life had been to participate in a battle. There came a day, later, when he and Scotty worked side by side on the blood-stained rocks of the desert, helping to remove the dead and wounded; when they saw their General's body lowered into its lonely grave, and witnessed the hundred harrowing sights of a battlefield; and then and there, much of the boyish glamour of battle faded before the horrible reality. But that time had not yet come; and, like Napoleon, Dan was convinced that war was a grand game.
So when the reluctant enemy at last massed itself upon the rocky ledges of Kirbekan to delay the column, and the joyful news spread through the impatient army that at last they were to meet the foe, none was so eager for the fray as Dan. In spite of Scotty's admonitions, he went to one of his officers to beg permission to join the advance the next morning. The request was promptly refused, and the volunteer bidden with scant ceremony to go back to his boat and mind his own business. But Mr. Murphy was convinced that his business lay with the front rank of the advancing column. He had not been trained to army discipline and was not minded to lose the glorious chance of participating in a real battle for such a trifling consideration as one man's opinion.
So in the grey dawn of the morning, when the troops marched out over sand and barren rock, there went with them a man who had neither the uniform nor the dogged stride of the rank and file. But he made up in enthusiasm what he lacked in military precision; for, having appropriated the arms and accoutrements of the first man who fell, he rushed to the front, and was right in the van of the victorious charge that swept the enemy from their rocky stronghold.
Dan Murphy was the hero of the Canadian voyageurs for the remainder of the journey. When the six months' term for which they had signed had expired, and he and Scotty resolved to go on to the end, there were many who remained with the column because the former chose to act as an independent recruiting officer. If he was going to Khartoum, then they would follow, for where Murphy was there must surely be some fun.
But the end of the journey came sooner than was expected. A little above Kirbekan General Brackenbury received the tragic news of the fall of Khartoum and the martyred Gordon's death. Just a few days earlier, just a little more haste, and the gallant heart that had looked bravely into the face of despair for so many weary weeks, still patient, still hoping, might have seen the answer to his prayers! But the succors were too late by less than a week. Gordon was murdered, Khartoum was fallen, and at Huella the baffled column received orders to return.
If the toil of descending the Nile was not equal to that experienced in the ascent, the skill and vigilance required of the pilots was even greater. Only a few days' journey had been completed when the column halted at the head of a long series of cataracts. Here the Dongolese boatmen had been put to their utmost strength to haul up the boats through the boiling, writhing channel, and the question was, could any boat go down it and live? General Brackenbury gave orders that none but the Canadians should be entrusted with the descent; so, early in the morning, the voyageurs walked down the stream to survey it. They pronounced the channel bad, but not impossible, while one old St. Lawrence pilot sniffed contemptuously and declared that the Lachine would make this puddle look "seek."
But the Nile cataract was bad enough, as Scotty realised, when he found himself among the first called to go down. Dan was his bowman and the stroke oar was a hardy old Scotch sergeant. Upon both of these he could rely with certainty. Nevertheless, as he steered out into the middle of the river, he realised that they had good need of all their courage and resource. On an overhanging rock above him stood the commander with some of his staff, anxiously watching the experiment. The shore was lined with soldiers, as though they had come to witness a boat-race. Scotty had a fleeting glimpse of them as he raced past, and then his boat was caught in the swift current and shot forward with lightning speed. The men bent to their oars with all the might of their brawny arms, to give their helmsman more power, Dan stood in the bow, alert and tense, his paddle ready, and Scotty held the tiller in an iron grip. The channel curved sharply to right and left; at the quickest turns great rocks stood in mid-stream over which the angry waters boiled and roared. At many points an instant's hesitation on his own part, Scotty well knew, or a second's relaxation of Dan's vigilance, would hurl boat and crew to destruction. They were in it now, dashing through a blinding rain of spray, leaping, turning, dodging, twisting, as though the boat were a living creature pursued.
Down they shot through the boiling zig-zag current, now avoiding great, jagged rocks by a hair's-breadth, now bounding like a deer over a smooth incline, now plunging into a seething white billow; and, when at last they swept round into the quiet bay at the foot of the cataract, Dan leaped up, and waving his paddle on high uttered a wild war-whoop learned long ago in the swamps of the Oro. There was an answering cheer from the group of men waiting at the landing. "Well done, Big Scalper!" cried the foreman.
A young naval officer who had just ridden down from the head of the rapid turned quickly at the words.
"What, Big Scalper, is that you?" he cried as the pilots stepped from the boat. "How is it you're not hanged yet?"
Scotty glanced up and encountered a laughing glance from the speaker's merry eyes. He recognised the young man whom Dan had vainly tried to befool, away back at the beginning of the voyage. He was prevented from replying by a word from the officer in command. As the voyageurs were few and the boats many they had to walk back to the head of the cataract as soon as one descent was accomplished and prepare for another. Their commander was bidding them make haste, and, when Scotty turned to leave the landing, the young man had disappeared. He was vaguely disappointed. There was something very attractive in his good-humoured familiarity, so different from the manner of the ordinary under officers.
When the long day's labour was over and the darkness prevented the descent of any more boats, the Canadians received orders to return to the upper camp to be in readiness for the morning's work. Dan had been required for steering early in the day, and had been separated from his friend, so Scotty found himself upon the rocky path leading to the head of the cataract quite alone.
Dan had promised to join him, but when Dan was in the company of the voyageurs there was generally sufficient cause for delay. Scotty walked on slowly, glad to be alone for a few moments after the tremendous toil of the day; the desert was quiet, and acted upon his spirits as did the deep, fragrant swamps at home.
The sun had set and the desert, which had glowed golden in the blistering sun all day, now lay grey and ghostly in the moonlight. Away ahead stood the ruins of an ancient temple overgrown with dusty mimosa bushes. The whispering Nile, brown and gleaming in the daytime, ran swiftly past, touched to silver by the moon that hung in the great empty space overhead. The breeze from the north was cool; the night was quiet and restful. He strolled along easily, looking back occasionally for signs of his comrades; a solitary figure in the barren desert.
The toil over rocks and rapids of the last few months, though it had hardened his physique and left him in superb health, had played havoc with his clothes; and he was so disreputable and tattered a figure, that he smiled to himself, as he pictured Granny's distress could she have seen him.
He reached a turn in the rocky path and stopped to listen for sounds of those who were to follow. The breeze from the north brought faintly the music of the old French Canadian song that had so often enlivened alike the toil of the shantymen on the Ottawa and the pilots on the Nile.
"En roulant, ma boule roulant, En roulant, ma boule."
The boys were coming, then; he seated himself upon a rock to await them. The sound died away for a moment, only the dry rustle of the mimosa bushes disturbed the silence.
He seemed absolutely alone in the world, until from a break in the rocks to his right a camel emerged with its stately, undulating stride. It bore an officer presumably riding down to the foot of the cataract. The long, fantastic shadow moved across the grey sand. Scotty could hear the rider's voice urging the animal forward. As they came out into the open, the two figures were silhouetted against the pale sky; a splendid mark for a prowling Dervish, he reflected.
As if in answer to his thought there came the sudden crack of a rifle from the direction of the ruined temple. The figure of the rider lurched over, and, with a leap, the animal had thrown him and was off desertward. There was a fiendish yell from the mimosa bushes. Three or four dark forms rose like magic from their shadows, their spears glinting in the moonlight as they leaped forward. The wounded man lay between his assailants and Scotty, somewhat nearer the latter. As it was Scotty reached him first. The man was lying on the sand. He had his revolver in his hand and was striving desperately to raise himself into a position to shoot. Scotty dragged him into a sheltering nook between two ledges of rock, snatched the weapon from his hand, and crouching down sent a bullet spinning out to meet the advancing rush. The Dervishes halted; the revolver spoke again; there was a howl as a man fell. Scotty felt a moment's inner exultation in that steady aim he had never lost since the days he and Dan shot chipmunks behind the schoolhouse. But the yell had been answered by another farther from the river; three more glinting spearheads suddenly appeared from the dark expanse beyond, and came hurtling towards him. He poured the remaining chambers of his revolver into the mad charge; but, when the last was gone, the enemy were still leaping forward. He threw down the weapon and looked about swiftly. The wounded man had a sword at his side. Scotty grasped it and the same instant the yelling savages were upon him. There was no use trying to take cover now. He stood erect and struck out madly. He was dimly surprised when the first man went down before him. He swung his weapon fiercely, with no thought of aim; but he was as agile as even these wild sons of the desert and his arm had the strength of ten. It could not last long, he knew, and he fought with the energy of despair. There was a strange roaring in his cars, as though he were in the midst of the cataract again, something warm was streaming down his face and obscuring his vision; he struck out blindly, desperately.
But now another sound arose, even above the roaring in Scotty's head, the sound of a familiar voice; a shout from down the river. Scotty's heart leaped; he uttered a strange, weird yell—"Oro, Oro, woo-hoo!" It was the long, fierce battle-cry of Glenoro school. If Dan were in Egypt that would bring him, he knew!
"Oro! Oro!" came the answer; and like a sandstorm across the desert came the company of voyageurs, Dan at their head, uttering the blood-curdling war-whoop with which he had so often awakened the echoes of the Canadian swamps.
The fierce-eyed Soudanese who had raised his spear to hurl at his opponent hesitated. He must have thought that all General Brackenbury's army was upon him. He leaped back with a sharp word of command; one more yell from the advancing column, followed by the crack of a random shot decided him; the dark figures took to their heels, and in the magic way known only to the desert-born, had melted in a moment over the low hills.
Scotty's head was spinning wildly, and when Dan flung himself upon him he sank unsteadily upon the ground.
"Hello, Danny," he tried to say, with his usual calmness, "just on time."
Dan clutched him by the shoulders and shook him violently; his voice was unsteady. "Be jabers, didn't I hear ye bleatin' like a stray lamb, half-a-mile back. How did ye happen to have such luck, ye beggar? Aw, the black-hearted brutes has give ye a bang, Scotty, boy. Hold on to me now, old man, here, an' we'll fix ye up in no time."
"The other fellow needs it worse," said Scotty, making a motion towards the man at his feet. Someone struck a light; the voyageurs raised the wounded man gently. His eyes opened.
"Are you much hurt?" asked one of the rescuers, bending over him.
Scotty looked down at him and was conscious of a feeling of glad surprise. It was the young naval officer who had spoken to him that morning.
"Not much," he gasped pluckily. "It's under my arm here. You were just in the nick of time, Canadian."
Another match was lit to enable the men to see the rough bandages they were trying to adjust. The light flashed up into Scotty's face, and the wounded man's eyes brightened.
"Why, was it you, Big Scalper?" he asked, with a faint attempt at a smile. "The Devil's not so bad as he's painted——" He made an effort to hold out his hand, but before Scotty could take it the young man's head fell back and he had fainted in Dan's arms.
The buzzing in Scotty's head grew louder, other sounds became dim and far away. He was vaguely conscious that the boys were binding up his head, hurting him most unnecessarily in the process, and that they were leading him away, away, through the revolving darkness, over an interminable desert.
But the next morning saw him in the stern of his boat ready to take the cataract once more. His head was still bandaged and felt rather light, but he did his day's work as usual. And before the next evening he was at the head of the column, far down the Nile, without knowing even the name of the man whose life he had saved.
And that same day a young naval officer, lying in a hospital boat asked anxiously if he might not see the Canadian pilot, known as Big Scalper, and was informed that the Indian of that name had gone on at the front of the column, but that he would see him when they disbanded at Korti.
But when the voyageurs drew up before the flagstaff to receive the General's farewell, the young officer lay tossing in delirium; and when next he saw his preserver it was not in Egyptian bondage, but in the new land of promise.
"For dere's no place lak our own place, don't care de far you're goin', Dat's what the whole worl's sayin', w'enever dey come here, 'Cos we got de fines' contree, an' de beeges' reever flowin', An' le bon Dieu sen' de sunshine nearly twelve mont' ev'ry year." —WILLIAM HENRY DRUMMOND.
And surely the Israelites, on the borders of Canaan, felt no more joy than did the two voyageurs when they first sighted the green shores of Canada. As they steamed up the St. Lawrence Dan's delight reached the dangerous stage. He was dying for a fight, and a fight he must have, he declared. And for this purpose he danced about the deck, brandishing his fists, and beseeching everyone within hearing to speak up and say that Canady wasn't jist the flower garden of creation, barrin' ould Ireland. Before he succeeded in getting himself into serious trouble, Scotty wisely put the wild Irishman down upon the deck and sat on him until the first spasms of the home-coming ecstasy were over.
But when the boys reached the little railway station a few miles from Glenoro, and saw Hamish's kind, brown eyes and old Pat Murphy's red face beaming a double welcome, there were no noisy demonstrations. For as they drove up through the ever-changing panorama of hill and valley, with the flash of the river and the blue gleam of lakes peeping through the green, Scotty had a choking lump in his throat—and even Dan was silent. For they were home again, and Oro was vocal with the joy of returning spring.
The pink-tinted buds were everywhere bursting into green, the marsh marigolds lit the dark borders of the swamp with their little golden lamps, the hepaticas and trilliums spangled the dun-coloured carpet of the woods; just the same, Scotty thought, as in the happy days when he and Isabel scampered among them. The air was deliciously laden with the exhilarating scents of the young green earth, the bluebirds flashed from bough to bough of the elm trees, and the robins, how they sang! Dan declared the little spalpeens knew he was home, for what else would make them bust their foolish little throats wid shoutin'?
His quiet mood did not last long. The Canadian air was getting into his blood again. A sudden whirr and flash, where a host of red-winged blackbirds arose in a cloud from the road, proved too much for him. He leaped from the buggy, yelling like a madman, and for the rest of the journey was quite beyond the limits of reason. He sat in the vehicle only on rare occasions, and spent his time scrambling over fences, tearing into the woods and back again, chasing squirrels and whooping like an Indian, until his father privately questioned Scotty as to the effect of the Egyptian sun on the brain.
Scotty sat beside Hamish, laughing helplessly at poor old Dan's madness, and in his quieter way revelling just as much in all the dear familiar sights. He was feeling how good it was to be a son of the north land, to live in this garden of lake and river, forest and meadow, and see it come to life afresh each year, and as they climbed a hill, and he stood up in the old buggy to catch his first glimpse of Lake Oro he realised solemnly that, though he might be called English, Irish, Scotch, Indian, Egyptian, what not, he was altogether and entirely and overwhelmingly Canadian.
And at the brow of the hill came the Murphy homestead, with all the Murphys far and near assembled to greet the returned wanderer. Scotty and Hamish had intended to leave Dan at his home and hurry away, but when the hero of the house of Murphy was dropped into the arms of the excited crowd, they found leave-taking a difficult enterprise. Irish hospitality, especially when transplanted to the land of Canadian plenty, is a compelling force.
At first Scotty's impatience to get home resisted all invitations, and old Pat was about to reluctantly allow them to depart, when Mrs. Murphy, who until now had been weeping loudly on Dan's broad shoulder, oblivious to everything but his return, suddenly awoke to the shameful fact that someone was about to leave her doors without stopping to eat. She issued no further invitation, but with her apron still to her eyes and still exclaiming over and over in muffled sobs, that "the darlin' had come back to his mother," she darted into the road; and snatching the horses' bridle, dragged her guests through the gate and up to the door, amid the applause of the assembled Flats.
And so they had supper in the Murphy home perforce, and all the great deeds of their expedition had to be recounted. Scotty told how Dan had disobeyed orders and run away at the battle of Kirbekan; only, like a true Irishman, he had run to, not from the fight. But when his friend returned the compliment and launched into an account of the midnight skirmish at the ruined temple, the hero of that event arose hastily, and declared they must be going.
There was much for Hamish both to tell and hear on the road, so the afternoon was fading into evening when at last they reached the Scotch Line. They had taken a detour round the Glen, for Scotty did not want to be delayed by more friends. They passed the Weaver's clearing, and Hamish declared how Jimmie and Kirsty were such an agreeable pair as never was, for indeed the two lived in such a state of connubial felicity as was a wonder to all the neighbours. Scotty caught a glimpse of the little path through the cedars, the path where he and Isabel had walked so often in those magic days succeeding Kirsty's wedding. And there was the boiling spring by the roadside where they had so often played, and the pools where they had gathered musk, and yonder in the fence-corner they had built their first house.
And then there came a turn in the road and there it was! His old home! It was just the same: the old garden in front with the rose bushes turning green, and the Silver Maple putting forth its pink buds above the roof! And there was Granny at the door, shading her eyes with her hand; and beside her Mary Sandy, Rory's sister-in-law, who was now her help; and Grandaddy, who had been pretending to cut wood all afternoon, still holding the axe in his hand; yes, and even Old Farquhar, bobbing about as excited as any!
With the instinct of long custom, Scotty jumped from the vehicle to open the gate, but his trembling fingers refused to pull out the pin, and the next moment he had cleared the bars in one mighty spring, leaving Hamish, helpless with laughter, to shift for himself. Before the gate was open he had charged up the hill like a whirlwind and caught Granny off her feet.
And then such a time as there was with talking and hand-shaking and laughter and tears, for even Mary Sandy took to crying out of sympathy with her mistress, and Scotty himself had some work to keep his eyes dry.
And no one could hear a word anyone else said, for as the long-absent one crossed the threshold, Old Farquhar burst into loud and joyous song. And what could do justice to the great occasion but "The Grave of Highland Mary"? The old man's voice was strong with excitement, and he drowned both the noise of joyful greeting and the din of the barking dogs as he shouted triumphantly,—
"Then bring me the sigh of a fond lover's bosom And bring me the tear of a fond lover's e'e, And I'll pour them a' doon on thy grave, Highland May-ay-re, For the sake o' thy Bur-urns who sae dearly loved thee!"
When the excitement had slightly subsided they had to sit down and partake of such a supper as had never before been set out in that house; for Granny would not listen to such foolish nonsense as that they had eaten at Murphy's. She sat beside her boy, never touching her own food, but heaping his plate, clapping him upon the back and showering upon him all the endearing epithets she knew in a language that is famous for them.
Big Malcolm sat close to him on the other side, his old warlike spirit aroused, as his boy told his story. Scotty softened the hardships for his grandmother's ears and said nothing of his own encounter in the desert. He was graphically describing the manoeuvres of the Highlanders at Kirbekan, much to his grandfather's delectation; when, as if to give point to his narrative, there suddenly arose from the direction of the road a splendid roar of pipes; and behold here came Rory driving up the lane in a wagon, his whole family aboard; and he himself, forgetful of his dignity as the father of the family, standing up in the wagon and blowing up a tremendous pibroch on Fiddlin' Archie's Sandy's bagpipes!
Scotty flung out of doors to meet him and had scarcely time for a greeting when they sighted Weaver Jimmie and Kirsty hurrying up the path from the bush. Then a shout from the hill behind the barn attracted everyone's attention, and Long Lauchie's whole household appeared trooping down the slope; Long Lauchie himself plodding joyfully at the tail of the procession, full of bewildering prophecies and analogies, in which there was something about Lake Simcoe's being the Red Sea, and the Oa, Mount Pisgah.
It was well that Mary Sandy merited her mistress's oft-repeated declaration that she was "jist the smartest, tidiest girl in the Oa, indeed." The multitude had to be fed, in accordance with the laws of Canadian hospitality, which alter not, no matter what the circumstances may be, and without Kirsty's and Mary Lauchie's help even Mrs. MacDonald's paragon might have found herself inadequate.
Big Malcolm and his wife were quite helpless with excess of happiness. The latter moved about in a happy daze, making ineffectual efforts to assist her friends, picking up articles and putting them down again in a haphazard fashion.
At last Kirsty declared that they must all clear out and let her do some work. Yes, and Mrs. Malcolm was to go too, for how could she be of any use with a big gomeril like Scotty clattering after her every step, as if he was a bairn, and mostly with Big Malcolm and Rory's wee Callum trailing behind. It was enough to put a body fair daft.
Thus banished, Scotty laughingly followed his grandmother out of doors. He was well pleased, for he was longing to get a word with her alone. He knew that her tender eyes had long ago read his heart's secret, and if she had any news for him she would surely give it without asking.
There was a new stone milk-house a few yards from the door, built since his departure; and he must needs see it, Granny said. So she took him with her when she went for a jug of buttermilk for the guests. And when he had admired the place and the buttermilk had been procured, they stood in the cool, sweet dampness, and Granny told him how all the friends had asked for him so often. The minister, indeed, came up several times just to inquire if they had had a letter, and Store Thompson's wife had said that whenever the Captain himself came to the Glen he always asked for him. Then she went to the farther end of the little chamber and commenced a diligent search for something that was not there, and, with her back turned to him, remarked with elaborate carelessness that the Captain's family were expected at the Grange any day now. The Captain had been away nearly all the time since he lost the election, he had been that disappointed, poor body. They had spent the last winter in Toronto. The wee Isabel hadn't been jist very well all winter, Kirsty had said, and the aunt had wanted to take her to the seashore, but she had said that nothing but the Oro air would do her any good, and Kirsty was expecting her some of these days.
Scotty drew a deep breath. She was coming back then! She would be at the Grange, she might even come to Kirsty's! And then Kirsty herself darted in and snatched the pitcher of buttermilk from Granny's hands and disappeared as quickly. Neither of them noticed her, for Scotty was in a rosy but hopeless dream, and Granny was patting him lovingly upon the arm in expression of the sympathy she dared not speak. There was silence for a moment, the old woman still caressing him tenderly.
"Eh, it would be the Lord would be bringing you back to me, m' eudail bheg," she said at last. "He would be good to Malcolm and me in our old age, for you would jist be our Benjamin, whatever. And has it been well with Granny's boy all this weary time?" she added in a whisper.
Scotty put his hands upon her shoulders and looked long into her loving eyes.
"Granny," he whispered, "do you remember the first day I went to school, and how I came through the swamp alone on the way home."
"Eh, the wee man it was! And how would I be forgetting, indeed, for it would be the first time you would be leaving me!"
"And do you remember what I found a comfort then? The swamp was so lonely it frightened me, and I thought it must be like the valley of the shadow of death; so I said over the Shepherd's Psalm, because you had taught it to me and I knew it must be good, and I wasn't afraid any more. And now I've been away from you again, Granny, in the valley of the shadow of death, yes, and worse than death often, but—the rod and the staff were always with me."
The tears were running down the old wrinkled face, happy tears, for Granny had feared often for her boy; not so much the temporal ills; the arrow that flieth by day was not to her so dangerous as the "secret fear." But her fears had been happily disappointed, he had had the great Keeper with him, and one more joy was added to her deep content.
The celebration at Big Malcolm's lasted half the night, and before it had ended Scotty found he had yet one more draught to drink from his cup of happiness. The assembly was sitting round him breathless as he related the many incidents of his journey, when Weaver Jimmie, who was sitting in the doorway to allow his feet to hang in the greater freedom of outdoors, suddenly interrupted with an exclamation, "Losh keep us, is yon the Schoolmaster come back?" Scotty came to the doorway with a spring and met the outstretched hands of his friend. Monteith had heard the boys were expected and had journeyed all the way from Barbay, where he now resided, to bid his pupil welcome. Scotty was speechless over this last greeting, for in the long warm handshake of his old friend there was not the smallest hint of a past estrangement.
THE PROMISED LAND
Love and Hope and Truth and Duty Guide the upward striving soul, Still evolving higher beauty As the ages onward roll. —AGNES MAULE MACHAR.
The next day Scotty found that he was not yet through with his lionising. With the morning sun up came Dan from the Flats with the news that "the boys" were to meet at Store Thompson's that evening, and they must both go down and show themselves. At first Scotty was for refusing, but his grandfather decided for him. Big Malcolm, who was no better at dissembling than his wife, suddenly remembered that he had urgent reasons for going into the Glen that evening and promised that he would bring his grandson with him.
So there was nothing for Scotty to do, as Monteith, who was still with him, explained, but to be a real lion and roar properly. Granny made them an early tea and, the schoolmaster accompanying them, they drove off in the old buckboard.
On the way Big Malcolm regaled the two exiles with tales of the great events that had transpired since their absence. The most important one related to Store Thompson's latest achievement in the philological field. This time he had routed completely young Mike Murphy. Mike had never received anything through the post office in his life, but never a day passed but he poked his head in at the little wicket and demanded in a loud voice, "Anythin' for Murphy the day?" Store Thompson had endured the youth's uncouthness with his usual serenity, but one day Mike asked twice at the wicket. That was once too often, and Store Thompson fell back on his reserve forces. "Murphy?" he queried. "Young man, ye're jist ambeeguous like, aye, ye're jist ambeeguous." Mike had never inquired for letters since. He retired in a rage, under the impression that Store Thompson had called him some insulting name, but, like many another brave man, overawed by the mystery of the unknown. Ever since, Store Thompson had been free from his tormentor and the young man was known between the Oa and the Flats as "Ambiguous Mike." Big Malcolm chuckled audibly and jerked the lines in delight over the remembrance of his old friend's victory.
The way seemed very short to Scotty, there was so much of interest to see. Soon they left the Highlands and began to descend into the Glen, and he found his eyes growing misty again as they dwelt on the winding white road, the silver curves of the river between the faint green of the hills, and the cosy homesteads nestled in the budding orchards.
The place was so little changed in the two years he could almost believe he had never left it. He noticed only one radical difference. Pete Nash's establishment had disappeared. The tavern had not been able to withstand the united progress of commerce and righteousness; Mr. Cameron's advent had heralded its downfall, and the toot of the railway train through Oro had sounded its death knell.
Big Malcolm had not finished dilating upon the blessing its departure had been to the community, when they reached the post office. A crowd stood collected about it, eager but quiet. They hid their concern in the true rural fashion and stood leaning against every available support with supreme indifference, shoulders high, hands in pockets, caps on one side. Store Thompson was more ceremonious. Before Scotty could alight, out he came with hands outstretched in greeting. He had prepared an elaborate speech of welcome, adorned with all the available polysyllables in the dictionary; but, when he saw Scotty's familiar face, his eyes shining with the joy of his home-coming, and Big Malcolm, erect and full of fire as though he had suddenly dropped twenty years of his life, his heart got the better of his head and he could only shake the voyageur's hand again and again and say:
"Aye, ye're home again. Aye, ye've jist come home, like!"
And then out bustled Store Thompson's wife, who was as blithe and brisk as she had been twenty years before, and she had no difficulty in kissing Scotty this time, though she had to stand on tip-toe to do it.
And at last the crowd flung off its lethargy and one by one came forward in greeting. Dan had already arrived and was resplendent amid the whole population of the Flats; and not the Flats only, for such a cosmopolitan crowd had not been seen in the Glen since the old days of the fights. There were all the Murphys and the Caldwells and, of course, every MacDonald from far and near. And Hash Tucker had brought over a goodly representation of the Tenth to do honour to his old schoolmates. Scotty had got through only half the hand shakes when the minister came up from the manse to welcome the boys and tell them they had made him proud of Canada.
Scotty found, somewhat to the dismay of his reticent soul, that Dan had been spreading abroad the story of his gallant rescue of an English officer against overwhelming odds, and the ovation he received was particularly trying.
"It's a pity you couldn't have kept your long, Irish tongue still for a day!" he grumbled, and Dan laughed and thumped him soundly upon the chest for an ungrateful and stony-hearted old Scotchman.
The two were standing, the centre of a breathless ring, while Dan, with true Irish fluency, described the fight at Kirbekan, when the sound of rapidly approaching wheels partly diverted the attention of the audience.
"Eh, yon must be the Captain an' his family jist gettin' home," said Store Thompson, turning away to welcome the new arrivals. For, since the departure of the tavern, Store Thompson was public host in the Glen. Scotty heard and felt his heart leap into his mouth. Would she be there?
The wheels were stopping. "That'll be his son most like, the young man," he heard someone say above the buzzing in his ears. "He's been away in the wars."
Captain Herbert's voice came next, "No, thank you, James, not to-night; we just want to water the horses. But what's all this? You haven't lapsed into the old warlike days in my absence, I hope?"
And then Scotty shoved Dan aside and looked up. Yes, there she was, and not at all pale and ill as his heart had feared, but smiling and flushed like a wild rose. And her eyes were looking a welcome straight into his, over the heads of the people; such a welcome as not all the love of his own kin had been able to give.
And the next instant a marvellous thing happened, a thing that astounded all the spectators and left them amazed and gaping. For the pale young man at Captain Herbert's side suddenly leaped to his feet as though he had gone mad. He gave a shout, "Big Scalper!" and the same moment he had cleared the carriage wheels and several people's heads and had flung himself upon Scotty and delivered him a blow that sent him staggering back against the verandah. And instead of resenting such outrageous treatment, as any right-minded descendant of the Fighting MacDonalds should, Scotty submitted very meekly. In a laughing, half-ashamed manner he allowed himself to be pounded and shaken, and when his assailant had almost wrung his hands off, even permitted himself to be dragged up to the carriage wheels.
"Father!" cried the young man, his voice high with excitement, "it's the very fellow himself! It's Big Scalper!"
At that Dan Murphy uttered a yell that made the topmost pine on the Oro banks ring.
"It's the English spalpeen!" he roared to the dumbfounded crowd. "It's the cratur Scotty pulled out o' the black divils in Agypt. Oh, hooray!"
It seemed as if all the township of Oro joined him in one mighty shout. Some said afterwards that even Store Thompson cheered, though most people believed that the excitement of the moment gave birth to that wild rumour. But certain it is that an equally wonderful thing happened, for at the sound of the uproar the minister turned back from the manse gate, and when he was made aware of the cause, he actually waved his hat in the air and made everyone give three more cheers.
And such a prodigious handshaking ensued that Scotty was almost overcome. Captain Herbert acted as if he could never let him go; and there was Store Thompson and the minister and half the crowd to shake hands with again, and it seemed to Scotty that every second man was the young Egyptian officer, and he found to his amusement that even that absurd Dan was greeting him as though they had not met for years!
But he was only half-conscious of it all, only half realised what it meant even when Miss Herbert took both his hands in hers and whispered softly: "God bless you, my boy." For he could see nothing but Isabel's face and her blue eyes swimming in happy tears, and felt only her clinging hands as she whispered brokenly: "Oh, Scotty, isn't it wonderful, wonderful?" And Scotty knew that even she did not quite realise just how wonderful it was.
Then, amid all the expressions of good will, Big Malcolm stepped forward and held out his hand to Captain Herbert. It was grasped warmly and the old man felt, with a great uplifting of his spirit, that his last forgiveness was accomplished and his last feud buried.
It was very late that night when the company broke up and Scotty found himself at home once more. Monteith had returned with him, and as he took his leave the young man accompanied him to the gate.
"I wanted a chance to tell you, before I go," he said, as they paused in the moonlight, "that you were right, after all, Ralph."
"In giving up?" asked Scotty eagerly. "Is it because of what you saw this afternoon?"
"No; the reward of a right act doesn't always come so suddenly; but because I have learned something since you went away, something that your grandmother taught me up there under the Silver Maple. I know now that when a man has once realised what the Great Sacrifice means he cannot choose his own way."
And Scotty went up to his old bed in the loft and lay listening to the branches of the Silver Maple softly caressing the roof, unable to sleep for joy and thankfulness.
The days that followed were very busy ones. Scotty was often at the Grange; not altogether because inclination turned his feet thither, but because there was much business to settle. Lieutenant Herbert wanted to return soon to England, and he would not leave until his new friend had received due restitution and more. Scotty wanted nothing; the look in Isabel's eyes was enough, but Harold would not listen. No, he must have the Grange and all that pertained to it, he declared; for the Captain and his sister had long thought of going back to England to end their days. "So," he concluded, "when you are through that college course, which it appears you must take, you and Bluebell can settle down here to farming; and good luck go with you, because I don't envy you your lot!"
But Scotty and Isabel cared very little whether they were envied or not. Their own happiness was sufficient.
And so Ralph Stanwell came into his inheritance at last, and by the right road, the road of truth and equity, which, though it may often descend by the way of the cross, is sure and straight and leadeth unto life eternal.
* * * * *
The day before he left to take up his studies in the city, Scotty went down to the Grange and brought Isabel up, ostensibly to spend the day with Kirsty, but really because they wanted to say farewell among their old haunts. The girl had spent the afternoon at Big Malcolm's and as evening fell and Scotty prepared to take her home, they went round to the side of the house and sat for a few moments under the Silver Maple. Lake Oro was a sea of gems flashing between the dusky points of the fir trees. The hilltops were flushed with rose, the valleys steeped in purple, and the vesper sparrows filled the golden twilight with their music.
"Scotty," said the girl softly, "I've been reminded all day of the psalm Granny Malcolm taught us here—'Thou hast beset me behind and before and hast laid Thine Hand upon me!'"
And Scotty, whose mind held the vivid remembrance of a great temptation, to which he had almost yielded and from which he had been saved that wonderful night in the wilderness, added: "'Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain unto it.'"
And a little breeze, dancing up from the golden bosom of Lake Oro, tossed the green canopy above their heads and showed that every dark emerald leaf had its silver lining.