The Man From Glengarry by Ralph Connor
Chapter XVIII. He is Not of My Kind
The story of the riot in which Ranald played so important a part filled the town and stirred society to its innermost circles--those circles, namely, in which the De Lacys lived and moved. The whole town began talking of the Glengarry men, and especially of their young leader who had, with such singular ability and pluck, rescued the Ottawas with Harry and Lieutenant De Lacy, from their perilous position.
The girls had the story from Harry's lips, and in his telling of it, Ranald's courage and skill certainly lost nothing; but to Maimie, while it was pleasant enough for her to hear of Ranald's prowess, and while she enjoyed the reflected glory that came to her as his friend, the whole incident became altogether hateful and distressing. She found herself suddenly famous in her social world; every one was talking of her, but to her horror, was connecting Ranald's name with her's in a most significant way. It was too awful, and if her Aunt Frances should hear of it, the consequences would be quite too terrible for her to imagine. She must stop the talk at once. Of course she meant to be kind to Ranald; he had done her great service, and he was her Aunt Murray's friend, and besides, she liked him; how much she hardly cared to say to herself. She had liked him in Glengarry. There was no doubt of that, but that was two years ago, and in Glengarry everything was different! There every one was just as good as another, and these people were all her Aunt Murray's friends. Here the relations were changed. She could not help feeling that however nice he might be, and however much she might like him, Ranald was not of her world.
"Well, tell him so; let him see that," said Kate, with whom Maimie was discussing her difficulty.
"Yes, and then he would fly off and I--we would never see him again," said Maimie. "He's as proud as--any one!"
"Strange, too," said Kate, "when he has no money to speak of!"
"You know I don't mean that, and I don't think it's very nice of you. You have no sympathy with me!"
"In what way?"
"Well, in this very unpleasant affair; every one is talking about Ranald and me, as if I--as if we had some understanding."
"And have you not? I thought--" Kate hesitated to remind Maimie of certain confidences she had received two years ago after her friend had returned from Glengarry.
"Oh, absurd--just a girl and boy affair," said Maimie, impatiently.
"Then there's nothing at all," said Kate, with a suspicion of eagerness in her voice.
"No, of course not--that is, nothing really serious."
"Serious? You mean you don't care for him at all?" Kate looked straight at her friend.
"Oh, you are so awfully direct. I don't know. I do care; he's nice in many ways, and he's--I know he likes me and--I would hate to wound him, but then you know he's not just one of us. You know what I mean!"
"Not exactly," said Kate, quietly. "Do you mean he is not educated?"
"Oh, no, I don't mean education altogether. How very tiresome you are! He has no culture, and manners, and that sort of thing."
"I think he has very fine manners. He is a little quaint, but you can't call him rude."
"Oh, no, he's never rude; rather abrupt, but oh, dear, don't you know? What would Aunt Frank say to him?"
Kate's lip curled a little. "I'm very sure I can't say, but I can imagine how she would look."
"Well, that's it--"
"But," went on Kate, "I can imagine, too, how Ranald would look back at her if he caught her meaning."
"Well, perhaps," said Maimie, with a little laugh, "and that's just it. Oh, I wish he were--"
"A lieutenant?" suggested Kate.
"Well, yes, I do," said Maimie, desperately.
"And if he were, you would marry him," said Kate, a shade of contempt in her tone that Maimie failed to notice.
"Yes, I would."
Kate remained silent.
"There now, you think I am horrid, I know," said Maimie. "I suppose you would marry him if he were a mere nobody!"
"If I loved him," said Kate, with slow deliberation, and a slight tremor in her voice, "I'd marry him if he were--a shantyman!"
"I believe you would," said Maimie, with a touch of regret in her voice; "but then, you've no Aunt Frank!"
"Thank Providence," replied Kate, under her breath.
"And I'm sure I don't want to offend her. Just listen to this." Maimie pulled out a letter, and turning over the pages, found the place and began to read: "'I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying your stay in Quebec'--um-um-um--'fine old city'--um-um-um-- 'gates and streets,' 'old days'--um-um-um--'noble citadel,' 'glorious view'--um-um-um-um--'finest in the world'--No, that isn't it--Oh, yes, here it is: 'The De Lacys are a very highly connected English family and very old friends of my friends, the Lord Archers, with whom I visited in England, you know. The mother is a dear old lady--so stately and so very particular--with old-fashioned ideas of breeding and manners, and of course, very wealthy. Her house in Quebec is said to be the finest in the Province, and there are some English estates, I believe, in their line. Lieutenant De Lacy is her only son, and from what you say, he seems to be a very charming young man. He will occupy a very high place someday. I suppose Kate will'--um-um-um--'Oh yes, and if Mrs. De Lacy wishes you to visit her you might accept'--um-um- um--'and tell Kate that I should be delighted if she could accompany me on a little jaunt through the Eastern States. I have asked permission of her father, but she wrote you herself about that, didn't she?--um-um-um--And then listen to this! 'How very odd you should have come across the young man from Glengarry again--Mac Lennon, is it? Mac-something-or-other! Your Aunt Murray seems to consider him a very steady and worthy young man. I hope he may not degenerate in his present circumstances and calling, as so many of his class do. I am glad your father was able to do something for him. These people ought to be encouraged.' Now you see!" Maimie's tone was quite triumphant.
"Yes," said Kate! "I do see! These people should be encouraged to make our timber for us that we may live in ease and luxury, and even to save us from fire and from blood-thirsty mobs, as occasions may offer, but as for friendships and that sort of thing--"
"Oh, Kate," burst in Maimie, almost in tears, "you are so very unkind. You know quite well what I mean."
"Yes, I know quite well; you would not invite Ranald, for instance, to dine at your house, to meet your Aunt Frank and the Evanses and the Langfords and the Maitlands," said Kate, spacing her words with deliberate indignation.
"Well, I would not, if you put it in that way," said Maimie, petulantly, "and you wouldn't either!"
"I would ask him to meet every Maitland of them if I could," said Kate, "and it wouldn't hurt them either."
"Oh, you are so peculiar," said Maimie, with a sigh of pity.
"Am I," said Kate; "ask Harry," she continued, as that young man came into the room.
"No, you needn't mind," said Maimie; "I know well he will just side with you. He always does."
"How very amiable of me," said Harry; "but what's the particular issue?"
"Ranald," said Kate.
"Then I agree at once. Besides, he is coming to supper next Sunday evening!"
"Oh, Harry," exclaimed Maimie, in dismay, "on Sunday evening?"
"He can't get off any other night; works all night, I believe, and would work all Sunday, too, if his principles didn't mercifully interfere. He will be boss of the concern before summer is over."
"Oh, Harry," said Maimie, in distress, "and I asked Lieutenant De Lacy and his friend, Mr. Sims, for Sunday evening--"
"Sims," cried Harry; "little cad!"
"I'm sure he's very nice," said Maimie, "and his family--"
"Oh, hold up; don't get on to your ancestor worship," cried Harry, impatiently. "Anyway, Ranald's coming up Sunday evening."
"Well, it will be very awkward," said Maimie.
"I don't see why," said Kate.
"Oh," cried Harry, scornfully, "he will have on his red flannel shirt and a silk handkerchief, and his trousers will be in his boots; that's what Maimie is thinking of!"
"You are very rude, Harry," said Maimie. "You know quite well that Ranald will not enjoy himself with the others. He has nothing in common with them."
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that Maimie," said Kate; "I will talk to Ranald." But Maimie was not quite sure how she should like that.
"You are just your Aunt Frank over again," said Harry, in a disgusted tone; "clothes and people!"
Maimie was almost in tears.
"I think you are both very unkind. You know Ranald won't enjoy it. He will be quite miserable, and--they'll just laugh at him!"
"Well, they'd better laugh at him when he isn't observing," said Harry.
"Do you think Ranald would really mind?" interposed Kate, addressing Harry. "Do you think he will feel shy and awkward? Perhaps we'd better have him another evening."
"No," said Harry, decidedly; "he is coming, and he's coming on Sunday evening. He can't get off any other night, and besides, I'd have to lie to him, and he has an unpleasant way of finding you out when you are doing it, and once he does find out why he is not asked for Sunday evening, then you may say good by to him for good and all."
"Oh, no fear of that," said Maimie, confidently; "Ranald has good sense, and I know he will come again."
"Well," cried Harry, "if you are not going to treat him as you would treat De Lacy and that idiotic Sims, I won't bring him!" And with that he flung out of the room.
But Harry changed his mind, for next Sunday evening as the young ladies with De Lacy and his friend were about to sit down to supper in their private parlor, Harry walked in with Ranald, and announced in triumph: "The man from Glengarry!" Maimie looked at him in dismay, and indeed she well might, for Ranald was dressed in his most gorgeous shanty array, with red flannel shirt and silk handkerchief, and trousers tucked into his boots. Sims gazed at him as if he were an apparition. It was Kate who first broke the silence.
"We are delighted to see you," she cried, going forward to Ranald with hands outstretched; "you are become quite a hero in this town."
"Quite, I assure you," said the lieutenant, in a languid voice, but shaking Ranald heartily by the hand.
Then Maimie came forward and greeted him with ceremonious politeness and introduced him to Mr. Sims, who continued to gaze at the shantyman's attire with amused astonishment.
The supper was not a success; Ranald sat silent and solemn, eating little and smiling not at all, although Mr. Sims executed his very best jokes. Maimie was nervous and visibly distressed, and at the earliest possible moment broke up the supper party and engaged in conversation with the lieutenant and his witty friend, leaving Harry and Kate to entertain Ranald. But in spite of all they could do a solemn silence would now and then overtake the company, till at length Maimie grew desperate, and turning to Ranald, said: "What are you thinking of? You are looking very serious?"
"He is 'thinking of home and mother,'" quoted Mr. Sims, in a thin, piping voice, following his quotation with a silly giggle.
Kate flushed indignantly. "I am quite sure his thoughts will bear telling," she said.
"I am sure they would," said Maimie, not knowing what to say. "What were they, Ran--Mr. Macdonald?"
"I was thinking of you," said Ranald, gravely, looking straight at her.
"How lovely," murmured the lieutenant.
"And of your aunt, Mrs. Murray, and of what they would be doing this night--"
"And what would that be?" said Kate, coming to the relief of her friend. But Ranald was silent.
"I know," cried Harry. "Let's see, it is ten o'clock; they will all be sitting in the manse dining-room before the big fire; or, no, they will be in the parlor where the piano is, and John 'Aleck' will be there, and they will be singing"; and he went on to describe his last Sabbath evening, two years before, in the Glengarry manse. As he began to picture his aunt and her work, his enthusiasm carried him away, and made him eloquent.
"I tell you," he concluded, "she's a rare woman, and she has a hundred men there ready to die for her, eh, Ranald?"
"Yes," said Ranald, and his deep voice vibrated with intense feeling. "They would just die for her, and why not? She is a great woman and a good." His dark face was transformed, and his eyes glowed with an inner light.
In the silence that followed Kate went to the harmonium and began to play softly. Ranald stood up as to go, but suddenly changed his mind, and went over and stood beside her.
"You sing, don't you?" said Kate, as she played softly.
"You ought to just hear him," said Harry.
"Oh, what does he sing?"
"I only sing the psalm tunes in church," said Ranald, "and a few hymns."
"Ye gods!" ejaculated the lieutenant to Maimie, "psalms and hymns; and how the fellow knocked those Frenchmen about!"
"Sing something, Kate, won't you?" said Maimie, and Kate, without a word began the beautiful air from Mendelssohn's St. Paul:--
"But the Lord is mindful of His own,"
singing it with a power of expression marvellous in so young a girl. Then, without further request, she glided into the lovely aria, "O Rest in the Lord." It was all new and wonderful to Ranald. He did not dream that such majesty and sweetness could be expressed in music. He sat silent with eyes looking far away, and face alight with the joy that filled his soul.
"Oh, thanks, very much," murmured the lieutenant, when Kate had finished. "Lovely thing that aria, don't you know?"
"Very nice," echoed Mr. Sims, "and so beautifully done, too."
Ranald looked from one to the other in indignant surprise, and then turning away from them to Kate, said, in a tone almost of command: "Sing it again."
"I'll sing something else," she said. "Did you ever hear--"
"No, I never heard anything at all like that," interrupted Ranald. "Sing some more like the last."
The deep feeling showing in his face and in his tone touched Kate.
"How would this do?" she replied. "It is a little high for me, but I'll try."
She played a few introductory chords, and then began that sweetest bit of the greatest of all the oratorios "He shall Feed His Flock." And from that passed into the soul-moving "He Was Despised" from the same noble work. The music suited the range and quality of her voice perfectly, and she sang with her heart thrilling in response to the passionate feeling in the dark eyes fixed upon her face. She had never sung to any one who listened as Ranald now listened to her. She forgot the others. She was singing for him, and he was compelling her to her best. She was conscious of a subtle sense of mastery overpowering her, and with a strange delight she yielded herself to that commanding influence; but as she sang she began to realize that he was thinking not of her, but of her song, and soon she, too, was thinking of it. She knew that his eyes were filled with the vision of "The Man of Sorrows" of whom she sang, and before she was aware, the pathos of that lonely and despised life, set forth in the noble words of the ancient prophet, was pouring forth in the great Master's music.
When the song was ended, no one spoke for a time, and even Mr. Sims was silent. Then the lieutenant came over to the harmonium, and leaning toward Kate, said, in an earnest voice, unusual with him, "Thank you Miss Raymond. That was truly great."
"Great indeed;" said Harry, with enthusiasm. "I never heard you sing like that before, Kate."
But Ranald sat silent, finding no words in which to express the thoughts and feelings her singing had aroused in him.
There is that in noble music which forbids unreality, rebukes frivolity into silence, subdues ignoble passions, soothes the heart's sorrow, and summons to the soul high and holy thoughts. It was difficult to begin the conversation; the trivial themes of the earlier part of the evening seemed foreign to the mood that had fallen upon the company. At length Mr. Sims ventured to remark, with a giggle: "It's awfully fine, don't you know, but a trifle funereal. Makes one think of graves and that sort of thing. Very nice, of course," he added, apologetically, to Kate. Ranald turned and regarded the little man for some moments in silence, and then, with unutterable scorn, exclaimed: "Nice! man, it's wonderful, wonderful to me whatever! Makes me think of all the great things I ever saw."
"What things?" Kate ventured to say.
For a few moments Ranald paused, and then replied: "It makes me think of the big pine trees waving and wailing over me at night, and the big river rolling down with the moonlight on it--and--other things."
"What other things, Ranald," persisted Kate.
But Ranald shook his head and sat silent for some time. Then he rose abruptly.
"I will be going now," he said.
"You will come again soon, Ranald," said Maimie, coming toward him with a look on her face that reminded him of the days in the Glengarry manse. She had forgotten all about his red shirt and silk handkerchief. As Ranald caught that look a great joy leaped into his eyes for a moment, then faded into a gaze of perplexity.
"Yes, do come," added Kate.
"Will you sing again?" he asked, bluntly.
"Yes, indeed," she replied, with a slight blush, "if you want me to."
"I will come. When? To-morrow night?"
"Yes, certainly, to-morrow night," said Kate, blushing deeply now, for she noticed the slight smile on Harry's face, and the glance that passed between Mr. Sims and the lieutenant. Then Ranald said good night.
"I have never had such pleasure in my life," he said, holding her hand a moment, and looking into her eyes that sparkled with a happy light. "That is," he added, with a swift glance at Maimie, "from music or things like that."
Kate caught the glance, and the happy light faded from her eyes.
"Good night," said Ranald, offering his hand to Maimie. "I am glad I came now. It makes me think of the last night at the manse, although I am always thinking of it," he added, simply, with a touch of sadness in his voice. Maimie's face grew hot with blushes.
"Yes," she answered, hurriedly. "Dear Aunt Murray!"
He stood a moment or two as if about to speak, while Maimie waited in an agony of fear, not knowing what to expect in this extraordinary young man. Then he turned abruptly away, and with a good night to De Lacy and a nod to Mr. Sims, strode from the room.
"Great Caesar's ghost!" exclaimed the lieutenant; "pardon me, but has anything happened? That young man now and then gives me a sense of tragedy. What has taken place?" he panted, weakly.
"Nonsense," laughed Maimie, "your nervous system is rather delicate."
"Ah, thanks, no doubt that's it. Miss Kate, how do you feel?"
"I," said Kate, waking suddenly, "thank you, quite happy."
"Happy," sighed De Lacy. "Ah, fortunate young man!"
"Great chap, that," cried Harry, coming back from seeing Ranald to the door.
"Very," said De Lacy, so emphatically that every one laughed.
"Some one really ought to dress him, though," suggested Mr. Sims, with a slight sneer.
"Why?" said Kate, quietly, facing him.
"Oh, well, you know, Miss Raymond," stammered Mr. Sims, "that sort of attire, you know, is hardly the thing for the drawing-room, you know."
"He is a shantyman," said Maimie, apologetically, "and they all dress like that. I don't suppose that he has any other clothes with him."
"Oh, of course," assented Mr. Sims, retreating before this double attack.
"Besides," continued Kate, "it is good taste to dress in the garb of your profession, isn't it, Lieutenant De Lacy?"
"Oh, come now, Miss Kate, that's all right," said the lieutenant, "but you must draw the line somewhere, you know. Those colors now you must confess are a little startling."
"You didn't mind the colors when he saved you the other day from that awful mob!"
"One for you, De Lacy," cried Harry.
"Quite right," answered the lieutenant, "but don't mistake me. I distinguish between a fellow and his clothes."
"For my part," said Kate, "I don't care how a man is dressed; if I like him, I like him should he appear in a blanket and feathers."
"Don't speak of it," gasped the lieutenant.
"Do let's talk of something else," said Maimie, impatiently.
"Delighted, I am sure," said De Lacy; "and that reminds me that madam was thinking of a picnic down the river this week--just a small company, you know. The man would drive her down and take the hamper and things, and we would go down by boat. Awful pull back, though," he added, regretfully, "but if it should give any pleasure--delighted, you know," bowing gallantly to the ladies.
"Delightful!" cried Maimie.
"And Ranald pulls splendidly," said Kate.
Maimie looked at her, wondering how she knew that. "I don't think Ranald can get away every day. I'm sure he can't; can he, Harry?" she said.
"No," said Harry, "no more can I, worse luck! The governor is sticking awfully close to work just now."
"And, of course, you can't be spared," said Kate, mockingly. "But couldn't you both come later? We could wait tea for you.
"Might," said Harry. "I shall make my best endeavor for your sake," bowing toward Kate, "but I am doubtful about Ranald. Perhaps we'd better not--"
"Why, certainly, old chap," said the lieutenant, "what's the matter?"
"Well, the fact is," blurted out Harry, desperately, "I don't want to drag in Ranald. I like him awfully, but you may feel as if he were not quite one of us. You know what I mean; your mother doesn't know him."
Harry felt extremely awkward knowing that he came perilously near to suspecting the lieutenant of the most despicable snobbery.
"Why, certainly," repeated the lieutenant. "That's all right. Bring your Glengarry man along if any one wants him."
"I do," said Kate, decidedly.
"Kismet," replied the lieutenant. "It is decreed. The young man must come, for I suspect he is very much 'one of us.'" But of this the lieutenant was not quite so certain by the time the day of the picnic had arrived.