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- The Lion of the North - 57/57 -


Thekla affected neither shyness or confusion, her colour hardly heightened as in her sombre mourning she advanced to Malcolm, and laying her hand in his, said:

"He cannot doubt my answer, mother; he must know that I love him with my whole heart."

"Then, my daughter," the countess said, "I will leave you to yourselves; there is much to arrange, for time presses, and your betrothal must be quickly followed by marriage."

It was but a few days later that Malcolm led Thekla to the altar in St. Sebald's Church, Nuremberg. The marriage was a quiet one, seeing that the bride had been so lately orphaned, and only Jans Boerhoff and his family, and two or three Scottish comrades of Malcolm's, who were recovering from their wounds at Nuremberg, were present at the quiet ceremony. The following day the little party started for the north. Malcolm had already received a letter from Oxenstiern accepting his resignation, thanking him heartily for the good services he had rendered, and congratulating him on his approaching wedding.

Without adventure they reached Hamburg, and there, arranging with the banker for the transmission of the sum in his hands to Edinburgh, they took ship and crossed to Scotland.

Three months later Malcolm was delighted by the appearance of his uncle Nigel. The latter was indeed in dilapidated condition, having lost an arm, and suffering from other wounds. He had been retained a prisoner by the Imperialists only until he was cured, when they had freed him in exchange for an Imperial officer who had been captured by the Swedes.

Thekla's dowry enabled her husband largely to increase his estates. A new and handsome mansion was erected at a short distance from the old castle, and here Malcolm Graheme lived quietly for very many years with his beautiful wife, and saw a numerous progeny rise around them.

To the gratification of both, five years after her coming to Scotland, the Countess of Mansfeld married Nigel Graheme and the pair took up their abode in the old castle, which was thoroughly repaired and set in order by Malcolm for their use, while he and Thekla insisted that the fortune he had received as a dowry with his wife should be shared by the countess and Nigel.

THE END


The Lion of the North - 57/57

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