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- What's Mine's Mine V3 - 3/30 -


"Whether he knows it or not? Could he do the thing he thought wrong?"

She was silent.

"Mother dear," resumed lan, "the only Way to get at what IS right is to do what seems right. Even if we mistake there is no other way!"

"You would do evil that good may come! Oh, Ian!"

"No, mother; evil that is not seen to be evil by one willing and trying to do right, is not counted evil to him. It is evil only to the person who either knows it to be evil, or does not care whether it be or not."

"That is dangerous doctrine!"

"I will go farther, mother, and say, that for Alister to do what you thought right, if he did not think it right himself--even if you were right and he wrong--would be for him to do wrong, and blind himself to the truth."

"A man may be to blame that he is not able to see the truth," said the mother.

"That is very true, but hardly such a man as Alister, who would sooner die than do the thing he believed wrong. But why should you take it for granted that Alister will think differently from you?"

"We don't always think alike."

"In matters of right and wrong, I never knew him or me think differently from you, mother!"

"He is very fond of the girl!"

"And justly. I never saw one more in earnest, or more anxious to learn."

"She might well be teachable to such teachers!"

"I don't see that she has ever sought to commend herself to either of us, mother. I believe her heart just opened to the realities she had never had shown her before. Come what may, she will never forget the things we have talked about."

"Nothing would make me trust her!"

"Why?"

"She comes of an' abominable breed."

"Is it your part, mother, to make her suffer for the sins of her fathers?"

"I make her suffer!"

"Certainly, mother--by changing your mind toward her, and suspecting her, the moment you learn cause to condemn her father."

"The sins of the fathers are visited on the children!--You will not dispute that?'

"I will grant more--that the sins of the fathers are often reproduced in the children. But it is nowhere said, 'Thou shalt visit the sins of the fathers on the children.' God puts no vengeance into our hands. I fear you are in danger of being unjust to the girl, mother!--but then you do not know her so well as we do!"

"Of course not! Every boy understands a woman better than his mother!"

"The thing is exceedingly annoying, mother! Let us go and find Alister at once!"

"He will take it like a man of sense, I trust!"

"He will. It will trouble him terribly, but he will do as he ought. Give him time and I don't believe there is a man in the world to whom the right comes out clearer than to Alister."

The mother answered only with a sigh.

"Many a man," remarked Ian, "has been saved through what men call an unfortunate love affair!"

"Many a man has been lost by having his own way in one!" rejoined the mother.

"As to LOST, I would not make up my mind about that for a few centuries or so!" returned lan. ''A man may be allowed his own way for the discipline to result from it."

"I trust, lan, you will not encourage him in any folly!"

"I shall have nothing to do but encourage him in his first resolve, mother!"

CHAPTER III

HOW ALISTER TOOK IT.

They could not find Alister, who had gone to the smithy. It was tea-time before he came home. As soon as he entered, his mother handed him the letter.

He read it without a word, laid it on the table beside his plate, and began to drink his tea, his eyes gleaming with a strange light, lan kept silence also. Mrs. Macruadh cast a quick glance, now at the one, now at the other. She was in great anxiety, and could scarce restrain herself. She knew her boys full of inbred dignity and strong conscience, but was nevertheless doubtful how they would act. They could not feel as she felt, else would the hot blood of their race have at once boiled over! Had she searched herself she might have discovered a latent dread that they might be nearer the right than she. Painfully she watched them, half conscious of a traitor in her bosom, judging the world's judgment and not God's. Her sons seemed on the point of concluding as she would not have them conclude: they would side with the young woman against their mother!

The reward of parents who have tried to be good, may be to learn, with a joyous humility from their children. Mrs. Macruadh was capable of learning more, and was now going to have a lesson.

When Alister pushed back his chair and rose, she could refrain no longer. She could not let him go in silence. She must understand something of what was passing in his mind!

"What do you think of THAT, Alister?" she said.

He turned to her with a faint smile, and answered,

"I am glad to know it, mother."

"That is good. I was afraid it would hurt you!"

"Seeing the thing is so, I am glad to be made aware of it. The information itself you cannot expect me to be pleased with!"

"No, indeed, my son! I am very sorry for you. After being so taken with the young woman,--"

Alister looked straight in his mother's face.

"You do not imagine, mother," he said, "it will make any difference as to Mercy?"

"Not make any difference!" echoed Mrs. Macruadh. "What is it possible you can mean, Alister?"

The anger that glowed in her dark eyes made her look yet handsomer, proving itself not a mean, though it might be a misplaced anger.

"Is she different, mother, from what she was before you had the letter?"

"You did not then know what she was!"

"Just as well as I do now. I have no reason to think she is not what I thought her."

"You thought her the daughter of a gentleman!"

"Hardly. I thought her a lady, and such I think her still."

"Then you mean to go on with it?"

"Mother dear," said Alister, taking her by the hand, "give ine a little time. Not that I am in any doubt--but the news has been such a blow to me that--"

"It must have been!" said the mother.

"--that I am afraid of answering you out of the soreness of my pride, and Ian says the Truth is never angry."

"I am quite willing you should do nothing in a hurry," said the mother.

She did not understand that he feared lest, in his indignation for Mercy, he should answer his mother as her son ought not.

"I will take time," he replied. "And here is lan to help me!"

"Ah! if only your father were here!"

"He may be, mother! Anyhow I trust I shall do nothing he would not like!"


What's Mine's Mine V3 - 3/30

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