ITíS only for a few months, at most,"
said Colin, looking fondly into Katieís eyes, as the lovers strolled
over the farm the evening after the great revelation, "and then Iíll be
back to claim your hand and make a countess of you. Does it not sound
fantastic and strange, dearest Katie? You a countess and I an earl,
after all our plain experiences!"
Katieís only answer was a sigh, and she wore a
"Please donít look so distressed, dearest," said
Colin, with a roguish look in his eyes, and, bending down to kiss the
rosy lips, "I remember reading in a book some one lent me during the
war, of an earl and countess who were really quite happy. I know itís
unusual, and the author may have been only romancing, but it might be
true, and you and I must not despair."
"Oh, Colin," said Katie, "stop your bantering
"If I were quite sure of your constancy," said Colin,
for the humour was on him to tease Katie, "when I am outshone by a host
of more accomplished admirers, I think I should be able to face the
future with greater fortitude. I have so often read of the social
dissipations of London, that I contemplate the future with fear and
"Oh, Colin, how can you!" said Katie, pouting ever so
little, for she did not like banter from Colin, who had always been her
noble knight and her paragon of perfection.
"Will you promise, sweetheart, that you will be true
to me while I am gone to prepare the house in England for your coming?"
"Colin," answered Katie, "Iíll have to box your ears
and dismiss you altogether, if you continue to talk to me like that.
Donít flatter yourself that because you are an earl now you can rally
your country sweetheart. I shall not make any rash promises as to what I
shall do while you are away."
Colinís answer was to steal his arm gently about
Katieís waist, and despite her show of resistance, once more touch her
lips with his.
"I am afraid, Colin, you are becoming rather
presumptuous since you have inherited your title. I donít believe I like
you quite so well as I did the modest, less confident Colin."
"There, now," Colin answered, "I told you I could
hardly believe that book I read during the war!
Donít you tremble for the future, Katie, and wish
there was some retreat?"
"Indeed I do not tremble in the least, for I have
perfect confidence in my Colin, and do not intend to have him start
And so the happy sweethearts, who had never had a
loversí quarrel since the days of their childhood, chatted away as the
evening sped. It was the last talk they would have together for some
time, as Colin, Mr. Briggs, and I were to start for England the next
day. It was not anticipated that Colin would be gone longer than five or
six months; at least, he promised to return in about that time, and he
told Mrs. McNabb he would like to carry Katie off when he came back.
We left early the following morning, and at Colinís
request called upon the lawyer in the county town who looked after any
legal business that Mrs. McNabb had. Colin ascertained the exact amount
owing on the mortgage on the homestead, and making a memorandum of it,
he told the lawyer to have a discharge drawn, ready for signature upon
his return. This done, the journey was resumed.
We went by New York, as swifter vessels could there
be commanded. Needless to say, Willie and the Rolphes were delighted to
hear of Colinís great good fortune. We spent the only evenings we had at
our disposal in the home of the Rolphes, where we found Willie
blissfully complacent, as the fiancť of Helen. As we returned to our
lodgings, we did our best to laud her to his satisfaction, and partially
He had already conducted me to the scene of Jamie's
death. The saloon had been closed for some time; indeed, it had been
converted into a branch rescue home and shelter for drunkards. A large
brass plate had been attached to the stone wall near the door, bearing
these words, in chaste black letters:
This plate is placed here to perpetuate the
memory of Jamie McNabb, a brave Canadian youth who died near this
spot, a martyr to the noble work of rescuing the victims of drink.
I learned that Mr. Rolphe had caused the plate to be
placed there, and that he had cooperated with the missionaries who
carried on the Broad Street shelter, in having the saloon where Jamie
met his death converted into a branch home, as the best possible
monument that could be erected to the memory of the brave lad. I
noticed, the morning we sailed for England, that Willie and Colin had a
long and earnest talk on the wharf before the vessel weighed anchor.
They seemed to be arranging for some event of importance. The boys were
devotedly attached to each other, and I am sure that Willie was more
pleased to see Colin inherit an earldom than he would have been to fall
heir to it himself.
The Rolphes all came down to see us off, and as Colin
and I stood upon the deck waving our handkerchiefs to the party on the
wharf, I said, "What a beautiful girl Helen Rolphe is!"
"Yes," answered Colin; "I know of but one more
beautiful, at least in my eyes, and you know whom I mean."