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Perth on the Tay
Chapter 33


"Me lists not at this tide declare,
The splendors of the spousal rite;
How mustered in the chapel fair,
Both maid and matron, squire and knight."
—Scott.

PHEMIE had much to tell Jean of her griefs the last few days at her Aunt Janet's. Lord Kin-burn came and departed, seemingly not very deeply affected, from the cheerful manner in which he whistled to his dogs as he cantered through the park gates. But Aunt Janet felt aggrieved; after all her finesse, the bird had flown, and as being responsible for opening the door of the cage, Phemie was treated by her aunt as culprits always are treated, though the cousins sympathized with her, particularly Jessie, and this made life a bit easier.

"It is outrageous; as if every man has a right to a lassie just because he wants her,'' Jessie said.

Then just as she was feeling she could bear it no longer, Uncle Robert came, and Philip.

"He told me that he loved you first, Jean," Phemie said, "and that you had said ' no' to his pleadings, but I do not mind it in the least, dear. I know he loves me now, and I shall never feel hurt at the reverence he will always feel for you."

What of Douglas? Philip and Mr. Wilson, whom they had gone over to see before sailing, advised Phemie that even as solemn a promise as the one to never again speak to Douglas, when made by one only yet a child, and under such circumstances, were better broken than kept. And Phemie did go to see Douglas, and they had a long talk, the tenor of which even Philip never knew, nor did he ever question; it comforted Douglas. In after life he went but rarely from home, and never mingled with the outside world; but while having no joys, he yet had no sorrows—a negative existence, but a not unhappy one.

Uncle Robert McGregor was much interested in the ruby mine. He had come out to Canada at Philip's request, that Philip might accompany Phemie. Philip had made some statements to him that entirely satisfied him as to his position, but now he was here he was prepared to acquire all the knowledge possible as to the resources of the country in which his brother had done so well. Philip, too, was interested, and the men all went down piloted by Douglas and Rob. There was— is—a vein of corundum running through the county of Hastings, the townships of Crosby, Burgess, Elmsley and Bastard, in Leeds and Lanark. Both sides of the burn showed it in sufficient quantities to be worth mining. Up to date they have found a few flawless stones, pigeon's blood, and very brilliant. As to the depth of the deposit, no one, at this time, can speak.

Preparations went merrily on for the wedding. Neither man would listen to delay; there had been enough of that. Now, no longer than the shortest time in which the things brides think they must have could be prepared, would they wait. The long ago expected visit of the Duke of Kilmarnock had not caused half the excitement among dressmakers and haberdashers this did. It was to be a double wedding, and everyone on the Line, beside half of Perth, was "bid." It would be barely a June wedding—the thirtieth—but yet in the month of roses. Even the grandmothers were discussing what they should wear, and many a rare old bit of lace that had scarcely seen the light of day since it left Scotland, was brought out to furbish up a gown for the occasion.

Between Rob and Philip there was the best sort of feeling. Philip deeply regretted that his own unavailing hopes had given Rob so many hours of pain. Having a vivid recollection of Lord Kin-burn's rivalry, he could understand and he could appreciate what such meant.

"But it did you good in the long run, McGregor," he said to Bob, of whom he was very proud.

To Phemie he had said, after returning to the house and leaving Bob and Jean: "He gars me think of Scott's lines—

"That stately form and step I knew,
Like form in Scotland is not seen;
Treads not such step on Scottish green,
'Tis James of Douglas by Saint Serle."

If, on turning to leave Rob and Jean, a pang of mingled envy and wounded pride had smote Philip's heart, it was gone now; he could see in Rob and Jean's attachment an exemplification of the eternal fitness, and as he looked at the sweet lassie beside him, he could, in his own case, read it also. His (Philip's) life was blocked out for him; there was nothing to do but travel quietly along in a beaten path, and what a soothing, gentle, gracious help-meet Phemie would be, never questioning the why of things, but accepting them because they were, or because he thought them right.

But Jean, with the fiery impatience of authority that might be usurped, deeply indyed in the Clan Alpin blood, with her free and fearless nature, what might she not cheer a man of deeds, like Rob McGregor, forward to in this grand new country? Though once it seemed very hard to him, everything had been wisely ordered.

Two carriages came up from Montreal, carefully swathed in canvas; one was left at Patterson's, the other Rob took home. In this the brides, with Sandy and Jamie, would drive to the church, and in it Jean would come back with him. The other— exactly like it, save in one particular, and this Rob did not know of—would wait at the church door for Phemie and Philip.

Margaret, in her bitter, bitter disappointment, had the only sad heart in this harvest of happiness. She knew now that she would have her lad with her always, and it was not as she had hoped. They were all tender with her—Phemie and Philip not the least so.

A letter came from Jessie Fairbairn, saying she had decided to console Lord Kinburn, poor fellow; while Ellen and Jack Herries had also arranged to bear each other's foibles patiently as might be.

John Milburn rode out to congratulate Rob. To Jean he said:

"I did not resign you willingly, even at your own command, though I knew I had no rights that should be respected, but now that I see I step one side for a better man, I am consoled. May every happiness that Heaven can send attend you."

Rob and Philip turned at the altar and watched their brides as they walked slowly and gracefully up the aisle, each with a tremor in his heart lest it was too good to be true—they would only feel quite safe when the minister had pronounced the last words of the ceremony.

The Rev. William Bell stood at the altar. He had baptized three of the four who stood before him, and had received them into the church. The solemn words were spoken, Rob and Jean plighting their troth first, and remaining at the altar until Philip and Phemie had been pronounced man and wife; then the four turned for congratulations. Coming from the vestry, they entered the waiting carriages and were quickly driven home, but not before the "small boy" assembled outside had noticed something peculiar about Philip's carriage which passed from tongue to tongue as rapidly as Philip's horses travelled, and the story brought back by the guests that night surprised no one in Perth.

Margaret had insisted that the breakfast should be laid in her house, Elspeth's house being used for reception rooms. A light awning was stretched "ower the bit path," and what a gathering was there! Dr. and Mrs. Thorn; Captains McMillan and Leslie and their wives; Judge and Mrs. Mallock; Rev. William Bell and Mrs. Bell; Mr. and Mrs. McMartin; Mr. and Mrs. Morris, and the Hon. Roderick and Mrs. Matheson. Of the "Settlers" on the Line not one was missing, and from Smith's Falls all those whom we know.

The occasion brought out all that was best of everything. Speeches were made which astonished the people who made them, and the hours were all too short. Philip and Phemie were going to Kingston, thence to Toronto by boat; Rob and Jean to Quebec. The boats crossed at the Ferry; a number of the guests were prepared to escort them to the boat, and wish them "good luck" with the traditional slipper.

Crossing from Jamie's to Sandy's, the foremost of the guests were surprised to note the same peculiarity about Philip's carriage the small boy in Perth had discovered; Rob did not notice it—he had Jean to look at. They also had time to now see that the coachman was in livery—subdued, but unmistakeable livery. Dr. Thom turned to Capt. Leslie, who was smiling knowingly at the group of guests standing, stock still, looking, almost surprised into a breach of decorum.

"Leslie, what does this mean?" he demanded, pointing to the carriage; "is Maxwell the------"

"Come into the house," said Captain Leslie.

Philip and Phemie stood just inside the parlor door, while Rob and Jean were only a few steps away. Mr. Bell was coming up to speak to them, Captain Leslie having whispered a word in his ear. And this is what Mr. Bell said:

"Your Grace, the guests crave permission to greet the Duchess of Kilmarnock by her rightful title before you carry her away from us."

Phemie looked up at Philip, a world of anxious inquiry in her eyes. Mr. Bell was much too dignified to be guilty of a practical joke: what did this mean?

Philip was smiling down on her. He bent and whispered:

"Yes, dearest, you are the Duchess of Kilmarnock. Can you forgive me, and trust me?"

Phemie looked into his eyes again, and slipping her hand into his, said soberly:

"Whatever your life is, Philip, I am content to share it."

And what a commotion there was! Everybody could now remember many things they had not given heed to while Philip Maxwell was among them—straws they were, but they might have shown which way the wind blew, had anyone been watching them. Capt. Leslie had known from the first; later Mr. Bell and Dr. Reade, from whom the marriage license was procured.

Philip apologized to Sandy and Elspeth; he should not have deceived them, he knew, but having once entered that path, it was hard to find a turning-off place. He also said:

"You will have to be father and mother to me, as well as to Phemie; my own father and mother died in my infancy, and, as you know, I have neither brother or sister."

Rob was not hard to placate, and he now felt so sure of his own position he never once looked to see whether Jean's face showed any regrets. That she had no regrets might be gathered from a whisper we caught ere it reached Phemie:

"He'll seems like he'd be easy till manage; you'll happen be th' governor yersel', aifter a'."

Phemie smilingly returned Jean's merry glance, as she recalled the conversation of many months ago.

There is little more to tell. Phemie dwells in a castle in lhe Highlands when it pleases her, and a castle in the Lowlands when she is so disposed, with a house in London for the London season. The heir's (the Marquis of Rutherglen) first name is Douglas, which society considers very natural, but which two families back in the loved Canadian home appreciate, for reasons society knows not of.

And Jean and Rob, who are they and what are they now? You would know if we told you, you may guess if we do not. Many times has Rob's voice been heard in the council of the nation, since a part of Jamie's "dream" has been fulfilled. And Jean? From Quebec to Vancouver, her name is known and her influence felt. Rob does not now think of Jean's sons with a heartache, for Jean's sons bear his likeness, are walking in his footsteps, he will lean on them when his own strength fails; and will leave them, when he and Jean are called away, as the richest legacy to our land—men who are proud of Canada, and of whom Canada has reason to be proud.

THE END.


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