BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.
57. CHAPTER LVII.
They numbered scarce eight summers when a name
Rose on their souls and stirred such motions there
As thrill the buds and shape their hidden frame
At penetration of the quickening air:
His name who told of loyal Evan Dhu,
Of quaint Bradwardine, and Vich Ian Vor,
Making the little world their childhood knew
Large with a land of mountain lake and scaur,
And larger yet with wonder love belief
Toward Walter Scott who living far away
Sent them this wealth of joy and noble grief.
The book and they must part, but day by day,
In lines that thwart like portly spiders ran
They wrote the tale, from Tully Veolan.
The evening that Fred Vincy walked to Lowick parsonage (he
had begun to see that this was a world in which even a spirited
young man must sometimes walk for want of a horse to carry him)
he set out at five o'clock and called on Mrs. Garth by the way,
wishing to assure himself that she accepted their new relations willingly.
He found the family group, dogs and cats included, under the great
apple-tree in the orchard. It was a festival with Mrs. Garth,
for her eldest son, Christy, her peculiar joy and pride, had come
home for a short holiday--Christy, who held it the most desirable
thing in the world to be a tutor, to study all literatures and be a
regenerate Porson, and who was an incorporate criticism on poor Fred,
a sort of object-lesson given to him by the educational mother.
Christy himself, a square-browed, broad-shouldered masculine edition
of his mother not much higher than Fred's shoulder--which made it
the harder that he should be held superior--was always as simple
as possible, and thought no more of Fred's disinclination to scholarship
than of a giraffe's, wishing that he himself were more of the
same height. He was lying on the ground now by his mother's chair,
with his straw hat laid flat over his eyes, while Jim on the other
side was reading aloud from that beloved writer who has made
a chief part in the happiness of many young lives. The volume was
"Ivanhoe," and Jim was in the great archery scene at the tournament,
but suffered much interruption from Ben, who had fetched his own
old bow and arrows, and was making himself dreadfully disagreeable,
Letty thought, by begging all present to observe his random shots,
which no one wished to do except Brownie, the active-minded but
probably shallow mongrel, while the grizzled Newfoundland lying in
the sun looked on with the dull-eyed neutrality of extreme old age.
Letty herself, showing as to her mouth and pinafore some slight
signs that she had been assisting at the gathering of the cherries
which stood in a coral-heap on the tea-table, was now seated
on the grass, listening open-eyed to the reading.