Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 131.djvu/795

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THE LAW OF HONOR.

789

horse together, and what I heard him say," answered Malcolm.

"What did you hear him say?"

"That he knew he had to treat horses something like human beings. I've often fancied, within the last few months, that God does with some people something like as I do with Kelpie."

"I know nothing about theology."

"I don't fancy you do, my lady, but this concerns biography rather than theology. No one could tell what I meant except he had watched his own history and that of people he knew."

"And horses too?"

"It's hard to get at their insides, my lady, but I suspect it must be so. I'll ask Mr. Graham."

"What Mr. Graham?"

"The schoolmaster of Portlossie."

"Is he in London, then?"

"Yes, my lady. He believed too much to please the presbytery, and they turned him out."

"I should like to see him. He was very attentive to my father on his deathbed."

"Your ladyship will never know till you are dead yourself what Mr. Graham did for my lord."

"What do you mean? What could he do for him?"

"He helped him through sore trouble of mind, my lady."

Florimel was silent for a little, then repeated, "I should like to see him. I ought to pay him some attention. Couldn't I make them give him his school again?"

"I don't know about that, my lady, but I am sure he would not take it against the will of the presbytery."

"I should like to do something for him. Ask him to call."

"If your ladyship lays your commands upon me," answered Malcolm: "otherwise I would rather not."

"Why so, pray?"

"Because except he can be of any use to you he will not come."

"But I want to be of use to him."

"How, if I may ask, my lady?"

"That I can't exactly say on the spur of the moment. I must know the man first, especially if you are right in supposing he would not enjoy a victory over the presbytery. I should. He wouldn't take money, I fear."

"Except it came of love or work, he would put it from him as he would brush the dust from his coat."

"I could introduce him to good society. That is no small privilege to one of his station."

"He has more of that and better than your ladyship could give him. He holds company with Socrates and Saint Paul, and greater still."

"But they're not like living people."

"Very like them, my lady; only far better company in general. But Mr. Graham would leave Plato himself — yes, or Saint Paul either, though he were sitting beside him in the flesh — to go and help any old washerwoman that wanted him."

"Then I want him."

"No, my lady, you don't want him."

"How dare you say so?"

"If you did you would go to him."

Florimel's eyes flashed and her pretty lip curled. She turned to her writing-table, annoyed with herself that she could not find a fitting word wherewith to rebuke his presumption — rudeness, was it not? — and a feeling of angry shame arose in her that she, the Marchioness of Lossie, had not dignity enough to prevent her own groom from treating her like a child. But he was far too valuable to quarrel with. She sat down and wrote a note. "There," she said, "take that note to Mr. Lenorme. I have asked him to help you in the choice of a horse."

"What price would you be willing to go to, my lady?"

"I leave that to Mr. Lenorme's judgment — and your own," she added.

"Thank you, my lady," said Malcolm, and was leaving the room when Florimel called him back.

"Next time you see Mr. Graham," she said, "give him my compliments, and ask him if I can be of any service to him."

"I'll do that, my lady: I am sure he will take it very kindly."

Florimel made no answer, and Malcolm went to find the painter.




From The Fortnightly Review.

THE LAW OF HONOR.

It used to be one of the most familiarly received of historical anecdotes, that Francis the First of France, after his overthrow at Pavia, wrote to his mother to say "All is lost, save our honor." The tale is now discredited as a matter of fact; but it is one of those tales which, if they are false, prove almost more than if they are true. That such words should have