Adam Hepburn's Vow: A Tale of Kirk and Covenant

Example in this ebookCHAPTER I.THE TRAVELLERS.Towards the close of a bleak grey February afternoon, in the year 1638, a small party of travellers might have been seen approaching Edinburgh by the high road from Glasgow. It consisted of a sturdy brown pony, whereon sat a fair-faced, sunny-haired little girl, whose age could not have exceeded nine years; a bright-faced, bold-looking lad, walking at the animal's head, and having the bridle-rein hung loosely over his arm; and a middle-aged gentleman, whose aspect and attire proclaimed him a clergyman. He walked slowly, a little apart from the others, and his hands were clasped before him, and his eyes bent thoughtfully on the ground. He was a man somewhat past his prime, of a noble and manly bearing, with a fine open countenance, and a speaking eye, wherein dwelt a singularly sweet and benevolent expression.The shadows of evening were already beginning to gather over the surrounding scene, making objects at a distance somewhat indistinct.Yet, truly, there was little at that season of the year to refresh the eye or gladden the heart. The icy hand of winter had scarcely yet relaxed its grasp on mother earth; there were no green buds on hedge or tree; no blades of promise springing up by the wayside: all was desolate, bleak, and cold. Yet the newly upturned furrows smelt fresh and sweet, and the purling brooks wandered cheerfully on their way; singing their song of gladness, as if they knew that spring was close at hand. Presently the little party ascended a gentle eminence, and then many lights were seen twinkling not far ahead."See, father, are yon the lights of Edinburgh?" exclaimed the lad, in his eagerness letting go his hold on Roger's rein.The minister raised his head, and a light kindled in his eye as he looked upon the clustering roof-trees and towering spires of the beautiful city."Yes, my son, that is Edinburgh," he said in his full, mellow tones. "Thanks be to the Lord who hath brought us thither in safety. Would my little Agnes like to walk now? The evening dews are falling, and methinks a little exercise would do you no harm. Very soon now you will be warmed and cheered by the ruddy glow by Aunt Jean's fireside."As he spoke, the minister turned to Roger (who at a word from his master stood perfectly still), and gently lifted his little daughter to the ground. It was then seen that her figure was very slight and fragile, her face pale and refined-looking, her whole expression thoughtful and even sad beyond her years."Are you wearied, David?" asked the kind father then; but the lad drew himself up proudly, and shook his head."Wearied! no, no, father. I could walk back to Inverburn, I believe, without resting.""Keep within the bounds, my boy," said the minister. "See, lead Roger down to yon little pool, and let him drink. The poor animal is thirsty and wayworn. Then we will make what haste we can into the city, which will of necessity be in somewhat of a turmoil to-night, owing to the many strangers within her gates.""Father, will there be a great crowd and a noise in Edinburgh?" asked the little Agnes, somewhat timidly and holding yet more closely by her father's hand."There will be a crowd, my daughter, but no unseemly noise, I trust. The occasion upon which the nation is assembled in her ancient capital is too solemn for vain clamourings," said the minister, somewhat sadly; and as his eyes once more roamed over the spreading roof-trees of the city, they were filled with tears. The little Agnes, too young to understand the cause of his emotion, still more closely clasped his hand, and looked with awe into his face."I wish it would not grow dark so soon, father," said David, now returning from watering the pony. "We will see nothing of Edinburgh till to-morrow."To be continue in this ebook..................................................................................
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