Thorkell Mylrea had waited long for a dead man's shoes, but he was wearing them at length. He was forty years of age; his black hair was thin on the ... Show synopsis Thorkell Mylrea had waited long for a dead man's shoes, but he was wearing them at length. He was forty years of age; his black hair was thin on the crown and streaked with gray about the temples; the crow's-feet were thick under his small eyes, and the backs of his lean hands were coated with a reddish down. But he had life in every vein, and restless energy in every limb. His father, Ewan Mylrea, had lived long, and mourned much, and died in sorrow. The good man had been a patriarch among his people, and never a serener saint had trod the ways of men. He was already an old man when his wife died. Over her open grave he tried to say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed-" But his voice faltered and broke. Though he lived ten years longer, he held up his head no more. Little by little he relinquished all active interest in material affairs. The world had lost its light for him, and he was traveling in the dusk. On his sons, Thorkell, the elder, Gilcrist, the younger, with nearly five years between them, the conduct of his estate devolved. Never were brothers more unlike. Gilcrist, resembling his father, was of a simple and tranquil soul; Thorkell's nature was fiery, impetuous, and crafty. The end was the inevitable one; the heel of Thorkell was too soon on the neck of Gilcrist. Gilcrist's placid spirit overcame its first vexation, and he seemed content to let his interests slip from his hands. Before he was out Thorkell Mylrea was in effect the master of Ballamona; his younger brother was nightly immersed in astronomy and the Fathers, and the old man was sitting daily, in his slippers, in the high-backed armchair by the ingle, over which these words were cut in the black oak: "God's Providence is mine inheritance."