« PreviousContinue »
der waist. Her soft brown hair is grand lady, wi' your wbite ribbons bound with a ribbon just a little and your new gown. I'll no have darker than itself, and her eyes are ye coming to my quiet house, to cast down upon her work, so that set Isabell and Janet daft about the you cannot perceive how dark their fashions." blue has grown, until, suddenly “But Isabell has as braw a cloak startled by a voice without, she lifts as me, mother,” said Katie, complathem to throw a hurried glance to- cently looking down upon her ruffled wards the door, where even now black silk mantle as she took it off. appears the little splendid Katie, with “And cambric ruffles, nae less !Philip Landale and his riding-whip dead-fine cambric! Weel, my woman, close behind.
see ye guide them weel; for, except Over Isabell's lip there escapes a ye hae a man o' your ain to work for half-audible sigh. Little Katie, then, ye, ye'll no get mony cambric frills is first with Philip Landale too. out of Kellie Mill."
" And were ye at the marriage, “The beauties of the Milton have bairn?" inquired Mrs Stewart; "and less need than most folk of ruffles or was't awfu' grand ?—and how did the braws," modestly said the young prelatic minister do?"
laird. "And eh, Katie !” exclaimed “Eh, Kilbrachmont, baud your Japet, pressing forward with her peace, and dinna pit havers in their mealy hands, "what a' had Lady heads. There's plenty pride in the Betty on?”
nature o' them, without helping't out "She had on a grand gown, a' wi' flattery. Beauties o' the Milton, trimmed wi' point-lace, and a white said he ! I mind twa lassies ancesatin petticoat, and the grandestay, just mysel and Maisdry, my sister, spangles and gum-flowers on her if ye will hae't, Katie-that were as train; but oh, mother," said little weel-favoured as ever stood in your Katie, “Lady Janet's run away!" shoon; and didna want folk to tell us
“Run away! What are ye mean- that, either, ony mair than our neighing, ye monkey?" said Mrs Stewart. bours; but ne'er a body beautied
"The night before last, when it us." was dark, and a'body in their beds, “No for want o' will," insinuated I saw Lady Janet gang down through the young yeoman; "and if they the gallery, out of her ain room; and ca'ed ye not beauty, it might be beshe had on her riding-skirt, and was cause they had a bonnier word.” looking awfu' white, like as if her “Weel, I'll no say," said the little heart would break; and no lang after comely house-mother, with a slight the baill house was up, and she was elevation of her head. “Sit down to away."
the wheel, Katie, and gie it a ca' the “Keep me!- the night before her time I'm in the aumrie. What's to sister was married! Was she in her come of this lassie, I ken not; for right mind, think ye?" said Mrs ne'er a decent-like thing is she learned Stewart.
to do. Na, Lady Anne hersel is “Had she cast out with them ? never held in such idleset; and what Where would she go, Katie ?" said will ye do, ye monkey, if ye ever get Isabell.
a man and a house of your ain ? ” “Eh, wha did she rin away with?” “I'll gar him keep maids to me, asked the experienced Janet.
and buy me bonnie things," retorted “It was with Sir Robert. She's little Katie, taking her seat at the married now, mother, as well as Lady wheel. Betty," said Katie ; " but I dinna "Keep maids to ye? Set ye up! think she was glad."
If ye're e'en as weel off as your moJanet laughed, but no one else ven ther was before ye, I'll say it's mair tured to join her.
than ye've ony right to expect ; for “Glad ! it would ill set her, lear. I'll wad ye a pair of new ruffles, I was ing her faither's house in such a like worth half-a-dizzen hired women the manner. Gae way to your baking, first day I steppit on my ain hearthJanet, ye baverel," said Mrs Stewart. stane, baith to my man and mysel; - My certy, Katie, lass, but you're a and ye'll ne'er be worthy o'the like o'
your faither, John Stewart, Katie, or ye'll no convince me that the fairy else I'm sair mista'en."
glamour is clean gane from this world, Little Katie turned the wheel with or ever will be ; for ane can speak petulant haste, and pouted. John ready enough when ane doesna care Stewart !-yonder he stands, honest twa straes what folk think o't; wbile man, with his broad bonnet shading in anither place we make fuils of his ruddy face, newly returned from oursels beyond remeid, out of pure the market-spruce, and in his Sab- anxiousness to look weel in somebath dress. But Katie thinks of the body's een. It just maun be, I would Honourable Andrew Colville, and the say, a witchcraft somegate in the grand English Sir Edward, who had been at Lady Betty's marriage the Isabell had never looked up; for day before ; and instinctively the this turning of the heel, be it known little beauty draws herself up, and to the ignorant, is a crisis in the histhinks of Peggie in the Gentle Shep- tory of a stocking'; but her usually herd, and many a heroine more; for pale forehead was crimson to the hair, Katie now knows, quite as well as and her eyelids drooped heavily as Lady Anne, that the Erskines, though she bent over her work, which was they are an earl's daughters, will particularly complicated just now, as never look a twentieth part so well several loops had dropt, and it was as the three sisters of Kellie Mill. no easy job, with those nervous fingers
“I think some ane has sent Kil- of hers, to gather them up again. brachmont here on an errand, and the “I see the guidman, Kilbrachpuir lad has lost mind o't on the mont," said Mrs Stewart, at last road," said Janet, now coming for emerging from behind the carved ward with her dress smoothed down, door of the aumrie with a large and her hands no longer covered with square bottle in her hand. “It's meal. "Maister Philip Landale, let weel he's come in time to countea-be that clue; and Isabell there, nance ye with your dram, amang a'us she never sees that she's lost it out of womenfolk ; and it's real Hollandsher lap."
grand stuff, they tell me, though I'm Young Landale started from his nae judge mysel.” reverie. " Troth, I saw nae clue, “No that ill—no that ill, gaidwife," Janet : ye've quicker e'en than me." said the miller, as he entered. “I
" There it is, and the guid yarn a' would take a guid stoup on your wartwisted in that lang whip o' yours. ranty, though ye are naething but a What gars ye bring such things into woman. Guid e'en to ye, Kilbrachthe house ? Isabell, canna ye mind mont; but is this a' ye're to gi'e us to your ain wark, and no hae folk aye our fourhours, Bell ?? needing to look after ye? There, its “I'm gaun to make some tea for broken! and ye'll need anither fasten- the bairns and me; but ye'll no heed ing in that heel.”
about that,” said the house-mother. * Weel, Janet, I'll fash naebody," “And, inan, John, do ye no see Katie said Isabell, quietly gathering up into in a' her braws ?" her lap the clue, with its long ravelled “How's a' wi' ye, lassie?” said end.
the father kindly." But I wadna “It ought to be me that got the ken ye to be a bairn of mine, if I trouble,” said young Landale, shyly, didna see the bit face. And, Katie, looking at the elder sister ; " for I if onybody says ye're owre braw to hear mair folk than Janet say my be the Miller of Kellie's daughter, whip's aye in the gait; but it's just a aye do you tell them you're owre custom, ye see."
bonnie to be ony body's else." “When ye dinna ken what to say,” “Hear to his vanity! As if onysuggested the malicious Janet. body could see a feature of him in
* Weel, maybe ye're no far wrang," the bairn's haill face !" cried Mrs said young Kilbrachmont, again cast. Stewart. ing a sidelong glance at Isabell, whom B ut little Katie sat in meditative he had not yet directly addressed. silence, and turned her wheel. The " I'm no that ill at speaking in most wheel was a light one, and handhouses; but for a' the minister says, somely made-a chef-d'ouvre of the
country wright, who, among many what should ail him to be sensible ? more, was a candidate for the favour Its the special quality folk look for in of Janet Stewart. This pretty wheel auld men." was the musical instrument of Kellie “They dinna aye get it, though," Mill. Enter the room when you said the miller. “They're selling would-at early morning, or when that tea-water, Isabell, for sixpence a the maker of it and his rivals stole in cup in Sillerdyke, and muckle the at night, to form a lingering group fisher lads yonderawa' think o't for a round the raddy centre of the kitchen, treat, ye may suppose ; but I didna made bright by the light from the think you would thole such wastry in fireplace—you always heard the soft this house.” whirt of the wheel, brought to a "Mind you your mill, guidman, climax now and then by the sharp I'll mind the house," said his wife slipping of the band, or lengthened significantly, “and we'll see whilk hum with which it rebounded when ane of us has the maist maistry owre all the yarn was spun. In silence our dominions at the year's end. I now at the wheel sits little Katie, got the tea in a present, and Katie passing the thread dreamily through comesna ilka day. Make your toddy, her fingers, and taking in all they John Stewart, and haud your peace." say, only half-conscious that she does “ Aweel, aweel-nocht's to be won so, into her mind the wbile.
at woman's hand,” said the miller. "There's nae news, Janet-nae “Draw in your chair, Kilbrachmont, news particular I hear o' in Anster," and gi'e us your news. Hout, man, said the miller, in answer to several ye're in nae hurry?" inquiries; “but I saw Beelye Oli- Weel," said Landale, with very phant doun-by; he was asking indifferently assumed reluctance, “if kindly for ye a', and special for ye will keep me, I can give Katie a Isabell."
convoy to Kellie gate.” There was no apswer; the flush Katie ! A cloud fell again, dimly, fled in a moment from Isabell's cheeks, sadly, over the face of Isabell. A and other loops were dropt in her moinent before there had been a stocking. Janet alone ventured to tremulous happiness upon it, not laugh, and again the long cord of usual to see there. Now she cast a young Kilbrachmont's whip began to wistful affectionate look at the little curl uneasily about the floor.
pretty sister musing over the wheel, "The like of that man for sense is and drawing the thread slowly no to be found, I'll take my aith through her hand. There is no envy o't, in the haill kingdom of Fife," in the look, and Katie, suddenly said John Stewart with emphasis glancing up, meets it with wondering
“Weel, miller, weel,” said young eyes-sorrowful, inquiring—Whence Landale hastily," naebody says ony. have you this magic, little sister ? thing against it. No mony thanks to How is it that they all love you ? him ; he's as auld as Kellie Law, and
"I think he's courting our Isa- used to those long, still, solitary bell," said Katie softly to herself, as roads ; but a little thrill of natural the young laird of Kilbracbmont left timidity made her hurry through the her at Kellie gate. The night was dark avenue, and long to see the frosty and the stars clear. Faint light light from the uncurtained window of and faint shadow fell across that the west room; and the same feeling homeward path of hers, for there was prompted her anxious endeavour to no moon to define the great trees on occupy her mind and thoughts with either side of the way; but a very something definite, and so keep away little mysterious wind went whisper- from her memory the eerie stories ing in and out among the boughs, which abounded then about all rural with a faint echoing sigh, as though places even more than they do now. it said, “Poor me!" Katie was "He's courting our Isabell," repeated Katie, under her breath, la- nitary of the little town of Anstrather, bouring to fix upon this proposition on the coast-a man of substance and those discursive thoughts which would influence in his sphere; and John bring back to her mind the popular Stewart has been for some time ghost of one of the little coast towns coquetting with him about another in the neighbourhood. Only a month Mill-town, very near Anstruther, of ago, Davie Steele, Bauby Rodger's which the bailie is landlord, and sister's husband, had seen the Red which the miller thinks would be a Slippers in Pittenwcem ; and Katie's better speculation than this mill at heart leaped to her lips as something Kellie. Unfortunately, in the course rustled on the ground a little way of these transactions about the mill, before her, and she paused in terror the respectable bailie has seen Isalest these very Red Slippers should bell Stewart, and the old man thinks be taking their ghostly exercise by she would make a “douce" dignified her side ; but it was only a great, wife, worthy the lands and tenements stiff, red oak leaf, which the new bud with which he could endow her. So had thrust forth from the branch also thinks the miller; and Isabell to which all the winter it had clung has heard so much on the subject, that with the tenacious grasp of death; her heart is near the breaking someand, quickening her pace still a little, times, especially when Philip Landale Katie hurried on.
steals in, in the evening, and hears But the fact that young Kilbrach- it all, and plays with his whip, and mont had designs on Isabell was not speaks to no one. of sufficient interest to keep her mind But it is only for a few minutes engaged, and Katie began to sing to that Katie can afford to think of, or herself softly as she went, half-run- be sorry for, the pale face of her elder ning, over the solitary way. The sister; and now she has emerged song was about Strephon and Chloe, from the avenue, and Bauby Rodger, after the fashion of the time; but the springing out from the side-door and air was a sweet Lowland one, and the darkness, pounces upon the little there were pretty lines in the verses, wanderer like a great lion upon a though they did come too distinctly mouse. from Arcadia. As she sang, her heart "Is this you, Mally? Ye little beat placidly, and usual fancies re- cuttie! to have lads about the house turned again to her mind-the grand at this hour at e'en, as soon as ever English Sir Edward, the Honourable Lady Betty's away." Andrew; but a grander Sir Edward " It's me, Bauby," indignantly in--a more accomplished, handsomer, terrupted the little belle. blither, loftier gentleman-was yet "It's you? Bless me, Miss Katie, to come, attended by all imaginary wha was to ken in the dark? Come splendours, to make a lady of little in-by, like a guid bairn. Lady Katie Stewart.
Anne's been wearying sair, and so There now is the light from the has Lordie- but that cutty Mally!” west room, cheering the young way. " She canna hear ye-never heed farer; and now Bauby Rodger's very her. Bauby, is the Lady in the west real and unsentimental voice calls room from a little side-entrance to Mally.
me fears of her; she's in one of the maids in the kitchen
die best place for her," said pected at present to be le
10 by no means admired behind the garden
Erskine. "And here's me, fisher lad, w
at have been Lady Colville's miles to
man, serving an unthankful tryst
s, that doesna ken folk's value; did it a' for you, bairns-a' for Anne and you, Katie Stewartwouldna have bidden a day at e, and my ain guid mistress Bat didna Lady Betty ask ye, by?"
“ Ay, she asked me; but I didna the young gentleman kept up the behove to do it, for a' that, unless I conversation himself. had likit; and weel Lady Betty kent “ What way is Katie Stewart I didna like; but for the sake of Lady staying so long? What way do you Anne and you "-And Bauby lifted let her stay, Aunt Anne? Mamma her apron to her eyes—“ Lady Janet wouldna let her; and I want Katie away, and Lady Betty away, and no Stewart-I dinna like you-I want a body loot do their ain pleasure in Katie Stewart !" a' the house. Here's me, stayed for “And you've gotten Katie Stewart, pae ither reason but to mind her, and Lordie," exclaimed Katie, out of I'm no to be Lady Anne's maid after breath, as she laid hier hands on his
shoulders, and shook him slightly ; " Eh, Bauby!"
" but I couldna be so good to you as " It's as sure as I'm living; and Lady Anne is ; for if I was Lady Lady Anne's that quiet a thing her- Anne, I would lick you." sell, that ane never kens whether she " Naebody daur lick me-for I'll be wants ane or no; and she hasna the the Earl of Kellie," said Lordie. spunk to say right out that she'll hae “ You're only a little bairn," said naebody but me!”
Katie Stewart. “But she has, though," said Katie “Ay, but he will be the Earl of Stewart; “yes, she has-or if she Kellie, Katie," said Lady Anne, drawhasna, I'll make her, Bauby.”
ing herself up with a little family “ Weel, dinna get up wi' that bit pride. “ Lordie will be the sixth passion of yours. Ye're a guid bairn Earl, and the chief of the house." -ye make folk do what you like, “ But if he's no a good bairn, he'll Miss Katie; but gang away up the be an ill man," said Katie meditastair now, and ye'll get milk sowens tively, leaning upon the back of the to your supper, and I'll serve ye in chair, and looking down upon the the west room mysel.”
spoiled child; "and a' the grand Eagerly Katie sprang up stairs, gentlemen in books are grand in and went bounding along the dark their manners, and aye speak low, gallery, full of her commission, and and bow; and the Master of Colville determined that Bauby Rodger, and did that when Lady Betty was marnone but she, let Lady Erskine strug- ried, and so did the English gentlegle as she would, should be Lady man; but Lordie aye speaks as loud, Anne's maid.
and makes as muckle noise, as Robert Little Lord Erskine (whose name Tosh's bairns in Arncreoch." of Lordie had its origin in Bauby's " You forget who you're speakexclamation, uttered when she carried ing to, Katie Stewart," said Lady him up the great staircase on his Anne. arrival at Kellie, that he was a wee Katie was flushed with her walk, wee Lordie, without doubt) sat again and her hooded mantle hung half off on the low chair in front of the fire her little handsome figure, as she in the west room. The seat was so bent her head over Lordie's chair, large, that as the child leaned back with her face bright, animated, and on it, his small feet in their silver- full of expression, but withdrawn in buckled shoes were just on a level the corner sat the pale Lady Anne, with the edge of the chair. By his her tall thin figure drawn up, and her side, in a corner, sat the quiet Lady homely features looking less amiable Apne, vainly trying to reduce his than ordinary, through the veil of tone, and preserve her hair and dress this unusual pride. Brightly the from his hands; but Lordie set him- firelight sparkled in Katie's sunny self firmly on his seat, and tugged at bair and shining eyes, but left in the her lace ruffles, and threatened in- shadow, cold and pale, the colourless stant destruction to the hair, which face of her young patroness. the tall, full-grown girl already began Katie looked up, as children do to have combed up into a tower, as when they cannot understand that mature people wore it at the time. you mean to reprove them—with a A faint remonstrance now and then half wondering smile; a check of any was all that Lady Anne could utter: kind was so unusual to her. Lady