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CHAPTER I.

of this household-with all her domi

neering ways and her fits of majestic ON THE QUAY.

temper-has a love for her intimate girlA MURMUR runs through the crowd ; friends far passing the love of men ; the various idlers grow alert ; all eyes especially when the young ladies are are suddenly turned to the south. And obedient, and gentle, and ready to pay there, far away, over the green head- to her matronly dignity the compliment land, a small tuft of brown smoke ap- of a respectful awe. And this particular pears, rising into the golden glow of the friend who is now coming to us : what afternoon, and we know that by-and-by has not the Laird heard about her durwe shall see the great steamer with her ing these past few days ?-of her high scarlet funnels come sailing round the courage, her resolute unselfishness, her point. The Laird of Denny-mains as- splendid cheerfulness? “A singing-bird sumes an air of still further importance; in the house,” that was one of the he pulls his frock-coat tight at the waist; phrases used, in wet weather or fine." he adjusts his black satin necktie ; his And then the enthusiastic friend mudtall, white, stiff collar seems more rigid dled her metaphors somehow, and gave and white than ever. He has heard of the puzzled Laird to understand that the wonderful stranger; and he knows the presence of this young lady in a that now she is drawing near.

house was like having sweet-brier about Heard of her ? He has heard of the rooms. No wonder he put on his highnothing else since ever he came to us in est and stiffest collar before he marched these northern wilds. For the mistress grandly down with us to the quay. NEW SERIES.-VOL. XXX., No. 3

17

nurse.

And does she not deserve a long steamer, so anxious is he to crush us holiday, sir, ?" says the Laird's hostess with a display of his erudition. to him, as together they watch for the “It is just remarkable,” he says, steamer coming round the point. “Just “ that your dictionaries should put down fancy ! Two months' attendance on as obsolete words that are in common that old woman, who was her mother's use all over the south of Scotland,

Two months in a sick-room, where, as I say, the old Northumbrian without a soul to break the monotony of English is preserved in its purity; and it. And the girl living in a strange town that ye should have learned people huntall by herself !"

ing up in Chaucer or Gower for the very Ay; and in such a town as Edin- speech that they might hear among the burgh,” remarks the Laird, with great bits o'weans running about the Gallowcompassion. His own property lies just gate or the Broomielaw. "Wha's acht outside Glasgow.

ye ? ' you say to one of them ; and you “Dear me," says he, “what must a think you are talking Scotch. No, no ; young English leddy have thought of acht is only the old English for possesour Scotch way of speech when she sion; isn't' Wha's acht ye?' shorter and heard they poor Edinburgh bodies and pithier than ' To whom do you belong ?' their yaumering sing-song ? Not that I “Oh, certainly !'' says the meek disquarrel with any people for having an ciple : the recall of the boys from Surrey accent in their way of speaking ; they is obviously decided on. have that in all parts of England as well "And speir for inquire; and ferly for as in Scotland - in Yorkshire, and wonderful ; and tyne for lose; and fey Somersetshire, and what not; and even for about to die ; and rcek for smoke ; and in London itself there is a way of speech menseful for becoming ; and belyve, and that is quite recognizable to a stranger. fere, and biggan, and such words. Ye But I have often thought that there call them Scotch ? Oh, no, ma'am ; was less trace of accent about Glesca they are English ; ye find them in all and the west of Scotland than in any the old English writers ; and they are other part; in fact, ah have often been the best of English too; a great deal taken for an Englishman maself.” better than the Frenchified stuff that

“Indeed !” says this gentle creature your southern English has become.” standing by him; and her upturned eyes Not for worlds would the Laird have are full of an innocent belief. You wounded the patriotic sensitiveness would swear she was meditating on sum- of this gentle friend of his from the moning instantly her boys froin Epsom south ; but, indeed, she had surely College that they might acquire a pure nothing to complain of in his insisting accent-or get rid of all accent-on the to an Englishwoman on the value of banks of the Clyde.

thorough English. “Yes," says the Laird, with a deci- “I thought,” says she, demurely, sion almost amounting to enthusiasm," it “that the Scotch had a good many is a grand inheritance that we in the French words in it." south of Scotland are preserving for you The Laird pretends not to hear : he English people ; and you know little of is so deeply interested in the steamer it. You do not know that we are pre- which is now coming over the smooth serving the English language for you as waters of the bay. But, having an. it was spoken centuries ago, and as you nounced that there are a great many find it in your oldest writings. Scotti- people on board, he returns to his discisms! Why, if ye were to read the course. prose of Mandeville or Wyclif, or the “Ah'm sure of this, too,” says he, poetry of Robert of Brunne or Lang- “that in the matter of pronunciation the dale, ye would find that our Scotticisms Lowland Scotch have preserved the best were the very pith and marrow of the English-you can see that faither, and English language. Ay; it is so."

twelmonth, and twa, and such words The innocent eyes express such pro- are nearer the original Anglo-Saxon—" found interest that the Laird of Denny- His hearers had been taught to shudmains almost forgets about the coming der at the phrase Anglo-Saxon-without

orth ;

exactly knowing why. But who could The Laird shares in our excitement. He, withstand the authority of the Laird ? too, scans the crowd eagerly. He subMoreover, we see relief drawing near; mits to be hustled by the porters ; he the steamer's paddles are throbbing in hears nothing of the roaring of the the still afternoon.

steam ; for is she not coming ashore at If ye turn to Piers the Plowman, last ? And we know-or guess—that he continues the indefatigable Denny- is looking out for some splendid creature mains, “ye will find Langdale writing- --some Boadicea, with stately tread and

imperious mien-some Jephtha's daugh* And a fewe Cruddes and Crayme.'

ter, with proud death in her eyes--some Why, it is the familiar phrase of our Rosamond of our modern days, with a Scotch children !-Do ye think they glory of loveliness on her face and hair. would say curds ? And then, fewe. I And we know that the master who has am not sure, but I imagine we Scotch been lecturing us for half an hour on are only making use of old English when our disgraceful neglect of pure English we make certain forms of food plural. will not shock the sensitive Southern We say a few broth ;' we speak of por- ear by any harsh accent of the ridge as 'they.' Perhaps that is a sur- but will address her in beautiful and vival, too, eh?”

courtly strains, in tones such as Edin“Oh, yes, certainly. But please mind burgh never knew. Where is the queen the ropes, sir,” observes his humble pu- of womankind, amid all this commonpil, careful of her master's physical safe- place, hurrying, loquacious crowd ? ty. For at this moment the steamer is Forthwith the Laird, with a quick slowing into the quay ; and the men amazement in his eyes, sees a small and have the ropes ready to fing ashore. insignificant person-he only catches a

"Not,” remarks the Laird, prudently glimpse of a black dress and a white face backing away from the edge of the pier, -suddenly clasped round in the warm " that I would say any thing of these embrace of her friend. He slares for a matters to your young English friend ; second ; and then he exclaims-apparcertainly not. No doubt she prefers the ently to himself : southern English she has been accus- Dear me ! What a shilpit bit tomed to. But, bless me! just to think thing !" that she should judge of our Scotch Pale slight delicate tiny: surely tongue by the way they Edinburgh such a master of idiomatic English canbodies speak !"

not have forgotten the existence of these It is sad, is it not?”' remarks his words. But this is all he cries to himcompanion-but all her attention is now self, in his surprise and wonder: fixed on the crowd of people swarming Dear me ! What a shilpit bit to the side of the steamer.

thing !" " And, indeed," the Laird explains,

CHAPTER II. to close the subject," it is only a hobby of mine-only a hobby. Ye may have

MARY AVON. noticed that I do not use those words in The bright, frank laugh of her face ! my own speech, though I value them. -the friendly, unhesitating, affectionate No, I will not force any Scotch on the look in those soft black eyes ! He foryoung leddy. As ah say, ah have often got all about Rosamond and Boadicea been taken for an Englishman maself, when he was presented to this “shilpit" both at home and abroad."

person. And when, instead of the usual And now-and now—the great steam- ceremony of introduction, she bravely er is in at the quay; the gangways are put her hand in his, and said she had run over ; there is a thronging up the often heard of him from their cominon paddle-boxes; and eager faces on shore friend, he did not notice that she was scan equally eager faces on board-each rather plain. He did not even stop to pair of eyes looking for that other pair consider in what degree her Southern of eyes to flash a glad recognition. And accent might be improved by residence where is she—the flower of womankind among the preservers of pure English. -the possessor of all virtue and grace He was anxious to know if she was not and courage—the wonder of the world ? greatly tired. He hoped the sea had been smooth as the steamer came past which no one took any notice at the Easdale. And her luggage-should he time. He busied himself with her luglook after her luggage for her ?

gage quite unnecessarily. He suggested But Miss Avon was an expert travel- a cup of tea, though it wanted but fifler, and quite competent to look after teen minutes to dinner-time.

He asher own luggage. Even as he spoke, it sured her that the glass was risingwas being hoisted on to the wagonette. which was not the case. And when she

“ You will let me drive ?”' says she, was being hurried off to her own room eyeing critically the two shaggy, farm- to prepare for dinner-by one who rules looking animals.

her household with a rod of iron-he “ Indeed, I shall do nothing of the had the effrontery to tell her to take her kind," says her hostess, promptly. own time : dinner could wait. The man

But there was no disappointment at all actually proposed to keep dinner waiting on her face as we drove away through -in Castle Osprey. the golden evening—by the side of the That this was love at first sight, who murmuring shore, past the overhang- could doubt? And perhaps the niming fir-wood,, up and across the high ble brain of one who was at this moland commanding a view of the wide ment hurriedly dressing in her own western seas. There was instead a look room-and whom nature has constiof such intense delight that we knew, tuted an indefatigable match-makerhowever silent the lips might be, that may have been considering whether the bird-soul was singing within. Every this rich old bachelor might not marry, thing charmed her—the cool, sweet air, after all. And if he were to marry, the scent of the seaweed, the glow on why should not he marry the young the mountains out there in the west. lady in whom he seemed to have taken And as she chattered her delight to us- so sudden and warm an interest ? As like a bird escaped from its prison and for her : Mary Avon was now two or glad to get into the sunlight and free air three-and-twenty ; she was not likely to again-the Laird sate mute and listened. prove attractive to young men ; her He watched the frank, bright, expressive small fortune was scarcely worth conface. He followed and responded to sidering ; she was almost alone in the her every mood-with a sort of fond world. Older men had married younger paternal indulgence that almost prompt- women. The Laird had no immediate ed him to take her hand. When she relative to inherit Denny-mains and his smiled, he laughed. When she talked very substantial fortune. And would seriously, he looked concerned. He they not see plenty of each other on was entirely forgetting that she was a board the yacht ? "shilpit bit thing ;' and he would have But in her heart of hearts the schemer admitted that the Southern way of knew better. She knew that the rospeaking English-although, no doubt, mance-chapter in the Laird's life--and fallen away from the traditions of the a bitter chapter it was had been finishNorthumbrian dialect-had, after all, a ed and closed and put away many and certain music in it that made it pleasant many a year ago. She knew how the to the ear.

great disappointment of his life had failUp the hill, then, with a flourish for ed to sour him ; how he was ready to the last !-the dust rolling away in share among friends and companions clouds behind us—the view over the the large and generous heart that had Atlantic widening as we ascend. And been for a time laid at the feet of a jilt; here is Castle Osprey, as we have dub- how his keen and active interest, that bed the place, with its wide open door, might have been confined to his children and its walls half-hidden with tree- and his children's children, was now fuchsias, and its great rose-garden. Had devoted to a hundred things—the plantFair Rosamond herself come to Castle ing at Denny-mains, the great heresy Osprey that evening, she could not have case, the patronage of young_artists, been waited on with greater solicitude even the preservation of pure English, than the Laird showed in assisting this and what not. And that fortunate "shilpit bit thing" to alight—though, young gentleman-ostensibly his nephew indeed, there was a slight stumble, of whom he had sent to Harrow and to

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