Infomotions, Inc.Penelope's Experiences in Scotland / Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923



Author: Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923
Title: Penelope's Experiences in Scotland
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): salemina; francesca; pettybaw; macdonald; edinburgh; reverend ronald; breadalbane terrace; susanna crum; lady baird; scotland; cudna say; ronald macdonald; jean dalziel; miss diggity; miss dalziel; lady ardmore
Contributor(s): Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1862-1936 [Editor]
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Identifier: etext1217
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Penelope's Experiences in Scotland

by Kate Douglas Wiggin

February, 1998  [Etext #1217]


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Penelope's Experiences in Scotland
being extracts from the commonplace book of Penelope Hamilton




To G.C.R.



Contents.

Part First--In Town.

I.     A Triangular Alliance.
II.    Edina, Scotia's Darling Seat.
III.   A Vision in Princes Street.
IV.    Susanna Crum cudna say.
V.     We emulate the Jackdaw.
VI.    Edinburgh society, past and present.
VII.   Francesca meets th' unconquer'd Scot.
VIII.  `What made th' Assembly shine?'.
IX.    Omnia presbyteria est divisa in partes tres.
X.     Mrs. M'Collop as a sermon-taster.
XI.    Holyrood awakens.
XII.   Farewell to Edinburgh.
XIII.  The spell of Scotland.

Part Second--In the Country.

XIV.   The wee theekit hoosie in the loaning.
XV.    Jane Grieve and her grievances.
XVI.   The path that led to Crummylowe.
XVII.  Playing `Sir Patrick Spens.'
XVIII. Paris comes to Pettybaw.
XIX.   Fowk o' Fife.
XX.    A Fifeshire tea-party.
XXI.   International bickering.
XXII.  Francesca entertains the green-eyed monster.
XXIII. Ballad revels at Rowardennan.
XXIV.  Old songs and modern instances.
XXV.   A treaty between nations.
XXVI.  `Scotland's burning!  Look out!.'
XXVII. Three magpies and a marriage.



Chapter I. A Triangular Alliance.



  `Edina, Scotia's Darling seat!
   All hail thy palaces and towers!'

Edinburgh, April 189-.
22 Breadalbane Terrace.

We have travelled together before, Salemina, Francesca, and I, and
we know the very worst there is to know about one another.  After
this point has been reached, it is as if a triangular marriage had
taken place, and, with the honeymoon comfortably over, we slip along
in thoroughly friendly fashion.  I use no warmer word than`friendly'
because, in the first place, the highest tides of feeling do not
visit the coasts of triangular alliances; and because, in the second
place, `friendly' is a word capable of putting to the blush many a
more passionate and endearing one.

Every one knows of our experiences in England, for we wrote volumes
of letters concerning them, the which were widely circulated among
our friends at the time, and read aloud under the evening lamps in
the several cities of our residence.

Since then few striking changes have taken place in our history.

Salemina returned to Boston for the winter, to find, to her
amazement, that for forty odd years she had been rather
overestimating it.

On arriving in New York, Francesca discovered that the young lawyer
whom for six months she had been advising to marry somebody more
worthy than herself was at last about to do it.  This was somewhat
in the nature of a shock, for Francesca had been in the habit, ever
since she was seventeen, of giving her lovers similar advice, and up
to this time no one of them has ever taken it.  She therefore has
had the not unnatural hope, I think, of organising at one time or
another all these disappointed and faithful swains into a celibate
brotherhood; and perhaps of driving by the interesting monastery
with her husband and calling his attention modestly to the fact that
these poor monks were filling their barren lives with deeds of
piety, trying to remember their Creator with such assiduity that
they might, in time, forget Her.

Her chagrin was all the keener at losing this last aspirant to her
hand in that she had almost persuaded herself that she was as fond
of him as she was likely to be of anybody, and that on the whole she
had better marry him and save his life and reason.

Fortunately she had not communicated this gleam of hope by letter,
feeling, I suppose, that she would like to see for herself the light
of joy breaking over his pale cheek.  The scene would have been
rather pretty and touching, but meantime the Worm had turned and
despatched a letter to the Majestic at the quarantine station,
telling her that he had found a less reluctant bride in the person
of her intimate friend Miss Rosa Van Brunt; and so Francesca's dream
of duty and sacrifice was over.

Salemina says she was somewhat constrained for a week and a trifle
cynical for a fortnight, but that afterwards her spirits mounted on
ever ascending spirals to impossible heights, where they have since
remained.  It appears from all this that although she was piqued at
being taken at her word, her heart was not in the least damaged.  It
never was one of those fragile things which have to be wrapped in
cotton, and preserved from the slightest blow--Francesca's heart.
It is made of excellent stout, durable material, and I often tell
her with the care she takes of it, and the moderate strain to which
it is subjected, it ought to be as good as new a hundred years
hence.

As for me, the scene of my own love-story is laid in America and
England, and has nought to do with Edinburgh.  It is far from
finished; indeed, I hope it will be the longest serial on record,
one of those charming tales that grow in interest as chapter after
chapter unfolds, until at the end we feel as if we could never part
with the delightful people.

I should be, at this very moment, Mrs. William Beresford, a highly
respectable young matron who painted rather good pictures in her
spinster days, when she was Penelope Hamilton of the great American
working-class, Unlimited; but first Mrs. Beresford's dangerous
illness and then her death, have kept my dear boy a willing prisoner
in Cannes, his heart sadly torn betwixt his love and duty to his
mother and his desire to be with me.  The separation is virtually
over now, and we two, alas! have ne'er a mother or a father between
us, so we shall not wait many months before beginning to comfort
each other in good earnest.

Meantime Salemina and Francesca have persuaded me to join their
forces, and Mr. Beresford will follow us to Scotland in a few short
weeks, when we shall have established ourselves in the country.

We are overjoyed at being together again, we three women folk.  As I
said before, we know the worst of one another, and the future has no
terrors.  We have learned, for example, that--

Francesca does not like an early morning start.  Salemina refuses to
arrive late anywhere.  Penelope prefers to stay behind and follow
next day.

Francesca scorns to travel third class.  So does Salemina, but she
will if urged.

Penelope hates a four-wheeler.  Salemina is nervous in a hansom.
Francesca prefers a barouche or a landau.

Salemina likes a steady fire in the grate.  Penelope opens a window
and fans herself.

Salemina inclines to instructive and profitable expeditions.
Francesca loves processions and sightseeing.  Penelope abhors all of
these equally.

Salemina likes history.  Francesca loves fiction.  Penelope adores
poetry and detests facts.

Penelope likes substantial breakfasts.  Francesca dislikes the sight
of food in the morning.

In the matter of breakfasts, when we have leisure to assert our
individual tastes, Salemina prefers tea, Francesca cocoa, and I,
coffee.  We can never, therefore, be served with a large comfortable
pot of anything, but are confronted instead with a caravan of silver
jugs, china jugs, bowls of hard and soft sugar, hot milk, cold milk,
hot water, and cream, while each in her secret heart wishes that the
other two were less exigeante in the matter of diet and beverages.

This does not sound promising, but it works perfectly well in
practice by the exercise of a little flexibility.

As we left dear old Dovermarle Street and Smith's Private Hotel
behind, and drove to the station to take the Flying Scotsman, we
indulged in floods of reminiscence over the joys of travel we had
tasted together in the past, and talked with lively anticipation of
the new experiences awaiting us in the land of heather.

While Salemina went to purchase the three first-class tickets, I
superintended the porters as they disposed our luggage in the van,
and in so doing my eye lighted upon a third-class carriage which
was, for a wonder, clean, comfortable, and vacant.  Comparing it
hastily with the first-class compartment being held by Francesca, I
found that it differed only in having no carpet on the floor, and a
smaller number of buttons in the upholstering.  This was really
heartrending when the difference in fare for three persons would be
at least twenty dollars.  What a delightful sum to put aside for a
rainy day!--that is, be it understood, what a delightful sum to put
aside and spend on the first rainy day! for that is the way we
always interpret the expression.

When Salemina returned with the tickets, she found me, as usual,
bewailing our extravagance.

Francesca descended suddenly from her post, and, wresting the
tickets from her duenna, exclaimed, "'I know that I can save the
country, and I know no other man can!' as William Pitt said to the
Duke of Devonshire.  I have had enough of this argument.  For six
months of last year we discussed travelling third class and
continued to travel first.  Get into that clean hard-seated, ill-
upholstered third-class carriage immediately, both of you; save room
enough for a mother with two babies, and man carrying a basket of
fish, and an old woman with five pieces of hand-luggage and a dog;
meanwhile I will exchange the tickets."

So saying, she disappeared rapidly among the throng of passengers,
guards, porters, newspaper boys, golfers with bags of clubs, young
ladies with bicycles, and old ladies with tin hat-boxes.

"What decision, what swiftness of judgment, what courage and
energy!" murmured Salemina.  "Isn't she wonderfully improved since
that unexpected turning of the Worm?"

Francesca rejoined us just as the guard was about to lock us in, and
flung herself down, quite breathless from her unusual exertion.

"Well, we are travelling third for once, and the money is saved, or
at least it is ready to spend again at the first opportunity.  The
man didn't wish to exchange the tickets at all.  He says it is never
done.  I told him they were bought by a very inexperienced American
lady (that is you, Salemina) who knew almost nothing of the
distinctions between first and third class, and naturally took the
best, believing it to be none too good for a citizen of the greatest
republic on the face of the earth.  He said the tickets had been
stamped on.  I said so should I be if I returned without exchanging
them.  He was a very dense person, and didn't see my joke at all,
but then, it is true, there were thirteen men in line behind me,
with the train starting in three minutes, and there is nothing so
debilitating to a naturally weak sense of humour as selling tickets
behind a grating, so I am not really vexed with him.  There! we are
quite comfortable, pending the arrival of the babies, the dog, and
the fish, and certainly no vendor of periodic literature will dare
approach us while we keep these books in evidence."

She had Laurence Hutton's Literary Landmarks and Royal Edinburgh, by
Mrs. Oliphant; I had Lord Cockburn's Memorials of his Time; and
somebody had given Salemina, at the moment of leaving London, a work
on `Scotias's darling seat,' in three huge volumes.  When all this
printed matter was heaped on the top of Salemina's hold-all on the
platform, the guard had asked, "Do you belong to these books,
ma'am?"

"We may consider ourselves injured in going from London to Edinburgh
in a third-class carriage in eight or ten hours, but listen to
this," said Salemina, who had opened one of her large volumes at
random when the train started.

"'The Edinburgh and London Stage-coach begins on Monday, 13th
October 1712.  All that desire ... let them repair to the Coach and
Horses at the head of the Canongate every Saturday, or the Black
Swan in Holborn every other Monday, at both of which places they may
be received in a coach which performs the whole journey in thirteen
days without any stoppage (if God permits) having eighty able
horses.  Each passenger paying 4 pounds, 10 shillings for the whole
journey, allowing each 20 lbs. weight and all above to pay 6 pence
per lb.  The coach sets off at six in the morning' (you could never
have caught it, Francesca!), `and is performed by Henry Harrison.'
And here is a `modern improvement,' forty-two years later.  In July
1754, the Edinburgh Courant advertises the stage-coach drawn by six
horses, with a postilion on one of the leaders, as a `new, genteel,
two-end glass machine, hung on steel springs, exceedingly light and
easy, to go in ten days in summer and twelve in winter.  Passengers
to pay as usual.  Performed (if God permits) by your dutiful
servant, Hosea Eastgate. CARE IS TAKEN OF SMALL PARCELS ACCORDING TO
THEIR VALUE.'"

"It would have been a long, wearisome journey," said I
contemplatively; "but, nevertheless, I wish we were making it in
1712 instead of a century and three-quarters later."

"What would have been happening, Salemina?" asked Francesca
politely, but with no real desire to know.

"The Union had been already established five years," began Salemina
intelligently.

"Which Union?"

"Whose Union?"

Salemina is used to these interruptions and eruptions of illiteracy
on our part.  I think she rather enjoys them, as in the presence of
such complete ignorance as ours her lamp of knowledge burns all the
brighter.

"Anne was on the throne," she went on, with serene dignity.

"What Anne?"

"I know all about Anne!" exclaimed Francesca.  "She came from the
Midnight Sun country, or up that way.  She was very extravagant, and
had something to do with Jingling Geordie in The Fortunes of Nigel.
It is marvellous how one's history comes back to one!"

"Quite marvellous," said Salemina dryly; "or at least the state in
which it comes back is marvellous.  I am not a stickler for dates,
as you know, but if you could only contrive to fix a few periods in
your minds, girls, just in a general way, you would not be so
shamefully befogged.  Your Anne of Denmark, Francesca, was the wife
of James VI. of Scotland, who was James I. of England, and she died
a hundred years before the Anne I mean,--the last of the Stuarts,
you know.  My Anne came after William and Mary, and before the
Georges."

"Which William and Mary?"

"What Georges?"

But this was too much even for Salemina's equanimity, and she
retired behind her book in dignified displeasure, while Francesca
and I meekly looked up the Annes in a genealogical table, and tried
to decide whether `b.1665' meant born or beheaded.



Chapter II. Edina, Scotia's Darling Seat.



The weather that greeted us on our unheralded arrival in Scotland
was of the precise sort offered by Edinburgh to her unfortunate
queen, when,

  `After a youth by woes o'ercast,
   After a thousand sorrows past,
   The lovely Mary once again
   Set foot upon her native plain.'

John Knox records of those memorable days: `The very face of heaven
did manifestlie speak what comfort was brought to this country with
hir--to wit, sorrow, dolour, darkness and all impiety--for in the
memorie of man never was seen a more dolorous face of the heavens
than was seen at her arryvall . . . the myst was so thick that
skairse micht onie man espy another; and the sun was not seyn to
shyne two days befoir nor two days after.'

We could not see Edina's famous palaces and towers because of the
haar, that damp, chilling, drizzling, dripping fog or mist which the
east wind summons from the sea; but we knew that they were there,
shrouded in the heart of that opaque, mysterious greyness, and that
before many hours our eyes would feast upon their beauty.

Perhaps it was the weather, but I could think of nothing but poor
Queen Mary!  She had drifted into my imagination with the haar, so
that I could fancy her homesick gaze across the water as she
murmured, `Adieu, ma chere France!  Je ne vous verray jamais plus!'-
-could fancy her saying as in Allan Cunningham's verse:-

  `The sun rises bright in France,
      And fair sets he;
   But he hath tint the blithe blink he had
      In my ain countree.'

And then I recalled Mary's first good-night in Edinburgh:  that
`serenade of 500 rascals with vile fiddles and rebecks'; that
singing, `in bad accord,' of Protestant psalms by the wet crowd
beneath the palace windows, while the fires on Arthur's Seat shot
flickering gleams of welcome through the dreary fog.  What a lullaby
for poor Mary, half Frenchwoman and all Papist!

It is but just to remember the `indefatigable and undissuadable'
John Knox's statement, `the melody lyked her weill, and she willed
the same to be continewed some nightis after.'  For my part,
however, I distrust John Knox's musical feeling, and incline
sympathetically to the Sieur de Brantome's account, with its `vile
fiddles' and `discordant psalms,' although his judgment was
doubtless a good deal depressed by what he called the si grand
brouillard that so dampened the spirits of Mary's French retinue.

Ah well, I was obliged to remember, in order to be reasonably happy
myself, that Mary had a gay heart, after all; that she was but
nineteen; that, though already a widow, she did not mourn her young
husband as one who could not be comforted; and that she must soon
have been furnished with merrier music than the psalms, for another
of the sour comments of the time is, `Our Queen weareth the dule
[weeds], but she can dance daily, dule and all!'

These were my thoughts as we drove through invisible streets in the
Edinburgh haar, turned into what proved next day to be a Crescent,
and drew up to an invisible house with a visible number 22 gleaming
over a door which gaslight transformed into a probability.  We
alighted, and though we could scarcely see the driver's outstretched
hand, he was quite able to discern a half-crown, and demanded three
shillings.

The noise of our cab had brought Mrs. M'Collop to the door,--good
(or at least pretty good) Mrs. M'Collop, to whose apartments we had
been commended by English friends who had never occupied them.

Dreary as it was without, all was comfortable within-doors, and a
cheery (one-and-sixpenny) fire crackled in the grate.  Our private
drawing-room was charmingly furnished, and so large that,
notwithstanding the presence of a piano, two sofas, five small
tables, cabinets, desks, and chairs,--not forgetting a dainty five-
o'clock tea equipage,--we might have given a party in the remaining
space.

"If this is a typical Scotch lodging, I like it; and if it is Scotch
hospitality to lay the cloth and make the fire before it is asked
for, then I call it simply Arabian in character!" and Salemina drew
off her damp gloves, and extended her hands to the blaze.

"And isn't it delightful that the bill doesn't come in for a whole
week?" asked Francesca.  "We have only our English experiences on
which to found our knowledge, and all is delicious mystery.  The tea
may be a present from Mrs. M'Collop, and the sugar may not be an
extra; the fire may be included in the rent of the apartment, and
the piano may not be taken away to-morrow to enhance the attractions
of the dining-room floor."  (It was Francesca, you remember, who had
`warstled' with the itemised accounts at Smith's Private Hotel in
London, and she who was always obliged to turn pounds, shillings,
and pence into dollars and cents before she could add or subtract.)

"Come and look at the flowers in my bedroom," I called, "four great
boxes full!  Mr. Beresford must have ordered the carnations, because
he always does; but where did the roses come from, I wonder?"

I rang the bell, and a neat white-aproned maid appeared.

"Who brought these flowers, please?"

"I cudna say, mam."

"Thank you; will you be good enough to ask Mrs. M'Collop?"

In a moment she returned with the message, "There will be a letter
in the box, mam."

"It seems to me the letter should be in the box now, if it is ever
to be," I thought, and I presently drew this card from among the
fragrant buds:-

`Lady Baird sends these Scotch roses as a small return for the
pleasure she has received from Miss Hamilton's pictures.  Lady Baird
will give herself the pleasure of calling to-morrow; meantime she
hopes that Miss Hamilton and her party will dine with her some
evening this week.'

"How nice!" exclaimed Salemina.

"The celebrated Miss Hamilton's undistinguished party presents its
humble compliments to Lady Baird," chanted Francesca, "and having no
engagements whatever, and small hope of any, will dine with her on
any and every evening she may name.  Miss Hamilton's party will wear
its best clothes, polish its mental jewels, and endeavour in every
possible way not to injure the gifted Miss Hamilton's reputation
among the Scottish nobility."

I wrote a hasty note of thanks to Lady Baird, and rang the bell.

"Can I send a message, please?" I asked the maid.

"I cudna say, mam."

"Will you be good enough to ask Mrs. M'Collop, please?"

Interval; then:-

"The Boots will tak' it at seeven o'clock, mam."

"Thank you; is Fotheringay Crescent near here?"

"I cudna say, mam."

"Thank you; what is your name, please?"

I waited in well-grounded anxiety, for I had no idea that she knew
her name, or that if she had ever heard it, she could say it; but,
to my surprise, she answered almost immediately, "Susanna Crum,
mam!"

What a joy it is in a vexatious world, where things `gang aft
agley,' to find something absolutely right.

If I had devoted years to the subject, having the body of Susanna
Crum before my eyes every minute of the time for inspiration,
Susanna Crum is what I should have named that maid.  Not a vowel
could be added, not a consonant omitted.  I said so when first I saw
her, and weeks of intimate acquaintance only deepened my reverence
for the parental genius that had so described her to the world.



Chapter III. A vision in Princes Street.



When we awoke next morning the sun had forgotten itself and was
shining in at Mrs. M'Collop's back windows.

We should have arisen at once to burn sacrifices and offer
oblations, but we had seen the sun frequently in America, and had no
idea (poor fools!) that it was anything to be grateful for, so we
accepted it, almost without comment, as one of the perennial
providences of life.

When I speak of Edinburgh sunshine I do not mean, of course, any
such burning, whole-souled, ardent warmth of beam as one finds in
countries where they make a specialty of climate.  It is, generally
speaking, a half-hearted, uncertain ray, as pale and transitory as a
martyr's smile; but its faintest gleam, or its most puerile attempt
to gleam, is admired and recorded by its well-disciplined
constituency.  Not only that, but at the first timid blink of the
sun the true Scotsman remarks smilingly, `I think now we shall be
having settled weather!'  It is a pathetic optimism, beautiful but
quite groundless, and leads one to believe in the story that when
Father Noah refused to take Sandy into the ark, he sat down
philosophically outside, saying, with a glance at the clouds,
`Aweel!  the day's just aboot the ord'nar', an' I wouldna won'er if
we saw the sun afore nicht!'

But what loyal son of Edina cares for these transatlantic gibes, and
where is the dweller within her royal gates who fails to succumb to
the sombre beauty of that old grey town of the North?  `Grey! why,
it is grey or grey and gold, or grey and gold and blue, or grey and
gold and blue and green, or grey and gold and blue and green and
purple, according as the heaven pleases and you choose your ground!
But take it when it is most sombrely grey, where is another such
grey city?'

So says one of her lovers, and so the great army of lovers would
say, had they the same gift of language; for

  `Even thus, methinks, a city reared should be, . . .
   Yea, an imperial city that might hold
   Five time a hundred noble towns in fee. . . .
   Thus should her towers be raised; with vicinage
   Of clear bold hills, that curve her very streets,
   As if to indicate, `mid choicest seats
   Of Art, abiding Nature's majesty.'

We ate a hasty breakfast that first morning, and prepared to go out
for a walk into the great unknown, perhaps the most pleasurable
sensation in the world.  Francesca was ready first, and, having
mentioned the fact several times ostentatiously, she went into the
drawing-room to wait and read the Scotsman.  When we went thither a
few minutes later we found that she had disappeared.

"She is below, of course," said Salemina.  "She fancies that we
shall feel more ashamed at our tardiness if we find her sitting on
the hall bench in silent martyrdom."

There was no one in the hall, however, save Susanna, who inquired if
we would see the cook before going out.

"We have no time now, Susanna," I remarked.  "We are anxious to have
a walk before the weather changes, if possible, but we shall be out
for luncheon and in for dinner, and Mrs. M'Collop may give us
anything she pleases.  Do you know where Miss Francesca is?"

"I cudna s---"

"Certainly, of course you couldn't; but I wonder if Mrs. M'Collop
saw her?"

Mrs. M'Collop appeared from the basement, and vouchsafed the
information that she had seen `the young leddy rinnin' after the
regiment.'

"Running after the regiment!" repeated Salemina automatically.
"What a reversal of the laws of nature?  Why, in Berlin, it was
always the regiment that used to run after her!"

We learned in what direction the soldiers had gone, and pursuing the
same path found the young lady on the corner of a street near by.
She was quite unabashed.  "You don't know what you have missed!" she
said excitedly.  "Let us get into this tram, and possibly we can
head them off somewhere.  They may be going into battle, and if so,
my heart's blood is at their service.  It is one of those
experiences that come only once in a lifetime.  There were pipes and
there were kilts!  (I didn't suppose they ever really wore them
outside of the theatre!)  When you have seen the kilts swinging,
Salemina, you will never be the same woman afterwards!  You never
expected to see the Olympian gods walking, did you?  Perhaps you
thought they always sat on practicable rocks and made stiff
gestures, from the elbow, as they do in the Wagner operas?  Well,
these gods walked, if you can call the inspired gait a walk!  If
there is a single spinster left in Scotland, it is because none of
these ever asked her to marry him.  Ah, how grateful I ought to be
that I am free to say `yes', if a kilt ever asks me to be his!  Poor
Penelope, yoked to your commonplace trousered Beresford!  (I wish
the tram would go faster!)  You must capture one of them, by fair
means or foul, Penelope, and Salemina and I will hold him down while
you paint him,--there they are, they are there somewhere, don't you
hear them?"

There they were indeed, filing down the grassy slopes of the
Gardens, swinging across one of the stone bridges, and winding up
the Castlehill to the Esplanade like a long glittering snake; the
streamers of their Highland bonnets waving, their arms glistening in
the sun, and the bagpipes playing `The March of the Cameron Men.'
The pipers themselves were mercifully hidden from us on that first
occasion, and it was well, for we could never have borne another
feather's weight of ecstasy.

It was in Princes Street that we had alighted,--named thus for the
prince who afterwards became George IV.--and I hope he was, and is,
properly grateful.  It ought never to be called a street, this most
magnificent of terraces, and the world has cause to bless that
interdict of the Court of Session in 1774 which prevented the
Gradgrinds of the day from erecting buildings along its south side,-
-a sordid scheme that would have been the very superfluity of
naughtiness.

It was an envious Glasgow body who said grudgingly, as he came out
of Waverley Station, and gazed along its splendid length for the
first time, "Weel, wi' a' their haverin', it's but half a street
onyway!"--which always reminded me of the Western farmer who came
from his native plains to the beautiful Berkshire hills.  "I've
always heard o' this scenery," he said.  "Blamed if I can find any
scenery; but if there was, nobody could see it, there's so much high
ground in the way!"

To think that not so much more than a hundred years ago Princes
Street was nought but a straight country road, the `Lang Dykes' and
the `Lang Gait,' as it was called.

We looked down over the grassy chasm that separates the New from the
Old Town; looked our first on Arthur's Seat, that crouching lion of
a mountain; saw the Corstorphine Hill, and Calton heights, and
Salisbury Crags, and finally that stupendous bluff of rock that
culminates so majestically in Edinburgh Castle.  There is something
else which, like Susanna Crum's name, is absolutely and ideally
right!  Stevenson calls it one of the most satisfactory crags in
nature--a Bass rock upon dry land, rooted in a garden, shaken by
passing trains, carrying a crown of battlements and turrets, and
describing its warlike shadow over the liveliest and brightest
thoroughfare of the new town.  It dominates the whole countryside
from water and land.  The men who would have the courage to build
such a castle in such a spot are all dead; all dead, and the world
is infinitely more comfortable without them.  They are all gone, and
no more like unto them will ever be born, and we can most of us
count upon dying safely in our beds, of diseases bred of modern
civilisation.  But I am glad that those old barbarians, those
rudimentary creatures working their way up into the divine likeness,
when they were not hanging, drawing, quartering, torturing, and
chopping their neighbours, and using their heads in conventional
patterns on the tops of gate-posts, did devote their leisure
intervals to rearing fortresses like this.  Edinburgh Castle could
not be conceived, much less built, nowadays, when all our energy is
consumed in bettering the condition of the `submerged tenth'!  What
did they care about the `masses,' that `regal race that is now no
more,' when they were hewing those blocks of rugged rock and piling
them against the sky-line on the top of that great stone mountain!
It amuses me to think how much more picturesque they left the world,
and how much better we shall leave it; though if an artist were
requested to distribute individual awards to different generations,
you could never persuade him to give first prizes to the centuries
that produced steam laundries, trolleys, X rays, and sanitary
plumbing.

What did they reck of Peace Congresses and bloodless arbitrations
when they lighted the beacon-fires, flaming out to the gudeman and
his sons ploughing or sowing in the Lang Dykes the news that their
`ancient enemies of England had crossed the Tweed'!

I am the most peaceful person in the world, but the Castle was too
much for my imagination.  I was mounted and off and away from the
first moment I gazed upon its embattled towers, heard the pipers in
the distance, and saw the Black Watch swinging up the green steps
where the huge fortress `holds its state.'  The modern world had
vanished, and my steed was galloping, galloping, galloping back into
the place-of-the-things-that-are-past, traversing centuries at every
leap.

`To arms!  Let every banner in Scotland float defiance to the
breeze!'  (So I heard my new-born imaginary spirit say to my real
one.)  `Yes, and let the Deacon Convener unfurl the sacred Blue
Blanket, under which every liege burgher of the kingdom is bound to
answer summons!  The bale-fires are gleaming, giving alarm to Hume,
Haddington, Dunbar, Dalkeith, and Eggerhope.  Rise, Stirling, Fife,
and the North!  All Scotland will be under arms in two hours.  One
bale-fire:  the English are in motion!  Two:  they are advancing!
Four in a row:  they are of great strength!  All men in arms west of
Edinburgh muster there!  All eastward, at Haddington!  And every
Englishman caught in Scotland is lawfully the prisoner of whoever
takes him!'  (What am I saying?  I love Englishmen, but the spell is
upon me!)  `Come on, Macduff!'  (The only suitable and familiar
challenge my warlike tenant can summon at the moment.)  `I am the
son of a Gael!  My dagger is in my belt, and with the guid
broadsword at my side I can with one blow cut a man in twain!  My
bow is cut from the wood of the yews of Glenure; the shaft is from
the wood of Lochetive, the feathers from the great golden eagles of
Locktreigside!  My arrowhead was made by the smiths of the race of
Macphedran!  Come on, Macduff!'

And now a shopkeeper has filled his window with royal Stuart
tartans, and I am instantly a Jacobite.

  `The Highland clans wi' sword in hand,
     Frae John o' Groat's to Airly,
   Hae to a man declar'd to stand
     Or fa' wi' Royal Charlie.

  `Come through the heather, around him gather,
   Come Ronald, come Donald, come a'thegither,
   And crown your rightfu' lawfu' king,
     For wha'll be king but Charlie?'

It is the eve of the battle of Prestonpans.  Is it not under the
Rock of Dunsappie on yonder Arthur's Seat that our Highland army
will encamp to-night?  At dusk the prince will hold a council of his
chiefs and nobles (I am a chief and a noble), and at daybreak we
shall march through the old hedgerows and woods of Duddingston,
pipes playing and colours flying, bonnie Charlie at the head, his
claymore drawn and the scabbard flung away!  (I mean awa'!)--

  `Then here's a health to Charlie's cause,
     And be't complete an' early;
   His very name my heart's blood warms
     To arms for Royal Charlie!

  `Come through the heather, around him gather,
   Come Ronald, come Donald, come a'thegither,
   And crown your rightfu', lawfu' king,
     For wha'll be king but Charlie?'

I hope that those in authority will never attempt to convene a Peace
Congress in Edinburgh, lest the influence of the Castle be too
strong for the delegates.  They could not resist it nor turn their
backs upon it, since, unlike other ancient fortresses, it is but a
stone's-throw from the front windows of all the hotels.  They might
mean never so well, but they would end by buying dirk hat-pins and
claymore brooches for their wives, their daughters would all run
after the kilted regiment and marry as many of the pipers as asked
them, and before night they would all be shouting with the noble
FitzEustace--

  `Where's the coward who would not dare
     To fight for such a land?'

While I was rhapsodising, Salemina and Francesca were shopping in
the Arcade, buying some of the cairngorms, and Tam O'Shanter purses,
and models of Burns's cottage, and copies of Marmion in plaided
covers, and thistle belt-buckles, and bluebell penwipers, with which
we afterwards inundated our native land.  When my warlike mood had
passed, I sat down upon the steps of the Scott monument and watched
the passers-by in a sort of waking dream.  I suppose they were the
usual professors and doctors and ministers who are wont to walk up
and down the Edinburgh streets, with a sprinkling of lairds and
leddies of high degree and a few Americans looking at the shop
windows to choose their clan tartans; but for me they did not exist.
In their places stalked the ghosts of kings and queens and knights
and nobles; Columba, Abbot of Iona; Queen Margaret and Malcolm--she
the sweetest saint in all the throng; King David riding towards
Drumsheugh forest on Holy Rood day, with his horns and hounds and
huntsmen following close behind; Anne of Denmark and Jingling
Geordie; Mary Stuart in all her girlish beauty, with the four Maries
in her train; and lurking behind, Bothwell, `that ower sune
stepfaither,' and the murdered Rizzio and Darnley; John Knox, in his
black Geneva cloak; Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora Macdonald;
lovely Annabella Drummond; Robert the Bruce; George Heriot with a
banner bearing on it the words `I distribute chearfully'; James I.
carrying The King's Quair; Oliver Cromwell; and a long line of
heroes, martyrs, humble saints, and princely knaves.

Behind them, regardless of precedence, came the Ploughman Poet and
the Ettrick Shepherd, Boswell and Dr.Johnson, Dr.John Brown and
Thomas Carlyle, Lady Nairne and Drummond of Hawthornden, Allan
Ramsay and Sir Walter; and is it not a proof of the Wizard's magic
art, that side by side with the wraiths of these real people walked,
or seemed to walk, the Fair Maid of Perth, Jeanie Deans, Meg
Merrilies, Guy Mannering, Ellen, Marmion, and a host of others so
sweetly familiar and so humanly dear that the very street-laddies
could have named and greeted them as they passed by?



Chapter IV. Susanna Crum cudna say.



Life at Mrs. M'Collop's apartments in 22 Breadalbane Terrace is
about as simple, comfortable, dignified, and delightful as it well
can be.

Mrs. M'Collop herself is neat, thrifty, precise, tolerably genial,
and `verra releegious.'

Her partner, who is also the cook, is a person introduced to us as
Miss Diggity.  We afterwards learned that this is spelled Dalgety,
but it is not considered good form, in Scotland, to pronounce the
names of persons and places as they are written.  When, therefore, I
allude to the cook, which will be as seldom as possible, I shall
speak of her as Miss Diggity-Dalgety, so that I shall be presenting
her correctly both to the eye and to the ear, and giving her at the
same time a hyphenated name, a thing which is a secret object of
aspiration in Great Britain.

In selecting our own letters and parcels from the common stock on
the hall table, I perceive that most of our fellow-lodgers are
hyphenated ladies, whose visiting-cards diffuse the intelligence
that in their single persons two ancient families and fortunes are
united.  On the ground floor are the Misses Hepburn-Sciennes
(pronounced Hebburn-Sheens); on the floor above us are Miss
Colquhoun (Cohoon) and her cousin Miss Cockburn-Sinclair (Coburn-
Sinkler).  As soon as the Hepburn-Sciennes depart, Mrs. M'Collop
expects Mrs. Menzies of Kilconquhar, of whom we shall speak as Mrs.
Mingess of Kinyuchar.  There is not a man in the house; even the
Boots is a girl, so that 22 Breadalbane Terrace is as truly a castra
puellarum as was ever the Castle of Edinburgh with its maiden
princesses in the olden time.

We talked with Miss Diggity-Dalgety on the evening of our first day
at Mrs. M'Collop's, when she came up to know our commands.  As
Francesca and Salemina were both in the room, I determined to be as
Scotch as possible, for it is Salemina's proud boast that she is
taken for a native of every country she visits.

"We shall not be entertaining at present, Miss Diggity," I said, "so
you can give us just the ordinary dishes,--no doubt you are
accustomed to them:  scones, baps or bannocks with marmalade,
finnan-haddie or kippered herring for breakfast; tea,--of course we
never touch coffee in the morning" (here Francesca started with
surprise); "porridge, and we like them well boiled, please" (I hope
she noted the plural pronoun; Salemina did, and blanched with envy);
"minced collops for luncheon, or a nice little black-faced chop;
Scotch broth, pease brose or cockyleekie soup at dinner, and haggis
now and then, with a cold shape for dessert.  That is about the sort
of thing we are accustomed to,--just plain Scotch living."

I was impressing Miss Diggity-Dalgety,--I could see that clearly;
but Francesca spoiled the effect by inquiring, maliciously, if we
could sometimes have a howtowdy wi' drappit eggs, or her favourite
dish, wee grumphie wi' neeps.

Here Salemina was obliged to poke the fire in order to conceal her
smiles, and the cook probably suspected that Francesca found
howtowdy in the Scotch glossary; but we amused each other vastly,
and that is our principal object in life.

Miss Diggity-Dalgety's forebears must have been exposed to foreign
influences, for she interlards her culinary conversation with French
terms, and we have discovered that this is quite common.  A `jigget'
of mutton is of course a gigot, and we have identified an `ashet' as
an assiette.  The `petticoat tails' she requested me to buy at the
confectioner's were somewhat more puzzling, but when they were
finally purchased by Susanna Crum they appeared to be ordinary
little cakes; perhaps, therefore, petits gastels, since gastel is an
old form of gateau, as was bel for beau.  Susanna, on her part,
speaks of the wardrobe in my bedroom as an `awmry.'  It certainly
contains no weapons, so cannot be an armoury, and we conjecture that
her word must be a corruption of armoire.

"That was a remarkable touch about the black-faced chop," laughed
Salemina, when Miss Diggity-Dalgety had retired; "not that I believe
they ever say it."

"I am sure they must," I asserted stoutly, "for I passed a flesher's
on my way home, and saw a sign with `Prime Black-Faced Mutton'
printed on it.  I also saw `Fed Veal,' but I forgot to ask the cook
for it."

"We ought really to have kept house in Edinburgh," observed
Francesca, looking up from the Scotsman.  "One can get a `self-
contained residential flat' for twenty pounds a month.  We are such
an enthusiastic trio that a self-contained flat would be everything
to us; and if it were not fully furnished, here is a firm that
wishes to sell a `composite bed' for six pounds, and a `gent's
stuffed easy' for five.  Added to these inducements there is
somebody who advertises that parties who intend `displenishing' at
the Whit Term would do well to consult him, as he makes a specialty
of second-handed furniture and `cyclealities.'  What are
`cyclealities,' Susanna?"  (She had just come in with coals.)

"I cudna say, mam."

"Thank you; no, you need not ask Mrs. M'Collop; it is of no
consequence."

Susanna Crum is a most estimable young woman, clean, respectful,
willing, capable, and methodical, but as a Bureau of Information she
is painfully inadequate.  Barring this single limitation she seems
to be a treasure-house of all good practical qualities; and being
thus clad and panoplied in virtue, why should she be so timid and
self-distrustful?

She wears an expression which can mean only one of two things:
either she has heard of the national tomahawk and is afraid of
violence on our part, or else her mother was frightened before she
was born.  This applies in general to her walk and voice and manner,
but is it fear that prompts her eternal `I cudna say,' or is it
perchance Scotch caution and prudence?  Is she afraid of projecting
her personality too indecently far?  Is it the indirect effect of
heresy trials on her imagination?  Does she remember the thumbscrew
of former generations?  At all events, she will neither affirm nor
deny, and I am putting her to all sorts of tests, hoping to discover
finally whether she is an accident, an exaggeration, or a type.

Salemina thinks that our American accent may confuse her.  Of course
she means Francesca's and mine, for she has none; although we have
tempered ours so much for the sake of the natives, that we can
scarcely understand each other any more.  As for Susanna's own
accent, she comes from the heart of Aberdeenshire, and her
intonation is beyond my power to reproduce.

We naturally wish to identify all the national dishes; so, "Is this
cockle soup, Susanna?" I ask her, as she passes me the plate at
dinner.

"I cudna say."

"This vegetable is new to me, Susanna; is it perhaps sea-kale?"

"I canna say, mam."

Then finally, in despair, as she handed me a boiled potato one day,
I fixed my searching Yankee brown eyes on her blue-Presbyterian,
non-committal ones, and asked, "What is this vegetable, Susanna?"

In an instant she withdrew herself, her soul, her ego, so utterly
that I felt myself gazing at an inscrutable stone image, as she
replied, "I cudna say, mam."

This was too much!  Her mother may have been frightened, very badly
frightened, but this was more that I could endure without protest.
The plain boiled potato is practically universal.  It is not only
common to all temperate climates, but it has permeated all classes
of society.  I am confident that the plain boiled potato has been
one of the chief constituents in the building up of that frame in
which Susanna Crum conceals her opinions and emotions.  I remarked,
therefore, as an, apparent afterthought, "Why, it is a potato, is it
not, Susanna?"

What do you think she replied, when thus hunted into a corner,
pushed against a wall, driven to the very confines of her personal
and national liberty?  She subjected the potato to a second careful
scrutiny, and answered, "I wudna say it's no'!"

Now there is no inherited physical terror in this.  It is the
concentrated essence of intelligent reserve, caution, and obstinacy;
it is a conscious intellectual hedging; it is a dogged and
determined attempt to build up barriers of defence between the
questioner and the questionee:  it must be, therefore, the offspring
of the catechism and the heresy trial.

Once again, after establishing an equally obvious fact, I succeeded
in wringing from her the reluctant admission, "It depends," but she
was so shattered by the bulk and force of this outgo, so fearful
that in some way she had imperilled her life or reputation, so
anxious concerning the effect that her unwilling testimony might
have upon unborn generations, that she was of no real service the
rest of the day.

I wish that the Lord Advocate, or some modern counterpart of
Braxfield, the hanging judge, would summon Susanna Crum as a witness
in an important case.  He would need his longest plummet to sound
the depths of her consciousness.

I have had no legal experience, but I can imagine the scene.

"Is the prisoner your father, Susanna Crum?"

"I cudna say, my lord."

"You have not understood the question, Susanna.  Is the prisoner
your father?"

"I cudna say, my lord."

"Come, come, my girl!  you must answer the questions put you by the
court.  You have been an inmate of the prisoner's household since
your earliest consciousness.  He provided you with food, lodging,
and clothing during your infancy and early youth.  You have seen him
on annual visits to your home, and watched him as he performed the
usual parental functions for your younger brothers and sisters.  I
therefore repeat, is the prisoner your father, Susanna Crum?"

"I wudna say he's no', my lord."

"This is really beyond credence!  What do you conceive to be the
idea involved in the word `father,' Susanna Crum?"

"It depends, my lord."

And this, a few hundred years earlier, would have been the natural
and effective moment for the thumbscrews.

I do not wish to be understood as defending these uncomfortable
appliances.  They would never have been needed to elicit information
from me, for I should have spent my nights inventing matter to
confess in the daytime.  I feel sure that I should have poured out
such floods of confessions and retractations that if all Scotland
had been one listening ear it could not have heard my tale.  I am
only wondering if, in the extracting of testimony from the common
mind, the thumbscrew might not have been more necessary with some
nations than with others.



Chapter V. We emulate the Jackdaw.



Invitations had been pouring in upon us since the delivery of our
letters of introduction, and it was now the evening of our debut in
Edinburgh society.  Francesca had volunteered to perform the task of
leaving cards, ordering a private victoria for the purpose, and
arraying herself in purple and fine linen.

"Much depends upon the first impression," she had said.  "Miss
Hamilton's `party' may not be gifted, but it is well-dressed.  My
hope is that some of our future hostesses will be looking from the
second-story front-windows.  If they are, I can assure them in
advance that I shall be a national advertisement."

It is needless to remark that as it began to rain heavily as she was
leaving the house, she was obliged to send back the open carriage,
and order, to save time, one of the public cabs from the stand in
the Terrace.

"Would you mind having the lamiter, being first in line?" asked
Susanna of Salemina, who had transmitted the command.

When Salemina fails to understand anything, the world is kept in
complete ignorance.--Least of all would she stoop to ask a humble
maidservant to translate the vernacular of the country; so she
replied affably, "Certainly, Susanna, that is the kind we always
prefer.  I suppose it is covered?"

Francesca did not notice, until her coachman alighted to deliver the
first letter and cards, that he had one club foot and one wooden
leg; it was then that the full significance of `lamiter' came to
her.  He was covered, however, as Salemina had supposed, and the
occurrence gave us a precious opportunity of chaffing that dungeon
of learning.  He was tolerably alert and vigorous, too, although he
certainly did not impart elegance to a vehicle, and he knew every
street in the court end of Edinburgh, and every close and wynd in
the Old Town.  On this our first meeting with him, he faltered only
when Francesca asked him last of all to drive to `Kildonan House,
Helmsdale'; supposing, not unnaturally, that it was as well known an
address as Morningside House, Tipperlinn, whence she had just come.
The lamiter had never heard of Kildonan House nor of Helmsdale, and
he had driven in the streets of Auld Reekie for thirty years.  None
of the drivers whom he consulted could supply any information;
Susanna Crum cudna say that she had ever heard of it, nor could Mrs.
M'Collop, nor could Miss Diggity-Dalgety.  It was reserved for Lady
Baird to explain that Helmsdale was two hundred and eighty miles
north, and that Kildonan House was ten miles from the Helmsdale
railway station, so that the poor lamiter would have had a weary
drive even had he known the way.  The friends who had given us
letters to Mr. and Mrs. Jameson-Inglis (Jimmyson-Ingals) must have
expected us either to visit John o' Groats on the northern border,
and drop in on Kildonan House en route, or to send our note of
introduction by post and await an invitation to pass the summer.  At
all events, the anecdote proved very pleasing to our Edinburgh
acquaintances.  I hardly know whether, if they should visit America,
they would enjoy tales of their own stupidity as hugely as they did
the tales of ours, but they really were very appreciative in this
particular, and it is but justice to ourselves to say that we gave
them every opportunity for enjoyment.

But I must go back to our first grand dinner in Scotland.  We were
dressed at quarter-past seven, when, in looking at the invitation
again, we discovered that the dinner-hour was eight o'clock, not
seven-thirty.  Susanna did not happen to know the exact approximate
distance to Fotheringay Crescent, but the maiden Boots affirmed that
it was only two minutes' drive, so we sat down in front of the fire
to chat.

It was Lady Baird's birthday feast to which we had been bidden, and
we had done our best to honour the occasion.  We had prepared a
large bouquet tied with the Maclean tartan (Lady Baird is a
Maclean), and had printed in gold letters on one of the ribbons,
`Another for Hector,' the battle-cry of the clan.  We each wore a
sprig of holly, because it is the badge of the family, while I added
a girdle and shoulder-knot of tartan velvet to my pale green gown,
and borrowed Francesca's emerald necklace,--persuading her that she
was too young to wear such jewels in the old country.

Francesca was miserably envious that she had not thought of tartans
first.  "You may consider yourself `geyan fine,' all covered over
with Scotch plaid, but I wouldn't be so `kenspeckle' for worlds!"
she said, using expressions borrowed from Mrs. M'Collop; "and as for
disguising your nationality, do not flatter yourself that you look
like anything but an American.  I forgot to tell you the
conversation I overheard in the tram this morning, between a mother
and daughter, who were talking about us, I dare say.  `Have they any
proper frocks for so large a party, Bella?' asked the mother.

"'I thought I explained in the beginning, mamma, that they are
Americans.'

"'Still, you know they are only travelling,--just passing through,
as it were; they may not be familiar with our customs, and we do
want our party to be a smart one.'

"'Wait until you see them, mamma, and you will probably feel like
hiding your diminished head!  It is my belief that if an American
lady takes a half-hour journey in a tram she carries full evening
dress and a diamond necklace, in case anything should happen on the
way.  I am not in the least nervous about their appearance.  I only
hope that they will not be too exuberant; American girls are so
frightfully vivacious and informal, I always feel as if I were being
taken by the throat!'"

"A picturesque, though rather vigorous expression; however, it does
no harm to be perfectly dressed," said Salemina consciously, putting
a steel embroidered slipper on the fender and settling the holly in
the silver folds of her gown; "then when they discover that we are
all well bred, and that one of us is intelligent, it will be the
more credit to the country that gave us birth."

"Of course it is impossible to tell what country did give YOU
birth," retorted Francesca, "but that will only be to your
advantage--away from home!"

Francesca is inflexibly, almost aggressively American, but Salemina
is a citizen of the world.  If the United States should be involved
in a war, I am confident that Salemina would be in front with the
other Gatling guns, for in that case a principle would be at stake;
but in all lesser matters she is extremely unprejudiced.  She
prefers German music, Italian climate, French dressmakers, English
tailors, Japanese manners, and American--American something--I have
forgotten just what; it is either the ice-cream soda or the form of
government,--I can't remember which.

"I wonder why they named it `Fotheringay' Crescent," mused
Francesca.  "Some association with Mary Stuart, of course.  Poor,
poor, pretty lady!  A free queen only six years, and think of the
number of beds she slept in, and the number of trees she planted; we
have already seen, I am afraid to say how many.  When did she
govern, when did she scheme, above all when did she flirt, with all
this racing and chasing over the country?  Mrs. M'Collop calls Anne
of Denmark a `sad scattercash' and Mary an `awfu' gadabout,' and I
am inclined to agree with her.  By the way, when she was making my
bed this morning, she told me that her mother claimed descent from
the Stewarts of Appin, whoever they may be.  She apologised for
Queen Mary's defects as if she were a distant family connection.  If
so, then the famous Stuart charm has been lost somewhere, for Mrs
M'Collop certainly possesses no alluring curves of temperament."

"I am going to select some distinguished ancestors this very minute,
before I go to my first Edinburgh dinner," said I decidedly.  "It
seems hard that ancestors should have everything to do with settling
our nationality and our position in life, and we not have a word to
say.  How nice it would be to select one's own after one had arrived
at years of discretion, or to adopt different ones according to the
country one chanced to be visiting!  I am going to do it; it is
unusual, but there must be a pioneer in every good movement.  Let me
think:  do help me, Salemina!  I am a Hamilton to begin with; I
might be descended from the logical Sir William himself, and thus
become the idol of the university set!"

"He died only about thirty years ago, and you would have to be his
daughter:  that would never do," said Salemina.  "Why don't you take
Thomas Hamilton, Earl of Melrose and Haddington?  He was Secretary
of State, King's Advocate, Lord President of the Court of Session,
and all sorts of fine things.  He was the one King James used to
call `Tam o' the Cowgate'!"

"Perfectly delightful!  I don't care so much about his other titles,
but `Tam o' the Cowgate' is irresistible.  I will take him.  He was
my--what was he?"

"He was at least your great-great-great-great-grandfather; that is a
safe distance.  Then there's that famous Jenny Geddes, who flung her
fauld-stule at the Dean in St. Giles',--she was a Hamilton too, if
you fancy her!"

"Yes, I'll take her with pleasure," I responded thankfully.  "Of
course I don't know why she flung the stool,--it may have been very
reprehensible; but there is always good stuff in stool-flingers;
it's the sort of spirit one likes to inherit in diluted form.  Now,
whom will you take?"

"I haven't even a peg on which to hang a Scottish ancestor," said
Salemina disconsolately.

"Oh, nonsense! think harder.  Anybody will do as a starting-point;
only you must be honourable and really show relationship, as I did
with Jenny and Tam."

"My aunt Mary-Emma married a Lindsay," ventured Salemina
hesitatingly.

"That will do," I answered delightedly.

  "'The Gordons gay in English blude
     They wat their hose and shoon;
    The Lindsays flew like fire aboot
     Till a' the fray was dune.'

You can play that you are one of the famous `licht Lindsays,' and
you can look up the particular ancestor in your big book.  Now,
Francesca, it's your turn!"

"I am American to the backbone," she declared, with insufferable
dignity.  "I do not desire any foreign ancestors."

"Francesca!" I expostulated.  "Do you mean to tell me that you can
dine with a lineal descendant of Sir Fitzroy Donald Maclean,
Baronet, of Duart and Morven, and not make any effort to trace your
genealogy back further than your parents?"

"If you goad me to desperation," she answered, "I will wear an
American flag in my hair, declare that my father is a Red Indian, or
a pork-packer, and talk about the superiority of our checking system
and hotels all the evening.  I don't want to go, any way.  It is
sure to be stiff and ceremonious, and the man who takes me in will
ask me the population of Chicago and the amount of wheat we exported
last year,--he always does."

"I can't see why he should," said I.  "I am sure you don't look as
if you knew."

"My looks have thus far proved no protection," she replied sadly.
"Salemina is so flexible, and you are so dramatic, that you enter
into all these experiences with zest.  You already more than half
believe in that Tam o' the Cowgate story.  But there'll be nothing
for me in Edinburgh society; it will be all clergymen--"

"Ministers" interjected Salemina.

--"all ministers and professors.  My Redfern gowns will be
unappreciated, and my Worth evening frocks worse than wasted!"

"There are a few thousand medical students," I said encouragingly,
"and all the young advocates, and a sprinkling of military men--they
know Worth frocks."

"And," continued Salemina bitingly, "there will always be, even in
an intellectual city like Edinburgh, a few men who continue to
escape all the developing influences about them, and remain
commonplace, conventional manikins, devoted to dancing and flirting.
Never fear, they will find you!"

This sounds harsh, but nobody minds Salemina, least of all
Francesca, who well knows that she is the apple of that spinster's
eye.  But at this moment Susanna opens the door (timorously, as if
there might be a panther behind it) and announces the cab (in the
same tone in which she would announce the beast); we pick up our
draperies, and are whirled off by the lamiter to dine with the
Scottish nobility.



Chapter VI. Edinburgh society, past and present.



  `Wha last beside his chair shall fa'
   He is the king amang us three!'

It was the Princess Dashkoff who said, in the latter part of the
eighteenth century, that of all the societies of men of talent she
had met with in her travels, Edinburgh's was the first in point of
abilities.

One might make the same remark to-day, perhaps, and not depart
widely from the truth.  One does not find, however, as many noted
names as are associated with the annals of the Cape and Poker Clubs
or the Crochallan Fencibles, those famous groups of famous men who
met for relaxation (and intoxication, I should think) at the old
Isle of Man Arms or in Dawney's Tavern in the Anchor Close.  These
groups included such shining lights as Robert Fergusson the poet,
and Adam Ferguson the historian and philosopher, Gavin Wilson, Sir
Henry Raeburn, David Hume, Erskine, Lords Newton, Gillies, Monboddo,
Hailes, Kames, Henry Mackenzie, and the Ploughman Poet himself, who
has kept alive the memory of the Crochallans in many a jovial verse
like that in which he describes Smellie, the eccentric philosopher
and printer:-

  `Shrewd Willie Smellie to Crochallan came,
   The old cocked hat, the grey surtout the same,
   His bristling beard just rising in its might;
    `Twas four long nights and days to shaving night';

or in the characteristic picture of William Dunbar, a wit of the
time, and the merriest of the Fencibles:-

   `As I cam by Crochallan
     I cannily keekit ben;
   Rattlin', roarin' Willie
     Was sitting at yon boord en';
   Sitting at yon boord en',
     And amang guid companie!
   Rattlin', roarin' Willie,
     Ye're welcome hame to me!'

or in the verses on Creech, Burns's publisher, who left Edinburgh
for a time in 1789.  The `Willies,' by the way, seem to be
especially inspiring to the Scottish balladists.

  `Oh, Willie was a witty wight,
   And had o' things an unco slight!
   Auld Reekie aye he keepit tight
     And trig and braw;
   But now they'll busk her like a fright--
     Willie's awa'!'

I think perhaps the gatherings of the present time are neither quite
as gay nor quite as brilliant as those of Burns's day, when

  `Willie brewed a peck o' maut,
   An' Rob an' Allan cam to pree';

but the ideal standard of those meetings seems to be voiced in the
lines:-

  `Wha last beside his chair shall fa',
   He is the king amang us three!'

As they sit in their chairs nowadays to the very end of the feast,
there is doubtless joined with modern sobriety a soupcon of modern
dulness and discretion.

To an American the great charm of Edinburgh is its leisurely
atmosphere:  `not the leisure of a village arising from the
deficiency of ideas and motives, but the leisure of a city reposing
grandly on tradition and history; which has done its work, and does
not require to weave its own clothing, to dig its own coals, or
smelt its own iron.'

We were reminded of this more than once, and it never failed to
depress us properly.  If one had ever lived in Pittsburg, Fall
River, or Kansas City, I should think it would be almost impossible
to maintain self-respect in a place like Edinburgh, where the
citizens `are released from the vulgarising dominion of the hour.'
Whenever one of Auld Reekie's great men took this tone with me, I
always felt as though I were the germ in a half-hatched egg, and he
were an aged and lordly cock gazing at me pityingly through my
shell.  He, lucky creature, had lived through all the struggles
which I was to undergo; he, indeed, was released from `the
vulgarising dominion of the hour'; but I, poor thing, must grow and
grow, and keep pecking at my shell, in order to achieve existence.

Sydney Smith says in one of his letters, `Never shall I forget the
happy days passed there [in Edinburgh], amidst odious smells,
barbarous sounds, bad suppers, excellent hearts, and the most
enlightened and cultivated understandings.'  His only criticism of
the conversation of that day (1797-1802) concerned itself with the
prevalence of that form of Scotch humour which was called wut; and
with the disputations and dialectics.  We were more fortunate than
Sydney Smith, because Edinburgh has outgrown its odious smells,
barbarous sounds, and bad suppers and, wonderful to relate, has kept
its excellent hearts and its enlightened and cultivated
understandings.  As for mingled wut and dialectics, where can one
find a better foundation for dinner-table conversation?

The hospitable board itself presents no striking differences from
our own, save the customs of serving sweets in soup-plates with
dessert-spoons, of a smaller number of forks on parade, of the
invariable fish-knife at each plate, of the prevalent `savoury' and
`cold shape,' and the unusual grace and skill with which the hostess
carves.  Even at very large dinners one occasionally sees a lady of
high degree severing the joints of chickens and birds most daintily,
while her lord looks on in happy idleness, thinking, perhaps, how
greatly times have changed for the better since the ages of strife
and bloodshed, when Scottish nobles

  `Carved at the meal with gloves of steel,
   And drank their wine through helmets barred.'

The Scotch butler is not in the least like an English one.  No man
could be as respectable as he looks, not even an elder of the kirk,
whom he resembles closely.  He hands your plate as if it were a
contribution-box, and in his moments of ease, when he stands behind
the `maister,' I am always expecting him to pronounce a benediction.
The English butler, when he wishes to avoid the appearance of
listening to the conversation, gazes with level eye into vacancy;
the Scotch butler looks distinctly heavenward, as if he were
brooding on the principle of co-ordinate jurisdiction with mutual
subordination.  It would be impossible for me to deny the key of the
wine-cellar to a being so steeped in sanctity, but it has been done,
I am told, in certain rare and isolated cases.

As for toilets, the men dress like all other men (alas, and alas,
that we should say it, for we were continually hoping for a kilt!)
though there seems to be no survival of the finical Lord Napier's
spirit.  Perhaps you remember that Lord and Lady Napier arrived at
Castlemilk in Lanarkshire with the intention of staying a week, but
announced next morning that a circumstance had occurred which
rendered it indispensable to return without delay to their seat in
Selkirkshire.  This was the only explanation given, but it was
afterwards discovered that Lord Napier's valet had committed the
grievous mistake of packing up a set of neckcloths which did not
correspond IN POINT OF DATE with the shirts they accompanied!

The ladies of the `smart set' in Edinburgh wear French fripperies
and chiffons, as do their sisters every where, but the other women
of society dress a trifle more staidly than their cousins in London,
Paris, or New York.  The sobriety of taste and severity of style
that characterise Scotswomen may be due, like Susanna Crum's
dubieties, to the haar, to the shorter catechism, or perhaps in some
degree to the presence of three branches of the Presbyterian Church
among them; the society that bears in its bosom three separate and
antagonistic kinds of Presbyterianism at the same time must have its
chilly moments.

In Lord Cockburn's time the `dames of high and aristocratic breed'
must have been sufficiently awake to feminine frivolities to be both
gorgeously and extravagantly arrayed.  I do not know in all
literature a more delicious and lifelike word-portrait than Lord
Cockburn gives of Mrs. Rochead, the Lady of Inverleith, in the
Memorials.  It is quite worthy to hang beside a Raeburn canvas; one
can scarce say more.

`Except Mrs. Siddons in some of her displays of magnificent royalty,
nobody could sit down like the Lady of Inverleith.  She would sail
like a ship from Tarshish, gorgeous in velvet or rustling silk, done
up in all the accompaniments of fans, ear-rings, and finger-rings,
falling sleeves, scent-bottle, embroidered bag, hoop, and train;
managing all this seemingly heavy rigging with as much ease as a
full-blown swan does its plumage.  She would take possession of the
centre of a large sofa, and at the same moment, without the
slightest visible exertion, cover the whole of it with her bravery,
the graceful folds seeming to lay themselves over it, like summer
waves.  The descent from her carriage, too, where she sat like a
nautilus in its shell, was a display which no one in these days
could accomplish or even fancy.  The mulberry-coloured coach,
apparently not too large for what it contained, though she alone was
in it; the handsome, jolly coachman and his splendid hammer-cloth
loaded with lace; the two respectful liveried footmen, one on each
side of the richly carpeted step,--these were lost sight of amidst
the slow majesty with which the Lady of Inverleith came down and
touched the earth.'

My right-hand neighbour at Lady Baird's dinner was surprised at my
quoting Lord Cockburn.  One's attendant squires here always seem
surprised when one knows anything; but they are always delighted,
too, so that the amazement is less trying.  True, I had read the
Memorials only the week before, and had never heard of them previous
to that time; but that detail, according to my theories, makes no
real difference.  The woman who knows how and when to `read up,' who
reads because she wants to be in sympathy with a new environment;
the woman who has wit and perspective enough to be stimulated by
novel conditions and kindled by fresh influences, who is susceptible
to the vibrations of other people's history, is safe to be fairly
intelligent and extremely agreeable, if only she is sufficiently
modest.  I think my neighbour found me thoroughly delightful after
he discovered my point of view.  He was an earl; and it always takes
an earl a certain length of time to understand me.  I scarcely know
why, for I certainly should not think it courteous to interpose any
real barriers between the nobility and that portion of the `masses'
represented in my humble person.

It seemed to me at first that the earl did not apply himself to the
study of my national peculiarities with much assiduity, but wasted
considerable time in gazing at Francesca, who was opposite.  She is
certainly very handsome, and I never saw her lovelier than at that
dinner; her eyes were like stars, and her cheeks and lips a splendid
crimson, for she was quarrelling with her attendant cavalier about
the relative merits of Scotland and America, and they apparently
ceased to speak to each other after the salad.

When the earl had sufficiently piqued me by his devotion to his
dinner and his glances at Francesca, I began a systematic attempt to
achieve his (transient) subjugation.  Of course I am ardently
attached to Willie Beresford and prefer him to any earl in Britain,
but one's self-respect demands something in the way of food.  I
could see Salemina at the far end of the table radiant with success,
the W.S. at her side bending ever and anon to catch the (artificial)
pearls of thought that dropped from her lips.  "Miss Hamilton
appears simple" (I thought I heard her say); "but in reality she is
as deep as the Currie Brig!"  Now where did she get that allusion?
And again, when the W.S. asked her whither she was going when she
left Edinburgh, "I hardly know," she replied pensively.  "I am
waiting for the shade of Montrose to direct me, as the Viscount
Dundee said to your Duke of Gordon."  The entranced Scotsman little
knew that she had perfected this style of conversation by long
experience with the Q.C.'s of England.  Talk about my being as deep
as the Currie Brig (whatever it may be); Salemina is deeper than the
Atlantic Ocean!  I shall take pains to inform her Writer to the
Signet, after dinner, that she eats sugar on her porridge every
morning; that will show him her nationality conclusively.

The earl took the greatest interest in my new ancestors, and
approved thoroughly of my choice.  He thinks I must have been named
for Lady Penelope Belhaven, who lived in Leven Lodge, one of the
country villas of the Earls of Leven, from whom he himself is
descended.  "Does that make us relatives?" I asked.  "Relatives,
most assuredly," he replied, "but not too near to destroy the charm
of friendship."

He thought it a great deal nicer to select one's own forebears than
to allow them all the responsibility, and said it would save a world
of trouble if the method could be universally adopted.  He added
that he should be glad to part with a good many of his, but doubted
whether I would accept them, as they were `rather a scratch lot.'
(I use his own language, which I thought delightfully easy for a
belted earl.)  He was charmed with the story of Francesca and the
lamiter, and offered to drive me to Kildonan House, Helmsdale, on
the first fine day.  I told him he was quite safe in making the
proposition, for we had already had the fine day, and we understood
that the climate had exhausted itself and retired for the season.

The gentleman on my left, a distinguished Dean of the Thistle, gave
me a few moments' discomfort by telling me that the old custom of
`rounds' of toasts still prevailed at Lady Baird's on formal
occasions, and that before the ladies retired every one would be
called upon for appropriate `sentiments.'

"What sort of sentiments?" I inquired, quite overcome with terror.

"Oh, epigrammatic sentences expressive of moral feelings or
virtues," replied my neighbour easily.  "They are not quite as
formal and hackneyed now as they were in the olden time, when some
of the favourite toasts were `May the pleasure of the evening bear
the reflections of the morning!'  `May the friends of our youth be
the companions of our old age!'  `May the honest heart never feel
distress!'  `May the hand of charity wipe the eye of sorrow!'"

"I can never do it in the world!" I ejaculated.  "Oh, one ought
never, never to leave one's own country!  A light-minded and cynical
English gentleman told me that I should frequently be called upon to
read hymns and recite verses of Scripture at family dinners in
Edinburgh, and I hope I am always prepared to do that; but nobody
warned me that I should have to evolve epigrammatic sentiments on
the spur of the moment."

My confusion was so evident that the good dean relented and
confessed that he was imposing upon my ignorance.  He made me laugh
heartily at the story of a poor dominie at Arndilly.  He was called
upon in his turn, at a large party, and having nothing to aid him in
an exercise to which he was new save the example of his
predecessors, lifted his glass after much writhing and groaning and
gave,  "The reflection of the moon in the cawm bosom of the lake!"

At this moment Lady Baird glanced at me, and we all rose to go into
the drawing-room; but on the way from my chair to the door, whither
the earl escorted me, he said gallantly, "I suppose the men in your
country do not take champagne at dinner?  I cannot fancy their
craving it when dining beside an American woman!"

That was charming, though he did pay my country a compliment at my
expense.  One likes, of course, to have the type recognised as fine;
at the same time his remark would have been more flattering if it
had been less sweeping.

When I remember that he offered me his ancestors, asked me to drive
two hundred and eighty miles, and likened me to champagne, I feel
that, with my heart already occupied and my hand promised, I could
hardly have accomplished more in the course of a single dinner-hour.



Chapter VII. Francesca meets th' unconquer'd Scot.



Francesca's experiences were not so fortunate; indeed, I have never
seen her more out of sorts than she was during our long chat over
the fire, after our return to Breadalbane Terrace.

"How did you get on with your delightful minister?" inquired
Salemina of the young lady, as she flung her unoffending wrap over
the back of a chair.  "He was quite the handsomest man in the room;
who is he?"

"He is the Reverend Ronald Macdonald, and the most disagreeable,
condescending, ill-tempered prig I ever met!"

"Why, Francesca!" I exclaimed. "Lady Baird speaks of him as her
favourite nephew, and says he is full of charm."

"He is just as full of charm as he was when I met him," returned the
girl nonchalantly; "that is, he parted with none of it this evening.
He was incorrigibly stiff and rude, and oh! so Scotch!  I believe if
one punctured him with a hat-pin, oatmeal would fly into the air!"

"Doubtless you acquainted him, early in the evening, with the
immeasurable advantages of our sleeping-car system, the superiority
of our fast-running elevators, and the height of our buildings?"
observed Salemina.

"I mentioned them," Francesca answered evasively.

"You naturally inveighed against the Scotch climate?"

"Oh, I alluded to it; but only when he said that our hot summers
must be insufferable."

"I suppose you repeated the remark you made at luncheon, that the
ladies you had seen in Princes Street were excessively plain?"

"Yes, I did!" she replied hotly; "but that was because he said that
American girls generally looked bloodless and frail.  He asked if it
were really true that they ate chalk and slate pencils.  Wasn't that
unendurable?  I answered that those were the chief solid article of
food, but that after their complexions were established, so to
speak, their parents often allowed them pickles and native claret to
vary the diet."

"What did he say to that?" I asked.

"Oh, he said, `Quite so, quite so'; that was his invariable response
to all my witticisms.  Then when I told him casually that the shops
looked very small and dark and stuffy here, and that there were not
as many tartans and plaids in the windows as we had expected, he
remarked that as to the latter point, the American season had not
opened yet!  Presently he asserted that no royal city in Europe
could boast ten centuries of such glorious and stirring history as
Edinburgh.  I said it did not appear to be stirring much at present,
and that everything in Scotland seemed a little slow to an American;
that he could have no idea of push or enterprise until he visited a
city like Chicago.  He retorted that, happily, Edinburgh was
peculiarly free from the taint of the ledger and the counting-house;
that it was Weimar without a Goethe, Boston without its twang!"

"Incredible!" cried Salemina, deeply wounded in her local pride.
"He never could have said `twang' unless you had tried him beyond
measure!"

"I dare say I did; he is easily tried," returned Francesca.  "I
asked him, sarcastically, if he had ever been in Boston.  `No,' he
said, `it is not necessary to GO there!  And while we are discussing
these matters,' he went on, `how is your American dyspepsia these
days,--have you decided what is the cause of it?'

"'Yes, we have,' said I, as quick as a flash; `we have always taken
in more foreigners than we could assimilate!'  I wanted to tell him
that one Scotsman of his type would upset the national digestion
anywhere, but I restrained myself."

"I am glad you did restrain yourself--once," exclaimed Salemina.
"What a tactful person the Reverend Ronald must be, if you have
reported him faithfully!  Why didn't you give him up, and turn to
your other neighbour?"

"I did, as soon as I could with courtesy; but the man on my left was
the type that always haunts me at dinners; if the hostess hasn't one
on her visiting-list she imports one for the occasion.  He asked me
at once of what material the Brooklyn Bridge is made.  I told him I
really didn't know.  Why should I?  I seldom go over it.  Then he
asked me whether it was a suspension bridge or a cantilever.  Of
course I didn't know; I am not an engineer."

"You are so tactlessly, needlessly candid," I expostulated.  "Why
didn't you say boldly that the Brooklyn Bridge is a wooden
cantilever, with gutta-percha braces?  He didn't know, or he
wouldn't have asked you.  He couldn't find out until he reached
home, and you would never have seen him again; and if you had, and
he had taunted you, you could have laughed vivaciously and said you
were chaffing.  That is my method, and it is the only way to
preserve life in a foreign country.  Even my earl, who did not
thirst for information (fortunately), asked me the population of the
Yellowstone Park, and I simply told him three hundred thousand, at a
venture."

"That would never have satisfied my neighbour," said Francesca.
"Finding me in such a lamentable state of ignorance, he explained
the principle of his own stupid Forth Bridge to me.  When I said I
understood perfectly, just to get into shallower water, where we
wouldn't need any bridge, the Reverend Ronald joined in the
conversation, and asked me to repeat the explanation to him.
Naturally I couldn't, and he knew that I couldn't when he asked me,
so the bridge man (I don't know his name, and don't care to know it)
drew a diagram of the national idol on his dinner-card and gave a
dull and elaborate lecture upon it.  Here is the card, and now that
three hours have intervened I cannot tell which way to turn the
drawing so as to make the bridge right side up; if there is anything
puzzling in the world, it is these architectural plans and diagrams.
I am going to pin it to the wall and ask the Reverend Ronald which
way it goes."

"Do you mean that he will call upon us?" we cried in concert.

"He asked if he might come and continue our `stimulating'
conversation, and as Lady Baird was standing by I could hardly say
no.  I am sure of one thing:  that before I finish with him I will
widen his horizon so that he will be able to see something beside
Scotland and his little insignificant Fifeshire parish!  I told him
our country parishes in America were ten times as large as his.  He
said he had heard that they covered a good deal of territory, and
that the ministers' salaries were sometimes paid in pork and
potatoes.  That shows you the style of his retorts!"

"I really cannot decide which of you was the more disagreeable,"
said Salemina; "if he calls, I shall not remain in the room."

"I wouldn't gratify him by staying out," retorted Francesca.  "He is
extremely good for the circulation; I think I was never so warm in
my life as when I talked with him; as physical exercise he is equal
to bicycling.  The bridge man is coming to call, too.  I made him a
diagram of Breadalbane Terrace, and a plan of the hall and
staircase, on my dinner-card.  He was distinctly ungrateful; in
fact, he remarked that he had been born in this very house, but
would not trust himself to find his way upstairs with my plan as a
guide.  He also said the American vocabulary was vastly amusing, so
picturesque, unstudied, and fresh."

"That was nice, surely," I interpolated.

"You know perfectly well that it was an insult."

"Francesca is very like that young man," laughed Salemina, "who,
whenever he engaged in controversy, seemed to take off his flesh and
sit in his nerves."

"I'm not supersensitive," replied Francesca, "but when one's
vocabulary is called picturesque by a Britisher, one always knows he
is thinking of cowboys and broncos.  However, I shifted the weight
into the other scale by answering `Thank you.  And your phraseology
is just as unusual to us.'  `Indeed?' he said with some surprise.
`I supposed our method of expression very sedate and uneventful.'
`Not at all,' I returned, `when you say, as you did a moment ago,
that you never eat potato to your fish.'  `But I do not,' he urged
obtusely.  `Very likely,' I argued, `but the fact is not of so much
importance as the preposition.  Now I eat potato WITH my fish.'
`You make a mistake,' he said, and we both laughed in spite of
ourselves, while he murmured, `eating potato WITH fish--how
extraordinary.'  Well, the bridge man may not add perceptibly to the
gaiety of the nations, but he is better than the Reverend Ronald.  I
forgot to say that when I chanced to be speaking of doughnuts, that
`unconquer'd Scot' asked me if a doughnut resembled a peanut?  Can
you conceive such ignorance?"

"I think you were not only aggressively American, but painfully
provincial," said Salemina, with some warmth.  "Why in the world
should you drag doughnuts into a dinner-table conversation in
Edinburgh?  Why not select topics of universal interest?"

"Like the Currie Brig or the shade of Montrose," I murmured slyly.

"To one who has ever eaten a doughnut, the subject is of
transcendent interest; and as for one who has not--well, he should
be made to feel his limitations," replied Francesca, with a yawn.
"Come, let us forget our troubles in sleep; it is after midnight."

About half an hour later she came to my bedside, her dark hair
hanging over her white gown, her eyes still bright.

"Penelope," she said softly, "I did not dare tell Salemina, and I
should not confess it to you save that I am afraid Lady Baird will
complain of me; but I was dreadfully rude to the Reverend Ronald!  I
couldn't help it; he roused my worst passions.  It all began with
his saying he thought international marriages presented even more
difficulties to the imagination than the other kind.  I hadn't said
anything about marriages nor thought anything about marriages of any
sort, but I told him INSTANTLY I considered that every international
marriage involved two national suicides.  He said that he shouldn't
have put it quite so forcibly, but that he hadn't given much thought
to the subject.  I said that I had, and I thought we had gone on
long enough filling the coffers of the British nobility with
American gold."

"FRANCES!" I interrupted.  "Don't tell me that you made that vulgar,
cheap newspaper assertion!"

"I did," she replied stoutly,  "and at the moment I only wished I
could make it stronger.  If there had been anything cheaper or more
vulgar, I should have said it, but of course there isn't.  Then he
remarked that the British nobility merited and needed all the
support it could get in these hard times, and asked if we had not
cherished some intention in the States, lately, of bestowing it in
greenbacks instead of gold!  I threw all manners to the winds after
that and told him that there were no husbands in the world like
American men, and that foreigners never seemed to have any proper
consideration for women.  Now, were my remarks any worse than his,
after all, and what shall I do about it anyway?"

"You should go to bed first," I murmured sleepily; "and if you ever
have an opportunity to make amends, which I doubt, you should devote
yourself to showing the Reverend Ronald the breadth of your own
horizon instead of trying so hard to broaden his.  As you are
extremely pretty, you may possibly succeed; man is human, and I dare
say in a month you will be advising him to love somebody more worthy
than yourself.  (He could easily do it!)  Now don't kiss me again,
for I am displeased with you; I hate international bickering!"

"So do I," agreed Francesca virtuously, as she plaited her hair,
"and there is no spectacle so abhorrent to every sense as a narrow-
minded man who cannot see anything outside of his own country.  But
he is awfully good-looking,--I will say that for him:  and if you
don't explain me to Lady Baird, I will write to Mr. Beresford about
the earl.  There was no bickering there; it was looking at you two
that made us think of international marriages."

"It must have suggested to you that speech about filling the coffers
of the British nobility," I replied sarcastically, "inasmuch as the
earl has twenty thousand pounds a year, probably, and I could barely
buy two gold hairpins to pin on the coronet.  There, do go away and
leave me in peace!"

"Good night again, then," she said, as she rose reluctantly from the
foot of the bed.  "I doubt if I can sleep for thinking what a pity
it is that such an egotistic, bumptious, pugnacious, prejudiced,
insular, bigoted person should be so handsome!  And who wants to
marry him any way, that he should be so distressed about
international alliances?  One would think that all female America
was sighing to lead him to the altar!"



Chapter VIII. `What made th' Assembly shine?'



Two or three days ago we noted an unusual though subdued air of
excitement at 22 Breadalbane Terrace, where for a week we had been
the sole lodgers.  Mrs. Menzies, whom we call Mingess, has returned
to Kilconquhar, which she calls Kinyuchar; Miss Cockburn-Sinclair
has purchased her wedding outfit and gone back to Inverness, where
she will be greeted as Coburn-Sinkler; the Hepburn-Sciennes will be
leaving to-morrow, just as we have learned to pronounce their names;
and the sound of the scrubbing-brush is heard in the land.  In
corners where all was clean and spotless before, Mrs. M'Collop is
digging with the broom, and the maiden Boots is following her with a
damp cloth.  The stair carpets are hanging on lines in the back
garden, and Susanna, with her cap rakishly on one side, is always to
be seen polishing the stair-rods.  Whenever we traverse the halls we
are obliged to leap over pails of suds, and Miss Diggity-Dalgety has
given us two dinners which bore a curious resemblance to washing-day
repasts in suburban America.

"Is it spring house-cleaning?" I ask Mistress M'Collop.

"Na, na," she replies hurriedly; "it's the meenisters."

On the 19th of May we are a maiden castle no longer.  Black coats
and hats ring at the bell, and pass in and out of the different
apartments.  The hall table is sprinkled with letters, visiting-
cards, and programmes which seem to have had the alphabet shaken out
upon them, for they bear the names of professors, doctors,
reverends, and very reverends, and fairly bristle with A.M.'s,
M.A.'s, A.B.'s, D.D.'s, and LL.D.'s.  The voice of family prayer is
lifted up from the dining-room floor, and paraphrases and hymns
float down the stairs from above.  Their Graces the Lord High
Commissioner and the Marchioness of Heatherdale will arrive to-day
at Holyrood Palace, there to reside during the sittings of the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and to-morrow the Royal
Standard will be hoisted at Edinburgh Castle from reveille to
retreat.  His Grace will hold a levee at eleven.  Directly His Grace
leaves the palace after the levee, the guard of honour will proceed
by the Canongate to receive him on his arrival at St. Giles' Church,
and will then proceed to Assembly Hall to receive him on his arrival
there.  The Sixth Inniskilling Dragoons and the First Battalion
Royal Scots will be in attendance, and there will be Unicorns,
Carricks, pursuivants, heralds, mace-bearers, ushers, and pages,
together with the Purse-bearer, and the Lyon King-of-Arms, and the
national anthem, and the royal salute; for the palace has awakened
and is `mimicking its past.'

`Should the weather be wet, the troops will be cloaked at the
discretion of the commanding officer.'  They print this instruction
as a matter of form, and of course every man has his macintosh
ready.  The only hope lies in the fact that this is a national
function, and `Queen's weather' is a possibility.  The one personage
for whom the Scottish climate will occasionally relax is Her Majesty
Queen Victoria, who for sixty years has exerted a benign influence
on British skies and at least secured sunshine on great parade days.
Such women are all too few!

In this wise enters His Grace the Lord High Commissioner to open the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; and on the same day
there arrives by the railway (but travelling first class) the
Moderator of the Church of Scotland Free, to convene its separate
supreme Courts in Edinburgh.  He will have no Union Jacks, Royal
Standards, Dragoons, bands, or pipers; he will bear his own purse
and stay at an hotel; but when the final procession of all comes, he
will probably march beside His Grace the Lord High Commissioner, and
they will talk together, not of dead-and-gone kingdoms, but of the
one at hand, where there are no more divisions in the ranks, and
where all the soldiers are simply `king's men,' marching to victory
under the inspiration of a common watchword.

It is a matter of regret to us that the U.P.'s, the third branch of
Scottish Presbyterianism, could not be holding an Assembly during
this same week, so that we might the more easily decide in which
flock we really belong.  22 Breadalbane Terrace now represents all
shades of religious opinion within the bounds of Presbyterianism.
We have an Elder, a Professor of Biblical Criticism, a Majesty's
Chaplain, and even an ex-Moderator under our roof, and they are
equally divided between the Free and the Established bodies.

Mrs. M'Collop herself is a pillar of the Free Kirk, but she has no
prejudice in lodgers, and says so long as she `mak's her rent she
doesna care aboot their releegious principles.'  Miss Diggity-
Dalgety is the sole representative of United Presbyterianism in the
household, and she is somewhat gloomy in Assembly time.  To belong
to a dissenting body, and yet to cook early and late for the purpose
of fattening one's religious rivals, is doubtless trying to the
temper; and then she asserts that `meenisters are aye tume [empty].'

"You must put away your Scottish ballads and histories now,
Salemina, and keep your Concordance and your umbrella constantly at
hand."

This I said as we stood on George IV. Bridge and saw the ministers
glooming down from the Mound in a dense Assembly fog.  As the
presence of any considerable number of priests on an ocean steamer
is supposed to bring rough weather, so the addition of a few hundred
parsons to the population of Edinburgh is believed to induce rain,--
or perhaps I should say, more rain.

Of course, when one is in perfect bodily health one can more readily
resist the infection of disease.  Similarly if Scottish skies were
not ready and longing to pour out rain, were not ignobly weak in
holding it back, they would not be so susceptible to the depressing
influences of visiting ministers.  This is Francesca's theory as
stated to the Reverend Ronald, who was holding an umbrella over her
ungrateful head at the time; and she went on to boast of a
convention she once attended in California, where twenty-six
thousand Christian Endeavourers were unable to dim the American
sunshine, though they stayed ten days.

"Our first duty, both to ourselves and to the community," I
continued to Salemina, "is to learn how there can be three distinct
kinds of proper Presbyterianism.  Perhaps it would be a graceful act
on our part if we should each espouse a different kind; then there
would be no feeling among our Edinburgh friends.  And again what is
this `union' of which we hear murmurs?  Is it religious or
political?  Is it an echo of the 1707 Union you explained to us last
week, or is it a new one?  What is Disestablishment?  What is
Disruption?  Are they the same thing?  What is the Sustentation
Fund?  What was the Non-Intrusion party?  What was the Dundas
Despotism?  What is the argument at present going on about taking
the Shorter Catechism out of the schools?  What is the Shorter
Catechism, any way,--or at least what have they left out of the
Longer Catechism to make it shorter,--and is the length of the
Catechism one of the points of difference?  then when we have looked
up Chalmers and Candlish, we can ask the ex-Moderator and the
Professor of Biblical Criticism to tea; separately, of course, lest
there should be ecclesiastical quarrels."

Salemina and Francesca both incline to the Established church, I
lean instinctively toward the Free; but that does not mean that we
have any knowledge of the differences that separate them.  Salemina
is a conservative in all things; she loves law, order, historic
associations, old customs; and so when there is a regularly
established national church,--or, for that matter, a regularly
established anything, she gravitates to it by the law of her being.
Francesca's religious convictions, when she is away from her own
minister and native land, are inclined to be flexible.  The church
that enters Edinburgh with a marquis and a marchioness representing
the Crown, the church that opens its Assembly with splendid
processions and dignified pageants, the church that dispenses
generous hospitality from Holyrood Palace,--above all, the church
that escorts its Lord High Commissioner from place to place with
bands and pipers,--that is the church to which she pledges her
constant presence and enthusiastic support.

As for me, I believe I am a born protestant, or `come-outer,' as
they used to call dissenters in the early days of New England.  I
have not yet had time to study the question, but as I lack all
knowledge of the other two branches of Presbyterianism, I am enabled
to say unhesitatingly that I belong to the Free Kirk.  To begin
with, the very word `free' has a fascination for the citizen of a
republic; and then my theological training was begun this morning by
a gifted young minister of Edinburgh whom we call the Friar, because
the first time we saw him in his gown and bands (the little spot of
sheer whiteness beneath the chin, that lends such added spirituality
to a spiritual face) we fancied that he looked like some pale
brother of the Church in the olden time.  His pallor, in a land of
rosy redness and milky whiteness; his smooth, fair hair, which in
the light from the stained-glass window above the pulpit looked
reddish gold; the Southern heat of passionate conviction that
coloured his slow Northern speech; the remoteness of his
personality; the weariness of his deep-set eyes, that bespoke such
fastings and vigils as he probably never practised,--all this led to
our choice of the name.

As we walked toward St. Andrew's Church and Tanfield Hall, where he
insisted on taking me to get the `proper historical background,' he
told me about the great Disruption movement.  He was extremely
eloquent,--so eloquent that the image of Willie Beresford tottered
continually on its throne, and I found not the slightest difficulty
in giving an unswerving allegiance to the principles presented by
such an orator.

We went first to St. Andrew's, where the General Assembly met in
1843, and where the famous exodus of the Free Protesting Church took
place,--one of the most important events in the modern history of
the United Kingdom.

The movement was promoted by the great Dr. Chalmers and his party,
mainly to abolish the patronage of livings, then in the hands of
certain heritors or patrons, who might appoint any minister they
wished, without consulting the congregation.  Needless to say, as a
free-born American citizen, and never having had a heritor in the
family, my blood easily boiled at the recital of such tyranny.  In
1834 the Church had passed a law of its own, it seems, ordaining
that no presentee to a parish should be admitted, if opposed by the
majority of the male communicants.  That would have been well enough
could the State have been made to agree, though I should have gone
further, personally, and allowed the female communicants to have
some voice in the matter.

The Friar took me into a particularly chilly historic corner, and,
leaning against a damp stone pillar, painted the scene in St.
Andrew's when the Assembly met in the presence of a great body of
spectators, while a vast throng gathered without, breathlessly
awaiting the result.  No one believed that any large number of
ministers would relinquish livings and stipends and cast their bread
upon the waters for what many thought a `fantastic principle.'  Yet
when the Moderator left his place, after reading a formal protest
signed by one hundred and twenty ministers and seventy-two elders,
he was followed first by Dr. Chalmers, and then by four hundred and
seventy men, who marched in a body to Tanfield Hall, where they
formed themselves into the General Assembly of the Free Church of
Scotland.  When Lord Jeffrey was told of it an hour later, he
exclaimed, `Thank God for Scotland!  there is not another country on
earth where such a deed could be done!'  And the Friar reminded me
proudly of Macaulay's saying that the Scots had made sacrifices for
the sake of religious opinion for which there was no parallel in the
annals of England.  On the next Sunday after these remarkable scenes
in Edinburgh there were heart-breaking farewells, so the Friar said,
in many village parishes, when the minister, in dismissing his
congregation, told them that he had ceased to belong to the
Established Church and would neither preach nor pray in that pulpit
again; that he had joined the Free Protesting Church of Scotland,
and, God willing, would speak the next Sabbath morning at the manse
door to as many as cared to follow him.  "What affecting leave-
takings there must have been!" the Friar exclaimed.  "When my
grandfather left his church that May morning, only fifteen members
remained behind, and he could hear the more courageous say to the
timid ones, `Tak' your Bible and come awa', mon!'  Was not all this
a splendid testimony to the power of principle and the sacred
demands of conscience?"  I said "Yea" most heartily, for the spirit
of Jenny Geddes stirred within me that morning, and under the spell
of the Friar's kindling eye and eloquent voice I positively gloried
in the valiant achievements of the Free Church.  It would always be
easier for a woman to say, "Yea" than "Nay" to the Friar.  When he
left me in Breadalbane Terrace I was at heart a member of his
congregation in good (and irregular) standing, ready to teach in his
Sunday-school, sing in his choir, visit his aged and sick poor, and
especially to stand between him and a too admiring feminine
constituency.

When I entered the drawing-room, I found that Salemina had just
enjoyed an hour's conversation with the ex-Moderator of the opposite
church wing.

"Oh, my dear," she sighed, "you have missed such a treat!  You have
no conception of these Scottish ministers of the Establishment,--
such culture, such courtliness of manner, such scholarship, such
spirituality, such wise benignity of opinion!  I asked the doctor to
explain the Disruption movement to me, and he was most interesting
and lucid, and most affecting, too, when he described the
misunderstandings and misconceptions that the Church suffered in
those terrible days of 1843, when its very life-blood, as well as
its integrity and unity, were threatened by the foes in its own
household; when breaches of faith and trust occurred on all sides,
and dissents and disloyalties shook it to its very foundation!  You
see, Penelope, I have never fully understood the disagreements about
heritors and livings and state control before, but here is the whole
matter in a nut-sh--"

"My dear Salemina," I interposed, with dignity, "you will pardon me,
I am sure, when I tell you that any discussion on this point would
be intensely painful to me, as I now belong to the Free Kirk."

"Where have you been this morning?" she asked, with a piercing
glance.

"To St. Andrew's and Tanfield Hall."

"With whom?"

"With the Friar."

"I see!  Happy the missionary to whom you incline your ear, FIRST!"-
-which I thought rather inconsistent of Salemina, as she had been
converted by precisely the same methods and in precisely the same
length of time as had I, the only difference being in the ages of
our respective missionaries, one being about five-and-thirty, and
other five-and-sixty.  Even this is to my credit after all, for if
one can be persuaded so quickly and fully by a young and
comparatively inexperienced man, it shows that one must be extremely
susceptible to spiritual influences or--something.



Chapter IX. Omnia presbyteria est divisa in partes tres.



Religion in Edinburgh is a theory, a convention, a fashion (both
humble and aristocratic), a sensation, an intellectual conviction,
an emotion, a dissipation, a sweet habit of the blood; in fact, it
is, it seems to me, every sort of thing it can be to the human
spirit.

When we had finished our church toilettes, and came into the
drawing-room, on the first Sunday morning, I remember that we found
Francesca at the window.

"There is a battle, murder, or sudden death going on in the square
below," she said.  "I am going to ask Susanna to ask Mrs. M'Collop
what it means.  Never have I seen such a crowd moving peacefully,
with no excitement or confusion, in one direction.  Where can the
people be going?  Do you suppose it is a fire?  Why, I believe . . .
it cannot be possible . . . yes, they certainly are disappearing in
that big church on the corner; and millions, simply millions and
trillions, are coming in the other direction,--toward St. Knox's."

Impressive as was this morning church-going, a still greater
surprise awaited us at seven o'clock in the evening, when the crowd
blocked the streets on two sides of a church near Breadalbane
Terrace; and though it was quite ten minutes before service when we
entered, Salemina and I only secured the last two seats in the
aisle, and Francesca was obliged to sit on the steps of the pulpit
or seek a sermon elsewhere.

It amused me greatly to see Francesca sitting on pulpit steps, her
Paris gown and smart toque in close juxtaposition to the rusty
bonnet and bombazine dress of a respectable elderly tradeswoman.
The church officer entered first, bearing the great Bible and hymn-
book, which he reverently placed on the pulpit cushions; and close
behind him, to our entire astonishment, came the Reverend Ronald
Macdonald, evidently exchanging with the regular minister of the
parish, whom we had come especially to hear.  I pitied Francesca's
confusion and embarrassment, but I was too far from her to offer an
exchange of seats, and through the long service she sat there at the
feet of her foe, so near that she could have touched the hem of his
gown as he knelt devoutly for his first silent prayer.

Perhaps she was thinking of her last interview with him, when she
descanted at length on that superfluity of naughtiness and Biblical
pedantry which, she asserted, made Scottish ministers preach from
out-of-the-way texts.

"I have never been able to find my place in the Bible since I
arrived," she complained to Salemina, when she was quite sure that
Mr. Macdonald was listening to her; and this he generally was, in my
opinion, no matter who chanced to be talking.  "What with their
skipping and hopping about from Haggai to Philemon, Habakkuk to
Jude, and Micah to Titus, in their readings, and then settling on
seventh Nahum, sixth Zephaniah, or second Calathumpians for the
sermon, I do nothing but search the Scriptures in the Edinburgh
churches,--search, search, search, until some Christian by my side
or in the pew behind me notices my hapless plight, and hands me a
Bible opened at the text.  Last Sunday it was Obadiah first,
fifteenth, `For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen.'
It chanced to be a returned missionary who was preaching on that
occasion; but the Bible is full of heathen, and why need he have
chosen a text from Obadiah, poor little Obadiah one page long,
slipped in between Amos and Jonah, where nobody but an elder could
find him?"  If Francesca had not seen with wicked delight the
Reverend Ronald's expression of anxiety, she would never have spoken
of second Calathumpians; but of course he has no means of knowing
how unlike herself she is when in his company.


To go back to our first Sunday worship in Edinburgh.  The church
officer closed the door of the pulpit on the Reverend Ronald, and I
thought I heard the clicking of a lock; at all events, he returned
at the close of the services to liberate him and escort him back to
the vestry; for the entrances and exits of this beadle, or
`minister's man,' as the church officer is called in the country
districts, form an impressive part of the ceremonies.  If he did
lock the minister into the pulpit, it is probably only another
national custom, like the occasional locking in of the passengers in
a railway train, and may be positively necessary in the case of such
magnetic and popular preachers as Mr. Macdonald, or the Friar.

I have never seen such attention, such concentration, as in these
great congregations of the Edinburgh churches.  As nearly as I can
judge, it is intellectual rather than emotional; but it is not a
tribute paid to eloquence alone, it is habitual and universal, and
is yielded loyally to insufferable dulness when occasion demands.

When the text is announced, there is an indescribable rhythmic
movement forward, followed by a concerted rustle of Bible leaves;
not the rustle of a few Bibles in a few pious pews, but the rustle
of all of them in all the pews,--and there are more Bibles in an
Edinburgh Presbyterian church than one ever sees anywhere else,
unless it be in the warehouses of the Bible Societies.

The text is read twice clearly, and another rhythmic movement
follows when the books are replaced on the shelves.  Then there is a
delightful settling back of the entire congregation, a snuggling
comfortably into corners and a fitting of shoulders to the pews.--
not to sleep, however; an older generation may have done that under
the strain of a two-hour `wearifu' dreich' sermon, but these church-
goers are not to be caught napping.  They wear, on the contrary, a
keen, expectant, critical look, which must be inexpressibly
encouraging to the minister, if he has anything to say.  If he has
not (and this is a possibility in Edinburgh, as it is everywhere
else), then I am sure it is wisdom for the beadle to lock him in,
lest he flee when he meets those searching eyes.

The Edinburgh sermon, though doubtless softened in outline in these
later years, is still a more carefully built discourse than one
ordinarily hears out of Scotland, being constructed on conventional
lines of doctrine, exposition, logical inference, and practical
application.  Though modern preachers do not announce the division
of their subject into heads and sub-heads, firstlies and secondlies
and finallies, my brethren, there seems to be the old framework
underneath the sermon, and every one recognises it as moving
silently below the surface; at least, I always fancy that as the
minister finishes one point and attacks another the younger folk fix
their eagle eyes on him afresh, and the whole congregation sits up
straighter and listens more intently, as if making mental notes.
They do not listen so much as if they were enthralled, though they
often are, and have good reason to be, but as if they were to pass
an examination on the subject afterwards; and I have no doubt that
this is the fact.

The prayers are many, and are divided, apparently, like those of the
liturgies, into petitions, confessions, and aspirations; not
forgetting the all-embracing one with which we are perfectly
familiar in our native land, in which the preacher commends to the
Fatherly care every animate and inanimate thing not mentioned
specifically in the foregoing supplications.  It was in the middle
of this compendious petition, `the lang prayer,' that rheumatic old
Scottish dames used to make a practice of `cheengin' the fit,' as
they stood devoutly through it.  "When the meenister comes to the
`ingetherin' o' the Gentiles,' I ken weel it's time to cheenge legs,
for then the prayer is jist half dune," said a good sermon-taster of
Fife.

The organ is finding its way rapidly into the Scottish kirks (how
can the shade of John Knox endure a `kist o' whistles' in good St.
Giles'?), but it is not used yet in some of those we attend most
frequently.  There is a certain quaint solemnity, a beautiful
austerity, in the unaccompanied singing of hymns that touches me
profoundly.  I am often carried very high on the waves of splendid
church music, when the organ's thunder rolls `through vaulted
aisles' and the angelic voices of a trained choir chant the
aspirations of my soul for me; and when an Edinburgh congregation
stands, and the precentor leads in that noble paraphrase,

  `God of our fathers, be the God
   Of their succeeding race,'

there is a certain ascetic fervour in it that seems to me the
perfection of worship.  It may be that my Puritan ancestors are
mainly responsible for this feeling, or perhaps my recently adopted
Jenny Geddes is a factor in it; of course, if she were in the habit
of flinging fauldstules at Deans, she was probably the friend of
truth and the foe of beauty, so far as it was in her power to
separate them.

There is no music during the offertory in these churches, and this,
too, pleases my sense of the fitness of things.  It cannot soften
the woe of the people who are disinclined to the giving away of
money, and the cheerful givers need no encouragement.  For my part,
I like to sit, quite undistracted by soprano solos, and listen to
the refined tinkle of the sixpences and shillings, and the vulgar
chink of the pennies and ha'pennies, in the contribution-boxes.
Country ministers, I am told, develop such an acute sense of hearing
that they can estimate the amount of the collection before it is
counted.  There is often a huge pewter plate just within the church
door, in which the offerings are placed as the worshippers enter or
leave; and one always notes the preponderance of silver at the
morning, and of copper at the evening services.  It is perhaps
needless to say that before Francesca had been in Edinburgh a
fortnight she asked Mr. Macdonald if it were true that the Scots
continued coining the farthing for years and years, merely to have a
piece of money serviceable for church offerings!

As to social differences in the congregations we are somewhat at
sea.  We tried to arrive at a conclusion by the hats and bonnets,
than which there is usually no more infallible test.  On our first
Sunday we attended the Free Kirk in the morning, and the Established
in the evening.  The bonnets of the Free Kirk were so much the more
elegant that we said to one another, "This is evidently the church
of society, though the adjective 'Free' should by rights attract the
masses."  On the second Sunday we reversed the order of things, and
found the Established bonnets much finer than the Free bonnets,
which was a source of mystification to us, until we discovered that
it was a question of morning or evening service, not of the form of
Presbyterianism.  We think, on the whole, that, taking town and
country congregations together, millinery has not flourished under
Presbyterianism,--it seems to thrive better in the Romish atmosphere
of France; but the Disruption at least, has had nothing to answer
for in the matter, as it appears simply to have parted the bonnets
of Scotland in twain, as Moses divided the Red Sea, and left good
and evil on both sides.

I can never forget our first military service at St. Giles'.  We
left Breadalbane Terrace before nine in the morning and walked along
the beautiful curve of street that sweeps around the base of the
Castle Rock,--walked on through the poverty and squalor of the High
Street, keeping in view the beautiful lantern tower as a guiding-
star, till we heard

  `The murmur of the city crowd;
   And, from his steeple, jingling loud,
     St. Giles's mingling din.'

We joined the throng outside the venerable church, and awaited the
approach of the soldiers from the Castle parade-ground; for it is
from there they march in detachments to the church of their choice.
A religion they must have, and if, when called up and questioned
about it, they have forgotten to provide themselves, or have no
preference as to form of worship, they are assigned to one by the
person in authority.  When the regiments are assembled on the
parade-ground of a Sunday morning, the first command is, `Church of
Scotland, right about face, quick march!'--the bodies of men
belonging to other denominations standing fast until their turn
comes to move.  It is said that a new officer once gave the command,
`Church of Scotland, right about face, quick march!  Fancy
releegions, stay where ye are!'

Just as we were being told this story by an attendant squire, there
was a burst of scarlet and a blare of music, and down Castlehill and
the Lawnmarket into Parliament Square marched hundreds of redcoats,
the Highland pipers (otherwise the Olympian gods) swinging in front,
leaving the American female heart prostrate beneath their victorious
tread.  The strains of music that in the distance sounded so martial
and triumphant we recognised in a moment as `Abide with me,' and
never did the fine old tune seem more majestic than when it marked a
measure for the steady tramp, tramp, tramp, of those soldierly feet.
As `The March of the Cameron Men,' piped from the green steeps of
Castlehill, had aroused in us thoughts of splendid victories on the
battlefield, so did this simple hymn awake the spirit of the church
militant; a no less stern but more spiritual soldiership, in which
`the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make
peace.'

As I fell asleep on that first Sunday night in Edinburgh, after the
somewhat unusual experience of three church services in a single
day, three separate notes of memory floated in and out of the fabric
of my dreams; the sound of the soldiers' feet marching into old St.
Giles' to the strains of `Abide with me'; the voice of the Reverend
Ronald ringing out with manly insistence: `It is aspiration that
counts, not realisation; pursuit, not achievement; quest, not
conquest!'--and the closing phrases of the Friar's prayer; `When
Christ has forgiven us, help us to forgive ourselves!  Help us to
forgive ourselves so fully that we can even forget ourselves,
remembering only Him!  And so let His kingdom come; we ask it for
the King's sake, Amen.'



Chapter X. Mrs. M'Collop as a sermon-taster.



Even at this time of Assemblies, when the atmosphere is almost
exclusively clerical and ecclesiastical, the two great church armies
represented here certainly conceal from the casual observer all
rivalries and jealousies, if indeed they cherish any.  As for the
two dissenting bodies, the Church of the Disruption and the Church
of the Secession have been keeping company, so to speak, for some
years, with a distant eye to an eventual union.  In the light of all
this pleasant toleration, it seems difficult to realise that earlier
Edinburgh, where, we learned from old parochial records of 1605,
Margaret Sinclair was cited by the Session of the Kirk for being at
the `Burne' for water on the Sabbath; that Janet Merling was ordered
to make public repentance for concealing a bairn unbaptized in her
house for the space of twenty weeks and calling said bairn Janet;
that Pat Richardson had to crave mercy for being found in his boat
in time of afternoon service; and that Janet Walker, accused of
having visitors in her house in sermon-time, had to confess her
offence and on her knees crave mercy of God AND the Kirk Session
(which no doubt was much worse) under penalty of a hundred pounds
Scots.  Possibly there are people yet who would prefer to pay a
hundred pounds rather than hear a sermon, but they are few.

It was in the early seventeen hundred and thirties when Allan
Ramsay, `in fear and trembling of legal and clerical censure,' lent
out the plays of Congreve and Farquhar from his famous High Street
library.  In 1756 it was, that the Presbytery of Edinburgh suspended
all clergymen who had witnessed the representation of Douglas, that
virtuous tragedy written, to the dismay of all Scotland, by a
minister of the Kirk.  That the world, even the theological world,
moves with tolerable rapidity when once set in motion, is evinced by
the fact that on Mrs. Siddons' second engagement in Edinburgh, in
the summer of 1785, vast crowds gathered about the doors of the
theatre, not at night alone, but in the day, to secure places.  It
became necessary to admit them first at three in the afternoon and
then at noon, and eventually `the General Assembly of the Church
then in session was compelled to arrange its meetings with reference
to the appearance of the great actress.'  How one would have enjoyed
hearing that Scotsman say, after one of her most splendid flights of
tragic passion, `That's no bad!'  We have read of her dismay at this
ludicrous parsimony of praise, but her self-respect must have been
restored when the Edinburgh ladies fainted by dozens during her
impersonation of Isabella in The Fatal Marriage.

Since Scottish hospitality is well-nigh inexhaustible, it is not
strange that from the moment Edinburgh streets began to be crowded
with ministers, our drawing-room table began to bear shoals of
engraved invitations of every conceivable sort, all equally
unfamiliar to our American eyes.

`The Purse-Bearer is commanded by the Lord High Commissioner and the
Marchioness of Heatherdale to invite Miss Hamilton to a Garden Party
at the Palace of Holyrood House, on the 27th of May.  WEATHER
PERMITTING.'

`The General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland admits Miss
Hamilton to any gallery on any day.'

`The Marchioness of Heatherdale is At Home on the 26th of May from a
quarter-past nine in the evening.  Palace of Holyrood House.'

`The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of
Scotland is At Home in the Library of the New College on Saturday,
the 22nd of May, from eight to ten in the evening.'

`The Moderator asks the pleasure of Miss Hamilton's presence at a
Breakfast to be given on the morning of the 25th May at Dunedin
Hotel.'

We determined to go to all these functions impartially, tracking
thus the Presbyterian lion to his very lair, and observing his home
as well as his company manners.  In everything that related to the
distinctively religious side of the proceedings we sought advice
from Mrs. M'Collop, while we went to Lady Baird for definite
information on secular matters.  We also found an unexpected ally in
the person of our own ex-Moderator's niece, Miss Jean Dalziel
(Deeyell).  She has been educated in Paris, but she must always have
been a delightfully breezy person, quite too irrepressible to be
affected by Scottish haar or theology.  "Go to the Assemblies, by
all means," she said, "and be sure and get places for the heresy
case.  These are no longer what they once were,--we are getting
lamentably weak and gelatinous in our beliefs,--but there is an
unusually nice one this year; the heretic is very young and
handsome, and quite wicked, as ministers go.  Don't fail to be
presented at the Marchioness's court at Holyrood, for it is a
capital preparation for the ordeal of Her Majesty and Buckingham
Palace.  `Nothing fit to wear'?  You have never seen the people who
go or you wouldn't say that!  I even advise you to attend one of the
breakfasts; it can't do you any serious or permanent injury so long
as you eat something before you go.  Oh no, it doesn't matter,--
whichever one you choose, you will cheerfully omit the other; for I
avow, as a Scottish spinster, and the niece of an ex-Moderator, that
to a stranger and a foreigner the breakfasts are worse than Arctic
explorations.  If you do not chance to be at the table of honour--"

"The gifted Miss Hamilton is always at the table of honour; unless
she is placed there she refuses to eat, and then the universe rocks
to its centre," interpolated Francesca impertinently.

"It is true," continued Miss Dalziel, "you will often sit beside a
minister or a minister's wife, who will make you scorn the sordid
appetites of flesh, but if you do not, then eat as little as may be,
and flee up the Mound to whichever Assembly is the Mecca of your
soul!"

"My niece's tongue is an unruly member," said the ex-Moderator, who
was present at this diatribe, "and the principal mistakes she makes
in her judgment of these clerical feasts is that she criticises them
as conventional repasts, whereas they are intended to be informal
meetings together of people who wish to be better acquainted."

"Hot bacon and eggs would be no harm to friendship," answered Miss
Dalziel, with an affectionate moue.

"Cold bacon and eggs is better than cold piety," said the ex-
Moderator, "and it may be a good discipline for fastidious young
ladies who have been spoiled by Parisian breakfasts."

It is to Mrs. M'Collop that we owe our chief insight into technical
church matters, although we seldom agree with her `opeenions' after
we gain our own experience.  She never misses hearing one sermon on
a Sabbath, and oftener she listens to two or three.  Neither does
she confine herself to the ministrations of a single preacher, but
roves from one sanctuary to another, seeking the bread of life,--
often, however, according to her own account, getting a particularly
indigestible `stane.'

She is thus a complete guide to the Edinburgh pulpit, and when she
is making a bed in the morning she dispenses criticism in so large
and impartial a manner that it would make the flesh of the
`meenistry' creep were it overheard.  I used to think Ian Maclaren's
sermon-taster a possible exaggeration of an existent type, but I now
see that she is truth itself.

"Ye'll be tryin' anither kirk the morn?" suggests Mrs. M'Collop,
spreading the clean Sunday sheet over the mattress. "Wha did ye hear
the Sawbath that's bye?  Dr. A?  Ay, I ken him ower weel; he's been
there for fifteen years an' mair.  Ay, he's a gifted mon--AFF AN'
ON!' with an emphasis showing clearly that, in her estimation, the
times when he is `aff' outnumber those when he is `on' . . . "Ye
havena heard auld Dr. B yet?"  (Here she tucks in the upper sheet
tidily at the foot.)  "He's a graund strachtforrit mon, is Dr. B,
forbye he's growin' maist awfu' dreich in his sermons, though when
he's that wearisome a body canna heed him wi'oot takin' peppermints
to the kirk, he's nane the less, at seeventy-sax, a better mon than
the new asseestant.  Div ye ken the new asseestant?  He's a wee-bit,
finger-fed mannie, ower sma' maist to wear a goon!  I canna thole
him, wi' his lang-nebbit words, explainin' an' expoundin' the gude
Book as if it had jist come oot!  The auld doctor's nae kirk-filler,
but he gies us fu' meesure, pressed doun an' rinnin' ower, nae bit-
pickin's like the haverin' asseestant; it's my opeenion he's no
soond, wi' his parleyvoos an' his clishmaclavers! . . . Mr. C?"
(Now comes the shaking and straightening and smoothing of the first
blanket.)  "Ay, he's weel eneuch!  I mind aince he prayed for oor
Free Assembly, an' then he turned roon' an' prayed for the
Estaiblished, maist in the same breath,--he's a broad, leeberal mon
is Mr. C! . . . Mr. D?  Ay, I ken him fine; he micht be waur, though
he's ower fond o' the kittle pairts o' the Old Testament; but he
reads his sermon frae the paper, an' it's an auld sayin', `If a
meenister canna mind [remember] his ain discoorse, nae mair can the
congregation be expectit to mind it.' . . .  Mr. E?  He's my ain
meenister."  (She has a pillow in her mouth now, but though she is
shaking it as a terrier would a rat, and drawing on the linen slip
at the same time, she is still intelligible between the jerks).
"Susanna says his sermon is like claith made o' soond `oo [wool] wi'
a guid twined thread, an' wairpit an' weftit wi' doctrine.  Susanna
kens her Bible weel, but she's never gaed forrit."  (To `gang
forrit' is to take the communion).  "Dr. F?  I ca' him the greetin'
doctor!  He's aye dingin' the dust oot o' the poopit cushions, an'
greetin' ower the sins o' the human race, an' eespecially o' his ain
congregation.  He's waur sin his last wife sickened an' slippit
awa'.  `Twas a chastenin' he'd put up wi' twice afore, but he grat
nane the less.  She was a bonnie bit body, was the thurd Mistress F!
E'nboro could `a' better spared the greetin' doctor than her, I'm
thinkin'."

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, according to His good
will and pleasure," I ventured piously, as Mrs. M'Collop beat the
bolster and laid it in place.

"Ou ay," responded that good woman, as she spread the counterpane
over the pillows in the way I particularly dislike,--"ou ay, but
whiles I think it's a peety he couldna be guidit!"



Chapter XI. Holyrood awakens.



We were to make our bow to the Lord High Commissioner and the
Marchioness of Heatherdale in the evening, and we were in a state of
republican excitement at 22 Breadalbane Terrace.

Francesca had surprised us by refusing to be presented at this semi-
royal Scottish court.  "Not I," she said.  "The Marchioness
represents the Queen; we may discover, when we arrive, that she has
raised the standards of admission, and requires us to `back out' of
the throne-room.  I don't propose to do that without London
training.  Besides, I detest crowds, and I never go to my own
President's receptions; and I have a headache, anyway, and I don't
feel like coping with the Reverend Ronald to-night!"  (Lady Baird
was to take us under her wing, and her nephew was to escort us, Sir
Robert being in Inveraray).

"Sally, my dear," I said, as Francesca left the room with a bottle
of smelling-salts somewhat ostentatiously in evidence, "methinks the
damsel doth protest too much.  In other words, she devotes a good
deal of time and discussion to a gentleman whom she heartily
dislikes.  As she is under your care, I will direct your attention
to the following points:-

"Ronald Macdonald is a Scotsman; Francesca disapproves of
international alliances.

"He is a Presbyterian; she is a Swedenborgian.

"His father was a famous old-school doctor; Francesca is a
homoeopathist.

"He is serious; Francesca is gay.

"I think, under all the circumstances, their acquaintance will bear
watching.  Two persons so utterly dissimilar, and, so far as
superficial observation goes, so entirely unsuited to each other,
are quite likely to drift into marriage unless diverted by watchful
philanthropists."

"Nonsense!" returned Salemina brusquely.  "You think because you are
under the spell of the tender passion yourself that other people are
in constant danger.  Francesca detests him."

"Who told you so?"

"She herself," triumphantly.

"Salemina," I said pityingly, "I have always believed you a spinster
from choice; don't lead me to think that you have never had any
experience in these matters!  The Reverend Ronald has also intimated
to me as plainly as he dared that he cannot bear the sight of
Francesca.  What do I gather from this statement?  The general
conclusion that if it be true, it is curious that he looks at her
incessantly."

"Francesca would never live in Scotland," remarked Salemina feebly.

"Not unless she were asked, of course," I replied.

"He would never ask her."

"Not unless he thought he had a chance of an affirmative answer."

"Her father would never allow it."

"Her father allows what she permits him to allow.  You know that
perfectly well."

"What shall I do about it, then?"

"Consult me."

"What shall WE do about it?"

"Let Nature have her own way."

"I don't believe in Nature."

"Don't be profane, Salemina, and don't be unromantic, which is
worse; but if you insist, trust in Providence."

"I would rather trust Francesca's hard heart."

"The hardest hearts melt if sufficient heat be applied.  Did I take
you to Newhaven and read you Christie Johnstone on the beach for
nought?  Don't you remember Charles Reade said that the Scotch are
icebergs, with volcanoes underneath; thaw the Scotch ice, which is
very cold, and you shall get to the Scotch fire, warmer than any sun
of Italy or Spain.  I think Mr. Macdonald is a volcano."

"I wish he were extinct," said Salemina petulantly; "and I wish you
wouldn't make me nervous."

"If you had any faculty of premonition, you wouldn't have waited for
me to make you nervous."

"Some people are singularly omniscient."

"Others are singularly deficient--"  And at this moment Susanna Crum
came in to announce Miss Jean Dalziel, who had come to see sights
with us.

It was our almost daily practice to walk through the Old Town, and
we were now familiar with every street and close in that densely-
crowded quarter.  Our quest for the sites of ancient landmarks never
grew monotonous, and we were always reconstructing, in imagination,
the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Lawnmarket, and the High Street,
until we could see Auld Reekie as it was in bygone centuries.  In
those days of continual war with England, people crowded their
dwellings as near the Castle as possible, so floor was piled upon
floor, and flat upon flat, families ensconcing themselves above
other families, the tendency being ever skyward.  Those who dwelt on
top had no desire to spend their strength in carrying down the
corkscrew stairs matter which would descend by the force of gravity
if pitched from the window or door; so the wayfarer, especially
after dusk, would be greeted with cries of `Get oot o' the gait!' or
`Gardy loo!' which was in the French `Gardez l'eau,' and which would
have been understood in any language, I fancy, after a little
experience.  The streets then were filled with the debris flung from
a hundred upper windows, while certain ground-floor tenants, such as
butchers and candlemakers, contributed their full share to the
fragrant heaps.  As for these too seldom used narrow turnpike
stairs, imagine the dames of fashion tilting their vast hoops and
silken show-petticoats up and down in them!

That swine roamed at will in these Elysian fields is to be presumed,
since we have this amusing picture of three High Street belles and
beauties in the Traditions of Edinburgh:-

`So easy were the manners of the great, fabled to be so stiff and
decorous,' says the author,  `that Lady Maxwell's daughter Jane, who
afterward became the Duchess of Gordon, was seen riding a sow up the
High Street, while her sister Eglantine (afterwards Lady Wallace of
Craigie) thumped lustily behind with a stick.'

No wonder, in view of all this, that King James VI., when about to
bring home his `darrest spous,' Anne of Denmark, wrote to the
Provost, `For God's sake see a' things are richt at our hame-coming;
a king with a new-married wife doesna come hame ilka day.'

Had it not been for these royal home-comings and visits of
distinguished foreigners, now and again aided by something still
more salutary, an occasional outbreak of the plague, the easy-going
authorities would never have issued any `cleaning edicts,' and the
still easier-going inhabitants would never have obeyed them.  It was
these dark, tortuous wynds and closes, nevertheless, that made up
the Court End of Old Edinbro'; for some one writes in 1530, `Via
vaccarum in qua habitant patricii et senatores urbis' (The nobility
and chief senators of the city dwell in the Cowgate).  And as for
the Canongate, this Saxon gaet or way of the Holy rood canons, it
still sheltered in 1753 `two dukes, sixteen earls, two dowager
countesses, seven lords, seven lords of session, thirteen baronets,
four commanders of the forces in Scotland, and five eminent men,'--
fine game indeed for Mally Lee!

  `A' doun alang the Canongate
     Were beaux o' ilk degree;
   And mony ane turned round to look
     At bonny Mally Lee.
   And we're a' gaun east an' west,
     We're a' gaun agee,
   We're a' gaun east an' west
     Courtin' Mally Lee!'

Every corner bristles with memories.  Here is the Stamp Office
Close, from which the lovely Susanna, Countess of Eglinton, was wont
to issue on assembly nights; she, six feet in height, with a
brilliantly fair complexion, and a `face of the maist bewitching
loveliness.'  Her seven daughters and stepdaughters were all
conspicuously handsome, and it was deemed a goodly sight to watch
the long procession of eight gilded sedan-chairs pass from the Stamp
Office Close, bearing her and her stately brood to the Assembly
Room, amid a crowd that was `hushed with respect and admiration to
behold their lofty and graceful figures step from the chairs on the
pavement.'

Here itself is the site of those old assemblies, presided over at
one time by the famous Miss Nicky Murray, a directress of society
affairs, who seems to have been a feminine premonition of Count
d'Orsay and our own M'Allister.  Rather dull they must have been,
those old Scotch balls, where Goldsmith saw the ladies and gentlemen
in two dismal groups divided by the length of the room.

  `The Assembly Close received the fair--
   Order and elegance presided there--
   Each gay Right Honourable had her place,
   To walk a minuet with becoming grace.
   No racing to the dance with rival hurry,
   Such was thy sway, O famed Miss Nicky Murray!'

It was half-past nine in the evening when Salemina and I drove to
Holyrood, our humble cab-horse jogging faithfully behind Lady
Baird's brougham, and it was the new experience of seeing Auld
Reekie by lamplight that called up these gay visions of other days,-
-visions and days so thoroughly our mental property that we could
not help resenting the fact that women were hanging washing from the
Countess of Eglinton's former windows, and popping their unkempt
heads out of the Duchess of Gordon's old doorway.

The Reverend Ronald is so kind!  He enters so fully into our spirit
of inquiry, and takes such pleasure in our enthusiasms!  He even
sprang lightly out of Lady Baird's carriage and called to our
`lamiter' to halt while he showed us the site of the Black Turnpike,
from whose windows Queen Mary saw the last of her kingdom's capital.

"Here was the Black Turnpike, Miss Hamilton!" he cried; "and from
here Mary went to Loch Leven, where you Hamiltons and the Setons
came gallantly to her help.  Don't you remember the `far ride to the
Solway sands?'"

I looked with interest, though I was in such a state of delicious
excitement that I could scarce keep my seat.

"Only a few minutes more, Salemina," I sighed, "and we shall be in
the palace courtyard; then a probable half-hour in crowded dressing-
rooms, with another half-hour in line, and then, then we shall be
making our best republican bow in the Gallery of the Kings!  How I
wish Mr. Beresford and Francesca were with us!  What do you suppose
was her real reason for staying away?  Some petty disagreement with
our young minister, I am sure.  Do you think the dampness is taking
the curl out of our hair?  Do you suppose our gowns will be torn to
ribbons before the Marchioness sees them?  Do you believe we shall
look as well as anybody?  Privately, I think we must look better
than anybody; but I always think that on my way to a party, never
after I arrive."

Mrs. M'Collop had asserted that I was `bonnie eneuch for ony court,'
and I could not help wishing that `mine ain dear Somebody' might see
me in my French frock embroidered with silver thistles, and my
`shower bouquet' of Scottish bluebells tied loosely together.
Salemina wore pinky-purple velvet; a real heather colour it was,
though the Lord High Commissioner would probably never note the
fact.

When we had presented our cards of invitation at the palace doors,
we joined the throng and patiently made our way up the splendid
staircases, past powdered lackeys without number, and, divested of
our wraps, joined another throng on our way to the throne-room,
Salemina and I pressing those cards with our names `legibly written
on them' close to our palpitating breasts.

At last the moment came when, Lady Baird having preceded me, I
handed my bit of pasteboard to the usher; and hearing `Miss
Hamilton' called in stentorian accents, I went forward in my turn,
and executed a graceful and elegant, but not too profound curtsy,
carefully arranged to suit the semi-royal, semi-ecclesiastical
occasion.  I had not divulged that fact even to Salemina, but I had
worn Mrs. M'Collop's carpet quite threadbare in front of the long
mirror, and had curtsied to myself so many times in its crystal
surface that I had developed a sort of fictitious reverence for my
reflected image.  I had only begun my well-practised obeisance when
Her Grace the Marchioness, to my mingled surprise and embarrassment,
extended a gracious hand and murmured my name in a particularly kind
voice.  She is fond of Lady Baird, and perhaps chose this method of
showing her friendship; or it may be that she noticed my silver
thistles and Salemina's heather-coloured velvet,--they certainly
deserved special recognition; or it may be that I was too beautiful
to pass over in silence,--in my state of exaltation I was quite
equal to the belief.

The presentation over, we wandered through the spacious apartments,
leaning from the open windows to hear the music of the band playing
in the courtyard below, looking at the royal portraits, and chatting
with groups of friends who appeared and reappeared in the throng.
Finally Lady Baird sent for us to join her in a knot of personages
more or less distinguished, who had dined at the palace, and who
were standing behind the receiving party in a sort of sacred group.
This indeed was a ground of vantage, and one could have stood there
for hours, watching all sorts and conditions of men and women bowing
before the Lord High Commissioner and the Marchioness, who, with her
Cleopatra-like beauty and scarlet gown, looked like a gorgeous
cardinal-flower.

Salemina and I watched the curtsying narrowly, with the view at
first of improving our own obeisances for Buckingham Palace; but
truth to say we got no added light, and plainly most of the people
had not worn threadbare the carpets in front of their dressing-
mirrors.

Suddenly we heard a familiar name announced, `Lord Colquhoun,' a
distinguished judge who had lately been raised to the peerage, and
whom we often met at dinners; then `Miss Rowena Colquhoun'; and then
in the midst, we fancied, of an unusual stir at the entrance door--
'Miss Francesca Van Buren Monroe.'  I involuntarily touched the
Reverend Ronald's shoulder in my astonishment, while Salemina lifted
her tortoise-shell lorgnette, and we gazed silently at our recreant
charge.

After presentation, each person has fifteen or twenty feet of awful
space to traverse in solitary and defenceless majesty; scanned
meanwhile by the maids of honour (who if they were truly honourable,
would turn their eyes another way), ladies-in-waiting, the sacred
group in the rear, and the Purse-Bearer himself.  I had supposed
that this functionary would keep the purse in his upper bureau
drawer at home, when he was not paying bills, but it seems that when
on processional duty he carries a bag of red velvet quite a yard
long over his arm, where it looks not unlike a lady's opera-cloak.
It would hold the sum-total of all moneys disbursed, even if they
were reduced to the standard of vulgar copper.

Under this appalling fire of inspection, some of the victims waddle,
some hurry; some look up and down nervously, others glance over the
shoulder as if dreading to be apprehended; some turn red, others
pale, according to complexion and temperament; some swing their
arms, other trip on their gowns; some twitch the buttons of a glove,
or tweak a flower or a jewel.  Francesca rose superior to all these
weaknesses, and I doubt if the Gallery of the Kings ever served as a
background for anything lovelier or more high-bred than that
untitled slip of a girl from `the States.'  Her trailing gown of
pearl-white satin fell in unbroken lustrous folds behind her.  Her
beautiful throat and shoulders rose in statuesque whiteness from the
mist of chiffon that encircled them.  Her dark hair showed a
moonbeam parting that rested the eye, wearied by the contemplation
of waves and frizzes fresh from the curling-tongs.  Her mother's
pearls hung in ropes from neck to waist, and the one spot of colour
about her was the single American Beauty rose she carried.  There is
a patriotic florist in Paris who grows these long-stemmed empresses
of the rose-garden, and Mr. Beresford sends some to me every week.
Francesca had taken the flower without permission, and I must say
she was as worthy of it as it of her.

She curtsied deeply, with no exaggerated ceremony, but with a sort
of innocent and childlike gravity, while the satin of her gown
spread itself like a great blossom over the floor.  Her head was
bowed until the dark lashes swept her crimson cheeks; then she rose
again from the heart of the shimmering lily, with the one splendid
rose glowing against all her dazzling whiteness, and floated slowly
across the dreaded space to the door of exit as if she were preceded
by invisible heralds and followed by invisible train-bearers.

"Who is she?" we heard whispered here and there.  "Look at the
rose!"  "Look at the pearls!  Is she a princess or only an
American?"

I glanced at the Reverend Ronald.  I imagined he looked pale; at any
rate he was biting his under lip nervously, and I believe he was in
fancy laying his serious, Scottish, allopathic, Presbyterian heart
at Francesca's gay, American, homoeopathic, Swedenborgian feet.

"It is a pity Miss Monroe is such an ardent republican," he said,
with unconcealed bitterness; "otherwise she ought to be a duchess.
I never saw a head that better suited a coronet, nor, if you will
pardon me, one that contained more caprices."

"It is true she flatly refused to accompany us here," I allowed,
"but perhaps she has some explanation more or less silly and
serviceable; meantime, I defy you to tell me she isn't a beauty, and
I implore you to say nothing about its being only skin-deep.  Give
me a beautiful exterior, say I, and I will spend my life in making
the hidden things of mind and soul conform to it; but deliver me
from all forlorn attempts to make my beauty of character speak
through a large mouth, breathe through a fat nose, and look at my
neighbour through crossed eyes!"

Mr. Macdonald agreed with me, with some few ministerial
reservations.  He always agrees with me, and why he is not tortured
at the thought of my being the promised bride of another, but
continues to squander his affections upon a quarrelsome and
unappreciative girl is more than I can comprehend.

Francesca, escorted by Lord Colquhoun, appeared presently in our
group, but Salemina did not even attempt to scold her.  One cannot
scold an imperious young beauty in white satin and pearls,
particularly if she is leaning nonchalantly on the arm of a peer of
the realm.

It seems that shortly after our departure (we had dined with Lady
Baird), Lord Colquhoun had sent a note to me, requiring an answer.
Francesca had opened it, and found that he offered an extra card of
invitation to one of us, and said that he and his sister would
gladly serve as escort to Holyrood, if desired.  She had had an hour
or two of solitude by this time, and was well weary of it, while the
last vestige of headache disappeared under the temptation of
appearing at court with all the eclat of unexpectedness.  She
despatched a note of acceptance to Lord Colquhoun, summoned Mrs.
M'Collop, Susanna, and the maiden Boots to her assistance, spread
the trays of her Saratoga trunks about our three bedrooms, grouped
all our candles on her dressing-table, and borrowed any trinket or
bit of frippery which we chanced to have left behind.  Her own store
of adornments is much greater than ours, but we possess certain
articles for which she has a childlike admiration:  my white satin
slippers embroidered with seed pearls, Salemina's pearl-topped comb,
Salemina's Valenciennes handkerchief and diamond belt-clasp, my
pearl frog with ruby eyes.  We identified our property on her
impertinent young person, and the list of her borrowings so amused
the Reverend Ronald that he forgot his injuries.

"It is really an ordeal, that presentation, no matter how strong
one's sense of humour may be, nor how well rooted one's democracy,"
chattered Francesca to a serried rank of officers who surrounded her
to the total routing of the ministry.  "It is especially trying if
one has come unexpectedly and has no idea of what is to happen.  I
was agitated at the supreme moment, because, at the entrance of the
throne-room, I had just shaken hands reverently with a splendid
person who proved to be a footman.  Of course I took him for the
Commander of the Queen's Guards, or the Keeper of the Dungeon Keys,
or the Most Noble Custodian of the Royal Moats, Drawbridges, and
Portcullises.  When he put out his hand I had no idea it was simply
to waft me onward, and so naturally I shook it,--it's a mercy that I
didn't kiss it!  Then I curtsied to the Royal Usher, and overlooked
the Lord High Commissioner altogether, having no eyes for any one
but the beautiful scarlet Marchioness.  I only hope they were too
busy to notice my mistakes, otherwise I shall be banished from Court
at the very moment of my presentation.--Do you still banish
nowadays?" turning the battery of her eyes upon a particularly
insignificant officer who was far too dazed to answer.  "And did you
see the child of ten who was next to me in line?  She is Mrs.
Macstronachlacher; at least that was the name on the card she
carried, and she was thus announced.  As they tell us the Purse-
Bearer is most rigorous in arranging these functions and issuing the
invitations, I presume she must be Mrs. Macstronachlacher; but if
so, they marry very young in Scotland, and her skirts should really
have been longer!"



Chapter XII. Farewell to Edinburgh.



It is our last day in `Scotia's darling seat,' our last day in
Breadalbane Terrace, our last day with Mrs. M'Collop; and though
every one says that we shall love the life in the country, we are
loath to leave Auld Reekie.

Salemina and I have spent two days in search of an abiding-place,
and have visited eight well-recommended villages with that end in
view; but she disliked four of them, and I couldn't endure the other
four, though I considered some of those that fell under her
disapproval as quite delightful in every respect.

We never take Francesca on these pilgrimages of disagreement, as
three conflicting opinions on the same subject would make
insupportable what is otherwise rather exhilarating.  She starts
from Edinburgh to-morrow for a brief visit to the Highlands with the
Dalziels, and will join us when we have settled ourselves.

Mr. Beresford leaves Paris as soon after our decision as he is
permitted, so Salemina and I have agreed to agree upon one ideal
spot within thirty-six hours of our quitting Edinburgh, knowing
privately that after a last battle-royal we shall enthusiastically
support the joint decision for the rest of our lives.

We have been bidding good-bye to people and places and things, and
wishing the sun would not shine and thus make our task the harder.
We have looked our last on the old grey town from Calton Hill, of
all places the best, perhaps, for a view; since, as Stevenson says,
from Calton Hill you can see the Castle, which you lose from the
Castle, and Arthur's Seat, which you cannot see from Arthur's Seat.
We have taken a farewell walk to the Dean Bridge, to gaze wistfully
eastward and marvel for the hundredth time to find so beautiful a
spot in the heart of a city.  The soft-flowing Water of Leith
winding over pebbles between grassy banks and groups of splendid
trees, the roof of the little temple to Hygeia rising picturesquely
among green branches, the slopes of emerald velvet leading up to the
grey stone of the houses,--where, in all the world of cities, can
one find a view to equal it in peaceful loveliness?  Francesca's
`bridge-man,' who, by the way, proved to be a distinguished young
professor of medicine in the University, says that the beautiful
cities of the world should be ranked thus,--Constantinople, Prague,
Genoa, Edinburgh; but having seen only one of these, and that the
last, I refuse to credit any sliding scale of comparison which
leaves Edina at the foot.

It was nearing tea-time, an hour when we never fail to have
visitors, and we were all in the drawing-room together.  I was at
the piano, singing Jacobite melodies for Salemina's delectation.
When I came to the last verse of Lady Nairne's `Hundred Pipers,' the
spirited words had taken my fancy captive, and I am sure I could not
have sung with more vigour and passion had my people been `out with
the Chevalier.'

  `The Esk was swollen sae red an' sae deep,
   But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep;
   Twa thousand swam owre to fell English ground,
   An' danced themselves dry to the pibroch's sound.
   Dumfounder'd the English saw, they saw,
   Dumfounder'd they heard the blaw, the blaw,
   Dumfounder'd they a' ran awa', awa',
   Frae the hundred pipers an' a', an' a'!'

By the time I came to `Dumfounder'd the English saw,' Francesca left
her book and joined in the next four lines, and when we broke into
the chorus Salemina rushed to the piano, and although she cannot
sing, she lifted her voice both high and loud in the refrain,
beating time the while with a dirk paper-knife.

  `Wi' a hundred pipers an' a', an' a',
   Wi' a hundred pipers an' a', an' a',
   We'll up an' gie them a blaw, a blaw,
   Wi' a hundred pipers an' a', an' a'!'

Susanna ushered in Mr. Macdonald and Dr. Moncrieffe as the last
`blaw' faded into silence, and Jean Dalziel came upstairs to say
that they could seldom get a quiet moment for family prayers,
because we were always at the piano, hurling incendiary sentiments
into the air,--sentiments set to such stirring melodies that no one
could resist them.

"We are very sorry, Miss Dalziel," I said penitently.  "We reserve
an hour in the morning and another at bedtime for your uncle's
prayers, but we had no idea you had them at afternoon tea, even in
Scotland.  I believe that you are chaffing, and came up only to
swell the chorus.  Come, let us all sing together from `Dumfounder'd
the English saw.'"

Mr. Macdonald and Dr. Moncrieffe gave such splendid body to the
music, and Jean such warlike energy, that Salemina waved her paper-
knife in a manner more than ever sanguinary, and Susanna, hesitating
outside the door for sheer delight, had to be coaxed in with the
tea-things.  On the heels of the tea-things came the Dominie,
another dear old friend of six weeks' standing; and while the doctor
sang `Jock o' Hazeldean' with such irresistible charm that we all
longed to elope with somebody on the instant, Salemina dispensed
buttered toast, marmalade sandwiches, and the fragrant cup.  By this
time we were thoroughly cosy, and Mr. Macdonald made himself and us
very much at home by stirring the fire; whereupon Francesca
embarrassed him by begging him not to touch it unless he could do it
properly, which, she added, seemed quite unlikely, from the way in
which he handled the poker.

"What will Edinburgh do without you?" he asked, turning towards us
with flattering sadness in his tone.  "Who will hear our Scotch
stories, never suspecting their hoary old age?  Who will ask us
questions to which we somehow always know the answers?  Who will
make us study and reverence anew our own landmarks?  Who will keep
warm our national and local pride by judicious enthusiasm?"

"I think the national and local pride may be counted on to exist
without any artificial stimulants," dryly observed Francesca, whose
spirit is not in the least quenched by approaching departure.

"Perhaps," answered the Reverend Ronald; "but at any rate, you, Miss
Monroe, will always be able to reflect that you have never been
responsible even for its momentary inflation!"

"Isn't it strange that she cannot get on better with that charming
fellow?" murmured Salemina, as she passed me the sugar for my second
cup.

"If your present symptoms of blindness continue, Salemina," I said,
searching for a small lump so as to gain time, "I shall write you a
plaintive ballad, buy you a dog, and stand you on a street corner!
If you had ever permitted yourself to `get on' with any man as
Francesca is getting on with Mr. Macdonald, you would now be Mrs.--
Somebody."

"Do you know, doctor," asked the Dominie, "that Miss Hamilton shed
real tears at Holyrood the other night, when the band played `Bonnie
Charlie's noo awa'?'"

"They were real," I confessed, "in the sense that they certainly
were not crocodile tears; but I am somewhat at a loss to explain
them from a sensible, American standpoint.  Of course my Jacobitism
is purely impersonal, though scarcely more so than yours, at this
late day; at least it is merely a poetic sentiment, for which
Caroline, Baroness Nairne, is mainly responsible.  My romantic tears
came from a vision of the Bonnie Prince as he entered Holyrood,
dressed in his short tartan coat, his scarlet breeches and military
boots, the star of St. Andrew on his breast, a blue ribbon over his
shoulder, and the famous blue velvet bonnet and white cockade.  He
must have looked so brave and handsome and hopeful at that moment,
and the moment was so sadly brief, that when the band played the
plaintive air I kept hearing the words--

  `Mony a heart will break in twa,
   Should he no come back again.'

He did come back again to me that evening, and held a phantom levee
behind the Marchioness of Heatherdale's shoulder.  His `ghaist'
looked bonnie and rosy and confident, yet all the time the band was
playing the requiem for his lost cause and buried hopes."

I looked towards the fire to hide the moisture that crept again into
my eyes, and my glance fell upon Francesca sitting dreamily on a
hassock in front of the cheerful blaze, her chin in the hollow of
her palm, and the Reverend Ronald standing on the hearth-rug gazing
at her, the poker in his hand, and his heart, I regret to say, in
such an exposed position on his sleeve that even Salemina could have
seen it had she turned her eyes that way.

Jean Dalziel broke the momentary silence:  "I am sure I never hear
the last two lines--

  `Better lo'ed ye canna be,
   Will ye no' come back again?'

without a lump in my throat," and she hummed the lovely melody.  "It
is all as you say, purely impersonal and poetic.  My mother is an
Englishwoman, but she sings `Dumfounder'd the English saw, they saw'
with the greatest fire and fury."



Chapter XIII. The spell of Scotland.



"I think I was never so completely under the spell of a country as I
am of Scotland."  I made this acknowledgment freely, but I knew that
it would provoke comment from my compatriots.

"Oh yes, my dear, you have been just as spellbound before, only you
don't remember it," replied Salemina promptly.  "I have never seen a
person more perilously appreciative or receptive than you."

"'Perilously' is just the word," chimed in Francesca delightedly;
"when you care for a place you grow porous, as it were, until after
a time you are precisely like blotting-paper.  Now, there was Italy,
for example.  After eight weeks in Venice, you were completely
Venetian, from your fan to the ridiculous little crepe shawl you
wore because an Italian prince had told you that centuries were
usually needed to teach a woman how to wear a shawl, but that you
had been born with the art, and the shoulders!  Anything but a
watery street was repulsive to you.  Cobblestones?  `Ordinario,
duro, brutto!  A gondola?  Ah, bellissima!  Let me float for ever
thus!'  You bathed your spirit in sunshine and colour; I can hear
you murmur now, `O Venezia benedetta!  non ti voglio lasciar!'"

"It was just the same when she spent a month in France with the
Baroness de Hautenoblesse," continued Salemina.  "When she returned
to America, it is no flattery to say that in dress, attitude,
inflection, manner, she was a thorough Parisienne.  There was an
elegant superficiality and a superficial elegance about her that I
can never forget, nor yet her extraordinary volubility in a foreign
language,--the fluency with which she expressed her inmost soul on
all topics without the aid of a single irregular verb, for these she
was never able to acquire; oh, it was wonderful, but there was no
affectation about it; she had simply been a kind of blotting-paper,
as Miss Monroe says, and France had written itself all over her."

"I don't wish to interfere with anybody's diagnosis," I interposed
at the first possible moment, "but perhaps after you've both
finished your psychologic investigation the subject may be allowed
to explain herself from the inside, so to speak.  I won't deny the
spell of Italy, but I think the spell that Scotland casts over one
is quite a different thing, more spiritual, more difficult to break.
Italy's charm has something physical in it; it is born of blue sky,
sunlit waves, soft atmosphere, orange sails, and yellow moons, and
appeals more to the senses.  In Scotland the climate certainly has
nought to do with it, but the imagination is somehow made captive.
I am not enthralled by the past of Italy or France, for instance."

"Of course you are not at the present moment," said Francesca,
"because you are enthralled by the past of Scotland, and even you
cannot be the slave of two pasts at the same time."

"I never was particularly enthralled by Italy's past," I argued with
exemplary patience, "but the romance of Scotland has a flavour all
its own.  I do not quite know the secret of it."

"It's the kilts and the pipes," said Francesca.

"No, the history."  (This from Salemina.)

"Or Sir Walter and the literature," suggested Mr. Macdonald.

 "Or the songs and ballads," ventured Jean Dalziel.

"There!" I exclaimed triumphantly, "you see for yourselves you have
named avenue after avenue along which one's mind is led in charmed
subjection.  Where can you find battles that kindle your fancy like
Falkirk and Flodden and Culloden and Bannockburn?  Where a sovereign
that attracts, baffles, repels, allures, like Mary Queen of Scots,--
and where, tell me where, is there a Pretender like Bonnie Prince
Charlie?  Think of the spirit in those old Scottish matrons who
could sing--

  `I'll sell my rock, I'll sell my reel,
   My rippling-kame and spinning-wheel,
   To buy my lad a tartan plaid,
   A braidsword, durk and white cockade.'"

"Yes," chimed in Salemina when I had finished quoting, "or that
other verse that goes--

  `I ance had sons, I now hae nane,
     I bare them toiling sairlie;
   But I would bear them a' again
     To lose them a' for Charlie!'

Isn't the enthusiasm almost beyond belief at this distance of time?"
she went on; "and isn't it a curious fact, as Mr. Macdonald told me
a moment ago, that though the whole country was vocal with songs for
the lost cause and the fallen race, not one in favour of the victors
ever became popular?"

"Sympathy for the under dog, as Miss Monroe's countrywomen would say
picturesquely," remarked Mr. Macdonald.

"I don't see why all the vulgarisms in the dictionary should be
foisted on the American girl," retorted Francesca loftily, "unless,
indeed, it is a determined attempt to find spots upon the sun for
fear we shall worship it!"

"Quite so, quite so!" returned the Reverend Ronald, who has had
reason to know that this phrase reduces Miss Monroe to voiceless
rage.

"The Stuart charm and personal magnetism must have been a powerful
factor in all that movement," said Salemina, plunging hastily back
into the topic to avert any further recrimination.  "I suppose we
feel it even now, and if I had been alive in 1745 I should probably
have made myself ridiculous.  `Old maiden ladies,' I read this
morning, `were the last leal Jacobites in Edinburgh; spinsterhood in
its loneliness remained ever true to Prince Charlie and the vanished
dreams of youth.'"

"Yes," continued the Dominie, "the story is told of the last of
those Jacobite ladies who never failed to close her Prayer-Book and
stand erect in silent protest when the prayer for `King George III.
and the reigning family' was read by the congregation."

"Do you remember the prayer of the Reverend Neil M'Vicar in St.
Cuthbert's?" asked Mr. Macdonald.  "It was in 1745, after the
victory at Prestonpans, when a message was sent to the Edinburgh
ministers, in the name of `Charles, Prince Regent' desiring them to
open their churches next day as usual.  M'Vicar preached to a large
congregation, many of whom were armed Highlanders, and prayed for
George II., and also for Charles Edward, in the following fashion:
`Bless the king!  Thou knowest what king I mean.  May the crown sit
long upon his head!  As for that young man who has come among us to
seek an earthly crown, we beseech Thee to take him to Thyself, and
give him a crown of glory!'"

"Ah, what a pity the Bonnie Prince had not died after his meteor
victory at Falkirk!" exclaimed Jean Dalziel, when we had finished
laughing at Mr. Macdonald's story.

"Or at Culloden, `where, quenched in blood on the Muir of
Drummossie, the star of the Stuarts sank forever,'" quoted the
Dominie.  "There is where his better self died; would that the young
Chevalier had died with it!  By the way, doctor, we must not sit
here eating goodies and sipping tea until the dinner-hour, for these
ladies have doubtless much to do for their flitting" (a pretty Scots
word for `moving').

"We are quite ready for our flitting so far as packing is
concerned," Salemina assured him.  "Would that we were as ready in
spirit!  Miss Hamilton has even written her farewell poem, which I
am sure she will read for the asking."

"She will read it without that formality," murmured Francesca.  "She
has lived and toiled only for this moment, and the poem is in her
pocket."

"Delightful!" said the doctor flatteringly.  "Has she favoured you
already?  Have you heard it, Miss Monroe?"

"Have we heard it!" ejaculated that young person.  "We have heard
nothing else all the morning!  What you will take for local colour
is nothing but our mental life-blood, which she has mercilessly
drawn to stain her verses.  We each tried to write a Scottish poem,
and as Miss Hamilton's was better, or perhaps I might say less bad,
than ours, we encouraged her to develop and finish it.  I wanted to
do an imitation of Lindsay's

  `Adieu, Edinburgh! thou heich triumphant town,
   Within whose bounds richt blithefull have I been!

but it proved too difficult.  Miss Hamilton's general idea was that
we should write some verses in good plain English.  Then we were to
take out all the final g's, and indeed the final letters from all
the words wherever it was possible, so that full, awful, call, ball,
hall, and away should be fu', awfu', ca', ba', ha', an' awa'.  This
alone gives great charm and character to a poem; but we were also to
change all words ending in ow into aw.  This doesn't injure the
verse, you see, as blaw and snaw rhyme just as well as blow and
snow, beside bringing tears to the common eye with their poetic
associations.  Similarly, if we had daughter and slaughter, we were
to write them dochter and slauchter, substituting in all cases doon,
froon, goon, and toon, for down, frown gown, and town.  Then we made
a list of Scottish idols,--pet words, national institutions, stock
phrases, beloved objects,--convinced if we could weave them in we
should attain `atmosphere.'  Here is the first list; it lengthened
speedily:  thistle, tartan, haar, haggis, kirk, claymore, parritch,
broom, whin, sporran, whaup, plaid, scone, collops, whisky, mutch,
cairngorm, oatmeal, brae, kilt, brose, heather.  Salemina and I were
too devoted to common-sense to succeed in this weaving process, so
Penelope triumphed and won the first prize, both for that and also
because she brought in a saying given us by Miss Dalziel, about the
social classification of all Scotland into `the gentlemen of the
North, men of the South, people of the West, fowk o' Fife, and the
Paisley bodies.'  We think that her success came chiefly from her
writing the verses with a Scotch plaid lead-pencil.  What effect the
absorption of so much red, blue, and green paint will have I cannot
fancy, but she ate off--and up--all the tartan glaze before
finishing the poem; it had a wonderfully stimulating effect, but the
end is not yet!"

Of course there was a chorus of laughter when the young wretch
exhibited my battered pencil, bought in Princes Street yesterday,
its gay Gordon tints sadly disfigured by the destroying tooth, not
of Time, but of a bard in the throes of composition.

"We bestowed a consolation prize on Salemina," continued Francesca,
"because she succeeded in getting hoots, losh, havers, and blethers
into one line, but naturally she could not maintain such an ideal
standard.  Read your verses, Pen, though there is little hope that
our friends will enjoy them as much as you do.  Whenever Miss
Hamilton writes anything of this kind, she emulates her
distinguished ancestor Sir William Hamilton, who always fell off his
own chair in fits of laughter when he was composing verses."

With this inspiring introduction I read my lines as follows:-

  AN AMERICAN GIRL'S FAREWELL TO EDINBURGH

  The muse being somewhat under the influence of the Scottish ballad

   I canna thole my ain toun,
     Sin' I hae dwelt i' this;
   To bide in Edinboro' reek
     Wad be the tap o' bliss.
   Yon bonnie plaid aboot me hap,
     The skirlin' pipes gae bring,
   With thistles fair tie up my hair,
     While I of Scotia sing.

   The collops an' the cairngorms,
     The haggis an' the whin,
   The `Staiblished, Free, an' U.P. kirks,
     The hairt convinced o' sin,--
   The parritch an' the heather-bell,
     The snawdrap on the shaw,
   The bit lam's bleatin' on the braes,--
     How can I leave them a'?

   How can I leave the marmalade
     An' bonnets o' Dundee?
   The haar, the haddies, an' the brose,
     The East win' blawin' free?
   How can I lay my sporran by,
     An' sit me doun at hame,
   Wi'oot a Hieland philabeg
     Or hyphenated name?

   I lo'e the gentry o' the North,
     The Southern men I lo'e,
   The canty people o' the West,
     The Paisley bodies too.
   The pawky folk o' Fife are dear,--
     Sae dear are ane an' a',
   That e'en to think that we maun pairt
     Maist braks my hairt in twa.

   So fetch me tartans, heather, scones,
     An' dye my tresses red;
   I'd deck me like th' unconquer'd Scots,
     Wha hae wi' Wallace bled.
   Then bind my claymore to my side,
     My kilt an' mutch gae bring;
   While Scottish lays soun' i' my lugs
     M'Kinley's no my king,--

   For Charlie, bonnie Stuart Prince,
     Has turned me Jacobite;
   I'd wear displayed the white cockade.
     An' (whiles) for him I'll fight!
   An' (whiles) I'd fight for a' that's Scotch,
     Save whusky an' oatmeal,
   For wi' their ballads i' my bluid,
     Nae Scot could be mair leal!

I fancied that I had pitched my verses in so high a key that no one
could mistake their burlesque intention.  What was my confusion,
however, to have one of the company remark when I finished,
`Extremely pretty; but a mutch, you know, is an article of WOMAN'S
apparel, and would never be worn with a kilt!'

Mr. Macdonald flung himself gallantly into the breach.  He is such a
dear fellow!  So quick, so discriminating, so warm-hearted!

"Don't pick flaws in Miss Hamilton's finest line!  That picture of a
fair American, clad in a kilt and mutch, decked in heather and
scones, and brandishing a claymore, will live for ever in my memory.
Don't clip the wings of her imagination!  You will be telling her
soon that one doesn't tie one's hair with thistles, nor couple
collops with cairngorms."

Somebody sent Francesca a great bunch of yellow broom, late that
afternoon.  There was no name in the box, she said, but at night she
wore the odorous tips in the bosom of her black dinner-gown, and
standing erect in her dark hair like golden aigrettes.

When she came into my room to say good night, she laid the pretty
frock in one of my trunks, which was to be filled with garments of
fashionable society and left behind in Edinburgh.  The next moment I
chanced to look on the floor, and discovered a little card, a bent
card with two lines written on it:-

  `Better lo'ed ye canna be,
   Will ye no' come back again?'

We have received many invitations in that handwriting.  I know it
well, and so does Francesca, though it is blurred; and the reason
for this, according to my way of thinking, is that it has been lying
next the moist stems of flowers, and unless I do her wrong, very
near to somebody's warm heart as well.

I will not betray her to Salemina, even to gain a victory over that
blind and deaf but much beloved woman.  How could I, with my heart
beating high at the thought of seeing my ain dear laddie before many
days?

   Oh, love, love, lassie,
     Love is like a dizziness:
   It winna lat a puir body
     Gang aboot his business.'



Chapter XIV. The wee theekit hoosie in the loaning.



  `Now she's cast aff her bonny shoon
     Made o' gilded leather,
   And she's put on her Hieland brogues
     To skip amang the heather.
   And she's cast aff her bonny goon
     Made o' the silk and satin,
   And she's put on a tartan plaid
     To row amang the braken.'

Lizzie Baillie.



We are in the East Neuk o' Fife; we are in Pettybaw; we are neither
boarders nor lodgers; we are residents, inhabitants, householders,
and we live (live, mind you) in a wee theekit hoosie in the old
loaning.  Words fail to tell you how absolutely Scotch we are and
how blissfully happy.  It is a happiness, I assure you, achieved
through great tribulation.  Salemina and I travelled many miles in
railway trains, and many in various other sorts of wheeled vehicles,
while the ideal ever beckoned us onward.  I was determined to find a
romantic lodging, Salemina a comfortable one, and this special
combination of virtues is next to impossible, as every one knows.
Linghurst was too much of a town; Bonnie Craig had no respectable
inn; Winnybrae was struggling to be a watering-place; Broomlea had
no golf-course within ten miles, and we intended to go back to our
native land and win silver goblets in mixed foursomes; the `new toun
o' Fairlock' (which looked centuries old) was delightful, but we
could not find apartments there; Pinkie Leith was nice, but they
were tearing up the `fore street' and laying drain-pipes in it.
Strathdee had been highly recommended, but it rained when we were in
Strathdee, and nobody can deliberately settle in a place where it
rains during the process of deliberation.  No train left this moist
and dripping hamlet for three hours, so we took a covered trap and
drove onward in melancholy mood.  Suddenly the clouds lifted and the
rain ceased; the driver thought we should be having settled weather
now, and put back the top of the carriage, saying meanwhile that it
was a verra dry simmer this year, and that the crops sairly needed
shoo'rs.

"Of course, if there is any district in Scotland where for any
reason droughts are possible, that is where we wish to settle," I
whispered to Salemina; "though, so far as I can see, the Strathdee
crops are up to their knees in mud.  Here is another wee village.
What is this place, driver?"

"Pettybaw, mam; a fine toun!"

"Will there be apartments to let there?"

"I cudna say, mam."

"Susanna Crum's father!  How curious that he should live here!" I
murmured; and at this moment the sun came out, and shone full, or at
least almost full, on our future home.

"Pettybaw!  Petit bois, I suppose," said Salemina; "and there, to be
sure, it is,--the `little wood' yonder."

We drove to the Pettybaw Inn and Posting Establishment, and,
alighting, dismissed the driver.  We had still three good hours of
daylight, although it was five o'clock, and we refreshed ourselves
with a delicious cup of tea before looking for lodgings.  We
consulted the greengrocer, the baker, and the flesher, about
furnished apartments, and started on our quest, not regarding the
little posting establishment as a possibility.  Apartments we found
to be very scarce, and in one or two places that were quite suitable
the landlady refused to do any cooking.  We wandered from house to
house, the sun shining brighter and brighter, and Pettybaw looking
lovelier and lovelier; and as we were refused shelter again and
again, we grew more and more enamoured, as is the manner of human
kind.  The blue sea sparkled, and Pettybaw Sands gleamed white a
mile or two in the distance, the pretty stone church raised its
curved spire from the green trees, the manse next door was hidden in
vines, the sheep lay close to the grey stone walls and the young
lambs nestled beside them, while the song of the burn, tinkling
merrily down the glade on the edge of which we stood, and the cawing
of the rooks in the little wood, were the only sounds to be heard.

Salemina, under the influence of this sylvan solitude, nobly
declared that she could and would do without a set bath-tub, and
proposed building a cabin and living near to nature's heart.

"I think, on the whole, we should be more comfortable living near to
the innkeeper's heart," I answered.  "Let us go back there and pass
the night, trying thus the bed and breakfast, with a view to seeing
what they are like--although they did say in Edinburgh that nobody
thinks of living in these wayside hostelries."

Back we went, accordingly, and after ordering dinner came out and
strolled idly up the main street.  A small sign in the draper's
window, heretofore overlooked, caught our eye.  `House and Garden To
Let Inquire Within.'  Inquiring within with all possible speed, we
found the draper selling winceys, the draper's assistant tidying the
ribbon-box, the draper's wife sewing in one corner, and the draper's
baby playing on the clean floor.  We were impressed favourably, and
entered into negotiations without delay.

"The house will be in the loaning; do you mind, ma'am?" asked the
draper.  (We have long since discovered that this use of the verb is
a bequest from the Gaelic, in which there is no present tense.  Man
never is, but always to be blessed, in that language, which in this
particular is not unlike old-fashioned Calvinism.)

We went out of the back door and down the green loaning, until we
came to the wee stone cottage in which the draper himself lives most
of the year, retiring for the warmer months to the back of his shop,
and eking out a comfortable income by renting his hearth-stone to
the summer visitor.

The thatched roof on the wing that formed the kitchen attracted my
artist's eye, and we went in to examine the interior, which we found
surprisingly attractive.  There was a tiny sitting-room, with a
fireplace and a microscopic piano; a dining-room adorned with
portraits of relatives who looked nervous when they met my eye, for
they knew that they would be turned face to the wall on the morrow;
four bedrooms, a kitchen, and a back garden so filled with
vegetables and flowers that we exclaimed with astonishment and
admiration.

"But we cannot keep house in Scotland," objected Salemina.  "Think
of the care!  And what about the servants?"

"Why not eat at the inn?" I suggested.  "Think of living in a real
loaning, Salemina!  Look at the stone floor in the kitchen, and the
adorable stuffy box-bed in the wall!  Look at the bust of Sir Walter
in the hall, and the chromo of Melrose Abbey by moonlight!  Look at
the lintel over the front door, with a ship, moon, stars, and 1602
carved in the stone!  What is food to all this?"

Salemina agreed that it was hardly worth considering; and in truth
so many landladies had refused to receive her as a tenant that day
that her spirits were rather low, and she was uncommonly flexible.

"It is the lintel and the back garden that rents the hoose,"
remarked the draper complacently in broad Scotch that I cannot
reproduce.  He is a house-agent as well as a draper, and went on to
tell us that when he had a cottage he could rent in no other way he
planted plenty of creepers in front of it.  "The baker's hoose is no
sae bonnie," he said, "and the linen and cutlery verra scanty, but
there is a yellow laburnum growin' by the door:  the leddies see
that, and forget to ask aboot the linen.  It depends a good bit on
the weather, too; it is easy to let a hoose when the sun shines upon
it."

"We hardly dare undertake regular housekeeping," I said; "do your
tenants ever take meals at the inn?"

"I cudna say, mam."  (Dear, dear, the Crums are a large family!)

"If we did that, we should still need a servant to keep the house
tidy," said Salemina, as we walked away.  "Perhaps housemaids are to
be had, though not nearer than Edinburgh, I fancy."

This gave me an idea, and I slipped over to the post-office while
Salemina was preparing for dinner, and despatched a telegram to Mrs.
M'Collop at Breadalbane Terrace, asking her if she could send a
reliable general servant to us, capable of cooking simple breakfasts
and caring for a house.

We had scarcely finished our Scotch broth, fried haddies, mutton-
chops, and rhubarb tart when I received an answer from Mrs. M'Collop
to the effect that her sister's husband's niece, Jane Grieve, could
join us on the morrow if we desired.  The relationship was an
interesting fact, though we scarcely thought the information worth
the additional pennies we paid for it in the telegram; however, Mrs.
M'Collop's comfortable assurance, together with the quality of the
rhubarb tart and mutton-chops, brought us to a decision.  Before
going to sleep we rented the draper's house, named it Bide-a-Wee
Cottage, engaged daily luncheons and dinners for three persons at
the Pettybaw Inn and Posting Establishment, telegraphed to Edinburgh
for Jane Grieve, to Callander for Francesca, and despatched a letter
to Paris for Mr. Beresford, telling him we had taken a `wee theekit
hoosie,' and that the `yett was ajee' whenever he chose to come.

"Possibly it would have been wiser not send for them until we were
settled," I said reflectively.  "Jane Grieve may not prove a
suitable person."

"The name somehow sounds too young and inexperienced," observed
Salemina, "and what association have I with the phrase `sister's
husband's niece'?"

"You have heard me quote Lewis Carroll's verse, perhaps:-

  `He thought he saw a buffalo
     Upon the chimney-piece;
   He looked again and found it was
     His sister's husband's niece:
  "Unless you leave the house," he said,
    "I'll send for the police!"'

The only thing that troubles me," I went on, "is the question of
Willie Beresford's place of residence.  He expects to be somewhere
within easy walking or cycling distance,--four or five miles at
most."

"He won't be desolate even if he doesn't have a thatched roof, a
pansy garden, and a blossoming shrub," said Salemina sleepily, for
our business arrangements and discussions had lasted well into the
evening.  "What he will want is a lodging where he can have frequent
sight and speech of you.  How I dread him!  How I resent his sharing
of you with us!  I don't know why I use the word `sharing,'
forsooth!  There is nothing half so fair and just in his majesty's
greedy mind.  Well, it's the way of the world; only it is odd, with
the universe of women to choose from, that he must needs take you.
Strathdee seems the most desirable place for him, if he has a
macintosh and rubber boots.  Inchcaldy is another town near here
that we didn't see at all--that might do; the draper's wife says
that we can send fine linen to the laundry there."

"Inchcaldy?  Oh yes, I think we heard of it in Edinburgh--at least I
have some association with the name:  it has a fine golf-course, I
believe, and very likely we ought to have looked at it, although for
my part I have no regrets.  Nothing can equal Pettybaw; and I am so
pleased to be a Scottish householder!  Aren't we just like Bessie
Bell and Mary Gray?

  `They were twa bonnie lassies;
   They biggit a bower on yon burnbrae,
   An' theekit it ower wi' rashes.'

Think of our stone-floored kitchen, Salemina!  Think of the real
box-bed in the wall for little Jane Grieve!  She will have red-gold
hair, blue eyes, and a pink cotton gown.  Think of our own cat!
Think how Francesca will admire the 1602 lintel!  Think of our back
garden, with our own `neeps' and vegetable marrows growing in it!
Think how they will envy us at home when they learn that we have
settled down into Scottish yeowomen!

  `It's oh, for a patch of land!
   It's oh, for a patch of land!
   Of all the blessings tongue can name,
   There's nane like a patch of land!'

Think of Willie coming to step on the floor and look at the bed and
stroke the cat and covet the lintel and walk in the garden and weed
the turnips and pluck the marrows that grow by our ain wee theekit
hoosie!"

"Penelope, you appear slightly intoxicated!  Do close the window and
come to bed."

"I am intoxicated with the caller air of Pettybaw," I rejoined,
leaning on the window-sill and looking at the stars, while I
thought:  "Edinburgh was beautiful; it is the most beautiful grey
city in the world; it lacked one thing only to make it perfect, and
Pettybaw will have that before many moons:-

  `Oh, Willie's rare an' Willie's fair
     An' Willie's wondrous bonny;
   An' Willie's hecht to marry me
     Gin e'er he marries ony.

   `O gentle wind that bloweth south,
     From where my love repaireth,
   Convey a word from his dear mouth,
     An' tell me how he fareth.'"



Chapter XV. Jane Grieve and her grievances.



  `Gae tak' awa' the china plates,
     Gae tak' them far frae me;
   And bring to me a wooden dish,
     It's that I'm best used wi'.
   And tak' awa' thae siller spoons,
     The like I ne'er did see,
   And bring to me the horn cutties,
     They're good eneugh for me.'

Earl Richard's Wedding.



The next day was one of the most cheerful and one of the most
fatiguing that I ever spent.  Salemina and I moved every article of
furniture in our wee theekit hoosie from the place where it
originally stood to another and a better place: arguing, of course,
over the precise spot it should occupy, which was generally upstairs
if the thing were already down, or downstairs if it were already up.
We hid all the more hideous ornaments of the draper's wife, and
folded away her most objectionable tidies and table-covers,
replacing them with our own pretty draperies.  There were only two
pictures in the sitting-room, and as an artist I would not have
parted with them for worlds.  The first was The Life of a Fireman,
which could only remind one of the explosion of a mammoth tomato,
and the other was The Spirit of Poetry calling Burns from the
Plough.  Burns wore white knee-breeches, military boots, a splendid
waistcoat with lace ruffles, and carried a cocked hat.  To have been
so dressed he must have known the Spirit was intending to come.  The
plough-horse was a magnificent Arabian, whose tail swept the freshly
furrowed earth, while the Spirit of Poetry was issuing from a
practicable wigwam on the left, and was a lady of such ample
dimensions that no poet would have dared say `no' when she called
him.

The dining-room was blighted by framed photographs of the draper's
relations and the draper's wife's relations; all uniformly ugly.  It
seems strange that married couples having the least beauty to
bequeath to their offspring should persist in having the largest
families.  These ladies and gentlemen were too numerous to remove,
so we obscured them with trailing branches; reflecting that we only
breakfasted in the room, and the morning meal is easily digested
when one lives in the open air.  We arranged flowers everywhere, and
bought potted plants at a little nursery hard by.  We apportioned
the bedrooms, giving Francesca the hardest bed,--as she is the
youngest, and wasn't here to choose,--me the next hardest, and
Salemina the best; Francesca the largest looking-glass and wardrobe,
me the best view, and Salemina the largest bath.  We bought
housekeeping stores, distributing our patronage equally between the
two grocers; we purchased aprons and dust-cloths from the rival
drapers, engaged bread and rolls from the baker, milk and cream from
the plumber (who keeps three cows), interviewed the flesher about
chops; in fact, no young couple facing love in a cottage ever had a
busier or happier time than we; and at sundown, when Francesca
arrived, we were in the pink of order, standing under our own
lintel, ready to welcome her to Pettybaw.  As to being strangers in
a strange land, we had a bowing acquaintance with everybody on the
main street of the tiny village, and were on terms of considerable
intimacy with half a dozen families, including dogs and babies.

Francesca was delighted with everything, from the station (Pettybaw
Sands, two miles away) to Jane Grieve's name, which she thought as
perfect, in its way, as Susanna Crum's.  She had purchased a
`tirling-pin,' that old-time precursor of knockers and bells, at an
antique shop in Oban, and we fastened it on the front door at once,
taking turns at risping it until our own nerves were shattered, and
the draper's wife ran down the loaning to see if we were in need of
anything.  The twisted bar of iron stands out from the door and the
ring is drawn up and down over a series of nicks, making a rasping
noise.  The lovers and ghaists in the old ballads always `tirled at
the pin,' you remember; that is, touched it gently.

Francesca brought us letters from Edinburgh, and what was my joy, in
opening Willie's, to learn that he begged us to find a place in
Fifeshire, and as near St. Rules or Strathdee as convenient; for in
that case he could accept an invitation he had just received to
visit his friend Robin Anstruther, at Rowardennan Castle.

"It is not the visit at the castle I wish so much, you may be sure,"
he wrote, "as the fact that Lady Ardmore will make everything
pleasant for you.  You will like my friend Robin Anstruther, who is
Lady Ardmore's youngest brother, and who is going to her to be
nursed and coddled after a baddish accident in the hunting-field.
He is very sweet-tempered, and will get on well with Francesca--"

"I don't see the connection," rudely interrupted that spirited young
person.

"I suppose she has more room on her list in the country than she had
in Edinburgh; but if my remembrance serves me, she always enrolls a
goodly number of victims, whether she has any immediate use for them
or not."

"Mr. Beresford's manners have not been improved by his residence in
Paris," observed Francesca, with resentment in her tone and delight
in her eye.

"Mr. Beresford's manners are always perfect," said Salemina loyally,
"and I have no doubt that this visit to Lady Ardmore will be
extremely pleasant for him, though very embarrassing to us.  If we
are thrown into forced intimacy with a castle" (Salemina spoke of it
as if it had fangs and a lashing tail), "what shall we do in this
draper's hut?"

"Salemina!" I expostulated, "bears will devour you as they did the
ungrateful child in the fairy-tale.  I wonder at your daring to use
the word `hut' in connection with our wee theekit hoosie!"

"They will never understand that we are doing all this for the
novelty of it," she objected.  "The Scottish nobility and gentry
probably never think of renting a house for a joke.  Imagine Lord
and Lady Ardmore, the young Ardmores, Robin Anstruther, and Willie
Beresford calling upon us in this sitting-room!  We ourselves would
have to sit in the hall and talk in through the doorway."

"All will be well," Francesca assured her soothingly.  "We shall be
pardoned much because we are Americans, and will not be expected to
know any better.  Besides, the gifted Miss Hamilton is an artist,
and that covers a multitude of sins against conventionality.  When
the castle people `tirl at the pin,' I will appear as the maid, if
you like, following your example at Mrs Bobby's cottage in Belvern,
Pen."

"And it isn't as if there were many houses to choose from, Salemina,
nor as if Bide-a-Wee cottage were cheap," I continued.  "Think of
the rent we pay and keep your head high.  Remember that the draper's
wife says there is nothing half so comfortable in Inchcaldy,
although that is twice as large a town."

"INCHCALDY!" ejaculated Francesca, sitting down heavily upon the
sofa and staring at me.

"Inchcaldy, my dear,--spelled CALDY, but pronounced CAWDY; the town
where you are to take your nonsensical little fripperies to be
laundered."

"Where is Inchcaldy?  How far away?"

"About five miles, I believe, but a lovely road."

"Well," she exclaimed bitterly, "of course Scotland is a small,
insignificant country; but, tiny as it is, it presents some liberty
of choice, and why you need have pitched upon Pettybaw, and brought
me here, when it is only five miles from Inchcaldy, and a lovely
road besides, is more than I can understand!"

"In what way has Inchcaldy been so unhappy as to offend you?" I
asked.

"It has not offended me, save that it chances to be Ronald
Macdonald's parish--that is all."

"Ronald Macdonald's parish!" we repeated automatically.

"Certainly--you must have heard him mention Inchcaldy; and how queer
he will think it that I have come to Pettybaw, under all the
circumstances!"

"We do not know `all the circumstances,'" quoted Salemina somewhat
haughtily; "and you must remember, my dear, that our opportunities
for speech with Mr. Macdonald have been very rare when you were
present.  For my part, I was always in such a tremor of anxiety
during his visits lest one or both of you should descend to blows
that I remember no details of his conversation.  Besides, we did not
choose Pettybaw; we discovered it by chance as we were driving from
Strathdee to St. Rules.  How were we to know that it was near this
fatal Inchcaldy?  If you think it best, we will hold no
communication with the place, and Mr. Macdonald need never know you
are here."

I thought Francesca looked rather startled at this proposition.  At
all events she said hastily, "Oh, well, let it go; we could not
avoid each other long, anyway, although it is very awkward, of
course; you see, we did not part friends."

"I thought I had never seen you on more cordial terms," remarked
Salemina.

"But you weren't there," answered Francesca unguardedly.

"Weren't where?"

"Weren't there."

"Where?"

"At the station."

"What station?"

"The station in Edinburgh from which I started for the Highlands."

"You never said that he came to see you off."

"The matter was too unimportant for notice; and the more I think of
his being here, the less I mind it after all; and so, dull care,
begone!  When I first meet him on the sands or in the loaning, I
shall say, `Dear me, is it Mr. Macdonald!  What brought you to our
quiet hamlet?'  (I shall put the responsibility on him, you know.)
`That is the worst of these small countries,--fowk are aye i' the
gait!  When we part for ever in America, we are able to stay parted,
if we wish.'  Then he will say, `Quite so, quite so; but I suppose
even you, Miss Monroe, will allow that a minister may not move his
church to please a lady.'  `Certainly not,' I shall reply,
`especially when it is Estaiblished!'  Then he will laugh, and we
shall be better friends for a few moments; and then I shall tell him
my latest story about the Scotchman who prayed, `Lord, I do not ask
that Thou shouldst give me wealth; only show me where it is, and I
will attend to the rest.'"

Salemina moaned at the delightful prospect opening before us, while
I went to the piano and carolled impersonally--

  "Oh, wherefore did I cross the Forth,
     And leave my love behind me?
   Why did I venture to the north
     With one that did not mind me?
   I'm sure I've seen a better limb
     And twenty better faces;
   But still my mind it runs on him
     When I am at the races!"

Francesca left the room at this, and closed the door behind her with
such energy that the bust of Sir Walter rocked on the hall shelf.
Running upstairs she locked herself in her bedroom, and came down
again only to help us receive Jane Grieve, who arrived at eight
o'clock.

In times of joy Salemina, Francesca, and I occasionally have our
trifling differences of opinion, but in hours of affliction we are
as one flesh.  An all-wise Providence sent us Jane Grieve for fear
that we should be too happy in Pettybaw.  Plans made in heaven for
the discipline of sinful human flesh are always successful, and this
was no exception.

We had sent a `machine' from the inn to meet her, and when it drew
up at the door we went forward to greet the rosy little Jane of our
fancy.  An aged person, wearing a rusty black bonnet and shawl, and
carrying what appeared to be a tin cake-box and a baby's bath-tub,
descended rheumatically from the vehicle and announced herself as
Miss Grieve.  She was too old to call by her Christian name, too
sensitive to call by her surname, so Miss Grieve she remained, as
announced, to the end of the chapter, and our rosy little Jane died
before she was actually born.  The man took her grotesque luggage
into the kitchen, and Salemina escorted her thither, while Francesca
and I fell into each other's arms and laughed hysterically.

"Nobody need tell me that she is Mrs. M'Collop's sister's husband's
niece," she whispered, "although she may possibly be somebody's
grand-aunt.  Doesn't she remind you of Mrs. Gummidge?"

Salemina returned in a quarter of an hour, and sank dejectedly on
the sofa.

"Run over to the inn, Francesca" she said, "and order bacon and eggs
at eight-thirty to-morrow morning.  Miss Grieve thinks we had better
not breakfast at home until she becomes accustomed to the
surroundings."

"Shall we allow her to become accustomed to them?" I questioned.

"She came up from Glasgow to Edinburgh for the day, and went to see
Mrs. M'Collop just as our telegram arrived.  She was living with an
`extremely nice family' in Glasgow, and only broke her engagement in
order to try Fifeshire air for the summer; so she will remain with
us as long as she is benefited by the climate."

"Can't you pay her for a month and send her away?"

"How can we?  She is Mrs. M'Collop's sister's husband's niece, and
we intend returning to Mrs. M'Collop.  She has a nice ladylike
appearance, but when she takes her bonnet off she looks seventy
years old."

"She ought always to keep it off, then," returned Francesca, "for
she looked eighty with it on.  We shall have to soothe her last
moments, of course, and pay her funeral expenses.  Did you offer her
a cup of tea and show her the box-bed?"

"Yes; she said she was muckle obleeged to me, but the coals were so
poor and hard she couldna batter them up to start a fire the nicht,
and she would try the box-bed to see if she could sleep in it.  I am
glad to remember that it was you who telegraphed for her, Penelope."

"Let there be no recriminations," I responded; "let us stand
shoulder to shoulder in this calamity,--isn't there a story called
Calamity Jane?  We might live at the inn, and give her the cottage
for a summer residence, but I utterly refuse to be parted from our
cat and the 1602 lintel."

After I have once described Miss Grieve I shall not suffer her to
begloom these pages as she did our young lives.  She is so exactly
like her kind in America she cannot be looked upon as a national
type.  Everywhere we go we see fresh, fair-haired, sonsie lasses;
why should we have been visited by this affliction, we who have no
courage in a foreign land to rid ourselves of it?

She appears at the door of the kitchen with some complaint, and
stands there talking to herself in a depressing murmur until she
arrives at the next grievance.  Whenever we hear this, which is
whenever we are in the sitting-room, we amuse ourselves by chanting
lines of melancholy poetry which correspond to the sentiments she
seems to be uttering.  It is the only way the infliction can be
endured, for the sitting-room is so small that we cannot keep the
door closed habitually.  The effect of this plan is something like
the following:-

She. "The range has sic a bad draft I canna mak' the fire draw!"

  We.  `But I'm ower auld for the tears to start,
        An' sae the sighs maun blaw!'

She. "The clock i' the hall doesna strike.  I have to get oot o' my
bed to see the time."

  We.  `The broken hairt it kens
        Nae second spring again!'

She. "There's no' eneuch jugs i' the hoose."

  We.  `I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought--
        In troth I'm like to greet!'

She. "The sink drain isna recht."

  We.  `An' it's oh! to win awa', awa',
        An' it's oh! to win awa'!'

She. "I canna thole a box-bed!"

  We.  `Ay waukin O
        Waukin O an' weary.
        Sleep I can get nane,
        Ay waukin O!'

She. "It's fair insultin' to rent a hoose wi' so few convenience."

  We.  `An' I'm ower auld to fish ony mair,
        An' I hinna the chance to droon.'

She. "The work is fair sickenin' i' this hoose, an' a' for ane puir
body to do by her lane."

  We.  `How can ye chant, ye little birds,
        An' I sae weary, fu' o' care?'

She. "Ah, but that was a fine family I lived wi' in Glasgy; an' it's
a wearifu' day's work I've had the day."

  We.  `Oh why was I spared to cry, Wae's me!'

She. "Why dinna they leave floo'rs i' the garden makin' a mess i'
the hoose wi' `em?  It's not for the knowin' what they will be after
next!"

  We.  `Oh, waly waly up the bank,
        And waly waly doon the brae!'

Miss Grieve's plaints never grow less, though we are sometimes at a
loss for appropriate quotations to match them.  The poetic
interpolations are introduced merely to show the general spirit of
her conversation.  They take the place of her sighs, which are by
their nature unprintable.  Many times each day she is wont to sink
into one low chair, and, extending her feet in another, close her
eyes and murmur undistinguishable plaints which come to us in a kind
of rhythmic way.  She has such a shaking right hand we have been
obliged to give up coffee and have tea, as the former beverage
became too unsettled on its journey from the kitchen to the
breakfast-table.  She says she kens she is a guid cook, though salf-
praise is sma' racommendation (sma' as it is she will get nae
ither!); but we have little opportunity to test her skill, as she
prepares only our breakfasts of eggs and porridge.  Visions of home-
made goodies had danced before our eyes, but as the hall clock
doesna strike she is unable to rise at any exact hour, and as the
range draft is bad, and the coals too hard to batter up wi' a
hatchet, we naturally have to content ourselves with the baker's
loaf.

And this is a truthful portrait of `Calamity Jane,' our one Pettybaw
grievance.



Chapter XVI. The path that led to Crummylowe.



  `Gae farer up the burn to Habbie's Howe,
   Where a' the sweets o' spring an' simmer grow:
   Between twa birks, out o'er a little lin,
   The water fa's an' mak's a singan din;
   A pool breast-deep, beneath as clear as glass,
   Kisses, wi' easy whirls, the bord'ring grass.'

The Gentle Shepherd.



That is what Peggy says to Jenny in Allan Ramsay's poem, and if you
substitute `Crummylowe' for `Habbie's Howe' in the first line, you
will have a lovely picture of the farm-steadin'.

You come to it by turning the corner from the inn, first passing the
cottage where the lady wishes to rent two rooms for fifteen
shillings a week, but will not give much attendance, as she is
slightly asthmatic, and the house is always as clean as it is this
minute, and the view from the window looking out on Pettybaw Bay
canna be surpassed at ony money.  Then comes the little house where
Will'am Beattie's sister Mary died in May, and there wasna a bonnier
woman in Fife.  Next is the cottage with the pansy-garden, where the
lady in the widow's cap takes five-o'clock tea in the bay-window,
and a snug little supper at eight.  She has for the first, scones
and marmalade, and her tea is in a small black teapot under a red
cosy with a white muslin cover drawn over it.  At eight she has more
tea, and generally a kippered herring, or a bit of cold mutton left
from the noon dinner.  We note the changes in her bill of fare as we
pass hastily by, and feel admitted quite into the family secrets.
Beyond this bay-window, which is so redolent of simple peace and
comfort that we long to go in and sit down, is the cottage with the
double white tulips, the cottage with the collie on the front steps,
the doctor's house with the yellow laburnum tree, and then the house
where the Disagreeable Woman lives.  She has a lovely baby, which,
to begin with, is somewhat remarkable, as disagreeable women rarely
have babies; or else, having had them, rapidly lose their
disagreeableness--so rapidly that one has not time to notice it.
The Disagreeable Woman's house is at the end of the row, and across
the road is a wicket-gate leading--  Where did it lead?--that was
the very point.  Along the left, as you lean wistfully over the
gate, there runs a stone wall topped by a green hedge; and on the
right, first furrows of pale fawn, then below, furrows of deeper
brown, and mulberry, and red ploughed earth stretching down to
waving fields of green, and thence to the sea, grey, misty,
opalescent, melting into the pearly white clouds, so that one cannot
tell where sea ends and sky begins.

There is a path between the green hedge and the ploughed field, and
it leads seductively to the farm-steadin'; or we felt that it might
thus lead, if we dared unlatch the wicket gate.  Seeing no sign
`Private Way,' `Trespassers Not Allowed,' or other printed defiance
to the stranger, we were considering the opening of the gate, when
we observed two female figures coming toward us along the path, and
paused until they should come through.  It was the Disagreeable
Woman (although we knew it not) and an elderly friend.  We accosted
the friend, feeling instinctively that she was framed of softer
stuff, and asked her if the path were a private one.  It was a
question that had never met her ear before, and she was too dull or
too discreet to deal with it on the instant.  To our amazement, she
did not even manage to falter, `I couldna say.'

"Is the path private?" I repeated.

"It is certainly the idea to keep it a little private," said the
Disagreeable Woman, coming into the conversation without being
addressed.  "Where do you wish to go?"

"Nowhere in particular.  The walk looks so inviting we should like
to see the end."

"It goes only to the Farm, and you can reach that by the highroad;
it is only a half-mile further.  Do you wish to call at the Farm?"

"No, oh no; the path is so very pretty that--"

"Yes, I see; well, I should call it rather private."  And with this
she departed, leaving us to stand on the outskirts of paradise,
while she went into her house and stared at us from the window as
she played with the lovely undeserved baby.  But that was not the
end of the matter.

We found ourselves there next day, Francesca and I--Salemina was too
proud--drawn by an insatiable longing to view the beloved and
forbidden scene.  We did not dare to glance at the Disagreeable
Woman's windows, lest our courage should ooze away, so we opened the
gate and stole through into the rather private path.

It was a most lovely path; even if it had not been in a sense
prohibited, it would still have been lovely, simply on its own
merits.  There were little gaps in the hedge and the wall, through
which we peered into a daisy-starred pasture, where a white bossy
and a herd of flaxen-haired cows fed on the sweet green grass.  The
mellow ploughed earth on the right hand stretched down to the shore-
line, and a plough-boy walked up and down the long, straight furrows
whistling `My Nannie's awa'.'  Pettybaw is so far removed from the
music-halls that their cheap songs and strident echoes never reach
its sylvan shades, and the herd-laddies and plough-boys still
sweeten their labours with the old classic melodies.

We walked on and on, determined to come every day; and we settled
that if we were accosted by any one, or if our innocent business
were demanded, Francesca should ask, `Does Mrs. Macstronachlacher
live here, and has she any new-laid eggs?'

Soon the gates of the Farm appeared in sight.  There was a cluster
of buildings, with doves huddling and cooing on the red-tiled
roofs,--dairy houses, workmen's cottages, comely rows of haystacks
(towering yellow things with peaked tops); a little pond with ducks
and geese chattering together as they paddled about, and for
additional music the trickling of two tiny burns making `a singan
din,' as they wimpled through the bushes.  A speckle-breasted thrush
perched on a corner of the grey wall and poured his heart out.
Overhead there was a chorus of rooks in the tall trees, but there
was no sound of human voice save that of the plough-laddie whistling
`My Nannie's awa'.'

We turned our backs on this darling solitude, and retraced our steps
lingeringly.  As we neared the wicket gate again we stood upon a bit
of jutting rock and peered over the wall, sniffing the hawthorn buds
with ecstasy.  The white bossy drew closer, treading softly on its
daisy carpet; the wondering cows looked up at us as they peacefully
chewed their cuds; a man in corduroy breeches came from a corner of
the pasture, and with a sharp, narrow hoe rooted out a thistle or
two that had found their way into this sweet feeding-ground.
Suddenly we heard the swish of a dress behind, and turned,
conscience-stricken, though we had in nothing sinned.

"Does Mrs. Macstronachlacher live here?" stammered Francesca like a
parrot.

It was an idiotic time and place for the question.  We had certainly
arranged that she should ask it, but something must be left to the
judgment in such cases.  Francesca was hanging over a stone wall
regarding a herd of cows in a pasture, and there was no possible
shelter for a Mrs. Macstronachlacher within a quarter of a mile.
What made the remark more unfortunate was the fact that, although
she had on a different dress and bonnet, the person interrogated was
the Disagreeable Woman; but Francesca is particularly slow in
discerning resemblances.  She would have gone on mechanically asking
for new-laid eggs, had I not caught her eye and held it sternly.
The foe looked at us suspiciously for a moment (Francesca's hats are
not easily forgotten), and then vanished up the path, to tell the
people at Crummylowe, I suppose, that their grounds were invested by
marauding strangers whose curiosity was manifestly the outgrowth of
a republican government.

As she disappeared in one direction, we walked slowly in the other;
and just as we reached the corner of the pasture where two stone
walls meet, and where a group of oaks gives grateful shade, we heard
children's voices.

"No, no!" cried somebody; "it must be still higher at this end, for
the tower--this is where the king will sit.  Help me with this heavy
one, Rafe.  Dandie, mind your foot.  Why don't you be making the
flag for the ship?--and do keep the Wrig away from us till we finish
building!"



Chapter XVII. Playing Sir Patrick Spens.



  `O lang, lang may the ladyes sit
     Wi' their face into their hand,
   Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
     Come sailing to the strand.'

Sir Patrick Spens.



We forced our toes into the crevices of the wall and peeped
stealthily over the top.  Two boys of eight or ten years, with two
younger children, were busily engaged in building a castle.  A great
pile of stones had been hauled to the spot, evidently for the
purpose of mending the wall, and these were serving as rich material
for sport.  The oldest of the company, a bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked
boy in an Eton jacket and broad white collar, was obviously
commander-in-chief; and the next in size, whom he called Rafe, was a
laddie of eight, in kilts.  These two looked as if they might be
scions of the aristocracy, while Dandie and the Wrig were fat little
yokels of another sort.  The miniature castle must have been the
work of several mornings, and was worthy of the respectful but
silent admiration with which we gazed upon it; but as the last stone
was placed in the tower, the master builder looked up and spied our
interested eyes peering at him over the wall.  We were properly
abashed, and ducked our heads discreetly at once, but were reassured
by hearing him run rapidly towards us, calling, "Stop, if you
please!  Have you anything on just now--are you busy?"

We answered that we were quite at leisure.

"Then would you mind coming in to help us play `Sir Patrick Spens'?
There aren't enough of us to do it nicely."

This confidence was touching, and luckily it was not in the least
misplaced.  Playing `Sir Patrick Spens' was exactly in our line,
little as he suspected it.

"Come and help?" I said.  "Simply delighted!  Do come, Fanny dear.
How can we get over the wall?"

"I'll show you the good broken place!" cried Sir Apple-Cheek; and
following his directions we scrambled through, while Rafe took off
his Highland bonnet ceremoniously and handed us down to earth.

"Hurrah!  now it will be something like fun!  Do you know `Sir
Patrick Spens'?"


"Every word of it.  Don't you want us to pass an examination before
you allow us in the game?"

"No," he answered gravely; "it's a great help, of course, to know
it, but it isn't necessary.  I keep the words in my pocket to prompt
Dandie, and the Wrig can only say two lines, she's so little."
(Here he produced some tattered leaves torn from a book of ballads.)
"We've done it many a time, but this is a new Dunfermline Castle,
and we are trying the play in a different way.  Rafe is the king,
and Dandie is the `eldern knight,'--you remember him?"

"Certainly; he sat at the king's right knee."

"Yes, yes, that's the one!  Then Rafe is Sir Patrick part of the
time, and I the other part, because everybody likes to be him; but
there's nobody left for the `lords o' Noroway' or the sailors, and
the Wrig is the only maiden to sit on the shore, and she always
forgets to comb her hair and weep at the right time."

The forgetful and placid Wrig (I afterwards learned that this is a
Scots word for the youngest bird in the nest) was seated on the
grass, with her fat hands full of pink thyme and white wild
woodruff.  The sun shone on her curly flaxen head.  She wore a dark
blue cotton frock with white dots, and a short-sleeved pinafore; and
though she was utterly useless from a dramatic point of view, she
was the sweetest little Scotch dumpling I ever looked upon.  She had
been tried and found wanting in most of the principal parts of the
ballad, but when left out of the performance altogether she was wont
to scream so lustily that all Crummylowe rushed to her assistance.

"Now let us practise a bit to see if we know what we are going to
do," said Sir Apple-Cheek.  "Rafe, you can be Sir Patrick this time.
The reason why we all like to be Sir Patrick," he explained, turning
to me, "is that the lords o' Noroway say to him--

  `Ye Scottishmen spend a' our King's gowd,
     And a' our Queenis fee';

and then he answers,--

  `"Ye lee! ye lee! ye leers loud,
     Fu' loudly do ye lee!"'

and a lot of splendid things like that.  Well, I'll be the king,"
and accordingly he began:-

  `The King sits in Dunfermline tower,
     Drinking the bluid-red wine.
  "O whaur will I get a skeely skipper
     To sail this new ship o' mine?"'

A dead silence ensued, whereupon the king said testily, "Now,
Dandie, you never remember you're the eldern knight; go on!"

Thus reminded, Dandie recited:-

  `O up and spake an eldern knight,
     Sat at the King's right knee:
  "Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
     That ever sailed the sea."'

"Now I'll write my letter," said the king, who was endeavouring to
make himself comfortable in his somewhat contracted tower.

  `The King has written a braid letter
     And sealed it with his hand;
   And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
     Was walking on the strand.'

"Read the letter out loud, Rafe, and then you'll remember what to
do."

  `"To Noroway! to Noroway!
     To Noroway o'er the faem!
    The King's daughter of Noroway,
     `Tis thou maun bring her hame,"'

read Rafe.

"Now do the next part!"

"I can't; I'm going to chuck up that next part.  I wish you'd do Sir
Patrick until it comes to `Ye lee! `ye lee!'"

"No, that won't do, Rafe.  We have to mix up everybody else, but
it's too bad to spoil Sir Patrick."

"Well, I'll give him to you, then, and be the king.  I don't mind so
much now that we've got such a good tower; and why can't I stop up
there even after the ship sets sail and look out over the sea with a
telescope?  That's the way Elizabeth did the time she was king."

"You can stay till you have to come down and be a dead Scots lord.
I'm not going to lie there as I did last time, with nobody but the
Wrig for a Scots lord, and her forgetting to be dead!"

Sir Apple-Cheek then essayed the hard part `chucked up' by Rafe.  It
was rather difficult, I confess, as the first four lines were in
pantomime, and required great versatility:-

  `The first word that Sir Patrick read,
     Fu' loud, loud laughed he:
   The neist word that Sir Patrick read,
     The tear blinded his e'e.'

These conflicting emotions successfully simulated, Sir Patrick
resumed:-

  `"O wha is he has done this deed,
     And tauld the King o' me,--
    To send us out, at this time o' the year,
     To sail upon the sea?"'

Then the king stood up in the unstable tower and shouted his own
orders:-

  `"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,
     Our ship maun sail the faem;
    The King's daughter o' Noroway,
     `Tis we maun fetch her hame."'

"Can't we rig the ship a little better?" demanded our stage-manager
at this juncture.  "It isn't half as good as the tower."

Ten minutes' hard work, in which we assisted, produced something a
trifle more nautical and seaworthy than the first craft.  The ground
with a few boards spread upon it was the deck.  Tarpaulin sheets
were arranged on sticks to represent sails, and we located the
vessel so cleverly that two slender trees shot out of the middle of
it and served as the tall topmasts.

"Now let us make believe that we've hoisted our sails on `Mononday
morn' and been in Noroway `weeks but only twae,'" said our leading
man; "and your time has come now,"--turning to us.

We felt indeed that it had; but plucking up sufficient courage for
the lords o' Noroway, we cried accusingly,--

  `"Ye Scottishmen spend a' our King's gowd,
     And a' our Queenis fee!"'

Oh but Sir Apple-Cheek was glorious as he roared virtuously:-

  `"Ye lee! ye lee! ye leers loud,
     Fu' loudly do you lee!

   "For I brocht as much white monie
     As gane my men and me,
    An' I brocht a half-fou o' gude red gowd
     Out ower the sea wi' me.

   "But betide me well, betide me wae,
     This day I'se leave the shore;
    And never spend my King's monie
     `Mong Noroway dogs no more.

   "Make ready, make ready, my merry men a',
     Our gude ship sails the morn."'

"Now you be the sailors, please!"

Glad to be anything but Noroway dogs, we recited obediently--

  `"Now, ever alake, my master dear,
     I fear a deadly storm?
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    And if ye gang to sea, master,
     I fear we'll come to harm."'

We added much to the effect of this stanza by flinging ourselves on
the turf and embracing Sir Patrick's knees, with which touch of
melodrama he was enchanted.

Then came a storm so terrible that I can hardly trust myself to
describe its fury.  The entire corps dramatique personated the
elements, and tore the gallant ship in twain, while Sir Patrick
shouted in the teeth of the gale--

  `"O whaur will I get a gude sailor
     To tak' my helm in hand,
    Till I get up to the tall topmast
     To see if I can spy land?"'

I knew the words a trifle better than Francesca, and thus succeeded
in forestalling her as the fortunate hero--

  `"O here I am, a sailor gude,
     To tak' the helm in hand,
    Till you go up to the tall topmast;
     But I fear ye'll ne'er spy land."'

And the heroic sailor was right, for

   `He hadna gone a step, a step,
     A step but only ane,
    When a bout flew out o' our goodly ship,
     And the saut sea it came in.'

Then we fetched a web o' the silken claith, and anither o' the
twine, as our captain bade us; we wapped them into our ship's side
and letna the sea come in; but in vain, in vain.  Laith were the
gude Scots lords to weet their cork-heeled shune, but they did, and
wat their hats abune; for the ship sank in spite of their despairing
efforts,

   `And mony was the gude lord's son
     That never mair cam' hame.'

Francesca and I were now obliged to creep from under the tarpaulins
and personate the dishevelled ladies on the strand.

"Will your hair come down?" asked the manager gravely.

"It will and shall," we rejoined; and it did.

   `The ladies wrang their fingers white,
     The maidens tore their hair.'

"Do tear your hair, Jessie!  It's the only thing you have to do, and
you never do it on time!"

The Wrig made ready to howl with offended pride, but we soothed her,
and she tore her yellow curls with her chubby hands.

   `And lang, lang may the maidens sit
     Wi' there gowd kaims i' the hair,
    A' waitin' for their ain dear luves,
     For them they'll see nae mair.'

I did a bit of sobbing here that would have been a credit to Sarah
Siddons.

"Splendid!  Grand!" cried Sir Patrick, as he stretched himself fifty
fathoms below the imaginary surface of the water, and gave explicit
ante-mortem directions to the other Scots lords to spread themselves
out in like manner.

   `Half ower, half ower to Aberdour,
     `Tis fifty fathoms deep,
    And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,
     Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.'

"Oh, it is grand!" he repeated jubilantly.  "If I could only be the
king and see it all from Dunfermline tower!  Could you be Sir
Patrick once, do you think, now that I have shown you how?" he asked
Francesca.

"Indeed I could!" she replied, glowing with excitement (and small
wonder) at being chosen for the principal role.

"The only trouble is that you do look awfully like a girl in that
white frock."

Francesca appeared rather ashamed at her natural disqualifications
for the part of Sir Patrick.  "If I had only worn my long black
cloak!" she sighed.

"Oh, I have an idea!" cried the boy.  "Hand her the minister's gown
from the hedge, Rafe.  You see, Mistress Ogilvie of Crummylowe lent
us this old gown for a sail; she's doing something to a new one, and
this was her pattern."

Francesca slipped it on over her white serge, and the Pettybaw
parson should have seen her with the long veil of her dark locks
floating over his ministerial garment.

"It seems a pity to put up your hair," said the stage manager
critically, "because you look so jolly and wild with it down, but I
suppose you must; and will you have Rafe's bonnet?"

Yes, she would have Rafe's bonnet; and when she perched it on the
side of her head and paced the deck restlessly, while the black gown
floated behind in the breeze, we all cheered with enthusiasm, and,
having rebuilt the ship, began the play again from the moment of the
gale.  The wreck was more horribly realistic than ever, this time,
because of our rehearsal; and when I crawled from under the masts
and sails to seat myself on the beach with the Wrig, I had scarcely
strength enough to remove the cooky from her hand and set her a-
combing her curly locks.

When our new Sir Patrick stretched herself on the ocean bed, she
fell with a despairing wail; her gown spread like a pall over the
earth, the Highland bonnet came off, and her hair floated over a
haphazard pillow of Jessie's wildflowers.

"Oh, it is fine, that part; but from here is where it always goes
wrong!" cried the king from the castle tower.  "It's too bad to take
the maidens away from the strand where they look so bonnie, and Rafe
is splendid as the gude sailor, but Dandie looks so silly as one
little dead Scots lord; if we only had one more person, young or
old, if he was ever so stupid!"

"WOULD I DO?"

This unexpected offer came from behind one of the trees that served
as topmasts, and at the same moment there issued from that
delightfully secluded retreat Ronald Macdonald, in knickerbockers
and a golf-cap.

Suddenly as this apparition came, there was no lack of welcome on
the children's part.  They shouted his name in glee, embraced his
legs, and pulled him about like affectionate young bears.  Confusion
reigned for a moment, while Sir Patrick rose from her sea grave all
in a mist of floating hair, from which hung impromptu garlands of
pink thyme and green grasses.

"Allow me to do the honours, please, Jamie," said Mr. Macdonald,
when he could escape from the children's clutches.  "Have you been
properly presented?  I suppose not.  Ladies, the young Master of
Rowardennan.  Jamie, Miss Hamilton and Miss Monroe from the United
States of America."  Sir Apple-Cheek bowed respectfully.  "Let me
present the Honourable Ralph Ardmore, also from the castle, together
with Dandie Dinmont and the Wrig from Crummylowe.  Sir Patrick, it
is indeed a pleasure to see you again.  Must you take off my gown?
I had thought it was past use, but it never looked so well before."

"YOUR gown?"

The counterfeit presentment of Sir Patrick vanished as the long
drapery flew to the hedge whence it came, and there remained only an
offended young goddess, who swung her dark mane tempestuously to one
side, plaited it in a thick braid, tossed it back again over her
white serge shoulder, and crowded on her sailor hat with unnecessary
vehemence.

"Yes, MY gown; whose else could you more appropriately borrow, pray?
Mistress Ogilvie of Crummylowe presses, sponges, and darns my
bachelor wardrobe, but I confess I never suspected that she rented
it out for theatrical purposes.  I have been calling upon you in
Pettybaw; Lady Ardmore was there at the same time.  Finding but one
of the three American Graces at home, I stayed a few moments only,
and am now returning to Inchcaldy by way of Crummylowe."  Here he
plucked the gown off the hedge and folded it carefully.

"Can't we keep it for a sail, Mr. Macdonald?" pleaded Jamie.
"Mistress Ogilvie said it wasn't any more good."

"When Mistress Ogilvie made that remark," replied the Reverend
Ronald, "she had no idea that it would ever touch the shoulders of
the martyred Sir Patrick Spens.  Now, I happen to love--"

Francesca hung out a scarlet flag in each cheek, and I was about to
say, `Don't mind me!' when he continued--

"As I was saying, I happen to love `Sir Patrick Spens,'--it is my
favourite ballad; so, with your permission, I will take the gown,
and you can find something less valuable for a sail!"

I could never understand just why Francesca was so annoyed at being
discovered in our innocent game.  Of course she was prone on Mother
Earth and her tresses were much dishevelled, but she looked lovely
after all, in comparison with me, the humble `supe' and lightning-
change artist; yet I kept my temper,--at least I kept it until the
Reverend Ronald observed, after escorting us through the gap in the
wall, "By the way, Miss Hamilton, there was a gentleman from Paris
at your cottage, and he is walking down the road to meet you."

Walking down the road to meet me, forsooth!  Have ministers no
brains?  The Reverend Mr. Macdonald had wasted five good minutes
with his observations, introductions, explanations, felicitations,
and adorations, and meantime, regardez-moi, messieurs et mesdames,
s'il vous plait!  I have been a Noroway dog, a shipbuilder, and a
gallant sailorman; I have been a gurly sea and a towering gale; I
have crawled from beneath broken anchors, topsails, and mizzenmasts
to a strand where I have been a suffering lady plying a gowd kaim.
My skirt of blue drill has been twisted about my person until it
trails in front; my collar is wilted, my cravat untied; I have lost
a stud and a sleeve-link; my hair is in a tangled mass, my face is
scarlet and dusty--and a gentleman from Paris is walking down the
road to meet me!



Chapter XVIII. Paris comes to Pettybaw.



  `There were three ladies in a hall--
     With a heigh-ho! and a lily gay,
   There came a lord among them all--
     As the primrose spreads so sweetly.'

The Cruel Brother.



Willie Beresford has come to Pettybaw, and that Arcadian village has
received the last touch that makes it Paradise.

We are exploring the neighbourhood together, and whichever path we
take we think it lovelier than the one before.  This morning we
drove to Pettybaw Sands, Francesca and Salemina following by the
footpath and meeting us on the shore.  It is all so enchantingly
fresh and green on one of these rare bright days:  the trig lass
bleaching her `claes' on the grass by the burn near the little stone
bridge; the wild partridges whirring about in pairs; the farm-boy
seated on the clean straw in the bottom of his cart, and cracking
his whip in mere wanton joy at the sunshine; the pretty cottages;
and the gardens with rows of currant and gooseberry bushes hanging
thick with fruit that suggests jam and tart in every delicious
globule.  It is a love-coloured landscape, we know it full well; and
nothing in the fair world about us is half as beautiful as what we
see in each other's eyes.  Ah, the memories of these first golden
mornings together after our long separation.  I shall sprinkle them
with lavender and lay them away in that dim chamber of the heart
where we keep precious things.  We all know the chamber.  It is
fragrant with other hidden treasures, for all of them are sweet,
though some are sad.  That is the reason why we put a finger on the
lip and say `Hush,' if we open the door and allow any one to peep
in.

We tied the pony by the wayside and alighted:  Willie to gather some
sprays of the pink veronica and blue speedwell, I to sit on an old
bench and watch him in happy idleness.  The `white-blossomed slaes'
sweetened the air, and the distant hills were gay with golden whin
and broom, or flushed with the purply-red of the bell heather.

We heard the note of the cushats from a neighbouring bush.  They
used to build their nests on the ground, so the story goes, but the
cows trampled them. Now they are wiser and build higher, and their
cry is supposed to be a derisive one, directed to their ancient
enemies.  `Come noo, Coo, Coo!  Come noo!'

A hedgehog crept stealthily along the ground, and at a sudden sound
curled himself up like a wee brown bear.  There were women working
in the fields near by,--a strange sight to our eyes at first, but
nothing unusual here, where many of them are employed on the farms
all the year round, sowing weeding, planting, even ploughing in the
spring, and in winter working at threshing or in the granary.

An old man, leaning on his staff, came tottering feebly along, and
sank down on the bench beside me.  He was dirty, ragged, unkempt,
and feeble, but quite sober, and pathetically anxious for human
sympathy.

"I'm achty-sax year auld,' he maundered, apropos of nothing, "achty-
sax year auld.  I've seen five lairds o' Pettybaw, sax placed
meenisters, an' seeven doctors.  I was a mason, an' a stoot mon i'
thae days, but it's a meeserable life noo.  Wife deid, bairns deid!
I sit by my lane, an' smoke my pipe, wi' naebody to gi'e me a sup o'
water.  Achty-sax is ower auld for a mon,--ower auld."

These are the sharp contrasts of life one cannot bear to face when
one is young and happy.  Willie gave him a half-crown and some
tobacco for his pipe, and when the pony trotted off briskly, and we
left the shrunken figure alone on his bench as he was lonely in his
life, we kissed each other and pledged ourselves to look after him
as long as we remain in Pettybaw; for what is love worth if it does
not kindle the flames of spirit, open the gates of feeling, and
widen the heart to shelter all the little loves and great loves that
crave admittance?

As we neared the tiny fishing-village on the sands we met a fishwife
brave in her short skirt and eight petticoats, the basket with its
two hundred pound weight on her head, and the auld wife herself
knitting placidly as she walked along.  They look superbly strong,
these women; but, to be sure, the `weak anes dee,' as one of them
told me.

There was an air of bustle about the little quay,--

  `That joyfu' din when the boats come in,
     When the boats come in sae early;
   When the lift is blue an' the herring-nets fu',
     And the sun glints in a' things rarely.'

The silvery shoals of fish no longer come so near the shore as they
used in the olden time, for then the kirk bell of St. Monan's had
its tongue tied when the `draive' was off the coast, lest its knell
should frighten away the shining myriads of the deep.

We climbed the shoulder of a great green cliff until we could sit on
the rugged rocks at the top and overlook the sea.  The bluff is well
named Nirly Scaur, and a wild desolate spot it is, with grey lichen-
clad boulders and stunted heather on its summit.  In a storm here,
the wind buffets and slashes and scourges one like invisible whips,
and below the sea churns itself into foaming waves, driving its
`infinite squadrons of wild white horses' eternally toward the
shore.  It was calm and blue to-day, and no sound disturbed the
quiet save the incessant shriek and scream of the rock birds, the
kittiwakes, black-headed gulls, and guillemots that live on the
sides of these high sheer craigs.  Here the mother guillemot lays
her single egg, and here, on these narrow shelves of precipitous
rock, she holds it in place with her foot until the warmth of her
leg and overhanging body hatches it into life, when she takes it on
her back and flies down to the sea.  Motherhood under difficulties,
it would seem, and the education of the baby guillemot is carried
forward on Spartan principles; for the moment he is out of the shell
he is swept downward hundreds of feet and plunged into a cold ocean,
where he can sink or swim as instinct serves him.  In a life so
fraught with anxieties, exposures, and dangers, it is not strange
that the guillemots keeps up a ceaseless clang of excited
conversation, a very riot and wrangle of altercation and argument
which the circumstances seem to warrant.  The prospective father is
obliged to take turns with the prospective mother, and hold the one
precious egg on the rock while she goes for a fly, a swim, a bite,
and a sup.  As there are five hundred other parents on the same
rock, and the eggs look to be only a couple of inches apart, the
scene must be distracting, and I have no doubt we should find, if
statistics were gathered, that thousands of guillemots die of
nervous prostration.

Willie and I interpreted the clamour somewhat as follows:-

[Between parent birds.]

"I am going to take my foot off.  Are you ready to put yours on?
Don't be clumsy!  Wait a minute, I'm not ready.  I'M NOT READY, I
TELL YOU!  NOW!!"

[Between rival mothers.]

"Your egg is so close to mine that I can't breathe---"

"Move your egg, then, I can't move mine!"

"You're sitting so close, I can't stretch my wings."

"Neither can I.  You've got as much room as I have."

"I shall tumble if you crowd me."

"Go ahead and tumble, then!  There is plenty of room in the sea."

[From one father to another ceremoniously.]

"Pardon me, but I'm afraid I shoved your wife off the rock last
night."

"Don't mention it.  I remember I shoved off your wife's mother last
year."

We walked among the tiny whitewashed low-roofed cots, each with its
silver-skinned fishes tacked invitingly against the door-frame to
dry, until we came to my favourite, the corner cottage in the row.
It has beautiful narrow garden strips in front,--solid patches of
colour in sweet gillyflower bushes, from which the kindly housewife
plucked a nosegay for us.  Her white columbines she calls `granny's
mutches'; and indeed they are not unlike those fresh white caps.
Dear Robbie Burns, ten inches high in plaster, stands in the sunny
window in a tiny box of blossoming plants surrounded by a miniature
green picket fence.  Outside, looming white among the gillyflowers,
is Sir Walter, and near him is still another and a larger bust on a
cracked pedestal a foot high, perhaps.  We did not recognise the
head at once, and asked the little woman who it was.

"Homer, the graund Greek poet," she answered cheerily; "an' I'm to
have anither o' Burns, as tall as Homer, when my daughter comes hame
frae E'nbro'."

If the shade of Homer keeps account of his earthly triumphs, I think
he is proud of his place in that humble Scotchwoman's gillyflower
garden, with his head under the drooping petals of granny's white
mutches.

What do you think her `mon' is called in the village!  John o' Mary!
But he is not alone in his meekness, for there are Jock o' Meg,
Willie o' Janet, Jem o' Tibby, and a dozen others.  These primitive
fishing-villages are the places where all the advanced women ought
to congregate, for the wife is head of the house; the accountant,
the treasurer, the auditor, the chancellor of the exchequer; and
though her husband does catch the fish for her to sell, that is
accounted apparently as a detail too trivial for notice.

When we passed Mary's cottage on our way to the sands next day,
Burns's head had been accidentally broken off by the children, and
we felt as though we had lost a friend; but Scotch thrift, and
loyalty to the dear Ploughman Poet, came to the rescue, and when we
returned, Robert's plaster head had been glued to his body.  He
smiled at us again from between the two scarlet geraniums, and a
tendril of ivy had been gently curled about his neck to hide the
cruel wound.

After such long, lovely mornings as this, there is a late luncheon
under the shadow of a rock with Salemina and Francesca, an idle
chat, or the chapter of a book, and presently Lady Ardmore and her
daughter Elizabeth drive down to the sands.  They are followed by
Robin Anstruther, Jamie, and Ralph on bicycles, and before long the
stalwart figure of Ronald Macdonald appears in the distance, just in
time for a cup of tea, which we brew in Lady Ardmore's bath-house on
the beach.



Chapter XIX. Fowk o' Fife.



  `To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
   The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene;
   The native feelings strong, the guileless ways.'

The Cotter's Saturday Night.



We have lived in Pettybaw a very short time, but I see that we have
already made an impression upon all grades of society.  This was not
our intention.  We gave Edinburgh as our last place of residence,
with the view of concealing our nationality, until such time as we
should choose to declare it; that is, when public excitement with
regard to our rental of the house in the loaning should have lapsed
into a state of indifference.  And yet, modest, economical, and
commonplace as has been the administration of our affairs, our
method of life has evidently been thought unusual, and our conduct
not precisely the conduct of other summer visitors.  Even our daily
purchases, in manner, in number, and in character, seem to be looked
upon as eccentric, for whenever we leave a shop, the relatives of
the greengrocer, flesher, draper, whoever it may be, bound
downstairs, surround him in an eager circle, and inquire the latest
news.

In an unwise moment we begged the draper's wife to honour us with a
visit and explain the obliquities of the kitchen range and the
tortuosities of the sink-spout to Miss Grieve.  While our landlady
was on the premises, I took occasion to invite her up to my own
room, with a view of seeing whether my mattress of pebbles and iron-
filings could be supplemented by another of shavings or straw, or
some material less provocative of bodily injuries.  She was most
sympathetic, persuasive, logical and after the manner of her kind
proved to me conclusively that the trouble lay with the too-saft
occupant of the bed, not with the bed itself, and gave me statistics
with regard to the latter which established its reputation and at
the same moment destroyed my own.

She looked in at the various doors casually as she passed up and
down the stairs,--all save that of the dining-room, which Francesca
had prudently locked to conceal the fact that we had covered the
family portraits,--and I noticed at the time that her face wore an
expression of mingled grief and astonishment.  It seemed to us
afterward that there was a good deal more passing up and down the
loaning than when we first arrived.  At dusk especially, small
processions of children and young people walked by our cottage and
gave shy glances at the windows.

Finding Miss Grieve in an unusually amiable mood, I inquired the
probable cause of this phenomenon.  She would not go so far as to
give any judicial opinion, but offered a few conjectures.

It might be the tirling-pin; it might be the white satin ribbons on
the curtains; it might be the guitars and banjos; it might be the
bicycle crate; it might be the profusion of plants; it might be the
continual feasting and revelry; it might be the blazing fires in a
Pettybaw summer.  She thought a much more likely reason, however,
was because it had become known in the village that we had moved
every stick of furniture in the house out of its accustomed place
and taken the dressing-tables away from the windows,--'the windys,'
she called them.

I discussed this matter fully with Mr. Macdonald later on.  He
laughed heartily, but confessed, with an amused relish of his
national conservatism, that to his mind there certainly was
something radical, advanced, and courageous in taking a dressing-
table away from its place, back to the window, and putting it
anywhere else in a room.  He would be frank, he said, and
acknowledge that it suggested an undisciplined and lawless habit of
thought, a disregard for authority, a lack of reverence for
tradition, and a riotous and unbridled imagination.

This view of the matter gave us exquisite enjoyment.

"But why?" I asked laughingly.  "The dressing-table is not a sacred
object, even to a woman.  Why treat it with such veneration?  Where
there is but one good light, and that immediately in front of the
window, there is every excuse for the British custom, but when the
light is well diffused, why not place the table where-ever it looks
well?"

"Ah, but it doesn't look well anywhere but back to the window," said
Mr. Macdonald artlessly.  "It belongs there, you see; it has
probably been there since the time of Malcolm Canmore, unless
Margaret was too pious to look in a mirror.  With your national love
of change, you cannot conceive how soothing it is to know that
whenever you enter your gate and glance upward, you will always see
the curtains parted, and between them, like an idol in a shrine, the
ugly wooden back of a little oval or oblong looking-glass.  It gives
one a sense of permanence in a world where all is fleeting."

The public interest in our doings seems to be entirely of a friendly
nature, and if our neighbours find a hundredth part of the charm and
novelty in us that we find in them, they are fortunate indeed, and
we cheerfully sacrifice our privacy on the altar of the public good.

A village in Scotland is the only place I can fancy where
housekeeping becomes an enthralling occupation.  All drudgery
disappears in a rosy glow of unexpected, unique, and stimulating
conditions.  I would rather superintend Miss Grieve, and cause the
light of amazement to gleam ten times daily in her humid eye, than
lead a cotillion with Willie Beresford.  I would rather do the
marketing for our humble breakfasts and teas, or talk over the day's
luncheons and dinners with Mistress Brodie of the Pettybaw Inn and
Posting Establishment, than go to the opera.

Salemina and Francesca do not enjoy it all quite as intensely as I,
so they considerately give me the lion's share.  Every morning,
after an exhilarating interview with the Niobe of our kitchen (who
thinks me irresponsible, and prays Heaven in her heart I be no
worse), I put on my goloshes, take my umbrella, and trudge up and
down the little streets and lanes on real and, if need be, imaginary
errands.  The Duke of Wellington said, `When fair in Scotland,
always carry an umbrella; when it rains, please yourself,'  and I
sometimes agree with Stevenson's shivering statement, `Life does not
seem to me to be an amusement adapted to this climate.'  I quoted
this to the doctor yesterday, but he remarked with some surprise
that he had not missed a day's golfing for weeks.  The chemist
observed as he handed me a cake of soap, `Won'erful blest in
weather, we are, mam,' simply because, the rain being unaccompanied
with high wind, one was enabled to hold up an umbrella without
having it turned inside out.  When it ceased dripping for an hour at
noon, the greengrocer said cheerily, `Another grand day, mam!'  I
assented, though I could not for the life of me remember when the
last one occurred.  However, dreary as the weather may be, one
cannot be dull when doing one's morning round of shopping in
Pettybaw or Strathdee.  I have only to give you thumb-nail sketches
of our favourite tradespeople to convince you of that fact.

       .   .     .     .

We bought our first groceries of Mrs. Robert Phin, of Strathdee,
simply because she is an inimitable conversationalist.  She is
expansive, too, about family matters, and tells us certain of her
`mon's' faults which it would be more seemly to keep in the safe
shelter of her own bosom.

Rab takes a wee drappie too much, it appears, and takes it so often
that he has little time to earn an honest penny for his family.
This is bad enough; but the fact that Mrs. Phin has been twice wed
before, and that in each case she innocently chose a ne'er-do-weel
for a mate, makes her a trifle cynical.  She told me that she had
laid twa husbands in the kirk-yard near which her little shop
stands, and added cheerfully, as I made some sympathetic response,
`An' I hope it'll no' be lang afore I box Rab!'

Salemina objects to the shop because it is so disorderly.  Soap and
sugar, tea and bloaters, starch and gingham, lead pencils and
sausages, lie side by side cosily.  Boxes of pins are kept on top of
kegs of herrings.  Tins of coffee are distributed impartially
anywhere and everywhere, and the bacon sometimes reposes in a glass
case with small-wares and findings, out of the reach of Alexander's
dogs.

Alexander is one of a brood, or perhaps I should say three broods,
of children which wander among the barrels and boxes and hams and
winceys seeking what they may devour,--a handful of sugar, a prune,
or a sweetie.

We often see the bairns at their luncheon or dinner in a little room
just off the shop, Alexander the Small always sitting or kneeling on
a `creepie,' holding his plate down firmly with the left hand and
eating with the right, whether the food be fish, porridge, or broth.
In the Phin family the person who does not hold his plate down runs
the risk of losing it to one of the other children or to the dogs,
who, with eager eye and reminding paw, gather round the hospitable
board, licking their chops hopefully.

I enjoy these scenes very much, but, alas! I can no longer witness
them as often as formerly.

This morning Mrs. Phin greeted me with some embarrassment.

"Maybe ye'll no' ken me," she said, her usually clear speech a
little blurred.  "It's the teeth.  I've mislaid `em somewhere.  I
paid far too much siller for `em to wear `em ilka day.  Sometimes I
rest `em in the teabox to keep `em awa' frae the bairns, but I canna
find `em theer.  I'm thinkin' maybe they'll be in the rice, but I've
been ower thrang to luik!"

This anecdote was too rich to keep to myself, but its unconscious
humour made no impression upon Salemina, who insisted upon the
withdrawal of our patronage.  I have tried to persuade her that,
whatever may be said of tea and rice, we run no risk in buying eggs;
but she is relentless.

       .     .     .     .

The kirkyard where Rab's two predecessors have been laid, and where
Rab will lie when Mrs. Phin has `boxed' him, is a sleepy little
place set on a gentle slope of ground, softly shaded by willow and
yew trees.  It is enclosed by a stone wall, into which an occasional
ancient tombstone is built, its name and date almost obliterated by
stress of time and weather.

We often walk through its quiet, myrtle-bordered paths on our way to
the other end of the village, where Mrs. Bruce, the flesher, keeps
an unrivalled assortment of beef and mutton.  The headstones, many
of them laid flat upon the graves, are interesting to us because of
their quaint inscriptions, in which the occupation of the deceased
is often stated with modest pride and candour.  One expects to see
the achievements of the soldier, the sailor, or the statesman carved
in the stone that marks his resting-place, but to our eyes it is
strange enough to read that the subject of eulogy was a plumber,
tobacconist, maker of golf-balls, or a golf champion; in which
latter case there is a spirited etching or bas-relief of the dead
hero, with knickerbockers, cap, and clubs complete.

There, too, lies Thomas Loughead, Hairdresser, a profession far too
little celebrated in song and story.  His stone is a simple one, and
bears merely the touching tribute:-

   He was lovely and pleasant in his life,

the inference being, to one who knows a line of Scripture, that in
his death he was not divided.

These kirkyard personalities almost lead one to believe in the
authenticity of the British tradesman's epitaph, wherein his
practical-minded relict stated that the `bereaved widow would
continue to carry on the tripe and trotter business at the old
stand.'

       .     .     .     .

One day when we were walking through the little village of Strathdee
we turned the corner of a quiet side street and came suddenly upon
something altogether strange and unexpected.

A stone cottage of the everyday sort stood a trifle back from the
road and bore over its front door a sign announcing that Mrs. Bruce,
Flesher, carried on her business within; and indeed one could look
through the windows and see ruddy joints hanging from beams, and
piles of pink-and-white steaks and chops lying neatly on the
counter, crying, `Come, eat me!'  Nevertheless, one's first glance
would be arrested neither by Mrs Bruce's black-and-gold sign, nor by
the enticements of her stock-in-trade, because one's attention is
rapped squarely between the eyes by an astonishing shape that arises
from the patch of lawn in front of the cottage, and completely
dominates the scene.  Imagine yourself face to face with the last
thing you would expect to see in a modest front dooryard,--the
figurehead of a ship, heroic in size, gorgeous in colour, majestic
in pose!  A female personage it appears to be from the drapery,
which is the only key the artist furnishes as to sex, and a queenly
female withal, for she wears a crown at least a foot high, and
brandishes a forbidding sceptre.  All this seen from the front, but
the rear view discloses the fact that the lady terminates in the
tail of a fish which wriggles artistically in mid-air and is of a
brittle sort, as it has evidently been thrice broken and glued
together.

Mrs Bruce did not leave us long in suspense, but obligingly came
out, partly to comment on the low price of mutton and partly to tell
the tale of the mammoth mermaid.  By rights, of course, Mrs. Bruce's
husband should have been the gallant captain of a bark which
foundered at sea and sent every man to his grave on the ocean-bed.
The ship's figurehead should have been discovered by some miracle,
brought to the sorrowing widow, and set up in the garden in eternal
remembrance of the dear departed.  This was the story in my mind,
but as a matter of fact the rude effigy was wrought by Mrs. Bruce's
father for a ship to be called the Sea Queen, but by some mischance,
ship and figurehead never came together, and the old wood-carver
left it to his daughter, in lieu of other property.  It has not been
wholly unproductive, Mrs. Bruce fancies, for the casual passers-by,
like those who came to scoff and remained to pray, go into the shop
to ask questions about the Sea Queen and buy chops out of courtesy
and gratitude.

       .     .     .     .

On our way to the bakery, which is a daily walk with us, we always
glance at a little cot in a grassy lane just off the fore street.
In one half of this humble dwelling Mrs. Davidson keeps a slender
stock of shop-worn articles,--pins, needles, threads, sealing-wax,
pencils, and sweeties for the children, all disposed attractively
upon a single shelf behind the window.

Across the passage, close to the other window, sits day after day an
old woman of eight-six summers who has lost her kinship with the
present and gone back to dwell for ever in the past.  A small table
stands in front of her rush-bottomed chair, the old family Bible
rests upon it, and in front of the Bible are always four tiny dolls,
with which the trembling old fingers play from morning till night.
They are cheap, common little puppets, but she robes and disrobes
them with tenderest care.  They are put to bed upon the Bible, take
their walks along its time-worn pages, are married on it, buried on
it, and the direst punishment they ever receive is to be removed
from its sacred covers and temporarily hidden beneath the dear old
soul's black alpaca apron.  She is quite happy with her treasures on
week-days; but on Sundays--alas and alas! the poor old dame sits in
her lonely chair with the furtive tears dropping on her wrinkled
cheeks, for it is a God-fearing household, and it is neither lawful
nor seemly to play with dolls on the Sawbath!

       .     .     .     .

Mrs. Nicolson is the presiding genius of the bakery, she is more--
she is the bakery itself.  A Mr. Nicolson there is, and he is known
to be the baker, but he dwells in the regions below the shop and
only issues at rare intervals, beneath the friendly shelter of a
huge tin tray filled with scones and baps.

If you saw Mrs. Nicolson's kitchen with the firelight gleaming on
its bright copper, its polished candlesticks, and its snowy floor,
you would think her an admirable housewife, but you would get no
clue to those shrewd and masterful traits of character which reveal
themselves chiefly behind the counter.

Miss Grieve had purchased of Mrs. Nicolson a quarter section of very
appetising ginger-cake to eat with our afternoon tea, and I stepped
in to buy more.  She showed me a large round loaf for two shillings.

"No," I objected, "I cannot use a whole loaf, thank you.  We eat
very little at a time, and like it perfectly fresh.  I wish a small
piece such as my maid bought the other day."

Then ensued a discourse which I cannot render in the vernacular,
more's the pity, though I understood it all too well for my comfort.
The substance of it was this:  that she couldna and wouldna tak' it
in hand to give me a quarter section of cake when the other three-
quarters might gae dry in the bakery; that the reason she sold the
small piece on the former occasion was that her daughter, her son-
in-law, and their three children came from Ballahoolish to visit
her, and she gave them a high tea with no expense spared; that at
this function they devoured three-fourths of a ginger-cake, and just
as she was mournfully regarding the remainder my servant came in and
took it off her hands; that she had kept a bakery for thirty years
and her mother before her, and never had a two-shilling ginger-cake
been sold in pieces before, nor was it likely ever to occur again;
that if I, under Providence, so to speak, had been the fortunate
gainer by the transaction, why not eat my six penny-worth in solemn
gratitude once for all, and not expect a like miracle to happen the
next week?  And finally, that two-shilling ginger-cakes were, in the
very nature of things, designed for large families; and it was the
part of wisdom for small families to fix their affections on
something else, for she couldna and wouldna tak' it in hand to cut a
rare and expensive article for a small customer.

The torrent of logic was over, and I said humbly that I would take
the whole loaf.

"Verra weel, mam," she responded more affably, "thank you kindly;
no, I couldna tak' it in hand to sell six pennyworth of that ginger-
cake and let one-and-sixpence worth gae dry in the bakery.--A
beautiful day, mam!  Won'erful blest in weather ye are!  Let me open
your umbrella for you, mam!"

       .     .     .     .

David Robb is the weaver of Pettybaw.  All day long he sits at his
old-fashioned hand-loom, which, like the fruit of his toil and the
dear old greybeard himself, belongs to a day that is past and gone.

He might have work enough to keep an apprentice busy, but where
would he find a lad sufficiently behind the times to learn a humble
trade now banished to the limbo of superseded, almost forgotten
things?

His home is but a poor place, but the rough room in which he works
is big enough to hold a deal of sweet content.  It is cheery enough,
too, to attract the Pettybaw weans, who steal in on wet days and sit
on the floor playing with the thrums, or with bits of coloured
ravellings.  Sometimes when they have proved themselves wise and
prudent little virgins, they are even allowed to touch the hanks of
pink and yellow and blue yarn that lie in rainbow-hued confusion on
the long deal table.

All this time the `heddles' go up and down, up and down, with their
ceaseless clatter, and David throws the shuttle back and forth as he
weaves his old-fashioned winceys.

We have grown to be good friends, David and I, and I have been
permitted the signal honour of painting him at his work.

The loom stands by an eastern window, and the rare Pettybaw sunshine
filters through the branches of a tree, shines upon the dusty
window-panes, and throws a halo round David's head that he well
deserves and little suspects.  In my foreground sit Meg and Jean and
Elspeth playing with thrums and wearing the fruit of David's loom in
their gingham frocks.  David himself sits on his wooden bench behind
the maze of cords that form the `loom harness.'

The snows of seventy winters powder his hair and beard.  His
spectacles are often pushed back on his kindly brow, but no glass
could wholly obscure the clear integrity and steadfast purity of his
eyes; and as for his smile, I have not the art to paint that!  It
holds in solution so many sweet though humble virtues of patience,
temperance, self-denial, honest endeavour, that my brush falters in
the attempt to fix the radiant whole upon the canvas.  Fashions come
and go, modern improvements transform the arts and trades, manual
skill gives way to the cunning of the machine, but old David Robb,
after more than fifty years of toil, still sits at his hand-loom and
weaves his winceys for the Pettybaw bairnies.

David has small book-learning, so he tells me; and indeed he had
need to tell me, for I should never have discovered it myself,--one
misses it so little when the larger things are all present!

A certain summer visitor in Pettybaw (a compatriot of ours, by the
way) bought a quantity of David's orange-coloured wincey, and
finding that it wore like iron, wished to order more.  She used the
word `reproduce' in her telegram, as there was one pattern and one
colour she specially liked.  Perhaps the context was not
illuminating, but at any rate the word `reproduce' was not in
David's vocabulary, and putting back his spectacles he told me his
difficulty in deciphering the exact meaning of his fine-lady patron.
He called at the Free Kirk manse,--the meenister was no' at hame;
then to the library,--it was closed; then to the Estaiblished
manse,--the meenister was awa'.  At last he obtained a glance at the
schoolmaster's dictionary, and turning to `reproduce' found that it
meant `nought but mak' ower again';--and with an amused smile at the
bedevilments of language he turned once more to his loom and I to my
canvas.

Notwithstanding his unfamiliarity with `langnebbit' words, David has
absorbed a deal of wisdom in his quiet life; though so far as I can
see, his only books have been the green tree outside his window, a
glimpse of the distant ocean, and the toil of his hands.

But I sometimes question if as many scholars are not made as marred
in this wise, for--to the seeing eye--the waving leaf and the far
sea, the daily task, one's own heart-beats, and one's neighbour's,--
these teach us in good time to interpret Nature's secrets, and
man's, and God's as well.



Chapter XX. A Fifeshire tea-party.



  `The knights they harpit in their bow'r,
     The ladyes sew'd and sang;
   The mirth that was in that chamber
     Through all the place it rang.'

Rose the Red and White Lily.



Tea at Rowardennan Castle is an impressive and a delightful
function.  It is served by a ministerial-looking butler and a just-
ready-to-be-ordained footman. They both look as if they had been
nourished on the Thirty-Nine Articles, but they know their business
as well as if they had been trained in heathen lands,--which is
saying a good deal, for everybody knows that heathen servants wait
upon one with idolatrous solicitude.  However, from the quality of
the cheering beverage itself down to the thickness of the cream, the
thinness of the china, the crispness of the toast, and the
plummyness of the cake, tea at Rowardennan Castle is perfect in
every detail.

The scones are of unusual lightness, also.  I should think they
would scarcely weigh more than four, perhaps even five, to a pound;
but I am aware that the casual traveller, who eats only at hotels,
and never has the privilege of entering feudal castles, will be slow
to believe this estimate, particularly just after breakfast.

Salemina always describes a Scotch scone as an aspiring but
unsuccessful soda-biscuit of the New England sort.  Stevenson, in
writing of that dense black substance, inimical to life, called
Scotch bun, says that the patriotism that leads a Scotsman to eat it
will hardly desert him in any emergency.  Salemina thinks that the
scone should be bracketed with the bun (in description, of course,
never in the human stomach), and says that, as a matter of fact,
`th' unconquer'd Scot' of old was not only clad in a shirt of mail,
but well fortified within when he went forth to warfare after a meal
of oatmeal and scones.  She insists that the spear which would
pierce the shirt of mail would be turned aside and blunted by the
ordinary scone of commerce; but what signifies the opinion of a
woman who eats sugar on her porridge?

Considering the air of liberal hospitality that hangs about the
castle tea-table, I wonder that our friends do not oftener avail
themselves of its privileges and allow us to do so; but on all dark,
foggy, or inclement days, or whenever they tire of the sands,
everybody persists in taking tea at Bide-a-Wee Cottage.

We buy our tea of the Pettybaw grocer, some of our cups are cracked,
the teapot is of earthenware, Miss Grieve disapproves of all social
tea-fuddles, and shows it plainly when she brings in the tray, and
the room is so small that some of us overflow into the hall or the
garden; it matters not; there is some fatal charm in our humble
hospitality.  At four o'clock one of us is obliged to be, like
Sister Anne, on the housetop; and if company approaches, she must
descend and speed to the plumber's for six pennyworth extra of
cream.  In most well-ordered British households Miss Grieve would be
requested to do this speeding, but both her mind and her body move
too slowly for such domestic crises; and then, too, her temper has
to be kept as unruffled as possible, so that she will cut the bread
and butter thin.  This she generally does if she has not been `fair
doun-hadden wi' wark'; but the washing of her own spinster cup and
plate, together with the incident sighs and groans, occupies her
till so late an hour that she is not always dressed for callers.

Willie and I were reading The Lady of the Lake the other day, in the
back garden, surrounded by the verdant leafage of our own kale-yard.
It is a pretty spot when the sun shines, a trifle domestic in its
air, perhaps, but restful:  Miss Grieve's dish-towels and aprons
drying on the currant bushes, the cat playing with a mutton-bone or
a fish-tail on the grass, and the little birds perching on the rims
of our wash-boiler and water-buckets.  It can be reached only by way
of the kitchen, which somewhat lessens its value as a pleasure-
ground or a rustic retreat, but Willie and I retire there now and
then for a quiet chat.

On this particular occasion Willie was declaiming the exciting
verses where Fitz-James and Murdoch are crossing the stream

  `That joins Loch Katrine to Achray,'

where the crazed Blanche of Devan first appears:-

  `All in the Trosachs' glen was still,
   Noontide was sleeping on the hill:
   Sudden his guide whoop'd loud and high--
   "Murdoch! was that a signal cry?"'

"It was indeed," said Francesca, appearing suddenly at an upper
window overhanging the garden.  "Pardon this intrusion, but the
Castle people are here," she continued in what is known as a stage
whisper,--that is, one that can be easily heard by a thousand
persons,--"the Castle people and the ladies from Pettybaw House; and
Mr. Macdonald is coming down the loaning; but Calamity Jane is
making her toilet in the kitchen, and you cannot take Mr. Beresford
through into the sitting-room at present.  She says this hoose has
so few conveniences that it's `fair sickenin'.'"

"How long will she be?" queried Mr. Beresford anxiously, putting The
Lady of the Lake in his pocket, and pacing up and down between the
rows of cabbages.

"She has just begun.  Whatever you do, don't unsettle her temper,
for she will have to prepare for eight to-day.  I will send Mr.
Macdonald and Miss Macrae to the bakery for gingerbread, to gain
time, and possibly I can think of a way to rescue you.  If I can't,
are you tolerably comfortable?  Perhaps Miss Grieve won't mind
Penelope, and she can come through the kitchen any time and join us;
but naturally you don't want to be separated, that's the worst of
being engaged.  Of course I can lower your tea in a tin bucket, and
if it should rain I can throw out umbrellas.  Would you like your
golf-caps, Pen?  `Won'erful blest in weather ye are, mam!'  The
situation is not so bad as it might be," she added consolingly,
"because in case Miss Grieve's toilet should last longer than usual,
your wedding need not be indefinitely postponed, for Mr. Macdonald
can marry you from this window."

Here she disappeared, and we had scarcely time to take in the full
humour of the affair before Robin Anstruther's laughing eyes
appeared over the top of the high brick wall that protects our
garden on three sides.

"Do not shoot," said he.  "I am not come to steal the fruit, but to
succour humanity in distress.  Miss Monroe insisted that I should
borrow the inn ladder.  She thought a rescue would be much more
romantic than waiting for Miss Grieve.  Everybody is coming out to
witness it, at least all your guests,--there are no strangers
present,--and Miss Monroe is already collecting sixpence a head for
the entertainment, to be given, she says, for your dear Friar's
sustenation fund."

He was now astride of the wall, and speedily lifted the ladder to
our side, where it leaned comfortably against the stout branches of
the draper's peach vine.  Willie ran nimbly up the ladder and
bestrode the wall.  I followed, first standing, and then decorously
sitting down on the top of it.  Mr. Anstruther pulled up the ladder,
and replaced it on the side of liberty; then he descended, then
Willie, and I last of all, amidst the acclamations of the onlookers,
a select company of six or eight persons.

When Miss Grieve formally entered the sitting-room bearing the tea-
tray, she was buskit braw in black stuff gown, clean apron, and
fresh cap trimmed with purple ribbons, under which her white locks
were neatly dressed.

She deplored the coolness of the tea, but accounted for it to me in
an aside by the sickening quality of Mrs. Sinkler's coals and Mr.
Macbrose's kindling-wood, to say nothing of the insulting draft in
the draper's range.  When she left the room, I suppose she was
unable to explain the peals of laughter that rang through our
circumscribed halls.

Lady Ardmore insists that the rescue was the most unique episode she
ever witnessed, and says that she never understood America until she
made our acquaintance.  I persuaded her that this was fallacious
reasoning; that while she might understand us by knowing America,
she could not possibly reverse this mental operation and be sure of
the result.  The ladies of Pettybaw House said that the occurrence
was as Fifish as anything that ever happened in Fife.  The kingdom
of Fife is noted, it seems, for its `doocots [dovecots] and its daft
lairds,' and to be eccentric and Fifish are one and the same thing.
Thereupon Francesca told Mr. Macdonald a story she heard in
Edinburgh, to the effect that when a certain committee or council
was quarrelling as to which of certain Fifeshire towns should be the
seat of a projected lunatic asylum, a new resident arose and
suggested that the building of a wall round the kingdom of Fife
would solve the difficulty, settle all disputes, and give sufficient
room for the lunatics to exercise properly.

This is the sort of tale that a native can tell with a genial
chuckle, but it comes with poor grace from an American lady
sojourning in Fife.  Francesca does not mind this, however, as she
is at present avenging fresh insults to her own beloved country.



Chapter XXI. International bickering.



  With mimic din of stroke and ward
  The broadsword upon target jarr'd.

The Lady of the Lake.



Robin Anstruther was telling stories at the tea-table.

"I got acquainted with an American girl in rather a queer sort of
way," he said, between cups.  "It was in London, on the Duke of
York's wedding-day.  I'm rather a tall chap, you see, and in the
crowd somebody touched me on the shoulder, and a plaintive voice
behind me said, `You're such a big man, and I am so little, will you
please help me to save my life?  My mother was separated from me in
the crowd somewhere as we were trying to reach the Berkeley, and I
don't know what to do.'  I was a trifle nonplussed, but I did the
best I could.  She was a tiny thing, in a marvellous frock and a
flowery hat and a silver girdle and chatelaine.  In another minute
she spied a second man, an officer, a full head taller than I am,
broad shoulders, splendidly put up altogether.  Bless me! if she
didn't turn to him and say, `Oh, you're so nice and big, you're even
bigger than this other gentleman, and I need you both in this
dreadful crush.  If you'll be good enough to stand on either side of
me, I shall be awfully obliged.'  We exchanged amused glances of
embarrassment over her blonde head, but there was no resisting the
irresistible.  She was a small person, but she had the soul of a
general, and we obeyed orders.  We stood guard over her little
ladyship for nearly an hour, and I must say she entertained us
thoroughly, for she was as clever as she was pretty.  Then I got her
a seat in one of the windows of my club, while the other man, armed
with a full description, went out to hunt up the mother; and, by
Jove! he found her, too.  She would have her mother, and her mother
she had.  They were awfully jolly people; they came to luncheon in
my chambers at the Albany afterwards, and we grew to be great
friends."

"I dare say she was an English girl masquerading," I remarked
facetiously.  "What made you think her an American?"

"Oh, her general appearance and accent, I suppose."

"Probably she didn't say Barkley," observed Francesca cuttingly;
"she would have been sure to commit that sort of solecism."

"Why, don't you say Barkley in the States?"

"Certainly not; we never call them the States, and with us c-l-e-r-k
spells clerk, and B-e-r-k Berk."

"How very odd!" remarked Mr. Anstruther.

"No odder than you saying Bark, and not half as odd as your calling
it Albany," I interpolated, to help Francesca.

"Quite so," said Mr. Anstruther; "but how do you say Albany in
America?"

"Penelope and I always call it Allbany," responded Francesca
nonsensically, "but Salemina, who has been much in England, always
calls it Albany."

This anecdote was the signal for Miss Ardmore to remark (apropos of
her own discrimination and the American accent) that hearing a lady
ask for a certain med'cine in a chemist's shop, she noted the
intonation, and inquired of the chemist, when the fair stranger had
retired, if she were not an American.  "And she was!" exclaimed the
Honourable Elizabeth triumphantly.  "And what makes it the more
curious, she had been over here twenty years, and of course, spoke
English quite properly."

In avenging fancied insults, it is certainly more just to heap
punishment on the head of the real offender than upon his neighbour,
and it is a trifle difficult to decide why Francesca should chastise
Mr. Macdonald for the good-humoured sins of Mr. Anstruther and Miss
Ardmore; yet she does so, nevertheless.

The history of these chastisements she recounts in the nightly half-
hour which she spends with me when I am endeavouring to compose
myself for sleep.  Francesca is fluent at all times, but once seated
on the foot of my bed she becomes eloquent!

"It all began with his saying--"

This is her perennial introduction, and I respond as invariably,
"What began?"

"Oh, to-day's argument with Mr. Macdonald.  It was a literary
quarrel this afternoon."

"'Fools rush in--'" I quoted.

"There is a good deal of nonsense in that old saw," she interrupted;
"at all events, the most foolish fools I have ever known stayed
still and didn't do anything.  Rushing shows a certain movement of
the mind, even if it is in the wrong direction.  However, Mr.
Macdonald is both opinionated and dogmatic, but his worst enemy
could never call him a fool."

"I didn't allude to Mr. Macdonald."

"Don't you suppose I know to whom you alluded, dear?  Is not your
style so simple, frank, and direct that a wayfaring girl can read it
and not err therein?  No, I am not sitting on your feet, and it is
not time to go to sleep; I wonder you do not tire of making those
futile protests.  As a matter of fact, we began this literary
discussion yesterday morning, but were interrupted; and knowing that
it was sure to come up again, I prepared for it with Salemina.  She
furnished the ammunition, so to speak, and I fired the guns."

"You always make so much noise with blank cartridges I wonder you
ever bother about real shot," I remarked.

"Penelope, how can you abuse me when I am in trouble?  Well, Mr.
Macdonald was prating, as usual, about the antiquity of Scotland and
its aeons of stirring history.  I am so weary of the venerableness
of this country.  How old will it have to be, I wonder, before it
gets used to it?  If it's the province of art to conceal art, it
ought to be the province of age to conceal age, and it generally is.
`Everything doesn't improve with years,' I observed sententiously.

"'For instance?' he inquired.

"Of course you know how that question affected me!  How I do dislike
an appetite for specific details!  It is simply paralysing to a good
conversation.  Do you remember that silly game in which some one
points a stick at you and says, `Beast, bird, or fish,--BEAST!' and
you have to name one while he counts ten?  If a beast has been
requested, you can think of one fish and two birds, but no beast.
If he says `FISH,' all the beasts in the universe stalk through your
memory, but not one finny, sealy, swimming thing!  Well, that is the
effect of `For instance?' on my faculties.  So I stumbled a bit, and
succeeded in recalling, as objects which do not improve with age,
mushrooms, women, and chickens, and he was obliged to agree with me,
which nearly killed him.  Then I said that although America is so
fresh and blooming that people persist in calling it young, it is
much older than it appears to the superficial eye.  There is no real
propriety in dating us as a nation from the Declaration of
Independence in 1776, I said, nor even from the landing of the
Pilgrims in 1620; nor, for that matter, from Columbus's discovery in
1492.  It's my opinion, I asserted, that some of us had been there
thousands of years before, but nobody had had the sense to discover
us.  We couldn't discover ourselves,--though if we could have
foreseen how the sere and yellow nations of the earth would taunt us
with youth and inexperience, we should have had to do something
desperate!"

"That theory must have been very convincing to the philosophic Scots
mind," I interjected.

"It was; even Mr. Macdonald thought it ingenious. `And so,' I went
on, `we were alive and awake and beginning to make history when you
Scots were only bare-legged savages roaming over the hills and
stealing cattle.  It was a very bad habit of yours, that cattle-
stealing, and one which you kept up too long.'

"'No worse a sin than your stealing land from the Indians,' he said.

"'Oh yes,' I answered, `because it was a smaller one!  Yours was a
vice, and ours a sin; or I mean it would have been a sin had we done
it; but in reality we didn't steal land; we just TOOK it, reserving
plenty for the Indians to play about on; and for every hunting-
ground we took away we gave them in exchange a serviceable plough,
or a school, or a nice Indian agent, or something.  That was land-
grabbing, if you like, but it is a habit you Britishers have still,
while we gave it up when we reached years of discretion.'"

"This is very illuminating," I interrupted, now thoroughly wide
awake, "but it isn't my idea of a literary discussion."

"I am coming to that," she responded.  "It was just at this point
that, goaded into secret fury by my innocent speech about cattle-
stealing, he began to belittle American literature, the poetry
especially.  Of course he waxed eloquent about the royal line of
poet-kings that had made his country famous, and said the people who
could claim Shakespeare had reason to be the proudest nation on
earth.  `Doubtless,' I said.  `But do you mean to say that Scotland
has any nearer claim upon Shakespeare than we have?  I do not now
allude to the fact that in the large sense he is the common property
of the English-speaking world' (Salemina told me to say that), `but
Shakespeare died in 1616, and the union of Scotland with England
didn't come about till 1707, nearly a century afterwards.  You
really haven't anything to do with him!  But as for us, we didn't
leave England until 1620, when Shakespeare had been perfectly dead
four years.  We took very good care not to come away too soon.
Chaucer and Spenser were dead too, and we had nothing to stay for!'"

I was obliged to relax here and give vent to a burst of merriment at
Francesca's absurdities.

"I could see that he had never regarded the matter in that light
before," she went on gaily, encouraged by my laughter, "but he
braced himself for the conflict, and said `I wonder that you didn't
stay a little longer while you were about it.  Milton and Ben Jonson
were still alive; Bacon's Novum Organum was just coming out; and in
thirty or forty years you could have had L'Allegro, Il Penseroso and
Paradise Lost; Newton's Principia, too, in 1687.  Perhaps these were
all too serious and heavy for your national taste; still one
sometimes likes to claim things one cannot fully appreciate.  And
then, too, if you had once begun to stay, waiting for the great
things to happen and the great books to be written, you would never
have gone, for there would still have been Browning, Tennyson, and
Swinburne to delay you.'

"'If we couldn't stay to see out your great bards, we certainly
couldn't afford to remain and welcome your minor ones,' I answered
frigidly; `but we wanted to be well out of the way before England
united with Scotland, knowing that if we were uncomfortable as
things were, it would be a good deal worse after the Union; and we
had to come home anyway, and start our own poets.  Emerson,
Whittier, Longfellow, Holmes, and Lowell had to be born.'

"'I suppose they had to be if you had set your mind on it,' he said,
`though personally I could have spared one or two on that roll of
honour.'

"'Very probably,' I remarked, as thoroughly angry now as he intended
I should be.  `We cannot expect you to appreciate all the American
poets; indeed, you cannot appreciate all of your own, for the same
nation doesn't always furnish the writers and the readers.  Take
your precious Browning, for example!  There are hundreds of Browning
Clubs in America, and I never heard of a single one in Scotland.'

"'No,' he retorted, `I dare say; but there is a good deal in
belonging to a people who can understand him without clubs!'"

"O Francesca!" I exclaimed, sitting bolt upright among my pillows.
"How could you give him that chance!  How COULD you!  What did you
say?"

"I said nothing," she replied mysteriously.  "I did something much
more to the point,--I cried!"

"CRIED?"

"Yes, cried; not rivers and freshets of woe, but small brooks and
streamlets of helpless mortification."

"What did he do then?"

"Why do you say `do'?"

"Oh, I mean `say,' of course.  Don't trifle; go on.  What did he say
then?"

"There are some things too dreadful to describe," she answered, and
wrapping her Italian blanket majestically about her she retired to
her own apartment, shooting one enigmatical glance at me as she
closed the door.

That glance puzzled me for some time after she left the room.  It
was as expressive and interesting a beam as ever darted from a
woman's eye.  The combination of elements involved in it, if an
abstract thing may be conceived as existing in component parts, was
something like this:-

One-half, mystery.
One-eighth, triumph.
One-eighth, amusement.
One-sixteenth, pride.
One-sixteenth, shame.
One-sixteenth, desire to confess.
One-sixteenth, determination to conceal.

And all these delicate, complex emotions played together in a circle
of arching eyebrow, curving lip, and tremulous chin,--played
together, mingling and melting into one another like fire and snow;
bewildering, mystifying, enchanting the beholder!

If Ronald Macdonald did--I am a woman, but, for one, I can hardly
blame him!



Chapter XXII. Francesca entertains the green-eyed monster.



  `"O has he chosen a bonny bride,
      An' has he clean forgotten me?"
    An' sighing said that gay ladye,
     "I would I were in my ain countrie!"'

Lord Beichan.



It rained in torrents; Salemina was darning stockings in the
inglenook at Bide-a-Wee Cottage, and I was reading her a Scotch
letter which Francesca and I had concocted the evening before.  I
proposed sending the document to certain chosen spirits in our own
country, who were pleased to be facetious concerning our devotion to
Scotland.  It contained, in sooth, little that was new, and still
less that was true, for we were confined to a very small vocabulary
which we were obliged to supplement now and then by a dip into Burns
and Allan Ramsay.

Here is the letter:-

Bide-a-Wee Cottage,
   Pettybaw,
East Neuk o' Fife.


To my trusty fieres,

Mony's the time I hae ettled to send ye a screed, but there was aye
something that cam' i' the gait.  It wisna that I couldna be fashed,
for aften hae I thocht o' ye and my hairt has been wi' ye mony's the
day.  There's no' muckle fowk frae Ameriky hereawa; they're a' jist
Fife bodies, and a lass canna get her tongue roun' their thrapple-
taxin' words ava', so it's like I may een drap a' the sweetness o'
my good mither-tongue.

`Tis a dulefu' nicht, and an awfu' blash is ragin' wi'oot.  Fanny's
awa' at the gowff rinnin' aboot wi' a bag o' sticks after a wee bit
ba', and Sally and I are hame by oor lane.  Laith will the lassie be
to weet her bonny shoon, but lang ere the play'll be ower she'll wat
her hat aboon.  A gust o' win' is skirlin' the noo, and as we luik
ower the faem, the haar is risin', weetin' the green swaird wi'
misty shoo'rs.

Yestreen was a calm simmer gloamin', sae sweet an' bonnie that when
the sun was sinkin' doon ower Pettybaw Sands we daundered ower the
muir.  As we cam' through the scented birks, we saw a trottin'
burnie wimplin' `neath the white-blossomed slaes and hirplin' doon
the hillside; an' while a herd-laddie lilted ower the fernie brae, a
cushat cooed leesomely doon i' the dale.  We pit aff oor shoon, sae
blithe were we, kilted oor coats a little aboon the knee, and
paidilt i' the burn, gettin' geyan weet the while.  Then Sally pu'd
the gowans wat wi' dew an' twined her bree wi' tasselled broom,
while I had a wee crackie wi' Tibby Buchan, the flesher's dochter
frae Auld Reekie.  Tibby's nae giglet gawky like the lave, ye ken,--
she's a sonsie maid, as sweet as ony hinny pear, wi' her twa pawky
een an' her cockernony snooded up fu' sleek.

We were unco gleg to win hame when a' this was dune, an' after
steekin' the door, to sit an' birsle oor taes at the bit blaze.
Mickle thocht we o' the gentles ayont the sea, an' sair grat we for
a' frien's we kent lang syne in oor ain countree.

Late at nicht, Fanny, the bonny gypsy, cam' ben the hoose an' tirled
at the pin of oor bigly bower door, speirin' for baps and bannocks.

"Hoots, lassie!" cried oot Sally, "th' auld carline i' the kitchen
is i' her box-bed, an' weel aneuch ye ken is lang syne cuddled
doon."

"Oo ay!" said Fanny, strikin' her curly pow, "then fetch me
parritch, an' dinna be lang wi' them, for I've lickit a Pettybaw lad
at the gowff, an' I could eat twa guid jints o' beef gin I had
them!"

"Losh girl," said I, "gie ower makin' sic a mickle din.  Ye ken
verra weel ye'll get nae parritch the nicht.  I'll rin and fetch ye
a `piece' to stap awee the soun'."

"Blethers an' havers!" cried Fanny, but she blinkit bonnily the
while, an' when the tea was weel maskit, she smoored her wrath an'
stappit her mooth wi' a bit o' oaten cake.  We aye keep that i' the
hoose, for th' auld servant-body is geyan bad at the cookin', an'
she's sae dour an' dowie that to speak but till her we daur hardly
mint.

In sic divairsions pass the lang simmer days in braid Scotland, but
I canna write mair the nicht, for `tis the wee sma' hours ayont the
twal'.

Like th' auld wife's parrot, `we dinna speak muckle, but we're
deevils to think,' an' we're aye thinkin' aboot ye.  An' noo I maun
leave ye to mak' what ye can oot o' this, for I jalouse it'll pass
ye to untaukle the whole hypothec.

Fair fa' ye a'!  Lang may yer lum reek, an' may prosperity attend
oor clan!

Aye your gude frien',

Penelope Hamilton.


"It may be very fine," remarked Salemina judicially, "though I
cannot understand more than half of it."

"That would also be true of Browning," I replied.  "Don't you love
to see great ideas looming through a mist of words?"

"The words are misty enough in this case," she said, "and I do wish
you would not tell the world that I paddle in the burn, or `twine my
bree wi' tasselled broom.'  I'm too old to be made ridiculous."

"Nobody will believe it," said Francesca, appearing in the doorway.
"They will know it is only Penelope's havering," and with this
undeserved scoff, she took her mashie and went golfing--not on the
links, on this occasion, but in our microscopic sitting-room.  It is
twelve feet square, and holds a tiny piano, desk, centre-table,
sofa, and chairs, but the spot between the fire-place and the table
is Francesca's favourite `putting-green.'  She wishes to become more
deadly in the matter of approaches, and thinks her tee-shots weak;
so these two deficiencies she is trying to make good by home
practice in inclement weather.  She turns a tumbler on its side on
the floor, and `putts' the ball into it, or at it, as the case may
be, from the opposite side of the room.  It is excellent discipline,
and as the tumblers are inexpensive the breakage really does not
matter.  Whenever Miss Grieve hears the shivering of glass, she
murmurs, not without reason, `It is not for the knowing what they
will be doing next.'

"Penelope, has it ever occurred to you that Elizabeth Ardmore is
seriously interested in Mr. Macdonald?"

Salemina propounded this question to me with the same innocence that
a babe would display in placing a lighted fuse beside a dynamite
bomb.

Francesca naturally heard the remark,--although it was addressed to
me,--pricked up her ears, and missed the tumbler by several feet.

It was a simple inquiry, but as I look back upon it from the safe
ground of subsequent knowledge I perceive that it had a certain
amount of influence upon Francesca's history.  The suggestion would
have carried no weight with me for two reasons.  In the first place,
Salemina is far-sighted.  If objects are located at some distance
from her, she sees them clearly; but if they are under her very nose
she overlooks them altogether, unless they are sufficiently fragrant
or audible to address other senses.  This physical peculiarity she
carries over into her mental processes.  Her impression of the
Disruption movement, for example, would be lively and distinct, but
her perception of a contemporary lover's quarrel (particularly if it
were fought at her own apron-strings) would be singularly vague.  If
she suggested, therefore, that Elizabeth Ardmore was interested in
Mr. Beresford, who is the rightful captive of my bow and spear, I
should be perfectly calm.

My second reason for comfortable indifference is that frequently in
novels, and always in plays, the heroine is instigated to violent
jealousy by insinuations of this sort, usually conveyed by the
villain of the piece, male or female.  I have seen this happen so
often in the modern drama that it has long since ceased to be
convincing; but though Francesca has witnessed scores of plays and
read hundreds of novels, it did not apparently strike her as a
theatrical or literary suggestion that Lady Ardmore's daughter
should be in love with Mr. Macdonald.  The effect of the new point
of view was most salutary, on the whole.  She had come to think
herself the only prominent figure in the Reverend Ronald's
landscape, and anything more impertinent than her tone with him
(unless it is his with her) I certainly never heard.  This
criticism, however, relates only to their public performances, and I
have long suspected that their private conversations are of a
kindlier character.  When it occurred to her that he might simply be
sharpening his mental sword on her steel, but that his heart had at
last wandered into a more genial climate than she had ever provided
for it, she softened unconsciously; the Scotsman and the American
receded into a truer perspective, and the man and the woman
approached each other with dangerous nearness.

"What shall we do if Francesca and Mr. Macdonald really fall in love
with each other?" asked Salemina, when Francesca had gone into the
hall to try long drives.  (There is a good deal of excitement in
this, as Miss Grieve has to cross the passage on her way from the
kitchen to the china-closet, and thus often serves as a reluctant
`hazard' or `bunker.')

"Do you mean what should we have done?" I queried.

"Nonsense, don't be captious!  It can't be too late yet.  They have
known each other only a little over two months; when would you have
had me interfere, pray?"

"It depends upon what you expect to accomplish.  If you wish to stop
the marriage, interfere in a fortnight or so; if you wish to prevent
an engagement, speak--well, say to-morrow; if, however, you didn't
wish them to fall in love with each other, you should have kept one
of them away from Lady Baird's dinner."

"I could have waited a trifle longer than that," argued Salemina,
"for you remember how badly they got on at first."

"I remember you thought so," I responded dryly; "but I believe Mr.
Macdonald has been interested in Francesca from the outset, partly
because her beauty and vivacity attracted him, partly because he
could keep her in order only by putting his whole mind upon her.  On
his side, he has succeeded in piquing her into thinking of him
continually, though solely, as she fancies, for the purpose of
crossing swords with him.  If they ever drop their weapons for an
instant, and allow the din of warfare to subside so that they can
listen to their own heart-beats, they will discover that they love
each other to distraction."

"Ye ken mair than's in the catecheesm," remarked Salemina, yawning a
little as she put away her darning-ball.  "It is pathetic to see you
waste your time painting mediocre pictures, when as a lecturer upon
love you could instruct your thousands."

"The thousands would never satisfy me," I retorted, "so long as you
remained uninstructed, for in your single person you would so swell
the sum of human ignorance on that subject that my teaching would be
for ever in vain."

"Very clever indeed!  Well, what will Mr. Monroe say to me when I
return to New York without his daughter, or with his son-in-law?"

"He has never denied Francesca anything in her life; why should he
draw the line at a Scotsman?  I am much more concerned about Mr.
Macdonald's congregation."

"I am not anxious about that," said Salemina loyally.  "Francesca
would be the life of an Inchcaldy parish."

"I dare say," I observed, "but she might be the death of the
pastor."

"I am ashamed of you, Penelope; or I should be if you meant what you
say.  She can make the people love her if she tries; when did she
ever fail at that?  But with Mr. Macdonald's talent, to say nothing
of his family connections, he is sure to get a church in Edinburgh
in a few years if he wishes.  Undoubtedly, it would not be a great
match in a money sense.  I suppose he has a manse and three or four
hundred pounds a year."

"That sum would do nicely for cabs."

"Penelope, you are flippant!"

"I don't mean it, dear; it's only for fun; and it would be so absurd
if we should leave Francesca over here as the presiding genius of an
Inchcaldy parsonage--I mean a manse!"

"It isn't as if she were penniless," continued Salemina; "she has
fortune enough to assure her own independence, and not enough to
threaten his--the ideal amount.  I hardly think the good Lord's
first intention was to make her a minister's wife, but He knows very
well that Love is a master architect.  Francesca is full of
beautiful possibilities if Mr. Macdonald is the man to bring them
out, and I am inclined to think he is."

"He has brought out impishness so far," I objected.

"The impishness is transitory," she returned, "and I am speaking of
permanent qualities.  His is the stronger and more serious nature,
Francesca's the sweeter and more flexible.  He will be the oak-tree,
and she will be the sunshine playing in the branches."

"Salemina, dear," I said penitently, kissing her grey hair, "I
apologise:  you are not absolutely ignorant about Love, after all,
when you call him the master architect; and that is very lovely and
very true about the oak-tree and the sunshine."



Chapter XXIII. Ballad revels at Rowardennan.



  `"Love, I maun gang to Edinbrugh,
      Love, I maun gang an' leave thee!"
    She sighed right sair, an' said nae mair
      But "O gin I were wi' ye!"'

Andrew Lammie.



Jean Dalziel came to visit us a week ago, and has put new life into
our little circle.  I suppose it was playing `Sir Patrick Spens'
that set us thinking about it, for one warm, idle day when we were
all in the Glen we began a series of ballad-revels, in which each of
us assumed a favourite character.  The choice induced so much
argument and disagreement that Mr. Beresford was at last appointed
head of the clan; and having announced himself formally as The
Mackintosh, he was placed on the summit of a hastily arranged
pyramidal cairn.  He was given an ash wand and a rowan-tree sword;
and then, according to ancient custom, his pedigree and the exploits
of his ancestors were recounted, and he was exhorted to emulate
their example.  Now it seems that a Highland chief of the olden
time, being as absolute in his patriarchal authority as any prince,
had a corresponding number of officers attached to his person.  He
had a bodyguard, who fought around him in battle, and independent of
this he had a staff of officers who accompanied him wherever he
went.  These our chief proceeded to appoint as follows:-

Henchman, Ronald Macdonald; bard, Penelope Hamilton; spokesman or
fool, Robin Anstruther; sword-bearer, Francesca Monroe; piper,
Salemina; piper's attendant, Elizabeth Ardmore; baggage gillie, Jean
Dalziel; running footman, Ralph; bridle gillie, Jamie; ford gillie,
Miss Grieve.  The ford gillie carries the chief across fords only,
and there are no fords in the vicinity; so Mr. Beresford, not liking
to leave a member of our household out of office, thought this the
best post for Calamity Jane.

With The Mackintosh on his pyramidal cairn matters went very much
better, and at Jamie's instigation we began to hold rehearsals for
certain festivities at Rowardennan; for as Jamie's birthday fell on
the eve of the Queen's Jubilee, there was to be a gay party at the
Castle.

All this occurred days ago, and yesterday evening the ballad-revels
came off, and Rowardennan was a scene of great pageant and
splendour.  Lady Ardmore, dressed as the Lady of Inverleith,
received the guests, and there were all manner of tableaux, and
ballads in costume, and pantomimes, and a grand march by the clan,
in which we appeared in our chosen roles.

Salemina was Lady Maisry--she whom all the lords of the north
countrie came wooing.

  `But a' that they could say to her,
     Her answer still was "Na."'

And again:-

  `"O haud your tongues, young men," she said,
      "And think nae mair on me!"'

Mr. Beresford was Lord Beichan, and I was Shusy Pye

  `Lord Beichan was a Christian born,
     And such resolved to live and dee,
   So he was ta'en by a savage Moor,
     Who treated him right cruellie.

   The Moor he had an only daughter,
     The damsel's name was Shusy Pye;
   And ilka day as she took the air
     Lord Beichan's prison she pass'd by.'

Elizabeth Ardmore was Leezie Lindsay, who kilted her coats o' green
satin to the knee and was aff to the Hielands so expeditiously when
her lover declared himself to be `Lord Ronald Macdonald, a chieftain
of high degree.'

Francesca was Mary Ambree.

  `When captaines couragious, whom death cold not daunte,
   Did march to the siege of the citty of Gaunt,
   They mustred their souldiers by two and by three,
   And the foremost in battle was Mary Ambree.

   When the brave sergeant-major was slaine in her sight
   Who was her true lover, her joy and delight,
   Because he was slaine most treacherouslie,
   Then vow'd to avenge him Mary Ambree.'

Brenda Macrae from Pettybaw House was Fairly Fair; Jamie, Sir
Patrick Spens; Ralph, King Alexander of Dunfermline; Mr. Anstruther,
Bonnie Glenlogie, `the flower o' them a';'  Mr. Macdonald and Miss
Dalziel, Young Hynde Horn and the king's daughter Jean respectively.

  `"Oh, it's Hynde Horn fair, and it's Hynde Horn free;
    Oh, where were you born, and in what countrie?"
   "In a far distant countrie I was born;
    But of home and friends I am quite forlorn."

    Oh, it's seven long years he served the king,
    But wages from him he ne'er got a thing;
    Oh, it's seven long years he served, I ween,
    And all for love of the king's daughter Jean.'

It is not to be supposed that all this went off without any of the
difficulties and heart-burnings that are incident to things
dramatic.  When Elizabeth Ardmore chose to be Leezie Lindsay, she
asked me to sing the ballad behind the scenes.  Mr. Beresford
naturally thought that Mr. Macdonald would take the opposite part in
the tableau, inasmuch as the hero bears his name; but he positively
declined to play Lord Ronald Macdonald, and said it was altogether
too personal.

Mr. Anstruther was rather disagreeable at the beginning, and
upbraided Miss Dalziel for offering to be the king's daughter Jean
to Mr. Macdonald's Hynde Horn, when she knew very well he wanted her
for Ladye Jeanie in Glenlogie.  (She had meantime confided to me
that nothing could induce her to appear in Glenlogie; it was far too
personal.)

Mr. Macdonald offended Francesca by sending her his cast-off gown
and begging her to be Sir Patrick Spens; and she was still more
gloomy (so I imagined) because he had not proffered his six feet of
manly beauty for the part of the captain in Mary Ambree, when the
only other person to take it was Jamie's tutor.  He is an Oxford man
and a delightful person, but very bow-legged; added to that, by the
time the rehearsals had ended she had been obliged to beg him to
love some one more worthy than herself, and did not wish to appear
in the same tableau with him, feeling that it was much too personal.

When the eventful hour came, yesterday, Willie and I were the only
actors really willing to take lovers' parts, save Jamie and Ralph,
who were but too anxious to play all the characters, whatever their
age, sex, colour, or relations.  But the guests knew nothing of
these trivial disagreements, and at ten o'clock last night it would
have been difficult to match Rowardennan Castle for a scene of
beauty and revelry.  Everything went merrily till we came to Hynde
Horn, the concluding tableau, and the most effective and elaborate
one on the programme.  At the very last moment, when the opening
scene was nearly ready, Jean Dalziel fell down a secret staircase
that led from the tapestry chamber into Lady Ardmore's boudoir,
where the rest of us were dressing.  It was a short flight of steps,
but as she held a candle, and was carrying her costume, she fell
awkwardly, spraining her wrist and ankle.  Finding that she was not
maimed for life, Lady Ardmore turned with comical and unsympathetic
haste to Francesca, so completely do amateur theatricals dry the
milk of kindness in the human breast.

"Put on these clothes at once," she said imperiously, knowing
nothing of the volcanoes beneath the surface.  "Hynde Horn is
already on the stage, and somebody must be Jean.  Take care of Miss
Dalziel, girls, and ring for more maids.  Helene, come and dress
Miss Monroe; put on her slippers while I lace her gown; run and
fetch more jewels,--more still,--she can carry off any number; not
any rouge, Helene--she has too much colour now; pull the frock more
off the shoulders--it's a pity to cover an inch of them; pile her
hair higher--here, take my diamond tiara, child; hurry, Helene,
fetch the silver cup and the cake--no, they are on the stage; take
her train, Helene.  Miss Hamilton, run and open the doors ahead of
them, please.  I won't go down for this tableau.  I'll put Miss
Dalziel right, and then I'll slip into the drawing-room, to be ready
for the guests when they come in."

We hurried breathlessly through an interminable series of rooms and
corridors.  I gave the signal to Mr. Beresford, who was nervously
waiting for it in the wings, and the curtain went up on Hynde Horn
disguised as the auld beggar man at the king's gate.  Mr. Beresford
was reading the ballad, and we took up the tableaux at the point
where Hynde Horn has come from a far countrie to see why the
diamonds in the ring given him by his own true love have grown pale
and wan.  He hears that the king's daughter Jean has been married to
a knight these nine days past.

  `But unto him a wife the bride winna be,
   For love of Hynde Horn, far over the sea.'

He therefore borrows the old beggar's garments and hobbles to the
king's palace, where he petitions the porter for a cup of wine and a
bit of cake to be handed him by the fair bride herself.

  `"Good porter, I pray, for Saints Peter and Paul,
    And for sake of the Saviour who died for us all,
    For one cup of wine and one bit of bread,
    To an auld man with travel and hunger bestead.

    And ask the fair bride, for the sake of Hynde Horn,
    To hand them to me so sadly forlorn."
    Then the porter for pity the message convey'd,
    And told the fair bride all the beggar man said.'

The curtain went up again.  The porter, moved to pity, has gone to
give the message to his lady.  Hynde Horn is watching the staircase
at the rear of the stage, his heart in his eyes.  The tapestries
that hide it are drawn, and there stands the king's daughter, who
tripped down the stair--

  `And in her fair hands did lovingly bear
   A cup of red wine, and a farle of cake,
   To give the old man for loved Hynde Horn's sake.'

The hero of the ballad, who had not seen his true love for seven
long years, could not have been more amazed at the change in her
than was Ronald Macdonald at the sight of the flushed, excited,
almost tearful king's daughter on the staircase, Lady Ardmore's
diamonds flashing from her crimson satin gown, Lady Ardmore's rubies
glowing on her white arms and throat; not Miss Dalziel, as had been
arranged, but Francesca, rebellious, reluctant, embarrassed, angrily
beautiful and beautifully angry!

In the next scene Hynde Horn has drained the cup and dropped the
ring into it.

  `"Oh, found you that ring by sea or on land,
    Or got you that ring off a dead man's hand?"
   "Oh, I found not that ring by sea or on land,
    But I got that ring from a fair lady's hand.

    As a pledge of true love she gave it to me,
    Full seven years ago as I sail'd o'er the sea;
    But now that the diamonds are changed in their hue,
    I know that my love has to me proved untrue."'

I never saw a prettier picture of sweet, tremulous womanhood, a more
enchanting, breathing image of fidelity, than Francesca looked as
Mr. Beresford read:-

  `"Oh, I will cast off my gay costly gown,
    And follow thee on from town unto town;
    And I will take the gold kaims from my hair,
    And follow my true love for evermair."'

Whereupon Hynde Horn lets his beggar weeds fall, and shines there
the foremost and noblest of all the king's companie as he says:-

  `"You need not cast off your gay costly gown,
    To follow me on from town unto town;
    You need not take the gold kaims from your hair,
    For Hynde Horn has gold enough and to spare."

    Then the bridegrooms were changed, and the lady re-wed
    To Hynde Horn thus come back, like one from the dead.'

There is no doubt that this tableau gained the success of the
evening, and the participants in it should have modestly and
gratefully received the choruses of congratulation that were ready
to be offered during the supper and dance that followed.  Instead of
that, what happened?  Francesca drove home with Miss Dalziel before
the quadrille d'honneur, and when Willie bade me good night at the
gate in the loaning, he said, "I shall not be early to-morrow, dear.
I am going to see Macdonald off."

"Off!" I exclaimed.  "Where is he going?"

"Only to Edinburgh and London, to stay till the last of next week."

"But we may have left Pettybaw by that time."

"Of course; that is probably what he has in mind.  But let me tell
you this, Penelope:  Macdonald is fathoms deep in love with
Francesca, and if she trifles with him she shall know what I think
of her!"

"And let me tell you this, sir:  Francesca is fathoms deep in love
with Ronald Macdonald, little as you suspect it, and if he trifles
with her he shall know what I think of him!"



Chapter XXIV. Old songs and modern instances.



  `He set her on a coal-black steed,
     Himself lap on behind her,
   An' he's awa' to the Hieland hills
     Whare her frien's they canna find her.'

Rob Roy.



The occupants of Bide-a-Wee Cottage awoke in anything but a Jubilee
humour, next day.  Willie had intended to come at nine, but of
course did not appear.  Francesca took her breakfast in bed, and
came listlessly into the sitting-room at ten o'clock, looking like a
ghost.  Jean's ankle was much better--the sprain proved to be not
even a strain--but her wrist was painful.  It was drizzling, too,
and we had promised Miss Ardmore and Miss Macrae to aid with the
last Jubilee decorations, the distribution of medals at the church,
and the children's games and tea on the links in the afternoon.

We have determined not to desert our beloved Pettybaw for the
metropolis on this great day, but to celebrate it with the dear fowk
o' Fife who had grown to be a part of our lives.

Bide-a-Wee Cottage does not occupy an imposing position in the
landscape, and the choice of art fabrics at the Pettybaw draper's is
small, but the moment it should stop raining we were intending to
carry out a dazzling scheme of decoration that would proclaim our
affectionate respect for the `little lady in black' on her Diamond
Jubilee.  But would it stop raining?--that was the question.  The
draper wasna certain that so licht a shoo'r could richtly be called
rain.  The village weans were yearning for the hour to arrive when
they might sit on the wet golf-course and have tea; manifestly,
therefore, it could not be a bad day for Scotland; but if it should
grow worse, what would become of our mammoth subscription bonfire on
Pettybaw Law--the bonfire that Brenda Macrae was to light, as the
lady of the manor?

There were no deputations to request the honour of Miss Macrae's
distinguished services on this occasion; that is not the way the
self-respecting villager comports himself in Fifeshire.  The
chairman of the local committee, a respectable gardener, called upon
Miss Macrae at Pettybaw House, and said, "I'm sent to tell ye ye're
to have the pleasure an' the honour of lichtin' the bonfire the
nicht!  Ay, it's a grand chance ye're havin', miss, ye'll remember
it as long as ye live, I'm thinkin'!"

When I complimented this rugged soul on his decoration of the
triumphal arch under which the school-children were to pass, I said,
"I think if her Majesty could see it, she would be pleased with our
village to-day, James."

"Ay, ye're richt, miss," he replied complacently.  "She'd see that
Inchcawdy canna compeer wi' us; we've patronised her weel in
Pettybaw!"

Truly, as Stevenson says, `he who goes fishing among the Scots
peasantry with condescension for a bait will have an empty basket by
evening.'

At eleven o'clock a boy arrived at Bide-a-Wee with an interesting-
looking package, which I promptly opened.  That dear foolish lover
of mine (whose foolishness is one of the most adorable things about
him) makes me only two visits a day, and is therefore constrained to
send me some reminder of himself in the intervening hours, or
minutes--a book, a flower, or a note.  Uncovering the pretty box, I
found a long, slender--something--of sparkling silver.

"What is it?" I exclaimed, holding it up.  "It is too long and not
wide enough for a paper-knife, although it would be famous for
cutting magazines.  Is it a baton?  Where did Willie find it, and
what can it be?  There is something engraved on one side, something
that looks like birds on a twig,--yes, three little birds; and see
the lovely cairngorm set in the end!  Oh, it has words cut in it:
`To Jean: From Hynde Horn'--Goodness me!  I've opened Miss Dalziel's
package!"

Francesca made a sudden swooping motion, and caught box, cover, and
contents in her arms.

"It is mine! I know it is mine!" she cried.  "You really ought not
to claim everything that is sent to the house, Penelope--as if
nobody had any friends or presents but you!" and she rushed upstairs
like a whirlwind.

I examined the outside wrapper, lying on the floor, and found, to my
chagrin, that it did bear Miss Monroe's name, somewhat blotted by
the rain; but if the box were addressed to her, why was the silver
thing inscribed to Miss Dalziel?  Well, Francesca would explain the
mystery within the hour, unless she had become a changed being.

Fifteen minutes passed.  Salemina was making Jubilee sandwiches at
Pettybaw House, Miss Dalziel was asleep in her room, I was being
devoured slowly by curiosity, when Francesca came down without a
word, walked out of the front door, went up to the main street, and
entered the village post-office without so much as a backward
glance.  She was a changed being, then!  I might as well be living
in a Gaboriau novel, I thought, and went up into my little painting
and writing room to address a programme of the Pettybaw celebration
to Lady Baird, watch for the glimpse of Willie coming down the
loaning, and see if I could discover where Francesca went from the
post-office.

Sitting down by my desk, I could find neither my wax nor my silver
candlestick, my scissors nor my ball of twine.  Plainly Francesca
had been on one of her borrowing tours; and she had left an
additional trace of herself--if one were needed--in a book of old
Scottish ballads, open at `Hynde Horn.'  I glanced at it idly while
I was waiting for her to return.  I was not familiar with the
opening verses, and these were the first lines that met my eye:-

  `Oh, he gave to his love a silver wand,
   Her sceptre of rule over fair Scotland;
   With three singing laverocks set thereon
   For to mind her of him when he was gone.

   And his love gave to him a gay gold ring
   With three shining diamonds set therein;
   Oh, his love gave to him this gay gold ring,
   Of virtue and value above all thing.'

A light dawned upon me!  The silver mystery, then, was intended for
a wand--and a very pretty way of making love to an American girl,
too, to call it a `sceptre of rule over fair Scotland'; and the
three birds were three singing laverocks `to mind her of him when he
was gone'!

But the real Hynde Horn in the dear old ballad had a truelove who
was not captious and capricious and cold like Francesca.  His love
gave him a gay gold ring--

  `Of virtue and value above all thing.'

Yet stay: behind the ballad book flung heedlessly on my desk was--
what should it be but the little morocco case, empty now, in which
our Francesca keeps her dead mother's engagement ring--the mother
who died when she was a wee child.  Truly a very pretty modern
ballad to be sung in these unromantic, degenerate days!

Francesca came in at the door behind me, saw her secret reflected in
my tell-tale face, saw the sympathetic moisture in my eyes, and,
flinging herself into my willing arms, burst into tears.

"O Pen, dear, dear Pen, I am so miserable and so happy; so afraid
that he won't come back, so frightened for fear that he will!  I
sent him away because there were so many lions in the path, and I
didn't know how to slay them.  I thought of my f-father; I thought
of my c-c-country.  I didn't want to live with him in Scotland, I
knew that I couldn't live without him in America, and there I was!
I didn't think I was s-suited to a minister, and I am not; but oh!
this p-particular minister is so s-suited to me!" and she threw
herself on the sofa and buried her head in the cushions.

She was so absurd even in her grief that I had hard work to keep
from smiling.

"Let us talk about the lions," I said soothingly.  "But when did the
trouble begin?  When did he speak to you?"

"After the tableau last night; but of course there had been other--
other--times--and things."

"Of course.  Well?"

"He had told me a week before that he should go away for a while,
that it made him too wretched to stay here just now; and I suppose
that was when he got the silver wand ready for me.  It was meant for
the Jean of the poem, you know.  Of course he would not put my own
name on a gift like that."

"You don't think he had it made for Jean Dalziel in the first
place?"--I asked this, thinking she needed some sort of tonic in her
relaxed condition.

"You know him better than that, Penelope!  I am ashamed of you!  We
had read Hynde Horn together ages before Jean Dalziel came; but I
imagine, when we came to acting the lines, he thought it would be
better to have some other king's daughter; that is, that it would be
less personal.  And I never, never would have been in the tableau,
if I had dared refuse Lady Ardmore, or could have explained; but I
had no time to think.  And then, naturally, he thought by me being
there as the king's daughter that--that--the lions were slain, you
know; instead of which they were roaring so that I could hardly hear
the orchestra."

"Francesca, look me in the eye!  Do--you--love him?"

"Love him? I adore him!" she exclaimed in good clear decisive
English, as she rose impetuously and paced up and down in front of
the sofa.  "But in the first place there is the difference in
nationality."

"I have no patience with you.  One would think he was a Turk, an
Esquimau, or a cannibal.  He is white, he speaks English, and he
believes in the Christian religion.  The idea of calling such a man
a foreigner!"

"Oh, it didn't prevent me from loving him," she confessed, "but I
thought at first it would be unpatriotic to marry him."

"Did you think Columbia could not spare you even as a rare specimen
to be used for exhibition purposes?" I asked wickedly.

"You know I am not so conceited as that!  No," she continued
ingenuously, "I feared that if I accepted him it would look, over
here, as if the home-supply of husbands were of inferior quality;
and then we had such disagreeable discussions at the beginning, I
simply could not bear to leave my nice new free country, and ally
myself with his aeons of tiresome history.  But it came to me in the
night, a week ago, that after all I should hate a man who didn't
love his Fatherland; and in the illumination of that new idea
Ronald's character assumed a different outline in my mind.  How
could he love America when he had never seen it?  How could I
convince him that American women are the most charming in the world
in any better way than by letting him live under the same roof with
a good example?  How could I expect him to let me love my country
best unless I permitted him to love his best?"

"You needn't offer so many apologies for your infatuation, my dear,"
I answered dryly.

"I am not apologising for it!" she exclaimed impulsively.  "Oh, if
you could only keep it to yourself, I should like to tell you how I
trust and admire and reverence Ronald Macdonald, but of course you
will repeat everything to Willie Beresford within the hour!  You
think he has gone on and on loving me against his better judgment.
You believe he has fought against it because of my unfitness, but
that I, poor, weak, trivial thing, am not capable of deep feeling
and that I shall never appreciate the sacrifices he makes in
choosing me!  Very well, then, I tell you plainly that if I had to
live in a damp manse the rest of my life, drink tea and eat scones
for breakfast, and--and buy my hats of the Inchcaldy milliner, I
should still glory in the possibility of being Ronald Macdonald's
wife--a possibility hourly growing more uncertain, I am sorry to
say!"

"And the extreme aversion with which you began," I asked--"what has
become of that, and when did it begin to turn in the opposite
direction?"

"Aversion!" she cried, with convincing and unblushing candour.
"That aversion was a cover, clapped on to keep my self-respect warm.
I abused him a good deal, it is true, because it was so delightful
to hear you and
Salemina take his part.  Sometimes I trembled for fear you would
agree with me, but you never did.  The more I criticised him, the
louder you sang his praises--it was lovely!  The fact is--we might
as well throw light upon the whole matter, and then never allude to
it again; and if you tell Willie Beresford, you shall never visit my
manse, nor see me preside at my mothers' meetings, nor hear me
address the infant class in the Sunday-school--the fact is, I liked
him from the beginning at Lady Baird's dinner.  I liked the bow he
made when he offered me his arm (I wish it had been his hand); I
liked the top of his head when it was bowed; I liked his arm when I
took it; I liked the height of his shoulder when I stood beside it;
I liked the way he put me in my chair (that showed chivalry), and
unfolded his napkin (that was neat and business-like), and pushed
aside all his wine-glasses but one (that was temperate); I liked the
side view of his nose, the shape of his collar, the cleanness of his
shave, the manliness of his tone--oh, I liked him altogether, you
must know how it is, Penelope--the goodness and strength and
simplicity that radiated from him. And when he said, within the
first half-hour, that international alliances presented even more
difficulties to the imagination than others, I felt, to my
confusion, a distinct sense of disappointment.  Even while I was
quarrelling with him, I said to myself, `Poor darling, you cannot
have him even if you should want him, so don't look at him much!'--
But I did look at him; and what is worse, he looked at me; and what
is worse yet, he curled himself so tightly round my heart that if he
takes himself away, I shall be cold the rest of my life!"

"Then you are really sure of your love this time, and you have never
advised him to wed somebody more worthy than yourself?" I asked.

"Not I!" she replied.  "I wouldn't put such an idea into his head
for worlds!  He might adopt it!"



Chapter XXV. A treaty between nations.



  `Pale and wan was she when Glenlogie gaed ben,
   But red rosy grew she whene'er he sat doun.

Glenlogie.



Just here the front door banged, and a manly step sounded on the
stair.  Francesca sat up straight in a big chair, and dried her eyes
hastily with her poor little wet ball of a handkerchief; for she
knows that Willie is a privileged visitor in my studio.  The door
opened (it was ajar) and Ronald Macdonald strode into the room.  I
hope I may never have the same sense of nothingness again!  To be
young, pleasing, gifted, and to be regarded no more than a fly upon
the wall, is death to one's self-respect.

He dropped on one knee beside Francesca, and took her two hands in
his without removing his gaze from her speaking face.  She burned,
but did not flinch under the ordeal.  The colour leaped into her
cheeks.  Love swam in her tears, but was not drowned there; it was
too strong.

"Did you mean it?" he asked.

She looked at him, trembling, as she said, "I meant every word, and
far, far more.  I meant all that a girl can say to a man when she
loves him, and wants to be everything she is capable of being to
him, to his work, to his people, and to his--country."

Even this brief colloquy had been embarrassing, but I knew that
worse was still to come and could not be delayed much longer, so I
left the room hastily and with no attempt at apology--not that they
minded my presence in the least, or observed my exit, though I was
obliged to leap over Mr. Macdonald's feet in passing.

I found Mr. Beresford sitting on the stairs, in the lower hall.

"Willie, you angel, you idol, where did you find him?" I exclaimed.

"When I went into the post-office, an hour ago," he replied, "I met
Francesca.  She asked me for Macdonald's Edinburgh address, saying
she had something that belonged to him and wished to send it after
him.  I offered to address the package and see that it reached him
as expeditiously as possible.  `That is what I wish," she said, with
elaborate formality.  `This is something I have just discovered,
something he needs very much, something he does not know he has left
behind.'  I did not think it best to tell her at the moment that
Macdonald had not yet deserted Inchcaldy."

"Willie, you have the quickest intelligence and the most exquisite
insight of any man I ever met!"

"But the fact was that I had been to see him off, and found him
detained by the sudden illness of one of his elders.  I rode over
again to take him the little parcel.  Of course I don't know what it
contained; by its size and shape I should judge it might be a
thimble, or a collar-button, or a sixpence; but, at all events, he
must have needed the thing, for he certainly did not let the grass
grow under his feet after he received it!  Let us go into the
sitting-room until they come down,--as they will have to, poor
wretches, sooner or later; I know that I am always being brought
down against my will.  Salemina wants your advice about the number
of her Majesty's portraits to be hung on the front of the cottage,
and the number of candles to be placed in each window."

It was a half-hour later when Mr. Macdonald came into the room, and,
walking directly up to Salemina, kissed her hand respectfully.

"Miss Salemina," he said, with evident emotion, "I want to borrow
one of your national jewels for my Queen's crown."

"And what will our President say to lose a jewel from his crown?"

"Good republican rulers do not wear coronets, as a matter of
principle," he argued; "but in truth I fear I am not thinking of her
Majesty--God bless her!  This gem is not entirely for state
occasions.

  `"I would wear it in my bosom,
    Lest my jewel I should tine."'

It is the crowning of my own life rather than that of the British
Empire that engages my present thought.  Will you intercede for me
with Francesca's father?"

"And this is the end of all your international bickering?" Salemina
asked teasingly.

"Yes," he answered; "we have buried the hatchet, signed articles of
agreement, made treaties of international comity.  Francesca stays
over here as a kind of missionary to Scotland, so she says, or as a
feminine diplomat; she wishes to be on hand to enforce the Monroe
Doctrine properly, in case her government's accredited ambassadors
relax in the performance of their duty."

"Salemina!" called a laughing voice outside the door.  "I am
won'erful lifted up.  You will be a prood woman the day, for I am
now Estaiblished!" and Francesca, clad in Miss Grieve's Sunday
bonnet, shawl, and black cotton gloves, entered, and curtsied
demurely to the floor.  She held, as corroborative detail, a life of
John Knox in her hand, and anything more incongruous than her
sparkling eyes and mutinous mouth under the melancholy head-gear can
hardly be imagined.

"I am now Estaiblished," she repeated.  "Div ye ken the new
asseestant frae Inchcawdy pairish?  I'm the mon' (a second deep
curtsy here).  "I trust, leddies, that ye'll mak' the maist o' your
releegious preevileges, an' that ye'll be constant at the kurruk.--
Have you given papa's consent, Salemina?  And isn't it dreadful that
he is Scotch?"

"Isn't it dreadful that she is not?" asked Mr. Macdonald.  "Yet to
my mind no woman in Scotland is half as lovable as she!"

"And no man in America begins to compare with him," Francesca
confessed sadly.  "Isn't it pitiful that out of the millions of our
own countrypeople we couldn't have found somebody that would do?
What do you think now, Lord Ronald Macdonald, of these dangerous
international alliances?"

"You never understood that speech of mine," he replied, with prompt
mendacity.  "When I said that international marriages presented more
difficulties to the imagination than others, I was thinking of your
marriage and mine, and that, I knew from the first moment I saw you,
would be extremely difficult to arrange!"



Chapter XXVI. `Scotland's burning! Look out!'



  `And soon a score of fires, I ween,
   From height, and hill, and cliff were seen;
       .  .  .  .  .  .  .
   Each after each they glanced to sight,
   As stars arise upon the night,
   They gleamed on many a dusky tarn,
   Haunted by the lonely earn;
   On many a cairn's grey pyramid,
   Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid.'

The Lay of the Last Minstrel.



The rain continued at intervals throughout the day, but as the
afternoon wore on the skies looked a trifle more hopeful.  It would
be `saft,' no doubt, climbing the Law, but the bonfire must be
lighted.  Would Pettybaw be behind London?  Would Pettybaw desert
the Queen in her hour of need?  Not though the rain were bursting
the well-heads on Cawda; not though the swollen mountain burns
drowned us to the knee!  So off we started as the short midsummer
night descended.

We were to climb the Law, wait for the signal from Cawda's lonely
height, and then fire Pettybaw's torch of loyalty to the little lady
in black; not a blaze flaming out war and rumours of war, as was the
beacon-fire on the old grey battlements of Edinburgh Castle in the
days of yore, but a message of peace and good-will.  Pausing at a
hut on the side of the great green mountain, we looked north toward
Helva, white-crested with a wreath of vapour.  (You need not look on
your map of Scotland for Cawda and Helva, for you will not find them
any more than you will find Pettybaw and Inchcaldy.)  One by one the
tops of the distant hills began to clear, and with the glass we
could discern the bonfire cairns up-built here and there for
Scotland's evening sacrifice of love and fealty.  Cawda was still
veiled, and Cawda was to give the signal for all the smaller fires.
Pettybaw's, I suppose, was counted as a flash in the pan, but not
one of the hundred patriots climbing the mountain-side would have
acknowledged it; to us the good name of the kingdom of Fife and the
glory of the British Empire depended on Pettybaw fire.  Some of us
had misgivings, too,--misgivings founded upon Miss Grieve's dismal
prophecies.  She had agreed to put nine lighted candles in each of
our cottage windows at ten o'clock, but had declined to go out of
her kitchen to see a procession, hear a band, or look at a bonfire.
She had had a fair sickenin' day, an amount of work too wearifu' for
one person by her lane.  She hoped that the bonfire wasna built o'
Mrs. Sinkler's coals nor Mr. Macbrose's kindlings, nor soaked with
Mr. Cameron's paraffin; and she finished with the customary, but
irrelative and exasperating, allusion to the exceedingly nice family
with whom she had live in Glasgy.

And still we toiled upward, keeping our doubts to ourselves.  Jean
was limping bravely, supported by Robin Anstruther's arm.  Mr.
Macdonald was ardently helping Francesca, who can climb like a
chamois, but would doubtless rather be assisted.  Her gypsy face
shone radiant out of her black cloth hood, and Ronald's was no less
luminous.  I have never seen two beings more love-daft.  They
comport themselves as if they had read the manuscript of the tender
passion, and were moving in exalted superiority through a less
favoured world,--a world waiting impatiently for the first number of
the story to come out.

Still we climbed, and as we approached the Grey Lady (a curious rock
very near the summit) somebody proposed three cheers for the Queen.

How the children hurrahed,--for the infant heart is easily
inflamed,--and how their shrill Jubilee slogan pierced the mystery
of the night, and went rolling on from glen to glen to the Firth of
Forth itself!  Then there was a shout from the rocketmen far out on
the open moor,--'Cawda's clear!  Cawda's clear!'  Back against a
silver sky stood the signal pile, and signal rockets flashed upward,
to be answered from all the surrounding hills.

Now to light our own fire.  One of the village committee solemnly
took off his hat and poured on oil.  The great moment had come.
Brenda Macrae approached the sacred pile, and, tremulous from the
effect of much contradictory advice, applied the torch.  Silence,
thou Grieve and others, false prophets of disaster!  Who now could
say that Pettybaw bonfire had been badly built, or that its fifteen
tons of coal and twenty cords of wood had been unphilosophically
heaped together?

The flames rushed toward the sky with ruddy blaze, shining with
weird effect against the black fir-trees and the blacker night.
Three cheers more!  God save the Queen!  May she reign over us,
happy and glorious!  And we cheered lustily, too, you may be sure!
It was more for the woman than the monarch; it was for the blameless
life, not for the splendid monarchy; but there was everything
hearty, and nothing alien in our tone, when we sang `God save the
Queen' with the rest of the Pettybaw villagers.

The land darkened; the wind blew chill.  Willie, Mr. Macdonald, and
Mr. Anstruther brought rugs, and found a sheltered nook for us where
we might still watch the scene.  There we sat, looking at the plains
below, with all the village streets sparkling with light, with
rockets shooting into the air and falling to earth in golden rain,
with red lights flickering on the grey lakes, and with one beacon-
fire after another gleaming from the hilltops, till we could count
more than fifty answering one another from the wooded crests along
the shore, some of them piercing the rifts of low-lying clouds till
they seemed to be burning in mid-heaven.

Then one by one the distant fires faded, and as some of us still sat
there silently, far, far away in the grey east there was a faint
flush of carmine where the new dawn was kindling in secret.
Underneath that violet bank of cloud the sun was forging his beams
of light.  The pole-star paled.  The breath of the new morrow stole
up out of the rosy grey.  The wings of the morning stirred and
trembled; and in the darkness and chill and mysterious awakening
eyes looked into other eyes, hand sought hand, and cheeks touched
each other in mute caress.



Chapter XXVII. Three magpies and a marriage.



  `Sun, gallop down the westlin skies,
     Gang soon to bed, an' quickly rise;
   O lash your steeds, post time away,
     And haste about our bridal day!'

The Gentle Shepherd.



Every noon, during this last week, as we have wended our way up the
loaning to the Pettybaw inn for our luncheon, we have passed three
magpies sitting together on the topmost rail of the fence.  I am not
prepared to state that they were always the same magpies; I only
know there were always three of them.  We have just discovered what
they were about, and great is the excitement in our little circle.
I am to be married to-morrow, and married in Pettybaw, and Miss
Grieve says that in Scotland the number of magpies one sees is of
infinite significance:  that one means sorrow; two, mirth; three, a
marriage; four, a birth, and we now recall as corroborative detail
that we saw one magpie, our first, on the afternoon of her arrival.

Mr. Beresford has been cabled for, and must return to America at
once on important business.  He persuaded me that the Atlantic is an
ower large body of water to roll between two lovers, and I agreed
with all my heart.

A wedding was arranged, mostly by telegraph, in six hours.  The
Reverend Ronald and the Friar are to perform the ceremony; a dear
old painter friend of mine, a London R.A., will come to give me
away; Francesca will be my maid of honour; Elizabeth Ardmore and
Jean Dalziel, my bridemaidens; Robin Anstruther, the best man; while
Jamie and Ralph will be kilted pages-in-waiting, and Lady Ardmore
will give the breakfast at the Castle.

Never was there such generosity, such hospitality, such wealth of
friendship!  True, I have no wedding finery; but as I am perforce a
Scottish bride, I can be married in the white gown with the silver
thistles in which I went to Holyrood.

Mr. Anstruther took a night train to and from London to choose the
bouquets and bridal souvenirs.  Lady Baird has sent the veil, and a
wonderful diamond thistle to pin it on,--a jewel fit for a princess!
With the dear Dominie's note promising to be an usher came an
antique silver casket filled with white heather.  And as for the
bride-cake, it is one of Salemina's gifts, chosen as much in a
spirit of fun as affection.  It is surely appropriate for this
American wedding transplanted to Scottish soil, and what should it
be but a model, in fairy icing, of Sir Walter's beautiful monument
in Princes Street!  Of course Francesca is full of nonsensical quips
about it, and says that the Edinburgh jail would have been just as
fine architecturally (it is, in truth, a building beautiful enough
to tempt an aesthete to crime), and a much more fitting symbol for a
wedding-cake, unless, indeed, she adds, Salemina intends her gift to
be a monument to my folly.

Pettybaw kirk is trimmed with yellow broom from these dear Scottish
banks and braes; and waving their green fans and plumes up and down
the aisle where I shall walk a bride, are tall ferns and bracken
from Crummylowe Glen, where we played ballads.

As I look back upon it, the life here has been all a ballad from
first to last.  Like the elfin Tam Lin,

  `The queen o' fairies she caught me
     In this green hill to dwell,'

and these hasty nuptials are a fittingly romantic ending to the
summer's poetry.  I am in a mood, were it necessary, to be `ta'en by
the milk-white hand,' lifted to a pillion on a coal-black charger,
and spirited `o'er the border an' awa'' by my dear Jock o'
Hazeldean.  Unhappily, all is quite regular and aboveboard; no `lord
o' Langley dale' contests the prize with the bridegroom, but the
marriage is at least unique and unconventional; no one can rob me of
that sweet consolation.

So `gallop down the westlin skies,' dear Sun, but, prythee, gallop
back to-morrow!  `Gang soon to bed,'  an you will, but rise again
betimes!  Give me Queen's weather, dear Sun, and shine a benison
upon my wedding-morn!


[Exit Penelope into the ballad-land of maiden dreams.]





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Penelope's Experiences in Scotland


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