Imatges de pÓgina
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kindness of her benefactress by duties, unremittingly discharged to her own Hamet and Frances. Now, she was

independent ; and had no wish to sit at tables where she den might have been pardonably enough looked on as a sort of sely curiosity or wonder, namely, a genteel girl out of a poor

home, a lady risen from low life, the orphan daughter of a mechanic, really not far from being on

a par with the hoydenish misses of a squire's family, with red velvet gowns from the town, and red velvet arms to put into them from the country. So Margaret rather shunned than courted splendid hospitality; but always with gratitude and humility acknowledged every kindness and courtesy that she received from persons in a higher rank, and above all, was delighted to see in her own parlour at Nether-Place those benevolent ladies who took an interest in the education of

the children of the peasantry, and who, therefore, looked in upon her as a benefactress to the whole parish.

Before many months had elapsed since her uncle's death, Margaret had her wooers, although the two first on the list were not such as to represent the passion of love as any thing very tragic. Duncan Gray, portioner in Muirhouse, a young man of good morals, and not very bad manners, and supposed to be worth not far off a hundred pounds per annum, was the swain who took time by the forelock, and first hinted the modest request of Margaret's heart and hand.

Some persons make wonderfully little account of such a request; and hold themselves entitled, after two or three times receiving a piece of short-bread, and a glass of elder-flower wine, to ask the lady who has given him such refreshment in marriage. The strife of transition seems long and violent; and in Duncan's case it was no sooner taken, than he saw in Miss Lyndsay's involuntary smile that he had made himself-rather ridiculous. At the same time, there was some little excuse for Mr Duncan Gray of Muirhouse. He had a soul for music framed; and rejecting other everyday instruments of stop or string, he selected the Great Highland Bagpipe. On it he poured forth, not from his breast, but from beneath his arm, the loudest, longest sighs, con amore and affetuoso. All the while he thus gave vent to the windy suspiration of fixed breath, he was in the practice, at tea parties, of keeping his blown-up cheeks and staring eyes straight upon the countenance of Margaret Lyndsay; and in the enthusiasm of the hour, he beheld her yielding to the voice of passion. He had mounted new rib

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bons on the drone of his pipes, red as the rosy visage that puffed below; and pity the delusion of the fond youth if he felt himself and his chanter to be irresistible. But Duncan Gray was a stout young swain, who lived in a high latitude, and had an excellent appetite ; so, when he found that Miss Lyndsay preferred a single life, he had recourse to corned beef and

greens, and it was not generally thought over the parish that he lost a single pound of flesh on his refusal. That refusal, in whatever words conveyed, and no doubt, it was in Margaret's gentlest manner,--for it is said that no lady is absolutely angry with the very absurdest offer-was, it appeared, decisive. Mr Gray henceforth played less outrageously on the Bagpipe at parties where Margaret was present, and put his hand to his hat, on her appearance, with rather a hurried and abrupt demonstration; but otherwise he was very much the same man as before, and began to pay frequent visits to Thomas Carstairs of the Haugh, whose daughter Rachel was, though no beauty, by no means contemptible either in talk, tidiness, or tocher.

The next on the list was one more likely, according to public opinion, to have been a thriving wooer--the Reverend Æneas M.Taggart of Drumluke. He was considered by himself and some others to be the best preacher in the synod; and, since Daniel Craig's death, had contrived to hold forth more than once in the kirk of Casterton. He was very oratorically disposed ; and had got the gold medal at Glasgow College for the best specimen of elocution. This medal he generally carried in his pocket, and he had favoured Miss Lyndsay with a sight of it once in the manse, and once when they were alone eating gooseberries in the Garden of Nether-Place. The only thing very peculiar in his pronunciation was a burr, which might, on first hearing, have subjected him to the imputation of being a Northumbrian ; but then there was an indescribably ascending tone in his speech, running up eagerly to the top of a sentence, like a person in a hurry to the head of a staircase, that clenched him at once as a native of Paisley, born of parents from about Tynedrum, in Breadalbane. Mr M"Taggart was a moral preacher, and he had one Sermon upon Sympathy, which he had delivered before the Commissioner, wherein were touches equal, or indeed superior to any thing in Logan-and no wonder, for they were in a great measure attributable to Adam Smith. This celebrated Sermon did the pious Æneas pour forth, with mixed motives, to the congregation of Casterton, and ever and anon he

laid his hand upon his heart, and looked to a pier near the window beneath the loft, on the left hand side of the pulpit.

A few days after this judicious and instructive exhibition, Mr M-Taggart, with both Medal and Sermon in his pocket, rode up to the door of Nether-Place, like a man bent on bold and high emprise.' Mysie was half afraid to lead his steed to the stable--for he was an exceedingly formidable looking animal, greatly above the usual stature of horses in that part of the country, as indeed well he might, for, during several years, he had carried an enormous Black, hight Cupid Congo, kettle-drummer to that since highly distinguished regiment the Scots Greys. However, he was not so fierce as he looked ; but, prophetic of provender, allowed Mysie to lead him away like a lamb into a stable which he could not enter till he had stooped his anointed head.' Meanwhile, the Reverend Æneas M-Taggart was proceeding to business.

The young Divine took his place, after a little elegant badinage, on the parlour hearth-rug, with his back to the fire, and his coat-flaps opening behind, and gathered up each below an elbow-the attitude which of all others makes a person appear most like a gentleman. •Pray, Ma'am, have you ever read Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments ??- No, Sir, I never have ; indeed, froni what I have seen said of it in other volumes, I fear it may be above the comprehension of a poor weak woman.'-- Not if properly explained by a superior mind-Miss Lyndsay. The great leading doctrine of this theory is, that our moral judgment follows, or is founded on our sympathetic affections or emotions. But then it requires to be particularly attended to, that, according to Dr Adam Smith, we do not sympathise directly with the emotions of the agent, but indirectly with what we suppose would be the feelings which we ourselves should entertain if placed in his situation. Do you comprehend, Ma'am ?' • It would be presumption in me, Mr M'Taggart, to say that I do perfectly comprehend it; but I do a little, and it seems to be pretty much like what you illustrated so eloquently in your discourse last Sabbath.'— Yes, Ma'am, it is the germ which I unfolded under the stronger light of more advanced philosophy. You will observe, Miss Lyndsay, that often a man is placed in a situation where he feels nothing for him. self, but where the judicious observer, notwithstanding, feels for him-perhaps pity, or even disgust- and with that he expanded himself before the chimney, not unlike a great

turkey-cock with his van-tail displayed in a farm-yard. Margaret requested him to have the goodness to take the poker and stir up the fire. Certainly, Ma'am, certainly that is an office which they say a man should not take upon himself under seven years acquaintance; but I hope Miss Lyndsay does not look upon me as a stranger. Therewith he smashed exultingly the large lump of coal, and continued, “Then, Ma'am, as to the Sense of Propriety,'-but here Mysie opened the door, and came in with a fuster. · My conscience, Mr M-Taggart, that beast o' yours is eating the crib—it'll take James Adams a forenoon-job with his plane to smooth off the splinters—he's a devil o' a horse yon, and likes shavings better than last year's hay.' This was an awkward interruption to the young man eloquent,' who was within a few paragraphs of putting the question. But Mysie withdrew-and Mr M‘Taggart forthwith declared his heart. Before Margaret could reply, he strenuously urged his suit. The heritors are bound to build me a new manse e-and the teinds are far from being exhausted. I have raised a process of augmentation, and expect seven additional chaulders.

Ilay Campbell is the friend of the Clergy. The stipend is £137: 178. 6d. in money, and likewise from the Widow's Fund you will be entitled, on my decease, to £30 per annum, be it less or more--so that

Margaret was overwhelmed with such brilliant prospects, and could not utter a word. "Give me, Ma'am, a categorical answer-be composed-be quiet-I respect the natural modesty of the sex--but as for Nether-Place, it shall be settled as you and our common friend Mr Oswald shall fix, upon our children.'

A categorical answer was one which Margaret did not very clearly understand; but she instantly felt that perhaps it might be the little expressive word-No:'

and accordingly she hazarded that monosyllable. Mr M‘Taggart, the Man of the Medal, was confounded and irritated,

he could not believe his ears, long as they were ; and insisted upon an immediate explanation. In a few minutes things were brought to a proper bearing; and it was felt that the Sermon on Sympathy had not produced the expected effect. It is grievous to think, that Æneas was barely civil on his departure; and Aung his leg over old Cromwell with such vehemence, as almost to derange the balance of power, and very nearly to bring the pride of the Presbytery to the gravel. However, he regained his equilibrium, and

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“ With his left heel insidiously aside,
Provoked the caper that he seemed to chide,"

till he disappeared out of the avenue, from the wondering eyes of Mysie, who kept exclaiming, Safe us-He's like a rough rider! Leuk now, the beast's funking like mad, and then up again wi' his forelegs like a perfect unicorn.'

THE LOST CHILD.

LUCY was only six years old, but bold as a fairy; she had gone by herself a thousand times about the braes, and often upon errands to houses two or three miles distant. What had her parents to fear? The footpaths were all firm, and led through no places of danger, nor are infants of themselves incautious, when alone in their pastimes. Luey went singing into the coppice-woods, and singing she reappeared on the open hill-side. With her small white hand on the rail, she glided along the wooden-bridge, or lightly as the owzel tripped from stone to stone across the shallow streamlet. The creature would be away for hours, and no fears be felt on her account by any one at home whether she had gone with her basket under her arm to borrow some articles of household use from a neighbour, or merely for her own solitary delight, wandered off to the braes to play among the flowers, coming back laden with wreaths and garlands. With a bonnet of her own sewing, to shade her pretty face from the sun, and across her shoulders a plaid in which she could sit dry during an hour of the heaviest rain beneath the smallest beild ; Lucy passed many long hours in the day light, and thus knew, without thinking of it, all the topography of that pastoral solitude, and even something of the changeful appearances in the air and sky.

The happy child had been invited to pass a whole day, from morning to night, at Ladyside, (a farm-house about two miles off, with her playmates, the Maynes; and she left home about an hour after sunrise. She was dressed for a holiday, and father and mother, and Aunt Isobel, all three kissed her sparkling face before she set off by herself, and

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