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and-twenty-of a grave, kind temper, formal suit, in the elaborate fashion
were “ The morn's my birthday," echoed
I like you, Katie, because you're “Eh, Katie, is it not bonnie?" bonnie. said Lady Anne.
“And Bauby says you're to marry Katie replied not, for her impa- her, Lordie, when you grow a man,' tient, curious, petulant mind burned said Lady Anne. to investigate the mystery; and the “Ay, but mamma says no; for sympathies of her quick and vivid she says Katie's no a grand lady, nature were easily roused. Katie and I'm to marry naebody but a did not care now for the wedding grand lady; but I like Katie best gown; the sad face of Lady Janet for all that."
more interesting than Lady “I wouldna marry you,” retorted Betty's beautiful dress.
the saucy Katie ; " for I'll be a big But a very beautiful dress it was. woman, Lordie, when you're only a Rich silk, so thick and strong that,
bairn." according to the vernacular descrip- “ Bauby says you'll never be big. tion, it could “stand it's lane;" and If you were as old as Auntie Betty, of a delicate colour, just bright and you would aye be wee," said the litfresh enough to contrast prettily with tle heir. the elaborate white satin petticoat Katie raised her hand menacingly, which appeared under the open robe and looked fierce. The small Lord in front. At the elbows were deep Erskine burst into a loud fit of laughgraceful falls of rich lace; but Katie ter. He, too, was a spoiled child. scarcely could realise the possibility “I'll be five the morn," continued of the grave Lady Betty appearing in
the boy ; " and I'm to be the best a costume so magnificent. She was man. "I saw Auntie Janet greeting. to appear in it, however, no later What makes her greet ? ” than to-morrow ; for to-morrow the “Lordie, I wish you would speak wise young head of the household low !” exclaimed Lady Anne. was to go away, and to be known no “Mamma says I'm to be Earl of more as Lady Betty Erskine, but as Kellie, and I may speak any way I Elizabeth, Lady Colville. The inti- like," returned the heir. mation of this approaching change
“But you shanna speak any way had been a great shock to all in you like!" cried the rebellious Katie, Kellie ; but now, in the excitement of seizing the small lord with her soft its completion, the family forgot for little hands, which were by no means the moment how great their loss was destitute of force. "You shanna say to be.
anything to vex Lady Janet !" “ And to-morrow, Katie, is Lor- . What for?” demanded Lordie, die's birthday," said Lady Anne, as struggling in her grasp. they returned to the west room.
“Because I'll no let you," said the On the low chair which Lady Anne determined Katie. had left by the fireside, the capacious The spoiled child looked furiously seat of which contained the whole of in her face, and struck out with his his small person, feet and all, reposed clenched hand; but Katie grasped a child, with hair artificially curled and held it fast, returning his stare round his face, and a little mannish with a look which silenced him. The
boy began to whimper, and to appeal that never before had there been to Lady Anne ; but Lady Anne, in such a union of brilliant qualities as awe and admiration, looked on and now existed in the person of Katie interfered not, fervently believing Stewart.
“But what makes Lady Janet widow, that a good settlement for greet ?" Katie could not answer the Janet was exceedingly desirable, and question to her own satisfaction. that an opportunity for securing it
Poor Lady Janet! A certain Sir was by no means to be neglected. Robert had been for a year or two a She wrote-he came, and with him constant visitor at Kellie ; his resi- the crisis of Janet Erskine's fate. dence was at no great distance ; and For the faithless Sir Robert and the he had lost no opportunity of recom- belligerent brother had some private mending himself to the quiet, intense conversation; and thereafter Sir RoJanet Erskine. He was a respect- bert sought his forsaken lady, and, by able, average man; handsome enough, his changed manner, revived for a clever enough, attractive enough, to little her drooping heart; but then a make his opportunities abundantly strange proposal struck harshly on sufficient for his purpose ; and for a Lady Janet's ear. Her brother had while Lady Janet had been very interfered. To escape from his interhappy. But then the successful Sirference, Sir Robert proposed that Robert began to be less assiduous, to their long-delayed marriage should come seldom, to grow cold; and Janet be hurried-immediate-secret ; and drooped and grew pale uncomplain that she should leave Kellie with him ingly, refusing, with indignation, to that very night, “ that there may be confess that anything bad grieved no collision between your brother and her.
The Earl had not noticed the myself.” Fatal words these were, progress of this affair, and now knew and they sank like so many stones no reason for his daughter's depressed into Janet Erskine's heart. spirits and failing health ; while Lady And for this the little loud spoiled Betty, sadly observing it all, thought Lordie had seen ber weeping-for this, it best to take no open notice, but Katie had observed those terrible rather to encourage lier sister to sobs. The poor fated Lady Janet ! overcome an inevitable sorrow. thus compelled to take the cold and
But the Lady Erskine, Lordie's reluctant hand which only under comwidowed mother, thought and decided pulsion was offered to her, now feeldifferently. At present she was rathering more than ever that the heart was a supernumerary, unnecessary person lost. To elope too-to mock the wild in Kellie ; for Lady Betty's judicious expedient of passion with these hearts and firm hand held the reios of go- of theirs—the one iced over with invernment, and left her sister-in-law difference, the other paralysed with very little possibility of interference. misery. It was a sad fate. This disappointment of Janet's was And if she hesitated-if she requite a godsend for Lady Erskine- fused-then, alas! to risk the life of she took steps immediately of the the belligerent brother-the life of most peremptory kind.
the cold Sir Robert to lose the life For bints, and even lectures, had of one. So there was no help or rescue no effect on Sir Robert, when she for her, wherever she looked ; and, applied them. Less and less frequent with positive anguish throbbing in became his visits-paler and paler her heart, she prepared for her flight.. grew the cheeks of Janet, and Lady It is late at night, and Katie Erskine thought she was perfectly Stewart is very wakeful, and cannot justified in her coup-de-main. rest. Through her little window look
So she wrote to an honourable mi- the stars, severe and pale, for the sky litary Erskine, who, knowing very is frosty, clear, and cold. Katie has little about his younger sister, did lain long, turning to meet those unperfectly agree with his brother's wearying eyes her own wide open
VOL. LXXII.-O. CCCCXLI.
wakeful ones, and feeling very eerie, sion of investigation. Upon a little and just a little afraid—for certainly table in the hall, under those huge there are steps in that gallery without, antlers which frown so ghost-like in though all the house has been hushed the uncertain morning light, stands and at rest for more than one long the candlestick which Bauby Rodger hour.
carried last night; and, as Katie's So, in a sudden paroxysm of fear, curiosity examines the only tangible which takes the character of boldness, sign that what she saw was real, and Katie springs from her little bed, and not a dream, and sees that the candle softly opens the door. There are in- in it has burnt down to the socket deed steps in the gallery, and Katie, and wasted away, she hears a step from her dark corner, sees two stealthy behind her-although Katie recoils figures creeping towards the stair, with some fear when she beholds from the door of Lady Janet's room. again the omnipresent Bauby. But Katie's fright gradually subsides, " What gars ye rise sae early ?" and melts into wonder, as she per- exclaimed Bauby, with some impaceives that Bauby Rodger, holding a tience. “It's no your common way, candle in her hand, and walking with Katie Stewart. Eh me! eh me!" such precaution as is dreadful to see, added the faithful servant of Kellie, goes first, and that it is quite impos- looking at the candlestick, and wringsible to prevent these heavy steps of ing her great hands. hers from making some faint impres- What ails ye, Bauby ? " sion on the silence.
“It's been loot burn down to the And behind her, holding up with socket-and it's a' my wyte! Gude fingers which tremble sadly the forgie me!-how was I to mind a' heavy folds of that long riding-skirt, thing? The light's burnt out; but ye is not that Lady Janet? Very sad, dinna ken what that means. And as if her heart were breaking, looks what gars ye look at me, bairn, wi' Lady Janet's face; and Katie sees sic reproachfu' een ? " her cast wistful, longing glances to
6. What does't mean, Bauby? wards the closed door of Lady Betty's asked Katie Stewart. room. Alas! for there peacefully, " It's the dead of the house-this with grave sweet thoughts, unfearing auld house of Kellie,” said Bauby for the future, untroubled for the mournfully. " When a light's loot past, reposes the bride who shall go waste down to the socket, and die of forth with honour on the morrow; itsel', it's an emblem of the house. while here, with her great grief in her The race maun dwine away like the face, feeling herself guilty, forsaken, light, and gang out in darkness. Oh wishing nothing so much as to close that it hadna been my blame!" her eyes this night for ever, pauses “ But Bauby, I couldna sleep last her innocent unhappy sister-a bride night, and I saw ye. Where were ye also, and a fugitive.
taking Lady Janet ? " And so the two figures disappear “ The bairn's in a creel,” said Baudown the stair. Cold, trembling, and by, starting. “Me take Lady Janet afraid, Katie pauses in her corner. ony gate! It's no my place." But now the gallery is quite dark, “Ay, but ye were, though,” reand she steals into her room again, peated Katie; . and she lookit sweard, where at least there are always the sweard to gang." stars looking in unmoved upon her " Weel, weel, she bid to gang; vigils ; but it is a very restless night ye'll hear the haill story some time," for Katie.
said Bauby, lifting her apron to her Very early, when the April morning eyes. " That I should be the ane to has not fairly dawned, she is up again. do this-me that have eaten their Still interested, still curious, eager to bread this mony a day—that it should discover what ails Lady Janet, and be my blame!” where she has gone.
And Bauby, with many sighs, lifted The ball below is quite still ; no away the unfortunate candlestick. one is yet up in the castle, important They went up stairs together to the as this day is; and Katie steals down west room, where Bauby began to the great staircase, on a vague mis- break up the “ gathered" fire for
Katie's benefit, lamenting all the street. No grass, nor flowers, nor time, under her breath, “ that it other component of pretty cottages, should be me!” At last she sat down adorns these habitations. Each has a on the carpet, close to the hearth, kailyard at the back, it is true; but and again wrung her great hands, and the aspect of that is very little more wiped a tear from either eye.
delightful than this rough causeway, There's naething but trouble in with its dubs in front. A very dingy this world,” sighed Bauby; and what little primitive shop, where is sold is to be, maun be; and lamenting everything, graces one side, and at does nae good."
the other is the Kellie Arms. Chil“ Bat, Bauby, where's Lady Ja- dren tumble about at every open door; net?” asked little Katie.
and through many of the uncurtained Banby did not immediately answer. windows you see a loom; for ArnShe looked into the glowing caverns creoch is a village of weavers, on of the newly awakened fire, and which the fishing towns on the coast, sighed again.
and the rural people about it, look * Wbisht, Miss Katie," said Bau- down with equal contempt. Little by Rodger," there's naething but Katie, in her cambric ruffles and silk trouble every place, as I was saying. mantle, rustles proudly through the Be thankful ye're only a bairn." plebeian village ; and, as she daintily
But indeed the little curious palpi- picks her steps with those resplendent tating heart could be anything but shoes of hers, remembers, with a blush thankful, and rather beat all the of shame, that it had been thought poslouder with eagerness and impatience sible that she should marry a weaver! to enter these troubles for itself.
But no weaver is this young rural That day was a day full of excite- magnate who overtakes her on the ment to all in Kellie, household and road. It is Philip Landale, a laird, guests, and anything but a happy though his possessions are of no great one. Many tears in the morning, size, and he himself farms them. He when they discovered their loss—à is handsome, young, well-mannered, cloud and shadow upon the following and a universal favourite ; but little ceremony, which Katie wonderingly, Katie's face flushes angrily when he and with decided secret antagonism, addresses her, for he speaks as if she and a feeling of superiority, saw per- were a child. formed by a surpliced Scottish bishop; And Katie feels that she is no and a dreary blank at night, when, alí child ; that already she is the best the excitement over, those who were dancer in the parish, and could comleft felt the painful void of the two mand partners innumerable; not to vacant places. But the day passed, speak of having begun to taste, in a and the next morning rose very slight degree, the delights of flirtadrearily; so Katie, glad to escape tion. So Katie scorns, with her whole from the dim atmosphere of Kellie, heart, the good-humoured condescenput on the new gown which Lady sion of young Kilbrachmont. Betty had given her, with cambric But he is going to Kellie Mill, and ruffles at the sleeves, and drew her the young coquette has to walk with long gloves over her arms, and put dignity, and with a certain disdain, her little ruffled hooded black silk which Landale does not notice, being mantle above all; and with shoes of little interested in the same, by his blue morocco, silver buckled, on her side. Softly yonder rises Kellie Law, little feet, went away to Kellie Mill to softly, rounded by the white clouds see her mother.
which float just over the head of the Down the long avenue, out through green gentle hill ; and there the long that coroneted gate; and the road range of his lower brethren steal off now is a very commonplace country to the west, where Balcarras Craig road, leading you by and by through guards them with his bold front, and the village of Arncreoch. This vil- clothes his breast with foliage, to save lage has very little to boast of. The him from the winds. There is nothing houses are all thatched, and of one imposing in the scene ; but it is fine, story, and stand in long shabby par- and fresh, and fruitful—vivid with the allel rows, on each side of the little young verdure of the spring.
Bat you look at your blue morocco heavy end of the whip he carries, and shoes, little Katie, with their silver smiles good-humouredly, and does not buckles glancing in the sun, and settle know what to say; and now on this your mantle over the white arm rough, almost impassable road, worn which shines through its black lace into deep ruts by the carts which conglove, and have no eyes for the coun- stantly come and go, bringing gain try; and Philip Landale strikes down to the miller, they have come in sight the thistles on the roadside, with the of Kellie Mill.
Isabell Stewart is nineteen now, end-a small greenish window of thick and one of the beauties of Fife. Her glass, which sadly distorts the world eyes and her hair are darker than without when you look through. But Katie's, her graceful figure a little it is very seldom that any one looks taller, her manner staid and grave, through, for the door is almost always as it used to be when she was a open, admitting the pure daylight and child ; and though every one speaks unshadowed sun. kindly of Isabell, and she is honoured At the further window Janet stands with consideration and respect more before a clean deal table, making cakes than belong to her years, she seems -oat-cakes, that is; for all manuto lack the power, somehow, of grasp- factured of wheaten flour are scones ing and holding fast the affection of or bannocks. Janet has a special any. Isabell has no young friends, gift for this craft, and her gown is no wooers : thoughtful, gentle, serious, still tucked up, and so are her sleeves, she goes about alone, and still in her that the ruddy round arms may be heart there is the old sad conscious. used with more freedom. The girdle ness, the old vague yearning for dearer is on the bright fire, and Merran estimation than falls to her lot. She superintends the baking, moving does not envy any one, nor grudge almost incessantly between the fireher little sister Katie the universal place and the table. Much talk, not love which attends her ; but Isabell in the lowest tone, is carried on bethinks she is incapable of creating this tween Merran and Janet. They are longed-for affection, and sometimes decidedly more familiar than Mrs in quiet places, over this thought, Stewart approves. sheds solitary tears.
At the other window the staid Janet's looks, too, have improved; Isabell sits knitting stockings. Now still heavier, thicker, and less graceful and then you hear her, in her quiet than her sisters, Janet, in her ruddy, voice, saying something to ber mo. boisterous health, is a rural belle-has ther, who bustles in and out, and already, now being seventeen, troops keeps up a floating stream of remark, of "joes," and rather triumphs over reproof, and criticism on everything the serious Isabell. The beauties of that is going on. But Isabell takes the Milton, the three are called ; and little part in Janet's conversation : a they deserve the title.
slight cloud shades her brow someThe house door is open. Without times, indeed, as the long laugh from any intervention of ball or passage, the other end of the room comes this straightforward door introduces harshly on her ear; for these two you to the family apartment, which is sisters are little like each other. no parlour, but a kitchen, tolerably It is again a great woollen stocking sized, extending the whole length of which Isabell knits; and fastened to the house. It is the afternoon, and her waist is a little bunch of feathers, everything looks well-ordered and which she calls her “sheath," and in "redd up,” from the glittering plates which she secures her wire. Her and china which you see through the gown is made of dark-striped linen, open doors of the oak“ aumrie” in the open in front, with a petticoat of the corner, to the white apron and shining same material appearing below; and face of Merran, the servant at the Mill of the same material is the apron, The apartment has a window at each neatly secured about her round slen: