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over the rock. A large stone still marks the spot where the accident happened.

From the death of her husband the gentle widow spent her lonely days in the sequestered house of Southennan. A retreat more suitable for mournfulness could not easily have been found. The ruins of it are still standing. About five-andtwenty years ago they were picturesque and pathetical. Often have we contemplated them, wondering what could have come to pass there in the olden time, and indulged the romantic fancies which their lone condition and melancholy aspect inspired.

It was a quadrangular building, with an embattled gateway in the wall, which connected the two wings. The orchard and garden lay along the south side of the green hills of Fairlie, at the bottom of which it stood, and on which a computable number of the beech and sycamore shook their heads, few and far between. About a score of the meagre and naked ash marked out where an avenue might have been ; and in them, time out of mind, certain magpies had been allowed an unmolested domicile. On the northern side of the mansion a little sparkling brook ran, whispering from its rimples peace and felicity to the genius of the place. In truth it was a pleasant and a shady solitude, such as if only graceful forms and gentle spirits could ever there have been inhabitants.

When the preparations for Southennan's journey had been completed, Abigail Cuninghame his mother's housekeeper, on the eve of his departure, on being summoned to bring lights as usual into her lady's bower chamber, said,

“I doubt mem we ha’e but one fair candle this night in the house. The night work wi' which we have been so thrang, wi’ the inaking up o' the laird's needcessities, has caused a sore. consumption of light. But as soon as he is aff the morn's morning I positively will ha'e another melting.”

“ Thou canst not think, Abigail,” replied the lady, “that I am able to work at this lace stitching with only one candle.”

“Gude forbid, mem, that I should be sae fantastical. It would pingle out your eyne ; but I had a notion you wouldna, on sic an occasion, be inclined for any sort o' thrift, far less the particularity o’ flowering cambric. I was thinking ye would rather ha’e been in a disposition to gi’e the laird a few words of motherly counsel, for if a' tales be true he'll no be out o' the need o't at yon place the Court, and to do so ye lack ha the light o' wicks, the light o'wisdom's far better."


“Well, Abigail, let it be as thou sayest, send Southennan to me."

The message did not require to be carried far. At that moment the young laird entered the room, and Abigail, who at the same time had gone out, returned presently with the solitary candle, remarking to him with her old familiarity, that she trowed he would see worse lights before he got to the end of his journey, and that it was wholesome to use bairns betimes to hardship

Southennan, who had been riding all day over the rough environs, being both tired and hungry, replied that he was in want of something mere substantial than light, and requested her to bring him some refreshment.

“ Now that's a moving calamity,” said Abigail, " for ha'e not I packed up in Hughoc's basket every dividual dressed bit o eatable matter that's this night within the four walls of the house o' Southennan. Couldna ye laird thole till ye ha’e taken the first ride o’your journey in the morning.'

Southennan laughed at the old woman's economical expedient, but his importunate appetite would not allow him to adopt it, so that in the end she was obliged to comply with his expostulation, and to open the basket. While so engaged, his lady mother, after some preliminary conversation touching the matters and things of his visit to Edinburgh, began to remind him that he was still but a very young man, and of small experience in the devices and crooked policy of the world.

“ Thou art,” said she, "of an easy nature, thinking too well of all men, by which thou wilt assuredly find detriment. Not that thou lackest discernment, for in that thou hast few superiors, but thou dost not act by what thou seest, nor hast thou suspicion enough to be watchful of thyself. Wert thou as true to Southennan, as I doubt not thou wilt ever prove thyself to be to his friends, thou shouldst not receive admonishinent from me; but believe thy mother, who lovest thee with all a mother's imaginable affection for an only child, it would be better with thee if thou couldst account all the world knaves, until thou hast discovered the honest. I would not, however, have thee evade companionship. On the contrary, treat every one with courtesy, but let there be always dignity in thy familiarity, and more of freedom than of condescension in thy deportment, for such begets regard-condescension alone but cold esteem ; beware of strangers, but I would not thou shouldst stand aloof from them, nor avoid their fellowship. I

only counsel thee not to give them thy confidence, until thou hast noted well to what likings their habitudes incline. The spendthrift shun,' whether his prodigality come of dissipation or of negligence; there is ever danger in being in reciprocity with such. Be chary of thy words, even towards those whom thou mayest love best. Tell no man all thy opinion of another, and remember that the least thou sayest of any man it will be safest with thee; not that I would have this virtue of prudence shrivelled up into pusillanimity, but only drawn around thee as soldiers contract their camps for security. And remember also that thine ancestors on both sides have ever been renowned for their valour. In all thy deportment I beseech thee to study, that thou mayest be esteemed gentle, for who can be a gentleman that hath not gentleness for the supreme quality of his manners. In the fashion of thy dress observe propriety, in the style and colour look to those who are well spoken of, but to the button be no man's follower. As thou art of the world be like the world, and ever bear in thy, appearance something of that which without apparent purpose shall mark thee out as one, that, free from conceit, hath yet some knowledge of his own worth. I would descant to thee, Walter, long on these topics, but if thou needest thy mother's counsel when thou art among thy companions, what I might say would avail thee little. In all things be thy reliance on God and thyself, and take care not to be often in the way of putting thy mettle to the test.”

While she was thus speaking, Abigail Cuninghame having set out the refreshment, the admonition was interrupted by the young laird's rising to partake.


“ He called down his merry men all,

By one, by two, by three;
William would fain have been the first,
But now the last is he.”


The retinue with which Southennan set out for the capital was rather more important than exactly accorded with the condition of his circumstances. It betokened that he carried with him high hopes and aspirations.

He was well mounted and gallantly attired, wearing in his black velvet bonnet the eye of a peacock's feather, fastened in a silver buckle studded with garnets and chrystals. His body servant, Balby Stobs, was an elderly staid person, who had many years held the same office with his father ; and it was evident at the first glance that he was a character not unworthy of his master's esteem, and in full possession of his



He wore a broad, flat, household-made blue bonnet, the brim of which overshadowed his face, unlike the smart erect cap of the Highlanders, which, by not protecting the cheeks from the shower, nor the eyes from the sunshine, is the cause of the distended lips and contracted eyes of that warlike and irascible

It was without ornament, save a huge bushy tuft on the top instead of the nipple that surmounts the apex of the Highland bonnet. His jerkin was of homespun gray, over which he wore a blue and white checkered plaid crossing the back and breast from the right shoulder, and tied on the left over the hilt of his rapier. His gumashins were of dark gray worsted, fastened with red garters somewhat sprucely knotted in bows under the knee.

If we consider him as the squire, we must look to Hughoc Birkie as the page. A bold, round faced, thick set boy, with an open, blithe, careless countenance; a reckless heartbreak on account of his thoughtlessness to his aunt, the sagacious and thrifty Abigail Cuninghame, who much wondered for what he was so well regarded by the other servants ; for she did not,


as she often said, believe there was a single seed of any good in his whole body. Hughoc, in the general cut and colour of his dress and appearance was not unlike his superior Stobs ; but over his right eye he wore a cockade with a brisk feather stuck in it, and besides the roses at his knees, his garters had long fringed ends twirling in the wind. The maidens of the household had often assisted in his decoration. He was not quite so handsomely mounted as his elder compeer ; but his horse was good, a short bodied cob, in shape and humour as much like himself as a quadruped could be to a shapely sturdy boy.

The squire carried with him in saddle bags the garniture of his master, and Hughoc was placed in the midst of an aggregate of their common luggage and two baskets of provisions, like a cadger bound to a fair.

Besides the two servants, Southennan was accompanied by Father Jerome, a Catholic priest ; for the family was papistical.

This consecrated person was a most commendable character. He had come from England with the lady, and had, previous to the young laird's visit to France, been his tutor, and had performed his duties with exemplary intelligence. He was now an old man, heavy and corpulent, but withal of such a quiet self-sustained temper, that neither the pranks nor the occasional neglect of Hughoc Birkie could disturb his equanimity. He rode a mule, an animal not rare in Scotland in those days; like himself, it was old and somewhat abated of its vigour; it was also, like himself, sedate and of a quiet tortoise-like nature, making seemingly small speed on the road, and as it never once deviated to the right or to the left, but went perseveringly forward, if it travelled slower in the day's journey than his companions, it never was the last that reached the stable-door in the evening.

The special business which took the old man at that time to Edinburgh, was known only to himself; perhaps bis lady knew something of it; but if she did she concealed her knowledge by affecting to marvel at what could possibly entice him in his age to return into the world.

Southennan would have been pleased had Father Jerome staid at home ; for he thought there was already enough of age in his cortegé, in the person of Stobs, to whom, however, he was much attached. Hughoc was deemed indispensable ; but it was not so obvious to the mother of the young laird, that a raw country boy, who had never seen a nobler city than the


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