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Besides, she is very rich, and I am her reputed heir ; therefore gratitude and self-interest combine to render her extremely amiable in my estimation."

They had now reached the airy dwelling where Mrs. Macshake resided, and having rung, the door was at length most deliberately opened by an ancient, sousvisaged, long-waisted female, who ushered them into an apartment, the coup d'oeil of which struck a chill to Mary's heart. It was a good-sized room, with a bare sufficiency of small-legged dining tables, and lank haircloth chairs, ranged in high order round the walls. Although the season was advanced, and the air piercing cold, the grate stood smiling in all the charms of polished

and the mistress of the mansion was seated by the side of it in an arm-chair, still in its summer position. She appeared to have no other occupation than what her own meditations afforded; for a single glance sufficed to show that not a vestige of book or work was harboured there. She was a tall, large-boned woman, whom even Time's iron hand had scarcely bent, as she merely stooped at the shoulders. She had a drooping snuffy nose-a long turn'd-up chin-small quick gray eyes—and her face projected far beyond her figure, with an expression of shrewd restless curiosity. She wore a mode (not à-la-mode) bonnet, and cardinal of the same; a pair of clogs over her shoes, and black silk mittens on her arms.

As soon as she recognised Mr. Douglas, she welcomed him with much cordiality, shook him long and heartily by the hand-patted him on the back-looked into his face with much seeming satisfaction; and, in short, gave all the demonstrations of gladness usual with gentlewomen of a certain age. Her pleasure, however, appeared to be rather an impromptu than an habitual feeling; for as the surprise wore off, her visage resumed its harsh and sarcastic expression, and she seemed eager to efface any agreeable impression her reception might have excited.

“An wha thought o’ seein you enoo',” said she, in a quick gabbling voice; "what's brought you to the toon?

ye up!

are ye come to spend your honest faither's siller, ere he's weel cauld in his grave, puir man?"

Mr. Douglas explained, that it was upon account of his piece's health.

“ Health!” repeated she, with a sardonic smile, “ it wad mak'an howlet laugh to hear the wark that's inade aboot young fowk's health noo-a-days. I wonder what ye're aw made o',” grasping Mary's arm in her great bony hand" a wheen puir feckless windlestraes--ye maun awa to Ingland for yer

healths.-Set wunder what cam' o' the lasses i' my time, that but to bide at hame? And whilk o'ye, I sude like to ken, 'll e'er leive to see ninety-sax, like me -Health! he, he!"

“ You have not asked after any of your Glenfern friends," said Mr. Douglas, lioping to touch a more sympathetic chord.

“ Time eneugh-wull ye let me draw my breath, man-fowk canna say aw thing at ance. An' ye

but to hae an Inglish wife tu, a Scotch lass wad no serr ye-An' yer wear, l’se warran', it’s' ane o' the warld's wunders--it's been unca lang o' cummin'-he, he!"

“He has begun life under very melancholy auspices, poor fellow!" said Mr. Douglas, in allusion to his father's death.

" An' whas faut was that?-I ne'er heard tell the like o't, to hae the bairn kirsened an' its grandfather deein'? But fowk are naither born, nor kirsened, nor do they wad or dee as they used to du-aw thing's changed."

“ You must indeed have witnessed many changes,” observed Mr. Douglas, rather at a loss how to utter any thing of a conciliatory nature.

Changes !--weel a wat, I sometimes wunder if it's the same waurld, an' if it's my ain heed that's upon iny shoothers.”

“ But with these changes you must also have seen many improvements?" said Mary, in a tone of diffidence.

“Impruvements !" turning sharply round upon her, “ what ken ye about impruvements, bairn? a bonny impruvement or ens no, to see tyleyors and sclaters leaven' whar I mind Jewks and Yerls-An' that great

glowrin' new toon there," pointing out of her windows, “whar I used to sit and look at bonny green parks, and see the kye milket, and the bits o' bairnies rowin' an' tummlin', 'an' the lasses trampin' i' their tubs—What see I noo but stane an' lime, an' stoor an' dirt, an' idle cheels, an' dinket-out madams prancin'.-Impruvements indeed!"

Here a long pinch of snuff caused a pause in the old lady's harangue; but after having duly wiped her nose with her coloured handkerchief, and shook off all the particles that might be presumed to have lodged upon her cardinal, she resumed

“ An' nae word oony o’ your sisters gawn to get husbands yet? They tell me they're but coorse lasses; an' wha'll tak ill-farred tocherless queans, when there's walth o' bonny faces an' lang purses i'the market-he, he!" Then resuming her scrutiny of Mary—“An' I'se warren ye'll be lucken for an Inglish sweatheart tu; that'll be what's takin' ye awa to Ingland.”

“On the contrary," said Mr. Douglas, seeing Mary was too much frightened to answer for herself—"on the contrary, Mary declares she will never marry any but a true Highlander; one who wears the dirk and plaid, and has the second-sight. And the nuptials are to be celebrated with all the pomp of feudal times; with bagpipes and bonfires, and gatherings of clans, and roasted sheep, and barrels of whisky, and

“ Weel a wat an’ she's i' the right there,” interrupted Mrs. Macshake, with more complacency than she had yet shown,—“They may caw them what they like, but there's nae waddins now. Wha's the better o them but innkeepers and chaise-drivers? I wud nae count mysel married i’ the hiddlins way they gang about it noo.

Mr. Douglas, who was now rather' tired of the old lady's reminiscences, availed himself of the opportunity of a fresh pinch, to rise and take leave.

“Ou, what's takin ye awa, Archie, in sic a hurry? Sit doon there,” laying her hand upon his arm, “ rest ye, an’tak a glass o' wine; or may be," turning to Mary, “ye wad rather hae a drap broth to warm, ye.


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Wbat gars ye luck sae blae, bairn? I'm sure it's no cauld; but ye're just like the lave: ye gang aw skiltin about the streets half naked, an' than ye maun sit an' birsle yoursels afore the fire at hame.”

The wine being drank, and the cookies discussed,
Mr. Douglas made another attempt to withdraw, but
in vain.

sit still a wee, man, an' let me speer

after my auld freens at Glenfern? Hoo's Grizzy, an' Jacky, an' Nicky?-aye workin awa at the pills an' the drogs -he, he! I ne'er swallowed a pill nor gied a doit for drogs aw my days, an' see an ony of them'll rin a race wi' me whan they're naur five score.”

Mr. Douglas here paid her some compliments upon her appearance, which were pretty well received; and added, that he was the bearer of a letter from his aunt Grizzy, which he would send along with a roebuck and brace of noor-game.

your roebuck's nae better than your last, atweel it's no worth the sendin'; poor fisinless dirt, no worth the chowing; weel a wat, I begrudg'd my teeth on't.Your muirfuil was no that ill, but they're no worth the carryin; they're dong cheap i' the market enoo, so it's nae great compliment. Gin ye had brought me a leg o' good mutton, or a cauler sawmont, there would hae been some sense in't; but ye’re ane o' the fowk that'll ne'er harry yourself wi' your presents; it's but the pickle poother they cost you, an' l’se warrant ye're thinking mair o'your ain diversion than o'my stamick when ye're at the shootin' o' them, puir beasts."

Mr. Douglas had borne the various indignities levelled against himself and his family with a philosophy that had no parallel in his life before; but to this attack upon

his game he was not proof. His colour rose, his eyes flashed fire, and something resembling an oath burst from his lips, as he strode indignantly towards the door. His friend, however, was too nimble for him.

She stepped before him, and breaking into a discordant

laugh, as she patted him on the back, “So I see ye're
just the auld man, Archie,-aye ready to tak the strumps,
an' ye dinna get a' thing yer ain way. Mony a time I
had to fleech ye oot o' the dorts whan ye was a callant.
mind hoo

was affronted because I set


doon to a cauld pigeon-pie, an'a tanker o' tippenny, ae night to yer fowerhoors, afore some leddies ?-he, he, he? Weel a wat, ye're wife maun hae her ain adoos to manage ye, for ye're a cumstairy chield, Archie."

Mr. Douglas still looked as if he was irresolute whether to laugh or be angry.

“Come, come, sit ye doon there till I speak to this bairn," said she, as she pulled Mary into an adjoining bedchamber, which wore the same aspect of chilly neatness as the one they had quitted. Then pulling a large bunch of keys from her pocket, she opened a drawer, out of which she took a pair of diamond car-rings. “ Hae, bairn,” said she, as she stuffed them into Mary's hand; "they belanged to your faither's grandmother. She was a good woman, an' had four-and-twenty sons an' dochters, an' I wuss ye nae war fortin than just to hae as mony. But mind ye,” with a shake of her bony finger, " they maun a' be Scots. Gin I thought ye wad marry ony pock-puddin', fient hait wad ye gotten frae me.-Noo, had yer tongue, and dinna deive me wi' thanks,” almost pushing her into the parlour again ; "and sin ye’re gaen awa' the morn, I'll see nae mair o' ye enoo—so fare ye weel. But, Archie, ye maun come an' tak your breakfast wi' me. I bae muckle to say to you ; but

manna be sae hard upon my baps as ye used to be," with a facetious grin to her mollified favourite, as they shook hands and parted.

From Marriage, a Novel.


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