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her mother quietly reading by the wonder, still unfamiliar to their coast. cabin door. Jenny thought it some. Something chill comes over Menie as thing like a tempting of Providence her eye lingers on these wild rockto read a book securely in this frail cradled hamlets, so far apart from all ark, which a sudden caprice of uncer the world. Stronger waves of the tain wind and sea might throw in a ocean are breaking here upon the moment into mortal peril.
beach, and scarcely a house among But calm and fair as ever May-day them has not lost a father or son at shone, this quiet morning brightened sea ; yet there steals a thrill of envy into noon, and their vessel rustled upon the young voyager as one by bravely through the Firth, skirting one they disappear out of her sight. the southern shore. Past every linger- So many homes, rude though their ing suburban roof — past the sea. kind is, and wild their place—but as bathing houses, quiet on these sands- for Menie Laurie, and Menie Laurie's gliding by the foot of green North- mother, they are leaving home beBerwick Law-passing like a shadow hind. across the gloomy Bass, where it And now the wide sea sweeps into broods upon the sea, like a cairn of the sky before them—the northern memorial stones over its martyrs line of hills receding far away among dead--past the mouldering might of the clouds, and fishing-boats and passold Tantallon, sending a roll of white ing vessels speck the great breadth of foam up upon those little coves of water faintly, with long distances beBerwickshire, which here and there tween, and an air of forlorn solitude open up a momentary glimpse of red- upon the whole. And the day wanes, roofed fisher-houses, and fisher cobbles and darkness steals apace over the sky resting on the beach under shelter of and sea. Landward born and landthe high braes and fretted rocks of the ward bred, Jenny sets her back more coast. Menie Laurie, leaning over firmly against the bulwark, and will the side, looks almost wistfully some- not be persuaded to descend, though times at those rude little houses, lying the night air is chill upon her face. serene among the rocks like a sea- Jenny feels some security in her own bird's nest. Many a smuggler's ro- vigilant unwavering watch upon those mance-many a story of shipwreck great folds of sea-water- those dark and daring bravery must dwell about cliffs of Northumberland-those fierce this shore ; the young traveller castles glooming here and there out only sees how the tiled roof glows from the gathering night. If sudden against the rock which lends its friend squall or tempest should fall upon this ly support behind-how the stony quiet sea, Jenny at least will have path leads downward to the boat - earliest note of it, and with an intense how the wife at the cottage door concentration of watchfulness she looks out, shading her eyes with her maintains her outlook; while Mrs hands, and the fisher bairns shout Laurie and Menie, reluctantly leaving along the sea margin, where only feet her, lie down, not without some kinamphibious could find footing, and dred misgivings, to their first night's clap their hands in hononr of the new rest at sea.
A second night upon these untrust- the busy Thames; wherries, which ed waters found the travellers a little Menie's eyes followed with wonderless nervous and timid, but the hearts so slight and frail they looked-shot of all lightened when the early suns across the river like so many flying shine showed them the green flat river arrows; great hay barges, heavy with banks on either side of their cabin their fragrant freight, and gay with windows. Menie, hurrying on deck, brilliant colour, blundered up the was the first to see over the flat mar- stream midway, like peasants on a gin and glimmering reach the towers holiday ; and high and dark, with of Greenwich rising against its ver- their lines of little prison-windows, dant hill. The sun was dancing on these great dismasted wooden castles frowned upon the sunny water, dreary • task of carrying some of these trunks cages of punishment and convict and lighter boxes to the shore. crime. Then came the houses, strag. "Keep me, what's a' the folk wantgling to the river's edge-then a pass- ing yonder?” said Jenny; "they caning glimpse of the great strong-ribbed na be a' waiting for friends in the bony skeletons which by - and - by boat ; and I reckon the captain durstshould breast the sea-waves proudly, na break the mail-bags open, so it men-o-war-then the grand placid canna be for letters. Eh, Miss Menie, breadth of the river palace, with the just you look up there at that open light lying quiet in its green quad. in the houses-what an awfu' crowd's rangle, and glimpses of blue sky reliev- up in yon street! What'll be ado? ing its cloistered fair arcade. Further I've heard say there's aye a great fire on and further, and Jenny rubs her somegate in London, and folk aye wide awake but very weary eyes, and troop to see a fire-but then they shakes her clenched hand at the never happen but at night. My clumsy colliers and enterprising sloops patience! what can it be?" which begin to shoot across “our Whatever it is, Menie's eye has boat's" encumbered way; and now caught something less distant, which we strike into the very heart of a wakes up her dreaming face like a maze of ships, built in rank and file spell. While Jenny gazes and wonagainst the river's side, and straying ders at the thronging passengers of about here and there, even in the mid the distant street, Menie's face floods course of the stream : almost impos- over with a flush of ruddy light like the sible, Menie, to catch anything but morning sky. Her shy eyelids droop an uncertain glimpse of these quaint a moment over the warm glow which little wharfs, and strange small old. sparkles under them-her lips move, world gables, which grow like so many breaking into a host of wavering smiles fangi at the water's edge ; but yonder her very figure, slight and elastic, glows the golden ball and cross-yon- expands with this thrill of sudden der rises the world-famed dome, guar- pleasure. Your mother there looks dian of the world's chiefest city—and gravely at the shore-a strange, alien, there it fumes and frets before us, unkindly place to her--and already stretching upward far away–far be- anticipates, with some care and anyond the baffled horizon line, which noyance, the trouble of landing, and fades into the distance, all chafed and the delay and farther fatigue to be enbroken with crowded spires and roofs countered before her little family can - London - Babylon-great battle- reach their new home; and Jenny is gronnd of vexed humanity-the crisis uttering a child's wonders and surscene of Menie Laurie's fate.
mises by your side-what is this, But withont a thought or fear of Menie Laurie, that makes the vulgar anything like fate-only with some pier a charmed spot to you? fluttering expectations, tremors, and Only another eager face looking hopes, Menie Laurie stood upon the down-another alert animated figure steamer's deck as it came to anchor pressing to the very edge-impatient slowly and cumbrously before the hands thrusting interposing porters vociferons pier. In presence of all and cabmen by- and eyes all aglow this din and commotion, a silence of with loving expectation, searching abstraction and reverie wrapt her, over all the deck for the little party and Menie looked up unconsciously which they have not yet descried. apon the flitting panorama which Involuntarily Menie raises her hand, moved before her dreamy eyes. Mrs her breath comes quick over her partLaurie's brow had grown into curves ed lips, and in her heart she calls to of care again, and Jenny, jealous and him with shy joy. He must have alert, kept watch over the mountain heard the call, surely, by some art of luggage which she bad piled to- magic, though the common air got no gether by many a strenuous tug and note of it, for see how he bends, with lift-for Jenny already meditated kilt- that sudden flush upon his face; and ing up her best gown round her waist, Menie meets the welcoming look, tlie and throwing off her shawl to leave keen gaze of delight and satisfaction, her sturdy arms unfettered, for the and lays her hand upon her mother's
VOL. LXXV.-NO. CCCCLIX.
arm timidly, to point out where patience! if it's no like a drove of Randall Home waits for them ; but wild Irish a' pouring down on us! he does something more than wait- But I would scarce like to cross the and there is scarcely possibility of burn on that bit plank, and ine a' the communication with the crowded boxes to carry. I needna speak- the quay, as these unaccustomed eyes are mistress pays nae mair heed to me ; inclined to fancy, when a quick step but, pity me! we're no out of peril rings upon the deck beside them, and yet-they'll sink the boat!" he is here.
And Jenny watched with utter disBut Menie does not need to blash may the flood of invading porters and for her betrothed-though those shy idle loungers from the quay, and bright eyes of hers, wavering up and with indignation looked up to, and down with such quick unsteady glances, apostrophised, the careless captain on seem to light into richer colour every the paddle-box, who could coolly look moment the glow upon her cheeks on and tolerate this last chance of for Randall is a true son of John " sinking the boat.” From these terHome of Crofthill, inheriting the rors, however, Jenny was suddenly stately figure- the high-crested head, awakened into more active warfare. with its mass of rich curls-the blue, A parcel of these same thronging merclear, penetrating eyes. And Ran- cenaries assailed her own particular dall bears these natural honours with pile of trunks and boxes, and Jenny, a grace of greater refinement, though furious and alarmed, flew to the dea perfectly cool spectator might think, fence. perchance, that even the more con- But by-and-by-a tedious time to scious dignity of the gentleman son Mrs Laurie, though it flew like an did not make up for the kindly gleam arrow over the heads of Randall and which takes from the farmer father's Menie, and over Jenny's fierce conblue eyes all suspicion of coldness. tention--they were all safely estabBut it is impossible to suspect cold- lished at last in a London hackney ness in Randall's glance now -- his coach, with so much of the lighter whole face sparkles with the glow of luggage as it could or would convey. true feeling and genuine joy. The Randall had permission to come to one of them did not think the other them that very night, so nothing beautiful a few days—a few hours farther was possible ; he went away ago, even with all the charm of me. after he had lingered till he could mory and absence to make them fairlinger no longer. Mrs Laurie leaned - and neither are beautiful, nor near back in her corner with a long-drawn it, to everyday eyes; but with this sigh-Jenny, on the front seat, mutwarm light on them-happy, and true, tered out the conclusion of her fuffand pure—they are beautiful to each while Menie looked out with dazzled other now.
eyes, catching every now and then “ Weel, I wadna say there was among the stranger passengers a dismony like him, 'specially amang thae tant figure, quick and graceful ; nor Englisb, after a'," said Jenny, under till they were miles away did Menie her breath.
recollect that now this vision of her “What do you say, Jenny?" Mrs fancy could not be Randall Home. Laurie, who has already had her shareM iles away-it was hard to fancy of Randall's greetings, and been satis that through these thronged and poisy fied therewith, thinks it is something streets one could travel miles. Always about the luggage—which luggage, to a long array of shops and warehouses her careful eyes, comes quite in the and dingy houses-always a paveway of Randall Home.
ment full and crowded — always a "I was saying—weel, 'deed it's nae stream of vehicles beside their own in matter," said Jenny, hastily recollect the centre of the way-now and then ing that her advice had not been asked a break into some wider space, a before Menie's engagement, and that square, or cross, or junction of streets she had never deigned to acknowledge - here and there a great public buildany satisfaction with the same, “buting, or an old characteristic house, just it's my hope there's to be some which Menie feels sure must be somesafer gate ashore than yon. Eh, my thing notable, if anybody were by to
point it out. Jenny, interested and dows of the upper storey, above the curious at first, is by this time quite thick green hawthorn hedge that closes stopped and dizzy, and now and then round. A tall yew-tree looks out incautiously glances from the window, quisitively over the hawthorns, pinchwith a strong suspicion that she has ed, and meagre, and of vigilant aspect, been singled out for a mysterious des- not quite satisfied, as it would seem, tiny, and that the cab-driver has some with the calm enjoyment of the cows desperate intention of maddening his upon this bank of grass without; but passengers, by driving them round Jenny's heart warms to the familiar and round in a circle of doom through kye, which might be in Dumfriesshire these bewildering streets. Nothing -- they look so home-like. Jenny's lips but the hum of other locomotion, the form into the involuntary “pruh." jolting din of their own, the jar over Jenny's senses are refreshed by the the stones of the causeway, the stream balmy breath of the milky mothersof passengers left behind, and houses and Menie's eyes rejoice over a glogliding past them, give evidence of rious promise of roses and jasmine on progress, till, by-and-by, the stream yon sunny wall, and a whole world slackens, the noises decrease-trees of clear unclouded sky and sunny air break in here and there among the embracing yonder group of elm-trees. houses-dusty suburban shrubberies Even Mrs Laurie's carved brow - villakins standing apart, planted in smoothes and softens- there is good bits of garden-ground-and then, at promise in the first glance of Heathlast, the tired horse labours up a steep bank. ascent; long palings, trees, and green A t the little gate in the hedge, slopes of land, reveal themselves to Miss Annie Laurie's favourite servthe eyes of the weary travellers, and, ing-maiden, in a little smart cap, colunder the fall forenoon sun, pretty lar, and embroidered apron, which Hampstead, eagerly looked for, ap- completely overpower aud bewilder pears through the shabby cab-win- Jenny, stands waiting to receive them. dows, with London in a veil of mist Everything looks so neat, so fresh, so lying far off at its feet.
unsullied, that the travellers grow Instinctively Mrs Laurie puts up flushed and heated with a sudden her hands to draw her veil forward, sense of contrast, and remember their and straighten the edge of her tras own travel-soiled garments and favelling-bonnet-instinctively Menie tigued faces painfully; but Menie bas looses the ribbons of hers, to shed only cast one pleased look upon the back the hair from her flushed cheek. smooth green lawn which shrines the Jenny, not much caring what the in- gew-tree-made one step upon the habitant of Heathbank Cottage may well-kept gravel path, and still has think of ber, only gathers up upon her her hand upon the carriage door, half knee a full armful of bags and baskets, turning round to assist her mother, and draws her breath hard-a note when a sudden voice comes round the of anticipatory disdain and defiance projecting bow window of Heathbank
-as she nods her head backward, Cottage — a footstep rings on the with a toss of impatience, upon the walk, an appearance reveals itself in glass behind her. And now the the bright air. Do you think it is driver looks back to point with his some young companion whom your whip to a low house on the ascent good annt's kindness has provided for before him, and demands if he is right you, Menie—some one light of heart in thinking this 'Eathbank. Nobody and young of life, like your own Maycan answer; but, after a brief dia- time? Look again, as it comes triplogue with the proprietor of a passing ping along the path in its flowing donkey, the cabman stirs his horse muslin and streaming ringlets. Look with a chirrup, and a touch of the and cast down your head, shy Menie, lash. It is 'Eathbank, and they are abashed you know not why – for at their journey's end.
what is this? Home-well, one has seen places Something in a very pretty muslin that look less like home. You can gown, with very delicate lace about just see the low roof, the little bits of its throat and hands, and curls waypointed gable, the small lattice win- ing out from its cheeks. Look, too, what a thin slipper-what a dainty is pitched somewhat too high, “Kiss silken stocking reveals itself under me, love-don't let us be strangers. the half-transparent drapery! Look I expect you to make yourself quite at these ringing metallic toys sus- at home.” pended from its slender waist, at the And Menie passively and with hulaced kerchief in its hand, at its jubi- mility submits to be kissed-a process lant pace-anywhere-anywhere but of which she has had little experience at the smile that fain would make hitherto—and stands aside, suddenly sunshine on you—the features which very much subdued and silent, while wear their most cordial look of wel. the stranger flutters into the carriage come. Menie Laurie's eyes seek the window to tender the same sign of gravel path once more, abashed and regard to Menie's mother. Menie's irresponsive. Menie Laurie's youth mother, better prepared, maintains a ful cheek reddens with a brighter co- tolerable equanimity; but Menie berlour; her hand is slow to detach itself self has been struck dumb, and canfrom the carriage door-though Menie not find a word to say, as she follows Laurie's grand - aunt flutters before with a subdued step into the sacred her with outstretched arms of gra- fastnesses of Heathbank. The muslin cious hospitality inviting her embrace. floats, the ringlets wave, before the