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“Every thing in its right time, Rechie,” | Rechie—just you see if I am not a sooth prosaid my sister, who was looking uncommonly phet-he'll have got somebody to lend him pleased. It was clear that Lexie expected siller, and before we ken where we are, he'll that he had come to be first-foot to Annie be setting up an inn or public-house at our very Orme.
doors, and asking us for Annie. I'll never “I met a gentleman on the South-bridge consent-no, if it killed me to refuse, Rechie the other day, Miss Rechie,” said Peter, “and | Sinclair, I'll never consent to the like of that!" he asked kindly for you. He used to give me “ There's worse things than keeping an inn, a lift in his cart, sometimes, on the Saturday if he had got that length,” said I, “and, benights, when I was coming home wearied, and sides, Lexie, folk need licenses for many an a fine lad he is-Robert Scott-you mind him? innocent trade; it might be only a grocery --he was at the Butterbraes."
shop-it might be" “ And, Mr. Peter, do you keep company "Never let me hear his name again,” cried with the like of him ?” said my sister, with a out my sister, and at that moment the clock kind of horror.
warned twelve, and Annie and Beenie came “ When I met him he was better dressed into the parlour, and there was not a word than me," said Peter, looking down upon his more spoken till after the twelve strokes of own coat, which was not quite so well brushed the clock, when every one of us wished the as it might have been, “and I am sure he other a happy new-year. speaks as good English ; but I don't just to But no first-foot crossed our door-stone that call keep company with him, Miss Lexie, for I night. never saw him but this once." “Let not the name of any such person be
CHAPTER IX. mentioned to me again," said Lexie," what do ABOUT three or four months after that-it I care about his good dress-if somebody had was in April, and pleasant weather—there even left him a fortune, what would he be for came a letter to us one day, inquiring if the all that, but an uncultivated hind? No, Mr.
two of us-being addressed just as “Misses Peter, as a man's breeding is, so is he-you Sinclair, Lasswade"-were called by the chrismay take my word for that."
tian names of Alexina and Rachel, and were “ But its past eleven, and I'll have to be on of kin to one Ninian Sinclair, dead in London, the watch, or I'll be cheated after all,” said the who had willed—being a poor old solitary man, young man," and I said I would let nobody be though he left a great sum behind him-a before me. Good-night to ye all, and a happy legacy of a hundred and fifty pounds to the two new-year when it comes; don't say I was here, daughters of his cousin, Johnstone Sinclair, of Miss Lexie, if my mother comes down the Lasswade. Now this being our father, and these morn."
being our names, besides that we knew of a Saying which, Peter went away, to the great cousin Ninian he had in London, Lexie immeastonishment of my sister, who tried to persuade diately wrote to the law gentleman, in Edinherself he was coming back again after all. burgh, who asked the question, saying it was But I knew very well that Peter Braird cared us; and there came back an answer from him, nothing about Annie Orme—the great red telling some ceremonies he would have to go headed lout—as if he had discrimination for through, and appointing a day for us to come that.
to his office to receive the legacy. When Annie went ben the house, to tell It is not to be supposed we could hear of a Beenie that she was to come to the parlour great sum like this without some elevation of just before the clock struck twelve, and get a spirit, and Lexie said immediately to me, spoonful of toddy, and a bit short-bread, and “ this will furnish a house for Annie Orme," wish us a good new-year, as was our custom, and we were as glad about it as we could be Lexie looked up to me with a concerned face. about money. We put on blacks, of course, for
“ Rechie," said my sister, “do you believe the poor old man-- I call him poor, not because that Annie is still thinking about that lad?” he was dead, but because he had departed
“ I do not ken, Lexie,” said 1-for I durst without one to grieve for him and I thought not say an untruth either one way or the it in a measure right to mention to folk who other.
we were in mourning for, and what he was, “ They tell me he's to be seen in Edinburgh, just that he might not be defrauded altogether well put on, and like a gentleman-a gentleman! of some natural notice by the living, of the -as if dress was all that was needed for that. great end he had undergone. He'll be taking his new trade by the hand, I Just a day or two after this, Annie came in
one day, in a great haste, and ran into the walk by herself, for I was busy; and not long parlour breathless. And what was this but to after she went away, I heard a rap at the tell us that Peter Braird and Phemie Mouter door, and immediately Beenie showed in Mr. had run away together, and had come back Mouter into the parlour. He was dressed married folk, and were even now coming up more carefully than usual, and had a white the town with white gloves and white ribbons, lily of the valley in his button hole, and white on their road to Windlestrae—though what gloves in his hand-but being a careful lad he kind of reception they would get there I can had not put them on. not tell.
He got a very cold reception from Lexie; I ran to the door in a minute, to wish them so, thinking myself bound to pay more attenjoy; but Lexie sat still in her chair, and would tion to him on that account, and having, benot move, and I saw she was just shaking. I sides, aye an idea that he might turn out was sorry for Lexie, for she had aye thought so Annie's goodman after all, I was very kind to much of this lad, though I did wonder how she him, and we began to speak about what had could ever even the like of him to Annie Orme. happened in the morning.
When the two young fools and their train " It could not be a greater surprise to you, had passed for they were behaving just like than it was to me, Miss Rechie," said Mr. foolish persons, Peter, especially, looking half Mouter. “I have observed some stir going out of his senses, though Phemie behaved a on for a day or two-bits of white ribbon lying little better and we were back again into the about, and frills and collars, and things of that parlour, and at our work, Lexie sat silent for a kind, which I suppose Phemie had gotten from long time, after which she began to speak to Nicol, who is very careless of his money, like Annie Orme, and to call her “my dear"-a most seafaring men; but when there was no thing most uncommon for Lexie—as if she appearance of her at breakfast-time this mornthought the news about Peter Braird would be ing, I thought she had gone in to Mrs. Thoma disappointment to Annie.
son's, or was standing havering with some of “I have been thinking, Rechie,” said my the women about, and never troubled myself sister, " that this poor bairn, Annie Orme, is on the subject. As the day went past, I got held far too close to one place, and that a more anxious, but still I thought it was only change would do her good. So it struck me, Phemie's nonsense; so you may judge how I that when we went into Edinburgh for this was struck when I saw a post chaise stop at siller, we might take a room for a day or two Mír. Trotter's door, and out of it came a couple at Miss Clephane's, and take Annie with us, in white gloves. My first thought was, that and just go about and see what was to be scen. they were strangers, and I went to the door to May-be, if there was a very beautiful, quiet see-when, behold! who was it but Phemie day, we might go across to Fife, and back Mouter and young Windlestrae." again, for a sail, and just let Annie have a “ Not young Windlestrae; Sinclair Braird little pleasure like others of her age, poor thing." is married upon a gentlewoman like himself,"
" Thank you, Aunt Lexie," said Annie, “I said Lexie, sharply, “you mean Windleshould be very glad."
strae's young son, that silly callant, Peter, "Would you be very glad, my dear? then Mr. Mouter." we'll go, Annie, and you may think that settled, " Silly, or no silly, he's my brother-in-law, for ill would I like this day to refuse you any Miss Lexie,” said Mr. Mouter, a little illthing that would make you glad, my poor bairn." pleased, “and I would not like to hear him
Oh, Annie Orme! the tear was in your eyespoken of otherwise than civilly." for my sister's kindness, but the laugh was on “ He was my second cousin's son twenty your lip for her deceiving herself. Do you years before he was your brother-in-law, Mr. think I did not see the half-dimple on your Mouter," returned my sister, "and one of the cheek, or do you think I did not know that family may speak, as I believe, from her ain you were no more disappointed about Peter knowledge, without asking any permission Braird than I was ?--you need not deny it, from a fremd person. Windlestrae, poor man, Annie Orme.
will be tried this day-I must go up to-morrow So it was settled, that on the Friday next and ask for the family." that was a week from the time we were speak " For you see, Mr. Mouter," said I, being ing-we should all go into Edinburgh, and feared for Lexie hurting his feelings, “a marthat we should stay, perhaps, a week away riage like this is a trial to both the families, from home.
both his and hers. If they had only been That same night, Annie went out to get a / prudent, the rash young things, and let their
friends ken, and have a right wedding for them—but no doubt it will save much trouble if it does nothing else.”
“ It brings things to a point with me, Miss Rechie,” said the young man, “I cannot do without some woman person in my house; for you see, I am a man by nature who cannot endure waste, and the shop takes me up often, and prevents me looking after things. It is true, Phemie was no great help, but still she was aye there. Now, to tell the truth, I want a wife, and I want a thrifty, quiet one, that will not be extravagant, but take care of the siller after its made, and spend it with discretion. There's your own niece, Annie Orme, Miss Lexie and Miss Rechie-if you'll assure me of your consent, I'll speak to her. My business is a good business, and a steady man can make it better; but if there's any chance of your making objections, I'll no speak to the young lady, for I never like to raise hopes that are not to be fulfilled; for this reason I thought it best to speak to you first.”
For a moment there was perfect silence in the room-you might have heard a feather fall, for I durst not speak, though he was waiting for an answer.
“Does my niece, Miss Annie Orme, ken how much you think of her, Mr. Mouter,” said Lexie, in a voice of suppressed anger, which, I suppose, sounded quite quiet to the stranger.
" Well, Miss Lexie, I cannot say," said Mr. Mouter, “ I am a prudent man by nature; I never put out my hand farther than I can draw it back, and not being quite sure about myself, not to speak of you, I never said anything to Miss Annie—but she may have guessed."
“ Here she is herself, we'll ask her," said Lexie, very quietly.
The poor young man rose up; “No, no," said he, "if she's to be asked, I'll ask her myself;" but before he could say another word, Annie was in the room.
" Mr. Mouter's sister has married Peter Braird, of Windlestrae, Annie, my dear,” said Lexie, “and Mr. Mouter, there, thinks you would make a good wife to him. Now, Annie, I'll let you give the answer for your own hand; would you like to marry this young man, my dear."
Poor Annie's cheeks grew like crimson ; I never saw such a face, and I thought she would have fallen down; but glancing at Mr. Mouter, and seeing him pull his white gloves through his hands, dirtying them far more than if he had put them on, the dimple formed in her cheek again, and she just said, “ No, auntie, I would not,” and ran from the room.
“Miss Lexie, you've used me very ill,” said Mr. Mouter, “I can never look over the like of this. You think I'm not good enough for Annie Orme ? very well, we'll see; I would have made her Mrs. Mouter if you had given me civil treatment. Now, though I know very well she does not mean to be ruled by what she said just now, yet I'll be held by it, Miss Lexie Sinclair ; and I can tell you I think myself as good as your niece any day, or better, if the truth were told. I wish you good evening, Miss Rechie; you need never hope to see me in this house again, grand as you think it; for I can do better than a poor mantua-maker, before I go a dozen steps, and when that girl, Annie, is an old maid like yourselves, you'll repent the way you've used me."
Saying that, he flung open the parlour door and went away. “I am very sorry, Mr. Mouter," said I, " you see Lexie's that proudto be sure she has a good reason-but if you like to speak to Annie herself”
"That's past, that's past, Miss Rechie," said Mr. Mouter, waving his hand, "if she went down on her knees to me, I could not look over this."
“ Which she never will do, be you sure of that,” said I, in haste, “not if you were a king, instead of having a grocery shop; and its a comfort to think she would not have taken you after all."
I said this last low, and he did not hear me ; but, indeed, I came in in a fever at him and Lexie, not knowing which had made me most angry; but then I minded that nobody had so good a right as Lexie to dispose of Annie Orme, and that the young man was not seeking her because he liked her, but because she would make a thrifty wife. Now I had no doubt Annie would make a good wife, if she had a little time to get douce and settled--but a thrifty one-alack a day!
CHAPTER X. For the whole next day, Lexie was much cogitating in her own mind, and scarcely spoke a word to anybody; but in the evening, as she was standing at the door for a mouthful of air, Annie having again gone out (Annie had really turned very fond of being out at nights), young Dr. Jamieson stopped his horse at the door to speak to us, and after asking very kindly for her and me, how we were, made particular inquiry for Annie Orme. When he rode away, I saw the face of Lexie was full of meaning, and so waited till she should speak.
“ Rechie,” said my sister, at last, “ Annie | Orme now will have a tocher."
“ And not a bad one, Lexie,” said I, " for the like of us."
It was just dusk, and there was a kind of grey, quiet light coming down out of the sky, where the clouds lay motionless, like far-off lands sleeping by the sea. Some of them had just touches upon them of the sun here and there, and some of them were dark and round, as if they projected out of the blue, and some of them were white and soft like masses of down; in among them was a star or two. It looked to myself, being pondering, as if it was the golden streets of Jerusalem, with the evening lamps lighted here and there, and that we in this world could only get this one glance at them before the deep night came over us, and gave us our lawful sleep. And then my thoughts went away from me, up to what they were doing, who went about the streets of Jerusalem where the lights were lighted yonder; and I thought of what the prophet says of grey-headed men leaning upon their staffs, and bairns playing in that city, and the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride ; and then I marvelled if the folk yonder might ever win to the walls or to the gates, to look down on the old country far below, and what they thought of it now. And from that my mind wandered to little Annie, and the way she used to cry our names from our old threshold stone; and I looked away over the water, to the side of the brae that glimmered up among the clouds, and I almost thought that if I had been on the road, I could have seen Annie at the door, with her arm round the neck of our dog, Warlock, and him giving aye his little bark when she cried, “ Lexie, Rechie," and my mother busy in the room, and now and then passing by the door. I gave a long sigh as my heart returned to me, and my sister must have been thinking the same, for she sighed too. “ Its like one of the old nights langsyne, Rechie,” said my sister to me.
And then we both gave another sigh ; and then, for my part, the tears came to my eyes, and I bade Lexie come in, and we would get a light and take our seams again.
Being returned, Lexie began to speak again about what she was saying before.
“Rechie," she said, “my mind is not changed, though neither you nor me judged discreetly about the proper person-but we'll no controvert that any more. There's that young man that was speaking to us this moment, Rechie—that's a fine lad, and a good son, and a person that nobody could make any objections to-I would be content with him for Annie."
“ Dr. Jamieson ? but he'll be looking for higher than our Annie, Lexie," said I.
“I would like to ken how he could look higher, or in what respect ? ” said my sister. “ If it were for good looks, Annie Orme is what I call bonnie ; and she'll have as much as furnish a good house, and she's come of most creditable people. So, I say, Rechie, we must be civil to the doctor, and ask him to call and see us, for I see nobody in Lasswade that would be as suitable for Annie Orme.”
At this moment, Annie herself came into the room.
“ You have been long out, Annie Orme,” said I, “ where have you been ? you should take your walks through the day, and no at night.”
“I have been just at the waterside again, aunt Rechie,” said Annie Orme.
Something in the tone of her voice made both Lexie and me look up. I never saw so happy a face; one smile was coming close on the step of another, and there was a wavering colour upon her cheeks, which rose and fell, and her eyes were giving shy, sudden glances here and there, from under the cast down eyelids, and her breath came a little fast and short, so that you saw her heart was beating quick.
"Dear me, Annie," said I, “was there any body with you by the waterside ?"
The next moment I repented having said that, for Lexie saw what I meant, and her face grew red, and she stopped her work and looked at Annie with a knitted brow. Annie never noticed this; she gave a low laugh, twisted the strings of her bonnet, and said to me, "I met Helen Lyon, auntie," and then went quick away to her own room.
I dared not look at Lexie ; for to tell the truth, I felt almost sure, within myself, that Annie Orme had been holding a meeting with Robbie, from the Butterbraes.
“ Rechie,” said my sister, solemnly, "you'll see if I do not speak true. She's dealing unfaithfully with us ; see if that hind lad does not come to us, to dishonour our house with his mean proposals. I am as sure as if I had seen them, that Annie met him this night, and the first word of such a thing that's minted to me, I'll take my staff in my hand, and this misguided thing by the arm, and journey away to some strange place--for I'll no bear it. To see Annie Orme serving strangers, and filling measures, and taking pennies and sixpences, from the meanest passer by-it would kill me, Rechie Sinclair!”
Well, if it would have killed Lexie, it maybe was even greater pain to me; for you see, I
stood between the two, and had sympathy went into Edinburgh. The place we were with both, and sorrowed with both in my own to lodge at was Miss Clephane's, where Lexie spirit, feeling that I could not bear this any had learned the milinery. It was up a more than Lexie, and yet in my heart yearn- long stair, near the end of the Cannongate, ing with pity over the ill-advised bairn. You and close to the palace, and we could see the may believe, too, what a start I was thrown sentries at the gate from our windows, and into, when the candle being put out, and me laid Arthur's Seat beyond. Miss Clephane was down, Annie Orme crept into my arms, and then an old woman, and had given up the whispered to me,“ Ho's got his license, Auntie business, and lived on her money, just letting Rechie.”
a room now and then, and like us she had a “Oh, bairn, bairn!” said I, “ do you tell me niece living with her ; but Miss Rosie Clethat;” and I thought I would have broken my phane was nearly as old as me, and very tall, heart.
and as thin as Lexie, so there could not
possibly be any comparison made between her CHAPTER XI.
and Annie Orme.
They were speaking much at this time Now whether it was a natural perverseness about some students who had lodged with of circumstances, such as I have sometimes | them, who were done with their time at college, seen, or whether it was really a sudden liking, and now were preachers, ready for kirks, and I cannot tell, but of this I am certain, Dr. waiting on them. One of the first things Jamieson called upon us within two days of Annie said, when we got to Edinburgh, was, the time I have mentioned, of his own accord, that she wanted to go to one particular church, and told us that our father's cousin, Ninian, and no other, a thing which surprised me, seewas also a far-away cousin of a friend of his, ing that Annie did not commonly express so to whom some of the old man's money had very clear a will of her own; but as the minislikewise come. The doctor was a very plea- ter there was a great man, and well worth sant lad, good at conversation, and of a cheer- hearing, neither Lexie nor me made any ob. ful nature; and I could not help thinking that jection. On speaking about it to Miss Rosie, Lexie would have done better if she had made we discovered that she went there too, so we as discreet a choice the first time, instead of made up our minds to go altogether, to Annie's setting her heart upon Peter Braird; but I saw great good pleasure; though what special in. at once, that it would be nonsense ever dream- terest she had in it, I could not, with all my ing about it; for, seeing he was received skill, make out or perceive. among some of the gentry and the rich gentle On the Saturday, we took Annie to see the men farmers, and had money and an inherit- palace and the castle, and let her out by herance himself, was it ever to be supposed that self at night-on her promising not to stay he would come courting to Annie Orme ? long-to go up as far as St. Anthony's chapel.
However, I had to keep my thoughts to my- She came in as blooming and happy-like as self, for Lexic was greatly exalted about Dr. could be, and I never was prouder of her Jamieson, and pressed him to come back again, though it did not become me on a Sabbath ! which he said he would do. And ever after than when I fastened her white gown the next that, Lexie was both anxious and angry if she morning, and watched her put on her new saw so much as a smile on the face of Annie bonnet with the white and lilac ribbon, which Orme, and would have done some ill to Robbic, I choose for her myself. You never saw a I believe, if he had been so rash as to come to fresher, bonnier face in Edinburgh or out of our door.
it; and she looked as like a lady, I am bound But the week passed, and we heard no word to say, as any one we met, though we passed of him. And who do you think was cried in through some of the grandest streets in the Lasswade kirk upon the Sabbath-day? who town, on our way to the kirk that day. but young Mr. Mouter and Miss Christina Thomson! I could not believe but the precentor was out of his senses when he said
CHAPTER XII. the names.
| I Like to see folk coming into a church. If Upon the next Friday, according to our we are there a quarter of an hour too soon, arrangement, having put up a supply of things Lexie always reads her Bible without ever in the little black trunk, and all our best lifting her head, and makes Annie Orme do bonnets in a big box, and tea and sugar for a | the same; but, for my part, I like to notice week in a little basket, we took the coach, and everybody that comes in, and to see who of a