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“The herring loves the merry moonlight,
The mackerel loves the wind,
For he comes of a gentle kind.”
If Donald's bagpipes had repeated the miracle of Arion, and brought the fish to the shore to listen, they would surely have been frightened back into deep water by his giant stride, and the mighty movement of his arm, and the flying kilt which
“ Streamed like a meteor on the troubled air.”
When the Squire heard of a stranger at the Manor House, he and the Doctor walked over. They were shown by Donald into a quaint room, littered with unarranged books, for which the Highlander had begun to fix shelves. Mr. Nairn rose from a writing-table, niched into a window, which window looked over leagues of
Dr. Sterne's quick eye discovered that a large folio open on the table was in the Greek tongue, and much resembled Sophocles. It was clear at a glance that the Scotchman,
whatever his history, and however eccentric he might be, was a gentleman.
An invitation to dinner was given and accepted. It was not long before the Squire and the Doctor and the new-comer were friendsMr. Nairn won Mrs. Silchester's heart by his kindness to her girl and boy, with whom he delighted to romp. One day, early in their acquaintance, little Silvester said, “I won't call you Mister Nairn any longer.
. It's ugly. If you haven't got another prettier name, I shall make a name for you."
They called me Willie when I was a boy,” he said.
“ Then you shall be Willie now that I'm a boy. Silvia, you're to call him Willie. I shall make everybody call you Willie. You are much more like Willie than like Mister Nairn." This
young tyrant so dominated the household, that very soon those who did not address Nairn as Willie, always called him by that name when speaking of him ; and one day Mrs. Silchester called him so in his presence, and blushed, and apologized for having caught from her boy the contagion of rudeness.
“ It is the highest compliment you can pay me, madam,” he said.
There was some lapse of time before the epithet musical was prefixed to his name. Precocious young Silvester said to him one day,
“ I shall come over and rummage your old castle. I believe you're an ogre, and keep an enchanted princess there, turned into a cat. I'm a magician, you know. I'll turn you into a mouse for her to eat, and then I'll disenchant her—and marry her if she suits me.
There are not many girls that would suit me."
“ Chatterbox!” said his mother.
“Let him come to-morrow, Mrs. Silchester," said Willie, “ I will bring him back safely.” The boy went.
He was about nine years old. He prowled over the old house with delight.
“ Books! books! books!” he exclaimed.
“ What use are books ? Papa says they do harm, and I always believe papa. He has lots of books, like you, and sometimes reads them, but he says I am not to read them, and I'm sure I don't want. Haven't you anything pleasanter than these things ?” he said, contemptuously, tossing in the air a lovely Elzevir, bound in tree-calf.
Thus provoked, Willie took from its case a superb flute, and played upon it The Flowers of the Forest. The boy was delighted.
· Ah,” he cried, " that's music. I don't call the piano music; it's a box of strings. Papa teaches me what music means, and I can almost understand the harmonic chords. Hard words, aren't they? Papa says wind instruments are meant to mock the music of our voices and birds' voices, and that instruments with strings mock the wind in the trees and on the sea. Your flute is very sweet, but I like the thrush better."
“Odd boy!” thought Willie, and took from
its hiding-place his most cherished Stradivarius, and played a wild fantastic mixture of melodies.
“ Just like the wind in our old wood,” said Sylvester, “when it blows high from the sea. The oak roars, the elm groans, the ash shrieks, the beech shudders, the birch weeps, the poplar hisses, the holly crackles, the fir writhes,that's violin music.”
“How do you learn those things ? " asked Willie.
He takes me to the wood in the wind, and gives me a lesson. I like a thick wood on a dark night. It feels like going into another world.”
The result of this little adventure was that both flute and fiddle soon found their way to Silchester; and in due time Musical Willie gave his friends enjoyment twice or thrice a week. Joan Silchester sang to his violin accompaniment; the Doctor sometimes sang, for he had a good tenor voice, but his ear was