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• What ails you at Hacket ?' he said gloomily, for he secretly hated the name which belonged to his father as well as to himself.

Oh, the name's guid enough for them that owns it, she replied, with airy indifference. Xaebody of course would tak' it for choice.'

After this fashion it had been settled that . Eppie' and Harry were to be substituted for · Miss Holdfast' and · Mr. Hacket.' Biting and scartin' are Scots folks' wooin'; and the more he was hurt by the sharp tongue and the dangerous teeth of this chilly and unapproachable damsel, the more furiously did his passion blaze.

And now the gay knight and his fair damozel are pricking on the plain. In that barren treeless country, and to these hard weatherbeaten men and women of the coast, the shadowy coverts and the wide park-like spaces of Pitfairlie-for which they are bound-form an enchanted domain. The sea is a sharp taskmaster: never at rest itself, its unrest creeps into the blood of those who live on its shores; its companionship implies a constant strain. To cross from Peelboro' into the Pitfairlie woods was to reach a haven of repose after painful wrestling with the east wind; the wavy outlines, the deep shadows, the soft greenery of the park rested eye and brain wearied by the poignant light. And then, to add to its attractions, there was the auld admiral,' who brightened it by bis wit and enriched it by his goodness—my dear old friend, who wore his seventy years lightly like a flower, and whose keen tongue and mother wit were crisp and bracing as a winter morning.

'Gay knight and fair damozel!' This is my little essay to get a touch of the atmosphere of the Round Table into my love story ; but I find that it does not suit my home-spun style. I have to follow, not heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb, not Lady of the Mere sole-sitting by the shores of old romance; but only Eppie Holdfast and Harry Hacket in their ride that spring morning across the Buchan moors. Pitfairlie was delightfully situated.

situated. In front of the castle a noble chace dotted with forest trees—magnificent limes and chestnuts-retreated slowly till it lost itself in a thicket of spruce and brushwood. The approach swept in a succession of fine curves along 'the brink of the river. There were no gates to shut in the face of the people; nothing to indicate exactly where the lawn terminated or 'the outer world began. Cottages were scattered here and there among the cover; blue smoke curled in lazy wreaths over the treetops.

They rode through the castle grounds, till they came to the barren upland, where the plover and the moorfowl breed. It was a glorious ride; the road continually ascending from the rich banks of the river to the region of the heather and the pine, and disclosing a new coign of vantage at every turn. The picturesque antiquity of the historic abbey, the lordly breadth of the modern mansion, the rose flush of my lady's flower garden, the blue curves of the river

Wiping the perspiration from his brow, and eyeing her savagely, D-n it,' he said with a sulky oath, that's a pretty place to bring a man!'

But he was pale and cowed; and Eppie with a thrill of triumph felt that she was his master.

XII.

HARRY,' said Eppie, as they stood on the Saplin Brae, 'I don't know that mither would like me to ride so far.'

Oh, never heed, Eppie; we'll be hame before dark.'

Eppie was a bold rider, and she looked splendid in the rustic habit which her own deft fingers had woven. Her steed was only a shalt' or 'shaltie,' a half-bred, half-broken native of the farm, yet a wiry and indefatigable little beast. The breed of highland ponies has died out now, more's the pity.

It is the spring-time, a soft wind is blowing from the south, and the braes of Fontainbleau are white with cowslips. Eppie looks splendid ; her face is flushed with the excitement of the gallop up the Saplin Brae to the ridge above Yokieshill; the young laird has dismounted to tighten a girth and adjust a stirrup; he gazes up into her face with eyes that are brimful of passion. He has never had a toy like this before ; his longing to clasp it, to seize it, to make it his own, takes away his breath at times; he is mad with desire. They have raced

up the steep ascent; the horses took the bits between their teeth and flew like the wind ; and now they are resting on the summit. And at their feet is the old house of Yokieshill, and the mosses round about that the wild duck love, and the blue sea edged with a white line of breakers, and circled by the sandhills of Slains. And all the land between is owned by the laird of Yokieshill, who is dying at home in his bed.

The tempter selected an exceedingly high mountain from which to show the tempted all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.

Harry Hacket was but a coarse and rustic edition of Mephistopheles; yet he judged rightly when he brought Eppie in their rides to the Saplin Brae. For from thence she could behold all the goodly heritage which she coveted; and distance gave the gaunt old Scotch house a charm which would not have stood the test of a closer acquaintance.

Let me call you Eppie,' he had asked on one occasion as they stood on this spot.

“My name's Euphame,' she had answered calmly. There's aye been a Euphame Holdfast in Fontainbleau or ever there was a Hacket in Yokieshill; but you may call me Eppie if it pleases you, I am sure.'

And you will call me Harry ? ?'

• Surely,' she answered, returning his ardent glance with a shrug What ails you at Hacket ?' he said gloomily, for he secretly hated the name which belonged to his father as well as to himself.

"Oh, the name's guid enough for them that owns it,' she replied, with airy indifference. • Naebody of course would tak’ it for choice.

After this fashion it had been settled that “ Eppie' and ‘Harry' were to be substituted for • Miss Holdfast' and Mr. Hacket. Biting and scartin' are Scots folks' wooin’; and the more he was hurt by the sharp tongue and the dangerous teeth of this chilly and unapproachable damsel, the more furiously did his passion blaze.

And now the gay knight and his fair damozel are pricking on the plain. In that barren treeless country, and to these hard weatherbeaten men and women of the coast, the shadowy coverts and the wide park-like spaces of Pitfairlie-for which they are bound-form an enchanted domain. The sea is a sharp taskmaster: never at rest itself, its unrest creeps into the blood of those who live on its shores; its companionship implies a constant strain. To cross from Peelboro' into the Pitfairlie woods was to reach a haven of repose after painful wrestling with the east wind; the wavy outlines, the deep shadows, the soft greenery of the park rested eye and brain wearied by the poignant light. And then, to add to its attractions, there was the auld adıniral,' who brightened it by bis wit and enriched it by his goodness—my dear old friend, who wore his seventy years lightly like a flower, and whose keen tongue and mother wit were crisp and bracing as a winter morning.

'Gay knight and fair damozel!' This is my little essay to get a touch of the atmosphere of the Round Table into my love story ; but I find that it does not suit my home-spun style. I have to follow, not heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb, not Lady of the Mere sole-sitting by the shores of old romance; but only Eppie Holdfast and Harry Hacket in their ride that spring morning across the Buchan moors.

Pitfairlie was delightfully situated. In front of the castle a noble chace dotted with forest trees—magnificent limes and chestnuts—retreated slowly till it lost itself in a thicket of spruce and brushwood. The approach swept in a succession of fine curves along the brink of the river. There were no gates to shut in the face of the people; nothing to indicate exactly where the lawn terminated or the outer world began. Cottages were scattered here and there among the cover ; blue smoke curled in lazy wreaths over the treetops.

They rode through the castle grounds, till they came to the barren upland, where the plover and the moorfowl breed. It was a glorious ride; the road continually ascending from the rich banks of the river to the region of the heather and the pine, and disclosing a new coign of vantage at every turn. The picturesque antiquity of the historic abbey, the lordly breadth of the modern mansion, the rose flush of my lady's flower garden, the blue curves of the river

gleaming through the spring greenery of the woodland, the low backs of the bushless downs crowned with shining crests of purple heather, the white swans upon the lake ruffling their snowy plumage, or dipping their long necks into the clammy weeds, I do not wonder that the Peelboro' poets of the year One should have waxed eloquent in praise of the fair Pitfairlie domain.

They drew up their panting horses in the middle of the encrimsoned downs, and turned their faces homeward. A gorcock crowed lustily, startling the gathering shadows of the night. There was no sound or trace of man; the wild highland cattle that fed upon the scrubby herbage were the only denizens of these dreary flats. Obstinate, mouse-coloured, picturesque little brutes, with shaggy manes and shaggy heads crowned with long branching horns, who looked at the riders with brown, tranquil, meditative eyes as they went past. The ox-eyed Juno!

dear me, how delightful it is!' sighed Eppie to herself. And then as they rode home in the dark--if it is ever dark in these high northern latitudes—Harry made her understand at last that he loved her as such men love. Eppie was in a dream; dreaming was a new sensation to her; for Eppie as a rule slept the sleep of the just, or at least of a perfectly healthy young animal. Two voices sounded in her ears—the voice of the man beside her, and the voice of another who had been her playfellow in the old days; and wbile she listened in an unfamiliar reverie to Harry's story, she thought of Alister. But all the time she knew, or fancied she knew, that she had made her choice; for her own self-love was deeper and more vital than any other. Ambition had the whole, or well-nigh the whole, of her heart; Love only an obscure corner. And for his part, Harry, even in that gust of passion, felt that he was a fool; was even then mentally calculating how he could win her on the easiest available terms.

But the upshot was that in the meantime Eppie had two lovers in hand, to neither of whom, however, had it been finally and irretrievably pledged.

So the months passed, Eppie still on her guard, and hedging as they say on the turf; grave and silent with Uncle Ned, mocking and masterful with Harry Hacket, but watchful always; until on an August evening of the year One, Alister Ross, looking remarkably handsome in his new uniform, returned to Peelboro'.

The • Jan Mayen' entered the harbour at Port Henry on the 1st day of October, 1800, the day before Laird Hacket died; and the reader will be kind enough to understand, that while I have been chatting with him about old times and old stories three weeks have passed. The stooks at Fontainbleau have been gathered into the farm-yard, and the Achnagatt.clyack' is to take place to-morrow.

THE COMIxG ELECTION.

F

VIVE weeks ago the Secretary of State for the Colonies attended a

Conservative meeting in the Music Hall at Tewkesbury, and there he volunteered the statement that it was the intention of Ministers that this coming session shall be a real working session.' An unfriendly critic might suggest that this statement, made by a Cabinet Minister, implied that the previous six sessions of this long Parliament have not been “real working sessions,' and he would not be far wrong. The Government came into office pledged to nothing at home except a policy of masterly inactivity. That pledge even their bitterest opponents must admit has been sacredly kept. But it would appear, as Lord Granville so happily put it in his speech on the Address, that, like the Irish post boy, they were reserving their trot for the avenue.

Certainly after Sir Michael Hicks Beach's statement it was currently believed that at last the country was to see some real work. But now that Parliament has come together for the seventh time, and the Government have shown their hand in the usual and official way at the opening of Parliament, is there any prospect of improvement ? Parliament met on the 5th of February. The Queen's Speeches of the last six sessions have not been lavish in promises of legislation, and such promises as have been given have not been kept. But the Speech which ushered in the present session—this real working session'-is even more meagre in its promises than any of those which have preceded it; only five measures are mentioned, and of these there is but one-the Criminal Code Bill—which can be deemed as of firstrate importance, and it has been referred without discussion to a Select Committee. One or two other Bills of a technical nature, such as the extension of the Ballot Act for one more year, the Corrupt Practices Bill, and the Census Bill, have been mentioned. But these can hardly be the measures which Sir Michael Hicks Beach had in view when he spoke of a real working session. There is again the usual number of notices of motion standing in the names of private members, the usual number of abstract resolutions, and our old familiar friends Local Option, Burials, County Franchise, Game Laws, and the rest of the well-worn catalogue all awaiting the annual discussion and the annual consumption of public time, with the annual condemnation by the present Parliament. The Secretary for the Colonies could not have had these sterile matters in his mind when he made his statement at Tewkesbury, and there is nothing else in sight so far as we have advanced into the session which could have afforded Sir Michael Hicks Beach any ground for his assertion. Must it then be regarded in the same light as so many other Ministerial statements

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