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said Cuddie; "sae, whig or tory, what need we care wna he be?"
"Ay, but it's ane will ding Lord Evandale's marriage ajee yet, if it's, do the better looked to," said Jenny; "it's Miss Edith's first joe, your ain auld maister, Cuddie."
"The deil, woman!" exclaimed Cuddie, starting up, "trow ye that 1 am blind 1 I wad hae kend Mr. Harry Morton amang a hunder."
"Ay, but, Cuddie lad," replied Jenny, " though ye are no blind, ye are no sae notice-taking as I am."
"Weel, what for needs ye cast that up to me just now? or what did ye see about the man that was like our Maister Harry 9"
"I will tell ye," said Jenny; "I jaloused his keeping his face frae us, and speaking wi' a made-like voice, sae 1 e'en tried him wi' some tales o' lang syne, and when I spake o' the brose, ye ken, he didna just laugh—he's ower grave for that now-a-days,—but he gae a gledge wi' his ee that I kend he took up what I said. And a' his distress is about Miss Edith's marriage, and I ne'er saw a man mair tane down wi' true love in my days—I might say man or woman—only I mind how ill Miss Edith was when she first gat word that him and you (ye muckle graceless loon) were coming against Tillietudlem wi' the rebels.—But what's the matter wi' the man now 9"
"What's the matter wi' me, indeed !" said Cuddie, who was again hastily putting on some of the garments he had stripped himself of, "am I no gaun up this instant to see my maister?"
"Atweel, Cuddie, ye are gaun nae sic gate," said Jenny, coolly and resolutely.
"The deiPs in the wife!" said Cuddie; "d'ye think 1 am to be John Tamson's man, and maistered by women a' the days o' my life 9"
"And wha's man wad ye be 9 And wha wad ye hae to maister ye but me, Cuddie, lad?" answered Jenny. "I'll gar ye comprehend in the making of a hay-band. Naebody kens that this young gentleman is living but oursells, and frae that he keeps himsellup sae close, I am judging that he's purposing, if he fand Miss Edith either married, or just gaun to be married, he wad just slide awa easy and gie them nae mair trouble. But if Miss Edith kend that he was livmg, and if she were standing before the very minister wi' Lord Evandale when it wastauldtoher,I'se warrant she wad say no when she suld say yes."
"Weel," replied Cuddie, "and what's my business wi' that 1 if Miss Edith likes her auld joe better than her new ane, what for suld she no be free to change her mind like ither folk 1—Ye ken, Jenny, Halliday aye threeps he had a promise frae yoursell."
"Halliday's a liar, and ye're naething but a gomeril to hearken till him, Cuddie. And then for this leddy's choice, lack-a-day !—ye may be sure a' the gowd Mr. Morton has is on the outside o' bis coat, and how can he keep Leddy Margaret and the young leddy 9"
"Isna there Milnwood 9" said Cuddie. "Nae doubt, the auld laird left his housekeeper the life-rent as he heard nought o' his nephew; but it's but speaking the auld wife fair, and they may a' live brawly thegither, Leddy Margaret and a'."
"Hout tout, lad," replied Jenny, "ye ken them little to think leddies o' their rank wad set up house wi' auld Ailie Wilson, when they're maist ower proud to take favours frae Lord Evandale himsell. Na, na, they maun follow the camp, if she tak Morton."
"That wad sort ill wi' the old leddy, to be sure," said Cuddie; "she wad hardly win ower a lang day in the baggage-wain."
"Then sic a flyting as there wad be between them a' about whig and tory," continued Jenny.
"To be sure," said Cuddie, "the auld leddy's unco kittle in thae points."
"And then, Cuddie," continued his helpmate, who had reserved her strongest argument to the last, " if this marriage wi' Lord Evandale is broken off, what comes o' our ain bit free house, and the kale-yard, and the cow's grass9—I trow that baith us and thae botany bairns will be turned on the wide warldl"' '''''' y 'J,t ' '" '','''
21 vOL. ii.
Here Jenny began to wliimper—Cuddie writhed himself this way and that way, the very picture of indecision. At length he broke out, "Weel, woman, canha ye tell us what we suld do, without a' this din about it?"
"Just do naething at a'," said Jenny; "Never seem to ken ony thing about this gentleman, and for your life say a word that he suld hae been here or up at the house. —An I had kehd, I wad hae gien him my ain bed, and sleepit in the byre or he had gane Up by: but it canna be helpit now. The neist thing's to get him cannily awa the morn, and I judge he'll be in nae hurry to come back again."
"My puir maister!" said Cuddie; "and maun I no speak to him, then?"
"For your life, no," said Jenny; "ye're no obliged to ken him; and I wadna hae tauld ye, only I feared ye wad ken him in the morning."
'"Aweel," said Cuddie, sighing heavily, " I'se awa to pleugh the outfield then; for, if I am no to speak to him, I wad rather be out o' the gate."
"Very right, my dear hmny," replied Jenny; "naebody has better sense than you when ye crack a bit wi' me ower your affairs, but ye suld ne'er do onything aff hand out o' your ain head."
"Ane wad think it's true," quoth Cuddie ; " for I hae aye had some carline, or quean or another, to gar me gang their gate instead o' my ain. There was first my toither," he continued, as he undressed and tumbled himself into bed—" then there was Leddy Margaret didna let trie ca'' my soul my ain—then my mither and her quarrelled, and pu'ed me twa ways at anes, as if ilk ane had an end o' me, like Punch and the Deevil rugging about the Baker at the fair—and now I hae gotten a wife," he murmured in continuation, as he stowed the -blankets around his person, "and she's like to tak the £uiding o'me a'thegithef.' ''',''i \ > ','
"And amna I the best guide ye ever had in a' your life V said Jenny, as she closed the conversation by assuming her place beside her husband, and extinguishing the candle.
Leaving this couple to their repose, we have next to inform the reader that, early on the next morning, two ladies on horseback, attended by their servants, arrived at the house of Fairy-knowe, whom, to Jenny's utter confusion, she instantly recognized as Miss Bellenden, and Lady Emily Hamilton, a sister of Lord Evandale.
"Had I no better gang to the house to put things to rights?" said Jenny, confounded with this unexpected apparition.
"We want nothing but the pass-key," said Miss Bellenden; "Gudyill will open the windows of the little parlour."
"The little parlour's locked, and the lock's spoiled," answered Jenny, who recollected the local sympathy between that apartment and the bed-chamber of her guest.
"In the red parlour, then," said Miss Bellenden, and rode up to the front of the house, but by an approach different from that through which Morton had been conducted.
"All will be out," thought Jenny, "unless I can get him smuggled out of the house the back way."
So saying, she sped up the bank in great tribulation and uncertainty.
"I had better hae said at ance there was a stranger there," was her next natural reflection. "But then they wad hae been for asking him to breakfast. O, save us! what will I do 1—And there's Gudyill walking in the garden, too!" she exclaimed internally on approaching the wicket—" and I daurna gang in the back way till he's aff* the coast. O, sirs ! what will become of us 1"
In this state of perplexity she approached the ci-devant butler, with the purpose of decoying him out of the garden. But John Gudyill's temper was not improved by his decline in rank and increase in years. Like many peevish people, too, he seemed to have an intuitive perception as to what was most likely to teaze those whom he conversed with; and, on the present occasion, all Jenny's efforts to remove him from the garden served only to root him in it as fast as if he had been one of the shrubs. Unluckily, also, he had commenced florist during his residence at Fairy-knowe, and, leaving all other things to the charge of Lady Emily's servant, his first care was dedicated to the flowers, which he had taken under his special protection, and which he propped, dug, and watered, prosing all the while upon their respective merits to poor Jenny, who stood by him trembling, and almost crying, with anxiety, fear, and impatience.
Fate seemed determined to win a match against Jenny this unfortunate morning. So soon as the ladies entered the house, they observed that the door of the little parlour, the very apartment out of which she was desirous of excluding them on account of its contiguity to the room in which Morton slept, was not only unlocked, but absolutely ajar. Miss Bellenden was too much engaged with her own immediate subjects of reflection to take much notice of the circumstance, but, desiring the servant to open the window-shutters, walked into the room along with her friend.
"He is not yet come," she said. "What can your brother possibly mean 1—Why express so anxious a wish that we should meet him here 9 And why not come to Castle-Dinnan, as he proposed 1 I own, my dear Emily, that, even engaged as we are to each other, and with the sanction of your presence, I do not feel that I have done quite right in indulging him."
"Evandale was never capricious," answered his sister; "I am sure he will satisfy us with his reasons, and if he does not, I will help you to scold him."
"What I chiefly fear," said Edith, " is his having engaged in some of the plots of this fluctuating and unhappy time. I know his heart is with that dreadful Claverhouse and his army, and I believe he would have joined them ere now but for my uncle's death, which gave him so much additional trouble on our account. How si.it .Li