MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.

    There was mounting ’mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
    Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran;
    There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lea,
    But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see!

    So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
    Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?


[Notes:  Lochinvar.  The song sung by Dame Heron in ‘Marmion,’ one of Scott’s longest and most famous poems.  The fame of Scott (1771-1832) rests partly on these poems, but much more on the novels, in which he is excelled by no one.

He stay’d not for brake.  Brake, a word of Scandinavian origin, means a place overgrown with brambles; from the crackling noise they make as one passes over them.

Love swells like the Solway.  For a scene in which the rapid advance of the Solway tide is described, see the beginning of Scott’s novel of ‘Redgauntlet.’

Galliard.  A gay rollicker.  Used also in Chaucer.

Scaur.  A rough, broken ground.  The same word as scar.]

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Some time before my father had bought a small Shetland pony for us, Moggy by name, upon which we were to complete our own education in riding, we had already mastered the rudiments under the care of our grandfather’s coachman.  He had been in our family thirty years, and we were as fond of him as if he had been a relation.  He had taught us to sit up and hold the bridle, while he led a quiet old cob up and down with a leading rein.  But, now that Moggy was come, we were to make quite a new step in horsemanship.  Our parents had a theory that boys must teach themselves, and that a saddle (except for propriety, when we rode to a neighbour’s house to carry a message, or had to appear otherwise in public) was a hindrance rather than a help.  So, after our morning’s lessons, the coachman used to take us to the paddock in which Moggy lived, put her bridle on, and leave us to our own devices.  I could see that that moment was from the first one of keen enjoyment to my brother.  He would scramble up on her back, while she went on grazing—­without caring to bring her to the elm stool in the corner of the field, which was our mounting place—­pull her head up, kick his heels into her sides, and go scampering away round the paddock with the keenest delight.  He was Moggy’s master from the first day, though she not unfrequently managed to get rid of him by sharp turns, or stopping dead short in her gallop.  She knew it quite well; and, just as well, that she was mistress as soon as I was on her back.  For weeks it never came to my turn, without my wishing myself anywhere else.  George would give me a lift up, and start her.  She would trot a few yards, and then begin grazing, notwithstanding my timid expostulations and gentle pullings at her

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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