‘Ye’re hame suner nor ye intended,’ said Mrs. Robinson, during tea, which was partaken of without Mr. Robinson, who was ‘extra busy’ over munitions. ‘Was Miss Tod wantin’ ye?’
‘Macgreegor was wantin’ her,’ piped Jimsie. ‘So was I.’
‘Whisht, Jimsie,’ Jeannie murmured, blushing more than Christina.
‘We jist got hame frae Rothesay last nicht,’ said Mrs. Robinson, ‘so we ha’ena seen the laddie for a while.’
‘He hasna wrote this week,’ remarked Jeannie. ’But of course you’ll ha’e heard frae him, Christina’—this with respectful diffidence.
‘He’s been busy at the shooting’ Christina replied, wishing she had more news to give.
‘I wisht I had a gun,’ observed Jimsie. ’I wud shoot the whuskers aff auld Tirpy. Jings, I wud that!’
‘Dinna boast,’ said his mother.
‘What wud you shoot, Christina, if you had a gun?’
‘I think I wud practise on a cocoa-nut, Jimsie,’ she said, with a small laugh.
After tea Mrs. Robinson took Christina into the parlour while Jeannie tidied up. Presently the door bell rang, and Jimsie rushed to meet the postman.
‘It’s for Macgreegor,’ he announced, returning and handing a parcel to his mother.
‘I wonder wha’s sendin’ the laddie socks,’ she said, feeling it. ‘I best open it an’ put his name on them. Maybe they’re frae Mistress McOstrich.’ She removed the string and brown paper. ’Vera nice socks—– a wee thing to the lairge side—but vera nice socks, indeed. But wha——’
‘Here’s a letter!’ cried Jimsie, extracting a half-sheet of white paper from the crumpled brown, and giving it to his dear Christina.
In bold, untidy writing she read—
‘With fondest love from Maggie.’
PITY THE POOR PARENTS!
‘It’s a peety Macgreegor didna see his intended the nicht,’ Mr. Robinson observed when his son, after a couple of hours at the parental hearth, had gone to bed, ‘but we canna help trains bein’ late.’
Mrs. Robinson felt that it was perhaps just as well the two young people had not met that night, but refrained from saying so. ’Hoo dae ye think Macgreegor’s lookin,’ John?’ she asked after a pause.
‘I didna notice onything wrang wi’ him. He hadna a great deal to say for hissel’; but that’s naething new. Queer hoo a noisy, steerin’ wean like he was, grows into a quiet, douce young man.’
‘He’s maybe no as douce as ye think,’ said Lizzie under her breath.
‘Naething, John.’ She sighed heavily.
‘What’s wrang, wife?’
‘I was wishin’ we had a niece called Maggie. . . . I suppose it’s nae use askin’ if ye ever heard o’ Macgreegor ha’ein’ an acquaintance o’ that name.’
’Maggie? Weel, it’s no what ye would call a unique name. But what——’