“And where’ll she be now?” says I.
“Gude kens!” says Doig, with a shrug.
“She’ll have gone home to Lady Allardyce, I’m thinking,” said I.
“That’ll be it,” said he.
“Then I’ll gang there straight,” says I.
“But ye’ll be for a bite or ye go?” said he.
“Neither bite nor sup,” said I. “I had a good waucht of milk in by Ratho.”
“Aweel, aweel,” says Doig. “But ye’ll can leave your horse here and your bags, for it seems we’re to have your up-put.”
“Na, na,” said I. “Tamson’s mear would never be the thing for me, this day of all days.”
Doig speaking somewhat broad, I had been led by imitation into an accent much more countrified than I was usually careful to affect, a good deal broader indeed than I have written it down; and I was the more ashamed when another voice joined in behind me with a scrap of a ballad:
“Gae saddle me the bonny
Gae saddle sune and mak’ him ready,
For I will down the Gatehope-slack,
And a’ to see my bonny leddy.”
The young lady, when I turned to her, stood in a morning gown, and her hands muffled in the same, as if to hold me at a distance. Yet I could not but think there was kindness in the eye with which she saw me.
“My best respects to you, Mistress Grant,” said I bowing.
“The like to yourself, Mr. David,” she replied, with a deep courtesy, “And I beg to remind you of an old musty saw, that meat and mass never hindered man. The mass I cannot afford you, for we are all good Protestants. But the meat I press on your attention. And I would not wonder but I could find something for your private ear that would be worth the stopping for.”
“Mistress Grant,” said I, “I believe I am already your debtor for some merry words—and I think they were kind too—on a piece of unsigned paper.”
“Unsigned paper?” says she, and made a droll face, which was likewise wondrous beautiful, as of one trying to remember.
“Or else I am the more deceived,” I went on. “But to be sure, we shall have the time to speak of these, since your father is so good as to make me for a while your inmate; and the gomeral begs you at this time only for the favour of his liberty.”
“You give yourself hard names,” said she.
“Mr. Doig and I would be blythe to take harder at your clever pen,” says I.
“Once more I have to admire the discretion of all men-folk,” she replied. “But if you will not eat, off with you at once; you will be back the sooner, for you go on a fool’s errand. Off with you, Mr. David,” she continued, opening the door.
“He has lowpen on his
He rade the richt gate and the ready;
I trow he would neither stint nor stay,
Far he was seeking his bonny leddy.”
I did not wait to be twice bidden, and did justice to Miss Grant’s citation on the way to Dean.