“The one cannot be without the other,” said she.
“I will even try,” said I.
“And what will you be thinking of myself?” she cried, “to be holding my hand to the first stranger!”
“I am thinking nothing but that you are a good daughter,” said I.
“I must not be without repaying it,” she said; “where is it you stop?”
“To tell the truth, I am stopping nowhere yet,” said I, “being not full three hours in the city; but if you will give me your direction, I will be so bold as come seeking my sixpence for myself.”
“Will I can trust you for that?” she asked.
“You have little fear,” said I.
“James More could not bear it else,” said she. “I stop beyond the village of Dean, on the north side of the water, with Mrs. Drummond-Ogilvy of Allardyce, who is my near friend and will be glad to thank you.”
“You are to see me then, so soon as what I have to do permits,” said I; and the remembrance of Alan rolling in again upon my mind, I made haste to say farewell.
I could not but think, even as I did so, that we had made extraordinary free upon short acquaintance, and that a really wise young lady would have shown herself more backward. I think it was the bank-porter that put me from this ungallant train of thought.
“I thoucht ye had been a lad of some kind o’ sense,” he began, shooting out his lips. “Ye’re no likely to gang far this gate. A fule and his siller’s shune parted. Eh, but ye’re a green callant!” he cried, “an’ a veecious, tae! Cleikin’ up wi’ baubee-joes!”
“If you dare to speak of the young lady ...” I began.
“Leddy!” he cried. “Haud us and safe us, whatten leddy? Ca’ thon a leddy? The toun’s fu’ o’ them. Leddies! Man, it’s weel seen ye’re no very acquant in Embro’!”
A clap of anger took me.
“Here,” said I, “lead me where I told you, and keep your foul mouth shut!”
He did not wholly obey me, for though he no more addressed me directly, he sang at me as he went in a very impudent manner of innuendo, and with an exceedingly ill voice and ear—
“As Mally Lee cam doun
the street, her capuchin did flee.
She cuist a look ahint her to see her negligee,
And we’re a’ gaun east and wast, we’re a’ gaun ajee,
We’re a’ gaun east and wast courtin’ Mally Lee.”
* * * * *
THE HIGHLAND WRITER
Mr. Charles Stewart the Writer dwelt at the top of the longest stair that ever mason set a hand to; fifteen flights of it, no less; and when I had come to his door, and a clerk had opened it, and told me his master was within, I had scarce breath enough to send my porter packing.
“Awa’ east and wast wi’ ye!” said I, took the money bag out of his hands, and followed the clerk in.