Mrs. Garth’s first impulse was to shame her adversary out of her warlike attitude with a little biting banter. Curling her lip, she said not very relevantly to the topic in hand, “They’ve telt me yer a famous sweethearter, Liza.”
“That’s mair nor iver you could have been,” retorted the girl, who always dropt into the homespun of the country side in degree as she became excited.
“Yer gitten ower slape, a deal ower slippery,” said Mrs. Garth. “I always told my Joey as he’d have to throw ye up, and I’m fair pleased to see he’s taken me at my word.”
“Oh, he has, has he?” said Liza, rising near to boiling point at the imputation of being the abandoned sweetheart of the blacksmith. “I always said as ye could bang them all at leein. I would not have your Joey if his lips were droppin’ honey and his pockets droppin’ gold. Nothing would hire me to do it. Joey indeed!” added Liza, with a vision of the blacksmith’s sanguine head rising before her, “why, you might light a candle at his poll.”
Mrs. Garth’s banter was not calculated to outlast this kind of assault. Rising to her feet, she said: “Weel, thou’rt a rare yan, I will say. Yer ower fond o’ red ribbons, laal thing. It’s aff with her apron and on with her bonnet, iv’ry chance. I reckon ye’d like a silk gown, ye wad.”
“Never mind my clothes,” said Liza. Mrs. Garth gave her no time to say more, for, at the full pitch of indignation, she turned to Rotha, and added: “And ye’re a rare pauchtie damsel. Ye might have been bred at Court, you as can’t muck a byre.”
“Go home to bed, old Cuddy Garth,” said Liza, “and sup more poddish, and take some of the wrinkles out of your wizzent skin.”
“Setting yer cap at the Rays boys,” continued Mrs. Garth, “but it’ll be all of no use to ye, mark my word. Old Angus never made a will, and the law’ll do all the willin’, ye’ll see.”
“Don’t proddle up yon matter again, woman,” said Liza.
“And dunnet ye threep me down. I’ll serve ye all out, and soon too.”
Mrs. Garth had now reached the porch. She had by this time forgotten her visit of consolation and the poor invalid, who lay on the bed gazing vacantly at her angry countenance.
“Good evening, Sarah,” cried Liza, with an air of provoking familiarity. “May you live all the days o’ your life!”
Mrs. Garth was gone by this time.
Rotha stood perplexed, and looked after her as she disappeared down the lonnin. Liza burst into a prolonged fit of uproarious laughter.
“Hush, Liza; I’m afraid she means mischief.”
“The old witch-wife!” cried Liza. “If tempers were up at the Lion for sale, what a fortune yon woman’s would fetch!”
THE THREATENED OUTLAWRY.
Rotha’s apprehension of mischief, either as a result of Mrs. Garth’s menace or as having occasioned it, was speedily to find realization.