A STIR IN LOWWOOD
“My! Div you ken what has happened?” asked Mrs. Johnstone, bursting in upon Mrs. Sinclair one day about two weeks later. “My, it’s awfu’!” she continued in breathless excitement, her head wagging and nodding with every word, as if to emphasize it, her eyes almost jumping out with excitement, and her whole appearance showing that she had got hold of a piece of information which was of the first importance. “My, it’s awfu’,” she repeated again lifting her hands up to a level with her breast, and then letting them fall again, “Mysie Maitland has ran away frae her place, an’ naebidy kens where she has gane to. An’ Mrs. Rundell, mind you, has been that guid to her too, givin’ her her caps an’ aprons, an’ whiles buyin’ her a bit dress length forby, an’ she gi’ed her boots and slippers, an’ a whole lot o’ ither things to tak’ hame for the bairns—things that were owre wee for the weans at Rundell Hoose but were quite guid to wear. My, it’s awfu’! Isn’t it?”
“Mysie Maitland!” exclaimed Mrs. Sinclair in astonishment. “When did this happen? Where has she gane? Are you sure you hinna made a mistake?” and Mrs. Sinclair was all excitement, hanging in breathless anxiety upon the tidings her neighbor brought.
“I hae made nae mistake, Nellie Sinclair,” returned Leezie, “for it was her ain mother wha telt me the noo. I was at the store, an’ when I was comin’ hame I met Jenny hersel’ gaun awa’ tae Rundell Hoose. She was greetin’ an’ I couldna’ get oot o’ spierin’ at her what was wrang, an’ she telt me her ain self.”
“You dinna mean tae tell me that Mysie Maitland has disappeared? In the name o’ a’ that’s guid, what has happened to bring aboot sic news?”
“Aye, it’s true, Nellie,” replied Mrs. Johnstone, feeling very important now that she knew Mrs. Sinclair had not heard the news.
“When did this happen?” asked the latter, still incredulous. “Are you sure that’s true? Dear me! I dinna ken what the world’s comin’ to at a’!”
“Ay, it’s awfu’! But it’s true. You never ken what thae quate kin’ o’ modest folk will dae. They look that bashfu’ that butter wadna’ melt in their mouths; an’ a’ the time they are just as like to gang wrang as ither folk.”
“But wha said Mysie Maitland has gang wrang?” enquired Mrs. Sinclair, flaring up in Mysie’s defense. “I wadna’ believe it, though you went down on your bended knees to tell me. A modester, weel-doin’ lassie never lived in this place!”
“Weel, I dinna ken whether she has gane wrang or not; but she has ran awa’, an’ it is gey suspeecious conduct that for ony lassie that is weel-doin’. She is jist like the rest of folk.”
“It canna’ be true,” said Mrs. Sinclair, still unable to believe the news. “I canna’ take it in.”