A glow of pleasure mantled in Margaret’s face at her mother’s praise of Hugh. Janet went on:
“But I was jist clean affronted wi’ the way ’at the young chields behaved themselves till him.”
“I thocht I heard a toot-moot o’ that kin’ afore I left, but I thocht it better to tak’ nae notice o’t. I’ll be wi’ ye a’ day the morn though, an’ I’m thinkin’ I’ll clap a rouch han’ on their mou’s ’at I hear ony mair o’t frae.”
But there was no occasion for interference on David’s part. Hugh made his appearance—not, it is true, with the earliest in the hairst-rig, but after breakfast with the laird, who was delighted with the way in which he had handled his scythe the day before, and felt twice the respect for him in consequence. It must be confessed he felt very stiff, but the best treatment for stiffness being the homoeopathic one of more work, he had soon restored the elasticity of his muscles, and lubricated his aching joints. His antagonist of the foregoing evening was nowhere to be seen; and the rest of the young men were shame-faced and respectful enough.
David, having learned from some of the spectators the facts of the combat, suddenly, as they were walking home together, held out his hand to Hugh, shook his hard, and said:
“Mr. Sutherlan’, I’m sair obleeged to ye for giein’ that vratch, Jamie Ogg, a guid doonsettin’. He’s a coorse crater; but the warst maun hae meat, an’ sae I didna like to refeese him when he cam for wark. But its a greater kin’ness to clout him nor to cleed him. They say ye made an awfu’ munsie o’ him. But it’s to be houpit he’ll live to thank ye. There’s some fowk ’at can respeck no airgument but frae steekit neives; an’ it’s fell cruel to haud it frae them, gin ye hae’t to gie them. I hae had eneuch ado to haud my ain han’s aff o’ the ted, but it comes a hantle better frae you, Mr. Sutherlan’.”
Hugh wielded the scythe the whole of the harvest, and Margaret gathered to him. By the time it was over, leading-home and all, he measured an inch less about the waist, and two inches more about the shoulders; and was as brown as a berry, and as strong as an ox, or “owse,” as David called it, when thus describing Mr. Sutherland’s progress in corporal development; for he took a fatherly pride in the youth, to whom, at the same time, he looked up with submission, as his master in learning.
A change and no change.
Affliction, when I know it, is but this—
A deep alloy, whereby man tougher is
To bear the hammer; and the deeper still,
We still arise more image of his will.
Sickness—an humorous cloud ’twist us and light;
And death, at longest, but another night.
Man is his own star; and that soul that can
Be honest, is the only perfect Man.
John Fletcher.—Upon an Honest Man’s Fortune.