페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

like it: and wherefore might not Solomon, the wise king of the Jews, have sent' thither his ships and his servants for four hundred and fifty talents? I hope he knew best where to go or send, and I hope you believe in your Bible,

Baby?

Baby was silenced by an appeal to Scripture, however mal-a-propos, and only answered by an inarticulate humph of incredulity or scorn, while her brother went on addressing Mordaunt. Yes, you shall all of you see what a change shall coin introduce, even into such an unpropitious country as yours. Ye have not heard of copper, I warrant, or of iron-stone, in these islands neither?Mordaunt said he had heard there was copper near the cliffs of Konigsburgh. Ay, and a copper scụm is found on the Loch of Swana too, young man.

But the youngest of you, doubtless, thinks himself a match for such as I am.”

Baby; who during all this while had been closely and accurately reconnoitering the youth's person, now interposed in a manner by her brother totally unexpected. “ Ye had mair need, Mr Yellowley, to give the young man some dry clothes, and to see about getting something for him to eat, than to sit there bleezing away with your lang tales, as if the weather were not windy enow without your help ; and maybe the lad would drink some bland, or sicklike, if ye had the grace to ask him.”

While Triptolemus stood astonished at such a proposal, considering the quarter it came from, Mordaunt answered, he “would be very glad to have dry clothes, but begged to be excused from drinking until he had eaten somewhat."

Triptolemus accordingly conducted him into another apartment, and accommodating him with a change of dress, left him to his arrangements, while he himself returned to the kitchen, much puzzled to account for his sister's unusual fit of hospitality. “ She must be fey,”* he said, " and in that case has not long to live, and though I fall heir to her tocher-good, I am sorry for it; for she has held the house-gear well together — drawn the girth over tight it may be now and then, but the saddle sits the better.”

* When a person changes hís condition suddenly, as when a miser becomes liberal, or a churl good-humoured, he is said, in Scots, to be fey; that is, predestined to speedy death, of which such mutations of humour are received as a sure indication.

When Triptolemus returned to the kitchen, he found his suspicions confirmed, for his sister was in the desperate action of consigning to the pot a smoked goose, which, with others of the same tribe, had long hung in the large chimney, muttering to herself at the same time, -" It maun be eaten sune or syne, and what for no by the puir callant.” “ What is this of it, sister?” said Triptole

“ You have on the girdle and the pot at

What day is this wi' you?” - E'en such a day as the Israelites had beside the flesh-pots of Egypt, billie Triptolemus ; but ye little ken wha ye have in your house this blessed day."

« Troth, and little I do ken,” said Triptolemus, as little

as I would ken the naig I never saw before. I would take the lad for a yagger, but he has rather ower good havings, and he has no pack.

mus.

ance.

Ye ken as little as ane of your ain bits of nout, man,” retorted sister Baby; “if ye ken na him, do ye ken Tronda Dronsdaughter ?”

“ Tronda Dronsdaughter ?” echoed Triptolemus—“ how should I but ken her, when I pay her twal pennies Scots by the day, for working in the house here? I trow she works as if the things burned her fingers. I had better give a Scots lass a groat of English siller.”

“And that's the maist sensible word ye have said this blessed morning.--Weel, but Tronda kens this lad weel, and she has often spoke to me about him. They call his father the Silent Man of Sumburgh, and they say he's uncanny.”

“Hout, hout-nonsense, nonsense—they are aye at sic trash as that,” said the brother," when you want a day's wark out of them—they have stepped ower the tangs, or they have met an uncanny body, or they have turned about the boat against the sun, and then there's nought to be done that day.”

Weel, weel, brother, ye are so wise,” said Baby, “ because ye knapped Latin at Saint Andrews; and can your lair tell me then what the lad has round his halse ?”

“ A Barcelona napkin, as wet as a dishclout; and I have just lent him one of my own overlays," said Triptolemus.

“ A Barcelona napkin !” said Baby, elevating her voice, and then suddenly lowering it, as from apprehension of being overheard —" I say a gold chain.'

“A gold chain !” said Triptolemus.

“ In troth is it, hinny; and how like you that? The folk say here, as Tronda tells me, that the King of the Drows gave it to his father, the Silent Man of Sumburgh.”

I wish you would speak sense, or be the silent woman,” said Triptolemus.

“ The upshot of it all is, then, that this lad is the rich strana ger's son, and that you are giving him the goose you were to keep till Michaelmas.”

Troth, brother, we maun do something for God's sake, and to make friends; and the lad," added Baby, (for even she was not altogether above the prejudices of her sex in favour of outward form,)“ has a fair face of his ain."

« 이전계속 »