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Produced by John Bechard

Note from electronic text creator: I have compiled a word list with
definitions of most of the Scottish words found in this work at the
end of the book. This list does not belong to the original work,
but is designed to help with the conversations in broad Scots found
in this work. A further explanation of this list can be found
towards the end of this document, preceding the word list.

There are two footnotes in this book which have been renumbered and
placed at the end of the work.


By George Macdonald, LL.D.

And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.





With him there was a Ploughman, was his brother.

A trewé swinker, and a good was he,
Living in peace and perfect charity.
God loved he best with all his trewé heart,
At allé timés, were it gain or smart,
And then his neighébour right as himselve.

CHAUCER. - Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.



Of all the flowers in the mead,
Then love I roost these flowers white and rede,
Such that men callen daisies in our town.

I renne blithe
As soon as ever the sun ginneth west,
To see this flower, how it will go to rest,
For fear of night, so hateth she darkness;
Her cheer is plainly spread in the brightness
Of the sunne, for there it will unclose.

CHAUCER - Prologue to the Legend of Good Women.

"Meg! whaur are ye gaein' that get, like a wull shuttle? Come in to
the beuk."

Meg's mother stood at the cottage door, with arms akimbo and clouded
brow, calling through the boles of a little forest of fir-trees
after her daughter. One would naturally presume that the phrase she
employed, comparing her daughter's motions to those of a shuttle
that had "gane wull," or lost its way, implied that she was watching
her as she threaded her way through the trees. But although she
could not see her, the fir-wood was certainly the likeliest place
for her daughter to be in; and the figure she employed was not in
the least inapplicable to Meg's usual mode of wandering through the
trees, that operation being commonly performed in the most erratic
manner possible. It was the ordinary occupation of the first hour
of almost every day of Margaret's life. As soon as she woke in the
morning, the fir-wood drew her towards it, and she rose and went.
Through its crowd of slender pillars, she strayed hither and
thither, in an aimless manner, as if resignedly haunting the
neighbourhood of something she had lost, or, hopefully, that of a
treasure she expected one day to find.

It did not seem that she had heard her mother's call, for no
response followed; and Janet Elginbrod returned into the cottage,
where David of the same surname, who was already seated at the white
deal table with "the beuk," or large family bible before him,
straightway commenced reading a chapter in the usual routine from
the Old Testament, the New being reserved for the evening devotions.
The chapter was the fortieth of the prophet Isaiah; and as the
voice of the reader re-uttered the words of old inspiration, one
might have thought that it was the voice of the ancient prophet
himself, pouring forth the expression of his own faith in his
expostulations with the unbelief of his brethren. The chapter
finished - it is none of the shortest, and Meg had not yet
returned - the two knelt, and David prayed thus:

"O Thou who holdest the waters in the hollow of ae han', and
carriest the lambs o' thy own making in thy bosom with the other
han', it would be altogether unworthy o' thee, and o' thy Maijesty
o' love, to require o' us that which thou knowest we cannot bring
unto thee, until thou enrich us with that same. Therefore, like
thine own bairns, we boo doon afore thee, an' pray that thou wouldst
tak' thy wull o' us, thy holy an' perfect an' blessed wull o' us;
for, O God, we are a' thine ain. An' for oor lassie, wha's oot amo'
thy trees, an' wha' we dinna think forgets her Maker, though she may
whiles forget her prayers, Lord, keep her a bonnie lassie in thy
sicht, as white and clean in thy een as she is fair an' halesome in
oors; an' oh! we thank thee, Father in heaven, for giein' her to us.
An' noo, for a' oor wrang-duins an' ill-min'ins, for a' oor sins
and trespasses o' mony sorts, dinna forget them, O God, till thou
pits them a' richt, an' syne exerceese thy michty power e'en ower
thine ain sel, an' clean forget them a'thegither; cast them ahint
thy back, whaur e'en thine ain een shall ne'er see them again, that
we may walk bold an' upricht afore thee for evermore, an' see the
face o' Him wha was as muckle God in doin' thy biddin', as gin he
had been ordering' a' thing Himsel. For his sake, Ahmen."

I hope my readers will not suppose that I give this as a specimen of
Scotch prayers. I know better than that. David was an unusual man,
and his prayers were unusual prayers. The present was a little more
so in its style, from the fact that one of the subjects of it was
absent, a circumstance that rarely happened. But the degree of
difference was too small to be detected by any but those who were
quite accustomed to his forms of thought and expression. How much
of it Janet understood or sympathized with, it is difficult to say;
for anything that could be called a thought rarely crossed the
threshold of her utterance. On this occasion, the moment the prayer
was ended, she rose from her knees, smoothed down her check apron,
and went to the door; where, shading her eyes from the sun with her
hand, she peered from under its penthouse into the fir-wood, and
said in a voice softened apparently by the exercise in which she had
taken a silent share.

"Whaur can the lassie be?"

And where was the lassie? In the fir-wood, to be sure, with the
thousand shadows, and the sunlight through it all; for at this
moment the light fell upon her far in its depths, and revealed her
hastening towards the cottage in as straight a line as the trees
would permit, now blotted out by a crossing shadow, and anon radiant
in the sunlight, appearing and vanishing as she threaded the upright
warp of the fir-wood. It was morning all around her; and one might
see that it was morning within her too, as, emerging at last in the
small open space around the cottage, Margaret - I cannot call her
Meg, although her mother does - her father always called her "Maggy,
my doo," Anglicé, dove - Margaret approached her mother with a bright
healthful face, and the least possible expression of uneasiness on
her fair forehead. She carried a book in her hand.

"What gars ye gang stravaguin' that get, Meg, whan ye ken weel
eneuch ye sud a' been in to worship lang syne? An sae we maun hae
worship our lanes for want o' you, ye hizzy!"

"I didna ken it was sae late, mither," replied Margaret, in a
submissive tone, musical in spite of the rugged dialect into which
the sounds were fashioned.

"Nae dout! Ye had yer brakfast, an' ye warna that hungry for the
word. But here comes yer father, and ye'll no mend for his flytin',
I'se promise."

"Hoots! lat the bairn alane, Janet, my woman. The word'll be mair
to her afore lang."

"I wat she has a word o' her nain there. What beuk hae ye gotten
there, Meg? Whaur got ye't?"

Had it not been for the handsome binding of the book in her
daughter's hand, it would neither have caught the eye, nor roused
the suspicions of Janet. David glanced at the book in his turn, and
a faint expression of surprise, embodied chiefly in the opening of
his eyelids a little wider than usual, crossed his face. But he
only said with a smile:

"I didna ken that the tree o' knowledge, wi' sic fair fruit, grew in
our wud, Maggy, my doo."

"Whaur gat ye the beuk?" reiterated Janet.

Margaret's face was by this time the colour of the crimson boards of
the volume in her hand, but she replied at once:

"I got it frae Maister Sutherlan', I reckon."

Janet's first response was an inverted whistle; her next, another

"Maister Sutherlan'! wha's that o't?"

"Hoot, lass!" interposed David, "ye ken weel aneuch. It's the new
tutor lad, up at the hoose; a fine, douce, honest chield, an'
weel-faured, forby. Lat's see the bit beuky, lassie."

Margaret handed it to her father.

"Col-e-ridge's Poems," read David, with some difficulty.

"Tak' it hame direckly," said Janet.

"Na, na," said David; "a' the apples o' the tree o' knowledge are no
stappit wi sut an stew; an' gin this ane be, she'll sune ken by the
taste o't what's comin'. It's no muckle o' an ill beuk 'at ye'll
read, Maggy, my doo."

"Guid preserve's, man! I'm no sayin' it's an ill beuk. But it's no
richt to mak appintments wi' stranger lads i' the wud sae ear' i'
the mornin'. Is't noo, yersel, Meg?"

"Mither! mither!" said Margaret, and her eyes flashed through the
watery veil that tried to hide them, "hoo can ye? Ye ken yersel I
had nae appintment wi' him or ony man."

"Weel, weel!" said Janet; and, apparently either satisfied with or
overcome by the emotion she had excited, she turned and went in to
pursue her usual house-avocations; while David, handing the book to
his daughter, went away down the path that led from the cottage
door, in the direction of a road to be seen at a little distance
through the trees, which surrounded the cottage on all sides.
Margaret followed her mother into the cottage, and was soon as busy
as she with her share of the duties of the household; but it was a
good many minutes before the cloud caused by her mother's hasty
words entirely disappeared from a forehead which might with especial
justice be called the sky of her face.

Meantime David emerged upon the more open road, and bent his course,
still through fir-trees, towards a house for whose sake alone the
road seemed to have been constructed.



Concord between our wit and will
Where highest notes to godliness are raised,
And lowest sink not down to jot of ill.

What Languetus taught Sir Philip Sidney.

THE ARCADIA - Third Eclogue.

The House of Turriepuffit stood about a furlong from David's
cottage. It was the abode of the Laird, or landed proprietor, in
whose employment David filled several offices ordinarily distinct.
The estate was a small one, and almost entirely farmed by the owner
himself; who, with David's help, managed to turn it to good account.
Upon week-days, he appeared on horseback in a costume more fitted
for following the plough; but he did not work with his own hands;
and on Sundays was at once recognizable as a country gentleman.

David was his bailiff or grieve, to overlook the labourers on the
estate; his steward to pay them, and keep the farm accounts; his
head gardener - for little labour was expended in that direction,
there being only one lady, the mistress of the house, and she no
patroness of useless flowers: David was in fact the laird's general
adviser and executor.

The laird's family, besides the lady already mentioned, consisted
only of two boys, of the ages of eleven and fourteen, whom he wished
to enjoy the same privileges he had himself possessed, and to whom,
therefore, he was giving a classical and mathematical education, in
view of the University, by means of private tutors; the last of
whom - for the changes were not few, seeing the salary was of the
smallest - was Hugh Sutherland, the young man concerning whom David
Elginbrod has already given his opinion. But notwithstanding the
freedom he always granted his daughter, and his good opinion of Hugh
as well, David could not help feeling a little anxious, in his walk
along the road towards the house, as to what the apparent
acquaintance between her and the new tutor might evolve; but he got
rid of all the difficulty, as far as he was concerned, by saying at

"What richt hae I to interfere? even supposin' I wanted to
interfere. But I can lippen weel to my bonny doo; an' for the rest,
she maun tak' her chance like the lave o's. An' wha' kens but it
micht jist be stan'in' afore Him, i' the very get that He meant to
gang. The Lord forgie me for speakin' o' chance, as gin I believed
in ony sic havers. There's no fear o' the lassie. Gude mornin'
t'ye, Maister Sutherlan'. That's a braw beuk o' ballants ye gae the
len' o' to my Maggy, this mornin', sir."

Sutherland was just entering a side-door of the house when David
accosted him. He was not old enough to keep from blushing at
David's words; but, having a good conscience, he was ready with a
good answer.

"It's a good book, Mr. Elginbrod. It will do her no harm, though it
be ballads."

"I'm in no dreed o' that, sir. Bairns maun hae ballants. An', to
tell the truth, sir, I'm no muckle mair nor a bairn in that respeck
mysel'. In fac, this verra mornin', at the beuk, I jist thocht I
was readin' a gran' godly ballant, an' it soundet nane the waur for
the notion o't."

"You should have been a poet yourself, Mr. Elginbrod."

"Na, na; I ken naething aboot yer poetry. I hae read auld John
Milton ower an' ower, though I dinna believe the half o't; but, oh!
weel I like some o' the bonny bitties at the en' o't."

"Il Penseroso, for instance?"

"Is that hoo ye ca't? I ken't weel by the sicht, but hardly by the
soun'. I aye missed the name o't, an' took to the thing itsel'.
Eh, man! - I beg yer pardon, sir - but its wonnerfu' bonny!"

"I'll come in some evening, and we'll have a chat about it," replied
Sutherland. "I must go to my work now."

"We'll a' be verra happy to see you, sir. Good mornin', sir."

"Good morning."

David went to the garden, where there was not much to be done in the
way of education at this season of the year; and Sutherland to the
school-room, where he was busy, all the rest of the morning and part
of the afternoon, with Caesar and Virgil, Algebra and Euclid; food
upon which intellectual babes are reared to the stature of college

Sutherland was himself only a youth; for he had gone early to
college, and had not yet quite completed the curriculum. He was now
filling up with teaching, the recess between his third and his
fourth winter at one of the Aberdeen Universities. He was the son
of an officer, belonging to the younger branch of a family of some
historic distinction and considerable wealth. This officer, though
not far removed from the estate and title as well, had nothing to
live upon but his half-pay; for, to the disgust of his family, he
had married a Welsh girl of ancient descent, in whose line the
poverty must have been at least coeval with the history, to judge
from the perfection of its development in the case of her father;
and his relations made this the excuse for quarrelling with him; so
relieving themselves from any obligations they might have been
supposed to lie under, of rendering him assistance of some sort or
other. This, however, rather suited the temperament of Major Robert
Sutherland, who was prouder in his poverty than they in their
riches. So he disowned them for ever, and accommodated himself,
with the best grace in the world, to his yet more straitened
circumstances. He resolved, however, cost what it might in pinching
and squeezing, to send his son to college before turning him out to
shift for himself. In this Mrs. Sutherland was ready to support him
to the utmost; and so they had managed to keep their boy at college
for three sessions; after the last of which, instead of returning
home, as he had done on previous occasions, he had looked about him
for a temporary engagement as tutor, and soon found the situation he
now occupied in the family of William Glasford, Esq., of
Turriepuffit, where he intended to remain no longer than the
commencement of the session, which would be his fourth and last. To
what he should afterwards devote himself he had by no means made up
his mind, except that it must of necessity be hard work of some kind
or other. So he had at least the virtue of desiring to be
independent. His other goods and bads must come out in the course
of the story. His pupils were rather stupid and rather
good-natured; so that their temperament operated to confirm their
intellectual condition, and to render the labour of teaching them
considerably irksome. But he did his work tolerably well, and was
not so much interested in the result as to be pained at the moderate
degree of his success. At the time of which I write, however, the
probability as to his success was scarcely ascertained, for he had
been only a fortnight at the task.

It was the middle of the month of April, in a rather backward
season. The weather had been stormy, with frequent showers of sleet
and snow. Old winter was doing his best to hold young Spring back
by the skirts of her garment, and very few of the wild flowers had
yet ventured to look out of their warm beds in the mould.
Sutherland, therefore, had made but few discoveries in the
neighbourhood. Not that the weather would have kept him to the
house, had he had any particular desire to go out; but, like many
other students, he had no predilection for objectless exertion, and
preferred the choice of his own weather indoors, namely, from books
and his own imaginings, to an encounter with the keen blasts of the
North, charged as they often were with sharp bullets of hail. When
the sun did shine out between the showers, his cold glitter upon the
pools of rain or melted snow, and on the wet evergreens and gravel
walks, always drove him back from the window with a shiver. The
house, which was of very moderate size and comfort, stood in the
midst of plantations, principally of Scotch firs and larches, some
of the former old and of great growth, so that they had arrived at
the true condition of the tree, which seems to require old age for
the perfection of its idea. There was very little to be seen from
the windows except this wood, which, somewhat gloomy at almost any
season, was at the present cheerless enough; and Sutherland found it
very dreary indeed, as exchanged for the wide view from his own home
on the side of an open hill in the Highlands.

In the midst of circumstances so uninteresting, it is not to be
wondered at, that the glimpse of a pretty maiden should, one
morning, occasion him some welcome excitement. Passing downstairs
to breakfast, he observed the drawing-room door ajar, and looked in
to see what sort of a room it was; for so seldom was it used that he
had never yet entered it. There stood a young girl, peeping, with
mingled curiosity and reverence, into a small gilt-leaved volume,
which she had lifted from the table by which she stood. He watched
her for a moment with some interest; when she, seeming to become
mesmerically aware that she was not alone, looked up, blushed
deeply, put down the book in confusion, and proceeded to dust some
of the furniture. It was his first sight of Margaret. Some of the
neighbours were expected to dinner, and her aid was in requisition
to get the grand room of the house prepared for the occasion. He
supposed her to belong to the household, till, one day, feeling
compelled to go out for a stroll, he caught sight of her so occupied
at the door of her father's cottage, that he perceived at once that
must be her home: she was, in fact, seated upon a stool, paring
potatoes. She saw him as well, and, apparently ashamed at the
recollection of having been discovered idling in the drawing-room,
rose and went in. He had met David once or twice about the house,
and, attracted by his appearance, had had some conversation with
him; but he did not know where he lived, nor that he was the father
of the girl whom he had seen.



Dear secret Greenness, nursed below
Tempests and winds and winter nights!
Vex not that but one sees thee grow;
That One made all these lesser lights.


It was, of course, quite by accident that Sutherland had met
Margaret in the fir-wood. The wind had changed during the night,
and swept all the clouds from the face of the sky; and when he
looked out in the morning, he saw the fir-tops waving in the
sunlight, and heard the sound of a south-west wind sweeping through
them with the tune of running waters in its course. It is a
well-practised ear that can tell whether the sound it hears be that
of gently falling waters, or of wind flowing through the branches of
firs. Sutherland's heart, reviving like a dormouse in its hole,
began to be joyful at the sight of the genial motions of Nature,
telling of warmth and blessedness at hand. Some goal of life, vague
but sure, seemed to glimmer through the appearances around him, and
to stimulate him to action. Be dressed in haste, and went out to
meet the Spring. He wandered into the heart of the wood. The
sunlight shone like a sunset upon the red trunks and boughs of the
old fir-trees, but like the first sunrise of the world upon the new
green fringes that edged the young shoots of the larches. High up,
hung the memorials of past summers in the rich brown tassels of the
clustering cones; while the ground under foot was dappled with
sunshine on the fallen fir-needles, and the great fallen cones which
had opened to scatter their autumnal seed, and now lay waiting for
decay. Overhead, the tops whence they had fallen, waved in the
wind, as in welcome of the Spring, with that peculiar swinging
motion which made the poets of the sixteenth century call them
"sailing pines." The wind blew cool, but not cold; and was filled
with a delicious odour from the earth, which Sutherland took as a
sign that she was coming alive at last. And the Spring he went out
to meet, met him. For, first, at the foot of a tree, he spied a
tiny primrose, peeping out of its rough, careful leaves; and he
wondered how, by any metamorphosis, such leaves could pass into such
a flower. Had he seen the mother of the next spring-messenger he
was about to meet, the same thought would have returned in another
form. For, next, as he passed on with the primrose in his hand,
thinking it was almost cruel to pluck it, the Spring met him, as if
in her own shape, in the person of Margaret, whom he spied a little
way off, leaning against the stem of a Scotch fir, and looking up to
its top swaying overhead in the first billows of the outburst ocean
of life. He went up to her with some shyness; for the presence of
even a child-maiden was enough to make Sutherland shy - partly from
the fear of startling her shyness, as one feels when drawing near a
couching fawn. But she, when she heard his footsteps, dropped her
eyes slowly from the tree-top, and, as if she were in her own
sanctuary, waited his approach. He said nothing at first, but
offered her, instead of speech, the primrose he had just plucked,
which she received with a smile of the eyes only, and the sweetest
"thank you, sir," he had ever heard. But while she held the
primrose in her hand, her eyes wandered to the book which, according
to his custom, Sutherland had caught up as he left the house. It
was the only well-bound book in his possession; and the eyes of
Margaret, not yet tutored by experience, naturally expected an
entrancing page within such beautiful boards; for the gayest
bindings she had seen, were those of a few old annuals up at the
house - and were they not full of the most lovely tales and pictures?
In this case, however, her expectation was not vain; for the volume
was, as I have already disclosed, Coleridge's Poems.

Seeing her eyes fixed upon the book - "Would you like to read it?"
said he.

"If you please, sir," answered Margaret, her eyes brightening with
the expectation of deliglit.

"Are you fond of poetry?"

Her face fell. The only poetry she knew was the Scotch Psalms and
Paraphrases, and such last-century verses as formed the chief part
of the selections in her school-books; for this was a very retired
parish, and the newer books had not yet reached its school. She had
hoped chiefly for tales.

"I dinna ken much about poetry," she answered, trying to speak
English. "There's an old book o't on my father's shelf; but the
letters o't are auld-fashioned, an' I dinna care aboot it."

"But this is quite easy to read, and very beautiful," said Hugh.

The girl's eyes glistened for a moment, and this was all her reply.

"Would you like to read it?" resumed Hugh, seeing no further answer
was on the road.

She held out her hand towards the volume. When he, in his turn,

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