consequence; and if he should be unable to do his morning's duty,
it would almost break his heart.
"Eh!" said the Partaness, in a whisper, as they parted at Duncan's
door, "a baad temper 's a frichtsome thing. I'm sure the times I
hae telled him it wad be the ruin o' 'im!"
To Malcolm's gentle knock Miss Horn's door was opened by Jean.
"What d'ye wint at sic an oontimeous hoor," she said, "whan honest
fowk's a' i' their nicht caips?"
"I want to see Miss Horn, gien ye please," he answered.
"I s' warran' she'll be in her bed an' snorin'," said Jean; "but
I s' gang an' see."
Ere she went, however, Jean saw that the kitchen door was closed,
for, whether she belonged to the class "honest folk" or not, Mrs
Catanach was in Miss Horn's kitchen, and not in her nightcap.
Jean returned presently with an invitation for Malcolm to walk up
to the parlour.
"I hae gotten a sma' mishanter, Miss Horn," he said, as he entered:
"an I thocht I cudna du better than come to you, 'cause ye can haud
yer tongue, an' that's mair nor mony ane the port o' Portlossie
The compliment, correct in fact as well as honest in intent, was
not thrown away on Miss Horn, to whom it was the more pleasing
that she could regard it as a just tribute. Malcolm told her all
the story, rousing thereby a mighty indignation in her bosom, a
great fire in her hawk nose, and a succession of wild flashes in
her hawk eyes; but when he showed her his hand,
"Lord, Malcolm!" she cried; "it's a mercy I was made wantin'
feelin's, or I cudna hae bed the sicht. My puir bairn!"
Then she rushed to the stair and shouted,
"Jean, ye limmer! Jean! Fess some het watter, an' some linen cloots."
"I hae nane o' naither," replied Jean from the bottom of the stair.
"Mak up the fire an' put on some watter direckly. - I s' fin' some
clooties," she added, turning to Malcolm, "gien I sud rive the
tail frae my best Sunday sark."
She returned with rags enough for a small hospital, and until the
grumbling Jean brought the hot water, they sat and talked in the
glimmering light of one long beaked tallow candle.
"It's a terrible hoose, yon o' Lossie," said Miss Horn; "and there's
been terrible things dune intill't. The auld markis was an ill man.
I daurna say what he wadna hae dune, gien half the tales be true
'at they tell o' 'im; an' the last ane was little better. This
ane winna be sae ill, but it's clear 'at he's tarred wi' the same
"I dinna think he means onything muckle amiss," agreed Malcolm,
whose wrath had by this time subsided a little, through the quieting
influences of Miss Horn's sympathy. "He's mair thouchtless, I do
believe, than ill contrived - an' a' for 's fun. He spak unco kin'
like to me, efterhin, but I cudna accep' it, ye see, efter the w'y
he had saired my daddy. But wadna ye hae thoucht he was auld eneuch
to ken better by this time?"
"An auld fule 's the warst fule ava'," said Miss Horn. "But naething
o' that kin', be 't as mad an' pranksome as ever sic ploy could be,
is to be made mention o' aside the things at was mutit (muttered)
o' 's brither. I budena come ower them till a young laad like
yersel'. They war never said straucht oot, min' ye, but jist mintit
at, like, wi' a doon draw o' the broos, an' a wee side shak o' the
heid, as gien the body wad say, 'I cud tell ye gien I daur.' But
I doobt mysel' gien onything was kent, though muckle was mair nor
suspeckit. An' whaur there 's reik, there maun be fire."
As she spoke she was doing her best, with many expressions of pity,
for his hand. When she had bathed and bound it up, and laid it in
a sling, he wished her goodnight.
Arrived at home he found, to his dismay, that things had not been
going well. Indeed, while yet several houses off he had heard the
voices of the Partan's wife and his grandfather in fierce dispute.
The old man was beside himself with anxiety about Malcolm; and the
woman, instead of soothing him, was opposing everything he said,
and irritating him frightfully. The moment he entered, each opened
a torrent of accusations against the other, and it was with difficulty
that Malcolm prevailed on the woman to go home. The presence of his
boy soon calmed the old man, however, and he fell into a troubled
sleep - in which Malcolm, who sat by his bed all night, heard
him, at intervals, now lamenting over the murdered of Glenco, now
exulting in a stab that had reached the heart of Glenlyon, and now
bewailing his ruined bagpipes. At length towards morning he grew
quieter, and Malcolm fell asleep in his chair.
CHAPTER XX: ADVANCES
When he woke, Duncan still slept, and Malcolm having got ready some
tea for his grandfather's, and a little brose for his own breakfast,
sat down again by the bedside, and awaited the old man's waking. The
first sign of it that reached him was the feebly uttered question,
- "Will ta tog be tead, Malcolm?"
"As sure 's ye stabbit him," answered Malcolm.
"Then she 'll pe getting herself ready," said Duncan, making a
motion to rise.
"What for, daddy?"
"For ta hanging, my son," answered Duncan coolly.
"Time eneuch for that, daddy, whan they sen' to tell ye," returned
Malcolm, cautious of revealing the facts of the case.
"Ferry coot!" said Duncan, and fell asleep again.
In a little while he woke with a start.
"She 'll be hafing an efil tream, my son Malcolm," he said; "or it
was 'll pe more than a tream. Cawmill of Clenlyon, Cod curse him!
came to her pedside; and he'll say to her, 'MacDhonuill,' he said,
for pein' a tead man he would pe knowing my name, - 'MacDhonuill,'
he said, 'what tid you'll pe meaning py turking my posterity?' And
she answered and said to him, 'I pray it had peen yourself, you
tamned Clenlyon.' And he said to me, 'It 'll pe no coot wishing tat;
it would be toing you no coot to turk me, for I'm a tead man.' -
'And a tamned man,' says herself, and would haf taken him py ta
troat, put she couldn't mofe. 'Well, I'm not so sure of tat,' says
he, 'for I 'fe pecked all teir partons.' - 'And tid tey gif tem
to you, you tog?' says herself. - 'Well, I'm not sure,' says he;
'anyhow, I'm not tamned fery much yet.' - 'She'll pe much sorry
to hear it,' says herself. And she took care aalways to pe calling
him some paad name, so tat he shouldn't say she 'll be forgifing
him, whatever ta rest of tem might be toing. 'Put what troubles
me,' says he, 'it 'll not pe apout myself at aall.' - 'Tat 'll
pe a wonter,' says her nain sel': 'and what may it pe apout, you
cuttroat?' - 'It 'll pe apout yourself,' says he. 'Apout herself?'
- 'Yes; apout yourself' says he. 'I'm sorry for you - for ta ting
tat's to pe tone with him tat killed a man aal pecaase he pore my
name, and he wasn't a son of mine at aall! Tere is no pot in hell
teep enough to put him in!' - 'Ten tey must make haste and tig
one,' says herself; 'for she 'll pe hangt in a tay or two.' - So
she 'll wake up, and beholt it was a tream!"
"An' no sic an ill dream efter a', daddy!" said Malcolm.
"Not an efil tream, my son, when it makes her aalmost wish that
she hadn't peen quite killing ta tog! Last night she would haf made
a puoy of his skin like any other tog's skin, and totay - no, my
son, it wass a fery efil tream. And to be tolt tat ta creat tefil,
Clenlyon herself, was not fery much tamned! - it wass a fery efil
tream, my son."
"Weel, daddy - maybe ye 'll tak it for ill news, but ye killed
"Tid she'll not trive her turk into ta tog?" cried Duncan fiercely.
"Och hone! och hone! - Then she 's ashamed of herself for efer,
when she might have tone it. And it 'll hafe to be tone yet!"
He paused a few moments, and then resumed:
"And she'll not pe coing to be hangt? - Maype tat will pe petter,
for you wouldn't hafe liket to see your olt cranfather to pe hangt,
Malcolm, my son. Not tat she would hafe minted it herself in such
a coot caause, Malcolm! Put she tidn't pe fery happy after she
tid think she had tone it, for you see he wasn't ta fery man his
ownself, and tat must pe counted. But she tid kill something: what
was it, Malcolm?"
"Ye sent a gran' dish fleein'," answered Malcolm. "I s' warran' it
cost a poun', to jeedge by the gowd upo' 't."
"She'll hear a noise of preaking; put she tid stap something soft."
"Ye stack yer durk intill my lord's mahogany table," said Malcolm.
"It nott (needed) a guid rug (pull) to haul't oot."
"Then her arm has not lost aal its strength, Malcolm! I pray ta
taple had peen ta rips of Clenlyon!"
"Ye maunna pray nae sic prayers, daddy. Min' upo' what Glenlyon said
to ye last nicht. Gien I was you I wadna hae a pot howkit express
for mysel' - doon yonner - i' yon place 'at ye dreamed aboot."
"Well, I'll forgife him a little, Malcolm - not ta one tat's
tead, but ta one tat tidn't do it, you know. - Put how will she
pe forgifing him for ripping her poor pag? Och hone! och hone!
No more musics for her tying tays, Malcolm! Och hone! och hone! I
shall co creeping to ta crafe with no loud noises to defy ta enemy.
Her pipes is tumb for efer and efer. Och hone! och hone!"
The lengthening of his days had restored bitterness to his loss.
"I'll sune set the bag richt, daddy. Or, gien I canna du that,
we'll get a new ane. Mony a pibroch 'll come skirlin' oot o' that
chanter yet er' a' be dune."
They were interrupted by the unceremonious entrance of the same
footman who had brought the invitation. He carried a magnificent
set of ebony pipes, with silver mountings.
"A present from my lord, the marquis," he said bumptiously, almost
rudely, and laid them on the table.
"Dinna lay them there; tak them frae that, or I'll fling them yer
poothered wig," said Malcolm. " - It's a stan' o' pipes," he added,
"an' that a gran' ane, daddy."
"Take tem away!" cried the old man, in a voice too feeble to support
the load of indignation it bore. "She'll pe taking no presents from
marquis or tuke tat would pe teceifing old Tuncan, and making him
trink with ta cursed Clenlyon. Tell ta marquis he 'll pe sending
her cray hairs with sorrow to ta crafe; for she 'll pe tishonoured
for efer and henceforth."
Probably pleased to be the bearer of a message fraught with so much
amusement, the man departed in silence with the pipes.
The marquis, although the joke had threatened, and indeed so far
taken a serious turn, had yet been thoroughly satisfied with its
success. The rage of the old man had been to his eyes ludicrous
in the extreme, and the anger of the young one so manly as to be
even picturesque. He had even made a resolve, half dreamy and of
altogether improbable execution, to do something for the fisher
The pipes which he had sent as a solatium to Duncan, were a set
that belonged to the house - ancient, and in the eyes of either
connoisseur or antiquarian, exceedingly valuable; but the marquis
was neither the one nor the other, and did not in the least mind
parting with them. As little did he doubt a propitiation through
their means, was utterly unprepared for a refusal of his gift, and
was nearly as much perplexed as annoyed thereat.
For one thing, he could not understand such offence taken by one
in Duncan's lowly position; for although he had plenty of highland
blood in his own veins, he had never lived in the Highlands, and
understood nothing of the habits or feelings of the Gael. What was
noble in him, however, did feel somewhat rebuked, and he was even
a little sorry at having raised a barrier between himself and the
manly young fisherman, to whom he had taken a sort of liking from
Of the ladies in the drawing room, to whom he had recounted the
vastly amusing joke with all the graphic delineation for which he
had been admired at court, none, although they all laughed, had
appeared to enjoy the bad recital thoroughly, except the bold faced
countess. Lady Florimel regarded the affair as undignified at the
best, was sorry for the old man, who must be mad, she thought,
and was pleased only with the praises of her squire of low degree.
The wound in his hand the marquis either thought too trifling to
mention, or serious enough to have clouded the clear sky of frolic
under which he desired the whole transaction to be viewed.
They were seated at their late breakfast when the lackey passed
the window on his return from his unsuccessful mission, and the
marquis happened to see him, carrying the rejected pipes. He sent
for him, and heard his report, then with a quick nod dismissed him
- his way when angry, and sat silent.
"Wasn't it spirited - in such poor people too?" said Lady Florimel,
the colour rising in her face, and her eyes sparkling.
"It was damned impudent," said the marquis.
"I think it was damned dignified," said Lady Florimel.
The marquis stared. The visitors, after a momentary silence, burst
into a great laugh.
"I wanted to see," said Lady Florimel calmly, "whether I couldn't
swear if I tried. I don't think it tastes nice. I shan't take to
it, I think."
"You'd better not in my presence, my lady," said the marquis, his
eyes sparkling with fun.
"I shall certainly not do it out of your presence, my lord," she
returned. " - Now I think of it," she went on, "I know what I will
do: every time you say a bad word in my presence, I shall say it
after you. I shan't mind who's there - parson or magistrate. Now
"You will get into the habit of it."
"Except you get out of the habit of it first, papa," said the girl,
"You confounded little Amazon!" said her father.
"But what's to be done about those confounded pipes?" she resumed.
"You can't allow such people to serve you so! Return your presents,
indeed! Suppose I undertake the business?"
"By all means. What will you do?"
"Make them take them, of course. It would be quite horrible never
to be quits with the old lunatic."
"As you please, puss."
"Then you put yourself in my hands, papa?"
"Yes; only you must mind what you're about, you know."
"That I will, and make them mind too," she answered, and the subject
Lady Florimel counted upon her influence with Malcolm, and his
again with his grandfather; but careful of her dignity, she would
not make direct advances; she would wait an opportunity of speaking
to him. But, although she visited the sand hill almost every
morning, an opportunity was not afforded her. Meanwhile, the state
of Duncan's bag and of Malcolm's hand forbidding, neither pipes
were played nor gun was fired to arouse marquis or burgess. When
a fortnight had thus passed, Lady Florimel grew anxious concerning
the justification of her boast, and the more so that her father
seemed to avoid all reference to it.
CHAPTER XXI: MEDIATION
At length it was clear to Lady Florimel that if her father had not
forgotten her undertaking, but was, as she believed, expecting from
her some able stroke of diplomacy, it was high time that something
should be done to save her credit. Nor did she forget that the
unpiped silence of the royal burgh was the memento of a practical
joke of her father, so cruel that a piper would not accept the
handsome propitiation offered on its account by a marquis.
On a lovely evening, therefore, the sunlight lying slant on waters
that heaved and sunk in a flowing tide, now catching the gold on
lifted crests, now losing it in purple hollows, Lady Florimel found
herself for the first time, walking from the lower gate towards
the Seaton. Rounding the west end of the village, she came to the
sea front, where, encountering a group of children, she requested
to be shown the blind piper's cottage. Ten of them started at once
to lead the way, and she was presently knocking at the half open
door, through which she could not help seeing the two at their
supper of dry oat cake and still drier skim milk cheese, with a
jug of cold water to wash it down. Neither, having just left the
gentlemen at their wine, could she help feeling the contrast between
the dinner just over at the House and the meal she now beheld.
At the sound of her knock, Malcolm, who was seated with his back
to the door, rose to answer the appeal; - the moment he saw her,
the blood rose from his heart to his cheek in similar response.
He opened the door wide, and in low, something tremulous tones,
invited her to enter; then caught up a chair, dusted it with his
bonnet, and placed it for her by the window, where a red ray of
the setting sun fell on a huge flowered hydrangea. Her quick eye
caught sight of his bound up hand.
"How have you hurt your hand?" she asked kindly.
Malcolm made signs that prayed for silence, and pointed to his
grandfather. But it was too late.
"Hurt your hand, Malcolm, my son," cried Duncan, with surprise
and anxiety mingled. "How will you pe toing tat?"
"Here's a bonny yoong leddy come to see ye, daddy," said Malcolm,
seeking to turn the question aside.
"She'll pe fery clad to see ta ponny young laty, and she's creatly
obleeched for ta honour: put if ta ponny young laty will pe excusing
her - what'll pe hurting your hand, Malcolm!"
"I'll tell ye efterhin, daddy. This is my Leddy Florimel, frae the
"Hm!" said Duncan, the pain of his insult keenly renewed by the
mere mention of the scene of it. "Put," he went on, continuing
aloud the reflections of a moment of silence, "she'll pe a laty,
and it's not to pe laid to her charch. Sit town, my laty. Ta poor
place is your own."
But Lady Florimel was already seated, and busy in her mind as
to how she could best enter on the object of her visit. The piper
sat silent, revolving a painful suspicion with regard to Malcolm's
"So you won't forgive my father, Mr MacPhail?" said Lady Florimel.
"She would forgife any man put two men," he answered, " - Clenlyon,
and ta man, whoefer he might pe, who would put upon her ta tiscrace
of trinking in his company."
"But you're quite mistaken," said Lady Florimel, in a pleading
tone. "I don't believe my father knows the gentleman you speak of."
"Chentleman!" echoed Duncan. "He is a tog! - No, he is no tog:
togs is coot. He is a mongrel of a fox and a volf!"
"There was no Campbell at our table that evening," persisted Lady
"Ten who tolt Tuncan MacPhail a lie!"
"It was nothing but a joke - indeed!" said the girl, beginning to
"It wass a paad choke, and might have peen ta hanging of poor
Tuncan," said the piper.
Now Lady Florimel had heard a rumour of some one having been, hurt
in the affair of the joke, and her quick wits instantly brought
that and Malcolm's hand together.
"It might have been," she said, risking a miss for the advantage.
"It was well that you hurt nobody but your own grandson."
"Oh, my leddy!" cried Malcolm with despairing remonstrance; " - an'
me haudin' 't frae him a' this time! Ye sud ha' considert an auld
man's feelin's! He's as blin' 's a mole, my leddy!"
"His feelings!" retorted the girl angrily. "He ought to know the
mischief he does in his foolish rages."
Duncan had risen, and was now feeling his way across the room.
Having reached his grandson, he laid hold of his head and pressed
it to his bosom.
"Malcolm!" he said, in a broken and hollow voice, not to be recognized
as his, "Malcolm, my eagle of the crag! my hart of the heather!
was it yourself she stapped with her efil hand, my son? Tid she'll
pe hurting her own poy! - She'll nefer wear turk more. Och hone!
He turned, and, with bowed head seeking his chair, seated himself
Lady Florimel's anger vanished. She was by his side in a moment,
with her lovely young hand on the bony expanse of his, as it covered
his face. On the other side, Malcolm laid his lips to his ear, and
whispered with soothing expostulation, -
"It's maist as weel 's ever daddy. It's nane the waur. It was but
a bit o' a scart. It's nae worth twise thinkin' o'."
"Ta turk went trough it, Malcolm! It went into ta table! She knows
now! O Malcolm! Malcolm! would to Cod she had killed herself pefore
she hurted her poy!"
He made Malcolm sit down beside him, and taking the wounded hand
in both of his, sunk into a deep silence, utterly forgetful of the
presence of Lady Florimel, who retired to her chair, kept silence
also, and waited.
"It was not a coot choke," he murmured at length, "upon an honest
man, and might pe calling herself a chentleman. A rache is not a
choke. To put her in a rache was not coot. See to it. And it was
a ferry paad choke, too, to make a pig hole in her poor pag! Och
hone! och hone! - Put I'm clad Clenlyon was not there, for she
was too plind to kill him."
"But you will surely forgive my father, when he wants to make it
up! Those pipes have been in the family for hundreds of years,"
"Her own pipes has peen in her own family for five or six chenerations
at least," said Duncan. " - And she was wondering why her poy tidn't
pe mending her pag! My poor poy! Och hone! Och hone!"
"We'll get a new bag, daddy," said Malcolm. "It's been lang past
men'in' wi' auld age."
"And then you will be able to play together," urged Lady Florimel.
Duncan's resolution was visibly shaken by the suggestion. He pondered
for a while. At last he opened his mouth solemnly, and said, with
the air of one who had found a way out of a hitherto impassable
jungle of difficulty:
"If her lord marquis will come to Tuncan's house, and say to Tuncan
it was put a choke and he is sorry for it, then Tuncan will shake
hands with ta marquis, and take ta pipes."
A smile of pleasure lighted up Malcolm's face at the proud proposal.
Lady Florimel smiled also, but with amusement.
"Will my laty take Tuncan's message to my lord, ta marquis?" asked
the old man.
Now Lady Florimel had inherited her father's joy in teasing; and the
thought of carrying him such an overture was irresistibly delightful.
"I will take it," she said. "But what if he should be angry?"
"If her lord pe angry, Tuncan is angry too," answered the piper.
Malcolm followed Lady Florimel to the door.
"Put it as saft as ye can, my leddy," he whispered. "I canna bide
to anger fowk mair than maun be."
"I shall give the message precisely as your grandfather gave it to
me," said Florimel, and walked away.
While they sat at dinner the next evening, she told her father
from the head of the table, all about her visit to the piper, and
ended with the announcement of the condition - word for word -
on which the old man would consent to a reconciliation.
Could such a proposal have come from an equal whom he had insulted,
the marquis would hardly have waited for a challenge: to have done
a wrong was nothing; to confess it would be disgrace. But here the
offended party was of such ludicrously low condition, and the proposal
therefore so ridiculous, that it struck the marquis merely as a
yet more amusing prolongation of the joke. Hence his reception of
it was with uproarious laughter, in which all his visitors joined.
"Damn the old windbag!" said the marquis.
"Damn the knife that made the mischief," said Lady Florimel.
When the merriment had somewhat subsided, Lord Meikleham, the youth
of soldierly aspect, would have proposed whipping the highland
beggar, he said, were it not for the probability the old clothes
horse would fall to pieces; whereupon Lady Florimel recommended him
to try it on the young fisherman, who might possibly hold together;
whereat the young lord looked both mortified and spiteful.
I believe some compunction, perhaps even admiration, mingled itself,
in this case, with Lord Lossie's relish of an odd and amusing
situation, and that he was inclined to compliance with the conditions
of atonement, partly for the sake of mollifying the wounded spirit
of the highlander. He turned to his daughter and said, -
"Did you fix an hour, Flory, for your poor father to make amende
"No, papa; I did not go so far as that."
The marquis kept a few moments' grave silence.
"Your lordship is surely not meditating such a solecism?" said Mr
Morrison, the justice laird.
"Indeed I am," said the marquis.
"It would be too great a condescension," said Mr Cavins; "and your
lordship will permit me to doubt the wisdom of it. These fishermen
form a class by themselves; they are a rough set of men, and only
too ready to despise authority. You will not only injure the prestige
of your rank, my lord, but expose yourself to endless imposition."
"The spirit moves me, and we are commanded not to quench the
spirit," rejoined the marquis with a merry laugh, little thinking
that he was actually describing what was going on in him-that the
spirit of good concerning which he jested, was indeed not working