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me what the room 's like? It may be the verra place to tak my fancy.
Jist open the door, mem, gien ye please, an lat's hae a keek intill

"I daren't open it. It's never opened, I tell you. It's against the
rules of the house. Come to my room, and I'll tell you the story
about it."

"Weel, ye 'll lat me see intil the neist - winna ye? There's nae
law agane openin' hit - is there?" said Malcolm, approaching the
door next to the one in dispute.

"Certainly not; but I'm pretty sure, once you've heard the story I
have to tell, you won't choose to sleep in this part of the house."

"Lat's luik, ony gait."

So saying, Malcolm took upon himself to try the handle of the
door. It was not locked: he peeped in, then entered. It was a small
room, low ceiled, with a deep dormer window in the high pediment of
a roof, and a turret recess on each side of the window. It seemed
very light after the passage, and looked down upon the burn. It
was comfortably furnished, and the curtains of its tent bed were
chequered in squares of blue and white.

"This is the verra place for me, mem," said Malcolm, reissuing; -
"that is," he added, "gien ye dinna think it's ower gran' for the
likes o' me 'at 's no been used to onything half sae guid."

"You're quite welcome to it," said Mrs Courthope, all but confident he
would not care to occupy it after hearing the tale of Lord Gernon.

She had not moved from the end of the passage while Malcolm was in
the room - somewhat hurriedly she now led the way to her own. It
seemed half a mile off to the wondering Malcolm, as he followed her
down winding stairs, along endless passages, and round innumerable
corners. Arrived at last, she made him sit down, and gave him
a glass of home made wine to drink, while she told him the story
much as she had already told it to the marquis, adding a hope to
the effect that, if ever the marquis should express a wish to pry
into the secret of the chamber, Malcolm would not encourage him in
a fancy, the indulgence of which was certainly useless, and might
be dangerous.

"Me!" exclaimed Malcolm with surprise. " - As gien he wad heed a
word I said!"

"Very little sometimes will turn a man either in one direction or
the other," said Mrs Courthope.

"But surely, mem, ye dinna believe in sic fule auld warld stories
as that! It's weel eneuch for a tale, but to think o' a body turnin'
'ae fit oot o' 's gait for 't, blecks (nonplusses) me."

"I don't say I believe it," returned Mrs Courthope, a little
pettishly; "but there's no good in mere foolhardiness."

"Ye dinna surely think, mem, 'at God wad lat onything depen' upo'
whether a man opent a door in 's ain hoose or no! It's agane a'
rizzon!" persisted Malcolm.

"There might be reasons we couldn't understand," she replied. "To
do what we are warned against from any quarter, without good reason,
must be foolhardy at best."

"Weel, mem, I maun hae the room neist the auld warlock's, ony gait,
for in that I'm gauin' to sleep, an' in nae ither in a' this muckle

Mrs Courthope rose, full of uneasiness, and walked up and down the

"I'm takin' upo' me naething ayont his lordship's ain word," urged

"If you're to go by the very word," rejoined Mrs Courthope, stopping
and looking him full in the face, "you might insist on sleeping in
Lord Gernon's chamber itself."

"Weal, an' sae I micht," returned Malcolm.

The hinted possibility of having to change bad for so much worse,
appeared to quench further objection.

"I must get it ready myself then," she said resignedly, "for the
maids won't even go up that stair. And as to going into any of
those rooms!"

"'Deed no, mem! ye sanna du that," cried Malcolm. "Sayna a word to
ane o' them. I s' wadger I'm as guid's the auld warlock himsel' at
makin' a bed. Jist gie me the sheets an' the blankets, an' I'll du
't as trim 's ony lass i' the hoose."

"But the bed will want airing," objected the housekeeper.

"By a' accoonts, that's the last thing it's likly to want - lyin'
neist door to yon chaumer. But I hae sleepit mony 's the time er'
noo upo' the tap o' a boat load o' herrin', an' gien that never did
me ony ill, it's no likly a guid bed 'll kill me gien it sud be a
wee mochy (rather full of moths)."

Mrs Courthope yielded and gave him all that was needful, and before
night Malcolm had made his new quarters quite comfortable. He did
not retire to them, however, until he had seen his grandfather laid
down to sleep in his lonely cottage.

About. noon the next day the old man made his appearance in the
kitchen. How he had found his way to it, neither he nor any one
else could tell. There happened to be no one there when he entered,
and the cook when she returned stood for a moment in the door,
watching him as he felt flitting about with huge bony hands whose
touch was yet light as the poise of a butterfly. Not knowing the
old man, she fancied at first he was feeling after something in the
shape of food, but presently his hands fell upon a brass candlestick.
He clutched it, and commenced fingering it all over. Alas! it was
clean, and with a look of disappointment he replaced it. Wondering
yet more what his quest could be, she watched on. The next instant
he had laid hold of a silver candlestick not yet passed through
the hands of the scullery maid; and for a moment she fancied him a
thief, for he had rejected the brass and now took the silver; but
he went no farther with it than the fireplace, where he sat down
on the end of the large fender, and, having spread his pocket
handkerchief over his kilted knees, drew a similar rag from somewhere,
and commenced cleaning it.

By this time one of the maids who knew him had joined the cook,
and also stood watching him with amusement. But when she saw the
old knife drawn from his stocking, and about to be applied to the
nozzle, to free it from adhering wax, it seemed more than time to
break the silence.

"Eh! that's a siller can'lestick, Maister MacPhail," she cried,
"an' ye maunna tak a knife till 't, or ye'll scrat it a' dreidfu'."

An angry flush glowed in the withered cheeks of the piper, as,
without the least start at the suddenness of her interference, he
turned his face in the direction of the speaker.

"You take old Tuncan's finkers for persons of no etchucation, mem!
As if tey couldn't know ta silfer from ta prass! If tey wass so
stupid, her nose would pe telling tem so. Efen old Tuncan's knife
'll pe knowing petter than to scratch ta silfer - or ta prass
either; old Tuncan's knife would pe scratching nothing petter tan
ta skin of a Cawmill."

Now the candlestick had no business in the kitchen, and if it
were scratched, the butler would be indignant; but the girl was
a Campbell, and Duncan's words so frightened her that she did not
dare interfere. She soon saw, however, that the piper had not over
vaunted his skill: the skene left not a mark upon the metal; in a
few minutes he had melted away the wax he could not otherwise reach,
and had rubbed the candlestick perfectly bright, leaving behind
him no trace except an unpleasant odour of train oil from the rag.
From that hour he was cleaner of lamps and candlesticks, as well
as blower of bagpipes, to the House of Lossie; and had everything
provided necessary to the performance of his duties with comfort
and success.

Before many weeks were over, he had proved the possession of
such a talent for arrangement and general management, at least in
everything connected with illumination, that the entire charge of
the lighting of the house was left in his hands, - even to that
of its stores of wax and tallow and oil; and great was the pleasure
he derived, not only from the trust reposed in him, but from other
more occult sources connected with the duties of his office.


Malcolm's first night was rather troubled, - not primarily from
the fact that but a thin partition separated him from the wizard's
chamber, but from the deadness of the silence around him; for
he had been all his life accustomed to the near noise of the sea,
and its absence had upon him the rousing effect of an unaccustomed
sound. He kept hearing the dead silence - was constantly dropping,
as it were into its gulf; and it was no wonder that a succession
of sleepless fits, strung together rather than divided by as many
dozes little better than startled rousings, should at length have
so shaken his mental frame as to lay it open to the assaults of
nightly terrors, the position itself being sufficient to seduce
his imagination, and carry it over to the interests of the enemy.

But Malcolm had early learned that a man's will must, like a true
monarch, rule down every rebellious movement of its subjects, and
he was far from yielding to such inroads as now assailed him: still
it was long before he fell asleep, and then only to dream without
quite losing consciousness of his peculiar surroundings. He seemed
to know that he lay in his own bed, and yet to be somehow aware
of the presence of a pale woman in a white garment, who sat on the
side of the bed in the next room, still and silent, with her hands
in her lap, and her eyes on the ground. He thought he had seen
her before, and knew, notwithstanding her silence, that she was
lamenting over a child she had lost. He knew also where her child
was, - that it lay crying in a cave down by the seashore; but he
could neither rise to go to her, nor open his mouth to call. The
vision kept coming and coming, like the same tune played over and
over on a barrel organ, and when he woke seemed to fill all the
time he had slept.

About ten o'clock he was summoned to the marquis's presence, and
found him at breakfast with Lady Florimel.

"Where did you sleep last night?" asked the marquis.

"Neist door to the auld warlock," answered Malcolm.

Lady Florimel looked up with a glance of bright interest: her father
had just been telling her the story.

"You did!" said the marquis. "Then Mrs Courthope - did she tell
you the legend about him?"

"Ay did she, my lord."

"Well, how did you sleep?"

"Middlin' only."

"How was that?"

"I dinna ken, 'cep it was 'at I was fule eneuch to fin' the place
gey eerie like."

"Aha!" said the marquis. "You've had enough of it! You won't try
it again!"

"What 's that ye say, my lord?" rejoined Malcolm. "Wad ye hae a
man turn 's back at the first fleg? Na, na, my lord; that wad never

"Oh! then, you did have a fright?"

"Na, I canna say that aither. Naething waur cam near me nor a dream
'at plaguit me - an' it wasna sic an ill ane efter a'."

"What was it?"

"I thocht there was a bonny leddy sittin' o' the bed i' the neist
room, in her nichtgoon like, an' she was greitin' sair in her
heirt, though she never loot a tear fa' doon. She was greitin' about
a bairnie she had lost, an' I kent weel whaur the bairnie was -
doon in a cave upo' the shore, I thoucht - an' was jist yirnin'
to gang till her an' tell her, an' stop the greitin' o' her hert,
but I cudna muv han' nor fit, naither cud I open my mou' to cry
till her. An' I gaed dreamin' on at the same thing ower an' ower,
a' the time I was asleep. But there was naething sae frichtsome
aboot that, my lord."

"No, indeed," said his lordship.

"Only it garred me greit tu, my lord, 'cause I cudna win at her to
help her."

His lordship laughed, but oddly, and changed the subject.

"There's no word of that boat yet," he said. "I must write again."

"May I show Malcolm the library, papa?" asked Lady Florimel.

"I wad fain see the buiks," adjected Malcolm.

"You don't know what a scholar he is, papa!"

"Little eneuch o' that!" said Malcolm.

"Oh yes! I do," said the marquis, answering his daughter. "But he
must keep the skipper from my books and the scholar from my boat."

"Ye mean a scholar wha wad skip yer buiks, my lord! Haith! sic
wad be a skipper wha wad ill scull yer boat!" said Malcolm, with
a laugh at the poor attempt.

"Bravo!" said the marquis, who certainly was not over critical.
"Can you write a good hand?"

"No ill, my lord."

"So much the better! I see you 'll be worth your wages."

"That depen's on the wages," returned Malcolm.

"And that reminds me you 've said nothing about them yet."

"Naither has yer lordship."

"Well, what are they to be?"

"Whatever ye think proper, my lord. Only dinna gar me gang to
Maister Crathie for them."

The marquis had sent away the man who was waiting when Malcolm
entered, and during this conversation Malcolm had of his own accord
been doing his best to supply his place. The meal ended, Lady
Florimel desired him to wait a moment in the hall.

"He 's so amusing, papa!" she said. "I want to see him stare at
the books. He thinks the schoolmaster's hundred volumes a grand
library! He 's such a goose! It 's the greatest fun in the world
watching him."

"No such goose!" said the marquis; but he recognized himself in
his child, and laughed.

Florimel ran off merrily, as bent on a joke, and joined Malcolm.

"Now, I 'm going to show you the library," she said.

"Thank ye, my leddy; that will be gran'!" replied Malcolm.

He followed her up two staircases, and through more than one long
narrow passage: all the ducts of the house were long and narrow,
causing him a sense of imprisonment - vanishing ever into freedom
at the opening of some door into a great room. But never had be had
a dream of such a room as that at which they now arrived. He started
with a sort of marvelling dismay when she threw open the door of
the library, and he beheld ten thousand volumes at a glance, all
in solemn stillness. It was like a sepulchre of kings. But his
astonishment took a strange form of expression, the thought in
which was beyond the reach of his mistress.

"Eh, my leddy!" he cried, after staring for a while in breathless
bewilderment, "it's jist like a byke o' frozen bees! Eh! gien they
war a' to come to life an' stick their stangs o' trowth intill
a body, the waukin' up wad be awfu'! - It jist gars my heid gang
roon'!" he added, after a pause.

"It is a fine thing," said the girl, "to have such a library."

"'Deed is 't, my leddy! It's ane o' the preevileeges o' rank,"
said Malcolm. "It taks a faimily that hauds on throu' centeries in
a hoose whaur things gether, to mak sic an unaccoontable getherin'
o' buiks as that. It's a gran' sicht - worth livin' to see."

"Suppose you were to be a rich man some day," said Florimel, in
the condescending tone she generally adopted when addressing him,
"it would be one of the first things you would set about - wouldn't
it - to get such a library together?"

"Na, my leddy; I wad hae mair wut. A leebrary canna be made a' at
ance, ony mair nor a hoose, or a nation, or a muckle tree: they
maun a' tak time to grow, an' sae maun a leebrary. I wadna even ken
what buiks to gang an' speir for. I daursay, gien I war to try,
I cudna at a moment's notice tell ye the names o' mair nor a twa
score o' buiks at the ootside. Fowk maun mak acquantance amo' buiks
as they wad amo' leevin' fowk."

"But you could get somebody who knew more about them than yourself
to buy for you."

"I wad as sune think o' gettin' somebody to ate my denner for me."

"No, that's not fair," said Florimel. "It would only be like
getting somebody who knew more of cookery than yourself, to order
your dinner for you."

"Ye 're richt, my leddy; but still I wad as sune think o' the
tane 's the tither. What wad come o' the like o' me, div ye think,
broucht up upo' meal brose, an' herrin', gien ye was to set me
doon to sic a denner as my lord, yer father, wad ait ilka day, an'
think naething o'? But gien some fowk hed the buyin' o' my buiks,
I'm thinkin' the first thing I wad hae to du, wad be to fling the
half o' them into the burn."

"What good would that do?"

"Clear awa' the rubbitch. Ye see, my leddy, it's no buiks, but what
buiks. Eh! there maun be mony ane o' the richt sort here, though.
I wonner gien Mr Graham ever saw them. He wad surely hae made
mention o them i' my hearin'!"

"What would be the first thing you would do, then, Malcolm, if you
happened to turn out a great man after all?" said Florimel, seating
herself in a huge library chair, whence, having arranged her skirt,
she looked up in the young fisherman's face.

"I doobt I wad hae to sit doon, an' turn ower the change a feow
times afore I kent aither mysel' or what wad become me," he said.

"That's not answering my question," retorted Florimel.

"Weel, the second thing I wad du," said Malcolm, thoughtfully,
and pausing a moment, "wad be to get Mr Graham to gang wi' me to
Ebberdeen, an' cairry me throu' the classes there. Of coorse, I
wadna try for prizes; that wadna be fair to them 'at cudna affoord
a tutor at their lodgin's."

"But it's the first thing you would do that I want to know,"
persisted the girl.

"I tell't ye I wad sit doon an' think aboot it."

"I don't count that doing anything."

"'Deed, my leddy! thinkin 's the hardest wark I ken."

"Well, what is it you would think about first?" said Florimel -
not to be diverted from her course.

"Ow, the third thing I wad du - "

"I want to know the first thing you would think about."

"I canna say yet what the third thing wad be. Fower year at the
college wad gie me time to reflec upon a hantle o' things."

"I insist on knowing the first thing you would think about doing,"
cried Florimel, with mock imperiousness, but real tyranny.

"Weel, my leddy, gien ye wull hae 't - but hoo great a man wad ye
be makin' o' me?"

"Oh! - let me see; - yes - yes - the heir to an earldom. -
That's liberal enough - is it not?"

"That 's as muckle as say I wad come to be a yerl some day, sae be
I didna dee upo' the ro'd?"

"Yes - that's what it means."

"An' a yerl's neist door till a markis - isna he?"

"Yes - he's in the next lower rank."

"Lower? - Ay! - No that muckle, maybe?"

"No," said Lady Florimel consequentially; "the difference is not
so great as to prevent their meeting on a level of courtesy."

"I dinna freely ken what that means; but gien 't be yer leddyship's
wull to mak a yerl o' me, I'm no to raise ony objections."

He uttered it definitively, and stood silent.

"Well?" said the girl.

"What's yer wull, my leddy?" returned Malcolm, as if roused from
a reverie.

"Where's your answer?"

"I said I wad be a yerl to please yer leddyship. - I wad be a
flunky for the same rizzon, gien 't was to wait upo' yersel' an'
nae ither."

"I ask you," said Florimel, more imperiously than ever, "what is
the first thing you would do, if you found yourself no longer a
fisherman, but the son of an earl?"

"But it maun be that I was a fisherman - to the en' o' a' creation,
my leddy."

"You refuse to answer my question?"

"By no means, my leddy, gien ye wull hae an answer."

"I will have an answer."

"Gien ye wull hae 't than - But - "

"No buts, but an answer!"

"Weel - it's yer am wyte, my leddy! - I wad jist gang doon upo'
my k-nees, whaur I stude afore ye, and tell ye a heap o' things
'at maybe by that time ye wad ken weel eneuch a'ready ."

"What would you tell me?"

"I wad tell ye 'at yer een war like the verra leme o' the levin
(brightness of the lightning) itsel'; yer cheek like a white rose
the licht frae a reid ane; yer hair jist the saft lattin' gang o'
his han's whan the Maker cud du nae mair; yer mou' jist fashioned
to drive fowk daft 'at daurna come nearer nor luik at it; an' for
yer shape, it was like naething in natur' but itsel'. - Ye wad hae't
my leddy!" he added apologetically - and well he might, for Lady
Florimel's cheek had flushed, and her eye had been darting fire
long before he got to the end of his Celtic outpouring. Whether she
was really angry or not, she had no difficulty in making Malcolm
believe she was. She rose from her chair - though not until he
had ended - swept halfway to the door, then turned upon him with
a flash.

"How dare you?" she said, her breed well obeying the call of the

"I'm verra sorry, my leddy," faltered Malcolm, trying to steady
himself against a strange trembling that had laid hold upon him,
" - but ye maun alloo it was a' yer ain wyte."

"Do you dare to say 1 encouraged you to talk such stuff to me?"

"Ye did gar me, my leddy."

Florimel turned and undulated from the room, leaving the poor fellow
like a statue in the middle of it, with the books all turning their
backs upon him.

"Noo," he said to himself, "she's aff to tell her father, and
there'll be a bonny bane to pyke atween him an' me! But haith! I'll
jist tell him the trowth o' 't, an' syne he can mak a kirk an' a
mill o' 't, gien he likes."

With this resolution he stood his ground, every moment expecting
the wrathful father to make his appearance and at the least order
him out of the house. But minute passed after minute, and no wrathful
father came. He grew calmer by degrees, and at length began to peep
at the titles of the books.

When the great bell rang for lunch, he was embalmed rather than
buried in one of Milton's prose volumes - standing before the
shelf on which he had found it - the very incarnation of study.

My reader may well judge that Malcolm could not have been very far
gone in love, seeing he was thus able to read, remark in return
that it was not merely the distance between him and Lady Florimel
that had hitherto preserved his being from absorption and his will
from annihilation, but also the strength of his common sense, and
the force of his individuality.


For some days Malcolm saw nothing more of Lady Florimel; but with
his grandfather's new dwelling to see to, the carpenter's shop and
the blacksmith's forge open to him, and an eye to detect whatever
wanted setting right, the hours did not hang heavy on his hands.
At length, whether it was that she thought she had punished him
sufficiently for an offence for which she was herself only to blame,
or that she had indeed never been offended at all and had only
been keeping up her one sided game, she began again to indulge the
interest she could not help feeling in him, an interest heightened
by the mystery which hung over his birth, and by the fact that
she knew that concerning him of which he was himself ignorant. At
the same time, as I have already said, she had no little need of
an escape from the ennui which, now that the novelty of a country
life had worn off did more than occasionally threaten her. She
began again to seek his company under the guise of his help, half
requesting, half commanding his services; and Malcolm found himself
admitted afresh to the heaven of her favour. Young as he was, he
read himself a lesson suitable to the occasion.

One afternoon the marquis sent for him to the library, but when he
reached it his master was not yet there. He took down the volume of
Milton in which he had been reading before, and was soon absorbed
in it again.

"Faith! it's a big shame," he cried at length almost unconsciously,
and closed the book with a slam.

"What is a big shame?" said the voice of the marquis close behind

Malcolm started, and almost dropped the volume.

"I beg yer lordship's pardon," he said; "I didna hear ye come in.

"What is the book you were reading?" asked the marquis.

"I was jist readin' a bit o' Milton's Eikonoklastes," answered
Malcolm, " - a buik I hae hard tell o', but never saw wi' my ain
een afore."

"And what's your quarrel with it?" asked his lordship.

"I canna mak oot what sud set a great man like Milton sae sair
agane a puir cratur like Cherles."

"Read the history, and you 'll see."

"Ow! I ken something aboot the politics o' the time, an' I 'm no
sayin' they war that wrang to tak the heid frae him, but what for
sud Milton hate the man efter the king was deid?"

"Because he didn't think the king dead enough, I suppose."

"I see! - an' they war settin' him up for a saint. Still he had
a richt to fair play. - Jist hearken, my lord."

So saying, Malcolm reopened the volume, and read the well known
passage, in the first chapter, in which Milton censures the king as
guilty of utter irreverence, because of his adoption of the prayer
of Pamela in the Arcadia.

"Noo, my lord," he said, half closing the book, "what wad ye expec'
to come upo', efter sic a denunciation as that, but some awfu'
haithenish thing? Weel, jist hearken again, for here's the verra
prayer itsel' in a futnote."

His lordship had thrown himself into a chair, had crossed one leg
over the other, and was now stroking its knee.

"Noo, my lord," said Malcolm again, as he concluded, "what think
ye o' the jeedgment passed?"

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