house, or farmsteading of this worthy person was of the
very best description of such establishments. The
building itself was substantial, nay even handsome,
while the excellent garden which was attached to it, and
all the other accessories and appurtenances with which
it was surrounded, indicated wealth and comfort. Its
situation was on the summit of a gentle eminence that
sloped down in front to a noisy little rivulet, that
careered along through a narrow rugged glen overhanging
with hazel, till it came nearly opposite the house,
where it wound through an open plat of green sward, and
shortly after again plunged into another little romantic
ravine similar to the one it had left.
The approach to Mr Harrison’s house lay along this
little rivulet, and was commanded, for a considerable
distance, by the view from the former—a circumstance
which enabled Jeanie Harrison to descry, one fine summer
afternoon, two or three days after the occurrence of the
events just related, the approach of the fiddler with
whom she had danced at the wedding. On making this
discovery, Jeanie ran to announce the joyful
intelligence to all the other members of the family, and
the prospect of a merry dancing afternoon opened on the
delighted eyes of its younger branches.
When the fiddler—with whose identity the reader is now
as well acquainted as we are—had reached the bottom of
the ascent that led to the house, Jeanie, with excessive
joy beaming in her bright and expressive eye, and her
cheek glowing with the roseate hues of health, rushed
down to meet him, and to welcome him to Todshaws.
" Thank ye, my bonny lassie—thank ye," replied the
disguised baronet, expressing himself in character, and
speaking the language of his assumed station.
" Are ye ready for anither dance ? ”
" Oh, a score o’ them—a thousand o’ them,” said the
" But will your faither, think ye, hae nae objections to
my comin? ” inquired the fiddler.
" Nane in the warld. My faither is nane o’ your sour
caries that wad deny ither folk the pleasures they canna
enjoy themsels. He likes to see a’body happy around
him—every ane his ain way. ”
" An’ your mother ?”
" Jist the same. Ye’ll find her waur to fiddle doun than
ony o’ us. She’ll dance as lang’s a string hauds o’t.”
" Then, I may be quite at my ease,” rejoined Sir John.
" Quite so," replied ]eanie—and she slipped half-a-crown
into his hand—"and there’s your arles; but ye’ll be
minded better ere ye leave us. "
" My word, no an ill beginnin," quoth the musician,
looking with well affected delight at the coin, and
afterwards putting it carefully into his pocket.
" But ye could hae gien me a far mair acceptable arles
than half-a-crown,” he added, " and no been a penny the
" What’s that? ” said Jeanie, laughing and blushing at
the same time, and more than half guessing from the
looks of the pawky fiddler, what was meant.
" Why, my bonny leddie,” he replied, "jist a kiss o’
that pretty little mou o’ yours."
" Oh, ye gowk ! ” exclaimed Jeanie, with a roguish
glance at her humble gallant ; for, disguised as he was,
he was not able to conceal a very handsome person, nor
the very agreeable expression of a set of remarkably
fine features—qualities which did not escape the
vigilance of the female eye that was now scanning their
possessor. Nor would we say that these qualities were
viewed with total indifference, or without producing
their effect, even although they did belong to a
" Oh, ye gowk ! ” said Jeanie ; " wha ever heard o’ a
fiddler preferring a kiss to half-a-crown ? "
" But I do, though,” replied the disguised knight; "and
I’ll gie ye yours back again for’t.”
" The mair fule you," exclaimed Jeanie, rushing away
towards the house, and leaving the fiddler to make
out the remainder of the way by himself.
On reaching the house, the musician was ushered into the
kitchen, where a plentiful repast was instantly set
before him, by the kind and considerate hospitality of
Jeanie, who, not contented with her guest’s making a
hearty meal at the table, insisted on his pocketing
certain pieces of cheese, cold meat, etc., which were
left. These the fiddler steadily refused; but Jeanie
would take no denial, and with her own hands crammed
them into his capacious pockets, which, after the
operation, stuck out like a well-filled pair of
saddle-bags. But there was no need for any one who might
be curious to know what they contained, to look into
them for that purpose. Certain projecting bones of
rnutton and beef, which it was found impossible to get
altogether out of sight, sufficiently indicated their
contents. Of this particular circumstance, however, —we
mean the projection of the bones from the pockets—we
must observe, the owner of the said pockets was not
aware, otherwise, we daresay, he would have been a
little more positive in rejecting the provender which
Jeanie’s warmheartedness and benevolence had forced upon
Be this as it may, however, so soon as the musician had
finished his repast, he took fiddle in hand, and opened
the evening with a slow pathetic Scottish air, which he
played so exquisitely that Jeanie’s eye filled with a
tear, as she listened in raptures to the sweet but
melancholy turns of the affecting tune.
Twice the musician played over the touching strain,
delighted to perceive the effects of the music on the
lovely girl who stood before him, and rightly conceiving
it to be an unequivocal proof of a susceptible heart and
of a generous nature.
A third time he began the beautiful air ; but he now
accompanied it with a song, and in this accomplishment
he was no less perfect than in the others which have
been already attributed to him. His voice was at once
manly and melodious, and he conducted it with a skill
that did it every justice. Having played two or three
bars of the tune, his rich and well-regulated voice
chimed in with the following words :—
“Oh, I hae
lived wi' high-bred dames,
Each state of life to prove,
But never till this hour hae met
The girl that I could love.
It’s no in fashion’s gilded ha’s
That she is to be seen ;
Beneath her father’s humble roof
Abides my bonny Jean.
Oh, wad she deign ae thought to wait,
Ae kindly thought on me,
Wi' pearls I wad deck her hair,
Though low be my degree.
Wi' pearls I wad deck her hair:
Wi’ gowd her wrists sae sma ;
An’ had I lands and houses, she'd
Be leddy ower them a'.
The sun abune's no what he seems,
Nor is the night’s fair queen ;
Then wha kens wha the minstrel is
That’s wooin bonny Jean”?
could not help feeling a little strange as the minstrel
proceeded with a song which seemed to have so close a
reference to herself. She, of course, did not consider
this circumstance otherwise than as merely accidental ;
but she could not help, nevertheless, being somewhat
embarrassed by it ; and this was made sufficiently
evident by the blush that mantled on her cheek, and by
the confusion of her manner under the fixed gaze of the
singer, while repeating the verses just quoted.
When he had concluded, " Well, good folks all,” he said,
" what think ye of my song?"' And without waiting for an
answer, about which he seemed very indifferent, he
added, "and how do you like it, Jeanie ? " directing the
question exclusively to the party he named.
" Very weel," replied Jeanie, again blushing, but still
more deeply than before; "the song is pretty, an’ the
air delightfu’; but some o' the verses are riddles to
me. I dinna thoroughly understand them."
"Don’t you?" replied Sir John, laughing; "then I’ll
explain them to you by-and-by ; but, in the meantime, I
must screw my pegs anew, and work for my dinner, for I
see the good folk about me here are all impatience to
begin." A fact this which was instantly acknowledged by
a dozen voices ; and straightway the whole party
proceeded, in compliance with a suggestion of Mr
Harrison, to the green in front of the house, where Sir
John took up his position on the top of an inverted
wheelbarrow, and immediately commenced his labours.
For several hours the dance went on with uninterrupted
glee, old Mr Harrison and his wife appearing to enjoy
the sport as much as the youngest of the party, and both
being delighted with the masterly playing of the
musician. But although, as on a former occasion, Sir
John did not suffer anything to interfere with, or
interrupt the charge of the duties expected of him,
there was but a very small portion of his mind or
thoughts engrossed by the employment in which he was
engaged. All, or nearly all, were directed to the
contemplation of the object on which his affections had
now become irrevocably fixed.
Neither was his visit to Todshaws, on this occasion, by
any means dictated solely by the frivolous object of
affording its inmates entertainment by his musical
talents. His purpose was a much more serious one. It was
to ascertain, as far as such an opportunity would afford
him the means, the dispositions and temper of his fair
enslaver. Of these, his natural shrewdness had enabled
him to make a pretty correct estimate on the night of
the wedding; but he was desirous of seeing her in other
circumstances, and he thought none more suitable for his
purpose than those of a domestic nature.
It was, then, to see her in this position that he had
now come; and the result of his observations was highly
gratifying to him.
He found in Miss Harrison all that he, at any rate,
desired in woman. He found her guileless, cheerful,
gentle, kind-hearted, and good-tempered, beloved by all
around her, and returning the affection bestowed on her
with a sincere and ardent love.
Such were the discoveries which the disguised baronet
made on this occasion; and never did hidden treasure
half so much gladden the heart of the fortunate finder,
as these did that of him who made them. It is true that
Sir John could not be sure, nor was he, that his
addresses would be received by Miss Harrison, even after
he should have made himself known ; but he could not
help entertaining a pretty strong confidence in his own
powers of persuasion, nor being, consequently, tolerably
sanguine of success. All this, however, was to be the
work of another day. In the meantime, the dancers having
had their hearts’ content of capering on the green
sward, the fiddle was put up, and the fiddler once more
invited into the house, where he was entertained with
the same hospitality as before, and another half-crown
slipped into his hand. This he also put carefully into
his pocket ; and having partaken lightly of what was set
before him, rose up to depart, alleging that he had a
good way to go, and was desirous of availing himself of
the little daylight that still remained. He was pressed
to remain all night, but this he declined ; promising,
however, in reply to the urgent entreaties with which he
was assailed on all sides to stay, that he would very
soon repeat his visit. Miss Harrison he took by the
hand, and said, " I promised to explain to you the
poetical riddle which I read, or rather attempted to
sing, this evening. It is now too late to do this, for
the explanation is a long one; but I will be here again,
without fail, in a day or two, when I shall solve all,
and, I trust, to your satisfaction. Till then, do not
forget your poor fiddler."
" No, I winna forget ye,” said Jeanie. "‘ It wadna be
easy to forget ane that has contributed so much to our
happiness. Neither would it be more than gratefu’ to do
so, I think."
"And you are too kind a creature to be ungrateful to any
one, however humble may be their attempts to win your
favour; of that I feel assured." Having said this, and
perceiving that he was unobserved, he quickly raised the
fair hand he held to his lips, kissed it, and hurried
out of the door.
What Jane Harrison thought of this piece of gallantry
from a fiddler, we really do not know, and therefore
will say nothing about it. Whatever her thoughts were,
she kept them to herself. Neither did she mention to any
one the circumstance which gave rise to them. Nor did
she say, but for what reason we are ignorant, how much
she had been pleased with the general manners of the
humble musician, with the melodious tones of his voice,
and the line expression of his dark hazel eye. Oh, love,
love! thou art a leveller, indeed, else how should it
happen that the pretty daughter of a wealthy and
respectable yeoman should think for a moment, with
certain indescribable feelings, of a poor itinerant
fiddler? Mark, good reader, however, we do not say that
Miss Harrison was absolutely in love with the musician.
By no means. That would certainly be saying too much.
But it is as certainly true, that she had perceived
something about him that left no disagreeable
irnpression—nay, something which she wished she might
meet with in her future husband, whoever he might be.
Leaving Jeanie Harrison to such reflections as these, we
shall follow the footsteps of the disguised baraonet