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Book of Scottish Story
The Miller of Doune: a Traveller's Tale


CHAPTER II

Next morning the miller’s family were up and out at the usual hour; but John Murdoch, who had wearied himsel the day before, and who hadna, maybe, been used to sae muckle strong yill at ance, lay still; and it was aught o’clock when he cam into the kitchen and bade feanie gude mornin’.

"And how’s the gudeman? and is he out or in?"

"How I ” cries Jeanie,"he and the lave hae been up and out at their wark three hours syrie."

"And what are ye gaun to be about, my dawtie?"says John Murdoch.

"I’m gaun to wash the kirn,” says Jeanie.

"And suppose I haud it for ye, and help ye?"says he.

"Weel aweel,"says Jeanie,"gin ye like; we’ll hae't the sooner ower."

And John Murdoch did his best, and was very active; and when a’ was dune, he says, "An’ now, my dawtie, what am I to get for helping ye?"

"Nae mair,” quoth Jeanie,"than the thanks ye hae gotten already."

"But in my kintra,” says John Murdoch,"when a lad helps a lass to clean out a kirn, he aye gets ae kiss at least."

"We ken naething about thae fashions hereabouts,"says Jeanie,"sae haud ye out o’ my gate !"

But as she passed him, John Murdoch, who thought she wasna in earnest, drew her suddenly to him, and he had ta’en twa or three kisses before Jeaniecould recollect herself; but the next minute she threw him frae her, and catching the ladle, she ran to the parritch—pat on the fire, and whipped aff the lid; and if John Murdoch, who saw what was coming, hadna darted out at the back door, he wad hae had it a.’ about him; as it was, a part o' the het parritch played splarge aff the wa’ on his coat.

"And now,"thought John Murdoch,"is this real anger, or is’t put on? ” and he stood a wee bit aff, joking an’ jeerin her.

"Aye, aye,"says he,"ye’re makin’ an unco wark about it, just as if ye hadna been kissed a dozen times frae lug to lug, an’ by as mony lads, and no said a word about it."

"Ye notorious vagabond that ye j are,” cried Jeanie,—"but I’se sort ye ‘ for’t;” and she flung down the ladle and ran to loose the muckle dog.

"Ye’re surely no gaun to set the dog on me?"says John Murdoch.

"Am I no?"says Jeanie, drawing and working wi` the collar wi’ a’ her might.

John Murdoch, seeing her sae determined, slips to ae side, and gets his gun frae whaur he had hidden’t.

"And now, Jeanie,"cries he,"haud your hand, for see, I’ve a gun.”

"I dinna care gin ye had twenty guns” said Jeanie, who had now unbuckled the collar, an’ held it in her hands;"sae tak leg-bail an’ aff wi’ ye, my man, or Bawtie comes to ye."

"Jeanie,"quoth John Murdoch,"l’m ready to walk awa peaceably, since it maun be sae; but I’ll no be hunted frae your father’s house like a thief an’ a scoundrel; sae keep up your
dog, if ye’re wise."

“We’ll sune try that,"says Jeanie, loosening the collar;"sae at him, Bawtie ! an’ we’ll sune see him rin."

But John Murdoch stirredna ae step, and when Bawtie made at him, he keepit him aff for a while, till the brute gettin’ below the muzzle, made a dart at him; and if John Murdoch hadna jumped quickly to ae side, he wad hae gripped him; as it was, he took awa ane o’ the tails o’ his coat. And when Jeanie saw that, she was in a terrible fright, for she didna wish him hurt, and thought he wad hae ran for't when she loosed the dog, and she cried wi’ a’ her might for Bawtie to come back. But the beast wadna mind her, for he had gotten twa or three gude paps on the nose, which made him furious; and sae when he’s gaun to mak anither spring, John Murdoch, who saw there was naething else for it, levels at him and lets drive; and round and round the beast gaed, and then ower wi’ him; and when Jeanie saw he was killed, she set up a great screigh, and ran till him, abusing John Murdoch.

"I’m sorry for’t, but it’s a’ your ain faut, Jeanie,"says he,"an’ canna now be helpit; sae fare-ye-weel." An’ as he gaed awa, William comes runnin’ in at the other side o’ the house, an’ cries to Jeanie to ken what’s the matter.

"It’s a’ John Murdoch’s doings,"cried Jeanie;"he first affronted me, an’ now he’s killed poor Bawtie."

"An’ which way is he gane?"cried William.

"Out that gate,"said Jeanie; and away went William like a shot.

But John Murdoch, who had heard what passed, and didna want to hae ony mair to do in the matter, coured down ahint some bushes till William was passed; then rising up, he took anither direction, an’ thought he had got clear o’ him, but as he was stappin’ ower a dike, William got a glimpse o’ him. Doun he comes after him at a bonnie rate; an’ as he gets near him,"Stop, ye rascal !"he cries to him;"ye may just as weel stop at ance, for ye may depend on my laying a dizzen on ye for every hunder ell ye mak me rin after ye."

And when John Murdoch heard that, the blude gaed up into his brow, an’ he was thinking o’ standin’ still, when he hears James cry out,

"What’s the matter, William? An’ what are ye chasing the man for?"

"He’s misbehaved to Jeanie, an’ shot Bawtie,"cried William.

“Then taigle him, just taigle him, till I come up,"cried James.

"It’s needless,” thought John Murdoch to himself,"to fight wi’ twa o’ them, an’ ane o’ them a second Samson, and to mak an explanation or apology wad be ten times waur, sae I’ll e`en pit on;” an’ aff he gaed at nearly the tap o’ his fit. After rinning a gude bit, he looks o'er his shouther, an' seeing naebody near him, he thinks they’ve gien’t up; but just as he’s coming to the end o’ a bit wood, he sees William, wha had ta’en a nearer cut, just afore him; an’ round he comes on him, crying,"Now, my man, I hae ye now,” putting out his hand to catch John Murdoch; but John drave down his hand in a moment, an’ clapping his foot ahint William’s, an’ whirling him to ae side,"Tak ye that, my man,"says he; an’ William gaed down wi’ sic a breinge, that the blude spouted out frae his nose, an’ the hale warld gaed round wi’ him.

It was a wee while or James cam up, an’ when he saw William lying covered wi’ blude,"The Lord preserve us,"cried he,"the callant’s killed !"an’ he sat down beside him, an’ got William’s head on his knee, an’ tried to recover him. By an’ by, William opens his een, an' when he sees James,"After him, after him,"cries he,"an’ no mind me."

"After him,"says James,"an’ the man a mile agate already? It wad be nonsense for me to try’t."

"Then let me up, an’ I’ll try it mysel,"cried William.

But James held him fast."The deil's in the callant,” says he,"to think o’ runnin', an' him no able to stand his lane. Lie still, I tell ye !” And William, who knew it was in vain for him to strive with his strong brither, thought it best no to struggle ony mair. When he had gotten quite round again, James helpit him up; an’ as they’re gaun down to the water for William to wash himsel, they meet Jeanie coming fleein’ up the path; and when she saw William`s bloody face and claes, she clasped her hands thegither, an' would hae fa’en, if James hadna keppit her. When they questioned her about what had happened, she tell’t it to them honestly frae first to last, and blamed hersel sair for being sae angry an’ rash, when, after a’, the man meant nae ill; but the thought o’ what Geordie Wilson might think if he heard o’t, an’ the shootin’ o’ Bawtie thegither, had perfectly dumfoundered her."However,"continued Jeanie,"I’m thankful that things are nae waur, an’ that the man’s awa."

"Aye, he’s awa,"says James,"but gin him an' me foregather again, I’se promise him the best paid skin he e’er got since he was kirstened."

"Weel, weel,” said Jeanie,"but I hope ye’ll ne’er meet; an’ now we must gang and pit puir Bawtie out o’ the gate, an’ think on something to say about him, and about John Murdoch’s
gangin’ awa sae early, before our father comes in to his breakfast."


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