Next day the miller spoke
to James anent his marriage, an’ tell't him, as they were no to move
frae the mill, it needna be putten aff ony langer; sae it was settled to
be in a fortnight, an' that created an unco bustle in the house. An’
Jeanie was every now and then speakin’ o' how they were a.’ to manage,
but the miller ne’er seemed to mind her.
So ae day, when they’re in the kitchen by themsels, she begins on’t
“An` James an' his wife
will hae to get the room that he an’ William are in ; an’ then William
he maun either get mine, or sleep outby, for there’ll be nae puttin’ him
in yon cauld, damp bed,unless we want him to gang like a cripple; sae I
dinna ken what's to be dune."
"Ye forget, Jeanie," said
the miller, “that John Murdoch sleepit there, an’, he didna seem to be
the waur o`t.”
"Aye, for ae night, nae
doubt, and in fine weather; but how lang will that last?”
The miller gies her nae
answer; but after sittin’ thinking a wee, he rises and taks down his
"It’s a fine day for
being out," says Jeanie; "but are ye gaun far, father?"
"Nae farer than the
Hope," said the miller.
"The Hope!” exclaimed
Jeanie, as her face reddened.
"Ay," says the miller;
"and I’m thinking o’ speirin if there’s room there for ane o' ye."
"Now God bless my gude
auld father," said Jeanie; "he sees brawly what I wanted, and wadna even
look me in the face to confuse me."
* * * * *
"Geordie Wilson.” cries
the miller, "when will it suit you to marry my dochter?"
“The day—the morn—ony
day," answers Geordie, as happy’s a prince.
"Because I was thinking”
says the miller, "that it might be as weel to pit James’s waddin’ and
yours ower thegither."
"Wi’ a’ my heart," says
Geordie, "wi' a’ my heart! "
"Weel, then," quoth the miller, "I`ll awa hame and see what our Jeanie
"And I’ll gang wi’ you,"
“Come your wa's then, my
man," says the miller.
And sae as they’re gaun
down the road thegither, they meets William, an’ Geordie tells him how
matters stood. An’ when William hears o’t, he shakes Geordie by the
hand, an’ awa he flees ower ditch and dyke, an’ is hame in nae time. An’
after resting himsel a minute, an’ to tak breath, in he gangs to the
kitchen; an’ when Jeanie sees him, she says, "Ye’re warm-like, William,-
ye’ve surely been running?
"Is onything wrang wi’ my father?“ asked he.
"Gude forbid!” said
Jeanie; "but what maks ye speir?"
"Ou, naething ava, amaist; but only I met him walking unco grave•like,
an’ he scarcely spak to me; an’ I met wi’ Geordie Wilson too, and he
didna say muckle either."
"Preserve us a’!” cries Jeanie; "if onything has happened atween the
"What could put that
nonsense in your head, lassie?" said William. "By-the-by," continues he,
after a pause, "Geordie’s at the end o’ the lane, an’ wishing muckle to
speak to ye.”
"An’ what for did ye no
tell me that at first, ye haverel?" cried Jeanie; and out she flees. An’
just as she’s turning the corner, she runs against her father wi’ a
"The lassie’s in a creel,
I think!" quoth the miller; "but it’s the same wi’ them a’.”
"Jeanie! my ain Jeanie!”
whispers Geordie, "an’ it’s a’ settled for neist week, and we’ll be sae
Jeanie held him at arm’s
length frae her, that she might look him in the face.
"I see it’s true! I see
it’s true!" she said, "an’ ye’re no joking me ! An’ that wicked callant,
to gang and gie me sic a fright! Hech ! I haena gotten the better o’t
"An’ now, Jeanie, that I
hae seen ye," says Geordie, "I maun rin awa hame and tell my gude auld
mither that it’s a' fixed ; for she wasna in when your father cam to the
Hope ; and then I maun awa to the toun for things. An’ what’ll I bring
ye, Jeanie? what’ll I bring?"
"Ou, just onything ye
like," said she; "bring back yoursel, that’s a’ Jeanie cares about.”
An’ she stands an’ looks
after him till he’s out o’ sight; an' as she turns about.
"Jeanie! my ain Jeanie!”
says James, takin’ her in his arms.
"My ain gude and aye kind
brither!” said Jeanie, resting her head on his shouther.
"She’ll no speak to me,
nae doubt," says William, his voice shakin’ a wee.
"Ah, ye wicked callant!”
says Jeanie, kissing his cheek. "But ye mauna plague me nae mair; na,
ye’ll no daur do’t!”
"No!” cries William, "I’m
sure I’m fit for a’ that Geordie Wilson can do ony day, an’ maybe mair.”
Jeanie was gaun to
answer, but she got her ee on the miller standing at the door.
"I maun hae his blessing
first," she cries, "and then Jeanie's heart will be at peace."
When the miller saw her
coming, he gaes slowly back to his ain room, an’ in she comes after him,
and, "Bless me, bless your bairn, my gude auld father!— you that’s been
father an’ mither, an’ a’ to her since before she could guide hersel !
Bless your Jeanie, an’ she’ll hae naething mair to wish for!”
"How like she’s to her
mither!” said the miller in a low voice; "but ye’ll no mind her sae weel,
Jeanie. I mind weel that on the night before she dee’t, an’ when I was
like ane distrackit, ‘It’s the will o’ Providence, John,’ says she, ‘and
we maun a’ bow till’t; but dinna ye grieve sae sair for my loss, John;
for young as she is yet, my heart tells me that I’m leaving ane ahint
me, wha’ll be a blessing an’ a comfort to ye when I’m awa; ’and ne’er
were truer words spoken,” continued the miller, "for ne’er frae that day
to this was her father’s heart wae for Jeanie; sae bless you, my bairn,
an’ may a’ that's gude attend ye, an’ may ye be spared to be a comfort
and an example to a’ around ye, lang, lang after your auld father’s
head’s laid low." An’ as he raised her frae her knees he kissed her, an’
then turned slowly frae her, an’ Jeanie slippit saftly awa.
On the neist Friday the
twa marriages took place, an’ a’ the folk sat down to a gude an’ a
plentifu’ dinner, an’ there was an unco deal o’ fun an’ laughing gaed
on. An’ when dinner was ower and thanks returned, the miller cried for
a’ to fill a fu’, fu’ bumper. "An’ now,” says he, "we’ll drink King
James’ health, an’ lang may he and his rule ower us."
This led them to speak o’
his coming there as John Murdoch; and some o’ them that hadna heard the
hale story, askit the miller to tell’t.
"Wi’ a’ my heart,” quoth
the miller; "but first open that cage-door, Jeanie, for it’s no fitting
that ‘it’, wha had sae muckle share in’t, should be a prisoner at sic a
An’ the robin cam fleein’
out to the miller’s whistle, an’ lightit on the table beside him.
When the miller was dune
wi’ the story, "An’ now, frien’s," said he, "ye may learn this frae it,
that it’s aye best to do as muckle gude and as little ill as we can. But
there’s a time for a’thing," continued he; "sae here, Jeanie, my dawtie,
put ye by the robin again; and now, lads, round wi’ the whisky.”
They a’ sat crackin’ an’
laughin’ thegither, till it was time for Geordie an’ his wife to be
settin’ aff for the Hope, and the rest o’ the folk gaed wi’ them, an’ a’
was quiet at the mill again.
In twa year after that,
William was married to Elie Allison. And when he was three score and
ten, the miller yielded up his spirit to Him that gied it ; an’ when
King James heard that he was dead, he said publicly, that he had lost a
gude subject and an honest man, and that he wished there was mair folk
in the kintra like John Marshall.
And James succeeded to his father; an’ after James cam James’ sons, and
their sons after them for never sae lang; and, for aught I ken to the
contrair, there’s a Marshall in the Mill o’ Doune at this day.
—“The Odd Volume.”