"Where ne'er was spoke a
And ne'er the name of Douglas heard;
An outcast pilgrim will she rove
Than wed the man she cannot love."
PHEMIE went over to
Dunblane behind the shaggy pony again. This time she started with a better
feeling towards the little animal, but with a less comfortable one
herself. She had said good-bye, it might be forever, to Mrs. Wilson and
family, and she was sad as she thought of this. Her uncle would see her
safe on the ship at Greenock, but she was not at all acquainted with her
uncle's family and she was with Mr. Wilson's. Except at her Aunt
Fairbairn's, where she had been before, the rest of her stay in Scotland
would be among those who, though they might be kin, were yet strangers to
She had a score of calls to
make on people who had friends on the "Line" and in Lanark. She had
promised to take "word" back from "th' fowk 't hame" to those who—because
home was not big enough for all—had left scenes and associations that were
familiar and had gone away to a new land to make room for the rest. Those
who belonged to the "Bridgton Transatlantic," "Muslin Street," "Lesmahago,"
and "Abercrombie Street" Societies, came in either of the following ships:
"George Canning," "Duke of Buckingham," "Commerce," "David." McMillan,
Walker, Somerville, Donald, Starke, Caldwell, Armour, Wylie, Galbraith,
Munro and Robertson were some of the family names. The families left at
home lived not far apart; a few minutes could be spent with each in a
day's time, and it was something she could not refuse to do for neighbors.
The people on the Line came from Perthshire, all near enough Dunblane for
her to have no trouble in finding them. Rev. William Bell came from
Airdrie, through which they pass on the route to Lesmahago.
Thus was the remainder of
her allotted time laid out, and there would not be many hours requiring to
Perhaps all this work was
wearing on her spirits; she certainly was very pale and quiet. But her
cousins, the Fairbairns, were cheery lassies, and they meant to make the
most of this wonderful cousin from Canada. Therefore she was driven here
and walked there until she was beginning to long for home and quiet, and
faither and mither.
Her uncle Fairbairn was a
landowner. Fair-braes had been in the family for generations, in fact they
were apt to look patronizingly on peerages of last century's creation.
They had a wide circle of acquaintance, so it was with no surprise
whatever that Mr. Fairbairn received the announcement that Lord Kinburn,
the Hon. Mr. Herries and Lieut. Greenshields had called. Now, Lieut.
Greenshields was the son of an old friend of Mr. Fairbairn, and all three
had come on some county matter—Lord Kinburn had an estate in Perthshire.
It was quite natural for Mr. Fairbairn to ask them to stay for lunch,
which proceeding was vastly more satisfactory to the ladies of the house
than to Phemie. She had hoped for a cessation of festivities, and the
enemy was recruiting.
"Where have you taken Miss
McGregor, Mrs. Fairbairn?" asked Lord Kinburn. "You must pardon me if I
seem inquisitive, but I am ex-officio a member of the reception committee;
a lad named Maxwell is chief, and although he forgot to recommend me as
his deputy, having been a sort of attache, I some way, you know, feel
"I'm sure you'd mak' a very
gude guide, aiblins th' lassie 'll no' hae mentioned 't you were in th'
pairty,'' said Mrs. Fairbairn.
"Did she not? That was
extremely unkind of her," said Lord Kinburn, giving Phemie a comical
glance of reproach. "But I think if you ask her she will tell you I
certainly did play an humble part in the deep scientific researches in
which Mrs. Wilson engaged us."
Thus appealed to, Phemie
said politely: "It was not because I had forgotten that on Mrs. Wilson's
invitation you frequently made a valuable member of our antiquarian
excursions, but because aunt and the girls have found so much for me to
see that the present is talked of until I have found no time for reverting
to the past."
"I accept your apology Miss
McGregor," said Lord Kinburn. "Mrs. Fairbairn must be a capital
entertainer. What I was thinking is this : possibly Mrs. Fairbairn would
include us, that is, Herries and myself, in her arrangements if she fully
understood how well we are up in those things, if she knew what a martinet
we had been serving under— that fellow Maxwell I mean—he must be as old as
Methuselah, for he knows everything, and he does nag a fellow so."
"What has this Mr. Maxwell
done to so offend your lordship," mischievously inquired Jessie Fairbairn,
whom he had taken in to dinner.
"It is not what he has
done, but what he has not done; that is, leave me to my own devices,"
answered Lord Kinburn. "I would not ask the smallest thing of him if he
would only keep away from where I am enjoying myself."
"Poor child,'' said Jessie,
who, as the eldest in the family, was inclined to give herself motherly
airs, though she had only seen eighteen summers with somewhere near the
same number of winters, "can I be of any service to you in securing
justice against this cruel superior officer.''
"Dear me, yes,'' said Lord
Kinburn, thinking what a jolly little girl this was, and not half bad
looking either, "it would be just reprisals for him to hear by and bye
that I had had a skeleton party of my very own."
Jessie was looking
mystified, not to say horrified, at this gruesome name for a pleasure
excursion, so he hastened to explain.
"If you do not like the
name we can change it; it seems very appropriate to me, a party gotten up
for the express purpose of digging up the old dried bones of the past."
"I cannot say musty old
traditions have much interest for me," remarked Jessie, "but I like the
going well enough.''
"If you will not tell
Maxwell or Mrs. Wilson or Miss McGregor, I wouldn't mind confiding in you
that I do not in the least care about them myself,'' said Lord Kinburn, in
a stage whisper, "and, also, that I do very much like the going."
"Lieut. Greenshields had
been deputed to take Phemie in to dinner.
"Ye wull, like a' Scotsmen,
be prood o' Edin-boro', Miss McGregor,'' he said.
"I am, and I think of all
places of interest Queen Margaret's Chapel interests me most," said Phemie.
"I'll like best till see th'
Castle," Lieut. Green-shilds said; "then th'll be th' Paillace o' Holyrood
whilk King James built in fifteen hunner, th' castle 'll be fower hunner
years aulder.'' He had not spent half his years in England, as Lord
Kinburn and the Fairbairn lassies had, so had a " braider speech."
"What a strange name for a
street, the Cowgate, and High is not much better. I do not mean to be
critical, but there were so many pretty Scotch names to select from," said
"When 't 'll began back yon
in sax hunner 'n something th' wus no' much thinkin' o' beauty; happen
when th' King o' Northumbria 'll mad 't his capital, he'll be expectin' a
notice to leave frae th' King o' Cambria 'r soom ither chiel, 'n he 'll
thocht ony name 'd dae f 'r the wee while he'll hae t' bide."
"And out of compliment to
him later generations continued the title," commented Phemie. "I think
often, too, about the men of letters who found a home there : Allan
Ramsay, David Hume, Adam Smith, John Playfair, and Robert Ferguson. It is
a privilege to live in an atmosphere surcharged with high and noble aims
and such a wealth of knowledge."
"T 'll be vera gude, nae
doot," agreed Lieut. Greenshields; "aiblins I'll forgot th' Latin mysel'
sune's I'll got awa frae th' maister—th'll be muckle else t' tak oop a
Phemie had no chance to
reply, for Mrs. Fairbairn had given the signal to rise.
When the ladies were alone,
Jessie interceded for the including of Lord Kinburn, Mr. Herries and
Lieut. Greenshields in their party to visit Bannock-burn. Mr., Mrs. and
the Misses Ferguson were going, and the three gentlemen would make a
desirable addition. Mrs. Fairbairn was quite amenable to persuasion;
either of the three would be a desirable addition to her circle for a
longer time than a a three days' outing.
Lord Kinburn was made happy
in anticipation of a whole day's outing with no "Mr. Maxwell" to
interfere, and when the day arrived he constituted himself Phemie's
cavalier. Phemie vainly tried to escape this ; the youth was
irrepressible, and he was so good-natured and was enjoying himself so
thoroughly, what could anyone do.
"You knew, didn't you, that
I did not in the least care who was member for Cronmarie?" he said to her
when he had induced her to climb a steep rock for the sake of the view.
"I am afraid I did not know
enough about Cronmarie to have an opinion," answered Phemie, looking for
"Well, I did not. It was
this," gleefully responded Lord Kinburn; "of course I knew you were over
here, and I came with the express intention of having just such a good
time as this."
"I really do not
see-------" began Phemie, rather severely for a young person.
"This may not be the point,
after all," quickly returned Lord Kinburn, catching the drift and wilfully
misinterpreting; "here are Jack Herries and Miss Fairbairn—perhaps they
He was subdued for only
about five minutes, however. He was the life of the party, and, after
reaching home, everyone voted the day a success— everyone but Phemie, and
she was growing so homesick she felt, along at the latter part of the day,
that she must see her mother, and sob out a world of unknown grief on her
As soon as Mrs. Fairbairn
had noticed Lord Kinburn's preference, she had adroitly managed to steer
everyone else away. Mr. Ferguson, who was a second edition of Dominie
Samson, and knew everything that could be learned from books ; Lieut.
Greenshield, who, as a soldier, was supposed to know all about battles ;
the Misses Ferguson, who had taken a fancy to study Phemie as they would a
rare plant; Mr. Fairbairn, and Mrs. Ferguson, who both liked to be with
the popular party ; her own two lassies, and Mr. Herries, were the only
people she did not have to watch. It might be supposed from this that her
day was a weariness to the flesh. Not so, however; indeed, in exercising
her powers of finesse, she entirely forgot that the material part of her
consisted in a measure of nerves and muscles subject to aches and pains.
Everyone else was too tired
for conversation that night, but, after breakfast, she called Phemie into
her boudoir, and bade her sit in a very cosy "easy chair," while she
herself occupied another as comfortable.
"Noo, lassie, I'll hae tae
congratulate ye," she said.
"For what, Aunt?" asked
Phemie, in surprise.
"It's weel tae no' ken,"
said her aunt; "lassies suldna be ower easy won, aiblins I'll tell ye:
ye'll soom day be my Lady Kinburn."
Phemie's face flushed
scarlet. "Aunt Janet!'' she cried; "how can you say such a thing to me?"
"An' why suld I no' say it
till my ain sister's lassie?" queried Aunt Janet. "Th's ben times when a
Douglas micht a had th' King's son, aye 'n times when thae did mairry with
ither; ye'll needna look sae rosy; he'll be a Laird, aiblins ye're as gude
bluid 's ony Laird o' them a', yet coomin' frae yon wild coontry 't 'll be
a gude maitch f'r ye."
"But, Aunt Janet, Lord
Kinburn has not asked me to marry him," expostulated Phemie.
"Wha said he'll had," Aunt
Janet said; "aiblins he wull, I'm thinkin' he'll happen be ower tae see
ye're uncle th' morn."
"I do not think he will be,
Aunt Janet, and I hope not, for I would not like to give him pain and I
will not marry him."
"Not mairry him!" said Aunt
Janet, in the utmost astonishment; "that'll be na way f'r a lassie till
talk; your mither's ain sister 'll hae summat till say 'n her mon 'n your
faither's brither; tut, tut, lassie, dinna be sae fashious, th' be ithers
'll ken what's best."
"Aunt Janet, when I say I
will not marry Lord Kinburn, I mean it. I am sorry to disappoint you, and
very sorry to have anything happen to make you think I have not
appreciated the welcome you gave me, but I do not care for Lord Kinburn
and the Black Douglas himself could not induce me to say yes when my heart
"I'll thocht ye'd been weel
pleased 't ye'r ain mither's sister 'd dune sae weel by ye, aiblins 't 'll
be th' wildness frae th' new coontry 'n ye'll na can help 't," said Mrs.
Fairbairn, rising in offended dignity and leaving Phemie to slip away to
her room, wishing more than ever for faither 'n mither 'n hame.