Scottish Orphans By Mrs. Blackford
(now Lady Stoddart) (1857) - Chapter 3
Jane, when she saw Arthur
run off, had returned into the house. After giving each of the little
girls their mornings task of needlework, she sat down herself to her
wheel, and for some time was so much occupied in thinking on the
uneasiness she was afraid her kina husband might suffer, from the
disposition of his foster son, that she did not hear what was passing
between the children; at last she heard Jamie say
Mother, I wish the laird would offer to take me for his servant. I am
sure I would never say no to him, for I should like very much to live at
Glenlyn. Do you think my father would let me go, if he we*e to ask me?
No, Jamie. I dare say, when you are a little older, your father would
be very glad of such an offer; but you are such a little fellow, that
you could be of no use to the laird yet. I am glad Arthur wont go,
said Allen, for I should hate to see him dressed up like one of the
flunkies that live at the house; and besides, what would become of us
all here at home? Jessie and Annie would never learn to write, for my
father has so little time, that it is very seldom they ever pet a lesson
from him, now that my brother is able to teach them; but come, Jamie,
let us go and dig the potatoes, or they will be too late for dinner, and
father will be angry if they are not ready by the time he comes home.
Away went the boys, and for some minutes there was not a word spoken: at
last Jessie said
Annie, do you think the lady would like to have my white hen? it is the
only thing I have that is my own; and I should very much like to give it
to her, if I thought it would make her happy.
Your white hen, Jessie I Surely you would not give it away for then,
you know, we could never have any more pretty chickens, and mother would
not be able to buy you a new frock, as she did with the money she got
That is very true, Annie; I did not think of that Well, then, I believe
I must not give her the hen; but Ill tell you what I can do, I can give
her six new-laid eggs that I have. I did mean to give them to you upon
your birthday; but, perhaps, you will wait till she has laid some more,
and tnen you shall certainly have them.
Oh, give her them, if you please, Jessie, answered her sister; but she
sighed as she said so, and remained silent for some minutes.
Little Jessie looked up. Annie, my dear sister, you are angry .with me;
pray, pray forgive me. I wont give away your eggs, if you dont like to
wait for the others. 1 would not make you unhappy for any pleasure I
might have in giving the lady a present. Come, kiss me, and tell me you
I am not angry, Jessie, I was only thinking how happy our brothers
would have been with the pudding my mother meant to have made on my
birthday. You know she promised to bring home some plums, from Linton,
the next time she went to market, if you kept your eggs. Besides, father
said we should carry a piece of it to poor Janet Finlay, who is so ill,
and as I told her of it, I doubt she will be disappointed.
I wont give them away on any account, Annie. I quite forgot all about
the pudding; or rather, (continued she, blushing,) I was thinking so
much about the pleasure of giving a present to the lady, that I did not
take time to recollect anything else.
Well, pray dont cry, my dear Jessie. I am very glad you wont give
away the eggs, for the sake of our brothers and Janet; but, otherwise,
you should have been quite welcome, if you thought it would make you
happy; and if you still wish to give the lady something, I will cut a
beautiful bunch of my moss roses, and give them to you to carry to
Glenlyn; perhaps she will like them nearly as well as the eggs; for
there are no roses at the house this year, my father says, owing to the
masons having taken them all away in building the new wing.,,
Jessies eyes sparkled with delight at Annies good-natured offer. She
put her little fat arms round her sisters neck, and kissing her, said,
I believe you are the very best sister in the world, and I love you so
much, that I wonder how I ever can vex you. She is a very good little
girl, indeed, said Jane, who had been listening to the above
conversation; and you, Jessie, ought to love her dearly, for she is
ever ready to sacrifice her own wishes to please you; but if you have
finished your work, you may go out and play till dinner time; only dont
go far from the door, as your father will soon be home.
As soon as the family had dined, William left them to go to his work;
and when Jane thought it time for the children to set out for Glenlyn,
she sent them away, with many charges to behave well, and do whatever
the laird and the lady desired them. She was exceedingly anxious that
Jessie should please the lady, and with well-meant attention had dressed
her in a white frock and blue sash, in hopes that the natural beauty of
the child, and her neat appearance, might induce Mrs. Beaumont to pay
her more attention than the rest. And who knows, thought she, but, as
the lady has no children of her own, she may take a fancy to the poor
thing, and have her often come to see her, which might be of great use,
in shewing her how ladies ought to behave, far better than I can pretend
to teach her.
Jessie, however, no sooner appeared at the door, in all her finery, than
Arthur stoutly objected to her dress being different from Annies. I am
sure, mother, said he, my father would not like to have her wear that
frock; it is only making her particular, and that is the last thing he
Jane was surprised. She knew very well it was very likely that William
would, if he saw her, make an objection to her being differently dressed
from the others, and had, purposely, deferred putting on the frock till
ne was gone. She tried to persuade Arthur that as she had bought it with
the money that Jessies chickens had produced, there could be no harm in
her wearing it now, when she was going to visit at the lairds; but
Arthur was unconvinced, and Jane, half doubting in her own mind if she
was acting properly, agreed to change it for one similar to Annies. At
last they left her, all happy and contented but Jessie, who by no means
relished the loss of her finery. They walked quietly along the road till
they got into the Glen, when Arthur, who had a hold of each of his
sisters hands, said, Jessie, my dear, you must not be angry with me
for making our mother take off your pretty frock. I am sure the lady
will be quite as much pleased to see you in the one you have on, as she
would have been if you had gone in that fine one, which might have
displeased our good father very much, and likewise have made her think
that our mother was very extravagant. Besides, why should you wish to be
different from Annie ? she is quite contented with her checked one, and
you know, very well, that she is the best girl of the two.
O yes, brother, I know that very well; but that frock looked so pretty,
I should have liked to have worn it, for all that; however, Ill tell
you what I will do. I will save all my chickens next year, and get
mother to buy Annie one, and then we may both wear them.
I think mother would do very wrong to spend so much money on what is so
little wanted, for I am sure both Annie and you look as well as you are,
and can do very well without white frocks, which are only for
gentlefolks; wait till you are able to spin one yourself, and then, if
you wish to wear anything so fine, I shall not object to your having it,
and, I dare say, neither will our father.
"I wish, Arthur, said Annie, you had let Jessie wear her frock, for
she looks so very pretty in it, it does one good to look at her. I never
knew you do an unkind thing to any of us, before; but I really thought
it was very ill-natured of you to make mother take it off for she was
more proud of seeing her dressed, than even Jessie was herself; and when
she had tied the riband round her waist, I saw the tears in her eyes, as
she kissed her.
Mother is very kind, said Arthur, thoughtfully, but it is best as it
is, since you had not one to put on like it, and Jessie will be a good
girl, and think no more about it
They were now within sight of the house of Glenlyn. As they drew near,
the little girls clung closer to their brother, and seemed frightened at
the thought of entering those gates that they had always before been so
strictly forbidden to approach. Arthur, however, had no such fear, and
walked stoutly up to the door that led to the servants apartments, and
knocked. An elderly man, in livery, opened it, and immediately said.
Oh, you are the children from the village, that my mistress expects.
Come in, she will see you in a few minutes. Sit down till I tell her you
are here. He then, after shewing them into the hall, left them. What a
pretty place this is, said Jessie; but, dear Arthur, who can that be
that stands in the corner, and makes such a ticking noise? A clock,
you foolish thing, answered Arthur; it is finer than ours at home, but
it is just for the same purpose.
Ah, I see now; but listen, our clock does not strike like that.
At that moment the clock, which was a musical one, played a tune before
striking the hour, to the great admiration of the children; even Arthur
could not understand what that meant, and got off his seat to watch it
He had scarcely sat down again, when the servant came to desire them to
go up stairs to the drawing-room.
Mrs. Beaumont met them on the landing-place, and, kissing the little
girls, told them she was very glad to see them at Glenlyn. She received
Jessies roses with great good humour, and taking down a handsome jar
from the mantel-piece, put them into it, saying, that they were the only
roses she had had that year, for that hers had all been destroyed: and,
as she was very fond of moss roses, she felt particularly obliged by
They are Annies roses, maam; she waa so kind as to give them to me,
to bring you.
I am very much obliged to Annie, then, as well as to you, and shall
take care to remember it But, Arthur, have you altered your mind since
last night? I hope you will not now refuse to come and live with me. I
am sorry I cannot say that I will, answered Arthur; u I hope that the
laird will not be offended with me for refusing his offer. I have always
wished to go to school, and though I cannot go now, I yet hope that I
may be able by and by to do so. Meantime, I think it is my duty to teach
my brothers what my father has taken so much runs to instruct me in, and
therefore, maam, must not think of leaving home.
"But Arthur, if you come here, the Colonel will take care to send you to
school next summer, and your father, I think, might teach the other boys
in the evenings. I am afraid you do not wish to come, or you might be
able to contrive to get his leave. I hope you are not an idle boy, and
love climbing in the foods better than working?
Arthurs face crimsoned. No, maam, I am not an idle boy, I hope; but I
do not like to be a servant, and my father is kind enough to let me
choose for myself. I know the laird and you meant it in kindness, when
you offered to take me to live here, but I am determined to be a
soldier; and till I am old enough for that, I must remain at home, and
make myself as useful to my father and mother as I can.
A soldier, child I what can have put such a fancy into your head? does
your father wish you to be a soldier?
No, maam, he does not like it very much; but I hope he will agree to
it, when the time comes; and till then, I must take care to do nothing
that might prevent me from holding a commission, if I am ever so
fortunate as to get one. John Dimond told me, that a servant could never
be an officer, as long as he lived; and, therefore, I cannot think of
doing what might hinder my success in the only way I care anything
Colonel Beaumont, who had come into the room during this conversation,
So you expect to get a commission, Arthur? I am afraid you are likely
to be disappointed, for it is not very easy to procure one without
money, even for a gentlemans son; and in your fathers situation, I see
no chance in the world you have for it.
I will wait, sir, for some years, and try. I am very young yet, and
perhaps, by the time I am old enough, I may be so fortunate as to get
some friend to help me.
You are an odd little fellow; but a few years will, I hope, make you
Will you come and live with me, Jessie? asked Mrs. Beaumont; fi I
should like you for a companion very much.
If Annie comes, too, answered the child, but I cannot leave her, on
any account. Will you come, then, Annie? for I positively must have
one of you.
No, maam, I cannot leave my mother, though I am much obliged to you.
"1 never saw such a family in my life, said Mrs. Beaumont; not one of
them can be tempted to leave their home; but I must speak to your
mother, and see if she will not spare me one of you; for I have set my
heart on having a little scholar to amuse me this winter, and either of
you would do nicely.
Come along, interrupted the Colonel, and let the children have some
fruit: I have had it placed in the parlour for them; and when they have
eaten it, they shall walk out and see the garden.
Mrs. Beaumont led them into the parlour, and, thinking that they would
enjoy themselves more if left alone, she took the Colonels arm, and
said that they would walk out on the gravel walk, and when they were
satisfied, they might come out to them.
What can we do with this boy? said she to her husband, when alone. I
never felt so interested for a child in my life. I cannot imagine what
can have put this fancy into his head: unless we can get him to give up
so foolish a whim, we shall never prevail with him to come to us.
We must do nothing at present, my dear; for if we were to try to
persuade him to come to us, his father might oblige him to comply, and
he, in that case, would look upon us as enemies, rather than friends.
Let us leave him to follow his wishes for the present; and in a year or
two, when he has got more sense, he will, in all probability, be glad to
accept the offer we have now made him. I think, however, if you are in
earnest in wishing for one of the girls, it would really be a good plan,
both for you and the child, since your sister has refused to let you
have one of hers: they are both nice children, and I have little doubt
their parents may easily be persuaded to part with one of them.
"I am quite serious, Charles. I have long wished to have a little girl
to bring up, and was much mortified that Susan would not trust any one
of her daughters with me. This child, if I take her, must stand in my
nieces place; and, in time, I have no fear of attaching her to me, and
making her a comfort to us both in our old age.
The Colonel smiled, and pressing her hand, said, I know my wife can be
trusted, and that, if she does take this poor little girl out of the
hands of her own parents, she will do her duty by her, and not merely
make her a plaything, to be cast away when the novelty is over. If you
seriously intend to bring her here, I shall consider myself bound to
provide for her, in case of our death, with at least a moderate
competency; therefore, before we engage in it, we must study the
children, see which of them is most likely to suit us, and then consult
their father, before we absolutely determine between them. He is a very
sensible man, and would, I have no doubt, object to allow his child to
be brought up here, unless it should be clearly understood what our
views are in taking her. I would rather have him satisfied on the
subject, before it is mentioned at all to his wife, as his judgment is
far superior, in my opinion, to hers. Be-Bides, he may have reasons of
his own to prevent his acceptance of our offer, which we know nothing
about; just as he has rejected the plan we had for Arthur. I think the
best way will be for me to send a message to him, by his son, desiring
him to come hither to-morrow evening, when he has finished his work, and
till then, you had better say no more to the children on the subject.
I have taken a great deal of pains to ascertain the character of both
William and his wife, this morning. Mr. Brown, who knows every man in
his parish perfectly well, assures me that there is not a more
respectable couple in it, than they are. They came to reside here, it
seems, soon after the rebellion, having quitted Edinburgh on account of
the childrens health. During the five years they have been here, they
have conducted themselves with the greatest industry and propriety. I
mean, therefore, to give them every possible encouragement, whether they
let us have their child or not; and with this view, I have been thinking
of offering William the little farm that lies on the opposite side of
the glen. It may help him to rear his family much better than his wages
as a common ploughman can possibly do. He is quite equal to the
management of it, Mr. Brown-says, and will act, he is sure, like an
honest man towards me.
At this moment, the children having finished their repast, came out upon
the lawn, and their kind entertainers called to them to follow them into
the garden. Here Annies attention was drawn towards the flowers; and,
timid as she was, she ventured to ask Mrs. Beaumont the names of several
she had never before seen, and was made almost wild with delight by the
promise of different kinds of seeds to plant in her own little garden.
You dont seem so fond of flowers, Jessie, as your sister; have you no
garden at home?
Jessie smiled. Yes, maam, I have a garden, but I dont much like to
work in it, because it dirties my hands; but Annie never cares for that,
and therefore, she plants all the flowers and vegetables that grow in
it: is not that very kind and good of her?
You should tell the lady, Jessie, that you feed the chickens for me,
and drive home the cow, when our brothers are away, and so we are both
obliged to one another. My mother says, that is the way good sisters
should live together.
Ah, Annie, you know that you are a much better girl than I am; for,
whenever I want you to do anything for me, you always run and do it
directly; but sometimes I forget what you ask me to do, and my mother is
angry with you; and yet, maam, I dont think she ever told that it was
my fault, in her life, but has always tried to hide from my mother
anything she thought would make her angry with me.
You are both good girls, I think, said Mrs. Beaumont, laughing, I
scarcely know which is the best; but, Annie, if you have seeu enough of
the flowers, we will walk down this path that leads to the water, and I
will shew Jessie my chickens; for I am also very fond of feeding
chickens, and visit them every evening.
About half-way towards the river stood the farm yard; there Jessie felt
more at home than her sister. The chickens and ducks delighted her
exceedingly, and in her eagerness to look at a brood of young turkeys,
she ran towards them, without observing the turkey cock, which, on
seeing her approach the nest, flew at her, with his feathers all
ruffled, and making a terrible noise. Poor Jessie screamed with terror,
while Annie, pale as a sheet, endeavoured to rescue her; and, heedless
of her own danger, she got between her sister and the bird, and
spreading her arms out, covered her with her petticoat. Their fright
made them both fall to the ground; and by the time Mrs. Beaumont got to
their assistance, they were clasped in each others arms, while the
turkey cock was screaming and blustering almost on Annies back, who
still guarded her sister, as well as her strength would allow her to do.
Mrs. Beaumont soon drove the bird off, but it was a long time before she
could restore the children to their former cheerfulness; and for the
rest of the evening, they kept a fast hold of each others hands, as if
they could only feel safety by the side of one another.
The present of a beautiful little lamb at last brought the roses into
their cheeks. It had lost its mother, and had been brought up by the
dairy-maid; it was so tame as to let them fondle it. Mrs. Beaumont tied
a green ribbon round its neck, and said it should be led home by their
brother Arthur, and that it should belong equally to the two sisters.
The pleasure they felt in talking of their present, restored their
tongues, and they soon prattled away as merrily as ever.
Meantime, Arthur had been walking in the glen with the Colonel, who had
shewn him his horses and cattle, and everything he thought likely to
amuse him; and when they were joined by his sisters and Mrs. Beaumont,
both parties felt regret at being obliged to separate. It was, however,
getting late, and therefore, Mrs. Beaumont thought it was time to send
them home. Before they left her, she presented each of the girls with a
small needle-case, well filled, and a very neat psalm book, such as they
required to take to church; to Arthur she gave a pocket bible, with his
name written on it. The Colonel, likewise, gave him half-a-crown, and
each of the girls a sixpence.
A happier group, perhaps, never walked through the glen, than our young
friends, who could scarcely take time to lead their pretty lamb, so
impatient were they to show their treasures, and have their curiosity
gratified, in seeing their brothers at home open two small parcels,
directed for them, which the Colonel had intrusted to the care of
Arthur, who promised to deliver them without examination.
As they approached their own door, they were seen by Jane, who stood
anxiously waiting for their return. She was nearly as much pleased at
the sight of the lamb, as the children were. They ran into the house to
display all their presents to their father: as soon as he had examined
them, he asked Arthur what had passed between him and the laird.
Nothing more, dear father, than that I have told him I cannot accept
his offer, as I am resolved to be a soldier; and lie knows, as well as I
do, that if I were to live as a servant now with him, I could never
afterwards be an officer.
Who told you that, Arthur? I am sure I did not know it.
John Dimock told me so when he came to see his father, last year, and I
have never forgotten it.
And did not the laird think you a very foolish boy for talking of being
an officer? I am sure I shall be ashamed to see him, after your having
talked such nonsense to him.
O, you need not mind what I said, for the laird only laughed, and told
me I should be wiser by and by; and, as he was not offended, I thought
it best to say no more about it. But though he thinks me so foolish at
present, he will, perhaps, be the very person to help me when I want
assistance, provided he thinks I deserve his countenance. He asked me a
good many questions about how long you had lived in Edinburgh, and if
you were born there. I said I did not know much about it. I believed you
had been a long time there, and that my mother did not like the town,
and so you came here.
That was all right, answered William; "but do you know at all what he
wants to see me for to-morrow?
No, father; he did not say what business he had with you; only he
desired me to tell you to be sure and come, for he had something
particular to say to you.
I suppose I must go, then, though I dont much like the visit Now, let
us see, my dears, how we can tie up your pretty lamb for the night; and
to-morrow I will ask Laurie, the herd, to take it to the hills with the
lairds sheep. If we take care of it, it may be a great help to us next
Jamie and Allen had opened their parcels, and found a New Testament for
each, with a shilling. The moment they saw the money, they ran with it
to their mother, and gave it to her to keep for them, as their sisters
had done on their first coming home. Did the laird give you any money,
Arthur? asked Jane.
Yes, mother, answered Arthur, colouring, he did, he gave me
half-a-crown. I wish to buy a book with it, and therefore I cannot give
it to you, unless my father does not choose me to nave it.
The money is your own, Arthur, you may use it as you please, provided
you shew me what you buy: at the same time, my dear boy, 1 must say I
think half-a-crown $ great deal of money to spend on a book. Do you know
that that sum would nearly pay for half a years schooling at Linton?
Yes, father, I do know that, but I cannot go to school without a book,
and the one I want to buy is a Latin Grammar; I think I can learn a
great deal of it at home, and then, when I get any more money, I may go
to school with it.
William shook his head, but at last gave his consent to Arthurs going
to Linton the next day to make his purchase. When this was settled,
Arthur ventured to mention a plan he had in view, and which was what
took him that morning to John Gibson, who was a stone-mason, and was
employed at this time, by a gentleman in the neighbourhood, to build a
number of small houses, on the same plan with the village of Carlins
Loup. Arthur, in his wanderings, often passed that way, and had several
times asked John to show him how to build. The man was glad of a
companion to converse with, and gave him some instructions, till at last
he became so expert that he offered to pay him, if he would come and
help him to get the job done. Arthur caught at the offer, as a way to
get a little money to purchase the books he wanted: he offered, if his
father would allow him to work four hours every day, to give him
sixpence at the end of the week. Arthur was rather afraid William would
object to this engagement, and mentioned it now with great trepidation.
Contrary to his expectations, his father agreed to it directly, provided
he did not neglect his book. The truth was, William thought that both
John and Arthur would soon tire of their agreement, and, in the mean
time, it would assist him to get out of the scrape with the laird, which
he could not help fearing might otherwise have brought him into
This point being settled, William desired the children to be quiet, and
shut the door, as it was time for family worship; which having
performed, they all drew round the supper table, though the little ones
could scarcely eat, for relating all they had seen at Glenlyn.
In the morning, as soon as Arthur had heard his brothers read, he left
the house, telling his mother he would hear his sisters in the evening,
as he must be with John Gibson by nine oclock. He took a piece of bread
and cheese in his pocket, as he was to go to Linton before he returned
The day passed as it usually did with the young folks in the cottage,
each occupied with their respective tasks, till the evening, when
William returned from his work, and prepared for his visit.
William walked to Glenlyn, and was immediately shown up to the
dining-room, where the Colonel was expecting him. After the usual
compliments of welcoming him to the house, the Colonel desired him to
take a seat, as he had a great deal to say to him.
William took a chair but could not help wishing himself fairly out of
the house again; he feared, that by some imprudence of Arthurs, the
laird might suspect some part of his secret. How much then was he
relieved, when Colonel Beaumont began by telling him that he had sent
for him to lay before him a plan, which his wife had very much at heart,
provided it met with his approbation. He then stated her wish to have
one of the little girls to educate. u Before I receive your answer,
William, you must understand the footing on which we are willing to take
your daughter. Mv wife never had any children of her own, and, for some
time past, we have come to the resolution of adopting a child of her
sister Mrs. Munro; but no inducement we can hold out, is powerful enough
to make her consent to part with any one of her girls. We have,
therefore, been looking out for a child who would supply our nieces
place. Both Mrs. Beaumont and I have been exceedingly pleased with the
manner in which you have reared your children. The girls are sweet
tempered, and well principled for their age; either of them will suit
our purpose exactly, if you and your wife are willing to allow one of
them to reside with us. As it is a companion my wife wishes to rear for
herself, of course she intends to give her the education of a
gentlewoman. It would be no favour to the child to remove her out of her
natural station in life, without securing to her the means of remaining
in the one we mean to place her in; I, therefore, pledge myself to give
her five hundred pounds at my death, and will place that sum in the
hands of any person you choose to name, to hold in trust for her.
William listened attentively while the Colonel was speaking. The
advantage of gaining an education for Jessie struck him forcibly, which,
in the view of her brothers ever being again restored to their
inheritance, would be of the utmost consequence to them all; at the same
time, the promise he had indirectly made his master, by bowing to him,
when he expressed his wishes on the scaffold, that his children should
be reared in his own family, staggered him, and he resolved, before he
decided, to take time to consider over all the circumstances, and
likewise he felt he must, in some degree, consult Arthur, who, being
aware of Jessies birth, as well as of his own, might think himself
entitled to have, at least, an opinion upon an affair of so much
consequence to them both.
When the Colonel had finished, William, with this view, said, after
expressing himself fully aware of-the kindness and consideration of the
offer, that it was a thing of too much consequence for him to give an
immediate answer; and therefore he hoped that the laird would allow him
a few days to think it over, and also to consult with his wife. Our
girls, said he, are very dear to us, and were the one you want to be
entirely separated from us, I should not hesitate a moment in refusing
to part from my child; but as you are likely to live so near to us that
we can see her every day, if we please, the advantages held out are so
great, that, unless I see some difficulty in the way that I am not aware
of at present, I believe I shall accept, with gratitude, the offer you
have so kindly made, and Jessie shall be yours. This is my present
feeling; yet, till I have consulted my wife, and thought over all its
various points, I do not pledge myself to the agreement.
That is exactly, William, what I expected from your good sense; I shall
willingly give you time to make up your mind; but you mention Jessies
name. Have you any reason for fixing on her in preference to Annie?
Yes, sir, I have a reason which weighs with me so strongly that I
cannot, on any account, alter my choice. Annie is much more timid than
Jessie, and her mother, I know, will never consent to it; and therefore,
if you take one of them, it must be Jessie. It is only with her I can
consent to such an arrangement.
Very well, William, whichever of them you please; my wife and I will be
quite contented if you only give us one of them. But what is to be done
with this boy of yours? I never heard anything more ridiculous than his
whim of being a soldier. Who could have put that into his head?
A neighbours son, who, through the interest of some of his mothers
friends, obtained a commission about two years ago; but I think it best
to say as little about it, at present, as possible. Opposition often
makes young folks more obstinate in their own conceit than if they are
left to reflection. Arthur is too young, by several years, to leave home
in any way, and, whilst ne continues industrious and diligent in his
employments, I care very little about his talking of what is to happen
five or six years hence. He will know better by that time, I hope, and
follow a safer trade.
You are acting like a prudent, sensible man, and a kind, indulgent
father. Leave Arthur alone for a year or two, and I have no doubt he
will agree to anything we wish: but I have another subject, William, to
talk with you upon. Have you any objection to take upon you the
management of a small farm? I am looking out for a respectable tenant
for Lochmore, and Mr. Brown has recommended you as the fittest man he
knows to be put into it. If you will accept of it, I am resolved to give
you the first offer. Has Mr. Brown, indeed, been so kind, sir? I am
truly obliged, and proud to think that he has mentioned me so favourably
to my master; but I cannot accept such an offer; to become your tenant
in Lochmore, would require more money than I can any how undertake to
If that is your only reason for refusing to engage in it, I think I can
remove the objection, by advancing you a hundred pounds, which you shall
pay me when it suits your own convenience. It is of great consequence
for me to have a steady, industrious man in that farm; therefore, you
really will be conferring a favour on me if you will become my tenant.
William was quite overcome for a moment It had been a great sacrifice to
him to resign his snug farm at Monteith, at the time of his master's
death; and though he never, for an instant, repented the part he had
acted in favour of the children, yet it was not surprising that the
difference in his present situation, together with the increasing
difficulties of a large family, should sometimes bring back to his mind
the comfortable home he had abandoned. In the Colonels generous offer
he now saw a reward for all his sacrifices. From his knowledge of the
farm, he was certain he could both make a comfortable living for
himself, and pay his generous master, in a very short time, the money he
was willing to advance.
As soon as he was able to speak, he said, I willingly and thankfully,
sir, accept your liberal offer, and, if I am spared for a very few
years, I trust, with the help of Providence, to be able to pay you both
the principal and interest of what you are willing to advance for me.
Likewise, I hope I shall be able to shew you, that Mr. Brown has not
recommended an ungrateful man to your notice. I am not ignorant of what
is required in the prudent management of a farm; neither my wife nor
myself will spare trouble or pains to make Lochmore a credit to the
estate of Glenlyn.
Very well, William, that is now a bargain between us. I shall give
orders to have a proper lease drawn out for twenty years, and therefore
you may tell your wife that, in three months from this time, I hope to
see her and her family settled at Lochmore.
William continued conversing with his future landlord on many points
which required to be settled between them, to a late hour; and, when he
quitted Glenlyn, he promised to return that day week; and give Mrs.
Beaumont his final answer on the subject of Jessie.
On reaching his own house, he found all the children in bed, except
Arthur, who had prevailed on his mother to allow him to sit up till his
father eame home, as she could not help feeling uneasy at the long stay
he had made at Glenlyn. Williams cheerful countenance, however, as he
entered his cottage, instantly set the anxious heart of his affectionate
wife at rest, and she quickly prepared his supper, before she asked a
word of his news from the house. When they were seated round their
cheerful fire, William said, Gude wife, I must have a tankard of our
harvest beer to-night; give Arthur the money, and let him go to John
Finlays and get it. I do not often indulge in such extravagance, but I
have good news for you, and I feel as if I should be the better for it
after my walk.
I am sure you shall have the beer, gude man; run, Arthur, and fetch
some, answered Jane; I do not believe there has been a drop in the
house this twelvemonth before. What is your news? It must be good, I
think, for I have not seen you look so like yourself for many a day.
Instantly kissing his wife, he told her he would drink her health, as
mistress of Lochmore farm, to which the laird had appointed him tenant,
through the kind recommendation of Mr. Brown.
This is news, indeed, gude man. I think I must drink your health
myself, if I could believe that you were not joking.
No, Jane, I am not joking; it is really true: the laird desired me to
tell you, from himself, that your house should be ready for you by the
end of November. We nave quite settled everything, I believe; and, while
I am a living man, I shall never forfeit the kindness and liberality of
Colonel Beaumont, nor yet the obligation I am under to our worthy
minister. But it grows late. Let us go to bed now, and to-morrow morning
I will tell you all about our plans, and many other things that I want
to consult with you upon. And you, Arthur, must go out with me in the
morning, when I go to my work. I have something to say to you, that is
only for your private ear; so, remember, dont keep me waiting, or I
shall be very angry. With these words they separated, and retired to
rest, as pleased and contented as such worthy, virtuous people must ever
be, when they are conscious of having performed their duties.
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