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

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 again:

“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 bonnet.

"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 says to’t.’

"And I’ll gang wi’ you," cries Geordie.

“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 twa!"

"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 great drive.

"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 happy!"

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 yet!”

"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 time.”

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.”

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