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The 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 morning’s 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 won’t 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 for them.”

“That is very true, Annie; I did not think of that Well, then, I believe I must not give her the hen; but I’ll 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 won’t give away your eggs, if you don’t 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 forgive me.”

“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 won’t 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 don’t cry, my dear Jessie. I am very glad you won’t 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.,,

Jessie’s eyes sparkled with delight at Annie’s good-natured offer. She put her little fat arms round her sister’s 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 don’t 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 Annie’s. “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 would wish.”

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 Jessie’s chickens had produced, there could be no harm in her wearing it now, when she was going to visit at the laird’s; 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 Annie’s. 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 sister’s 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, I’ll 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 Jessie’s 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 Jessie’s present.

“They are Annie’s roses, ma’am; 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, ma’am, 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?”

Arthur’s face crimsoned. “No, ma’am, 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, ma’am, 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 about.”

Colonel Beaumont, who had come into the room during this conversation, said—

“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 gentleman’s son; and in your father’s 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 wiser.”

“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, ma’am, 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 Colonel’s 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 niece’s 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 children’s 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 Annie’s 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 don’t seem so fond of flowers, Jessie, as your sister; have you no garden at home?”

Jessie smiled. “Yes, ma’am, I have a garden, but I don’t 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, ma’am, I don’t 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 other’s arms, while the turkey cock was screaming and blustering almost on Annie’s 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 other’s 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 don’t 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 laird’s sheep. If we take care of it, it may be a great help to us next year.”

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 year’s 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 Arthur’s 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 Carlin’s 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 difficulties.

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 o’clock. He took a piece of bread and cheese in his pocket, as he was to go to Linton before he returned home.

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 Arthur’s, 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 niece’s 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 Jessie’s 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 Jessie’s 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 neighbour’s son, who, through the interest of some of his mother’s 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 advance.”

“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 Colonel’s 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. William’s 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 Finlay’s 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, don’t 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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