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Tea at Rowardennan Castle is an impressive and a delightful function. It is served by a ministerial-looking butler and a just-ready-to-be-ordained footman. They both look as if they had been nourished on the Thirty-Nine Articles, but they know their business as well as if they had been trained in heathen lands,–which is saying a good deal, for everybody knows that heathen servants wait upon one with idolatrous solicitude. However, from the quality of the cheering beverage itself down to the thickness of the crea cheap air max 1 m, the thinness of the china, the crispness of the toast, and the plummyness of the cake, tea at Rowardennan Castle is perfect in every detail.
The scones are of unusual lightness, also. I should think they would scarcely weigh more than four, perhaps even five, to a pound; but I am aware that the casual traveler, who eats only at hotels, and never has the privilege of entering feudal castles, will be slow to believe this estimate, particularly just after breakfast.
Salemina always describes a Scotch scone as an aspiring but unsuccessful soda biscuit of the New England sort. Stevenson, in writing of that dense black substance, inimical to life, called Scotch bun, says that the patriotism that leads a Scotsman to eat it will hardly desert him in any emergency. Salemina th cheap air 1 inks that the scone should be bracketed with the bun (in description, of course, never in the human stomach), and says that, as a matter of fact, “th’ unconquer’d Scot” of old was not only clad in a shirt of mail, but well fortified within when he went forth to warfare after a meal of oatmeal and scones. She insists that the spear which would pierce the shirt of mail would be turned aside and blunted by the ordinary scone of commerce; but what signifies the opinion of a woman who eats sugar on her porridge?
Considering the air of liberal hospitality that hangs about the castle tea-table, I wonder that our friends do not oftener avail themselves of its privileges and allow us to do so; but on all dark, foggy, or inclement cheap max 1 days, or whenever they tire of the sands, everybody persists in taking tea at Bide-a-Wee Cottage.
We buy our tea of the Pettybaw grocer, some of our cups are cracked, the teapot is of earthenware, Miss Grieve disapproves of all social tea-fuddles and shows it plainly when she brings in the tray, and the room is so small that some of us overflow into the hall or the garden; it matters not; there is some fatal charm in our humble hospitality. At four o’clock one of us is obliged to be, like Sister Anne, on the housetop; and if company approaches, she must descend and speed to the plumber’s for sixpenny worth extra of c cheap air max 1 ream. In most well-ordered British households Miss Grieve would be requested to do this speeding, but both her mind and her body move too slowly for such domestic crises; and then, too, her temper has to be kept as unruffled as possible, so that she will cut the bread and butter thin. This she generally does if she has not been “fair doun-hadden wi’ wark;” but the washing of her own spinster cup and plate, together with the incident sighs and groans, occupies her nike air max 1 red till so late an hour that she is not always dressed for callers.
Willie and I were reading “The Lady of the Lake,” the other day, in the back garden, surrounded by the verdant leafage of our own kail-yard. It is a pretty spot when the sun shines, a trifle domestic in its air, perhaps, but restful: Miss Grieve’s dish-towels and aprons drying on the currant bushes, the cat playing with a mutton-bone or a fishtail on the grass, and the little birds perching on the rims of our wash-boiler and water-buckets. It can be reached only by way of the kitchen, which somewhat lessens its value as a pleasure-ground or a rustic retreat, but Willie and I retire there now and then for a quiet chat.
On this particular occasion Willie was declaiming the exciting verses where FitzJames and Murdoch are crossing the stream

“That joins Loch Katrine to Achray,”
where the crazed Blanche of Devan f nike air max 1 ebay irst appears:–
“All in the Trosachs’ glen was still,
Noontide was sleeping on the hill:
Sudden his guide whoop’d loud and high–
‘Murdoch! was that a signal cry?'”

“It was indeed,” said Francesca, appearing suddenly at an upper window overhanging the garden. “Pardon this intrusion, but the castle people are here,” she continued in what is known as a stage whisper,–that is, one that can be easily heard by a thousand persons,–“the castle people and the ladies from Pettybaw House; and Mr. Macdonald is coming down the loaning; but Calamity Jane is making her toilette in the kitchen, and you cannot take Mr. Beresford through into the sitting-room at present. She says this hoose has so few conveniences that it’s ‘fair sickenin’.'”
“How long will she be?” queried Mr. Beresford anxiously, putting “The Lady of the Lake” in his pocket, and pacing up and down between the rows of cabbages.
“She has just begun. Whatever you do, don’t nike air max 1 sale unsettle her temper, for she will have to prepare for eight to-day. I will send Mr. Macdonald and Miss Macrae to the bakery for gingerbread, to gain time, and possibly I can think of a way to rescue you. If I can’t, are you tolerably comfortable? Perhaps Miss Grieve won’t mind Penelope, and she can come through the kitchen any time and join us; but naturally you don’t want to be separated, that’s the worst of being engaged. Of course I can lower your tea in a tin bucket, and if it should rain I can throw out umbrellas. Would you like your golf-cape, Pen? ‘Won’erful blest in weather ye are, mam!’ The situation is not so bad as it might be,” she added consolingly, “because in case Miss Grieve’s toilette should last longer than usual, your wedding need not be indefinitely postponed, for Mr. Macdonald can marry you from this window.”
Here she disappeared, and we had scarcely time to take in the full humor of the affair before Robin Anstruther’s laughing eyes appeared over the top of the high brick wall that protects our garden on t cheap nike air max 1 hree sides.
“Do not shoot,” said he. “I am not come to steal the fruit, but to succor humanity in distress. Miss Monroe insisted that I should borrow the inn ladder. She thought a rescue would be much more romantic than waiting for Miss Grieve. Everybody is coming out to witness it, at least all your guests,–there are no strangers present,–and Miss Monroe is already collecting sixpence a head for the entertainm nike air max 1 grey ent, to be given, she says, to Mr. Macdonald’s sustentation fund.”
He was now astride of the wall, and speedily lifted the ladder to our side, where it leaned comfortably against the stout branches of the draper’s peach vine. Willie ran nimbly up the ladder and bestrode the wall. I followed, first standing, and then decorously sitting down on the top of it. Mr. Anstruther pulled up the ladder, and replaced it on the side of liberty; then he descended, then Willie, and I last of all, amidst the acclamations of the on-lookers, a select company of six or eight persons.
When Miss Grieve formally entered the sitting-room bearing the tea-tray, she was buskit braw in black stuff gown, clean apron, and fresh cap trimmed with purple ribbons, under which her white locks were neatly dressed.
She deplored the coolness of the tea, but nike air max 1 accounted for it to me in an aside by the sickening quality of Mrs. Sinkler’s coals and Mr. Macbrose’s kindling-wood, to say nothing of the insulting draft in the draper’s range. When she left the room, I suppose she was unable to explain the peals of laughter that rang through our circumscribed halls.
Lady Ardmore insists that the rescue was the most unique episode she ever witnessed, and says that she never understood America until she made our acquaintance. I persuaded her that this was fallacious reasoning; that while she might understand us by knowing America, she could not possibly reverse this mental operation and be sure of the result. The ladies of Pettybaw House said that the occurrence was as Fifish as anything that ever happened in Fife. The kingdom of Fife is noted, it seems, for its “doocots [dovecotes] and i ts daft lairds,” and to be eccentric and Fifish are one and the same thing. Thereupon Francesca told Mr. Macdonald a story she heard in Edinburgh, to the effect that when a certain committee or council was quarreling as to which of certain Fifeshire towns should be the seat of a projected lunatic asylum, a new resident arose and suggested that the building of a wall round the kingdom of Fife would solve the difficulty, settle all disputes, and give sufficient room for the lunatics to exercise properly.
This is the sort of tale that a native can tell with a genial chuckle, but it comes with poor grace from an American lady sojourning in Fife. Francesca does not mind this, however, as she is at present avenging fresh insults to her own beloved country.

“With mimic din of stroke and ward
The broadsword upon target jarr’d.”
The Lady of the Lake.

Robin Anstruther was telling stories at the tea-table.
“I got acquainted with an American girl in rather a queer sort of way,” he said, between cups. “It was in London, on the Duke of York’s wedding-day. I’m rather a tall chap, you see, and in the crowd somebody touched me on the shoulder and a plaintive voice behind me said, ‘You’re such a big man, and I am so little, will you please help me to save my life? My mother was separated from me in the crowd somewhere as we were trying to reach the Berkeley, and I don’t know what to do.’ I was a trifle nonplused, but I did the best I could. She was a tiny thing, in a marvelous frock and a flowery hat and a silver girdle and chatelaine. In another minute she spied a second man, an officer, a full head taller than I am, broad shoulders, splendidly put up altogether. Bless me! if she didn’t turn to him and say, ‘Oh, you’re so nice and big, you’re even bigger than this other gentleman, and I need you both in this dreadful crush. If you’ll be good enough to stand on either side of me, I shall be awfully obliged.’ We exchanged amused glances of embarrassment over her blonde head, but there was no resisting the irresistible. She was a small person, but she had the soul of a general, and we obeyed orders. We stood guard over her little ladyship for nearly an hour, and I must say she entertained us thoroughly, for she was as clever as she was pretty. Then I got her a seat in one of the windows of my club, while the other man, armed with a full description, went out to hunt up the mother; and by Jove! he found her, too. She would have her mother, and her mother she had. They were awfully jolly people; they came to luncheon in my chambers at the Albany afterwards, and we grew to be great friends.”
“I dare say she was an English girl masquerading,” I remarked facetiously. “What made you think her an American?”
“Oh, her general appearance and accent, I suppose.”
“Probably she didn’t say Barkley,” observed Francesca cuttingly; “she would have been sure to commit that sort of solecism.”
“Why, don’t you say Barkley in the States?”
“Certainly not; we never call them the States, and with us c-l-e-r-k spells clerk, and B-e-r-k Berk.”
“How very odd!” remarked Mr. Anstruther.
“No odder than your saying Bark, and not half as odd as your calling it Albany,” I interpolated, to help Francesca.
“Quite so,” said Mr. Anstruther; “but how do you say Albany in America?”
“Penelope and I allways call it Allbany,” responded Francesca nonsensically, “but Salemina, who has been much in England, always calls it Albany.”
This anecdote was the signal for Miss Ardmore to remark (apropos of her own discrimination and the American accent) that hearing a lady ask for a certain med’cine in a chemist’s shop, she noted the intonation, and inquired of the chemist, when the fair stranger had retired, if she were not an American. “And she was!” exclaimed the Honorable Elizabeth triumphantly. “And what makes it the more curious, she had been over here twenty years, and of course spoke English quite properly.”
In avenging fancied insults, it is certainly more just to heap punishment on the head of the real offender than upon his neighbor, and it is a trifle difficult to decide why Francesca should chastise Mr. Macdonald for the good-humored sins of Mr. Anstruther and Miss Ardmore; yet she does so, nevertheless.
The history of these chastisements she recounts in the nightly half-hour which she spends with me when I am endeavoring to compose myself for sleep. Francesca is fluent at all times, but once seated on the foot of my bed she becomes eloquent!
“It all began with his saying”–
This is her perennial introduction, and I respond as invariably, “What began?”
“Oh, to-day’s argument with Mr. Macdonald. It was a literary quarrel this afternoon.”
“‘Fools rush in'”–I quoted.
“There is a good deal of nonsense in that old saw,” she interrupted; “at all events, the most foolish fools I have ever known stayed still and didn’t do anything. Rushing shows a certain movement of the mind, even if it is in the wrong direction. However, Mr. Macdonald is both opinionated and dogmatic, but his worst enemy could never call him a fool.”
“I didn’t allude to Mr. Macdonald.”
“Don’t you suppose I know to whom you alluded, dear? Is not your style so simple, frank, and direct that a wayfaring girl can read it and not err therein? No, I am not sitting on your feet, and it is not time to go to sleep; I wonder you do not tire of making these futile protests. As a matter of fact, we began this literary discussion yesterday morning, but were interrupted; and knowing that it was sure to come up again, I prepared for it with Salemina. She furnished the ammunition, so to speak, and I fired the guns.”
“You always make so much noise with blank cartridges I wonder you ever bother about real shot,” I remarked.
“Penelope, how can you abuse me when I am in trouble? Well, Mr. Macdonald was prating, as usual, about the antiquity of Scotland and its aeons of stirring history. I am so weary of the venerableness of this country. How old will it have to be, I wonder, before it gets used to it? If it’s the province of art to conceal art, it ought to be the province of age to conceal age, and it generally is. ‘Everything doesn’t improve with years,’ I observed sententiously.
“‘For instance?’ he inquired.
“Of course you know how that question affected me! How I do dislike an appetite for specific details! It is simply paralyzing to a good conversation. Do you remember that silly game in which some one points a stick at you and says,’ Beast, bird, or fish,–_beast_!’ and you have to name one while he counts ten? If a beast has been requested, you can think of one fish and two birds, but no beasts. If he says ‘_Fish_,’ all the beasts in the universe stalk through your memory, but not one finny, scaly, swimming thing! Well, that is the effect of ‘For instance?’ on my faculties. So I stumbled a bit, and succeeded in recalling, as objects which do not improve with age, mushrooms, women, and chickens, and he was obliged to agree with me, which nearly killed him. Then I said that although America is so fresh and blooming that people persist in calling it young, it is much older than it appears to the superficial eye. There is no real propriety in dating us as a nation from the Declaration of Independence in 1776, I said, nor even from the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620; nor, for that matter, from Columbus’s discovery in 1492. It’s my opinion, I asserted, that some of us had been there thousands of years before, but nobody had had the sense to discover us. We couldn’t discover ourselves,–though if we could have foreseen how the sere and yellow nations of the earth would taunt us with youth and inexperience, we should have had to do something desperate!”
“That theory must have been very convincing to the philosophic Scots mind,” I interjected.
“It was; even Mr. Macdonald thought it ingenious. ‘And so,’ I went on, ‘we were alive and awake and beginning to make history when you Scots were only barelegged savages roaming over the hills and stealing cattle. It was a very bad habit of yours, that cattle-stealing, and one which you kept up too long.’
“‘No worse a sin than your stealing land from the Indians,’ he said.
“‘Oh yes,’ I answered, ‘because it was a smaller one! Yours was a vice, and ours a sin; or I mean it would have been a sin had we done it; but in reality we didn’t steal land; we just _took_ it, reserving plenty for the Indians to play about on; and for every hunting-ground we took away we gave them in exchange a serviceable plough, or a school, or a nice Indian agent, or something. That was land-grabbing, if you like, but it is a habit you Britishers have still, while we gave it up when we reached years of discretion.'”
“This is very illuminating,” I interrupted, now thoroughly wide awake, “but it isn’t my idea of a literary discussion.”
“I am coming to that,” she responded. “It was just at this point that, goaded into secret fury by my innocent speech about cattle-stealing, he began to belittle American literature, the poetry especially. Of course he waxed eloquent about the royal line of poet-kings that had made his country famous, and said the people who could claim Shakespeare had reason to be the proudest nation on earth. ‘Doubtless,’ I said. ‘But do you mean to say that Scotland has any nearer claim upon Shakespeare than we have? I do not now allude to the fact that in the large sense he is the common property of the English-speaking world’ (Salemina told me to say that), ‘but Shakespeare died in 1616, and the union of Scotland with England didn’t come about till 1707, nearly a century afterwards. You really haven’t anything to do with him! But as for us, we didn’t leave England until 1620, when Shakespeare had been perfectly dead four years. We took very good care not to come away too soon. Chaucer and Spenser were dead, too, and we had nothing to stay for!'”
I was obliged to relax here and give vent to a burst of merriment at Francesca’s absurdities.
“I could see that he had never regarded the matter in that light before,” she went on gayly, encouraged by my laughter, “but he braced himself for the conflict, and said, ‘I wonder that you didn’t stay a little longer while you were about it. Milton and Ben Jonson were still alive; Bacon’s Novum Organum was just coming out; and in thirty or forty years you could have had L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, and Paradise Lost; Newton’s Principia, too, in 1687. Perhaps these were all too serious and heavy for your national taste; still, one sometimes likes to claim things one cannot fully appreciate. And then, too, if you had once begun to stay, waiting for the great things to happen and the great books to be written, you would never have gone, for there would still have been Browning, Tennyson, and Swinburne to delay you.’
“‘If we couldn’t stay to see out your great bards, we certainly couldn’t afford to remain and welcome your minor ones,’ I answered frigidly; ‘but we wanted to be well out of the way before England united with Scotland, knowing that if we were uncomfortable as things were, it would be a good deal worse after the Union; and we had to come home, anyway, and start our own poets. Emerson, Whittier, Longfellow, Holmes, and Lowell had to be born.’
“‘I suppose they had to be if you had set your mind on it,’ he said, ‘though personally I could have spared one or two on that roll of nike air max 1 leopard honor.’
“‘Very probably,’ I remarked, as thoroughly angry now as he intended I should be. ‘We cannot expect you to appreciate all the American poets; indeed, you cannot appreciate all of your own, for the same nation doesn’t always furnish the writers and the readers. Take your precious Browning, for example! There are hundreds of Browning Clubs in America, and I never heard of a single one in Scotland.’
“‘N nike air max 1 black o,’ he retorted, ‘I dare say; but there is a good deal in belonging to a people who can understand him without clubs!'”
“Oh, Francesca!” I exclaimed, sitting bolt upright among my pillows. “How _could_ you give him that chance! How could you! What did you say?”
“I said nothing,” she replied mysteriously. “I did something much more to the point,–I cried!”
“Yes, cried; not rivers and freshets of woe, but small brooks and streamlets of helpless mortification.”
“What did he do then?”
“Why do you say ‘do’?”
“Oh, I mean ‘say,’ of course. Don’t trifle; go on. What did he say then?”
“There are some things too dreadful to describe,” she answered, and wrapping her Italian blanket majestically about her she retired to her own apartment, shooting one enigmatical glance at me as she closed the door.
That glance nike air max 1 premium puzzled me for some time after she left the room. It was as expressive and interesting a beam as ever darted from a woman’s eye. The combination of elements involved in it, if an abstract thing may be conceived as existing in component parts, was something like this:–
One half, mystery. ③

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