God of our fathers, be the God
Of their succeeding race,”
there is a certain ascetic fervor in it that seems to me the perfection of worship. It may be that my Puritan ancestors are mainly res nike air max 1 ebay ponsible for this feeling, or perhaps my recently adopted Jenny Geddes is a factor in it; of course, if she were in the habit of flinging fauldstules at Deans, she was probably the friend of truth and the foe of beauty, so far as it was in her power to separate them.
There is no music during the offertory in these churches, and this, too, pleases my sense of the fitness of things. It cannot soften the woe of the people who are disinclined to the giving away of money, and the cheerful givers need no encouragement. Fo nike air max 1 red r my part, I like to sit, quite undistracted by soprano solos, and listen to the refined tinkle of the sixpences and shillings, and the vulgar chink of the pennies and ha’pennies, in the contribution-boxes. Country ministers, I am told, develop such an acute sense of hearing that they can estimate the amount of the collection before it is counted. There is often a huge pewter plate just within the church door, in which the offerings are placed as the worshipers enter or leave; and one always notes the preponderance of silver at the morning, and of copper at the evening services. It is perhaps needless to say that before Francesca had been in Edinburgh a fortnight she asked Mr. Macdonald if it were true that the Scots continued coining the farthing for years and years, merely to have a piece of money serviceable for church offerings!
As to social differences in the congregations we are somewhat at sea. We tried to arrive at a conclusion by the hats and bonnets, than which there is usually no more infallible test. On our first Sunday we attended the Free Kirk in the morning, and the Established in the evening. The bonnets of the Free Kirk were so much the more elegant that we said to one another, “This is evidently the church of society, though the adjective ‘Free’ should by rights attract the masses.” On the second Sunday we reversed the order of things, and found the Established bonnet much finer than the Free bonnets, which was a source of mystification to us, until we discovered that it was a question of morning or evening service, not of the form of Presbyterianism. We think, on the whole, that, taking town and country congregations together, millinery has not flourished under Presbyterianism,–it seems to thrive better in the Romish atmosphere of France; but the Disruption, at least, has had nothing to answer for in the matter, as it appears simply to have parted the bonnets of Scotland in twain, as Moses divided the Red Sea, and left good and evil on both sides.
I can never forget our first military service at St. Giles’. We left Breadalbane Terrace before nine in the morning and walked along the beautiful curve of street that sweeps around the base of Castle Rock,–walked on through the poverty and squalor of the High Street, keeping in view the beautiful lantern tower as a guiding star, till we heard
“The murmur of the city crowd;
And, from his steeple, jingling loud,
St. Giles’s mingling din.”
We joined the throng outside the venerable church, and awaited the approach of the soldiers from the Castle parade-ground; for it is from there they march in detachments to the church of their choice. A religion they must have, and if, when called up and questioned about it, they have forgotten to provide themselves, or have no preference as to form of worship, they are assigned to one by the person in authority. When the regiments are assembled on the parade-ground of a Sunday morning, the first command is, “Church of Scotland, right about face, quick march!”–the bodies of men belonging to other denominations standing fast until their turn comes to move. It is said that a new officer once gave the command, “Church of Scotland, right about face, quick march! Fancy releegions, stay where ye are!”
Just as we were being told this story by an attendant squire, there was a burst of scarlet and a blare of music, and down Castle Hill and the Lawnmarket into Parliament Square marched hundreds of redcoats, the Highland pipers (otherwise the Olympian gods) swinging in front, leaving the American female heart prostrate beneath their victorious tread. The strains of music that in the distance sounded so martial and triumphant we recognized in a moment as “Abide with me,” and never did the fine old tune seem more majestic than when it marked a measure for the steady tramp, tramp, tramp, of those soldierly feet. As “The March of the Cameron Men,” piped from the green steeps of Castle Hill, had aroused in us thoughts of splendid victories on the battlefield, so did this simple hymn awake the spirit of the church militant; a no less stern, but more spiritual soldiership, in which “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
As I fell asleep on that first Sunday night in Edinburgh, after the somewhat unusual experience of three church services in a single day, three separate notes of memory floated in and out of the fabric of my dreams: the sound of the soldiers’ feet marching into old St. Giles’ to the strains of “Abide with me;” the voice of the Reverend Ronald ringing out with manly insistence: “It is aspiration that counts, not realization; pursuit, not achievement; quest, not conquest!”–and the closing phrases of the Friar’s prayer: “When Christ has forgiven us, help us to forgive ourselves! Help us to forgive ourselves so fully that we can even forget ourselves, remembering only Him! And so let his kingdom come; we ask it for the King’s sake, Amen.”
Even at this time of Assemblies, when the atmosphere is almost exclusively clerical and ecclesiastical, the two great church armies represented here certainly conceal from the casual observer all rivalries and jealousies, if indeed they cherish any. As for the two dissenting bodies, the Church of the Disruption and the Church of the Secession have been keeping company, so to speak, for some years, with a distant eye to an eventual union. In the light of all this pleasant toleration, it seems difficult to realize that earlier Edinburgh, where, we learned from old parochial records of 1605, Margaret Sinclair was cited by the Session of the Kirk for being at the Burne for water on the Sabbath; that Janet Merling was ordered to make public repentance for concealing a bairn unbaptized in her house for the space of twenty weeks and calling said bairn Janet; that Pat Richardson had to crave mercy for being found in his boat in time of afternoon service; and that Janet Walker, accused of having visitors in her house in sermon-time, had to confess her offense and on her knees crave mercy of God _and_ the Kirk Session (which no doubt was much worse) under penalty of a hundred pounds Scots. Possibly there are people yet who would prefer to pay a hundred pounds rather than hear a sermon, but they are few.
It was in the early seventeen hundred and thirties when Allan Ramsay, “in fear and trembling of legal and clerical censure,” lent out the plays of Congreve and Farquhar from his famous High Street library. In 1756 it was that the Presbytery of Edinburgh suspended all clergymen who had witnessed the representation of “Douglas,” that virtuous tragedy written, to the dismay of all Scotland, by a minister of the Kirk. That the world, even the theological world, moves with tolerable rapidity when once set in motion, is evinced by the fact that on Mrs. Siddons’ second engagement in Edinburgh, in the summer of 1785, vast crowds gathered about the doors of the theatre, not at night alone, but in the day, to secure places. It became necessary to admit them first at three in the afternoon, and then at noon, and eventually “the General Assembly of the Church then in session was compelled to arrange its meetings with reference to the appearance of the great actress.” How one would have enjoyed hearing that Scotsman say, after one of her most splendid flights of tragic passion, “That’s no bad!” We have read of her dismay at this ludicrous parsimony of praise, but her self-respect must have been restored when the Edinburgh ladies fainted by dozens during her impersonation of Isabella in “The Fatal Marriage.”
Since Scottish hospitality is well-nigh inexhaustible, it is not strange that from the moment Edinburgh streets began to be crowded with ministers, our drawing-room table began to bear shoals of engraved invitations of every conceivable sort, all equally unfamiliar to our American eyes.
“The Purse-Bearer is commanded by the Lord High Commissioner and the Marchioness of Heatherdale to invite Miss Hamilton to a Garden Party at the Palace of Holyrood House, on the 27th of May. _Weather permitting_.”
“The General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland admits Miss Hamilton to any gallery on any day.”
“The Marchioness of Heatherdale is At Home on the 26th of May from a quarter past nine in the evening. Palace of Holyrood House.”
“The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland is At Home in the Library of the New College on Saturday, the 22d May, from eight to ten in the evening.”
“The Moderator asks the pleasure of Miss Hamilton’s presence at a Breakfast to be given on the morning of the 25th of May at Dunedin Hotel.”
We determined to go to all these functions impartially, tracking thus the Presbyterian lion to his very lair, and observing his home as well as his company manners. In everything that related to the distinctively religious side of the proceedings we sought advice from Mrs. M’Collop, while we went to Lady Baird for definite information on secular matters. We also found an unexpected ally in the person of our own ex-Moderator’s niece, Miss Jean Dalziel (Deeyell). She has been educated in Paris, but she must always have been a delightfully breezy person, quite too irrepressible to be affected by Scottish _haar_ or theology. “Go to the Assemblies, by all means,” she said, “and be sure and get places for the heresy case. These are no longer what they once were,–we are getting lamentably weak and gelatinous in our beliefs,–but there is an unusually nice one this year; the heretic is very young and handsome, and quite wicked, as ministers go. Don’t fail to be presented at the Marchioness’s court at Holyrood, for it is a capital preparation for the ordeal of Her Majesty and Buckingham Palace. ‘Nothing fit to wear’? You have never seen the people who go, or you wouldn’t say that! I even advise you to attend one of the breakfasts; it can’t do you any serious or permanent injury so long as you eat something before you go. Oh no, it doesn’t matter,–whichever one you choose, you will cheerfully omit the other; for I avow as a Scottish spinster, and the niece of an ex-Moderator, that to a stranger and a foreigner the breakfasts are worse than Arctic explorations. If you do not chance to be at the table of honor”–
“The gifted Miss Hamilton is always at the table of honor; unless she is placed there she refuses to eat, and then the universe rocks to its centre,” interpolated Francesca impertinently.
“It is true,” continued Miss Dalziel, “you will often sit beside a minister or a minister’s wife, who will make you scorn the sordid appetites of flesh, but if you do not, then eat as little as may be, and flee up the Mound to whichever Assembly is the Mecca of your soul!”
“My niece’s tongue is an unruly member,” said the ex-Moderator, who was present at this diatribe, “and the principal mistake she makes in her judgment of these clerical feasts is that she criticises them as conventional repasts, whereas they are intended to be informal meetings together of people who wish to be better acquainted.”
“Hot bacon and eggs would be no bar to friendship,” answered Miss Dalziel, with an affectionate _moue_.
“Cold bacon and eggs is better than cold piety,” said the ex-Moderator, “and it may be a good discipline for fastidious young ladies who have been spoiled by Parisian breakfasts.”
It is to Mrs. M’Collop that we owe our chief insight into technical church matters, although we seldom agree with her “opeenions” after we gain our own experience. She never misses hearing one sermon on a Sabbath, and oftener she listens to two or three. Neither does she confine herself to the ministrations of a single preacher, but roves from one sanctuary to another, seeking the bread of life, often, however, according to her own account, getting a particularly indigestible “stane.”
She is thus a complete guide to the Edinburgh pulpit, and when she is making a bed in the morning she dispenses criticism in so large and impartial a manner that it would make the flesh of the “meenistry” creep were it overheard. I used to think Ian Maclaren’s sermon-taster a possible exaggeration of an existent type, but I now see that she is truth itself.
“Ye’ll be tryin’ anither kirk the morn?” suggests Mrs. M’Collop, spreading the clean Sunday sheet over the mattress. “Wha did ye hear the Sawbath that’s bye? Dr. A? Ay, I ken him ower weel; he’s been there for fifteen years an’ mair. Ay, he’s a gifted mon–_off an’ on_!” with an emphasis showing clearly that, in her estimation, the times when he is “off” outnumber those when he is “on.”… “Ye have na heard auld Dr. B yet?” (Here she tucks in the upper sheet tidily at the foot.) “He’s a graund strachtforrit mon, is Dr. B, forbye he’s growin’ maist awfu’ dreich in his sermons, though when he’s that wearisome a body canna heed him wi’ oot takin’ peppermints to the kirk, he’s nane the less, at seeventy-sax, a better mon than the new asseestant. Div ye ken the new asseestant? He’s a wee-bit, finger-fed mannie, ower sma’ maist to wear a goon! I canna thole him, wi’ his lang-nebbit words, explainin’ an’ expoundin’ the gude Book as if it had jist come oot! The auld doctor’s nae kirk-filler, but he gies us fu’ meesure, pressed doun an’ rinnin’ over, nae bit-pickin’s like the haverin’ asseestant; it’s my opeenion he’s no soond, wi’ his parleyvoos an’ his clish-maclavers!… Mr. C?” (Now comes the shaking and straightening and smoothing of the first blanket.) “Ay, he’s weel eneuch! I mind ance he prayed for our Free Assembly, an’ then he turned roun’ an’ prayed for the Estaiblished, maist in the same breath,–he’s a broad, leeberal mon is Mr. C!… Mr. D? Ay, I ken him fine; he micht be waur, though he’s ower fond o’ the kittle pairts o’ the Old Testament; but he reads his sermon from the paper, an’ it’s an auld sayin’, ‘If a meenister canna mind [remember] his ain discoorse, nae mair can the congregation be expectit to mind it.’… Mr. E? He’s my ain meenister.” (She has a pillow in her mouth now, but though she is shaking it as a terrier would a rat, and drawing on the linen slip at the same time, she is still intelligible between the jerks.) “Susanna says his sermon is like claith made o’ soond ‘oo [wool] wi’ a gude twined thread, an’ wairpit an’ weftit wi’ doctrine. Susanna kens her Bible weel, but she’s never gaed forrit.” (To “gang forrit” is to take the communion.) “Dr. F? I ca’ him the greetin’ doctor! He’s aye dingin’ the dust oot o’ the poopit cushions, an’ greetin’ ower the sins o’ the human race, an’ eespecially of his ain congregation. He’s waur syne his last wife sickened an’ slippit awa.’ ‘Twas a chastenin’ he’d put up wi’ twice afore, but he grat nane the less. She was a bonnie bit body, was the thurd Mistress F! E’nbro could ‘a’ better spared the greetin’ doctor than her, I’m thinkin’.”
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, according to his good will and pleasure,” I ventured piously, as Mrs. M’Collop beat the bolster and laid it in place.
“Ou ay,” responded that good woman, as she spread the counterpane over the pillows in the way I particularly dislike–“ou ay, but whiles I think it’s a peety he couldna be guidit!”
We were to make our bow to the Lord High Commissioner and the Marchioness of Heatherdale in the evening, and we were in a state of republican excitement at 22, Breadalbane Terrace.
Francesca had surprised us by refusing to be presented at this semi-royal Scottish court. “Not I,” she said. “The Marchioness represents the Queen; we may discover, when we arrive, that she has raised the standards of admission, and requires us to ‘back out’ of the throne-room. I don’t propose to do that without London training. Besides, I detest crowds, and I never go to my own President’s receptions; and I have a headache, anyway, and I don’t feel like coping with the Reverend Ronald to-night!” (Lady Baird was to take us under her wing, and her nephew was to escort us, Sir Robert being in Inveraray.)
“Sally, my dear,” I said, as Francesca left the room with a bottle of smelling-salts somewhat ostentatiously in evidence, “methinks the damsel doth protest too much. In other words, she devotes a good deal of time and discussion to a gentleman whom she heartily dislikes. As she is under your care, I will direct your attention to the following points:–
“Ronald Macdonald is a Scotsman; Francesca disapproves of international alliances.
“He is a Presbyterian; she is a Swedenborgian.
“His father was a famous old school doctor; Francesca is a homoeopathist.
“He is serious; Francesca is gay.
“I think, under all the circumstances, their acquaintance will bear watching. Two persons so utterly dissimilar, and, so far as superficial observation goes, so entirely unsuited to each other, are quite likely to drift into marriage unless diverted by watchful philanthropists.”
“Nonsense!” returned Salemina brusquely. “You think because you are under the spell of the tender passion yourself that other people are in constant danger. Francesca detests him.”
“Who told you so?”
“She herself,” triumphantly.
“Salemina,” I said pityingly, “I have always believed you a spinster from choice; don’t lead me to think that you have never had any experience in these matters! The Reverend Ronald has also intimated to me as plainly as he dared that he cannot bear the sight of Francesca. What do I gather from this statement? The general conclusion that if it be true, it is curious that he looks at her incessantly.”
“Francesca would never live in Scotland,” remarked Salemina feebly.
“Not unless she were asked, of course,” I replied.
“He would never ask her.”
“Not unless he thought he had a chance of an affirmative answer.”
“Her father would never allow it.”
“Her father allows what she permits him to allow. You know that perfectly well.”
“What shall I do about it, then?”
“What shall _we_ do about it?”
“Let Nature have her own way.”
“I don’t believe in Nature.”
“Don’t be profane, Salemina, and don’t be unromantic, which is worse; but if you insist, trust in Providence.”
“I would rather trust Francesca’s hard heart.”
“The hardest hearts melt if sufficient heat be applied. Did I take you to Newhaven and read you ‘Christie Johnstone’ on the beach for naught? Don’t you remember Charles Reade said that the Scotch are icebergs, with volcanoes underneath; thaw the Scotch ice, which is very cold, and you shall get to the Scotch fire, warmer than any sun of Italy or Spain. I think Mr. Macdonald is a volcano.”
“I wish he were extinct,” said Salemina petulantly, “and I wish you wouldn’t make me nervous.”
“If you had any faculty of premonition, you wouldn’t have waited for me to make you nervous.”
“Some people are singularly omniscient.”
“Others are singularly deficient”–And at this moment Susanna Crum came in to announce Miss Jean Dalziel, who had come to see sights with us.
It was our almost daily practice to walk through the Old Town, and we were now familiar with every street and close in that densely crowded quarter. Our quest for the sites of ancient landmarks never grew monotonous, and we were always reconstructing, in imagination, the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Lawnmarket, and the High Street, until we could see Auld Reekie as it was in bygone centuries. In those days of continual war with England, people crowded their dwellings as near the Castle as possible, so floor was piled upon floor and flat upon flat, families ensconcing themselves above other families, the tendency being ever skyward. Those who dwelt on top had no desire to spend their strength in carrying down the corkscrew stairs matter which would descend by the force of gravity if pitched from the window or door; so the wayfarer, especially after dusk, would be greeted with cries of “Get out o’ the gait!” or “Gardy loo!” which was in the French “_Gardez l’eau_,” and which would have been understood in any language, I fancy, after a little experience. The streets then were filled with the debris flung from a hundred upper windows, while certain ground-floor tenants, such as butchers and candlemakers, contributed their full share to the fragrant heaps. As for these too seldom used narrow turnpike stairs, imagine the dames of fashion tilting their vast hoops and silken show-petticoats up and down in them!
That swine roamed at will in these Elysian fields is to be presumed, since we have this amusing picture of three High Street belles and beauties in the “Traditions of Edinburgh:”–
“So easy were the manners of the great, fabled to be so stiff and decorous,” says the author, “that Lady Maxwell’s daughter Jane, who afterward became the Duchess of Gordon, was seen riding a sow up the High Street, while her sister Eglantine (afterwards Lady Wallace of Craigie) thumped lustily behind with a stick.”
No wonder, in view of all this, that King James VI., when about to bring home his “darrest spous” Anne of Denmark, wrote to the Provost, “For God’s sake see a’ things are richt at our hame-coming; a king with a new-married wife doesna come hame ilka day.”
Had it not been for these royal home-comings and visits of distinguished foreigners, now and again aided by something still more salutary, an occasional outbreak of the plague, the easy-going authorities would never have issued any “cleansing edicts,” and the still easier-going inhabitants would never have obeyed them. It was these dark, tortuous wynds and closes, nevertheless, that made up the Court End of Old Edinbro’; for some one writes in 1530, “Via vaccarum in qua habitant patricii et senatores urbis” (The nobility and chief senators of the city dwell in the Cowgate). And as for the Canongate, this Saxon _gaet_ or way of the Holyrood canons, it still sheltered in 1753 “two dukes, sixteen earls, two dowager countesses, seven lords, seven lords of session, thirteen baronets, four commanders of the forces in Scotland, and five eminent men,”–fine game indeed for Mally Lee!
“A’ doun alang the Canongate
Were beaux o’ ilk degree;
And mony ane turned round to look
At bonny Mally Lee.
And we’re a’ gaun east an’ west,
We’re a’ gaun agee,
We’re a’ gaun east an’ west
Courtin’ Mally Lee!”
Every corner bristles with memories. Here is the Stamp Office Close, from which the lovely Susanna, Countess of Eglinton, was wont to issue on Assembly nights; she, six feet in height, with a brilliantly fair complexion and a “face of the maist bewitching loveliness.” Her seven daughters and stepdaughters were all conspicuously handsome, and it was deemed a goodly sight to watch the long procession of eight gilded sedan-chairs pass from the Stamp Office Close, bearing her and her stately brood to the Assembly Room, amid a crowd that was “hushed with respect and admiration to behold their lofty and graceful figures step from the chairs on the pavement.”
Here itself is the site of those old Assemblies presided over at one time by the famous Miss Nicky Murray, a directress cheap air max 1 of society affairs, who seems to have been a feminine premonition of Count d’Orsay and our own McAllister. Rather dull they must have been, those old Scotch balls, where Goldsmith saw the ladies and gentlemen in two dismal groups divided by the length of the room.
“The Assembly Close received the fair–
Order and elegance presided there–
Each gay Right Honourable had her place,
To walk a minuet with becoming grace.
N nike air max 1 o racing to the dance with rival hurry,
Such was thy sway, O famed Miss Nicky Murray!”
It was half past nine in the evening when Salemina and I drove to Holyrood, our humble cab-horse jogging faithfully behind Lady Baird’s brougham, and it was the new experience of seeing Auld Reekie by lamplight that called up these gay visions of other days,–visions and days so thoroughly our mental property that we could not help resenting the fact that women were hanging washing from the Countess of Eglinton’s former windows, and popping their unkempt heads out of the Duchess of Gordon’s old doorway.
The Reverend Ronald is so kind! He enters so fully into our spirit of inquiry, and takes such pleasure in our enthusiasms! He even sprang lightly out of Lady Baird’s carriage and called to our “lamiter” to halt while he showed us the site of the Black nike air max 1 Turnpike, from whose windows Queen Mary saw the last of her kingdom’s capital.
“Here was the Black Turnpike, Miss Hamilton!” he cried; “and from here Mary went to Loch Leven, where you Hamiltons and the Setons came gallantly to her help. Don’t you remember the ‘far ride to the Solway sands’?”
I looked with interest, though I was in such a state of delicious excitement that I could scarce keep my seat.
“Only a few minutes more, Salemina,” I sighed, “and we shall be in the palace courtyard; then a probable half-hour in crowded dressing-rooms, with another half-hour in line, and then, then we shall be making our best republican bow in the Gallery of the Kings! How I wish Mr. Beresford and Francesca were with us! What do you suppose was her real reason for staying away? Some petty disagreement with our young minister, I am sure. Do you think the dampnes nike air max 1 premium s is taking the curl out of our hair? Do you suppose our gowns will be torn to ribbons before the Marchioness sees them? Do you believe we shall look as well as anybody? Privately, I think we must look better than anybody; but I always think that on my way to a party, never after I arrive.”
Mrs. M’Collop had asserted that I was “bonnie eneuch for ony court,” and I could not help wishing that “mine ain dear Somebody” might see me in my French frock embroidered with silver thistles, and my “shower bouquet” of Scottish bluebells tied loosely together. Salemina wore pinky-purple velvet; a real heather color it was, though the Lord High Commissioner would probably never note the fact.
When we had presented our cards of invitation at the palace doors, we joined the throng and patiently made our way up the splendid staircases, past powdered lackeys without number, and, divested of nike air max 1 grey our wraps, joined another throng on our way to the throne-room, Salemina and I pressing those cards with our names “legibly written on them” close to our palpitating breasts.
At last the moment came when, Lady Baird having preceded me, I handed my bit of pasteboard to the usher; and hearing “Miss Hamilton” called in stentorian accents, I went forward in my turn, and executed a graceful and elegant but not too profound curtsy, carefully arranged to suit the semi-royal, semi-ecclesiastical occasion. I had not divulged the fact even to Salemina, but I had worn Mrs. M’Collop’s carpet quite threadbare in front of the long mirror, and had curtsied to myself so many times in its crystal surface that I had developed a sort of fictitious reverence for my reflected image. I had only begun my well-practiced obeisance when Her Grace the Marchioness, to my mingled surprise and embarrassment, extended a gracious hand and murmured my name in a particularly kind voice. She is fond of Lady http://scheapnikeairmax1.blogspot.com/ Baird, and perhaps chose this method of showing her friendship; or it may be that she noticed my silver thistles and Salemina’s heather-colored velvet,–they certainly deserved special recognition; or it may be that I was too beautiful to pass over in silence,–in my state of exaltation I was quite equal to the belief.
The presentation over, we wandered through the spacious apartments, leaning from the open windows to hear the music of the band playing in the courtyard below, looking at the royal portraits, and chatting with groups of friends who appeared and reappeared in the throng. Finally Lady Baird sent for us to join her in a knot of personages more and less distinguished, who had dined at the palace, and who were standing behind the receiving party in a sort of sacred group. This indeed was a ground of vantage, and one could have stood there for hours, watching all sorts and conditions of men and women bowing before the Lord High Commissioner and the Marchioness, who, with her Cleopatra-like beauty and scarlet gown, looked like a gorgeous cardinal-flower.
Salemina and I air max 1 watched the curtsying narrowly, with the view at first of improving our own obeisances for Buckingham Palace; but truth to say we got no added light, and plainly most of the people had not worn threadbare the carpets in front of their dressing-mirrors.
Suddenly we heard a familiar name announced, “Lord Colquhoun,” a distinguished judge who had lately been raised to the peerage, and whom we often met at dinners; then “Miss Rowena Colquhoun;” and then, in the midst, we fancied, of an unusual stir at the entranc nike air max 1 leopard e door–“Miss Francesca Van Buren Monroe.” I involuntarily touched the Reverend Ronald’s shoulder in my astonishment, while Salemina lifted her tortoiseshell lorgnette, and we gazed silently at our recreant charge.
After presentation, each person has fifteen or twenty feet of awful space to traverse in solitary and defenseless majesty; scanned meanwhile by the maids of honor (who, if they were truly honorable, would turn their eyes another way), ladies-in-waiting, the sacred group in the rear, and the Purse-Bearer himself. I had supposed that this functionary would keep the purse in his upper bureau drawer at home, when he was not paying bills, but it seems that when on processional duty he carries a bag of red velvet quite a yard long over his arm, where it looks not unlike a lady’s opera-cloak. It would hold the sum total of the moneys disbursed, even if they were reduced to the standard of vulgar copper.
Under this appalling fire of inspection, some of the victims waddle, some hurry; some look up and down nervous cheap air max 1 ly, others glance over the shoulder as if dreading to be apprehended; some turn red, others pale, according to complexion and temperament; some swing their arms, others trip on their gowns; some twitch the buttons of a glove, or tweak a flower or a jewel. Francesca rose superior to all these weaknesses, and I doubt if the Gallery of the Kings ever served as a background for anything lovel nike air max 1 sale ier or more high-bred than that untitled slip of a girl from “the States.” Her trailing gown of pearl-white satin fell in unbroken lustrous folds behind her. Her beautiful throat and shoulders rose in statuesque whiteness from the mist of chiffon that encircled them. Her dark hair showed a moonbeam parting that rested the eye, wearied by the contemplation of waves and frizzes fresh from the curling-tongs. Her mother’s pearls hung in ropes from neck to waist, and the one spot of color about her was the single American Beauty rose she carried. There is a patriotic florist in Paris who grows these long-stemmed empresses of the rose-garden, and Mr. Beresford sends some to me every week. Francesca had taken the flower without permission, and I must say she was as worthy of it a nike air max 1 black s it of her.
She curtsied deeply, with no exaggerated ceremony, but with a sort of innocent and childlike gravity, while the satin of her gown spread itself like a great blossom over the floor. Her head was bowed until the dark lashes swept her crimson cheeks; then she rose again from the heart of the shimmering lily, with the one splendid rose glowing against all her dazzling whiteness, and floated slowly across the dreaded space to the door of exit as if she were preceded by invisible heralds and followed by invisible train-bearers.
“Who is she?” we heard whispered here and there. “Look at the rose!” “Look at the pearls! Is she a princess or only an American?”
I glanced at the Reverend Ronald. I imagined he looked pale; at any rate, he was biting his under lip nervously cheap nike air max 1 and I believe he was in fancy laying his serious, Scottish, allopathic, Presbyterian heart at Francesca’s gay, American, homoeopathic, Swedenborgian feet.
“It is a pity Miss Monroe is such an ardent republican,” he said, with unconcealed bitterness; “otherwise she ought to be a duchess. I never saw a head that better suited a coronet, nor, if you will pardon me, one that contained more caprices.”
“It is true she flatly refused to accompany us here,” I allowed, “but perhaps she has some explanation more or less silly and serviceable; meantime, I defy you to tell me she isn’t a beauty, and I implore you to say nothing about its being only skin-deep. Give me a beautiful exterior, say I, and I will spend my life in making the hidden things of mind and soul conform to it; but deliver me from all forlorn attempts to make my beauty of character speak through a large mouth, breathe through a fat nose, and look at my neighbor through crossed eyes!”
Mr. Macdonald agreed with me, with some few ministerial reservations. He always agrees with me, and why he is not tortured at the thought of my being the promised bride of another, but continues to squander his affections upon a quarrelsome and unappreciative girl, is more than I can comprehend.
Francesca, escorted by Lord Colquhoun, appeared presently in our group, but Salemina did not even attempt to scold her. One cannot scold an imperious young beauty in white satin and pearls, particularly if she is leaning nonchalantly on the arm of a peer of the realm.
It seems that shortly after our departure (we had dined with Lady Baird) Lord Colquhoun had sent a note to me, requiring an answer. Francesca had opened it, and found that he offered an extra card of invitation to one of us, and said that he and his sister would gladly serve as escort to Holyrood, if desired. She had had an hour or two of solitude by this time, and was well weary of it, while the last vestige of headache disappeared under the temptation of appearing at court with all the eclat of unexpectedness. She dispatched a note of acceptance to Lord Colquhoun, summoned Mrs. M’Collop, Susanna, and the maiden Boots to her assistance, spread the trays of her Saratoga trunks about our three bedrooms, grouped all our candles on her dressing-table, and borrowed any little elegance of toilette which we chanced to have left behind. Her own store of adornments is much greater than ours, but we possess certain articles for which she has a childlike admiration: my white satin slippers embroidered with seed pearls, Salemina’s pearl-topped comb, Salemina’s Valenciennes handkerchief and diamond belt-clasp, my pearl frog with ruby eyes. We identified our property on her impertinent young person, and the list of her borrowings so amused the Reverend Ronald that he forgot his injuries.
“It is really an ordeal, that presentation, no matter how strong one’s sense of humor may be, nor how well rooted one’s democracy,” chattered Francesca to a serried rank of officers who surrounded her to the total routing of the ministry. “It is especially trying if one has come unexpectedly and has no idea of what is to happen. I was agitated at the supreme moment, because, at the entrance of the throne-room, I had just shaken hands reverently with a splendid person who proved to be a footman. Of course I took him for the Commander of the Queen’s Guards, or the Keeper of the Dungeon Keys, or the Most Noble Custodian of the Royal Moats, Drawbridges, and Portcullises. When he put out his hand I had no idea it was simply to waft me onward, and so naturally I shook it,–it’s a mercy that I didn’t kiss it! Then I curtsied to the Royal Usher, and overlooked the Lord High Commissioner altogether, having no eyes for any one but the beautiful scarlet Marchioness. I only hope they were too busy to notice my mistakes, otherwise I shall be banished from Court at the very moment of my presentation.–Do you still banish nowadays?” turning the battery of her eyes upon a particularly insignificant officer who was far too dazed to answer. “Did you see the child of ten who was next to me in line? She is Mrs. Macstronachlacher; at least that was the name on the card she carried, and she was thus announced. As they tell us the Purse-Bearer is most rigorous in arranging these functions and issuing the invitations, I presume she must be Mrs. Macstronachlacher; but if so, they marry very young in Scotland, and her skirts should really have been longer!”
It is our last day in “Scotia’s darling seat,” our last day in Breadalbane Terrace, our last day with Mrs. M’Collop; and though every one says that we shall love the life in the country, we are loath to leave Auld Reekie.
Salemina and I have spent two days in search of an abiding-place, and have visited eight well-recommended villages with that end in view; but she disliked four of them, and I couldn’t endure the other four, though I considered some of those that fell under her disapproval as quite delightful in every respect.
We never take Francesca on these pilgrimages of disagreement, as three conflicting opinions on the same subject would make insupportable what is otherwise rather exhilarating. She starts from Edinburgh to-morrow for a brief visit to the Highlands with the Dalziels, and will join us when we have settled ourselves.
Mr. Beresford leaves Paris as soon after our decision as he is permitted, so Salemina and I have agreed to agree upon one ideal spot within thirty-six hours of our quitting Edinburgh, knowing privately that after a last battle royal we shall enthusiastically support the joint decision for the rest of our lives.
We have been bidding good-by to people and places and things, and wishing the sun would not shine and thus make our task the harder. We have looked our last on the old gray town from Calton Hill, of all places the best, perhaps, for a view; since, as Stevenson says, from Calton Hill you can see the Castle, which you lose from the Castle, and Arthur’s Seat, which you cannot see from Arthur’s Seat. We have taken a farewell walk to the Dean Bridge, to gaze wistfully eastward and marvel for the hundredth time to find so beautiful a spot in the heart of a city. The soft flowing Water of Leith winding over pebbles between grassy banks and groups of splendid trees, the roof of the little temple to Hygeia rising picturesquely among green branches, the slopes of emerald velvet leading up to the gray stone of the houses,–where, in all the world of cities, can one find a view to equal it in peaceful loveliness? Francesca’s “bridge-man,” who, by the way, proved to be a distinguished young professor of medicine in the university, says that the beautiful cities of the world should be ranked thus,–Constantinople, Prague, Genoa, Edinburgh; but having seen only one of these, and that the last, I refuse to credit any sliding scale of comparison which leaves Edina at the foot.
It was nearing tea-time, an hour when we never fail to have visitors, and we were all in the drawing-room together. I was at the piano, singing Jacobite melodies for Salemina’s delectation. When I came to the last verse of Lady Nairne’s “Hundred Pipers,” the spirited words had taken my fancy captive, and I am sure I could not have sung with more vigor and passion had my people been “out with the Chevalier.”
“The Esk was swollen sae red an’ sae deep,
But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep;
Twa thousand swam oure to fell English ground,
An’ danced themselves dry to the pibroch’s sound.
Dumfounder’d the English saw, they saw,
Dumfounder’d they heard the blaw, the blaw,
Dumfounder’d they a’ ran awa’, awa’,
Frae the hundred pipers an’ a’, an’ a’!”
By the time I came to “Dumfounder’d the English saw” Francesca left her book and joined in the next four lines, and when we broke into the chorus Salemina rushed to the piano, and although she cannot sing, she lifted her voice both high and loud in the refrain, beating time the while with a dirk paper-knife.
[Transcriber’s Note: A brief musical score appears in the text here, with the lyrics:: Wi’ a hun-dred pi-pers an’ a’, an’ a’, Wi’ a hun-dred pi-pers an’ a’, an’ a’, We’ll up an’ gie them a blaw, a blaw, Wi’ a hundred pi-pers an’ a’, an’ a’!]
Susanna ushered in Mr. Macdonald and Dr. Moncrieffe as the last “blaw” faded into silence, and Jean Dalziel came upstairs to say that they could seldom get a quiet moment for family prayers, because we were always at the piano, hurling incendiary sentiments into the air,–sentiments set to such stirring melodies that no one could resist them.
“We are very sorry, Miss Dalziel,” I said penitently. “We reserve an hour in the morning and another at bedtime for your uncle’s prayers, but we had no idea you had them at afternoon tea, even in Scotland. I believe that you are chaffing, and came up only to swell the chorus. Come, let us all sing together from ‘Dumfounder’d the English saw.'”
Mr. Macdonald and Dr. Moncrieffe gave such splendid body to the music, and Jean such warlike energy, that Salemina waved her paper-knife in a manner more than ever sanguinary, and Susanna hesitated outside the door for sheer delight, and had to be coaxed in with the tea-things. On the heels of the tea-things came the Dominie, another dear old friend of six weeks’ standing; and while the doctor sang “Jock o’ Hazledean” with such irresistible charm that we all longed to elope with somebody on the instant, Salemina dispensed buttered toast, marmalade sandwiches, and the fragrant cup. By this time we were thoroughly cosy, and Mr. Macdonald made himself and us very much at home by stirring the fire; whereupon Francesca embarrassed him by begging him not to touch it unless he could do it properly, which, she added, seemed quite unlikely, from the way in which he handled the poker.
“What will Edinburgh do without you?” he asked, turning towards us with flattering sadness in his tone. “Who will hear our Scotch stories, never suspecting their hoary old age? Who will ask us questions to which we somehow always know the answers? Who will make us study and reverence anew our own landmarks? Who will keep warm our national and local pride by judicious enthusiasm?”
“I think the national and local pride may be counted on to exist without any artificial stimulants,” dryly observed Francesca, whose spirit is not in the least quenched by approaching departure.
“Perhaps,” answered the Reverend Ronald; “but at any rate, you, Miss Monroe, will always be able to reflect that you have never been responsible even for its momentary inflation!”
“Isn’t it strange that she cannot get on better with that charming fellow?” murmured Salemina, as she passed me the sugar for my second cup.
“If your present symptoms of blindness continue, Salemina,” I said, searching for a small lump so as to gain time, “I shall write you a plaintive ballad, buy you a dog, and stand you on a street corner! If you had ever permitted yourself to ‘get on’ with any man as Francesca is getting on with Mr. Macdonald, you would now be Mrs.–Somebody.”
“Do you know, doctor,” asked the Dominie, “that Miss Hamilton shed real tears at Holyrood, the other night, when the band played ‘Bonnie Charlie’s now awa’?”
“They were real,” I confessed, “in the sense that they certainly were not crocodile tears; but I am somewhat at a loss to explain them from a sensible, American standpoint. Of course my Jacobitism is purely impersonal, though scarcely more so than yours, at this late day; at least it is merely a poetic sentiment, for which Caroline, Baroness Nairne is mainly responsible. My romantic tears came from a vision of the Bonnie Prince as he entered Holyrood, dressed in his short tartan coat, his scarlet breeches and military boots, the star of St. Andrew on his breast, a blue ribbon over his shoulder, and the famous blue velvet bonnet and white cockade. He must have looked so brave and handsome and hopeful at that moment, and the moment was so sadly brief, that when the band played the plaintive air I kept hearing the words,–
‘Mony a heart will break in twa,
Should he no come back again.’
He did come back again to me that evening, and held a phantom levee behind the Marchioness of Heatherdale’s shoulder. His ‘ghaist’ looked bonnie and rosy and confident, yet all the time the band was playing the requiem for his lost cause and buried hopes.”
I looked towards the fire to hide the moisture that crept again into my eyes, and my glance fell upon Francesca sitting dreamily on a hassock in front of the cheerful blaze, her chin in the hollow of her palm, and the Reverend Ronald standing on the hearth-rug gazing at her, the poker in his hand, and his heart, I regret to say, in such an exposed position on his sleeve that even Salemina could have seen it had she turned her eyes that way.
Jean Dalziel broke the momentary silence: “I am sure I never hear the last two lines,–
‘Better lo’ed ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?’
without a lump in my throat,” and she hummed the lovely melody. “It is all as you say purely impersonal and poetic. My mother is an Englishwoman, but she sings ‘Dumfounder’d the English saw, they saw,’ with the greatest fire and fury.”
“I think I was never so completely under the spell of a country as I am of Scotland.” I made this acknowledgment freely, but I knew that it would provoke comment from my compatriots.
“Oh yes, my dear, you have been just as spellbound before, only you don’t remember it,” replied Salemina promptly. “I have never seen a person more perilously appreciative or receptive than you.”
“‘Perilously’ is just the word,” chimed in Francesca delightedly; “when you care for a place you grow porous, as it were, until after a time you are precisely like blotting-paper. Now, there was Italy, for example. After eight weeks in Venice you were completely Venetian, from your fan to the ridiculous little crepe shawl you wore because an Italian prince had told you that centuries were usually needed to teach a woman how to wear a shawl, but that you had been born with the art, and the shoulders! Anything but a watery street was repulsive to you. Cobblestones? ‘Ordinario, duro, brutto! A gondola? Ah, bellissima! Let me float forever thus!’ You bathed your spirit in sunshine and color; I can hear you murmur now, ‘O Venezia benedetta! non ti voglio lasciar!'”
“It was just the same when she spent a month in France with the Baroness de Hautenoblesse,” continued Salemina. “When she returned to America it is no flattery to say that in dress, attitude, inflection, manner, she was a thorough Parisienne. There was an elegant superficiality and a superficial elegance about her that I can never forget, nor yet her extraordinary volubility in a foreign language,–the fluency with which she expressed her inmost soul on all topics without the aid of a single irregular verb, for these she was never able to acquire; oh, it was wonderful, but there was no affectation about it; she had simply been a kind of blotting-paper, as Miss Monroe says, and France had written itself all over her.”
“I don’t wish to interfere with anybody’s diagnosis,” I interposed at the first possible moment, “but perhaps after you’ve both finished your psychologic investigation the subject may be allowed to explain herself from the inside, so to speak. I won’t deny the spell of Italy, but I think the spell that Scotland casts over one is quite a different thing, more spiritual, more difficult to break. Italy’s charm has something physical in it; it is born of blue sky, sunlit waves, soft atmosphere, orange sails and yellow moons, and appeals more to the senses. In Scotland the climate certainly has naught to do with it, but the imagination is somehow made captive. I am not enthralled by the past of Italy or France, for instance.”
“Of course you are not at the present moment,” said Francesca, “because you are enthralled by the past of Scotland, and even you cannot be the slave of two pasts at the same time.”
“I never was particularly enthralled by Italy’s past,” I argued with exemplary patience, “but the romance of Scotland has a flavor all its own. I do not quite know the secret of it.”
“It’s the kilts and the pipes,” said Francesca.
“No, the history.” (This from Salemina.)
“Or Sir Walter and the literature,” suggested Mr. Macdonald.
“Or the songs and ballads,” ventured Jean Dalziel.
“There!” I exclaimed triumphantly, “you see for yourselves you have named avenue after avenue along which one’s mind is led in charmed subjection. Where can you find battles that kindle your fancy like Falkirk and Flodden and Culloden and Bannockburn? Where a sovereign that attracts, baffles, repels, allures, like Mary Queen of Scots,–and where, tell me where, is there a Pretender like Bonnie Prince Charlie? Think of the spirit in those old Scottish matrons who could sing:–
‘I’ll sell my rock, I’ll sell my reel,
My rippling-kame and spinning-wheel,
To buy my lad a tartan plaid,
A braid sword, durk, and white cockade.'”
“Yes,” chimed in Salemina when I had finished quoting, “or that other verse that goes,–
‘I ance had sons, I now hae nane,
I bare them toiling sairlie;
But I would bear them a’ again
To lose them a’ for Charlie!’
Isn’t the enthusiasm almost beyond belief at this distance of time?” she went on; “and isn’t it a curious fact, as Mr. Macdonald told me a moment ago, that though the whole country was vocal with songs for the lost cause and the fallen race, not one in favor of the victors ever became popular?”
“Sympathy for the under dog, as Miss Monroe’s countrywomen would say picturesquely,” remarked Mr. Macdonald.
“I don’t see why all the vulgarisms in the dictionary should be foisted on the American girl,” retorted Francesca loftily, “unless, indeed, it is a determined attempt to find spots upon the sun for fear we shall worship it!”
“Quite so, quite so!” returned the Reverend Ronald, who has had reason to know that this phrase reduces Miss Monroe to voiceless rage.
“The Stuart charm and personal magnetism must have been a powerful factor in all that movement,” said Salemina, plunging hastily back into the topic to avert any further recrimination. “I suppose we feel it even now, and if I had been alive in 1745 I should probably have made myself ridiculous. ‘Old maiden ladies,’ I read this morning, ‘were the last leal Jacobites in Edinburgh; spinsterhood in its loneliness remained ever true to Prince Charlie and the vanished dreams of youth.'”
“Yes,” continued the Dominie, “the story is told of the last of those Jacobite ladies who never failed to close her Prayer-Book and stand erect in silent protest when the prayer for ‘King George III. and the reigning family’ was read by the congregation.”
“Do you remember the prayer of the Reverend Neil McVicar in St. Cuthbert’s?” asked Mr. Macdonald. “It was in 1745, after the victory at Prestonpans, when a message was sent to the Edinburgh ministers, in the name of ‘Charles, Prince Regent,’ desiring them to open their churches next day as usual. McVicar preached to a large congregation, many of whom were armed Highlanders, and prayed for George II., and also for Charles Edward, in the following fashion: ‘Bless the king! Thou knowest what king I mean. May the crown sit long upon his head! As for that young man who has come among us to seek an earthly crown, we beseech Thee to take him to Thyself and give him a crown of glory!'”
“Ah, what a pity the Bonnie Prince had not died after his meteor victory at Falkirk!” exclaimed Jean Dalziel, when we had finished laughing at Mr. Macdonald’s story.
“Or at Culloden, ‘where, quenched in blood on the Muir of Drummossie, the star of the Stuarts sank forever,'” quoted the Dominie. “There is where his better self died; would that the young Chevalier had died with it! By the way, doctor, we must not sit here eating goodies and sipping tea until the dinner-hour, for these ladies have doubtless much to do for their flitting” (a pretty Scots word for “moving”).
“We are quite ready for our flitting so far as packing is concerned,” Salemina assured him. “Would that we were as ready in spirit! Miss Hamilton has even written her farewell poem, which I am sure she will read for the asking.”
“She will read it without that formality,” murmured Francesca. “She has lived and toiled only for this moment, and the poem is in her pocket.”
“Delightful!” said the doctor flatteringly. “Has she favored you already? Have you heard it, Miss Monroe?”
“Have we heard it!” ejaculated that young person. “We have heard nothing else all the morning! What you will take for local color is nothing but our mental life-blood, which she has mercilessly drawn to stain her verses. We each tried to write a Scottish poem, and as Miss Hamilton’s was better, or perhaps I might say less bad, than ours, we encouraged her to develop and finish it. I wanted to do an imitation of Lindsay’s
‘Adieu, Edinburgh! thou heich triumphant town,
Within whose bounds richt blithefull have I been!’
but it proved too difficult. Miss Hamilton’s general idea was that we should write some verses in good plain English. Then we were to take out all the final g’s, and indeed the final letters from all the words wherever it was possible, so that _full_, _awful_, _call_, _ball_, _hall_, _and away_ should be _fu’_, _awfu’_, _ca’_, _ba’_, _ha’_, _an’ awa’_. This alone gives great charm and character to a poem; but we were also to change all words ending in _ow_ into _aw_. This doesn’t injure the verse, you see, as _blaw_ and _snaw_ rhyme just as well as _blow_ and _snow_, beside bringing tears to the common eye with their poetic associations. Similarly, if we had _daughter_ and _slaughter_, we were to write them _dochter_ and _slauchter_, substituting in all cases _doon_, _froon_, _goon_, and _toon_, for _down_, _frown_, _gown_, and _town_. Then we made a list of Scottish idols,–pet words, national institutions, stock phrases, beloved objects,–convinced if we could weave them in we should attain ‘atmosphere.’ Here is the first list; it lengthened speedily: thistle, tartan, haar, haggis, kirk, claymore, parritch, broom, whin, sporran, whaup, plaid, scone, collops, whiskey, mutch, cairngorm, oatmeal, brae, kilt, brose, heather. Salemina and I were too devoted to common sense to succeed in this weaving process, so Penelope triumphed and won the first prize, both for that and also because she brought in a saying given us by Miss Dalziel, about the social classification of all Scotland into ‘the gentlemen of the North, men of the South, people of the West, fowk o’ Fife, and the Paisley bodies.’ We think that her success came chiefly from her writing the verses with a Scotch plaid lead-pencil. What effect the absorption of so much red, blue, and green paint will have I cannot fancy, but she ate off–and up–all the tartan glaze before finishing the poem; it had a wonderfully stimulating effect, but the end is not yet!”
Of course there was a chorus of laughter when the young wretch exhibited my battered pencil, bought in Princes Street yesterday, its gay Gordon tints sadly disfigured by the destroying tooth, not of Time, but of a bard in the throes of composition.
“We bestowed a consolation prize on Salemina,” continued Francesca, “because she succeeded in getting _hoots_, _losh_, _havers_, and _blathers_ into one line, but naturally she could not maintain such an ideal standard. Read your verses, Pen, though there is little hope that our friends will enjoy them as much as you do. Whenever Miss Hamilton writes anything of this kind, she emulates her distinguished ancestor Sir William Hamilton, who always fell off his own chair in fits of laughter when he was composing verses.”
With this inspiring introduction I read my lines as follows:–
AN AMERICAN LADY’S FAREWELL TO EDINBURGH
THE MUSE BEING SOMEWHAT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF
THE SCOTTISH BALLAD
I canna thole my ain toun,
Sin’ I hae dwelt i’ this;
To hide in Edinboro’ reek,
Wad be the tap o’ bliss.
Yon bonnie plaid aboot me hap,
The skirlin’ pipes gae bring,
With thistles fair tie up my hair,
While I of Scotia sing.
The collops an’ the cairngorms,
The haggis an’ the whin,
The ‘Stablished, Free, an’ U. P. kirks,
The hairt convinced o’ sin,–
The parritch an’ the heather-bell,
The snawdrap on the shaw,
The bit lam’s bleatin’ on the braes,–
How can I leave them a’!
How can I leave the marmalade
An’ bonnets o’ Dundee?
The haar, the haddies, an’ the brose,
The East win’ blawin’ free!
How can I lay my sporran by,
An’ sit me doun at hame,
Wi’oot a Hieland philabeg
Or hyphenated name?
I lo’e the gentry o’ the North,
The Southern men I lo’e,
The canty people o’ the West,
The Paisley bodies too.
The pawky fowk o’ Fife are dear,–
Sae dear are ane an’ a’,
That e’en to think that we maun pairt
Maist braks my hairt in twa.
So fetch me tartans, heather, scones,
An’ dye my tresses red;
I’d deck me like th’ unconquer’d Scots
Wha hae wi’ Wallace bled.
Then bind my claymore to my side,
My kilt an’ mutch gae bring;
While Scottish lays soun’ i’ my lugs
McKinley’s no my king,–
For Charlie, bonnie Stuart Prince,
Has turned me Jacobite;
I’d wear displayed the white cockade,
An’ (whiles) for him I’d fight!
An’ (whiles) I’d fight for a’ that’s Scotch,
Save whuskey an’ oatmeal,
For wi’ their ballads i’ my bluid,
Nae Scot could be mair leal!
I fancied that I had pitched my verses in so high a key that no one could mistake their burlesque intention. What was my confusion, however, to have one of the company remark when I finished, “Extremely pretty; but a mutch, you know, is an article of _woman’s_ apparel.”
Mr. Macdonald flung himself gallantly into the breach. He is such a dear fellow! So quick, so discriminating, so warm-hearted!
“Don’t pick flaws in Miss Hamilton’s finest line! That picture of a fair American, clad in a kilt and mutch, decked in heather and scones, and brandishing a claymore, will live forever in my memory. Don’t clip the wings of her imagination! You will be telling her soon that one doesn’t tie one’s hair with thistles, nor couple collops with cairngorms.”
Somebody sent Francesca a great bunch of yellow broom, late that afternoon. There was no name in the box, she said, but at night she wore the odorous tips in the bosom of her black dinner-gown, and standing erect in her dark hair like golden aigrettes.
When she came into my room to say good-night, she laid the pretty frock in one of my trunks, which was to be filled with the garments of fashionable society and left behind in Edinburgh. The next moment I chanced to look on the floor, and discovered a little card, a bent card, with two lines written on it:–
“_Better lo’ed ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?_”
We have received many invitations i8