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o' his grand friends, that seals wi' their coats of arms, as they ca' them,” said Mrs. Heukbane; “pride will hae a fa-he has na settled his accouut wi' my gude man, the deacon, for this twalmonth-he's but slink, I doubt."
“ Nor wi' huz for sax months," echoed Mrs. Shortcake-6 he's but a burnt crust.”
“There's a letter," interrupted the trusty post-mistress, “from his son, the captain, I'm thinking the seal has the same things withe knockwinnock carriage. He'll be coming hame to see what he can save out o' the fire."
The baronet thus dismissed, they took up the esquire• Twa letters for Monkbarns—they're frae some o' his learned friends now.--See sae close as they're written down to the very seal—and a' to save sending a double letter-that's just like Monkbarn himsel. When he gets a frank he fills it up exact to the weight of an unce, that a carry-seed would sink the scale ; but he's ne're a grain abune it. Weel, I wot I wad be broken if I were to gie sic weight to the folk that come to buy our pepper and brimstone and sweetmeats.
“He's a shabby body, the laird o' Monkbarns," said Mrs. Heukbane-he'll make as muckle about buying a fore quarter o’ lamb in August, as about a backsey of beef. Let's taste another drop o’the sinning (perhaps she meant cinnamon) waters, Mrs. Mailsetter, my dear; Ah ! lassies, and ye had kend his brother as I did ; mony a time he wad slip in to see me wi' a brace o' wild deukes in his pouch, when my gude man was awa’ at the Falkirk tryst; weel, weel; we'se no speak o that e'enow."
“I winna say ony ill o' this Monkbarns," said Mrs. Shortcake, “ his brother never brought me ony wild deukes, and this is a douce honest man; we serve the family wi' bread, and he settles wi' huz ilka week; only he was in an unco kippage when we sent him a book instead o' the nick-sticks, whilk, he said, were the true ancient way o' counting between tradesmen and customers, and sae they are, nae doubt."
“ But look here, lassies,” interrupted Mrs. Mailsetter, “ here's a sight for sair e'en !-What wad ye gie to ken what's in the inside o' this letter ?—this is new com-I hae nae seen the like o' this—For William Lovel, Esquire, at Mrs. Hadoway's, High Street, Fairport, by Edinburgh, N. B. This is just the second letter he has had since he was here."
"Lord's sake, let's see, lass ! Lord's sake, let's seethat's him that the hale town kens naething about—and a weel fa’ard lad he is—let's see, let's see.”
Thus ejaculated the two worthy representatives of Mother Eve.
“Na, na, sirs," exclaimed Mrs. Mailsetter; " hand awa'-bide aff I tell you—this is none o' your fourpenny cuts, that we might make up the value to the post-office amang ourselves if ony mischance befell it; the postage is five and twenty shillings; and here's an order frae the secretary to forward it to the young gentleman by express, if he's no at hame. Na, na, sirs, this manna be roughly guided.”
“But just let's look at the outside o't woman.
Nothing could be gathered from the outside, except remarks on the various properties which philosophers ascribe to matter; length, breadth, depth, and weight. The packet was composed of strong thick paper, imperviable by the curious eyes of the gossips, though they stared as if they would burst from their sockets. The seal was a deep and strong impression of arms, which defied all tampering:
“Odd, lass," said Mrs. Shortcake, weighing it in her hand, and wishing, doubtless, that the too, too solid wax would melt and dissolve” itself, “I would like to ken what's in the inside o' this, for that Lovel dings a' that ever set foot on the plain stanes of Fairport-naebody kens what to make o' him.”
“Weel, weel, leddies," said the postmistress, “we'll sit down and crack about it-Baby bring ben the teawater-mickle obliged to ye for your cookies, Mrs. Shortcake—and then we'll steek the shop and take a hand at
the cartes till the gude man comes hame—and then we'll try your bean veal sweetbread that ye were so kind as to send me, Mrs. Heukbane."
“ But wiona ye first send awa' Mr. Lovel's letter?” said Mrs. Heukbane.
“Troth I kenna wha to send wi't, till the gude man comes hame, for old Coucon telld me that Mr. Lovel stays a' the day at Monkbarns-he's in a high fever wi' puing the laird and Sir Arthur out o' the sea."
“Silly auld doited carles," said Mrs. Shortcake; “what gar’d them gang a donking in a night like yestreen?"
“I was ge'en to understand it was auld Edie that saved them," said Mrs. Heukbane; “Edie Ochiltree, the Blue gown, ye ken—and that he pu'd the hale three out of the auld fish pond, for Monkbarns had threepit on them to gang in till't to see the wark o' the monks lang syne.”
“ Hout, lass, nonsense," answered the post mistress; " I'll tell ye a' about it, as Caxon tell't it to me. Sir Arthur, and Miss Wardour, and Mr. Lovel suld hae dined at Monkbarns"
“ But, Mrs. Mailsetter," again interrupted Mrs. Heukbane, “will ye no be for sending awa' this letter by express ?—there's our poney and our callant hae gone expresses for the office or now, and the poney has na gane abune thirty mile the day-Jock was sorting him as I came over bye.”
Why, Mrs. Heukbane," said the woman of letters, pursing up her mouth, ye ken my gude man likes to ride the expresses himsel—we maun gie our ain fish guts to our ain seamaws-it's a red half guinea to him every time he mounts his mare-and I dare say, he'll be in supe—or I dare to say, its the same thing whether the gentleman gets the express this night or early next morning.”
“Only that Mr. Lovel will be in town before the express goes off,” said Mrs. Heukbane, “and where are ye then, lass?”—but ye ken your own ways best.”
“ Weel, weel, Mrs. Heukbane," answered Mrs. Mailsetter, a little out of humor, and even out of countenance, "I am sure I am never against being neighbor-like, and living, and letting live, as they say, and since I hae been sic a fule as to show you the post-office order-ou, nae doubt, it maun be obeyed—but I'll no need your callant, mony thanks to ye-I'll send little Davie on your poney, and that will be just five-and-three-pence to ilka yane o' us.
“ Davie ! Lord help ye, the bairn's no ten year auld : and to be plain wi'ye, our poney resists a bit, and naebody can manage him but our Jock."
• I'm sorry for that," answered the post-mistress gravely, " its like we maun wait then till the gude man comes hame, after a'--for I wadna like to be responsible in trusting the letter to sic a callant as Jock-our Davie belangs in a manner to the office.”
“ Aweel, aweel, Mrs. Mailsetter, I see what ye wad be at-but an ye like to risk the bairn, I'll risk the beast.”
Orders were accordingly given. The unwilling poney was brought out of his bed of straw, and again equipped for service. Davie (a leathern post-bag strapped across his shoulders) was perched upon the saddle, with a tear in bis eye and a switch in his hand. Jock good naturedly led the animal out of the town, and, by the crack of his whip, and the hoop and halloo of his too-well-known voice, compelled it to take the road towards Monkbarns.
Meanwhile the gossips, like the sybils after consulting their leaves, arranged and combined the information of the evening, which flew next morning through a hundred channels, and in a hundred varieties, through the world of Fairport. Many, strange, and inconsistent were the rumors to which their communications and conjectures gave rise. Some said Tenant & Co. were broken, and that all their bills had come back protested—others, that they had got a great contract from government, and letters from the principal merchants at Glasgow, desiring to have shares upon a premium. One report stated that Lieu
tenant Taffril had acknowledged a private marriage with Jenny Caxon—another that he had sent her a letter, upbraiding her with the lowness of her birth and education, and bidding her an eternal adieu. It was generally reported that Sir Arthur Wardour's affairs had fallen into irretrievable confusion, and this rumor was only doubted by the wise, because the report was traced to Mrs. Mailsetter's shop, a source more famous for the circulation of news than for their accuracy. But all agreed that a packet from the Secretary of State's office had arrived, directed for Mr. Lovel, and had been forwarded by an orderly dragoon, despatched from the head quarters at Edinburgh, who had galloped through Fairport without stopping, except just to inquire the way to Monkbarns. The reason of such an extraordinary mission to a very peaceful and retired individual was variously explained. Some said Lovel was an emigrant noble, summoned to head an insurrection that had broken out at La Vendee others, that he was a spy-others, that he was a general officer, who was visiting the coast privately—others, that he was a prince of the blood, who was traveling incognito.
DESTRUCTION OF A FAMILY OF THE PILGRIMS BY THE
PEQUOD INDIANS.—Miss Sedgwick. -All was joy in Mrs. Fletcher's dwelling. “My dear mother,” said Everell, “it is now quite time to look out for father and Hope Leslie. I have turned the hourglass three times since dinner, and counted all the sands, I think. Let us all go on the front portico, where we can catch the first glimpse of them, as they come past the elm trees. Here, Oneco," he continued as he saw assent in his mother's smile, " help me out with mother's rocking chair: rather rough rocking,”—be added, as he adjusted the rockers lengthwise with the logs that served