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Katie Stewart.-Part III.
hings. I took the flowers just be
bairn! If I turn on ye, that have had
ye among my hands maist a' your
tell me ance for a', is't true?”
which the Lady Erskine did not fail
But Katie's courage fell when she upon the hidden face; and as the re-entered the family room, and heard dull green light through these thick again the reproaches of her mother. window-panes fell on the pretty figure, Humbly she stole away to the corner the clasped arms, and bright diswhere stood the little wheel, to draw ordered hair, and as the sobs which in a stool beside it, and begin to work would not be restrained broke audi
" Let that be," said Mrs Stewart bly through the apartment, the moperemptorily; " ye shall spin nae mair ther's heart was moved at last. yarn to me; ye're owre grand a lady " Katie !" to spin to me; and stand out o' my But Katie does not hear. In her light, Katie Stewart."
heart she is calling upon Isabell-upon Poor little Katie ! this compulsory Lady Anne---upon Willie—and bitteridleness was a refinement of cruelty. ly believing that her mother has cast With an irrepressible burst of sobbing, her off, and that there remains for her she threw herself down on a chair no longer a home. which Merran had newly restored to " Katie, ye cuttie! What guid its place by the window, and, leaning will ye do, greeting here, like to break her arms on the table beside her, bu- your ain heart, and a body else's ? ried her face in her hands. There is Sit up this moment, and draw to your something very touching at all times wheel. Do ye think ony mortal wi' in this attitude. The sympathy one feelings like ither folk could forbear might refuse to the ostentation of anger, to see a lassie like you throw grief, one always bestows abundantly hersel away?”
" But is it true, Katie ?” asked thing less embarrassing than the Lady Anne.
" me"_“I dinna ken, for that's naeIn the west room at Kellie, Katie thing; but real anes—” has resumed her embroidery-has re Katie paused abruptly. sumed her saucy freedom, her pouts, “ Well, Katie, real ones ?" her wilfulness; and would convey by But an indefinite smile hovers about no means a flattering idea to Willie Katie's lip, and she makes no answer. Morison of the impression his attrac- It is very well, lest Lady Anne had tions have made upon her, could he been shocked beyond remedy; for the see how merry she is, many an hour “ real anes" are the rebel knight, and when he dreams of her upon the sea. the Whig merchant sailor-Sir Alex
"My mother never tells lees, Lady ander and Willie Morison ! Anne," said Katie, glancing archly " But this is not what I want," up to her friend's face.
said Lady Anne ; " tell me, Katie" But Katie, I'm in earnest; you now be true, and tell me-will you don't mean-surely, you don't mean to really take this sailor when he comes take this sailor when he comes in home ?" again! Katie, you !-but it's just a “ Maybe," said Katie, with a pout, joke, I suppose. You all think there's stooping down over her frame. something wrong if you have not a “But maybe will not do. I want sweetheart."
to know; have you made up your “No me," said Katie, with some mind? Will you, Katie?" indignation, tossing back her curls. "He'll maybe no ask me when he “ I dinna care for a' the sweethearts comes back," said the evasive Katie, in Fife."
glancing up with an arch demure " How many have you had," said smile. Lady Anne, shaking her head and Lady Anne shook her head. Till smiling, “ since you were sixteen ?" she caught this smile, she had looked
“If ye mean folk that wanted to almost angry; but now she also speak to us, or whiles to dance with smiled, and looked down from her us, or to convoy us hame, Lady high chair, with renewed kindness, Anne," said Katie, with a slight blush, upon her little protegée. availing herself of the plural, as some Katie, you must let me speak to
you. I will not say a word against “ What for should it no be true, him for himself; but he's just, you Bauby?” exclaimed the little beauty. know, a common person. Katie, little “Eh, Miss Katie, the like of you ! Katie, many a one thinks of you, that but you'll repent and change your you think little about. There's Betty, mind after a'. I'll no deny he's a and Janet, and me; and we're all as bonny lad; but it wasna him, I anxious about you as if you were a reckon, Miss Katie, that sent ye the sister of our own ;-but to be a sailor's white roses yon time?" wife ; to be just like one of the wives Katie's cheeks flushed indignantly. in Anster; to marry a common man “It's no my blame folk sending oh Katie, could you do it?"
hings. I took the flowers just be"He's no a common man," said cause they were bonnie, and no for Katie, raising her face, which was onybody's sake. I had nae way to now deeply flushed ; " he has as plea- ken wha sent them—and ye've nae sant a smile, and speaks as soft and right to cast it up to me, Bauby as gentle, and kens courtesie-it's no Rodger." bowing I mean—it's a' thing—as weel “Me cast it up to ye, my bonnie
bairn! If I turn on ye, that have had “ As whom?"
ye among my hands maist a' your Sir Alexander! Again the name days, mair than your very mother, ye is almost on her lip, but Katie recol. might weel mistrust a' the world; but lects herself in time.
tell me ance for a', is't true?” " As weel as ony grand gentleman! Bauby had a great quantity of hair, And if he was a lord he would be nae very red hair, which her little plain better than he is, being plain Willie cap, tied-a piece of extravagance Morison!”
which the Lady Erskine did not fail Nae better! You think so just now, to notice-with two inches of narrow little Katie, in your flush of affection- blue ribbon, was quite insufficient to ate pride; you did not quite think so keep in duresse. One thick lock at when you first awoke to the percep- this moment lay prone on Bauby's tion that you were no longer free, no shoulder, as she leaned her great longer mistress of yourself; nor even elbows on the table, and bending fornow, sometimes, when one of your old ward looked earnestly into Katie splendid dreams shoots across your Stewart's face. imagination, and you remember that Katie made no reply. She only your hero is the mate of the Levant cast down her eyes, and curiously schooner, and not a bold Baron nor a examined the corner of her apron ; belted Earl.
but, at last, suddenly springing up, “ Lady Anne told me this morning she seized Bauby's stray tress, pulled when I was helping to dress her," it lustily, and ran off laughing to her said Bauby Rodger, stealing into the embroidery frame. west room when Lady Anne was "Weel, weel," said Bauby Rodger, absent ;—“but, Miss Katie, it's no untying her scrap of blue ribbon to true?”
enable her slowly to replace the fugiKatie beat impatiently with her tive lock—" weel, weel, whaever gets fingers upon the table, and made no ye will get a handful. Be he lord or answer.
be he loon, he'll no hae his sorrow to “Do you mean to tell me it's true?" seek!"
The long winter glided away—there Katie Stewart's life. Janet was marwas nothing in it to mark or diversify ried--for Alick Morison's ship sailed its progress. Lady Anne Erskine to "the aest country"—that is, the saw a little more company-was Baltic-and took a long rest at home sometimes with her sister Lady Janet, all the winter. And in the Milton and for one New Year week in Edin- Mrs Stewart was sedulously preparing burgh with Lady Betty; but nothing - her objections all melting into an else chequered the quiet current of occasional grumble under the kindly
logic of Isabell – for another wedding. safe," said Nancy, shaking her head; The inexhaustible oak press, out of "the very mates, ay, and captains too, whose scarcely diminished stores had nae less, are pressed just as soon as come the “providing” of Isabell and a common man afore the mast when Janet, was now resplendent with they're out of employ or ashore, my snowy linen and mighty blankets for Jamie says; and muckle care seafaring Katie's; and in the pleasant month men have to take now-a-days, skulking of April, Willie Morison was expected into their ain houses like thieves in home.
the nicht. It's an awfu' hard case, These April days had come—soft, Mrs Stewart. I'm sure if the king or genial, hopeful days—and Katie sat in the parliament men could just see the the kitchen of the Milton, working at housefu' o' bairns my man has to work some articles of her own trousseau, for, and kent how muckle toil it takes when a sailor's wife from Anstrather to feed them and cleed them, no to knocked at the open door,--a prelimi- speak o' schulin', it wadna be in their nary knock, not to ask admittance, but hearts to take a decent head of a to intimate that she was about to enter. house away frae his family in sic a
" I've brought ye a letter, Miss manner. Mony a wae thought it gi'es Katie,” said Nancy Tod. “The ship's me—mony a time I wauken out of in, this morning afore daylight, and my sleep wi' wat cheeks, dreaming the captain sent aff my man in a boat Jamie's pressed, and the bairns a to carry the news to his wife at the greetin' about me, and their faither Elie; so the mate gi'ed Jamie this away to meet men as faes that never letter for you."
did harm to us, and wi' far waur than Katie had already seized the letter, the natural dangers of the sea to and was away with it to the further suffer frae. It's nae easy or licht window, where she could read it un- weird being a sailor's wife in thir disturbed. It was the first letter she times." had ever received, except from Lady Katie, her letter already devoured, Anne-the first token from Willie had stolen back to her seat with Morison since he waved his cap to glowing cheeks and bright eyes; and her from the yards of the schooner, as Katie, in that delight of welcome it glided past the Billy Ness.
which made the partings look like * Jamie came hame in the dead o' trifles, was not disposed to grant this the nicht," said the sailor's wife, proposition. “and he's gi'en me sic a fright wi' "Is it ony waur than being a landswhat he heard at the Elie, that I am man's, Nancy ?" she asked, glancing no like mysel since syne; for ye ken up from her work. there's a king's boat, a wee evil “Eh, Miss Katie, it's little the like spirit o' a cutter, lying in the Firth, o' you ken-it's little young lassies and its come on nae ither errand but ken, or new-married wives either, to press our men. Ane disna ken what that are a' richt if their man's richt. nicht they may come ashore and hunt I have as muckle regard for Jamie as the town; and there's a guid wheen woman need to have, and he's weel men the noo about Aest and Wast wurdy o't; but I've left ane in the Anster, no to speak o' Sillerdyke and cradle at hame, and three at their Pittenweem. I'm sure if there ever faither's fit, that canna do a hand's was a bitter ill and misfortune on this turn for themsels, puir innocents, nor earth, it's that weary pressgang.". will this mony a year-let-abee Lizzie,
“Nae doubt, Nancy," said Mrs that can do grand about a house alStewart, with the comfortable sym- ready, and will sune be fit for service, pathy of one to whom a kindred cala- it's my hope ; and Tam, that's a mity was not possible; “but ye see muckle laddie, and should be bund to Alick Morison, Janet's man, is a mate some trade. What would come o like his brother-and it's a guid big them a', if the faither was ta'en frae brig he's in, too-so we're no in ony their head like Archie Davidson, no danger oursels ;-though, to be sure to be heard o' for maybe ten or twenty that's just a' the mair reason why we years? Ye dinna ken-ye ken naesbould feel for you."
thing about it, you young things; it's “Ane never kens when ane is different wi' the like o' me."
“Take hame a wheen bannocks with the human voiees, and a broad with ye to the bairns, Nancy,” said line of moonlight inlays the threshold Mrs Stewart, taking a great basketful with silver. And now little Katie of barley-meal and wheaten cakes steals in with secret blushes, and from the aumrie.
eyes full of happy dew, which are so “ Mony thanks, mistress," said dazzled by the warm light of the inNancy, with great goodwill lifting terior that she has to shade them her blue checked apron—"ye're just with her hand;—steals in, under cover owre guid. It's no often wheat bread of that great tigure which she has crosses my lips, and yestreen I wad constrained to enter before ber; and hae been thankful of a morsel to mak sitting down in the corner, withdrawn meat to wee Geordie; but the siller from the light as far as may be, rins scant sune enough, without wast- draws to her side her little wheel. ing it on guid things to oursels. Mony " Weel, ye see, I saw our owners thanks, and guid day, and I'm muckle this morning,” said Willie, looking obliged to ye."
round upon, and addressing in gene“ Willie's to be hame the night, ral the interested company, while mother,” said Katie in a half whisper, Katie span demurely with the aspect as Nancy left the door with her well- of an initiated person, who knew it
all, and did not need to listen, “ and "The nicht! He'll have sent nae they have a new brig building down word hame, I'll warrant. How is he at Leith, that's to be ca'ed the Flower to win away frae the ship sae soon?” of Fife. Mr Mitchell the chief
“ The captain's wife's gaun up from owner is a St Andrews man himsel the Elie-he'll no need to gang down so he said if I would be content to bimsel; and Willie's to cross the be maybe six weeks or twa months Firth after dark, a' for fear of that ashore out of employ, he would ship weary pressgang."
me master of the brig whenever she “Weel, weel, it can do nae ill to was ready for sea." us—be thankful,” said Mrs Stewart. " Out of employ!” exclaimed
And that same night, when the Alick in consternation. soft April moon, still young and half " I ken what ye mean, Alick, but formed, reflected its silver bow in the nae fear of that. So I told the owner quiet Firth, strangely contrasting its that I had my ain reasons for wantpeaceful light with the lurid torch on ing twa-three weeks to mysel, ashore, the May, Willie Morison stood on the the noo, and that I would take his little bridge before the mill, by Katie offer and thank him; so we shook Stewart's side.
hands on the bargain, and ye may All these six long months they had ca' me Captain, mother, whenever ye never seen, never heard of each other; like." yet strange it is now, how they have Ay, but no till the cutter's caplearned each the mind and heart of tain gi'es us leave," said Alick, each. When they parted, Katie was hastily. " What glamour was owre still shy of her betrothed ; now it is ye, that ye could pit yoursel in such not so;-and they talk together under peril ? better sail mate for a dizzen the moonlight with a full familiar con voyages mair, than be pressed for a fidence, unhesitating, unrestrained, at common Jack in a man-o'-war." which Katie herself sometimes starts " Nae fear of us,” said Willie, and wonders.
gaily. “Never venture, never win, But now the lamp is lighted within, Alick; and ye'll have a' to cross to and there are loud and frequent Leith before we sail, and see the calls for Willie. Old Mrs Morison, Flower of Fife. I should take Katie his widow mother, occupies John with me the first voyage, and then Stewart's elbow chair, and Alick and there would be twa of them, miller.” Janet widen the circle round the fire ; " But, Willie, my man, ye’ve for winter or summer the cheerful pitten yoursel in peril," said his fireside is the household centre, though, mother, laying her feeble hand upon in deference to this pleasant April his arm. weather, the door stands open, and “Ne'er a bit, mother-ne'er a bit. the voice of the burn joins pleasantly The cutter has dune nae mischief