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- A Daughter of Fife - 35/35 -


four horses, with outriders. The guests crowded the hall and the open door; the servants gathered below them; the tenants lined the road to the small station which they had selected for their starting point. And thus in a very triumph of joy they started upon their long life journey.

The festivities of the bridal were continued for many days, both in the castle and among the servants; and during them the young couple were abundantly discussed. One of these discussions, occurring between the factor of the estate and Miss Campbell's maid, is worth repeating, as it indicated a possible motive in the reticent little lady's life with which her friends were not familiar.

"Wha are these Promoters?" asked the factor.

"They are a Fife family."

"Wasna that handsome young minister her brother?"

"He was that."

"He seems to hae set his heart on the heiress o' Drumloch."

"Captain Manners has the same notion."

"The minister will win."

"The minister will _not win. Not he!"_

The words were so emphatically snapped out that they were followed by a distinct silence.

"Jessie," the factor said, "you are vera positive; but if there is one thing mair unreliable than anither, it is a woman's fancy. The minister is a braw lad."

"I ken ane that's worth twenty o' him, ay, I'll say, fifty o' him."

"You're no surely meaning that young Glasca' lawyer that comes here, whiles."

"You're no surely meaning to pass an insult on Miss Mary, factor. I'm thinking o' my Lord Forfar, and nae ither man to match him. He would kiss my lady's little shoon, and think the honor too much for king or kaiser. And for a' their plumes, and gold, and scarlet, the rattle o' their swords, and the jingle o' their spurs, there wasna an officer at the bridal I'd name in the same breath wi' Lord Lionel Forfar."

"But the minister"--

"_Houts_! What does a bonnie lady, young and rich and beautiful, want wi' a minister body, unless it be to marry her to some ither lad?"

"You're for Forfar because he is Fife."

"You're right--partly. I'm Fife mysel'. A' my gude common sense comes frae Fife. But for that matter, the minister comes from the auld 'kingdom' too."

They were talking in a little room adjoining the servants' dining hall. The factor was smoking, Jessie stood on the stone hearth, tapping her foot restlessly upon it.

"What's the man thinking o'?" she exclaimed after a little. "One would say you were at a funeral instead o' a wedding."

"Thoughts canna always be sent here or there, Jessie. I was wondering what would come o' Drumloch if my lady took the Fife road. It would gie me sair een to see its bonnie braes in the market."

"Think shame o' yoursel' for the vera thought--

'The Campbells will sit in Drumloch's halls, Till the crown be lost and the kingdom falls'

When the lady goes to her fate, there's a laird waiting, I trow, to take her place; and weel will he fill it."

"You'll be meaning Mr. John Campbell?"

"Wha else? He was born in the house, and please God, he'll die in its shelter. If my lady goes to Forfar Castle what will she want wi' Drumloch? A good sum o' lying siller will be better for her, and she would rather bide Miss Campbell a' the days o' her life, than take the hame o' the Campbells to strange folk."

"I wish her weel always, but I'm no against the thought o' serving John Campbell again. Women are whiles vera trying in the way o' business. There's naething but arithmetic needed in business, but they will bring a' sorts o' im-prac-ti-ca-ble elements into it likewise."

"I hope you mean naething wrang by that big word, factor."

"Nae wrang, nae wrang, Jessie. Miss Campbell is easy to do for, and she has bonnie ladylike ways wi' her; but I'd like fine to see that grand, grey-headed auld gentleman laird o' the place. He'd bring a deal o' respect with him."

"He would that; and folks would hear o' Drumloch in London; for Miss Campbell said to that Glasca' law body, that her uncle would gie up the business to his son Allan, and go into parliament himsel'--goodness kens they need some douce, sensible men there. Hear to the fiddles! I feel them in the soles o' my feet! I never could sit still when '_Moneymusk_' was tingling in my ear chambers. Come awa', factor, and let us hae a reel thegither!"

"Wi' a' my heart, Jessie. And though I am on the wrang side o' fifty, there's none has a better spring than I hae." He had laid down his pipe, and taken her hand as he spoke, and tripping and swaying to the enchanting strains they went into the dancing hall together.

"Nae wonder the fiddles made us come, it's the gypsy band, factor;" and Jessie pointed out five or six dark, handsome fellows with tumbled black hair, and half-shut gleaming eyes, who had ranged themselves with sullen shyness and half-rebellious order at the upper end of the room. But how wondrously their slim, supple fingers touched the bow, or the strings! They played like magicians, and wrought the slow, grave natures before them up to a very riot of ravishing motion. Faster and faster flew the bounding, sliding feet; the dancers being stimulated by the musicians, and the musicians driven to a passion of excitement by those exhilarating cries, and those snappings of the fingers, through which the canny Scot relieves the rapture of his delicious dancing.

But mere physical delight never satisfies even the humblest gathering of this douce nationality. In a few hours the fiddles were stopped, and the table set out, and the great bowl of wedding punch brought in, to brighten wit, and song, and story. It was then very near the close of the day, and with it came Mary Campbell to give the bridal toast. She had been dancing with her own friends, and her cheeks were like a delicate flame, and her eyes like twin stars. Never had she looked so beautiful, as when standing amid the standing crowd, she raised the tiny glass above her head, and said in the sudden stillness--

_"Here's to the bonnie Bride! Long may she live! and happy may she be!"_

Then hand clasped hand, and glass touched glass, and heart touched heart, and from every lip rang out, again and again, the loving, joyful invocation--

"Here's to the bonnie Bride! Long may she live! and happy may she be!"


A Daughter of Fife - 35/35

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