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- Malcolm - 30/113 -
"Then she 'll pe getting herself ready," said Duncan, making a motion to rise.
"What for, daddy?"
"For ta hanging, my son," answered Duncan coolly.
"Time eneuch for that, daddy, whan they sen' to tell ye," returned Malcolm, cautious of revealing the facts of the case.
"Ferry coot!" said Duncan, and fell asleep again.
In a little while he woke with a start.
"She 'll be hafing an efil tream, my son Malcolm," he said; "or it was 'll pe more than a tream. Cawmill of Clenlyon, Cod curse him! came to her pedside; and he'll say to her, 'MacDhonuill,' he said, for pein' a tead man he would pe knowing my name,--'MacDhonuill,' he said, 'what tid you'll pe meaning py turking my posterity?' And she answered and said to him, 'I pray it had peen yourself, you tamned Clenlyon.' And he said to me, 'It 'll pe no coot wishing tat; it would be toing you no coot to turk me, for I'm a tead man.'-- 'And a tamned man,' says herself, and would haf taken him py ta troat, put she couldn't mofe. 'Well, I'm not so sure of tat,' says he, 'for I 'fe pecked all teir partons.'--'And tid tey gif tem to you, you tog?' says herself.--'Well, I'm not sure,' says he; 'anyhow, I'm not tamned fery much yet.'--'She'll pe much sorry to hear it,' says herself. And she took care aalways to pe calling him some paad name, so tat he shouldn't say she 'll be forgifing him, whatever ta rest of tem might be toing. 'Put what troubles me,' says he, 'it 'll not pe apout myself at aall.'--'Tat 'll pe a wonter,' says her nain sel': 'and what may it pe apout, you cuttroat?'--'It 'll pe apout yourself,' says he. 'Apout herself?' --'Yes; apout yourself' says he. 'I'm sorry for you--for ta ting tat's to pe tone with him tat killed a man aal pecaase he pore my name, and he wasn't a son of mine at aall! Tere is no pot in hell teep enough to put him in!'--'Ten tey must make haste and tig one,' says herself; 'for she 'll pe hangt in a tay or two.'--So she 'll wake up, and beholt it was a tream!"
"An' no sic an ill dream efter a', daddy!" said Malcolm.
"Not an efil tream, my son, when it makes her aalmost wish that she hadn't peen quite killing ta tog! Last night she would haf made a puoy of his skin like any other tog's skin, and totay--no, my son, it wass a fery efil tream. And to be tolt tat ta creat tefil, Clenlyon herself, was not fery much tamned!--it wass a fery efil tream, my son."
"Weel, daddy--maybe ye 'll tak it for ill news, but ye killed naebody."
"Tid she'll not trive her turk into ta tog?" cried Duncan fiercely. "Och hone! och hone!--Then she 's ashamed of herself for efer, when she might have tone it. And it 'll hafe to be tone yet!"
He paused a few moments, and then resumed:
"And she'll not pe coing to be hangt?--Maype tat will pe petter, for you wouldn't hafe liket to see your olt cranfather to pe hangt, Malcolm, my son. Not tat she would hafe minted it herself in such a coot caause, Malcolm! Put she tidn't pe fery happy after she tid think she had tone it, for you see he wasn't ta fery man his ownself, and tat must pe counted. But she tid kill something: what was it, Malcolm?"
"Ye sent a gran' dish fleein'," answered Malcolm. "I s' warran' it cost a poun', to jeedge by the gowd upo' 't."
"She'll hear a noise of preaking; put she tid stap something soft."
"Ye stack yer durk intill my lord's mahogany table," said Malcolm. "It nott (needed) a guid rug (pull) to haul't oot."
"Then her arm has not lost aal its strength, Malcolm! I pray ta taple had peen ta rips of Clenlyon!"
"Ye maunna pray nae sic prayers, daddy. Min' upo' what Glenlyon said to ye last nicht. Gien I was you I wadna hae a pot howkit express for mysel'--doon yonner--i' yon place 'at ye dreamed aboot."
"Well, I'll forgife him a little, Malcolm--not ta one tat's tead, but ta one tat tidn't do it, you know.--Put how will she pe forgifing him for ripping her poor pag? Och hone! och hone! No more musics for her tying tays, Malcolm! Och hone! och hone! I shall co creeping to ta crafe with no loud noises to defy ta enemy. Her pipes is tumb for efer and efer. Och hone! och hone!"
The lengthening of his days had restored bitterness to his loss.
"I'll sune set the bag richt, daddy. Or, gien I canna du that, we'll get a new ane. Mony a pibroch 'll come skirlin' oot o' that chanter yet er' a' be dune."
They were interrupted by the unceremonious entrance of the same footman who had brought the invitation. He carried a magnificent set of ebony pipes, with silver mountings.
"A present from my lord, the marquis," he said bumptiously, almost rudely, and laid them on the table.
"Dinna lay them there; tak them frae that, or I'll fling them yer poothered wig," said Malcolm. "--It's a stan' o' pipes," he added, "an' that a gran' ane, daddy."
"Take tem away!" cried the old man, in a voice too feeble to support the load of indignation it bore. "She'll pe taking no presents from marquis or tuke tat would pe teceifing old Tuncan, and making him trink with ta cursed Clenlyon. Tell ta marquis he 'll pe sending her cray hairs with sorrow to ta crafe; for she 'll pe tishonoured for efer and henceforth."
Probably pleased to be the bearer of a message fraught with so much amusement, the man departed in silence with the pipes.
The marquis, although the joke had threatened, and indeed so far taken a serious turn, had yet been thoroughly satisfied with its success. The rage of the old man had been to his eyes ludicrous in the extreme, and the anger of the young one so manly as to be even picturesque. He had even made a resolve, half dreamy and of altogether improbable execution, to do something for the fisher fellow.
The pipes which he had sent as a solatium to Duncan, were a set that belonged to the house--ancient, and in the eyes of either connoisseur or antiquarian, exceedingly valuable; but the marquis was neither the one nor the other, and did not in the least mind parting with them. As little did he doubt a propitiation through their means, was utterly unprepared for a refusal of his gift, and was nearly as much perplexed as annoyed thereat.
For one thing, he could not understand such offence taken by one in Duncan's lowly position; for although he had plenty of highland blood in his own veins, he had never lived in the Highlands, and understood nothing of the habits or feelings of the Gael. What was noble in him, however, did feel somewhat rebuked, and he was even a little sorry at having raised a barrier between himself and the manly young fisherman, to whom he had taken a sort of liking from the first.
Of the ladies in the drawing room, to whom he had recounted the vastly amusing joke with all the graphic delineation for which he had been admired at court, none, although they all laughed, had appeared to enjoy the bad recital thoroughly, except the bold faced countess. Lady Florimel regarded the affair as undignified at the best, was sorry for the old man, who must be mad, she thought, and was pleased only with the praises of her squire of low degree. The wound in his hand the marquis either thought too trifling to mention, or serious enough to have clouded the clear sky of frolic under which he desired the whole transaction to be viewed.
They were seated at their late breakfast when the lackey passed the window on his return from his unsuccessful mission, and the marquis happened to see him, carrying the rejected pipes. He sent for him, and heard his report, then with a quick nod dismissed him --his way when angry, and sat silent.
"Wasn't it spirited--in such poor people too?" said Lady Florimel, the colour rising in her face, and her eyes sparkling.
"It was damned impudent," said the marquis.
"I think it was damned dignified," said Lady Florimel.
The marquis stared. The visitors, after a momentary silence, burst into a great laugh.
"I wanted to see," said Lady Florimel calmly, "whether I couldn't swear if I tried. I don't think it tastes nice. I shan't take to it, I think."
"You'd better not in my presence, my lady," said the marquis, his eyes sparkling with fun.
"I shall certainly not do it out of your presence, my lord," she returned. "--Now I think of it," she went on, "I know what I will do: every time you say a bad word in my presence, I shall say it after you. I shan't mind who's there--parson or magistrate. Now you'll see."
"You will get into the habit of it."
"Except you get out of the habit of it first, papa," said the girl, laughing merrily.
"You confounded little Amazon!" said her father.
"But what's to be done about those confounded pipes?" she resumed. "You can't allow such people to serve you so! Return your presents, indeed! Suppose I undertake the business?"
"By all means. What will you do?"
"Make them take them, of course. It would be quite horrible never to be quits with the old lunatic."
"As you please, puss."
"Then you put yourself in my hands, papa?"
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