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on the way, or what would be the result at their journey's end. As
may supposed, their heads became somewhat clearer as they proceeded. Still no other feasible explanation presented itself to their minds than that the Evil One was the dreaded cause of the dire catastrophe, and the millwright, fully as superstitious as themselves, not being able either to solve the mystery or propound any rational interpretation, the matter became a settled point without any further controversy
They at last reached the point from whence they had started. Judge of their amazement when on entering the courtyard of the farm they stumbled upon the veritable cart and horse of their dead friend, with the coffin and mortcloth untouched where they had been so solemnly laid in the morning! The simple fact was, that while they cared for their own creature comforts, they had forgotten to provide any provender for the horse, and the poor beastie, after waiting a reasonable time, and doubtless feeling aggrieved by their neglect, quietly turned its head homewards in search of more hospitable quarters !
It is easy to haloo when one is out of the wood, and to become courageous when the danger is past; and so in this case it ludicrously turned out.
“ The horse and cart, with the coffin,” 'twas naively said, were left where three roads met. The horse could not have been expected to take either the one to Forfar or that to Glamis, for the simple reason that the beastie had never been there at all.”
“Of course not,” chimed in, interruptedly, another wiseacre of the
group, and therefore the sensible animal took the road homewards, which it knew.”
The whole affair having been thus satisfactorily settled to their own entire satisfaction, and having arranged for the interrupted funeral to take place on the morrow, they adjourned in a body to the farmhouse, to join the female
relations and acquaintances of the deceased, who had assembled to drink tea on their departure, and who were all in total ignorance of the ludicrous mishap which had taken place.
What occurred on the evening of that eventful day beside St. Orland's Stone may be more easily imagined than described. A merry wedding took place shortly afterwards in the Howe when Helen Lindsay and young Drumgley were united in the holy bonds of matrimonial love. The millwright, though suffering acutely under his sore disappointment, had the good sense to accept the kindly-sent invitation to the marriage; but no allusion, we may rest assured, was made on the festive occasion either to the unlucky funeral, or to the equally unfortunate tryst at ST ORLAND'S STONE !
THE LILY OF THE VALE.
“Gone are the heads of the silvery hair
And the young that were have a brow of care
THAN the Milton, there was not a pleasanter, cozier, or happier homestead in all the wide valley of Strathmore. It has seen many changes, however, since the time of which I write. None the least of these was its change of tenancy, when Arthur Cargill bade it forever farewell—when he left with his household to seek a new home in the backwoods of Canada.
The broad acres of the Milton, although not uniformly of the same high quality, never failed to yield a rich and profitable return to the practical agriculturist who farmed it so scientifically, and so well; for Arthur Cargill was accounted amongst his compeers as the best educated and foremost, tiller of the soil in his day. To this home he had brought his blushing and happy bride, the eldest daughter of a neighbouring farmer in the Howe, who had in every respect proved a worthy and willing helpmate to him in all the vicissitudes of his joys and sorrows.
In course of time seven lovely boys were born to him, who grew up in quiet beauty like so many olive plants around his hospitable and happy hearth. Still the measure of his earthly happiness was not yet full, for both he and Mary, his wife, yearued in secret for a girl, to crown, as with a diadem of glory, their connubial bliss. The eighth addition to the family circle was now expected ; and when the child was born
the joyful news was heard that the young stranger was really and in very deed—a lassie.
All things continued to thrive with the worthy farmer, until the Milton became the very beau ideal of a Scottish homestead in the nineteenth century. His well-reared cattle browsed on the fruitful plains around ; his numerous flocks of sheep fed on the rich haughs and meadows, or whitened with their fleecy brightness the neighbouring Sidlaw Hills; while his merry reapers among the golden harvest fields sung in the blithest strains the songs of contentment and peace.
A decade of years had now rapidly passed away since the birth of Arthur's daughter, and Jeanie Cargill's charms were gradually bursting into the full matured bloom of womanhood. She was a model type of the true Scotch beauty, with this exception—that, while she had in perfection the aquiline, delicately-cut features; the soft, blue, dreamy eyes; the ringlets of golden yellow, and the silvery voice of ringing sweetness, her cheeks had not the blushing richness of the rose, but the pale and subdued, though lovely hue of the lily. Hence, by general consent, she was endearingly known throughout Strathmore as the “Lily of the vale.”
But she had other and higher charms than these. Her mind was richly endowed, not only with the more solid acquirements of a liberal education, but with all that was amiable in disposition, gentle in spirit, beautiful and true in heart. Her manners were as void of affectation as her actions were destitute of interested motives. Thoroughly unselfish in her nature, she wished all with whom she came into contact to share the common joys and mental pleasures she experienced herself. A halo of goodness and beauty encompassing her wherever she went, she was indeed the charm and delight of her rural home, the sunshine and joy of the lovely strath in which she dwelt.
Admirers of every station she had many. The bashful swain and the purse-proud squire, alike assiduously strove to win her regards, and bask in her smiles. To one only had
she given any encouragement. This was Percy Guthrie, son and heir to the rich and worthy farmer of Scroggerfield, and one in every respect worthy of such a maiden's love.
Percy and Jeanie had attended Kinnettles parish school together, and had, unconsciously, become warmly attached to each other from their youth upwards. Many a happy ramble they had had in the sylvan woods of Brigton, and along the rich haughs and meadows that fringe with emerald beauty the banks of the swift-running Kerbet. Hand-inhand would they joyously wander on; now stopping their march for a brief moment to listen to the merry songs of the happy birds, or to pull a primrose or gowan from the lovely greensward on which they trod; anon to watch the speckled trout and gambolling minnow, as they sported in their own wild joy in the shady pools of the beautiful river; or to pat with affectionate gentleness, the pretty heads of the new-born lambs, as they quietly lay in some flowery hollow, basking in safety their brief hours of happiness in the sultry rays of the summer's sun.
In going or returning by the bonny hedges of Brigton to Kinnettles “ wee school," while his other schoolmates were roystering away in their joyous mirth, and roughly indulging in practical jokes at his expense, Percy was ever silently by the side of Jeanie Cargill; not that without his guardianship she would ever receive insult or come to harm, but feeling intuitively it was not only his duty, but his right to stand between her and all danger, imaginary or otherwise.
On one of these occasions, while returning from school, and when Percy had become a stout lad of fourteen, the practical joking had, in his estimation, taken such an offensive turn, that, purposely walking on with Jeanie before his schoolmates, at a quicker pace than was his wont, he abruptly bade her adieu as she entered Douglastown, and, returning the way he had come, bent on avenging the insult he imagined he had received, he met in proud defiance his roystering schoolmates, and challenging any one of them to