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sure to break down after the first sentence, and lose itself in some fond remembrance of their past intercourse or impracticable scheme for their speedy re-union. It did not contain much news-general information had never been Flora's forte; but Alice learned from it that she had seen Lord Glencarrig in London, and was herself to start in a few days for Paris, where their mother still remained. Also, that the countess confidently hoped to be able to reach Scotland at the end of the summer, either to settle there again, or, if circumstances (Flora did not specify what, but Alice concluded them to refer to Lord Glencarrig's engagements with the Jacobite party) made that impracticable, to bring Alice back with her -a consummation devoutly wished for by Flora.
“I have seen David this morning,” was the conclusion of this sisterly epistle. “He is here with my cousin of Dundee. I am prouder than ever of both ; but my heart is sair to think of our unfortunate King, and the kind and beautiful Queen, and her
innocent babe ; sairer still at the dangers my kinsfolk must run into for their sake. Glencarrig is much changed, but he loves you still, my white rose ; and, of a verity, though it is his greatest misfortune, I could find it in my heart to say that I should not love him so well if he loved thee less."
“ Dear, dear Flora !” said Alice, sighing; “ kind, foolish Flora ! who had ever such friends as I? and who can deserve them less? I am just a grief to them all !”
Across the last page was scribbled, in an irregular, hasty hand, an intimation that Flora, having just heard of her brother's immediate departure for Scotland with Lord Dundee's small troop of horse, preferred committing her letter to his care instead of entrusting it to the ordinary courier, a precaution at which Alice rejoiced, as an epistle from Lady Glencarrig, mentioned by her daughter, had never come to handan occurrence easily accounted for in those days, but none the more agrecable to the losers by it.
She had perused Flora's letter twice over-smiled at some passages, and sighed deeply over others—she had bestowed many kind sisterly regretful thoughts on the young earl, and kissed repeatedly every letter of Lord Dundee's name, and looked at it as if the small cramped characters owned a glamour to prevent her ever detaching her eyes from them; she had even folded up the paper once to put it away, and opened it again by some unreasonable craving to make sure of one word not having vanished; then, as the evening was beginning to fall, she rose from the grassy bank where she had been resting, and deliberated within herself whether she would return to her own lodging, or, as there was plenty of light for the walk, betake herself to that of Lady Libberton, who had desired her attendance to receive an order. She might have postponed it; but work had not been so plentiful as usual with Alice of late, and she did not wish risk displeasing a person who, with all her eccentricities, had been kind to herself and her mother when they greatly needed it, on their first arrival in that wilderness of a great city. Alice remembered the dowager's extreme love of dress, and, goodnatured as ever, thought it best not to distress her by any unnecessary delay in the execution of what was sure to be some elaborate and magnificent piece of female vanity.
She could not help laughing to herself at the ludicrous offences against good taste of which her old patroness had often been guilty, and her internal amusement, together with her reflections on Flora's letter, gave her enough to think of until she arrived in the vicinity of the King's Head Tavern, before which she had to pass on her way through Bristo Street. A number of gentlemen were entering or approaching it, such as were mounted followed by their servants, and Alice was obliged to stand aside until the slight crowd occasioned by their passage should have cleared away from the narrow causeway. While standing thus, sorrowfully observing that nearly all were strangers to her, or at least that one familiar form was not amongst them, she was clasped from behind by a pair of small arms, and a shrill, childish voice cried in her ear :
Ou, he is baith a laird an'a lord !
D’ye think I'd marry a cadie ?” “ Jock, ye daft gilpie, let me be !” exclaimed the girl, with unusual sharpness of tone, for she could not be mistaken as to the speaker. “Are ye not ashamed of yourself ?”
“ Are ye no ashamed o' yer ainsel', Elsie Scott, that gets letters frae yer jo, and reads them as ye gang alang the plain stanes?" retorted the mischievous
laughing voice; and the owner thereof, without relinquishing his hold of Alice, moved round in front of her, displaying to view a countenance which for its comical mixture of drollery, impudence, and good humour, ought by rights to have rested on the shoulders of an Irish gossoon instead of an Edinburgh gamin, to use an expression for which there is no English equivalent.
The thickest imaginable crop of reddish sandy hair, the most tanned and freckled of skins, the widest of mouths, the most irregular of teeth, and the brightest and wittiest of blue eyes, were this young gentleman's distinctive attractions, surmounting a figure short for his age, which seemed about fourteen. He was the younger son of Dame Christie Maclean, hostess of the thriving and well-frequented house of entertainment above named, and widow of a sergeant in the Scots Greys, who, having been disabled by wounds, had retired into private life, wooed and won a well-to-do burgher's only daughter and heiress, and, on the demise of his father-in-law, come into possession of the good estate which his relict now held in her own right and cultivated skilfully. The veteran, Neil Maclean by name, had long ago abandoned the field of matrimonial strife—the first in which he had ever been on the losing side--leaving Dame Christie in undisputed rule over the tenement, business, and appurtenances thereof, as well as over two sons—the elder a steady, well-looking youth of two or three and twenty, who shared with his mother the management of the hostelry, the second being the subject of our present remarks, the plague of the dame's life, the scapegrace and scapegoat of the family, and, we need not add, a most intelligent and promising pupil of all the wildest blades in the neighbourhood ; kind-hearted withal, perfectly good-tempered and affectionate, not a bad boy in the main, and a most ardent admirer of Alice, to whom, during her mother's last sickness, Dame Christie had done much kindness, and intended more.
If we must admit, which we are loath to do, that Alice had a fault or a weakness, it was a dislike, excusable from the tenor of her education, to holding familiar intercourse with people who, although on her own social level, had never received any polish superior to that station, and whom she could not avoid regarding as inferiors. She did not intend to show pride, the feeling was rather one of extreme shyness and reserve; she would have nursed them in sickness, or aided them in affliction without one particle of repulsion ; but Alice was a lady born-one of Nature's own making—and she suffered from any lengthened contact with the rude and boisterous manners to which she had never been inured in those early years when the tastes and habits are most firmly moulded. Therefore, while often reproaching herself for the neglect, her visits to Dame Christie were by
means so frequent as to content that worthy woman, who, like most people who knew Alice, was exceedingly fond of her.
Jock had by this time dragged his fair prize into the wide, low-roofed entry of the spacious house ;