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   Chapter 29 THE OLD SCOTCH NURSE GOES HOME.

The Twins By Martin Farquhar Tupper Characters: 5639

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


Six months at least-this is clearly not a story of the unities-six months' interval must now elapse before the wedding-day. Charles and Emmy-for he called her Emmy still, though Jeanie Mackie would persist in mouthing it to "Aamy,"-wished to have it delayed a year, in respect for the memory of those who, with all their crime and folly, were not the less a mother and a brother: but the general would not hear of such a thing; he was growing very old, he said; although actually he seemed to have taken out a new lease of life, so young again and buoyant was the new-found heart within him; and thus growing old, he was full of fatherly fear that he should not live to see his children's happiness. It was only reasonable and proper that our pair of cooing doves should acquiesce in his desire.

Meanwhile, I am truly sorry to say it, Jeanie Mackie died; for it would have been a good novel-like incident to have suffered the faithful old creature to have witnessed her favourite's wedding, and then to have been forthwith killed out of the way, by-perishing in the vestry. However, things were ordered otherwise, and Jeanie Mackie did not live to see the wedding: if you wish to know how and where she died, let me tell you at once.

Scotland-Argyleshire-Glenmuir; this was the focus of her hopes and thoughts-that poor old Indian exile! She had left it, as a buxom bright-haired lassie: but oaks had now grown old that she had planted acorns; and grandmothers had died palsied, whom she remembered born; still, around the mountains and the lakes, those changeless features of her girlhood's rugged home, the old woman's memory wandered; they were pictured in her mind's eye hard, and clear, and definite as if she looked upon them now. And her soul's deep hope was to see them once again.

There was yet another object which made her yearn for Scotland. Lieutenant Stuart had been the younger of two brothers, the eldest born of whom became, upon his father's, the old laird's, death, Glenmuir and Glenmurdock. Now, though twice married, this elder brother, the new laird, never had a child; and the clear consequence was, that Amy Stuart was likely to become sole heiress of her ancestor's possessions. The lieutenant's marriage with an Italian and a Romanist had been, doubtless, any thing but pleasant to his friends; the strict old Presbyterians, and the proud unsullied family of Stuart, could not palate it at all. Nevertheless, he did marry the girl, according to the rites of both churches, and there was an end of it; so, innumerable proverbs coming to their aid about "curing and enduring" and "must be's," and the place where "marriages are made," &c., the several aunts and cousins were persuaded at length to wink at the iniquity, and to correspond both with Mrs. James and her backsliding lieutena

nt. Of the offspring of that marriage, and her orphaned state, and of Mrs. Mackie's care, and the indefinite detention in central Hindostan, they had heard often-times; for, as there is no corner of the world where a Scot may not be met with, so, with laudable nationality, they all hang together; and Glenmuir was written to frequently, all about the child, through Jeanie Mackie, "her mark," and a scholarly sergeant, Duncan Blair.

Amy's rights-or Emmy let us call her still, as Charles did-were now, therefore, the next object of Mrs. Mackie's zeal; and all parties interested willingly listened to the plan of spending one or two of those weary weeks in rubbing up relationships in Scotland; the general also was not a little anxious about heritage and acres. Accordingly, off they set in the new travelling-carriage, with due notice of approach, heartily welcomed, to Dunstowr Castle, the fine old feudal stronghold of Robert Stuart, Laird of Glenmuir and Glenmurdock.

The journey, the arrival, and the hearty hospitality; and how the gray old chieftain kissed his pretty niece; and how welcome her betrothed Charles and her kind life-long guardian, and her faithful nurse were made; and how the beacons blazed upon the hill-tops, and the mustering clan gathered round about old Dunstowr; and how the laird presented to them all their beautiful future mistress, and how Jeanie Mackie and her documents travelled up to Edinburgh, where writers to the signet pestered her heart-sick with over-caution; and how the case was all cleared up, and the distant disappointed cousin, who had irrationally hoped to be the heir, was gladdened, if not satisfied, with a pension and a cantle of Glenmuir; and how all was joyfulness and feasting, when Amy Stuart was acknowledged in her rights-the bagpipes and the wassail, salmon, and deer, and black-cock, with a river of mountain dew: let others tell who know Dunstowr; for as I never was there, of course I cannot faithfully describe it. Should such an historian as I condescend to sheer inventions?

With respect to Jeanie Mackie, I could learn no more than this: she was sprightly and lively, and strong as ever, though in her ninetieth year, till her foster-child was righted, and the lawyers had allowed her her claim. But then there seemed nothing else to live for; so her life gradually faded from her eye, as an expiring candle; and she would doze by the hour, sitting on a settle in the sun, basking her old heart in the smile of those old mountains. None knew when she died, to a minute; for she died sitting in the sun, in the smile of those old mountains.

They buried her, with much of rustic pomp, in the hill-church of Glenmuir, where all her fathers slept around her; and Emily and Charles, hand-in-hand, walked behind her coffin mournfully.

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