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   Chapter 20 CATCH YER NAIG.

Warlock o' Glenwarlock By George MacDonald Characters: 8465

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

One night the laird sat in the kitchen revolving in his mind the whole affair for the many hundredth time. Was it right to spend on his son's education what might go to the creditors? Was it not better for the world, for the creditors, and for all, that one of Cosmo's vigour should be educated? Was it not the best possible investment of any money he could lay hold of? As to the creditors, there was the land! the worst for him was the best for them; and for the boy it was infinitely better he should go without land than without education! But, all this granted and settled, WHERE WAS THE MONEY TO COME FROM? That the amount required was small, made no difference, when it was neither in hand, nor, so far as he could see, anywhere near his hand.

He sat in his great chair, with his book open upon his knees. His mother and Cosmo were gone to bed, and Grizzie was preparing to follow them: the laird was generally the last to go. But Grizzie, who had been eying him at intervals for the last half hour, having now finished her preparations for the morning, drew near, and stood before him, with her hands and bare arms under her apron. Her master taking no notice of her, she stood thus in silence for a moment, then began. It may have been noted that the riming tendency appeared mostly in the start of a speech, and mostly vanished afterwards.

"Laird," she said, "ye're in trouble, for ye're sittin' double, an' castna a leuk upo' yer buik. Gien ye wad lat a body speyk 'at kens naething,'cep' 'at oot o' the moo' o' babes an' sucklin's-an'troth I'm naither babe nor sucklin' this mony a lang, but I'm a muckle eneuch gowk to be ane o' the Lord's innocents, an' hae him perfec' praise oot o' the moo' o' me!-"

She paused a moment, feeling it was time the laird should say something-which immediately he did.

"Say awa', Grizzie," he answered; "I'm hearin' ye. There's nane has a better richt to say her say i' this hoose; what ither hae ye to say't intil!"

"I hae no richt," retorted Grizzie, almost angrily, "but what ye alloo me', laird; and I wadna wuss the Lord to gie me ony mair. But whan I see ye in tribble-eh, mony's the time I haud my tongue till my hert's that grit it's jist swallin' in blobs an' blawin' like the parritch whan its dune makin', afore tak it frae the fire! for I hae naething to say, an' naither coonsel nor help intil me. But last nicht, whan I leukit na for't, there cam a thoucht intil my heid, an' seein' it was a stranger, I bad it walcome. It micht hae come til a far wysser heid nor mine, but seein' it did come to mine, it wad luik as gien the Lord micht hae pitten' t' there-to the comfort an' consolation o' ane,'at, gien she be a gowk, is muckle the same as the Lord made her wi' 's ain bliss-it han'. Sae, quo' I, Is' jist submit the thing to the laird. He'll sune discern whether it be frae the Lord or mysel'!"

"Say on, Grizzie," returned the laird, when again she paused. "It sud surprise nane to get a message frae the Lord by the mou' o' ane o' his handmaidens."

"Weel, it's this, laird.-I hae often been i' the gran' drawin' room, when ye wad be lattin' the yoong laird, or somebody or anither ye wantit to be special til, see the bonny things ye hae sic a fouth o' i' the caibnets again the wa's; an' I hae aye h'ard ye say o' ane o' them-yon bonny little horsie, ye ken,'at they say the auld captain,'at 's no laid yet, gied to yer gran'father-I hae aye h'ard ye say o' that,'at hoo it was solid silver-'SAID TO BE,' ye wad aye tack to the tail o' 't."

"True! true!" said the laird, a hopeful gleam beginning to break upon his darkness.

"We'll, ye see, laird," Grizzie went on, "I'm no sic a born idiot as think ye wad set the possession o' sic a playock again the yoong laird's edication; sae ye maun hae some rizzon for no meltin' 't doon-seem' siller maun aye be worth siller,-an' gowd, gien there be eneuch o' 't. Sae, like the minister, I come to the conclusion-But I hae yer leave, laird, to speyk?"

"Gang on, gang on, Grizzie," said the laird, almost eagerly.

"Weel, laird-I winna say FEART, for I never saw yer lairdship" -she had got into the way of saying LORDSHIP, and now not unfrequently said LAIRDSHIP!-"feart afore bull or bully, b

ut I cud weel believe ye wadna willin'ly anger ane 'at the Lord lats gang up and doon upo' the earth, whan he wad be far better intil't, ristin' in 's grave till the resurrection-only he was never ane o' the sancts! But anent that, michtna ye jist ca' to min', laird,'at a gi'en gift's yer ain, to du wi' what ye like; an' I wad na heed man, no to say a cratur 'at belangs richtly to nae warl' ava','at wad play the bairn, an' want back what he had gi'en. For him, he's a mere deid man 'at winna lie still. Mony a bairn canna sleep, 'cause he's behavet himsel' ill the day afore! But gi'en, by coortesy like, he hed a word i' the case, he cudna objec'-that is, gien he hae onything o' the gentleman left intil him, which nae doobt may weel be doobtfu'-for wasna he a byous expense wi' his drink an' the gran' ootlandish dishes he bude to hae! Aften hae I h'ard auld Grannie say as muckle, an' she kens mair aboot that portion o' oor history nor ony ither, for, ye see, I cam raither late intil the faimily mysel'. Sae, as I say, it wad be but fair the auld captain sud contreebit something to the needcessities o' the hoose, war it his to withhaud, which I mainteen it is not."

"Weel rizzont, Grizzie!" cried the laird. "An' I thank ye mair for yer thoucht nor yer rizzons; the tane I was in want o', the tither I was na. The thing sall be luikit intil, an' that the first thing the morn's mornin'! The bit playock cam never i' my heid! I maun be growin' auld, Grizzie, no to hae thoucht o' a thing sae plain! But it's the w'y wi' a' the best things! They're sae guid whan ye get a grip o' them,'at ye canna un'erstan' hoo ye never thoucht o' them afore."

"I'm aul'er nor you, sir; sae it maun hae been the Lord himsel' 'at pat it intil me."

"We'll see the morn, Grizzie. I'm no that sure there's onything mair intil't nor a mere fule word. For onything I ken, the thing may be nae better nor a bit o' braiss. I hae thoucht mony a time it luikit, in places, unco like braiss. But Is' tak it the morn's mornin' to Jeemie Merson. We'll see what he says til 't. Gien ony body i' these pairts hae ony authority in sic maitters, it's Jeemie. An' I thank ye hertily, Grizzie."

But Grizzie was not well pleased that her master should so lightly pass the reasoned portion of her utterance; like many another prophet, she prized more the part of her prophecy that came from herself, than the part that came from the Lord.

"Sae plain as he cam an' gaed, laird, I thoucht ye micht hae been considerin' him."

The laird replied to her tone rather than her words.

"Hoots, Grizzie, wuman!" he said, "was na ye jist tellin' me no to heed him a hair? An' no ae hair wad I heed him,'cep' it wad gie ony rist til's puir wan'erin' sowl."

"I but thoucht the thing worth a thoucht, laird," said Grizzie, humbly and apologetically; and with a kind "Guid nicht to ye, laird," turned away, and went up the stairs to her room.

The moment she was gone, the laird fell on his knees, and gave God thanks for the word he had received by his messenger-if indeed it pleased him that such Grizzie should prove to be.

"O Lord," he said, "with thee the future is as the present, and the past as the future. In the long past it may be thou didst provide this supply for my present need-didst even then prepare the answer to the prayers with which thou knewest I should assail thine ear. Never in all my need have I so much desired money as now for the good of my boy. But if this be but one of my hopes, not one of thy intents, give me the patience of a son, O Father."

With these words he rose from his knees, and taking his book, read and enjoyed into the dead of the night.

That same night, Cosmo, who, again in his own chamber, was the more troubled with the trouble of his father that he was no longer with him in his room, dreamed a very odd, confused dream, of which he could give himself but little account in the morning-something about horses shod with shoes of gold, which they cast from their heels in a shoe-storm as they ran, and which anybody might have for the picking up. And throughout the dream was diffused an unaccountable flavour of the old villain, the sea-captain, although nowhere did he come into the story.

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