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CHAPTER XX.

Jenny said to Jockey gin ye winna tell, Ye shall be the lad, and Tse be lass mysel’. old SONG. Mr. Duncanson left his aunt’s lodgings shortly after the expulsion of Dr. Snapperdudgeon, but Stiffriggs being less particular about keeping early hours, and having less distance to go to has quarters, remained some time longer. When left alone with Mrs. Renshaw he asked her what reward she intended to bestow upon her nephew for recovering her money, saying that he hoped she would see the propriety of being very liberal. “ Deed, I’m no just shure yet,” she replied, “ what I may gie him. “ I’ll think on’t till the morn. I’ve bidden him come to his breakfast, and I’ll be glad if ye can mak’ it convenient to come too, exactly at eight o’clock, and we’ll see what can be dune about the siller. After breakfast, if ye like, we’ll gang doon to Granton, and see the Queen come ashore, for they say she’s in the Firth already, and likely to land soon after ten o’clock the morn’s mornin’.” This was agreed to, and Stiffriggs taking his leave for the night was soon at his lodgings in Candlemaker Row, where he had stabled his horse, and put up the “dear-meal-cart ” of W hinnyside. Next morning, at the appointed hour, Stiffriggs and the student duly appeared at Mrs. Renshaw’s breakfast-table. The lady was in high spirits- and wonderfully free and affable, but said never a word about the “ pickle siller.” Neither did her guests make any illusions to it. The Queen’s arrival was the only snbject of conversation, and just when they were debating the probable hour at which she would come ashore, and hurrying to despatch their meal, that they might be in time to see the landing, the firing of the Castle guns announced that her Majesty had disembarked. The little party rose with one accord, and leaving their breakfast unfinished, rushed into the street and joined the mass of people who were hurrying towards the nearest points of the line along which the Royal cortege was to pass. Mrs. Renshaw, though rather too corpulent to be agile, managed to keep up with Stiffriggs, though he walked at a rapid pace, by clinging fast by his powerful arm ; and Miss Stimperton, who was escorted by Mr. Duncanson, displayed, in her eagerness to see the Queen, more activity than appeared consistent with her nature. They arrived in Prince’s Street, panting and out of breath, just in time to be too late only by half a minute, for the last files of the Royal escort were passing at a rapid trot as they reached the Duty House. This was a great disappointment, especially to the ladies; but they were consoled when they observed that the whole city had been taken by surprise as well as themselves, and considered that other opportunities of seeing her Majesty would be by-and-by afforded. In truth, as far as Mrs. Renshaw was concerned, the day was pregnant with something of much more importance than the "Queen’s arrival. It was big with design on the freedom of Stiffriggs ; for the mistress of Whinnyside, after much meditation on his unaccountable backwardness in tender matters, had come to the conclusion that it arose from “ dulness of uptak’,” and had resolved that she would that day make her wishes sufficiently plain to him.

“ Since we have missed the Queen,” said Stiffriggs, “ what should we mak’ o’ oursel’s noo, think ye ? ” “ I would like, said Mrs. Renshaw, “to see the Theological Gardens; and Miss Stimperton and Jimes may perhaps come wi’ us, or tak’ some other gate by themsel’s.” “ The Geological Gardens ye mean, neighbor, I suppose?” said _ Stiffriggs, kindly correcting his companion, to the best of his knowledge. “Ay, maybe that’s the richt name. The place I mean, they say, is as fu’ o’ wild beasts as Noah’s Ark, and it’ll just be a treat to see them,”

Her proposal was assented to by her companions, though she would much rather that her nephew and Miss Stimperton had made a different choice. In a few minutes , both couples were promenading the beautiful walks of the Zoological Gardens, among many other visitors, and admiring the various creatures from every quarter of the world here exhibited. Stiffriggs was particularly struck with the gigamic proportions and formidable aspect? of the elephant and bison ; his sister was most delighted with the bright colors and imitative powers of the parrot and cockatoo tribe ; while Mrs. Renshaw’s attention was almost altogether engrossed by apes and monkeys. She was not so much diverted by their antics as amazed by their grotesque resemblance to the human race. When her surprise found expression in words, she exclaimed —“ Na ! this beats a’; it’s wonderfu’ to see what’s made up for the market. There’s a creature, I declare, is as like Mr. M'Quirkie as if he was his brither. He keeks at a body wi’ M'Quirkie’s very een.” Stiffriggs laughed loud at the remark, and replied—Fie, fie, neighbor ! it’s no fair o’ ye to compare a joe o’ your ain to a beast like that.”

“ A joe o’ mine, Mr. Stimperton ! What nonsense ! Do you really think I wad ever let a body like yon be a joe; o’ mine ? Truly 1 think mair o’ mysel’.” “ It’s nae notion o' mine, but just what everybody says 3 and what everybody says, ye ken, maun be true.” “ Now, Ringan, it’s ill dune o’ you to jeer me in that way. Ye may ken brawly that gin ever I ha’e a joe, he maun be far liker yoursel’ than the upsettin’, ill looking, impudent body, M’Quirkie. I’ll ha’e a decent man or nane ava.”

Stiffriggs thought his companion was becoming rather personal in her remarks, and to change the current of conversation, inquired if she had made up her mind as to the recompense she owed her nephew. “ Deed no,” she replied, “ I’ve made up my mind naething aboot it. But I think he’s been lucky weel recompensed lang syne. He’s a hantle mair in my debt than I’m in his, or ever will be. If he had been a stranger, and never behauden to me, I micht ha’e gi’en him twa half-crowns or maybe ten shillings, for getting back my pickle siller 3 but, ye ken, the way we’re conneckit, I canna just deal wi’ him like a stranger.” “ Five or ten shillings for recovering five bunder pound! Na, na, nee* bour, there’s nae stranger would be content wi’ that.”

“ Weel, awed, maybe. But if I was to count a’ that I’ve laid out from first to last on Jiraes’s yedication, it wad mak’ a gude pairt o’ the sum he has by chance been the means o’ saving to me at this time; so I think we maun just let this stand for that, and say nae inair aboot it.”

“ And do ye really mean to gi’e him naething ? ” “ I see nae occasion to spend ony mair on him.”

“ Now, that’s what I ca’ baith unjust and cruel. It’s unjust, for he has a fair claim on ye for recovering sic a sum o’ money as five hunder pound ; and it’s cruel, considering the way he is situated—reestit half way through the college, and left withoot the means o’ supporting himsel’ after he was used to depend on you.” “ Depend on me ! He depended on me owre lang, but I like nae sookin’ stirks —’specially when they begin to kick and grow strong i’ the head and camstairy. Depend on me truly ! after he wad tak’ nae way but his ain way, and was flinging awa’ the yedication that cost me sae muckle gude siller.” “Aweel, Mrs. Renshaw, I’ll no tak’ it upon me to advise ye to do ought that I wadna do mysel’, and I’ll mak’ ye a fair offer.” “Ay, Mr. Stimperton, there’s some sense in that way o’ speakin’. What’s your offer, then ? ”

(To be continued—commenced on Yuly 7.6.)

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800911.2.16

Bibliographic details

CHAPTER XX., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 151, 11 September 1880

Word Count
1,333

CHAPTER XX. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 151, 11 September 1880

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