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CHAPTER XXXV— continued.

It is hard to say who was most pleased. John Braiden himself was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude ; Stiffriggs and Mr. Duncanson were gratified beyond measure; and Robin Afleck capered through the room in the exuberance of his rapture like a man possessed. As the evening wore on, Mr. Bacon displayed more and more a determination to emancipate himself from the power which Mr. M'Corkle had contrived to usurp over him. His intention of depriving him immediately of the factorship was all but formally announced, and it became evident that everything was in training for a complete change of government at Auchterbardie.; John Braiden departed at a late hour to spread the happy news amongst his neighbours, and Robin Afleck retired to bed to speculate on his opening prospects and dream of Jean Brown. But before Robin entered the. land of Nod he had a long confidential conversation with his friend the student, in which he fully disclosed his views and hopes. . ‘This is a droll meeting, Mr. Jimes,’ he commenced, as soon as they were left alone for the night.—‘This is a droll meeting o’ Mr. Bacon and me and Stiffriggs, and yoursel’; for I may say a’ the foursome o’ us are bridegrooms.’ ‘ I don’t see how you can make that put,’ replied Mr. Duncanson, smiling at Robin’s odd conceit.

. ‘ Div ye noo ? I’m shure the case is clear eneuch. It’s true there’s nane o’ us exackly -bookit yet, but we ken the bargains we’re to get —at least twa o’ us —that’s me and you, Mr. Jimes — and the ither twa are rnarrowed men as weel as us, whether they think it themsel’s or no.’

‘ This is a most extravagant way of talking, Robert, what do you mean ? ’ * Mr. Robert, or Mr. Afleck, if ye please, Jimes. Ye should mind I’m within sicht o’ being a laun’-stewart noo, and treat me like a gentleman. As- to what I mean, that’s easy eneuch explained. Mr. Bacon, ye see, is growin’ like ither folk in everything but his love for Saft Shusie Simperton, but he’s daft aboot her yet, and she’s just as daft aboot him. He has grown as thick as doug-heads wi’ Stiffriggs her brither, and M'Corkle can never after this keep him frae taking his ain mind in ought. That’s match the first, and it maun tak’ place soon, for I can see naething that staunds in the gate o’t. Then, as for Stiffriggs, I understaund your auntie is making sure eneuch o’ him.’

‘ Come, now, say no more on that subject. I cannot submit to hear my aunt spoken of in such a manner.’ ‘ Weel, weel, since she happens to be your auntie, I’ll say nae mair; but ye may set that doun for match number two, at ony rate. Then there’s yoursel’ and Miss Migummerie—l’m shure it’s nae risk to say ye understaund ane anither weel eneuch to mak a match o’t the mom, if every thing was fitting.’ ‘That if, though, is a serious affair; and till it can be got over, there is no use in placing Miss Montgomery and me on your list.’ ‘l’ll just say this, Mr. Jimes —whaur there’s a will there’s a way ; and as Miss Migummerie and you ha’e the will, I have nae doot but ye’ll soon see the way.’ ‘ Very well, let me hear about match number four now. I suppose it is the one you know best about, and wish most to speak of.’ * Fegs 1 ye’re no far wrang there. Ye seel begin to think that Jean Broun and me maun settle the business soon, though it were for naething else but for the sake o’ Mr. Bacon.’

• ‘ That is rather a strange view of the case. How can you suppose that Mr. Bacon’s welfare depends on your marriage ?’ ‘l’ll soon mak’‘that plain eneuch. Mr. Bacon, ye ken, is in a pretty pickle wi’ this wasp o’ a body M'Corkle, and his ain want o’ experience and rumblegumption. He can do naething for himsel’ mair than a wean, and the case wad be nae better though he had Saft Shusie the morn, for she’s just a lump o’ butter.. Now I see he’s lippening a’ to me; I’m to be his richt haund. I’m to look after everything and do everything ; but fegs, sir, I’m no able unless I hae Jean Broun beside me. I’m just wi’ Jean like the lass in the sang aboot her lad—

Fee him, father, fee him, quo’ she’; Fee him, father, fee him ; A’ the wark about the house Gangs wi’ me when I see him,’quo'[she.

It’s clean oot o’ the question for me to attemp’ to set Auchterbardie richt without the help o’ Jean. I grow completely stupit when I have a heap o’ things amang my head a’ at ance; but ye see, Mr. Jimes, I may say I’m no’ a’ here, and never will be till I get Jean. The vera sight o’ her pits mettle in me, and makes me like anither man.’

‘ I suppose, then, you will be for having her immediately ; and perhaps you are right if she be willing herself, and you can see your way clearly enough. But you must recollect that, before taking such a step, you ought to be pretty well provided with means.” “ Ou, fegs ! I ha’e nae trick o’ letting my feet rin faster than my shoon. I’ll no forget the means, ye may be shure. And as for Jean hersel’, I ha’e nae skill o’ women folk if she’s no just as willing as me. She wants to get warning to mak’ preparations. What think ye o’ that, man ! I mean to write to her whenever I see M'Corkle get his debushens (dismissal), and tell her to prepare as fast as she likes.’

CHAPTER XXXVI. They have search’d out iniquities, A perfect search they keep ; Of each of the inward thought And very heart is deep. 64TH PSALM. No sooner had Factor M'Corkle received his ‘ debushens,” than he and his reverend friend, Mr. Smuggerly, set off to Edinburgh to hold a consultation with Dr. Snapperdudgeon. Honest Stiffriggs had them for fellow passengers on his return southwards, but felt no inclination to cultivate their acqaintance. He, however, could not help being often pretty near them, and observing their singularly excited appearance. They talked much and earnestly together, and frequently retired to a corner of the cabjn of the steamer to read letters and other docu-

ments which M'Corkle carried about with him. On one of these occasions they inadvertently dropt a letter, which the steward of the vessel picked up, and tried to find an owner for among the female passengers. Failing in this he tried next among the other sex, and commenced with Stiffriggs. The letter was addressed ‘ miss jean brown Whinnyside,’ so our readers will have little difficulty in guessing who was the writer, or by what means it had got into the possession of M'Corkle. Stiffriggs was sharp enough to comprehend at once the fraud that had been practised, for he had seen Robin Afleck write and post the identical letter before his departure from Auchterbardie ; he therefore, while disclaiming it as his, requested the steward to take a copy of the address, and note well the person who should claim the letter. He added in .a whisper— ‘ I jalouse, freend, it has been drapit by yon wee man that left the cabin as ye cam’ in, and I ha’e a hauf guess that there’ll be some back-spearing aboot it. So notice ye the body weel, that ye may ken him again.’ The steward did as he was desired, and M'Corkle claimed the letter when it was presented to him, but immediately afterwards seemed so uneasy and confused that he probably, on reflection, regretted having taken it. But the deed was done and could not be retracted, so, flattering himself that it would lead him into no trouble (for he did not know that Stiffriggs had seen the letter), he gave himself no -further uneasiness.

A few hours later, Messrs. Smuggerly and M'Corkle, according to previous appointment, met Dr. Snapperdudgeon and lawyer M'Cheatrie at the Doctor’s lodging in town. The Doctor had patched up a peace with Mrs M'Glunchugain, and was once more a lodger in her house. Long and earnest was the consultation which there took place. All the papers were overhauled anew, and among the rest, Robin’s letter was discussed in full quorum. It ran as follows : ‘ auchterbardie octobber 180042 ‘ my Dear jeen—ye may think muckle of this Letter for it comes from the faktor of Auchterbardie Its as shures yere leevin jeen I’m the faktor now and far abune horse doctrine no to speek of days-darging at the plew stiffriggs and Mr jimes just cam in the nick of time to settle The business for Mr makorkle & his neebor the minister though I Stude up to them like a dyke fegs jeen We have the ba at Our fit at last

i hae laid A herrin in sawt

lass gin ye loe me Tell me noo i canna tell you Whether me or mr baikons the gleddest man for the change that Has maid me a Faktor has maid him a laird for The first time in his Lyfe makorkle has keepit Him all his days under his thoom and been the rail laird of Auchterbardie himselffand what kind of laird he has been ye may guess When i tell you thatt the news of his downcum was no shooner None than tawnels were burning in Every dyreckshon now jeen Maik reddy when ye lyke and the sooner the better for if ye dont cum when i am in the Key i maybe grow prood and set my kep for Surabody far abune the likes of You so my leddy tak ye gude care of thatt i never can understand whattye can Have to prepare unless it maybe a dizen or twa of sarks to Me but I can be doin with hawf a dizen to begin With soewhen ye have them Maid ye may just taik your fit in your hand and cum hear as fast as ye can i meen send me Word and I’ll bring you north with a ring on your finger As for furnitur theres nowthing that I know of we Would need to gett from embro xcep the craddel thatt I took a Notion of in the Koogate lor awl the rest of the things can be gott in places nearer This makorkles house is to be ours after whusunday butt wee can get plenty of room in the big house besyde mr baikon even although he should have saft shusie before Then for its mistress and i would nott wunder butt he may for he can do What he lykes now since he has got quat o mackorkle and if I am no Mistaken heel be a marrit man before he has anither Nick in his horn for he tauks About shusie continwally tell mis miggumerie she may drap her greeting About mr jimes for i maik the bedd that me and him sleeps on every day myselff Neddie never getts touchingt and fegs jean its no a bad Bedd if the sheets and blankets is no just like the driven snaw theres plenty of them And as far the room its dry eneuch for ye could wryte your name in the stowre in ony corner of it awl then as for Meet hes in the land Of goshen for theres a mrs braiden maikin just a fed cauve of Him she brings everything to mr jimes and never speers if i have a mouth so ye May tell agnes that jimes needs knowthing but Herselff & a kirk if He had his edyecation finished and if the lazy drone thats Minister of this parish Would slip afit and if jimes Could get the place and if he Would taik it suppose he could get it miss miggummery and him Micht be neebors of ours yet and he might cooper Me up for yin of his elders wha Kens but as jimes says himself theres owre mony ifs in this to count Mutch ont in the meantime soe We maun just be content jeen that theres know ifs between mee and you that is to say if ye Dinna be ower lang of getting the Sarks reddy

‘ i remain jeen ‘just’the same as before i was a Faktor ‘ yours faithfooly ‘ Robert Afleck. ‘S P mind to put Ruffles on the Sarks and try to spell More coreckly.’ (To be continued—commenced on July 26 )

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Bibliographic details

THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 171, 20 October 1880

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THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 171, 20 October 1880

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