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would drive half over London, tire the horses to death, and “ na' be hame till dusk.”
Poor Ellen! Mr. Lindsay, indulgent to excess in most things, was very particular about his horses. The coachman was not the old, steady family-coachman, but a young substitute, acting during the other's illness. The old madcap Babie would perhaps urge him to drive on at a furious rate through the crowded streets; some accident would happen, and her folly and weakness in lending the carriage be the cause.
All this time, Grizzy was sorting old, timeworn letters “ fra' Donald o' the brae,” and proving, from their almost illegible contents, how plain was his devotion and love. This boring task she occasionally interrupted to say, “ Have patience, my dear; you ’ll need it wi' Babie. She's just mod after gaiety; she'll na’ be hame till dusk, perhaps. I doubt na’ she's gone to see the waxwork she's lang had it in her head. She's vary curious to see if Prince Albert is sae bonny as they say. I'm very angry at her - flaun
tering, flirty cratur! She's mair like Tibby Maxwell than a Douglas; she'll ne'er be here this while........
“ Noo luke here! — here he says, When once we are married, adored, divine Griselda, we can make over your fortune to your mother and sisters. Think you your own Donald cares for the base siller ? What is fortune to me? My pride would be to support my own beloved Griselda by my own talents. With love like ours we shall feel no want! A cottage and a crust, my Grizzy, and let your mother enjoy the puir twa hundred a year that come between us now-do, my only love -the only love I ever had or can have.' “Sure that's plain enoo',” said Grizzy.
Ellen thought it was plain enoo' that cunning old Donald o’the brae wanted to get Grizzy and the puir twa hundred a year into his power, bnt not so plain that the mother would ever have enjoyed one penny of it afterwards; but this opinion she wisely kept to herself.
“ Yet I,” added Grizzy, sighing, “would
na' consent, na’ that I dooted him; but my. mither would na’ hear o'the match ; and she had been a good mither to me; and I knew, if I married against her will, she was too proud to accept ony thing o' me, and sae we parted, and never met agen. But she agreed if Donald and I were faithfu' still at the end o'twa year, she would na' cross true love mair; and, in the mean time, she bade him prove his devotion by trying to mak abroad some siller to bring hame wi' him. Ab! it's little use looking out o'window; Babie wull na'be here this lang while. I doot na’ she's at the waxwork a looking at Prince Albert; ye'll ha' time to read through these letters.”
But Ellen could endure it no longer; she made her excuses to Miss Grizzy — begged her to let the servant call a coach — said she would drive to Madame Tassaud's waxwork to see if Babie was there, and, if not, begged Grizzy directly the carriage came home to send it to St. James's Square. “My uncle,” she said, “ will be very anxious about the horses, but more so still about me.”
Those from mere acquaintances, “the dead, the changed,” become dear by the hallowing influence of time. But to the still devoted heart of Grizzy Douglas the letters of Donald o' the Brae were rife with the magic of the past. She had come unexpectedly upon some faded barebells he had given her, and which she had stored in one of the letters. The flowers brought back the day, the hour, the looks o' the fause Donald-they conjured up the heather and the hills, the fresh morning air and the lonely glen, and the morning of the heart, sweeter, dearer than all.
She could not tear herself from the enchantment! What was the actual world to her?.... And, seeing this, Ellen kindly bade her farewell. And, after waiting some time, while a wet, dirty, ragged old waterman vainly tried to pull down the window and open the door, which at last only yielded to the joint efforts of himself and a huge, joking, purple, laughing old coachman, she stepped into the damp straw, seated herself on the worn and dirty cushions, and was rumbled away at a most noisy yet slow rate, in this shabbiest of old hackney-coaches, first to Regent Street, and then to Baker Street, in search of Babie at the waxwork.