• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Rab and his friends
 Back Cover






Group Title: Favorite tales
Title: Rab and his friends
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082160/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rab and his friends
Series Title: Favorite tales
Physical Description: 42 p., 7 leaves of plates : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brown, John, 1810-1882
Geo. M. Allen Co ( Publisher )
Publisher: Geo. M. Allen Company
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1882
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Rab (Dog) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dogs -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Surgery -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Teaching hospitals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Husband and wife -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1882
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by John Brown ; with photo-gravure illustrations.
General Note: Plates printed in sepia.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082160
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002222797
notis - ALG3043
oclc - 213482890

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Frontispiece
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Dedication
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Rab and his friends
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 10a
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 38a
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 40a
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text



























































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RAB AND HIS FRIENDS






BY

JOHN BROWN, M.D.


WITH PHOTO-GRAVURE ILLUSTRATIONS






NEW YORK
GEO. M. ALLEN COMPANY
BROADWAY, CORNER 21ST STREET
1893






































-115 FR)ENDS.




































MY TWO FRIENDS

AT BUSBY, RENFREWSHIRE,

IN REMEMBRANCE OF A JOURNEY

FROM CARSTAIRS JUNCTION TO TOLEDO AND BACK.



































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948





























Extracted from HORE SUBSECIVE : Locke and
Sydenham, with other Occasional Papers."




















Rab and his Friends.

FOUR-AND-THIRTY years ago, Bob Ainslie
and I were coming up Infirmary Street
from the High School, our heads together,
and our arms intertwisted, as only lovers
and boys know how or why.
When we got to the top of the street
and turned north we espied a crowd at
the Tron Church. A dog-fight! shout-
ed Bob, and was off; and so was I, both
of us all but praying that it might not be
over before we got up And is not this
boy nature, and human nature too? And
don't we all wish a house on fire not to be
out before we see it ? Dogs like fighting;
old Isaac says they "delight" in it, and for
7













RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


the best of all reasons; and boys are not
cruel because they like to see the fight.
They see three of the great cardinal vir-
tues of dog or man-courage, endurance,
and skill-in intense action. This is very
different from a love of making dogs fight,
and enjoying, and aggravating, and mak-
ing gain by their pluck. A boy-be he
ever so fond himself of fighting-if he be a
good boy, hates and despises all this, but
he would have run off with Bob and me fast
enough: it is a natural, and not wicked
interest, that all boys and men have in
witnessing intense energy in action.
Does any curious and finely-ignorant
woman wish to know how Bob's eye at a
glance announced a dog-fight to his brain ?
He did not, he could not see the dogs
fighting; it was a flash of an inference,
a rapid induction. The crowd round a
couple of dogs fighting, is a crowd mascu-
line, mainly, with an occasional active,













RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


compassionate woman, fluttering wildly
round the outside, and using her tongue
and her hands freely upon the men, as so
many "brutes; it is a crowd annular,
compact, and mobile-a crowd centripetal,
having its eyes and its heads all bent
downwards and inwards, to one common
focus.
Well, Bob and I are up, and find it is
not over: a small, thoroughbred, white
bull-terrier is busy throttling a large shep-
herd's dog, unaccustomed to war, but not
to be trifled with. They are hard at it;
the scientific little fellow doing his work
in great style, his pastoral enemy fighting
wildly, but with the sharpest of teeth and
a great courage. Science and breeding,
however, soon had their own; the Game
Chicken, as the premature Bob called him,
working his way up, took his final grip of
poor Yarrow's throat-and he lay gasping
and done for. His master, a brown, hand-
9













RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


some, big, young shepherd from Tweeds-
muir, would have liked to have knocked
down any man, would "drink up Esil, or
eat a crocodile," for that part, if he had a
chance: it was no use kicking the little
dog; that would only make him hold the
closer. Many were the means shouted
out in mouthfuls, of the best possible ways
of ending it. "Water but there was
none near, and many cried for it who
might have got it from the well at Black-
friars Wynd. "Bite the tail and a
large, vague, benevolent, middle-aged man,
more desirous than wise, with some strug-
gle got the bushy end of Yarrow's tail into
his ample mouth and bit it with all his
might. This was more than enough for
the much-enduring, much-perspiring shep-
herd, who, with a gleam of joy over his
broad visage, delivered a terrific facer
upon our large, vague, benevolent, middle-
aged friend-who went down like a shot.





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RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


Still the Chicken holds; death not far
off. "Snuff a pinch of snuff observed
a calm, highly-dressed young buck, with
an eye-glass in his eye. "Snuff, indeed "
growled the angry crowd, affronted and
glaring. Snuff a pinch of snuff again
observes the buck, but with more urgen-
cy; whereon were produced several open
boxes, and from a mull which may have
been at Culloden, he took a pinch, knelt
down, and presented it to the nose of
the Chicken. The laws of physiology and
of snuff take their course; the Chicken
sneezes, and Yarrow is free !
The young pastoral giant stalks off with
Yarrow in his arms-comforting him.
But the bull-terrier's blood is up, and
his soul unsatisfied ; he grips the first dog
he meets, and discovering she is not a
dog, in Homeric phrase, he makes a brief
sort of amende, and is off. The boys,
with Bob and me at their head, are after
II











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


him: down Niddry Street he goes, bent
on mischief; up the Cowgate like an arrow
-Bob and I, and our small men, panting
behind.
There, under the single arch of the
South Bridge, is a huge mastiff, sauntering
down the middle of the causeway, as if
with his hands in his pockets : he is old,
gray, brindled, as big as a little Highland
.bull, and has the Shaksperian dewlaps
shaking as he goes.
The Chicken makes straight at him, and
fastens on his throat. To our astonish-
ment the great creature does nothing but
stand still, hold himself up, and roar-yes,
roar, a long, serious, remonstrative roar.
How is this ? Bob and I are up to them.
He is muzzled! The bailies had proclaimed
a general muzzling; and his master, study-
ing strength and economy mainly, had en-
compassed his huge jaws in a home-made
apparatus, constructed out of the leather












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


of some ancient breechin. His mouth was
open as far as it could; his lips curled
up in rage-a sort of terrible grin-his
teeth gleaming ready from out the dark-
ness, the strap across his mouth tense as
a bowstring, his whole frame stiff with in-
dignation and surprise, his roar asking us
all round, Did you ever see the like of
this?" He looked a statue of anger and
astonishment done in Aberdeen granite.
We soon had a crowd; the Chicken held
on. "A knife!" cried Bob; and a cob-
bler gave him his knife; you know the
kind of knife, worn away obliquely to a
point, and always keen. I put its edge to
the tense leather; it ran before it; and
then-one sudden jerk of that enormous
head, a sort of dirty mist about his mouth,
no noise-and the bright and fierce little
fellow is dropped, limp and dead. A sol-
emn pause : this was more than any of us
had bargained.for. I turned the little fel-
13












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


low over and saw he was quite dead; the
mastiff had taken him by the small of the
back like a rat, and broken it.
He looked down at his victim appeased,
ashamed, and amazed, snuffed him all
over, stared at him, and, taking a sudden
thought, turned round and trotted off.
Bob took the dead dog up and said, "John,
we'll bury him after tea." "Yes," said I,
and was off after the mastiff. He made
up the Cowgate at a rapid swing; he had
forgotten some engagement. He turned
up the Candlemaker Row, and stopped at
the Harrow Inn.
There was a carrier's cart ready to start,
and a keen, thin, impatient, black-a-vised
little man, his hand at his gray horse's
head, looking about angrily for something.
" Rab, ye thief! said he, aiming a kick
at my great friend, who drew cringing up,
and avoiding the heavy shoe with more
agility than dignity, and watching his mas-
14












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


ter's eye, slunk dismayed under the cart
-his ears down, and as much as he had
of tail down too.
What a man this must be, thought I, to
whom my tremendous hero turns tail!
The carrier saw the muzzle hanging cut
and useless from his neck, and I eagerly
told him the story, which Bob and I always
thought, and still think, Homer, or King
David, or Sir Walter alone were worthy
to rehearse. The severe little man was
mitigated, and condescended to say, Rab,
ma man, puir Rabbie," whereupon the
stump of a tail rose up, the ears were
cocked, the eyes filled, and were com-
forted: the two friends were reconciled.
"Hupp and a stroke of the whip were
given to Jess, and off went the three.

Bob and I buried the Game Chicken
that night (we had not much of a tea) in
the back green of his house, in Melville
IS











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


Street, No. 17, with considerable gravity
and silence; and being at the time in the
Iliad, and, like most boys, Trojans, we
called him Hector, of course.


Six years have passed,-a long time for
a boy and a dog; Bob Ainslie is off to the
wars ; I am a medical student, and clerk
at Minto House Hospital.
Rab I saw almost every week, on the
Wednesday; and we had much pleasant
intimacy. I found the way to his heart by
frequent scratching of his huge head and
an occasional bone. When I did not no-
tice him he would plant himself straight
before me, and stand wagging that bud of
a tail and looking up, with his head a lit-
tle to the one side. His master I occa-
sionally saw; he used to call me Maister
John," but was laconic as any Spartan.
One fine October afternoon I was leav-
































JESS AJ-D P\B.












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


ing the hospital when I saw the large gate
open, and in walked Rab, with that great
and easy saunter of his. He looked as if
taking general possession of the place;
like the Duke of Wellington entering a
subdued city, satiated with victory and
peace. After him came Jess, now white
from age, with her cart; and in it a wom-
an, carefully wrapped up-the carrier lead-
ing the horse anxiously, and looking back.
When he saw me James (for his name was
James Noble) made a curt and grotesque
"boo," and said, Maister John, this is
the mistress; she's got a trouble in her
breest-some kind o' an income, we're
thinking. "
By this time I saw the woman's face;
she was sitting on a sack filled with straw,
her husband's plaid round her, and his big
coat, with its large white metal buttons,
over her feet.
I never saw a more unforgettable face-
i7












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


pale, serious, lonely,' delicate, sweet, with-
out being at all what we call fine. She
looked sixty, and had on a mutch, white
as snow, with its black ribbon; her sil-
very, smooth hair setting off her dark-
gray eyes-eyes such as one sees only
twice or thrice in a lifetime, full of suf-
fering, full also of the overcoming of it-
her eyebrows black and delicate, and her
mouth firm, patient, and contented, which
few mouths ever are.
As I have said, I never saw a more
beautiful countenance, or one more sub-
dued to settled quiet. "Ailie," said James,
"this is Maister John, the young doctor,
Rab's freend, ye ken. We often speak
aboot you, doctor." She smiled and made
a movement, but said nothing and pre-
pared to come down, putting her plaid
aside and rising. Had Solomon in all his
1 It is not easy giving this lookby one word ; it was expressive
of her being so much of her life alone.











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


glory been handing down the. Queen of
Sheba at his palace gate, he could not
have done it more daintily, more tenderly,
more like a gentleman than did James, the
Howgate carrier, when he lifted down
Ailie his wife. The contrast of his small,
swarthy, weather-beaten, keen, worldly
face to hers-pale, subdued, and beautiful
-was something wonderful. Rab looked
on, concerned and puzzled, but ready for
anything that might turn up-were it to
strangle the nurse, the porter, or even me.
Ailie and he seemed great friends.
"As I was sayin', she's got a kind o'
trouble in her breest, doctor; wull ye tak'
a look at it ?" We walked into the con-
sulting-room, all four; Rab, grim and
comic, willing to be happy and confiden-
tial if cause could be shown, willing also
to be the reverse, on the same terms.
Ailie sat down, undid her open gown and
her lawn handkerchief round her neck,











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


and without a word showed me her right
breast. I looked at and examined it care-
fully-she and James watching me, and
Rab eyeing all three. What could I say?
There it was, that had once been so soft,
so shapely, so white, so gracious and
bountiful, so full of all blessed condi-
tions "-hard as a stone, a centre of hor-
rid pain, making that pale face, with its
gray, lucid, reasonable eyes, and its sweet,
resolved mouth, express the full measure
of suffering overcome. Why was that
gentle, modest, sweet woman, clean and
lovable, condemned by God to bear such
a burden ?
I got her away to bed. May Rab and
me bide?" said James. "You may, and
Rab, if he will behave himself." I'se
warrant he'll do that, doctor;" and in
slunk the faithful beast. I wish you could
have seen him. There are no such dogs
now. He belonged to a lost tribe. As I












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


have said, he was brindled, and gray like
Rubislaw granite; his hair short, hard,
and close, like a lion's ; his body thick-
set, like a little bull-a sort of compressed
Hercules of a dog. He must have been
ninety pounds' weight, at the least; he
had a large, blunt head; his muzzle black
as night, his mouth blacker than any
night, a tooth or two-being all he had-
gleaming out of his jaws of darkness.
His head was scarred with the records of
old wounds, a sort of series of fields of
battle all over it; one eye out, one ear
cropped as close as was Archbishop Leigh-
ton's father's; the remaining eye had the
power of two, and above it, and in con-
stant communication with it, was a tat-
tered rag of an ear, which was forever un-
furling itself like an old flag; and then
that bud of a tail, about one inch long, if
it could in any sense be said to be long,
being as broad as long-the mobility, the
21













RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


instantaneousness of that bud were very
funny and surprising, and its expressive
twinklings and winkings, the intercommu-
nications between the eye, the ear, and it
were of the oddest and swiftest.
Rab had the dignity and simplicity of
great size; and having fought his way all
along the road to absolute supremacy, he
was as mighty in his own line as Julius
Caesar or the Duke of Wellington, and had
the gravity of all great fighters.
You must have often observed the like-
ness of certain men to certain animals, and
of certain dogs to men. Now, I never
looked at Rab without thinking of the great
Baptist preacher, Andrew Fuller.2 The
I A Highland game-keeper when asked why a certain terrier
of singular pluck was so much more solemn than the other dogs,
said, "Oh, sir, life's full o' sairiousness to him-he just never
can get enuffo' fechtin' "
2 Fuller was in early life, when a farmer lad at Soham, famous
as a boxer; not quarrelsome, but not without "the stern de-
light" a man of strength and courage feels in their exercise.
Dr. Charles Stewart, of Duneam, whose rare gifts and graces
22












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


same large, heavy,'menacing, combative,
sombre, honest countenance, the same
deep, inevitable eye, the same look-as of
thunder asleep, but ready-neither a dog
nor a man to be trifled with.
Next day, my master, the surgeon, ex-
amined Ailie. There was no doubt it
must kill her, and soon. It could be re-
moved-it might never return-it would
give her speedy relief-she should have it
done. She curtsied, looked at James, and
said, "When ?" "To-morrow," said the
kind surgeon-a man of few words. She
and James and Rab and I retired. I no-
ticed that he and she spoke little, but

as a physician, a divine, a scholar, and a gentleman live only in
the memory of those few who knew and survive him, liked to
tell how Mr. Fuller used to say that when he was in the pulpit
and saw a buirdly man come along the passage, he would in-
stinctively draw himself up, measure his imaginary antagonist,
and forecast how he would deal with him, his hands, meanwhile,
condensing into fists, and tending to "square." He must have
been a hard hitter if he boxed as he preached-what The
Fancy" would call an ugly customer."











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


seemed to anticipate everything in each
other. The following day at noon the stu-
dents came in, hurrying up the great stair.
At the first landing-place, on a small well-
known blackboard, was a bit of paper fast-
ened by wafers, and many remains of old
wafers beside it. On the paper were the
words: "An operation to-day. J. B.,
Clerk."
Up ran the youths, eager to secure good
places : in they crowded, full of interest
and talk. "What's the case ?" "Which
side is it? "
Don't think them heartless; they are
neither better nor worse than you or I:
they get over their professional horrors
and into their proper work, and in them
pity, as an emotion ending in itself, or at
best in tears and a long-drawn breath, les-
sens ; while pity as a motive is quickened,
and gains power and purpose. It is well
for poor human nature that it is so.











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


The operating theatre is crowded ; much
talk and fun, and all the cordiality and
stir of youth. The surgeon with his staff
of assistants is there. In comes Ailie:
one look at her quiets and abates the
eager students. That beautiful old wom-
an is too much for them; they sit down,
and are dumb, and gaze at her. These
rough boys feel the power of her presence.
She walks in quickly, but without haste;
dressed in her mutch, her neckerchief, her
white dimity short-gown, her black bom-
bazine petticoat, showing her white wors-
ted stockings and her carpet shoes. Be-
hind her was James with Rab. James sat
down in the distance, and took that huge
and noble head between his knees. Rab
looked perplexed and dangerous; forever
cocking his ear and dropping it as fast.
Ailie stepped up on a seat and laid her-
self on the table, as her friend the surgeon
told her, arranged herself, gave a rapid











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


look at James, shut her eyes, rested her-
self on me, and took my hand. The op-
eration was at once begun ; it was neces-
sarily slow, and chloroform-one of God's
best gifts to his suffering children-was
then unknown. The surgeon did his work.
The pale face showed its pain, but was
still and silent. Rab's soul was working
within him; he saw that something strange
was going on-blood flowing from his mis-
tress, and she suffering; his ragged ear
was up and importunate; he growled and
gave now and then a sharp, impatient
yelp; he would have liked to have done
something to that man. But James had
him firm, and gave him a glower from time
to time, and an intimation of a possible
kick-all the better for James ; it kept his
eye and his mind off Ailie.
It is over : she is dressed, steps gently
and decently down from the table, looks
for James, then, turning to the surgeon











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


and the students, she curtsies, and in a
low, clear voice, begs their pardon if she
has behaved ill. The students-all of us
-wept like children ; the surgeon wrapped
her up carefully, and, resting on James
and me, Ailie went to her room, Rab fol-
lowing. We put her to bed. James took
off his heavy shoes, crammed with tackets,
heel-capped and toe-capped, and put them
carefully under the table, saying, Maister
John, I'm for nane o' yer strynge nurse
bodies for Ailie. I'll be her nurse, and I'll
gang aboot on my stockin' soles as canny
as pussy." And so he did; and handy
and clever, and swift and tender as any
woman, was that horny-handed, snell, per-
emptory little man. Everything she got
he gave her : he seldom slept, and often I
saw his small, shrewd eyes out of the
darkness fixed on her. As before, they
spoke little.
Rab behaved well, never moving, show-











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


ing us how meek and gentle he could be,
and occasionally in his sleep letting us
know that he was demolishing some ad-
versary. He took a walk with me every
day, generally to the Candle-maker Row;
but he was sombre and mild; declined
doing battle, though some fit cases offered,
and indeed submitted to sundry indig-
nities; and was always very ready to
turn, and came faster back, and trotted
up the stair with much lightness, and went
straight to that door. Jess, the mare, had
been sent with her weather-worn cart to
Howgate, and had doubtless her own dim
and placid meditations and confusions on
the absence of her master and Rab, and
her unnatural freedom from the road and
her cart.
For some days Ailie did well. The
wound healed by the first intention; "
for as James said," Oor Ailie's skin's ower
clean to beil." The students came in, quiet











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


and anxious, and surrounded her bed. She
said she liked to see their young, honest
faces. The surgeon dressed her, and spoke
to her in his own short, kind way, pity-
ing her through his eyes-Rab and James
outside the circle, Rab being now recon-
ciled and even cordial, and having made
up his mind that as yet nobody required
worrying, but, as you may suppose, semper
paratus.
So far well; but four days after the
operation my patient had a sudden and
long shivering, a groosin," as she called
it. I saw her soon after; her eyes were
too bright, her cheek colored; she was
restless, and ashamed of being so; the
balance was lost; mischief had begun.
On looking at the wound, a blush of red
told the secret; her pulse was rapid, her
breathing anxious and quick; she wasn't
herself, as she said, and was vexed at her
restlessness. We tried what we could.











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


James did everything, was everywhere-
never in the way, never out of it; Rab
subsided under the table into a dark place,
and was motionless, all but his eye, which
followed every one. Ailie got worse; be-
gan to wander in her mind, gently; was
more demonstrative in her ways to James,
rapid in her questions, and sharp at times.
He was vexed, and said, She was never
that way afore; no, never." For a time
she knew her head was wrong, and was
always asking our pardon-the dear, gen-
tle old woman-then delirium set in strong,
without pause. Her brain gave way, and
then came that terrible spectacle,
"The intellectual power, through words and things,
Went sounding on its dim and perilous way;"
she sang bits of old songs and Psalms,
stopping suddenly, mingling the Psalms of
David, and the diviner words of his Son
and Lord, with homely odds and ends and
scraps of ballads.












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


Nothing more touching, or, in a sense,
more strangely beautiful did I ever wit-
ness. Her tremulous, rapid, affectionate,
eager, Scotch voice; the swift, aimless,
bewildered mind, the baffled utterance,
the bright and perilous eyes; some wild
words, some household cares, something
for James; the names of the dead; Rab
called rapidly and in a "fremyt" voice,
and he starting up, surprised, and slink-
ing off as if he were to blame somehow,
or had been dreaming he heard. Many
eager questions and beseechings, which
James and I could make nothing of, and on
which she seemed to set her all and then
sink back ununderstood. It was very sad,
but better than many things that are not
called sad. James hovered about, put out
and miserable, but active and exact as
ever, read to her when there was a lull,
short bits from the Psalms, prose and me-
tre, chanting the latter in his own rude











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


and serious way, showing great knowledge
of the fit words, bearing up like a man,
and dating over her as his "ain Ailie."
"Ailie, ma woman! Ma ain bonnie
wee dawtie !"
The end was drawing on; the golden
bowl was breaking; the silver cord was
fast being loosed-that animula blandula,
vagula, hospes, comesque, was about to flee.
The body and the soul-companions for
sixty years-were being sundered, and
taking leave. She was walking, alone,
through the valley of that shadow into
which one day we must all enter-and yet
she was not alone, for we know whose rod
and staff were comforting her.
One night she had fallen quiet and, as
we hoped, asleep; her eyes were shut.
We put down the gas and sat watching
her. Suddenly she sat up in bed, and tak-
ing a bedgown which was lying on it rolled
up, she held it eagerly to her breast-to












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


the right side. We could see her eyes
bright with a surprising tenderness and
joy, bending over this bundle of clothes.
She held it as a woman holds her sucking
child, opening out her night-gown impa-
tiently, and holding it close and brood-
ing over it, and murmuring foolish little
words, as over one whom his mother com-
forteth, and who sucks and is satisfied.
It was pitiful and strange to see her wasted
dying look, keen and yet vague-her im-
mense love.
Preserve me groaned James, giving
way. And then she rocked back and for-
ward, as if to make it sleep-hushing it,
and wasting on it her infinite fondness.
" Wae's me, doctor; I declare she's thinking'
it's that bairn." "What bairn ? The
only bairn we ever had, our wee Mysie;
and she's in the Kingdom forty years and
mair." It was plainly true: the pain in
the breast, telling its urgent story to a be-











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


wildered, ruined brain, was misread and
mistaken ; it suggested to her the uneasi-
ness of a breast full of milk, and then the
child; and so again once more they were
together, and she had her ain wee Mysie
in her bosom.
This was the close. She sank rapidly;
the delirium left her, but, as she whis-
pered, she was "clean silly;" it was the
lightening before the final darkness. After
having for some time lain still-her eyes
shut-she said, James !" He came close
to her, and lifting up her calm, clear,
beautiful eyes, she gave him a long look,
turned to me kindly but shortly, looked
for Rab, but could not see him, then turned
to her husband again, as if she would never
leave off looking, shut her eyes, and com-
posed herself. She lay for some time
breathing quick, and passed away so gent-
ly, that when we thought she was gone,
James, in his old-fashioned way, held the







































R9A\B LiE(VEC IT P\LL.











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


mirror to her face. After a long pause,
one small spot of dimness was breathed
out; it vanished away and never returned,
leaving the blank, clear darkness of the
mirror without a stain. "What is our
life? It is even a vapor, which appear-
eth for a little time, and then vanisheth
away."
Rab, all this time, had been full awake
and motionless; he came forward beside
us; Ailie's hand, which James had held,
was hanging down; it was soaked with
his tears ; Rab licked it all over carefully,
looked at her, and returned to his place
under the table.
James and I sat, I don't know how long,
but for some time, saying nothing; he
started up abruptly, and with some noise
went to the table, and putting his right
fore and middle fingers each into a shoe,
pulled them out and put them on, break-
ing one of the leather latchets, and mut-












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


tering in anger, "I never did the like o'
that afore "
I believe he never did, nor after either.
" Rab! he said roughly, and pointing
with his thumb to the bottom of the bed.
Rab leaped up and settled himself, his
head and eye to the dead face. Maister
John, ye'll wait for me," said the carrier;
and disappeared in the darkness, thunder-
ing down-stairs in his heavy shoes. I ran
to a front window : there he was, already
round the house and out at the gate, flee-
ing like a shadow.
I was afraid about him, and yet not
afraid; so I sat down beside Rab, and,
being wearied, fell asleep. I awoke from
a sudden noise outside. It was Novem-
ber, and there had been a heavy fall of
snow. Rab was in status quo; he heard
the noise, too, and plainly knew it, but
never moved. I looked out; and there
at the gate in the dim morning-for the
36












RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


sun was not up-was Jess and the cart, a
cloud of steam rising from the old mare.
I did not see James; he was already at
the door, and came up the stairs and met
me.
It was less than three hours since he
left, and he must have posted out-who
knows how ?-to Howgate, full nine miles
off, yoked Jess, and driven her astonished
into town. He had an armful of blankets,
and was streaming with perspiration. He
nodded to me, spread out on the floor two
pairs of clean old blankets, having at their
corners, "A. G., 1796," in large letters in
red worsted. These were the initials of
Alison Grame, and James may have looked
in at her from without-himself unseen,
but not unthought of-when he was wat,
wat, and weary," and after having walked
many a mile over the hills, may have seen
her sitting, while a' the lave were sleep-
in'," and by the firelight working her











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


name on the blankets for her ain James's
bed. He motioned Rab down, and taking
his wife in his arms, laid her in the blan-
kets, and wrapped her carefully and firmly
up, leaving the face uncovered; and then
lifting her, he nodded again sharply to me,
and with a resolved but utterly miserable
face, strode along the passage and down-
stairs, followed by Rab. I followed with
a light, but he didn't need it. I went out,
holding stupidly the candle in my hand in
the calm frosty air ; we were soon at the
gate. I could have helped him, but I saw
he was not to be meddled with, and he
was strong and did not need it. He laid
her down as tenderly, as safely, as he had
lifted her out ten days before-as tenderly
as when he had her first in his arms when
she was only A. G.,"-sorted her, leav-
ing that beautiful sealed face open to the
heavens, and then taking Jess by the head
he moved away. He did not notice me,











































DEIM TATiR5 [OLLD\A'ED 13V/F AB












RAB AND IIS FRIENDS.


neither did Rab, who presided behind the
cart.
I stood till they passed through the long
shadow of the College and turned up
Nicolson Street. I heard the solitary cart
sound through the streets and die away
and come again ; and I returned thinking
of that company going up Libberton Brae,
then along Roslin Muir, the morning light
touching the Pentlands and making them
like on-looking ghosts, then down the
hill through Auchindinny woods, past
"haunted Woodhouselee; and as day-
break came sweeping up the bleak Lam-
mermuirs and fell on his own door, the
company would stop, and James would
take the key and lift Ailie up again, laying
her on her own bed, and, having put Jess
up, would return with Rab and shut the
door.
SJames buried his wife, with his neigh-
bors mourning, Rab inspecting the solem-











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


nity from a distance. It was snow, and
that black, rugged hole would look strange
in the midst of the swelling, spotless cush-
ion of white. James looked after every-
thing; then rather suddenly fell ill and
took to bed, was insensible when the doc-
tor came, and soon died. A sort of low
fever was prevailing in the village, and his
want of sleep, his exhaustion, and his mis-
ery made him apt to take it. The grave
was not difficult to re-open. A fresh fall
of snow had again made all things white
and smooth; Rab once more looked on,
and slunk home to the'stable.

And what of Rab ? I asked for him
next week at the new carrier who had got
the good-will of James's business, and was
now master of Jess and her cart. How's
Rab ?" He put me off, and said rather
rudely, "What's your business wi' the
dowg?" I was not to be so put off.















Pic


-


:


FqB15 E41\/E.











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


"Where's Rab ? He, getting confused
and red, and intermeddling with his hair,
said, "Deed, sir, Rab's deid." "Dead!
what did he die of ? Weel, sir," said
he, getting redder, he didna exactly dee;
he was killed. I had to brain him wi' a
rack-pin ; there was nae doin' wi' him.
He lay in the treviss wi' the mear, and
wadna come oot. I tempit him wi' kail
and meat, but he wad tak naething, and
keepit me frae feedin' the beast; and he
was aye gur gurrin' and grup gruppin' me
by the legs. I was laith to make awa wi'
the auld dowg, his like wasna atween this
and Thornhill ; but, 'deed, sir, I could do
naething else." I believed him. Fit end
for Rab,-quick and complete. His teeth
and his friends gone, why should he keep
the peace and be civil ?

He was buried in the braeface, near the
burn, the children of the village, his com-











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


panions-who used to make very free with
him and sit on his ample stomach, as he
lay half asleep at the door in the sun-
watching the solemnity.




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