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 Half Title
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 List of Illustrations
 Main
 Back Matter






Title: Rab and his friends
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098695/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rab and his friends
Physical Description: 34 p., <6> leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brown, John, 1810-1882
Constable, Thomas, 1812-1881 ( Printer )
Paton, J. Noël ( Joseph Noël ), 1821-1901 ( Illustrator )
Harvey, George, ca. 1800-1878 ( Illustrator )
Brown T ( Engraver )
Stocks, Lumb, 1812-1892 ( Engraver )
Bell, R. C ( Engraver )
Miller, William ( Engraver )
James Burn & Company ( Binder )
Edmonston & Douglas ( Publisher )
Publisher: Edmonston and Douglas
Place of Publication: Edinburgh
Manufacturer: T. Constable
Publication Date: 1864
Copyright Date: 1864
Edition: 4th ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Rab (Dog) -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Dogs -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Surgery -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Teaching hospitals -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Death -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Burn -- Binder's tickets (Binding) -- 1864   ( rbbin )
Gold stamped cloth (Binding) -- 1864   ( local )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1864   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1864
Genre: Binder's tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Gold stamped cloth (Binding)   ( local )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Scotland -- Edinburgh
 Notes
General Note: Illustrations engraved by T. Brown, R.C. Bell, William Miller, and L. Stocks after Geo. Harvey and J.N. Paton.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Statement of Responsibility: by John Brown.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098695
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 04472639
alephbibnum - 002222912
notis - ALG3159

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Frontispiece
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Dedication
        Page v
        Page vi
    Preface
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Illustrations
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Main
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 26a
        Page 26b
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 30a
        Page 30b
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 32b
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 35
    Back Matter
        Page 36
Full Text






RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.





IAB AND HIS FRIENDS





































EDwNBURH: PXIXTD BY T. CONSTABLE,


FOR


EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS.


LONDN........ AILTO, ADAM@, AND CO.

CA KUUXU. . .... MACMILLANI AND 0.

DVVILTWN . M`Q'OLAAN AND GILL

GLASGOWq . . . . JAMES MACLSUO







RAB




AND HIS FRIENDS.






BY JOHN BROWN, M.D.





FOURTH EDITION .





EDINBURGH:
EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS.
1864.
































TO JOHN HEUGH,

or aWooD, ALDIELIrT DG, CEMREm

MY OWN AND MY FATHER'S FRIEND


THIS ILLUSTRATED EDITION

I8 AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED.
















PREFACE.

FoUR years ago, my uncle, the Rev. Dr. Smith of Biggar,
asked me to give a lecture in my native village, the shrewd little
capital of the Upper Ward. I never lectured before; I have
no turn for it; but Avunculus was urgent, and I had an odd
sort of desire to say something to these strong-brained, primitive
people of my youth, who were boys and girls when I left them.
I could think of nothing to give them. At last I said to myself,
"I'll tell them Ailie's story." I had often told it to myself; indeed
it came on me at intervals almost painfully, as if demanding to be
told, as if I heard Rab whining at the door to get in or out,-
Whispering how meek and gentle he could be ;"
or as if James was entreating me on his deathbed to tell all the
world what his Ailie was. But it was easier said than done. I
tried it over and over, in vain. At last, after a happy dinner at
Hanley-why are the dinners always happy at Hanley?-and a
drive home alone through
The gleam, the shadow, and the peace spreme"
of a midsummer night, I sat down about twelve and rose at four,








PRYFAOR.


.having finished it I dunk off to bed, satisfied and cold. I don't
think I made almost any changes in it. I read it to the Biggar
folk in the school-house, very frightened, and felt I was reading it
ill, and their honest faces intimated as much in their affectionate
puzzled looks. I gave it on my return home, to some friends, who
liked the story; and the first idea was to print it, as now, with
illustrations, on the principle of Rogers' joke, "that it would be
dished except for the plates."
My willing and gifted friends, Lady Trevelyan, Mrs. Blackburn,
George Harvey, and Noel Paton, made sketches, all of which,
except Lady Trevelyan's, are given now-her expressive drawing
of the carrier on his way home across the snow, being unsuitable,
from my words having led her astray as to the locality. Her sketch
was of a bleak, open country, and you saw, quite small but full of
expression, the miserable man urging the amazed Jess along the
muffled road-the smafiness of the family party, and the knowledge
of what was concentrated there, the sleeping, cold, uncaring expanse
of nature made it quick with pathetic life.
But I got afraid of the public, and paused. Meanwhile, some
good friend said Rab might be thrown in among the other idle hours,
and so he was; and it is a great pleasure to me to think how
many new friends he got.
I was at Biggar the other day, and some of the good folks told
me, with a grave smile peculiar to that region, that when Rab came








PRBFACE.


to them in print he was so good that they wouldn't beiev e hwa
the same Rab I had delivered in the school-room-a tetimony to
my vocal powers of impressing the multitude somewhat coneluive.
Mr. Harvey's big dog is not a portrait of Bab, it is that of a
huge, tawny old fellow, as big, and as grand, and as good as he.
He was nineteen when painted lying "careless diffused" His
mother was a fawn-coloured Newfoundland, and his father a blood-
hound.
I like to think that the children's heads so delicately rendered
by Mr. Lumb Stocks have among them my dear friend the artist's
Parvula and my own; I must not say how long it was ago. I need
not add that this little story is, in all essentials, true, though, if I
were Shakspeare, it might be curious to point out where phantasy
tried her hand, sometimes where least suspected.
It has been objected to it as a work of art, that there is too
much pain; and many have said to me, with some bitterness, "Why
did you make me suffer so ?" But I think of my father's answer
when I told him this, "And why shouldn't they suffer? she suffered;
it will do them good; for pity, genuine pity, is, as old Aristotle
says, 'of power to purge the mind.'" And though in all works of
art there should be a plus of delectation, the ultimate overcoming of
evil and sorrow by good and joy-the end of all art being pleasure,-
whatsoever things are lovely first, and things that are true and of
good report afterwards in their turn--still there is a pleasure, one of








PREFACE.


the strangest and strongest in our nature, in imaginative suffering
with and for others,-
SIn the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human sdfering ;"
for sympathy is worth nothing, is, indeed, not itself unless it has in
it somewhat of personal pain. It is the hereafter that gives to
... "the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still,"
its own infinite meaning. Our hearts and our understandings follow
Ailie and her "ain man" into that world where there is no pain,
where no one says, "I am sick." What is all the philosophy of
Cicero, the wailing of Catullus, and the gloomy playfulness of
Horace's endless variations on "Let us eat and drink," with its
terrific "for," to the simple faith of the carrier and his wife in I
am the Resurrection and the Life."
I think I can hear from across the fields of sleep and other years,
Ailie's sweet, dim, wandering voice trying to say-
Our bonnie bairn's there, John,
She was baith gude and fair, John,
And we grudged her sair, John,
To the land o' the leal.
But sorrow's el' wears pabt, John,
The joys are coming' fast, John,
The joys that aye shall last, John,
In the land o' the leal.



























LIST OF PLATES.


RAB-SIC JACEBAT,

JESS IN HER STABLE, .

AILIE DEAD,

JAMES AND HIS BURDEN,

RAB'S GRAVE,

" HIS COMPANIONS,"


artispsM.



30

S 82



* 84















RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


F OUR-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 "
shouted 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 the best
of all reasons; and boys are not cruel because they like to
see the fight. They see three of the great cardinal virtues of
dog or man-courage, endurance, and skill--in intense action.
This is very different from a love of making dogs fight, and enjoy-
ing, and aggravating, and making gain by their pluck. A boy
-be he ever so fond himself of fighting, if he be a good boy,







RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


hates and despises all this, but he would have run off with Bob and
me fast enough : it is a natural, and a 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 masculine mainly, with an occasional
active, 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-
some, big young shepherd from Tweedsmuir, would have liked to
have knocked down any man, would "drink up Esil, or eat a








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


crocodile," for that part, if he had a chance: it was n6 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 I" but there was none near, and many cried
for it who might have got it from the well at Blackfriar's Wynd.
'Bite the tail I" and a large, vague, benevolent, middle-aged man,
more desirous than wise, with some struggle 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 shepherd, 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.
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 urgency; 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 I
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







RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


grip the first dog he meets, and discovering she is not a dog, in
Homeric phrae, he makes a brief sort of amend, and is ofE The
boys, with Bob and me at their head, are after 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, grey, 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 astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand
still, hold himself up, and roar-yes, roar; a long, serious, remon-
strative roar. How is this? Bob and I are up to them. He is
muraed! The bailies had.proclaimed a general muzzling, and his
master, studying strength and economy mainly, had encompassed
his huge jaws in a home-made apparatus, constructed out of the
leather 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 darkness; the strap across his
mouth tense as a bowstring; his whole frame stiff with indignation
and surprise; his roar asking us all around, Did you ever see the
like of this?" He looked a statue of anger and astonishment,
done in Aberdeen granite.


16








RAB AND HIB FRIEND.


We soon had a crowd: the Chicken held on. A knife I"
cried Bob ; and a cobbler 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 I-one
sudden jerk of that enormous head, a sort of dirty mit about his
mouth, no noise,--and the bright and fierce little fellow is dropped,
limp, and dead. A solemn pause; this was more than any of us
had bargained for. I turned the little fellow 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, well 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 Bow,
and stopped at the Harrow Inn.
There was a carrier's cart ready to start, and a keen, thin, im-
patient, black-a-vised little man, his hand at his grey 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
master's eye, slunk dismayed under the cart,-his ears down, and as
much as he had of tail down too.
C








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


What a man this must be-thought I-to whom my tremendous
hero turns tail I 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 comforted; the two friends were reconciled.
" Hupp I" 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 Street,
No. 17, with considerable gravity and silence; and being at the
time in the Iliad, and, like all boys, Trojans, we called him Hector,
of course.








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


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 notice him he would plant himself straight
before me, and stand wagging that bud of a tail, and looking up,
with his head a little to the one side. His master I occasionally
saw ; he used to call me "Maister John," but was laconic as any
Spartan.
One fine October afternoon, I was leaving 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 woman carefully wrapped up,-
the carrier leading 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 mistrem ;
she's got a trouble in her breest-some kind o' an income we're
thinking. "








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


By this time I saw the woman's face; she was sitting on a sack
killed 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 unforgetable face-pale, serious, lonely,
delicate, sweet, without being at all what we call fine. She looked
sixty, and had on a mutch, white as snow, with its black ribbon;
her silvery, smooth hair setting off her dark-grey eyes-eyes such as
one sees only twice or thrice in a lifetime, full of suffering, 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 subdued to settled quiet. "Ailie," said James, "this is
Master 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 prepared to come down, putting her plaid aside
and rising. Had Solomon, in all his 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

1 It is not esy giving this look by one word ; it was expressive of her being so
much of her life alone.
2 .. Black brows, they my,
Become some women best; so that there be not
Too much hair there, but in a eemictid,
Or a A-wmoon made wit a pen."-A Wrnrm's TALI








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


of his small, swarthy, weather-beaten, keen, worldly face to her--
pale, subdued, and beautiful-was something wonderful. ab
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 consulting-
room, all four; Rab grim and comic, willing to be happy and
confidential 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, and, without a word, showed me
her right breast. I looked at and examined it carefully,-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 conditions,"-hard
as a stone, a centre of horrid pain, making that pale face, with its
grey, lucid, reasonable eyes, and its sweet resolved mouth, express
the full measure of suffering overcome. Why was that gentle,
modest, sweet woman, clean and loveable, 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's do that, doctor;" and in slunk the faithful beast. I wish you
could have seen him. There are no such dogs now. He belonged








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


to a lost tribe. As I have said, he was brindled, and grey like
Bubialaw 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 scared 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 Leighton's father's ; the
remaining eye had the power of two; and above it, and in constant
communication with it, was a tattered rag of an ear, which was for
ever unfurling 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 instantaneousness of that
bud were very funny and surprising, and its expressive twinklings
and winkings, the intercommunications 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 Cesar or the Duke of 'Wellington,
and had the gravity' of all great fighters.

SA 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 eneuch o' fechtin'."








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


You must have often observed the likeness 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.' The 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, examined Ailie. There was
no doubt it must kill her, and soon. It could be removed-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 noticed that he and she spoke
little, but seemed to anticipate everything in each other. The
following day, at noon, the students came in, hurrying up the
great stair. At the first landing-place, on a small well-known black

I Fuller was, in early life, when a farmer lad at Soham, famous as a boxer; not
quarrelsome, but not without "the stern delight" a man of strength and courage
feels in their exercise. Dr. Charles Stewart, of Dunearn, whose rare gifts and graces
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
instinctively draw himself up, measure his imaginary antagonist, and forecast how he
would deal with him, his hands meanwhile condensing into fists, and tending to
squarere." 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.


bod, was a bit of paper fastened 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 tor 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, lessens,-while
pity, as a motive, is quickened, and gains power and purpose. It is
well for poor human nature that it is so.
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 woman 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 bombazeen petticoat, showing her white
worsted stockings and her carpet shoes. Behind 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;
for ever cocking his ear and dropping it as fast.








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


Ailie stepped up on a seat, and laid herself on the table, as her
friend the surgeon told her; arranged herself, gave a rapid look at
James, shut her eyes, rested herself on me, and took my hand. The
operation was at once begun; it was necessarily slow; and chloro-
form--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 mistress, and she suffering; his ragged ear was up, and impor-
tunate; 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 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 happed her up carefully,-and, resting on James and
me, Ailie went to her room, Rab following. We put her to bed.
James took off his heavy shoes, crammed with tackets, heel-capt
and toe-capt, 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 Ill gang aboot on my stockin' soles as canny
D








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


as pusy." And so he did; and handy and clever, and swift and
tender a any woman, was that horny-handed, snell, peremptory
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, nevei moving, showing us how meek and
gentle he could be, and occasionally, in his sleep, letting us know
that he was demolishing some adversary. He took a walk with me
every day, generally to the Candlemaker Row; but he was sombre
and mild; declined doing battle, though some fit cases offered,
and indeed submitted to sundry indignities; 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 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,
pitying her through his eyes, Rab and James outside the circle,--
Rab being now reconciled, and even cordial, and having made up
































i~







RAB AND HIS FRIEND&


his mind that as yet nobody required worrying bt a you may
suppose, mper 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 coloured; 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 rest-
lessness. We tried what we could. 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; began 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,
gentle 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, a 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 scrape of ballads.








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


Nothing more touching, or in a sense more strangely beautiful,
did I ever witness. Her tremulous, rapid, affectionate, eager, Scotch
voice,-the swift, aimless, bewildered mind, the baffled utterance,
the bright and perilous eye ; 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 slinking
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 metre,
chanting the latter in his own rude 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
dawtiel"
The end was drawing on: the golden bowl was breaking; the
silver cord was fast being loosed-that. animula blandula, vagula,
hoaes, comesque, was about to flee. The body and the soul-com-
panions 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.







RAB AND HIS FRIENDS


One night she had fallen quiet, and, as we hoped, asleep; her
eyes were shut We put down the gas, and @at watching her.
Suddenly she sat up in bed, and taking a bed-gown which was l g
on it rolled up, she held it eagerly to her breast,--to the right ide.
We could see her eyes bright with a surprising tenderness and joy,
bending over this bundle of clothes. She held it as a woman hold
her sucking child; opening out her night-gown impatiently, and
holding it close, and brooding over it, and murmuring foolish little
words, as over one whom his mother comforteth, and who sucks and
is satisfied. It was pitiful and strange to see her wasted dying look,
keen and yet vague-her immense love.
"Preserve me!" groaned James, giving way. And their she
rocked backward and forward, 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 bewildered, ruined brain, was misread and mis
taken; it suggested to her the uneasiness 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 whispered, she was "clean silly;" it was the lightening
before the final darkness. After having for some time lain still-her








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


eyes shut, she said "James!" He came close to her, and lifting up
hrw calm, lear, 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 composed herself She lay for some time breathing
quick, and passed away so gently, that when we thought she was
gone, James, in his old-fashioned way, held the 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
without a stain. "What is our life ? it is even a vapour, which
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
Rab all this time had been fully 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 care-
fully, 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, breaking one of the
leather latchets, and muttering in anger, "I never did the like
o' that afore!"
I believe he never did; nor after either. "RabI" he said
roughly, and pointing with his thumb to the bottom of the bed.
Rab leapt up, and settled himself; his head and eye to the dead face.









- I


4


I '
(d


.4 / /


IIL~











RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


"Maister John, yell wait for me," said the carrier; and disappeared
in the darkness, thundering down stairs in his heavy shoe. I ran
to a front window; there he was, already round the bous, and out
at the gate, fleeing like a shadow.
I was afraid about him, and yet not afraid; so I at down beside
Rab, and being wearied, fell asleep. I awoke from a sudden noise
outside. It was November, and there had been a heavy fall of snow.
Rab was in statu 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 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., 1794," 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 sleeping, and by the firelight working her
name on the blankets, for her ain James's bed.








RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


He motioned Bab down, and taking his wife in his arms, laid her
in the blankets, and happed 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 staise, 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, leaving that beautiful sealed face open to
the heavens; and then taking Jess by the head, he moved away.
He did not notice me, 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 Auchin-
dinny woods, past "haunted Woodhouselee;" and as daybreak
came sweeping up the bleak Lammermuirs, and fell on his own
door, the company would stop, and James would take the key, and
































II)


~,J,























'I4 L (


- -W








RAB AYD HIS MIUKD&


lift Ailie up again, laying her on her own bed, and, having put Jess
up, would return with Rab and shut the door.
James buried his wife, with his neighbour mourning, ab
watching the proceedings from a distance. It was mow, and that
black ragged hole would look strange in the midst of the swelling
spotless cushion of white. James looked after everything; then
rather suddenly fell ill, and took to bed; was insensible when
the doctor came, and soon died. A sort of low fever was prevailing
in the village, and his want of sleep, his exhaustion, and his misery
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 got the goodwill 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. "Where's Rab ?" He, getting confused
and red, and intermeddling with his hair, said, "'Deed, sir, Rab's
deid." "Dead I 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 fra feedin' the
E







RAB AND HIS FRIENDS.


beast, and he was aye gur gurrin', and grup gruppin' me by the
legs. I waM ith to mak'awa wi' the auld dowg, his like wasna
atween this and Thornhil,-but, 'deed, sir, I could do naething
else" I believed him. Pit 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 companions, 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.


DNMBOIH : T. COwrAIL, Pruno TO TM QUa, Q Al D TO U"JIVsMITT.


























1\


/ C- 2)/c /f~fl









WORKS BY DR. JOHN BROWN.


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