The Baldwin Library
Edinburgh: Printed by Thomas and Archibald Constable,
LONDON . HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO.
CAMBRIDGE . MACMILLAN AND BOWES.
GLASGOW .. JAMES MACLEHOSE AND SONS.
BEING THE PAPER ENTITLED
A STORY OF CHILD LIFE FIFTY YEARS AGO
BY JOHN BROWN, M.D.
AUTHOR OF 'RAB AND HIS FRIENDS'
Ijeta Enition, tuitl 31Iustrations
EDINBURGH: DAVID DOUGLAS
THE present edition of Pet Marjorie, originally published as
an article in the North British Review, November 1863, has been
printed from a set of the proof-sheets carefully revised and added
to by the author in 1876-77.
The Illustrations were drawn for Dr. Brown ten or twelve
years earlier by Mr. Warwick Brookes, Manchester, and these
exquisite Pencil Sketches of child life have now been faithfully
engraved by Messrs. Dawson, London. The Portrait of Marjorie
Fleming, prefixed, has been copied in facsimile from a water-colour
drawing made, probably by Miss I. Keith, in 1811.
October 1, 1883.
PORTRAIT OF MARJORIE FLEMING, Frontispiece
ENGRAVED IN FACSIMILE BY MONS. GOUPIL, PARIS.
' The day before her death (Sunday) she sat up in bed, worn and thin, her eye
gleaming as with the light of a coming world, and with a tremulous
old voice repeated the following lines by Burns,' etc. P. 30.
' Iam at Ravelston enjoying nature's fresh air. The birds are singing sweetly
-the calf doth frisk and nature shows her gloriousface,' Page 13
WARWICK BROOKS, ENGRAVED BY DAWSONS.
BRAEHEAD-' Where there is ducks cocks hens bubblyjocks,' etc., 16
WARWICK BROOKS, ENGRAVED BY DAWSONS.
'Here lies sweet Isabell in bed,' 2
WARWICK BROOKS, ENGRAVED BY DAWSONS.
' But she was more than usual calm,' 26
WARWICK BROOKS, ENGRAVED BY DAWSONS.
' We have regular hours for all our occupations,' 28
WARWICK BROOKS, ENGRAVED BY DAWSONS.
SYou don't know how I love you. So I shall remain, your loving child-
M. Fleming,' 29
WARWICK BROOKS, ENGRAVED BY DAWSONS.
'Manchester has produced many men whose lives and works deserve
to be held in remembrance, and in Warwick Brookes we have lost one
who is worthy to be added to the list, for not only through life did he bear
himself blamelessly, but he developed to perfection the special and delight-
ful genius for art with which he was endowed. It must be remembered,
too, that what he has done has been with the simplest means, that
throughout his work there is not one ray of colour, and that it depends
entirely for its charm upon form, expression, and the impress of a mind
which was instinct with the spirit of beauty. For many years his hold
on life had been very feeble; his striking face, immaterial figure, and
long grey locks, have seldom been seen abroad, and, for months in suc-
cession, he has been a prisoner at home. Yet in the dim and crowded
space of his sitting-room many, if not the majority, of his most charming
designs have been executed. Eye and mind were ever on the alert to note
some happy accident of grouping, some instantaneous expression, some
fortunate arrangement of drapery, some vague hint or pregnant suggestion,
which, in his quick mind and under his nimble fingers, would rapidly
take shape and become a thing of beauty.'
IN MEMORIAM-WARWICK BROOKS, 1882.
O NE November afternoon in 1810-the year in which Waverley
was resumed and laid aside again, to be finished off, its last
two volumes in three weeks, and made immortal in 1814, and
when its author, by the death of Lord Melville, narrowly escaped
getting a civil appointment in India-three men, evidently
lawyers, might have been seen escaping like schoolboys from the
Parliament House, and speeding arm-in-arm down Bank Street
and the Mound, in the teeth of a surly blast of sleet.
The three friends sought the bield of the low wall old
Edinburgh boys remember well, and sometimes miss now, as
they struggle with the stout west wind.
The three were curiously unlike each other. One, a little man
of feeble make, who would be unhappy if his pony got beyond a
foot pace," slight, with "small, elegant features, hectic cheek, and
soft hazel eyes, the index of the quick, sensitive spirit within,
as if he had the warm heart of a woman, her genuine enthusiasm,
2 MARJORIE FLEMING.
and some of her weaknesses." Another, as unlike a woman as a
man can be; homely, almost common, in look and figure; his hat
and his coat, and indeed his entire covering, worn to the quick,
but all of the best material; what redeemed him from vulgarity
and meanness, were his eyes, deep set, heavily thatched, keen,
hungry, shrewd, with a slumbering glow far in, as if they could
be dangerous; a man to care nothing for at first glance, but some-
how, to give a second and not-forgetting look at. The third
was the biggest of the three, and though lame, nimble, and all
rough and alive with power; had you met him anywhere else,
you would say he was a Liddesdale store-farmer, come of gentle
blood; "a stout, blunt carle," as he says of himself, with the
swing and stride and the eye of a man of the hills--a large,
sunny, out-of-door air all about him. On his broad and
somewhat stooping shoulders, was set that head which, with
Shakespeare's and Bonaparte's, is the best known in all the
He was in high spirits, keeping his companions and himself
in roars of laughter, and every now and then seizing them, and
stopping, that they might take their fill of the fun; there they
stood shaking with laughter, "not an inch of their body free"
from its grip. At George Street they parted, one to Rose Court,
behind St. Andrew's Church, one to Albany Street, the other, our
big and limping friend, to Castle Street.
MARJORIE FLEMING. 3
We need hardly give their names. The first was William
Erskine, afterwards Lord Kinnedder, chased out of the world by
a calumny, killed by its foul breath-
"And at the touch of wrong, without a strife,
Slipped in a moment out of life."
There is nothing in literature more beautiful or more pathetic
than Scott's love and sorrow for this friend of his youth.
The second was William Clerk, the Darsie Latimer of Red-
gauntlet; "a man," as Scott says, "of the most acute intellects
and powerful apprehension," but of more powerful indolence, so
as to leave the world with little more than the report of what
he might have been,-a humorist as genuine, though not quite
so savagely Swiftian as his brother Lord Eldin, neither of whom
had much of that commonest and best of all the humours, called
The third we all know. What has he not done for every one
of us? Who else ever, except Shakespeare, so diverted mankind,
entertained and entertains a world so liberally, so wholesomely ?
We are fain to say, not even Shakespeare, for his is something
deeper than diversion, something higher than pleasure, and yet
who would care to split this hair ?
Had any one watched him closely before and after the parting,
what a change he would see! The bright, broad laugh, the
shrewd, jovial word, the man of the Parliament House and of the
4 MARJORIE FLEMING.
world; and next step, moody, the light of his eye withdrawn, as
if seeing things that were invisible; his shut mouth, like a child's,
so impressionable, so innocent, so sad; he was now all within, as
before he was all without; hence his brooding look. As the snow
battered in his face, he muttered, "How it raves and drifts
On-ding o' snaw-ay, that's the word-on-ding-" He was now
at his own door, Castle Street, No. 39." He opened the door,
and went straight to his den; that wondrous workshop, where, in
one year, 1823, when he was fifty-two, he wrote Peveril of the
Peak, Quentin Durward, and St. Ronan's Well, besides much else.
We once took the foremost of our novelists, the greatest, we
would say, since Scott, into this room, and could not but mark the
solemnising effect of sitting where the great magician sat so often
and so long, and looking out upon that little shabby bit of sky
and that back green, where faithful Camp lies.1
He sat down in his large, green morocco elbow-chair, drew
himself close to his table, and glowered and gloomed at his
writing apparatus, a very handsome old box, richly carved, lined
with crimson velvet, and containing ink-bottles, taper-stand, etc.,
in silver, the whole in such order, that it might have come from
1 This favourite dog "died about January 1809, and was buried in a fine moonlight
night in the little garden behind the house in Castle Street. My wife tells me she
remembers the whole family in tears about the grave as her father himself smoothed the
turf above Camp, with the saddest face she had ever seen. He had been engaged to dine
abroad that day, but apologised, on account of the death of 'a dear old friend.'"--Lockhart's
Life of Scott.
MARJORIE FLEMING. 5
the silversmith's window half an hour before. He took out his
paper, then starting up angrily, said, "' Go spin, you jade, go
spin.' No, d- it, it won't do,-
'My spinnin' wheel is auld and stiff,
The rock o't wunna stand, sir,
To keep the temper-pin in tiff
Employs ower aft my hand, sir.'
I am off the fang.1 I can make nothing of Waverley to-day; I'll
awa' to Marjorie. Come wi' me, Maida, you thief." The great
creature rose slowly, and the pair were off, Scott taking a maud
(a plaid) with him. "White as a frosted plum-cake, by jingo !"
said he, when he got to the street. Maida gambolled and whisked
among the snow, and his master strode across to Young Street,
and through it to 1 North Charlotte Street, to the house of his
dear friend, Mrs. William Keith of Corstorphine Hill, niece of
Mrs. Keith of Ravelston, of whom he said at her death, eight
years after, Much tradition, and that of the best, has died with
this excellent old lady, one of the few persons whose spirits and
cleanliness and freshness of mind and body made old age lovely
Sir Walter was in that house almost every day, and had a
key, so in he and the hound went, shaking themselves in the
I Applied to a pmnp when it is dry, and its valve has lost its "fang ;" from the German,
fangen, to hold.
6 MARJORIE FLEMING.
lobby. Marjorie Marjorie !" shouted her friend, "where are ye,
my bonnie wee croodlin doo ?" In a moment a bright, eager child
of seven was in his arms, and he was kissing her all over.
Out came Mrs. Keith. "Come yer ways in, Wattie." "No, not
now. I am going to take Marjorie wi' me, and you may come to
your tea in Duncan Roy's sedan, and bring the bairn home in your
lap." Tak' Marjorie, and it on-ding o' snavw!" said Mrs. Keith.
He said to himself, "On-ding-that's odd-that is the very word."
" Hoot, awa! look here," and he displayed the corner of his plaid,
made to hold lambs-(the true shepherd's plaid, consisting of two
breadths sewed together, and uncut at one end, making a poke or
cul de sac). "Tak' yer lamb," said she, laughing at the con-
trivance, and so the Pet was first well happit up, and then put,
laughing silently, into the plaid-neuk, and the shepherd strode off
with his lamb,-Maida gambolling through the snow, and running
races in her mirth.
Didn't he face the angry airt," and make her bield his bosom,
and into his own room with her, and lock the door, and out with
the warm, rosy, little wife, who took it all with great composure !
There the two remained for three or more hours, making the
house ring with their laughter; you can fancy the big man's
and Maidie's laugh. Having made the fire cheery, he set her
down in his ample chair, and standing sheepishly, before her,
began to say his lesson, which happened to be-" Ziccoty, diccoty,
MARJORIE FLEMING. 7
dock, the mouse ran up the clock, the clock struck wan, down
the mouse ran, ziccoty, diccoty, dock." This done repeatedly till
she was pleased, she gave him his new lesson, gravely and slowly,
timing it upon her small fingers,-he saying it after her,--
Wonery, twoery, tickery, seven;
Alibi, crackaby, ten, and eleven;
Pin, pan, musky, dan;
Twenty-wan; eerie, orie, ourie,
You, are, out."
He pretended to great difficulty, and she rebuked him with
most comical gravity, treating him as a child. He used to say
that when he came to Alibi Crackaby he broke down, and Pin-
Pan, Musky-Dan, Tweedle-um Twoddle-um made him roar with
laughter. He said Musky-Dan especially was beyond endurance,
bringing up an Irishman and his hat fresh from the Spice Islands
and odoriferous Ind; she getting quite bitter in her displeasure
at his ill behaviour and stupidness.
Then he would read ballads to her in his own glorious way,
the two getting wild with excitement over Gil Morrice or the
Baron of Smailholm; and he would take her on his knee, and
make her repeat Constance's speeches in King John, till he
swayed to and fro sobbing his fill. Fancy the gifted little
creature, like one possessed, repeating-
8 MARJORIE FLEMING.
"For I am sick, and capable of fears,
Oppressed with wrongs, and therefore full of fears;
"A widow, husbandless, subject to fears;
"A woman, naturally born to fears."
"If thou that bidd'st me be content, wert grim,
Ugly and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious-."
Or, drawing herself up "to the height of her great argu-
"I will instruct my sorrows to be proud,
For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout.
Here I and sorrow sit."
Scott used to say that he was amazed at her power over him,
saying to Mrs. Keith, She's the most extraordinary creature I
ever met with, and her repeating of Shakespeare overpowers me
as nothing else does."
Thanks to the unforgetting sister of this dear child, who has
much of the sensibility and fun of her who has been in her small
grave these fifty and more years, we have now before us the
letters and journals of Pet Marjorie-before us lies and gleams
her rich brown hair, bright and sunny as if yesterday's, with the
words on the paper, Cut out in her last illness," and two pictures
of her by her beloved Isabella, whom she worshipped; there are
the faded old scraps of paper, hoarded still, over which her warm
MARJORIE FLEMING. 9
breath and her warm little heart had poured themselves; there is
the old water-mark, "Lingard, 1808." The two portraits are
very like each other, but plainly done at different times; it is a
chubby, healthy face, deep-set, brooding eyes, as eager to tell
what is going on within, as to gather in all the glories from
without; quick with the wonder and the pride of life; they are
eyes that would not be soon satisfied with seeing; eyes that would
devour their object, and yet childlike and fearless; and that is a
mouth that will not be soon satisfied with love; it has a curious
likeness to Scott's own, which has always appeared to us his
sweetest, most mobile, and speaking feature.
There she is, looking straight at us as she did at him-fearless
and full of love, passionate, wild, wilful, fancy's child. One can-
not look at it without thinking of Wordsworth's lines on poor
"O blessed vision, happy child !
Thou art so exquisitely wild,
I thought of thee with many fears,
Of what might be thy lot in future years.
I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest,
Lord of thy house and hospitality;
And Grief, uneasy lover ne'er at rest,
But when she sat within the touch of thee.
Oh, too industrious folly !
Oh, vain and causeless melancholy !
10 MARJORIE FLEMING.
Nature will either end thee quite,
Or, lengthening out thy season of delight,
Preserve for thee thy individual right,
A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flock."
And we can imagine Scott, when holding his warm plump
little playfellow in his arms, repeating that stately friend's
"Loving she is, and tractable, though wild,
And Innocence hath privilege in her,
To dignify arch looks and laughing eyes,
And feats of cunning; and the pretty round
Of trespasses, affected to provoke
Mock chastisement and partnership in play.
And as a fagot sparkles on the hearth,
Not less if unattended and alone,
Than when both young and old sit gathered round,
And take delight in its activity,
Even so this happy creature of herself
Is all-sufficient; solitude to her
Is blithe society; she fills the air
With gladness and involuntary songs."
But we will let her disclose herself. We need hardly say that
all this is true, and that these letters are as really Marjorie's as
was this light brown hair; indeed, you could as easily fabricate
the one as the other.
There was an old servant-Jeanie Robertson-who was forty
years in her grandfather's family. Marjorie Fleming, or, as she
MARJORIE FLEMING. 11
is called in the letters and by Sir Walter, Maidie, was the
last child she kept. Jeanie's wages never exceeded 3 a year,
and when she left his service, she had saved 40. She was
devotedly attached to Maidie, rather despising and ill-using her
sister Isabella-a beautiful and gentle child. This partiality made
Maidie apt at times to domineer over Isabella. "I mention this"
(writes her surviving sister) for the purpose of telling you an
instance of Maidie's generous justice. When only five years old-
when walking in Raith grounds, the two children had run on
before, and old Jeanie remembered they might come too near a
dangerous mill-lade. She called to them to turn back. Maidie
heeded her not, rushed all the faster on, and fell, and would have
been lost, had her sister not pulled her back, saving her life, but
tearing her clothes. Jeanie flew on Isabella to 'give it her' for
spoiling her favourite's dress; Maidie rushed in between crying
out, 'Pay (whip) Maidjie as much as you like, and I'11 not say
one word; but touch Isy, and I'll roar like a bull!' Years after
Maidie was resting in her grave, my mother used to take me to
the place, and told the story always in the exact same words."
This Jeanie must have been a character. She took great pride in
exhibiting Maidie's brother William's Calvinistic acquirements
when nineteen months old, to the officers of a militia regiment
then quartered in Kirkcaldy. This performance was so amusing
that it was often repeated, and the little theologian was presented
12 MARJORIE FLEMING.
by them with a cap and feathers. Jeanie's glory was "putting
him through the carritch" (catechism) in broad Scotch, beginning
at the beginning with Wha made ye, ma bonnie man ?" For
the correctness of this and three next replies, Jeanie had no
anxiety, but the tone changed to menace, and the closed nieve
(fist) was shaken in the child's face as she demanded, Of what
are you made ?" DIRT," was the answer uniformly given. "Wull
ye never learn to say dust, ye thrawn deevil?" with a cuff from
the open hand, was the as inevitable rejoinder.
Here is Maidie's first letter before she was six: the spelling
unaltered, and there are no "commoes."
"MY DEAR ISA,-I now sit down to answer all your kind and
beloved letters which you was so good as to write to me. This is
the first time I ever wrote a letter in my Life. There are a great
many Girls in the Square and they cry just like a pig when we
are under the painful necessity of putting it to Death. Miss
Potune a Lady of my acquaintance praises me dreadfully. I
repeated something out of Dean Swift, and she said I was fit for
the stage, and you may think I was primmed up with majestick
Pride, but upon my word I felt myself turn a little birsay-birsay
is a word which is a word that William composed which is as you
may suppose a little enraged. This horrid fat simpliton says that
my Aunt is beautiful which is entirely impossible for that is not
:' 1-f :,* -y
A- '' -' ,. Mi]
F- .. : '
1" y A .*- ^"'' <.
~ ~ r -"^;- ^ & """ '' -*
^- -- --. p -. .
'^^.^^ ^ ^-
^1 ~ ~ ~ .;. -^.^ ^ ; '"
MARJORIE FLEMING. 13
What a peppery little pen we wield! What could that
have been out of the sardonic Dean? what other child of that
age would have used "beloved" as she does? This power of
affection, this faculty of beloving, and wild hunger to be beloved,
comes out more and more. She perilled her all upon it, and
it may have been as well-we know indeed that it was far
better-for. her that this wealth of love was so soon with-
drawn to its one only infinite Giver and Receiver. This must
have been the law of her earthly life. Love was, indeed, "her
Lord and King;" and it was perhaps well for her that she
found so soon that her and our only Lord and King, Himself
Here are bits from her Diary at Braehead :-" The day of my
existence here has been delightful and enchanting. On Saturday
I expected no less than three well made Bucks the names of
whom is here advertised. Mr. Geo. Crakey (Craigie), and Wm.
Keith and Jn. Keith-the first is the funniest of every one of
them. Mr. Crakey and I walked to Crakyhall (Craigiehall) hand
by hand in Innocence and matitation (meditation) sweet thinking
on the kind love which flows in our tender hearted mind which is
overflowing with majestic pleasure no one was ever so polite to
me in the hole state of my existence. Mr. Craky you must know
is a great Buck and pretty good-looking.
"I am at Ravelston enjoying nature's fresh air. The birds
14 MARJORIE FLEMING.
are singing sweetly-the calf doth frisk and nature shows her
glorious face-the sun shines through the trees, it is delightful."
Here is a confession:-" I confess I have been very more like
a little young divil than a creature for when Isabella went up
stairs to teach me religion and my multiplication and to be good
and all my other lessons I stamped with my foot and threw my
new hat which she had made on the ground and was sulky and
was dreadfully passionate, but she never whiped me but said
Marjory go into another room and think what a great crime you
are committing letting your temper git the better of you. But I
went so sulkily that the Devil got the better of me but she never
never never whips me so that I think I would be the better of it
and the next time that I behave ill I think she should do it for
she never never does it. Isabella has given me praise for
checking my temper for I was sulky even when she was kneeling
an hole hour teaching me to write. To-day I have been very
ungrateful and bad. Isabella gave me my writing. I wrote so ill
that she took it away and located it up in her desk, when I stood
trying to open it till she made me come and read my bible but I
was in a bad humor and read it so carelessly and ill that she
took it from me and her blood ran cold (!) but she never punished.
She is as gentel as a lamb."
Our poor little wifie, she has no doubts of the personality of
the Devil I "Yesterday I behave extremely ill in God's most
MARJORIE FLEMING. 15
holy church for I would never attend myself nor let Isabella
attend which was a great crime for she often often tells me that
when to or three are gathered together God is in the midst of
them, and it was the very same Divil that tempted Job that
tempted me I am sure; but he resisted Satan though he had
boils and many many other misfortunes which I have escaped .
I am now going to tell you the horrible and wretched plaege
(plague) that my multiplication gives me you can't conceive it the
most Devilish thing is 8 times 8 and 7 times 7 it is what nature
itself cant endure."
This is delicious; and what harm is there in her Devilish" ?
it is strong language merely; even old Rowland Hill used to say
"he grudged the Devil those rough and ready words." "I
walked to that delightful place Crakyhall with a delightful young
man beloved by all his friends especially by me his loveress, but I
must not talk any more about him for Isa said it is not proper for
to speak of gentalmen but I will never forget him I I am
very very glad that satan has not given me boils and many other
misfortunes-In the holy bible these words are written that the
Devil goes like a roaring lyon in search of his pray but the lord
lets us escape from him but we" (pauvre petite!) do not strive
with this awfull Spirit. To-day I pronounced a word which
should never come out of a ladys lips it was that I called John a
Impudent Bitch. I will tell you what I think made me in so
16 MARJORIE FLEMING.
bad a humor is I got one or two of that bad bad sina (senna) tea
to-day,"-a better excuse for bad humour and bad language than
She has been reading the Book of Esther : It was a dreadful
thing that Haman was hanged on the very gallows which he had
prepared for Mordeca to hang him and his ten sons thereon and
it was very wrong and cruel to hang his sons for they did not
commit the crime ; but then Jesus was not then come to teach us to
be mercifid." This is wise and beautiful-has upon it the very
dew of youth and of holiness. Out of the mouths of babes
and sucklings He perfects His praise.
"This is Saturday and I am very glad of it because I have
play half the Day and I get money too but alas I owe Isabella
4 pence for if I am finned 2 pence whenever I bite my nails.
Isabella is teaching me to make simecolings nots of interrigations
peorids commoes, etc. As this is Sunday I will meditate
upon Senciable and Religious subjects. First I should be very
thankful I am not a begger."
This amount of meditation and thankfulness seems to have
been all she was able for.
I am going to-morrow to a delightful place, Braehead by
name, belonging to Mrs. Crraford, where there is ducks cocks hens
bubblyjocks 2 dogs 2 cats and swine which is delightful. I think
it is shocking to think that the dog and cat should bear them"
S^** t ._ _. ,-.-.
* -,,r .- ;*
-* .-. I : ,
:.- ^. "
W A I
*i -, hr -il 1-2
-~~I : *y -**1~
MARJORIE FLEMING. 17
(this is a meditation physiological), "and they are drowned after
all. I would rather have a man-dog than a woman-dog, because
they do not bear like women-dogs; it is a hard case-it is
shocking. I cam here as I thought to enjoy natures delightful
breath it is sweeter than a fial phiall) of rose oil, but alas my
hopes are dissopointed it is always spitting but then often I
get a blink and then I am happy."
Isabella and Miss Isabella Craford walks to Baronbugal and
jump with felicity over wals and fences."
Braehead is the farm the historical Jock Howison asked and
got from our gay James the Fifth, "the gudeman o' Ballengiech,"
as a reward for the services of his flail when the King had the
worst of it at Cramond Brig with the gipsies. The farm is
unchanged in size from that time, and still in the unbroken line
of the ready and victorious thrasher. Braehead is held on the
condition of the possessor being ready to present the King with a
ewer and basin to wash his hands, Jock having done this for his
unknown king after the splore, and when George the Fourth
came to Edinburgh this ceremony was performed in silver at
Holyrood. It is a lovely neuk this Braehead, preserved almost as
it was 200 years ago. "Lot and his wife," mentioned by Maidie
-two quaintly cropped yew-trees-still thrive, the burn runs as
it did in her time, and sings the same quiet tune-as much the
same and as different as Now and Then. The house full of old
18 MARJORIE FLEMING.
family relics and pictures, the sun shining on them through
the small deep windows with their plate glass; and there,
blinking at the sun, and chattering contentedly, is a parrot,
that might, for its looks of eld, have been in the ark, and
domineered over and deaved the dove. Everything about the
place is old and fresh.
This is beautiful:-" I am very sorry to say that I forgot God
-that is to say I forgot to pray to-day and Isabella told me
that I should be thankful that God did not forget me-if he
did, O what become of me if I was in danger and God not
friends with me-I must go to unquenchable fire and if I was
tempted to sin-how could I resist it O no I will never do it
again-no no-if I can help it." (Canny wee wife 1) "My
religion is greatly falling off because I don't pray with so much
attention when I am saying my prayers, and my character is
lost among the Braehead people. I hope I will be religious
again-but as for regaining my character I despare for it."
(Poor little habit and repute !")
Her temper, her passion, and her badness are almost daily
confessed and deplored:-" I will never again trust to my own
power, for I see that I cannot be good without God's assistance-
I will not trust in my own selfe, and Isa's health will be quite
ruined by me-it will indeed." Isa has giving me advice, which
is, that when I feal Satan beginning to tempt me, that I flea him
MARJORIE FLEMING. 19
and he would flea me." "Remorse is the worst thing to bear, and
I am afraid that I will fall a marter to it." "James Macarry is to
be transported for murder in the flower of his youth 0 passion is
a terrible thing."
Poor dear little sinner !-Here comes the world again :-" In
my travels I met with a handsome lad named Charles Balfour
Esq., and from him I got offers of marage-offers of marage,
did I say ? Nay plenty heard me." A fine scent for breach
of promise "
This is abrupt and strong :-" The Divil is curced and all his
works. 'Tis a fine work Newton on the profecies. I wonder if
there is another book of poems comes near the Bible. The Divil
always girns at the sight of the bibles did I say ? nay at the
word virtue." "Miss Portune (her simpliton" friend) "is
very fat; she pretends to be very learned. She says she saw a
stone that dropt from the skies; but she is a good Christian."
Here come her views on church government:-" An Annibabtist
is a thing I am not a member of-I am a Pisplikan (Episcopalian)
just now, and (Oh you little Laodicean and Latitudinarian 1) "a
Prisbetern at Kercaldy, my native town, which though dirty is
cleen" (her pun I) in the country."-(Blandula Vagula ccelum
et animum mutas que trans mare (i.e. trans Bodotriam)-curris!)
" Sentiment is not what I am acquainted with as yet, though I
wish it, and should like to practise it" (!) "I wish I had a
20 MARJORIE FLEMING.
great, great deal of gratitude in my heart, in all my body."
"There is a new novel published, named self-Controul" (Mrs.
Brunton's)-" a very good maxim forsooth !" This is shocking :
" Yesterday a marrade man, named Mr. John Balfour, Esq.,
offered to kiss me, and offered to marry me, though the man (a
fine directness this !) was espused, and his wife was present and
said he must ask her permission; but he did not. I think he
was ashamed and confounded before 3 gentelman-Mr. Jobson
and 2 Mr. Kings." "Mr. Banester's" (Bannister's) Budjet is
to-night; I hope it will be a good one. A great many authors
have expressed themselves too sentimentally." You are right,
Marjorie. A Mr. Burns writes a beautiful song on Mr. Cun-
haming, whose wife deserted him-truly it is a most beautiful
one." I like to read the Fabulous history, about the histerys of
Robin, Dickey, flapsay, and Peccay, and it is very amusing, for
some were good birds and others bad, but Peccay was the most
dutiful and obedient to her parentss" "Thomson is a beautiful
author, and Pope, but nothing to Shakespear, of which I have a
little knolege. Macbeth is a pretty composition, but awful one."
" The Newgate Calender is very instructive" (1) "A sailor
called here to say farewell; it must be dreadful to leave his
native country when he might get a wife; or perhaps me, for I
love him very much, and with all my heart. But O I forgot,
Isabella forbid me to speak about love." This antiphlogistic
S. .? .
I I I m I I i
MARJORIE FLEMING. 21
regimen and lesson is ill to learn by our Maidie, for here she sins
again :-" Love is a very papithatick thing" (it is almost a pity
to correct this into pathetic), as well as troublesome and tire-
some-but 0 Isabella forbid me to speak of it." Here are her
reflections on a pine-apple :-" I think the price of a pine-apple is
very dear: it is a whole bright golden guinea, that might have
sustained a poor family." Here is a new vernal simile:-" The
hedges are spruting like chiks from the eggs when they are newly
hatched or, as the vulgar says, clacked." Doctor Swift's works
are very funny; I got some of them by heart." Moreheads
sermons are I hear much praised, but I never read sermons of any
kind; but I read novelettes and my Bible, and I never forget it,
or my prayers." Bravo, Marjorie !
She seems now, when still about six, to have broken out into
EPHIBOL [EPIGRAM OR EPITAPH-WHO KNOWS WHICH?]
ON MY DEAR LOVE ISABELLA.
Here lies sweet Isabell in bed,
With a night-cap on her head;
Her skin is soft, her face is fair,
And she has very pretty hair;
She and I in bed lies nice,
And undisturbed by rats or mice;
She is disgusted with Mr. Worgan,
Though he plays upon the organ.
22 MARJORIE FLEMING.
Her nails are neat, her teeth are white,
Her eyes are very, very bright;
In a conspicuous town she lives,
And to the poor her money gives:
Here ends sweet Isabella's story,
And may it be much to her glory."
Here are some bits at random:-
"Of summer I am very fond,
And love to bathe into a pond;
The look of sunshine dies away,
And will not let me out to play;
I love the morning's sun to spy
Glittering through the casement's eye,
The rays of light are very sweet,
And puts away the taste of meat;
The balmy breeze comes down from heaven,
And makes us like for to be living."
"The Casawary is an curious bird, and so is the Gigantic
Crane, and the Pelican of the wilderness, whose mouth holds
a bucket of fish and water. Fighting is what ladies is not
qualified for, they would not make a good figure in battle or in a
dual. Alas we females are of little use to our country and to
our friends. I remember to have read about a lady who dressed
herself in mans clothes to fight for her father. The history of all
the malcontents as ever was hanged is amusing." Still harping
on the Newgate Calendar !
MARJORIE FLEMING. 23
"Braehead is extremely pleasant to me by the companies
of swine, geese, cocks, etc., and they are the delight of my
"I am going to tell you of a melancholy story. A young
turkie of 2 or 3 months old, would you believe it, the father
broke its leg, and he killed another! I think he ought to be
transported or hanged."
"Queen Street is a very gay one, and so is Princes Street,
for all the lads and lasses, besides bucks and beggars, parade
I should like to see a play very much, for I never saw one in
all my life, and don't believe I ever shall; but I hope I can be
content without going to one. I can be quite happy without my
desire being granted."
Some days ago Isabella had a terrible fit of the toothake,
and she walked with a long night-shift at dead of night like a
ghost, and I thought she was one. She prayed for nature's sweet
restorer-balmy sleep-but did not get it-a ghostly figure
indeed she was, enough to make a saint tremble. It made me
quiver and shake from top to toe. Superstition is a very mean
thing, and should be despised and shunned."
Here is her weakness and her strength again :-" In the love-
novels all the heroines are very desperate. Isabella will not
allow me to speak about lovers and heroins, and 'tiss too refined
24 MARJORIE FLEMING.
for my taste. Heroick love doth never win disgrace this is my
maxum and I will follow it for ever" "Miss Egward's (Edge-
worth's) tails are very good, particularly some that are very much
adapted for youth (!) as Laz Laurance and Tarelton, False Keys,
etc. etc. A great many authors have expressed themselves too
sentimentaly" Isabella this morning taught me some French
words one of which is bon suar the interpretation is good
Tom Jones and Grey's Elegey in a country churchyard are
both excellent, and much spoke of by both sex, particularly by
the men." Are our Marjories now-a-days better or worse because
they cannot read Tom Jones unharmed ? More better than
worse; but who among them can repeat Gray's Lines on a distant
prospect of Eton College as could our Maidie ?
Here is some more of her prattle :-" I went into Isabella's
bed to make her smile like the Genius Demedicus" (the Venus
de Medicis) or the statute in an ancient Greece, but she fell
asleep in my very face, at which my anger broke forth, so that
I awoke her from a comfortable nap. All was now hushed
up again, but again my anger burst forth at her biding me
She begins thus loftily:-
"Death the righteous love to see,
But from it doth the wicked flee."
MARJORIE FLEMING. 25
Then suddenly breaks off (as if with laughter)-
"I am sure they fly as fast as their legs can carry them !"
"There is a thing I love to see,
That is our monkey catch a flee."
"I love in Isa's bed to lie,
Oh, such a joy and luxury!
The bottom of the bed I sleep,
And with great care within I creep;
Oft I embrace her feet of lillys,
But she has goton all the pillys.
Her neck I never can embrace,
But I do hug her feet in place."
How childish and yet how strong and free is her use of
words !-" I lay at the foot of the bed because Isabella said I
disturbed her by continial fighting and kicking, but I was very
dull, and continually at work reading the Arabian Nights, which
I could not have done if I had slept at the top. I am reading
the Mysteries of Udolpho. I am much interested in the fate of
poor, poor Emily."
Here is one of her swains-
"Very soft and white his cheeks,
His hair is red, and grey his breeks;
His tooth is like the daisy fair,
His only fault is in his hair."
26 MARJORIE FLEMING.
This is a higher flight:-
"DEDICATED TO MRS. H. CRAWFORD BY THE AUTHOR, M. F.
Three turkeys fair their last have breathed,
And now this world for ever leaved;
Their father, and their mother too,
They sigh and weep as well as you;
Indeed, the rats their bones have crunched,
Into eternity their launched.
A direful death indeed they had,
As wad put any parent mad;
But she was more than usual calm,
She did not give a single dam."
This last word is saved from all sin by its tender age, not to
speak of the want of the n. We fear "she" is the abandoned
mother, in spite of her previous sighs and tears.
"Isabella says when we pray we should pray fervently, and not
rattel over a prayer-for that we are kneeling at the footstool of
our Lord and Creator, who saves us from eternal damnation, and
from unquestionable fire and brimston."
She has a long poem on Mary Queen of Scots:-
"Queen Mary was much loved by all,
Both by the great and by the small,
But hark! her soul to heaven doth rise !
And I suppose she has gained a prize-
For I do think she would not go
Into the awful place below;
MARJORIE FLEMING. 27
There is a thing that I must tell,
Elizabeth went to fire and hell;
He who would teach her to be civil,
It must be her great friend the divil!"
She hits off Darnley well:-
"A noble's son, a handsome lad,
By some queer way or other, had
Got quite the better of her heart,
With him she always talked apart;
Silly he was, but very fair,
A greater buck was not found there."
"By some queer way or other;" is not this the general case and
the mystery, young ladies and gentlemen ? Goethe's doctrine of
"elective affinities discovered by our Pet Maidie.
SONNET TO A MONKEY.
0 lively, 0 most charming pug
Thy graceful air, and heavenly mug;
The beauties of his mind do shine,
And every bit is shaped and fine.
Your teeth are whiter than the snow,
Your a great buck, your a great beau;
Your eyes are of so nice a shape,
More like a Christian's than an ape;
Your cheek is like the rose's blume,
Your hair is like the raven's plume;
His nose's cast is of the Roman,
He is a very pretty woman.
28 MARJORIE FLEMING.
I could not get a rhyme for Roman,
So was obliged to call him woman."
This last joke is good. She repeats it when writing of James the
Second being killed at Roxburgh:-
"He was killed by a cannon splinter,
Quite in the middle of the winter;
Perhaps it was not at that time,
But I can get no other rhyme !"
Here is one of her last letters, dated Kirkcaldy, 12th October
1811. You can see how her nature is deepening and enriching:-
"MY DEAR MOTHER,-You will think that I entirely forget you
but I assure you that you are greatly mistaken. I think of you
always and often sigh to think of the distance between us two
loving creatures of nature. We have regular hours for all our
occupations first at 7 o'clock we go to the dancing and come home
at 8 we then read our Bible and get our repeating and then play
till ten then we get our music till 11 when we get our writing
and accounts we sew from 12 till 1 after which I get my gramer
and then work till five. At 7 we come and knit till 8 when we
don't go to the dancing. This is an exact description. I must
take a hasty farewell to her whom I love, reverence and doat on
and who I hope thinks the same of
"P.S.--An old pack of cards (!) would be very exceptible."
MARJORIE FLEMING. 29
This other is a month earlier :-" MY DEAR LITTLE MAMA,-
I was truly happy to hear that you were all well. We are
surrounded with measles at present on every side, for the Herons
got it, and Isabella Heron was near Death's Door, and one night
her father lifted her out of bed, and she fell down as they thought
lifeless. Mr. Heron said, 'That lassie's deed noo'-' I'm no deed
yet.' She then threw up a big worm nine inches and a half long.
I have begun dancing, but am not very fond of it, for the boys
strikes and mocks me.-I have been another night at the dancing;
I like it better. I will write to you as often as I can; but I am
afraid not every week. I long for you with the longings of a
child to embrace you-to fold you in my arms. I respect you
with all the respect due to a mother. You don't know how I love
you. So I shall remain, your loving child-M. FLEMING."
What rich involution of love in the words marked Here are
some lines to her beloved Isabella, in July 1811:-
"There is a thing that I do want,
With you these beauteous walks to haunt,
We would be happy if you would
Try to come over if you could.
Then I would all quite happy be
Now and for all eternity.
My mother is so very sweet,
And checks my appetite to eat;
30 MARJORIE FLEMING.
My father shows us what to do;
But 0 I 'm sure that I want you.
I have no more of poetry;
O Isa do remember me,
And try to love your Marjory."
In a letter from Isa to
"Miss Muff Maidie Marjory Fleming,
favored by Rare Rear-Admiral Fleming,"
she says,-" I long much to see you, and talk over all our old
stories together, and to hear you read and repeat. I am pining
for my old friend Cesario, and poor Lear, and wicked Richard.
How is the dear Multiplication table going on ? are you still as
much attached to 9 times 9 as you used to be ?"
But this dainty, bright thing is about to flee-to come
"quick to confusion." The measles she writes of seized her,
and she died on the 19th of December 1811. The day before
her death, Sunday, she sat up in bed, worn and thin, her eye
gleaming as with the light of a coming world, and with a
tremulous old voice repeated the following lines by Burns-
heavy with the shadow of death, and lit with the phantasy of
the judgment-seat-the publican's prayer in paraphrase :-
"Why am I loth to leave this earthly scene 1
Have I so found it full of pleasing charms ?
Some drops of joy, with draughts of ill between,
Some gleams of sunshine 'mid renewing storms;
MARJORIE FLEMING. 31
Is it departing pangs my soul alarms
Or Death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode ?
For guilt, for GUILT, my terrors are in arms;
I tremble to approach an angry God,
And justly smart beneath His sin-avenging rod.
Fain would I say, 'Forgive my foul offence !'
Fain promise never more to disobey;
But, should my Author health again dispense,
Again I might desert fair virtue's way;
Again in folly's path might go astray;
Again exalt the brute, and sink the man;
Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray,
Who act so counter heavenly mercy's plan ?
Who sin so oft have mourned, yet to temptation ran ?
O Thou, great Governor of all below!
If I might dare a lifted eye to Thee,
Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow,
Or still the tumult of the raging sea;
With that controlling power assist even me
Those headlong furious passions to confine,
For all unfit I feel my powers to be
To rule their torrent in th' allowed line;
O, aid me with Thy help, OMNIPOTENCE DIVINE !"
It is more affecting than we care to say to read her mother's
and Isabella Keith's letters written immediately after her death.
Old and withered, tattered and pale they are now; but when
you read them, how quick, how throbbing with life and love!
32 MARJORIE FLEMING.
how rich in that language of affection which only women, and
Shakespeare, and Luther can use-that power of detaining the
soul over the beloved object and its loss.
"K. Philip to Constance-
You are as fond of grief as of your child.
Const.-Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
Then have I reason to be fond of grief."
"What variations cannot love play on this one string I
In her first letter to Miss Keith, Mrs. Fleming says of her
dead Maidie :-" Never did I behold so beautiful an object. It
resembled the finest wax-work. There was in the countenance
an expression of sweetness and serenity which seemed to indicate
that the pure spirit had anticipated the joys of heaven ere it
quitted the mortal frame. To tell you what your Maidie said
of you would fill volumes; for you was the constant theme of
her discourse, the subject of her thoughts, and ruler of her
actions. The last time she mentioned you was a few hours
before all sense save that of suffering was suspended, when she
said to Dr. Johnstone, 'If you will let me out at the New Year,
I will be quite contented.' I asked what made her so anxious
to get out then ? 'I want to purchase a New Year's gift for
MARJORIE FLEMING. 33
Isa Keith with the sixpence you gave me for being patient in
the measles; and I would like to choose it myself.' I do not
remember her speaking afterwards, except to complain of her
head, till just before she expired, when she articulated, '0,
mother! mother I'"
Do we make too much of this little child, who has been in
her grave in Abbotshall Kirkyard these fifty and more years?
We may of her cleverness-not of her affectionateness, her
nature. What a picture the animosa infans gives us of herself,
her vivacity, her passionateness, her precocious love-making, her
passion for nature, for swine, for all living things, her reading,
her turn for expression, her satire, her frankness, her little
sins and rages, her great repentances We don't wonder
Walter Scott carried her off in the neuk of his plaid, and
played himself with her for hours.
The year before she died, when in Edinburgh, she was at a
Twelfth Night supper, at Scott's in Castle Street. The company
had all come-all but Marjorie. Scott's familiars, whom we all
know, were there-all were come but Marjorie; and all were dull
because Scott was dull. Where's that bairn ? what can have
come over her? I'll go myself and see." And he was getting
up and would have gone; when the bell rang, and in came
Duncan Roy and his henchman Tougald, with the sedan chair,
34 MARJORIE FLEMING.
which was brought right into the lobby, and its top raised. And
there, in its darkness and dingy old cloth, sat Maidie in white,
her eyes gleaming, and Scott bending over her in ecstasy-
" hung over her enamoured." "Sit ye there, my dautie, till
they all see you;" and forthwith he brought them all. You
can fancy the scene. And he lifted her up and marched to his
seat with her on his stout shoulder, and set her down beside
him; and then began the night, and such a night! Those who
knew Scott best said, that night was never equalled; Maidie
and he were the stars; and she gave them Constance's speeches
and Helvellyn, the ballad then much in vogue-and all her
repertoire, Scott showing her off, and being ofttimes rebuked by
her for his intentional blunders.
We are indebted for the following-and our readers will be
not unwilling to share our obligations-to her sister:-" Her
birth was 15th January 1803; her death. 19th December 1811.
I take this from her Bibles.' I believe she was a child of robust
health, of much vigour of body, and beautifully formed arms, and
until her last illness, never was an hour in bed. She was niece to
Mrs. Keith, residing in No. 1 North Charlotte Street, who was
not Mrs. Murray Keith, although very intimately acquainted with
S"Her Bible is before me; a pair, as then called; the faded marks are just as she
placed them. There is one at David's lament over Jonathan."
MARJORIE FLEMING. 35
that old lady. My aunt was the daughter of Mr. James Rae,
surgeon, and married the younger son of old Keith of Ravelstone.
Corstorphine Hill belonged to my aunt's husband; and his eldest
son, Sir Alexander Keith, succeeded his uncle to both Ravelstone
and Dunnottar. The Keiths were not connected by relationship
with the Howisons of Braehead, but my grandfather and grand-
mother (who was), a daughter of Cant of Thurston and Giles-
Grange, were on the most intimate footing with our Mrs. Keith's
grandfather and grandmother; and so it has been for three
generations, and the friendship consummated by my cousin
William Keith marrying Isabella Craufurd.
"As to my aunt and Scott, they were on a very intimate
footing. He asked my aunt to be godmother to his eldest
daughter Sophia Charlotte. I had a copy of Miss Edgeworth's
' Rosamond, and Harry and Lucy,' for long, which was 'a gift to
Marjorie from Walter Scott,' probably the first edition of that
attractive series, for it wanted 'Frank,' which is always now
published as part of the series, under the title of Early Lessons.
I regret to say these little volumes have disappeared.
Sir Walter was no relation of Marjorie's, but of the Keiths,
through the Swintons; and, like Marjorie, he stayed much at
Ravelstone in his early days, with his grand-aunt and Mrs.
Keith; and it was while seeing him there as a boy, that another
aunt of mine composed, when he was about fourteen, the lines
36 MARJORIE FLEMING.
prognosticating his future fame that Lockhart ascribes in his
Life to Mrs. Cockburn, authoress of 'The Flowers of the
'Go on, dear youth, the glorious path pursue
Which bounteous Nature kindly smooths for you;
Go bid the seeds her hands have sown arise,
By timely culture, to their native skies;
Go, and employ the poet's heavenly art,
Not merely to delight, but mend the heart.'
Mrs. Keir was my aunt's name, another of Dr. Rae's daughters."
We cannot better end than in words from this same pen:-" I
have to ask you to forgive my anxiety in gathering up the
fragments of Marjorie's last days, but I have an almost sacred
feeling to all that pertains to her. You are quite correct in
stating that measles were the cause of her death. My mother
was struck by the patient quietness manifested by Marjorie
during this illness, unlike her ardent impulsive nature; but love
and poetic feeling were unquenched. When Dr. Johnstone re-
warded her submissiveness with a sixpence, the request speedily
followed that she might get out ere New Year's day came.
When asked why she was so desirous of getting out, she
immediately rejoined, 'Oh, I am so anxious to buy something
with my sixpence for my dear Isa Keith.' Again, when lying
very still, her mother asked her if there was anything she
wished: 'Oh yes! if you would just leave the room door open
MARJORIE FLEMING. 37
a wee bit, and play "The Land o' the Leal," and I will lie and
think, and enjoy myself' (this is just as stated to me by her
mother and mine). Well, the happy day came, alike to parents
and child, when Marjorie was allowed to come forth from the
nursery to the parlour. It was Sabbath evening, and after tea.
My father, who idolised this child, and never afterwards in my
hearing mentioned her name, took her in his arms; and while
walking her up and down the room, she said, 'Father, I will
repeat something to you; what would you like?' He said,
' Just choose yourself, Maidie.' She hesitated for a moment
between the paraphrase, 'Few are thy days, and full of woe,'
and the lines of Burns already quoted, but decided on the latter,
a remarkable choice for a child. The repeating these lines seemed
to stir up the depths of feeling in her soul. She asked to be
allowed to write a poem; there was a doubt whether it would
be right to allow her, in case of hurting her eyes. She pleaded
earnestly, 'Just this once;' the point was yielded, her slate
was given her, and with great rapidity she wrote an address
of fourteen lines, 'To her loved Cousin on the Author's recovery,'
her last work on earth:-
'Oh! Isa, pain did visit me,
I was at the last extremity;
How often did I think of you,
I wished your graceful form to view,
38 MARJORIE FLEMING.
To clasp you in my weak embrace,
Indeed I thought I'd run my race:
Good care, I'm sure, was of me taken,
But still indeed I was much shaken,
At last I daily strength did gain,
And oh I at last, away went pain;
At length the doctor thought I might
Stay in the parlor all the night;
I now continue so to do,
Farewell to Nancy and to you.'
"She went to bed apparently well, awoke in the middle of the
night with the old cry of woe to a mother's heart, 'My head, my
headI' Three days of the dire malady, 'water in the head,'
followed, and the end came."
Soft, silken primrose, fading timelessly."
It is needless, it is impossible, to add anything to this: the
fervour, the sweetness, the flush of poetic ecstasy, the lovely and
glowing eye, the perfect nature of that bright and warm intelli-
gence, that darling child-Lady Nairne's words, and the old tune,
stealing up from the depth of the human heart, deep calling unto
deep, gentle and strong like the waves of the great sea hushing
themselves to sleep in the dark;-the words of Burns, touching
the kindred chord, her last numbers "wildly sweet" traced, with
thin and eager fingers, already touched by the last enemy and
friend,--moriens canit,-and that love which is so soon to be her
everlasting light, is her song's burden to the end.
MARJORIE FLEMING. 39
"She set as sets the morning star, which goes
Not down behind the darkened west, nor hides
Obscured among the tempests of the sky,
But melts away into the light of heaven."
On looking over some old letters of Thackeray's the other day,
I found this by Marjorie in her seventh year; it is copied by her
sister: it is worthy of the rest. The turtles who coo for ever-
lasting and fight" are not unknown to us in domestic life:-
MY DEAR MUD,-I hope you are well; give my love to Isa,
and I will send her something. I've been often at Ravelstone.
I've been acquainted with many very genteel girls, and Janetta is
a very fine one. Help is been confined another time. My sleeves
is tucked up, and it was very disagreeable, my collar, and I abhor
it amoniable (abominable 1) I saw the most prettyist two tame
pidgeons and two very wee small kittens like our cat. I am very
much acquainted with a small gentleman called Mordecai, that
I'm quite in love with, and another called Capt. Bell, and Jamie
Keith, and Willie's my great tormentor. A good-natured girl
gave me a song-book, and I'm very happy. I'11 go down and be
thinking when I'm eating my dinner more to tell you, Mud.
Aunt has got two of the most beautifullest turtle doves you ever
saw, they coo for everlasting and fight; the hawk is in good
spirits, it is a nice beast, the gentlest animal that ever was seen;
six canaries, two green linnets, and a thrush. I play in the back
40 MARJORIE FLEMING.
green, and bring in worms for the thrush. I get very long tasks,
and when I behave I get them short. Orme Keir is the greatest
enemy that ever was, and his thinking about business. My aunt
lets out the birds to get the air in her room;-the young gentle-
man I was speaking of, Mordecai, he's very funny;-James Keith
hardly every spoke to me, he said, 'Girl, make less noise;' and,
when there was a storm of thunder, 'take away all your iron;'
and once before he said, 'Maidgie, go and dance,' which I was
very proud of. I've forgot to say, but I've four lovers, the other
one is Harry Watson, a very delightful boy."-[This 'very delight-
ful boy' was the venerable founder of the Fine Arts Chair in our
University.]-" Help is very like a tiger when he bites his fleas, a
fine, gentle, wise creetyer. Willie was at the moors, but he soon
came back again, for the moors was like a fish pond. The whole
house plagues me about 'Come haste to the Wedding,' for there
is no sense in it; they think, because it is an Merican, Eliza
Purves taught me, they plague me about it exceeding much.
I'm affronted to say it, it is so awkward. Remember your dear
Madgy. Amen. Finis."
MA ge lWIT4G