The Baldwin Library
I m orids
SPRINlD'BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
I 1I /
And he opened his case, displaying a most tempting array of
--'------- ------ : _- .. .
,, - . *7_i_- -
JAMES NISBET & CO., 21, BERNERS STREET.
RANDALL H. BALLANTYNE.
JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.
IN'a remote part of the Highlands of Scotland
there is a romantic glen, surrounded by mountains,
whose tops rise one above another, in' picturesque
outline, till lost amid the clouds. The glen is
about a mile from the sea-shore, and just -at its
entrance nestles the little village of Clunie. The
mountains shelter the village behind, and a few
rugged rocks, and large boulders, with here and
there a clump of hardy trees, protect it, in some
measure, from the keen sea-breezes. Clunie con-
sists of one main street, and two or three smaller
ones jutting off from it, inhabited, with but few
exceptions, by a poor, but laborious and honest,
2 MABEL GRANT:
set of people. At one end stands a respectable-
looking stone house, square and white, having a
small garden in front, and on the brass plate on
the gate is written in large letters, Doctor
Evans." Not even the healthy play of the moun-
tain breeze can protect the villagers of Clunie from
attacks of sickness; yet, were it not that the doc-
tor possesses a small independent fortune, it would
fare ill with him in the secluded spot which he
has chosen for his residence. The other houses
are much humbler in appearance, some of them
being thatched cottages, and others mere hovels.
On a little eminence, a few yards to the right,
rises the spire of the village church, whose clear-
sounding bell, on Sabbath-days, may be heard
pealing forth an invitation to all, far and near, to
come up and hear the glad tidings of the gospel
of peace. The manse stands at a short distance
from the church, half-hidden among the trees and
bushes of the large, old-fashioned garden, which
encloses it on all sides. A pretty rustic-looking
cottage, a little wayup the glen, and two other
abodes of a somewhat superior kind, complete the
picture. But of these, more hereafter.
It was a lovely evening; the clear waves of the
sea sparkled in the sunlight and dashed them-
A HIGHLAND STORY. 3
selves in tiny ripples on the yellow sand, as if in-
viting the little fisher children who were playing
about, to come and join in their gambols. Not a
breath of air disturbed the scene; and far up in
the glen, the many-coloured leaves, which thickly-
strewed the ground, had ceased chasing each other,
and were now resting, after the weary activities
of the day. Groups of children gambolled along
the margin of the waves, their merry little voices
ringing out loud and clear in the still atmosphere,
and floating far away over ,the glassy sea, till they
mingled with the wild but sweet cries of the gulls
that soared high up in the sky, or sported about
on the almost imperceptible horizon. Large
boulders studded the beach here and there, and,
circling their base, were little pools of water, left
by the receding tide. Here.might be seen groups
of eager little faces: some watching with intense
anxiety the movements of certain tiny boats and
ships, which slowly moved on the surface of their
little sea; others gazing with ardent looks at
motionless, but very wary shrimps, which seemed
to find a special-one might almost say wicked-
enjoyment in remaining as if fascinated, until
their cautious pursuers had slowly, painfully, ad-
vanced their fingers to within a hair's-breadth of
4 MABEL GRANT:
their backs, and then-darting into invisibility !
A short distance to the right of the village, a little
quay stretched out into the water, and curved
round towards the end of it, so as to form a small,
but secure harbour. Here a busy, but by no
means bustling scene presented itself. Fishermen
sat upon spars and barrels, occupied in repairing
their nets or mending the tackling of their boats,
which floated in great numbers within the basin,
awaiting a favouring breeze to unfurl their sails
and cruise out to fish for herrings, which abound
in these waters. And wild, picturesque-looking
fellows these fishermen were, too, with their blue,
red, and striped shirts, loose canvas trousers, scarlet
caps, and dark, bronzed faces, giving them the ap-
pearance of the pirates and red rovers of whom
we have so often read and dreamed. The careless
freedom of their gait, too, and the short black
pipes which ornamented their mouths, helped not
a little to increase the wildness of their appear-
ance. A considerable distance out upon the sea,
a boat might be seen slowly approaching the pier,
while the splash of the oars, and the faint murmur
of a sailor's song, broke sweetly on the listening
ear; and far out upon the very verge of the hori-
zon floated a fairy-like schooner, which seemed as
A HIGHLAND STORY. 5
if uncertain whether to rest on its native element,
or to rise into the air and soar away with the white
sea-gulls, which looked nearly as large in the de-
ceptive haze that floated tremulously on the sea.
It was one of these bright, joyous evenings which
make us feel as if it were absolutely wrong to go
about our ordinary occupation, instead of rushing
out and away over the verdant fields and up the
sunny steeps of the mountains, whence we might
drink in, at one wide glance, all the bright objects
of beauty which have been spread so plentifully
around us by the kind and bountiful hand of our
heavenly Father. Wherever the eye rested, all
looked happy, bright, and tranquil. Sorrow, sin,
suffering were things that seemed to be inconsis-
tent with such apparent gladness. The air was
balmy and cool and healthful Yon riotous
little urchin who runs wildly over the yellow
sand, with his trousers tucked up, and his little
feet dashing through every pool of water
that crosses his path-surely that smiling,
happy face is never marred by an angry frown,
or moistened by a bitter tear. And yon
white cottage at the turn of the bay, with
the green painted porch before the door, covered
over with creepers and honeysuckle, which
G MABEL GRANT:
looks as if it had been got up with the design of
tempting passers-by to pause and step in; and
the field of beans beside it, so tall and strong,
that they remind us of the famous Jack who
climbed up by one of these stalks into Fairy-land
-can it be, that so sweet a cottage is the abode
of long-protracted sickness, and that there dwells
there one who never feels the freshness of that
balmy air, and never basks in the beams of yon
brilliant sun Ah there are many such; and
even in the sequestered village of Clunie there
were some whom the warm sunshine could not
gladden, and to whom the beautiful world was
cold and dreary. Yet it is sweet to think that in
those lowly cottages, there were others ivhose
hearts were gladdened by another sun-whose
crushed and sorrowing spirits were cheered by the
voice of Jesus, speaking peace to souls on whom
the outward beauties of nature were incapable
of producing the emotions of either sorrow or
The manse looked the very abode of peace; its
old grey walls were sunning themselves in the
glowing light of an -autumnal sun, which, ere it
set, was pouring on hill and dale a flood of gold,.
and making the earth brightest at the moment it
HIGHLAND STORY. 7
was about to disappear and leave it in gloom.
The sunset of this evening was'an emblem of
what was occurring within the walls of the manse,
for the minister was passing away to his rest.
He who had been for many years more than a
father to his rustic charge-who had largely
shared in their joys and their sorrows-who had
taught them the way of life, and himself walked
before them in all the loveliness of the gospel-
was about to leave them, and to bid adieu to his
sorrowing family and flock.
Mr Grant was a man in the prime of life, but
consumption had laid its withering blight upon
him; and during the last few weeks he had been
-gradually sinking. The red beams of the setting
sun shone into the room where the sick man lay,
and lighted up his wasted features, pale with the
hues of death; but a far brighter light shone
forth from within; and, in the glad smile and
kindling eye, all present felt convinced that the
dawn of glory was near. Mrs Grant knelt beside
the bed, holding one of her husband's hands in
hers, and from time to time wiping away the per-
spiration which gathered on his forehead. A boy
and girl stood near, endeavouring to repress the
sobs which struggled in their bosoms; and the
8 MABEL GRANT:
only sound which broke the solemn stillness of
the scene, was the voice of the dying man.
Mary," he said-and his voice grew clear and
strong,-" Mary, I feel that my hour has come,
but, blessed be God, I do not fear death; I know
that my Redeemer liveth, and because He lives, I
shall live also. Are you willing to let me go, my
beloved wife ? If ye loved me, ye would rejoice
because I said, I go to my Father.' "
Mrs Grant strove to reply, but no sound issued
from her lips, and she merely bent her head in
token of acquiescence.
"I am going home, Mary," he continued
"home, to be for ever with the Lord. Oh, what
mercy what grace towards the chief of sinners !
Can you not help me to praise Him who has
given me the victory through our Lord Jesus
Again Mrs Grant strove to reply, and this time
a flood of tears came to her relief; and resting
her head on her hand, she gave way for a few
minutes to the deep emotions of her heart; then
raising her eyes to his, replied with some degree
of composure, Yes, James, I can praise the
Lord on your behalf; but, oh! this is a bitter
and a sore trial !"
A HIGHLAND STORY. 9
'Come here, Norman, my boy; come here, my
sweet Mabel; let me speak to you while I have
The children came forward; and Mabel, throw-
ing herself on the bed, burst into such a passion-
ate fit of weeping, that Mrs Grant's fortitude
again gave way, and for a brief space grief had
"This is wrong, Mabel," at length said Mrs
Grant; and, drawing the weeping child to her
bosom, she soothed her, gently yet firmly bidding
her be still, and not agitate her father. With a
violent effort Mabel subdued her passionate
grief, and, brushing away her tears, lifted her
sorrowful little face towards her father. "I am
quiet now, papa," she said; "speak to us, dear
In few but solemn words, the dying father
besought his children to seek the Lord in the
days of their youth, and to be obedient to their
mother; and then making them draw near, he
placed his hands on their heads, and slowly and
with difficulty repeated the words, "The Lord
Sbless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make His face
shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee : the
Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give
10 MABEL GRANT:
thee peace." He then beckoned to his wife to
remove them, and asked if any of his parishioners
were in the house. On being informed that
several of the- elders were in the next room,
anxious to see him if he felt able for the exer-
"Let them come in," he said ; "and call the
servants also while I have strength, I would
fain use it in telling of the Lord's mercy to my
soul, and how he supports me in a dying hour."
Several members of the congregation then
entered, and among them Dr Evans, who,
although he felt that his medical skill was now
useless, yet longed to hear once more words of
comfort and instruction from the lips of his
beloved pastor. Mattie and Susan, the maids,
their eyes red with weeping, stood in a corner of
After a short greeting, Mr Grant raised him-
self on his pillow, and thus addressed them : "I
have sent for you, my friends, to tell you how
bountifully the Lord has dealt with me, that you
too may be encouraged to trust in Him. I feel
that I have but a short time to live; my strength
is fast ebbing away; but I cannot depart without
telling you what a good master Christ has been
A IIGIILAND STORY. 11
to me. He has washed me in His own blood;
He is taking me home to glory; and now my only
sorrow is,'that I have loved Him so little, and
served Him so ill. Oh what a worthy Master !
oh! what an unworthy servant My friends,
cleave to the Lord, take Him as your Saviour,
ever regard Him as your best friend; and when,
like me, you enter the dark valley, you shall fear
no evil, for the Lord will be with you, your light
and your salvation. And oh my friends, after
I am removed from among you, pray that the
Lord may send you a pastor after His own heart
-one who will feed you with the bread of life-
that we may hereafter meet in peace at the
Father's right hand."
The minister's voice failed; he paused, and
seemed struggling for breath; then, bending
towards his wife, he grasped her hand, and
whispered, "Be comforted, my beloved; God
will be your husband. Train up our children
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and
remember this promise: A father of the father-
less, and a judge of the widow, is God in His
holy habitation.' "
The last words were uttered so indistinctly,
that they were guessed at rather than heard ; and
12 MABEL GRAT:
sinking back on his pillow, he sighed, smiled, and
Clunie Manse was a house of mourning for
many a day after this, but the widow did not
mourn as one who had no hope. The smile of
resignation was on her lip, even while the tear of
sorrow glistened in her eye. She devoted her-
self more than ever to the training of her
children, and resumed her visits to the poor and
sick ; and, while thus setting a lovely example
to others, her own soul prospered and was com-
forted, and she experienced the fulfilment of
the promise, He that watereth others shall
be watered also himself." In training Mabel,
Mrs Grant had but little difficulty, for she
was a singularly sweet and amiable child. Her
greatest fault was hastiness of temper. She had
keen and ardent feelings, and was ever apt to act
on the impulse of the moment; but her love for
her mother was such, that a sorrowful look was
sufficient, even in her greatest outbursts of pas-
sion, to bring her, weeping and penitent, to a
sense of her sin. With Norman it was otherwise;
he was very self-willed and obstinate, and it had
needed all his father's firmness to check and keep
him in the right path; and now that that father
A HIGHLAND STORY. 13
was no more, poor Mrs Grant had much difficulty
in restraining her wayward son. Norman was
bent on being a sailor. He had played from his
earliest years on the beach, and watched for
hours the ships which, from time to time, came
within reach of his longing eyes. Mrs Grant
would fain have had it otherwise. Her only
brother was captain of a vessel, and his long and
repeated absences from home, and the accounts
of the dangers he had run, made her dread the
thought of Norman's adopting this as his profes-
sion. She plead and argued with him, but in
At times, his mother's and Mabel's sorrow,
when he mentioned his wish, seemed to touch him,
and he promised to try and banish the thoughts
of a seafaring life; but his promises were soon
forgotten, and one sight of a noble ship, spreading
her white sails to the breeze, was sure to bring
back his longings with tenfold earnestness.
Mamma," he would exclaim, "if, when Uncle
Hector comes to see us, he should refuse to take
me with him to sea, I promise you that I will
think no more of it." And so it was settled ; and
little was said till the time of the uncle's visit
14 MABEL GRANT:
A new minister had been appointed to Clunie,
just such a man as Mr Grant would have chosen
as his successor; for Mr Kennedy, though young
in years, was old in wisdom and Christian ex-
perience; but he did not at once come to his new
charge, being employed by the Church in mission-
ary labours in a distant part of the country; so a
young man was sent to perform his duties till the
This arrangement was most agreeable to Mrs
Grant, who felt keenly the prospect of leaving
the home where she had spent so many happy
years; and Norman and Mabel rejoiced that, un-
til spring came, they were at liberty to run about
their dear garden, and to sit upon the old haw-
thorn tree, on which Norman had made a con-
venient seat, and where, on fine days, they used
to learn their lessons, and enjoy the view of the
One morning Mrs Grant received a letter from
her brother, informing her that he would be with
her in a few days, and would then make all need-
ful arrangements for her and her children. He
concluded by hoping that, in her present deep
distress, her dear children would prove great coin-
forts to her, and that Norman would be a stay to
A HIGHLAND STORY. 15
her, and a protector to his sister. Norman said
nothing to this; while Mabel, throwing her arms
around his neck, exclaimed, Yes, dear Norman,
you will stop at home, and comfort dear mamma;
won't you, Norman Mrs Grant sighed as
she noticed Norman's eyes bent on the ground,
and heard no response to Mabel's affectionate in-
quiry. Mabel, my love," she said, "do not
speak of this subject to your brother at present;
wait till Uncle Hector arrives; and, in the
meantime, let us pray to God to guide us in all
our ways." Norman threw his arms round his
mother's neck, and fondly kissed her; then, quit-
ting her, ran hastily from the room.
Mamma," said Mabel, when her brother had
left the room, do you think Uncle Hector will
wish to take Norman away with him "
I hope not, Mabel; but I fear that when he
sees the boy's eagerness to go to sea, he may be
tempted to agree to his wishes."
"Perhaps not, dear mamma; for you see he
wants Norman to be a stay to you, and you know
he cannot be that if he leaves you and goes to
I must make up my mind to part with him,
at any rate, Mabel, for he is nearly fourteen years
1 6 MABEL GRANT :
of age; and now that he has no longer his be-
loved father to carry on his education, he must
be sent to school somewhere. Your uncle for-
gets that we are living in a retired village, where
the boy has no opportunity of getting on in his
"But, mamma, I thought you said the other
day that you were poor now, and that when we
quit the manse we are to send Mattie away, and
keep only Susan to serve us; so how can you
afford to send Norman to school?"
"That is true, my child; but by selling our
furniture, and living very economically, I hope to
have sufficient to pay for his schooling for some
time to come; and after that-why then, Mabel
-dear, we shall still have Him to go to who has
said, 'Your Father knoweth that ye have need of
all these things.'"
"Yes, dear mamma, you know my text for
to-day is, 'No good thing will He withhold fror
them that walk uprightly.' But, mamma, what
shall we do if we sell all our furniture? How
funny a house would look with no chairs and
We shall not sell all our furniture, Mabel,"
said her mother, smiling; I mean to keep enough
A HIGHLAND STORY. 17
to furnish a cottage for us. Will my little Mabel
be contented to live in a small and, it may be, a
scantily-furnished cottage, and to do with far
fewer comforts than she now has ? "
"I shall be happy anywhere with you, dear
mamma; and I dare say the cottage will be far
pleasanter than we expect."
The conversation was here interrupted by the
:Ientrance of Dr Evans, who came to ask Norman
-,and Mabel to take a walk with him and his little
.. 1...:,:- ii) the glen, where he would show them
.... I various stones, and give them a lesson in
i l..i ogy. Mabel flew in great glee to put on
I .Ir 1 .imnet, and to call Norman; and in a few
iil,,, i. they set off, one on each side of the kind
d..... t..r, who, since Mr Grant's death, had acted
the pal of a father to them.
At the garden gate they found little George
and Gordon Evans waiting for them, each carry-
ing a small covered basket. "Look, Mabel," said
George, holding up his basket; "look, mamma
has packed up rolls, and eggs, and sandwiches, in
case we stay in the glen till dinner-time; and I
have a cup, too ; so if you turn thirsty, M1abel,
just ask me, and I will get you a drink of water
in a minute."
18 MABEL GRANT:
"Thank you, dear George; and what have
you got in your basket, Gordon ?"
Gordon lifted the lid of his basket, and laughed
heartily at Mabel's puzzled face, as she peeped in
and saw nothing but an empty basket. It is
for pretty flowers," he said, in explanation.
"Flowers said Norman, laughing; "I fear
there are very few flowers in bloom at present!"
"It is not for flowers, it is for holding stones
in," said George. Papa is going to shew us
nice stones; and he says we may gather and
bring home as many as we please."
In that case," said Norman, I suspect you
will need my help in carrying the basket, my
little man ; for it is likely to be heavier on our
return home than it is at present."
Come along, my young friends," said the
doctor ; "we must not lose time; the days are
very short now, and I want to get back in good
A couple of hours' walking up the glen brought
them to the foot of the mountain, up which the
stones were to be found. The doctor chose a
nice grassy plot, and spreading his plaid over it,
the happy party sat down, and the stores from
the basket were produced. The children did full
A HIGHLAND STORY. 19
justice to the good things set before them, and
George, running to a spring which came gurgling
forth near the spot where they were seated, filled
his cup with the clear water, and, in a very polite
manner, presented it to Mabel; then re-filled it
for the rest of the party.
"What sort of stones do you expect to find,
sir ?" inquired Norman of the doctor.
"I ascended the hill the other morning," he
replied, and was fortunate enough to find a
couple of very good cairngorms, and I should
like to explore farther to-day."
When the children were sufficiently rested
they commenced the ascent, pausing every now
and then to pluck the purple heather, which grew
in rich abundance on the mountain-sides. After
a pretty long search, they succeeded in filling the
baskets with stones, which, if not very valuable,
Were at least quite good enough to satisfy the
little boys ; and Norman was in ecstasy at having
found a cairngorm, which he determined he would
get made into a brooch for his mother, the very
first time he should have an opportunity of send-
ing it to the neighboring town. The doctor
answered all his and Mabel's questions regarding
stones, and gave them much pleasant and useful
20 3IABEL GRANT:
information, until the setting sun began to warn
them that it was time to return ; so off they set
on their homeward way, Dr Evans carrying
George and Gordon, time about, on his back.
When they reached the manse, they found Mrs
Evans busily helping Mrs Grant in her prepara-
tions for a comfortable tea. We have had such
a happy day, mamma!" exclaimed Mabel. "And
look at our beautiful stones said the little boys,
eagerly. The ladies admired them as much as
the children could possibly desire.
And Norman has found such a beautiful real
cairngorm, mamma," said Mabel: "do look at
Norman produced the stone, which Mrs Grant
thought a very fine one. "It will take on a
beautiful polish, Norman," she said.
And, manmma, I intend it as a present for you;
I mean to get it set as soon as I can : wont it
make a very pretty brooch "
"Very pretty indeed, my dear; and I am
much obliged to you for your intended gift."
Norman had long wished for some pretty
pebbles to add to his collection of minerals, and
when lie first cast his eye on this stone, he thought
it would make a charming addition to his case;
A HIGHLAND STORY. 21
but now, when he saw his mother's well-pleased
face on receiving his gift, he rejoiced that he had
been able to practise this little piece of self-denial,
and he found that it gave him more pleasure than
the possession of a whole boxful of precious stones
for himself could have done. Want of generosity
was not one of Norman's faults-whatever he
had he was ready to share with others; and this
amiable disposition rendered him a general
favourite with his companions.
Soon after tea, the doctor and his party re-
turned home, and Mrs Grant and her family
closed the evening in their usual way, committing
themselves to the care of Him whose love can
make even the widow's heart to sing for joy, and
who takes under His peculiar charge the orphan
and the fatherless.
SoME weeks passed away, and still Uncle Hector
did not make his appearance. Business detained
him in Inverness much longer than he had antici-
pated ; and ere he arrived at Clunie, autumn had
given place to winter, and keen winds were drift-
ing the flakes of snow over the glen, and the
streamlets down the mountain-sides were swollen
Mabel, who was rather a delicate child, caught
a slight cold, and Mrs Grant judged it advisable
to keep her from school; but every morning she
brought her books and work, and seating herself
on a chair by her mother's side, the forenoons
were busily and pleasantly spent. True, there
were times when Mrs Grant was so saddened by
the recollection of her loss, that Mabel was fain to
lay aside her books, and, leaning her head on her
mother's bosom, they would both give way to
their grief, and speak of the beloved husband and
MABEL GRANT: A HIGHLAND STORY. 23
father who had been taken from them; but the
knowledge of his blessedness, and the prospect of
meeting him again, would dry their tears; and,
with chastened spirits, sorrowful yet rejoicing,
they resumed the active employment of life.
Dr Evans helped Norman a couple of hours
every morning, to prosecute his English and
Latin studies ; and he took care to prescribe so
much for him to learn at home, that the boy had
full occupation for the afternoon.
In the evenings, he amused himself with cutting
out little wooden boats, or in drawing pictures
for Mabel, who sat by him working, while Mrs
Grant read aloud whatever book she thought
likely to interest and instruct them.
One morning, towards the end of January, a
chaise drove up to the door. A tall, frank-look-
ing gentleman stepped out, and the next moment
Mrs Grant was clasped in the arms of her beloved
No one could look at Uncle Iector's clear,
sunburnt countenance, or at the merry expression
of his keen, black eyes, without being prepossessed
in his favour. With children, he was an especial
favourite; and, before he had been many hours at
the manse, he was seated with Mabel on his knee
24 MABEL GRANT:
(in spite of all her protestations that she was far
too big a girl to be treated in that manner), and
Norman on a stool at his feet, telling them anec-
dotes without number, and making them quite
forget the lowering gray sky and drifting snow
without. Norman's enthusiasm, while listening to
stories of the wonders of the deep, perfectly de-
lighted his uncle and when he learned that the
earnest desire of the boy's heart was to be a sailor,
he clapped him on the shoulder, and pronounced
him to be a fine, brave fellow.
What think ye, sister ? he said, turning to
Mrs Grant; will you let the boy go with me to
sea ? We shall see him a post-captain one of
these days !"
Mrs Grant sighed deeply, and the captain, see-
ing that the subject distressed her, hastened to
turn the conversation to ohler matters.
How long can you remain with us, Hector?"
asked Mrs Grant.
"I hope I shall be able to spend at least a
month with you," he replied.
Oh, that is so nice, uncle exclaimed Nor-
man; "a whole month only think of that, Mabel!"
Do you not think you will tire of me before
then ? he said smilingly to Mabel.
A HIGHLAND STORY. 2.5
No, uncle, I do not think so, because you
have so many nice stories still to tell us ; and be-
sides," she added, lifting her little head very
gravely towards him, mamma has smiled more
since you came than she has done for a long time;
so I wish you could stay two months instead of
Uncle Hector shook his head. In two
months I expect to be far on my way to China.
Business must be attended to, my little Mabel."
Uncle," said Mabel, after a pause, you
have called me 'little Mabel' three times since
you arrived ; I don't think I am so very little."
I did not say you were very little, did I,
"No, uncle; but I don't think I am at all
little; I am taller than Ellen Macleod, and she is
two months older than I am."
But you know, Mabel, every one says that
Ellen is sure to turn out a dwarf," said Norman,
Mabel looked distressed, for the fact is that she
was very little of her age, and, having a great
ambition to be tall, her feelings were somewhat
sensitive on that point.
"Never mind, Mabel," said her uncle; "you
26 MABEL GRANT:
know the proverb, Guid gear is put up in sma'
buik.' I wish we may ever get as much sense
out of that long-legged brother of yours. But
who is Ellen Macleod ?"
In a moment Mabel forgot her grief at being
thought little, and began to expatiate with great
warmth on the excellent qualities of her young
"Ellen is Captain Macleod's granddaughter,
uncle, and she lives at the Tower, and she is my
very dearest friend."
"I must get acquainted with her, then, Mabel."
"Oh yes, uncle, the very first day mamma allows
me to go out, I shall take you to see her. Mam-
ma likes me to have her for my companion ; for
she says that a little girl who is so attentive to
her grandpapa, and so diligent at school, is sure
to make a good friend."
I think your mamma is quite right, my little
Ma- I beg your pardon, my dear Mabel," said
her uncle, correcting himself; "and does this
friend of yours live all alone with her grand-
Oh.no, her sister Flora and her brother Hugh
live there also."
They are orphans," said Mrs Grant, "and
A BIGllLAND STORY. 27
Captain Macleod is, I believe, their only relative,
and most faithfully has he discharged his duty
towards them. They are dear children, but still
there are many little things which one would wish
to see altered in them-faults which only the
watchful, loving eye of a mother can detect."
"Flora never knows where her thimble is,"
said Norman ; "she is for ever losing her things,
and Ellen's clothes are always torn, and"
Indeed, Norman," interrupted Mabel, "that
is not quite true, for sometimes Ellen's dress is as
neat as mine; and you know, brother, she has no
kind mother to watch over her, and keep her tidy."
I know that," replied Norman; "but I am
sure I have heard mamma tell her a dozen of
times, that little girls should not go out without
first looking to see if their gloves want mending,
and if their bonnet-strings are properly fastened."
My dear boy," said his mother, I wish you
were as anxious to correct your own faults, as you
are quick in finding out those of others; how
many times during the last week have I told you
to give up twirling that unfortunate button on
your jacket ? I am sure a dozen of times at least."
Norman blushed and looked at the button,
which was now hanging by a single thread.
28 MABEL GRANT:
I always forget, mamma ; when I am busy
speaking about anything, up goes my hand so
naturally to this poor button."
And yet you have been constantly reminded
by me of this silly habit, and find it, nevertheless,
very difficult to give it up ; but poor Ellen has no
one to remind her that her fingers are peering
through the tips of her gloves."
During this conversation, Mabel had gone to
her work-box, and now came forward with a
needle and thread, to fasten on Norman's button.
I shall sew it on so firmly, Norman," she said,
"that it will be impossible for you to turn it round;
and when you feel it resisting you, you will per-
haps remember that you ought not to touch it."
"That is a very good plan, Mabel; I daresay
it will help to cure me of this bad habit."
"Stick it all round with little pins," suggested
Uncle Hector, and I prophesy that Norman
won't twirl it in a hurry again."
The children received this proposal with shouts
of laughter; and Mabel slyly inserted a very
small miniin pin, in such a manner, that the
point of it projected a little way, and then she
returned to her seat. Five minutes after, when
Norman was engaged in animated conversation
A HIGHLAND STORY. 29
with his uncle, up went the hand again, but as
suddenly was it withdrawn.
You cunning Mabel," he said, shaking his
head at his sister, you have made me prick my
finger famously !"
"Take out the pin, Norman," she said, laugh-
ing; I did not mean you to be really hurt, only
a very little ; just to cure you, you know."
"No, Mabel, I shall leave it in, for I am de-
termined to give up twirling my button."
The evening passed pleasantly away, but when
they rose to bid each other good night, Norman
was obliged to confess that he had pricked him-
self more than a dozen of times ; however, so
determined was he, that in the course of a few
days he had quite got rid of his silly habit.
"I shall never be severe on Ellen's faults again,"
he said to his mother; "I had no idea that bad
habits were so difficult to overcome."
For a few days after Uncle I-ector's arrival,
the storm was so great that no one could leave
the house, and he and Mrs Grant made use of the
opportunity thus afforded, of going over business
affairs. "I am grieved to find," said the captain,
on the evening of the third day,-" I am grieved
to find that. even with the strictest economy, you
30 MABEL GRANT:
have not sufficient to pay for Norman's schooling,
and then to send him to college; if your husband
had not unfortunately put his name to that bill,
you would have had abundance; but that sad
business has been the ruin of you, sister."
"Yet I cannot regret it, Hector, for my beloved
husband did it, feeling that it was a duty incum-
bent on him; he could not foresee that his friend
Ay, that was always the way with him, Mary;
always helping other folks, and never looking
after his own interests."
"The Lord will provide for my fatherless
children," returned Mrs Grant ; "I feel that He
will not leave us to want."
But in the meantime," rejoined the captain,
"the boy must be settled one way or other; how
old is he ?"
He will be fourteen next June."
High time, then, Mary, that he quitted this
little bit of a village. What say you, sister, to
giving the boy to me ? I shall have him in my
own ship ; and, though I am no great scholar my-
self, there is my first lieutenant, I believe he could
beat all the university chaps at Greek and Latin,
and he is a fine gentlemanly fellow besides.
A HIGHLAND STORY. 31
I'11 put Norman under his care, and when I die,
I'11 leave the little I have to the lad; and if a
seafaring life does not suit him, he may quit it.
Think well of it, Mary: the boy seems quite bent
on going to sea; if you thwart him, he will never
do much good in any other profession. Let him
at least try the thing; there is nothing like ex-
perience, after all. He may make this trip with
me to China, and then there will be plenty of
money to keep you and Mabel snug in that cottage
you speak of taking."
Mrs Grant was deeply affected. What she
dreaded had now come, and she shrank from the
trial. "Speak no more about it at present, brother,"
she said; "I shall give it a serious consideration
to-night, and let you know my resolution to-
"The sooner the better," he replied, "for I can't
bear to think of that fine boy being lost in this
out of the way place."
That night Mrs Grant knelt down in the soli-
tude of her own room, and spread out the whole
case before the Lord; and, having besought His
guidance, she considered earnestly what would be
for the best; weighing every argument for and
against her boy's departure. After some time,
32 MABEL GRANT:
she came, though with many tears, to the conclu-
sion, that it was her duty to allow Norman to go;
and having once made up her mind, she felt much
calmer; and when in the morning she communi-
cated her decision to her brother, he was astonished
at her composure and resignation.
To poor Mabel, Mrs Grant's resolution brought
unmixed sorrow, for Norman and she had been
playfellows from her infancy, and she loved him
with all the ardour of her loving nature. As for
Norman, when he found he was really to go, his
joy at the tidings was much less than he expected.
The thought of leaving his mother and dear little
Mabel made him very sad, and he could with
difficulty restrain his tears. He set himself to
comfort the weeping child, who clung to him, be-
seeching him not to go away and leave them all.
But, Mabel," he said, only think what
beautiful things I shall send you from China !"
I don't care for beautiful things," she sobbed
out; I can't play with them all alone; and I
won't look at anything beautiful any more, after
you are away."
And with another burst of tears she buried
her head in his breast.
After a few days the snowstorm passed away,
A HIGHLAND STORY. 33
the weary winds sank to rest, and the children,
once more at liberty, flew out like little birds
that had been long imprisoned, and while show-
ing their uncle all their favourite haunts, and
throwing snowballs at each other, the sorrow of
the approaching separation was quite forgotten.
The Tower was visited, and Flora and Ellen
invited to spend a week at the manse. Uncle
Hector soon became very eloquent in his praises
of Mabel's friend, and declared that, "now she
had mended her gloves, and sewed on her bonnet-
ribbon, and put a button to her collar, she was
really a very tight little craft."
A what, uncle 9" said Mabel, in astonishment.
Well, now, let me see how I am to translate
it, Mabel,-a very tidy little girl-will that
Yes, uncle, I understand what that is; but,
do you know, uncle, you say a great many
strange words, which I don't understand at all ?
Why do you say them, uncle ?"
"Because I am a sailor, my love, and sailors
learn a great many curious things, and generally
speak in a fashion of their own."
"And will Norman learn all these words,
uncle 1 "
31 MABEL GRANT:
"I dare say he will, Mabel, if lie is very
"Then I hope he won't be attentive, for I
should not like him to come back and speak so that
I could not understand him; I like to understand
everything that people say to me. You said the
other day that you were going to spin us a famous
yarn, and I wanted so much to see you spin, for
I thought it would look so funny; but you did
not spin at all; you told us a nice story, to be
sure, but then, you know, uncle, that was not
spinning, was it ?"
"It was spinning with the brain, my little
Mabel; and I am sure you enjoyed my yarn-I
beg your pardon, my story-very much."
"Indeed I did, uncle, and you must promise
to have a nice one ready for Ellen to-night; for I
told her you would be sure to tell us a story: will
you, dear uncle ? "
Not only that evening, but every evening of
the sisters' stay, did the kind uncle think over a
long story to tell to his eager little audience, so
that the time passed very rapidly indeed, and
even Mrs Grant was moved to smiles at sight of
the happy faces around her.
One morning, towards the close of the month,
A HIGHLAND STORY. 35
when the day's post was looked for with anxious
eyes, dreading the summons of departure, Uncle
Hector entered the dining-room, holding an open
letter in his hand. "Good news for you, Mabel,"
he said, smiling; "the Victory does not sail till
the first of April, so you shall have Norman to
plague you for a long time yet." Mabel was in
ecstasies, and the reprieve was a great relief to
"But Norman does not plague me now, uncle,"
said Mabel; "lie is always gentle and kind to
"Dear Mabel," said the boy, it is very good
of you to say so, for I am sure I used to torment
you often enough long ago ; but I don't think I
shall plague you any more-at least, I hope not."
"Are you to stay till April also, uncle ? in-
"No, my love, I must be off in a week to
Mary," said Uncle Hector to his sister, as
the party sat around the tea-table that evening,
"I wish you would give Norman and Mabel a
treat before I go away."
And what sort of a treat do you wish it to
be ?" she asked, smiling.
36 MABEL GRANT:
"I want you to invite all the little folks of
their acquaintance to spend a day here; and I
have got a first-rate amusement for them after tea."
Norman and Mabel looked eagerly towards
With all my heart," she said I have no
objections to do so, Hector; but I fear our friends
will not be inclined to let their children be out
late in the evening, in such inclement weather as
But why can't they remain all night "
Mrs Grant looked a little doubtful. The
manse is not very large, but, to be sure, neither is
our circle of acquaintance ; so let me hear whom
you wish to have, children, and I shall see what
can be done."
Uncle Hector turned to Mabel-" Whom do
you mean to invite, my love? a dozen, or two
dozen, eh ? "
uncle," replied Mabel, laughing, there
are not two dozen children in all Clunie ; but I
shall count up and tell you immediately those
whom, we would like to come." And Mabel's
face assumed a grave and important look, as she
began with her right hand to count the fingers of
her left, repeating aloud the names as she did so:
A HIGHLAND STORY. 37
" There is Ellen Macleod, that is one ; and Flora,
two ; and Hugh, three "-" And George and
Gordon Evans," interrupted Norman. Yes,
that makes five, Norman, and then "-here she
paused-" that is all, uncle ; just five."
Uncle Hector held up his hands and eyes in
astonishment. Five !" he exclaimed, are
these all the companions you can muster? why,
how in the world do you contrive to live, my
poor children ?"
We live very happily indeed, uncle," said
Mabel, and have often great fun together."
When I have Hugh Macleod to walk with,"
said Norman, I don't want any one else ; he is
first-rate at climbing mountains, I can tell you,
and can run and wrestle like-like-like any-
thing," he added, not knowing very well what
comparison to make use of.
Like a Spartan youth," said Mabel (who was
at that time. reading a history of Greece with her
Yes, Mabel, that will do ; Hugh is a regular
"And I suppose, Mabel," said her uncle,
"Ellen is all the world to you ?"
"Not quite, uncle; but I do love her very
38 MABEL GRANT:
dearly; and I love Flora too; and dear little
George and Gordon are such nice playfellows;
and then Norman and I play nicely together, al-
though he is a big boy; but I shan't have him
here long to play with me ;"-and Mabel's eyes
filled with tears.
"But about our party," said Uncle Hector;
"you can easily manage to put up five, sis-
Yes, Hector, I don't think that will be very
difficult. You shall sleep with me, Mabel, and
give Ellen and Flora your room, and the two
little boys can have Norman's; and Hugh and
you, Norman, must manage the best way you can
in the light bed-closet."
Oh yes, mamma," he replied, Hugh and I
can sleep anywhere."
"And what amusement are we to have after
tea, uncle ?" said Mabel.
"Why, the fact is, Mabel, that I have brought
a present with me from London, for you and
Norman, which I did not mean to give you till
just before my departure; but since you are to
have your little friends at tea, I think I had
better give it to you at once, and let them enjoy
it with you."
A HIGHLAND STORY. 39
Thank you, dear uncle, but do tell me what
Guess," said Uncle Hector.
"I never could guess anything in my life,
uncle, for I am so impatient to know at once,
that I can't take time to guess; so please tell me
What think you of a magic lantern, then, my
little impatient one ?"
A magic lantern! I like the name, uncle,
but what is it ?"
"Have you never heard of a magic lantern
before, Mabel ?"
"No, uncle; I don't think there are any in
Clunie; indeed I am sure there are not, for I
know everything in Mrs Macpherson's store."
I have no doubt you do, Mabel," said her
uncle, laughing; it would be pretty difficult work
to hide anything from those quick, spying eyes
of yours. And is Mrs Macpherson's store the
only shop in Clunie ? "
Yes," she replied, astonished that her uncle
should think more shops than one necessary.
"Mrs Macpherson sells everything you can think
of," she continued: one side has cloth to make
frocks and jackets of, and needles and pins, and
40 MABEL GRANT:
all sorts of things ; and then, uncle, the other
side has bread, and cakes, and cheese, and "-
"And soap, and candles, I hope, Mabel "
interrupted Uncle Hector, with a comical twinkle
of his eye.
Oh no, uncle, not beside the bread and cakes;
but there are plenty of candles, only they are
hung up all round the wall ; and then"-
Mabel, Mabel! said her mother, looking up
from her work, how that little tongue of yours
does run on "
Dear mamma," she said, I do so like to
speak, and uncle is such a nice listener. Do I
weary you with speaking, uncle ?"
"Not at all, Mabel, I like to hear you above
all things, especially when you speak sense."
Mabel does not often speak sense," remarked
Norman, with a wise shake of his head.
Mabel deigned no reply to this last remark,
but continued asking her uncle innumerable ques-
tions about the magic lantern, all of which he
answered to her complete satisfaction.
"But shew it to us, uncle ; do let us see it
immediately, and tell me what pictures are on
Not till to-morrow," he replied ; after
A HIGHLAND STORY. 41
breakfast I shall bring it down-stairs, and show
you how it is managed, and we shall ask your
mamma for a large sheet to hang up on the wall."
Mabel was obliged to rest satisfied with this,
and she went to bed to dream of magic lanterns,
with strangely painted figures, and numberless
white sheets hung up in every corner of the
THE next morning, when Mabel rose, the sun
was shining most cheerily on the large expanse of
hard, glittering snow ; and the wind having sub-
sided during the night, there was every prospect
of a fine day, to welcome the young visitors to
After breakfast Mrs Grant produced one of
her largest sheets, which Uncle Hector, to please
Mabel, hung up at once along the drawing-room
wall, that it might be in readiness for the even-
ing's entertainment. He then brought from his
room a large green box, containing the magic
lantern, and explained its nature to his nephew
and niece, showing them at the same time how it
was managed. There were several sets of slides,
each of which had different and very interesting
subjects painted on the glasses; and as Mabel
examined first one, then another, she began to
think that even Uncle Hector's stories would be
IMABEL GRANT: A HIGHLAND STORY. 43
cast into the background in the presence of such
a formidable rival as a magic lantern. Flora and
Ellen Macleod had begged and obtained a holi-
day ; and about the hour when they were accus-
tomed to go to school, they turned their happy
steps towards the manse, escorted by their
brother Hugh. Dr Evans' little boys arrived
soon after, and a merry day the young folks had
of it. After an early dinner they amused them-
selves in the parlour till tea-time, when Susan
came in with the tea equipage, followed by
Uncle Hector and Mrs Grant and there, to
the children's great delight, peeping over Mrs
Grant's shoulder, appeared the good-humoured
countenance of Dr Evans.
Children," he said, "I am very anxious to
see the magic lantern too; may I come in 1 "
Oh yes, please do, Dr Evans, we are so glad
to see you." And he was instantly surrounded by
the happy group, and greeted with a most cordial
There is a large white sheet hung up on the
drawing-room wall," said Mabel; "and the room
is darkened, and it is to be a wonderful sight."
"That is charming," said the doctor, rubbing
his hands; "and when is it to be shown "
41 MABEL GRANT:
Immediately after tea," she replied ; and I
do wish tea was over !"
So do not I," he rejoined, looking towards a
large plate of hot flour-scones, which Susan that
moment brought in and placed on the table; I
am very hungry, and those scones look most
The two gentlemen made the tea hour such a
pleasant one, that even Mabel felt the time pass
rapidly away, and she forgot to long for the magic
lantern. After tea, Uncle Hector slipped quietly
from the room, and returned in a few minutes to
tell them that all was ready ; and with glad eager-
ness the little party proceeded to the drawing-
room. Children brought up in towns, who have
innumerable toys, books, and scientific games, to
amuse them, can have little idea of the delight
which a simple magic lantern afforded to these
children, dwelling in a secluded Highland village.
As they entered the darkened room, a feeling of
delightful awe came over them; and when the
first picture threw its bright coloured reflection
on the white sheet, a universal clapping of hands,
and exclamations of wonderment, testified their
satisfaction. The first of the sets represented a
series of events taken from the history of Greece.
A HIGHLAND STORY. 45
There was a beautiful picture of Sparta, with a
number of the brave youths of that republic, re-
presented as going through their exercises and
games; and one picture there was which greatly
delighted little George and Gordon Evans,-that
of the boy who, having stolen a fox, and hidden
it under his coat, preferred letting the animal tear
out his bowels to confessing the theft.
"But, mamma," said Mabel; "it was surely
very wrong of the boy to steal."
"Yes," replied her mother; "only you must
remember, Mabel, that these boys were not taught
that stealing is sinful ; all that the poor little
fellow knew was, that hardiness and endurance
of pain were held in great esteem among his
There were many other pictures to delight the
children, the sight of which afforded more pleasure
than the mere account of them would do ; so we
shall content ourselves with saying, that the kind
uncle's present was thoroughly appreciated; and,
for many a day after, the children seldom met,
without speaking of the wonders of the magic
In a day or two the captain left. Mrs Grant
felt the separation very deeply; and Mabel wept
46 MABEL GRANT:
bitterly as he clasped her in his arms, fondly pro-
nouncing the sorrowful word-farewell.
Uncle Hector's departure made a sad blank at
the manse ; every one missed his kind smile and
cheerful voice; but the preparations for Norman's
outfit had now to be begun in right earnest,
and these kept Mabel and her mother so busy,
that they had little time for regrets. There were
shirts to make, pocket-handkerchiefs to hem, cloth
for jackets to be chosen, and, in short, such an
amount of work to be done, that Mrs Grant feared
March would draw to a close long ere her prepara-
tions were ended.
"Here are six pocket-handkerchiefs for you to
hem, Mabel," she said, one afternoon ; "you must
do them as neatly and as fast as you can; and,
Norman, put on your cap and run down to the
store, and ask Mrs Macpherson why she has not
sent up the cloth for your waistcoats; she promised
to do so early this morning; and then go on to
John Davidson, and tell him to come to-morrow
morning and take your measure."
John Davidson was the village tailor, and
rather eccentric in his ways, being also fully im-
pressed with the conviction that he possessed the
talents and faculties of nine men of no ordinary
A HIGHLAND STORY. 47
standing in his own small person. Norman set
off on his errand; and Mabel, drawing her chair
close to her mother's side, began to work with
Here is the pedlar, mem," said Susan, putting
her head half in at the door, twirling the handle
in her hand all the time she was speaking.
" Come in, Susan," said Mrs Grant, "and don't
touch the door-handle; it prevents my hearing
what you say." Susan advanced into the room;
"It is the old pedlar, mem, and he wants to ken
if ye have ony word for him the day."
"Yes, Susan, take him into the kitchen, and
tell him I shall be there immediately."
Susan retired, and Mabel, springing joyously
from her seat, threw down her work, and open-
ing her little purse, begah to count its contents.
"Mamma," she said, "how very nice that old
Jamie should have happened to come just now
when Norman is out! for I want so much to
buy him a present before he goes away; and I
don't want him to know anything about it."
I also wish to purchase something for him,"
said her mother; "so come, love, and we shall
see what Jamie has brought."
Good day, Jamie," exclaimed Mabel, dancing
48 MABEL GRANT:
up to the old man, whom Susan had placed com-
fortably beside the fire; "what pretty things
have you got to show us to-day 2 "
"Bless you, my bonnie young lady," he said,
stroking the fair curly head of the child with his
old and withered hand, I've got mony a pretty
thing to shew you: look here;" and he opened
his case, displaying a most tempting array of
goods. Needlecases and pincushions of every size
and colour were there, and little boxes and India-
rubber balls, besides silk neckerchiefs, and
numberless other useful things.
Mabel carefully examined them all, but could
not quite make up her mind as to what she
thought Norman would like. Mrs Grant having
supplied old Jamie with a comfortable supper,
now came to assist her in making a choice.
"I have three shillings, mamma," she said;
"that will buy something very nice for him:
don't you think so ?"
"Indeed I do, Mabel; what do you think of
this blue silk handkerchief for his neck ?"
"0 mamma, I don't think he requires one,
for, you know, you bought him two new ones
"True," said her mother, "I had forgotten
A HIGHLAND STORY. 49
That, I have been buying so much for him of
Slate; I fear you will find it difficult to get any-
thing which he is not already provided with."
What is in this other box, Jamie said
"These are books, Miss, nice bound books."
The very thing !" she exclaimed; "please
open it for me."
Jamie did so, and a goodly collection of books,
in pretty red, blue, and green covers, met her
Oh, how charming !" she said; "mamma, don't
you think a book is the very best present I can
make Norman, since he will have plenty of time
to read in the ship "
Mrs Grant having completed the purchase of a
number of useful household articles, was now at
leisure to look at the books. If you can find a
nice one, Mabel," she said, I think it will be a
very good gift for Norman."
"Here is such a beautiful copy of the 'Pilgrim's
Progress,' mamma; what do you think of it ? and
see, it is full of pictures."
I don't think you could possibly choose a
i better, and it is a book Norman is very fond of;
what is the price of it, Jamie ?"
50 MABEL GRANT :
"Three shillings, mem."
"That will just suit you, then. And what is
the price of those Bibles ." she asked.
Jamie told her, and she chose a beautifully
bound one, with references and marginal notes.
"This shall be my gift to Norman," she said;
"how do you like it, Mabel ?"
0 mamma it is lovely; how glad he will
be to have it!"
Have you determined on the Pilgrim's Pro-
gress then, Mabel ."
Before quite fixing, Mabel took another look
at the first box, and her eye again rested on a
very pretty needlecase which she had before
noticed, with rows of needles in it, and which
she longed to buy for herself. How much I
should like it! she thought; it is only a shilling;
if I could but get a book for Norman which
would cost two shillings, then I might buy this also.
"Well, Mabel, what are you thinking ofl"
said her mother ; you had better make haste,
else Norman will be back, and, I suppose you
don't wish him to see your present yet ? "
No, mamma, but- have you any other
copies of the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' Jamie, besides
this one ?"
A IIlGHLAND STORY. 51
"Yes, dear Miss," he answered, I have one
-a five-shilling copy-but I fancy that will be
too dear for you."
Mabel sighed ; but, as she looked from the one
box to the other, these words came into her mind,
" It is more blessed to give than to receive;"
and without another moment's hesitation, she
turned away her eyes from the tempting needle-
case, and put her three shillings into Jamie's hand.
I shall take this book," she said ; here is
the money for it."
The old man thanked her, and having received
from Mrs Grant the price of the things she had
purchased, he proceeded to shew Mattie and
Susan the contents of his box. Mrs Grant and
Mabel went up-stairs to write Norman's name on
the books, and they had scarcely done so, and
put them aside, when back he came.
"I met old Jamie as I was going down to the
store," he said, and he told me he was coming
here; I hope he is not away yet, for I want to
Go down-stairs quickly, then," said his
mother, "and catch him before he has packed up
his boxes ; he is in the kitchen."
Norman ran down-stairs. "I want something
53 1MABEL GRANT:
for Mabel, Jamie," he said; have you anything
pretty ?" Jamie opened the boxes, and the first
object that caught his eye was the blue silk
needlecase, and he took it up.
The bonny bairn thought a great deal of
that, Maister Norman," said Jamie, and it's no
dear; it's only a shilling." Norman bought it
at once, and also a small stand for his mother to
put her reels of cotton on ; and that evening, as
he was bidding his sister good night, he put the
needlecase into her hand. You must keep this
for my sake, Mabel," he said ; and when I am
far away, and you and mamma sit down to your
work, you must be sure to sew with one of these
needles, and to think of me all the time."
Mabel's eyes filled with tears. "O Norman!"
she said, "that is the very "-here she stopped
short, and then added, How beautiful! that is
just what I need, for my old one is very shabby
now. Thank you, dear Norman; but I do not
need this to keep me in mind of you, for I shall
never forget you for a moment! O Norman,
Norman, I wish you were not going away "
Norman hurried out of the room; he also
often felt the wish rising that he were not going
A HIGHLAND STORY. 53
The next day, when the hemming and stitching
were going on very vigorously, Norman placed
himself at the window with a book, but his
thoughts were wandering far from the subject of
his reading, and he felt it impossible to fix his
mind on anything. Mamma," he said, "as
the Fictory sails on the first of April, I suppose
I shall have to leave this a day or two before
Yes," she replied ; your uncle thinks you
ought to be in Inverness on the twenty-eighth of
this month. Do you know that Dr Evans has
kindly promised to go with you, and give you
safely into Uncle Iector's charge "
Yes, mamma, he told me so yesterday ; how
very kind he is "
You have many kind friends, Norman; but
in a short time you will be far away from them
all, and, with the exception of your uncle, will be
cast entirely among strangers. Norman, can I
let you go with the certainty that you will seek
Him who is a Friend that sticketh closer than a
brother ? "
Norman was silent for a time ; and then, look-
ing up into his mother's face, said, timidly, I
hope so, dear mamma; I have thought far more
54 MABEL GRANT:
of these subjects since it was fixed that I was to
"But you may be sorely tempted, my boy;
and, as yet, you do not know how weak you are.
Until now, you have had us to guide you in all
your difficulties, and to warn you when you were
going astray; but when you leave this roof, it
will be far otherwise. 0 Norman! promise me
that you will go to God in your difficulties, and
seek counsel from Him; and that you will never
forget to read your Bible daily. Will you pro-
mise me this, trusting to God to enable you to
keep your promise "
With tearful eyes Norman promised that no
day should pass without his reading at least one
chapter of the Word of God. But, mamma,"
he said, what a pity it is that my Bible is so
old the cover is nearly off; do you think any
one in the village could fasten it properly on for
"To set 'your mind at rest, Norman," replied
his mother, rising and going to her desk, I shall
show you the Bible I have got for you ; "--and
she presented him with the book.
Oh, you dear, kind mamma how beautiful !
what a nice Bible He opened it, and found
A ISIGIILAND STORY. 55
his name written in his dear mother's handwrit-
ing, and underneath, this text: Wherewithal
shall a young man cleanse his way ? by taking
heed thereto, according to thy word" (Ps. cxix.
9). Dear mamma he exclaimed, pressing the
volume to his lips, I shall love it, and read it
diligently, for your sake."
"Love it for His sake, dear Norman, whose
word it is; and may the Holy Spirit bless the
perusal of it to your immortal soul !"
Now that Mrs Grant had given Norman the
Bible, Mabel could not resist telling her brother
that she too had got a present for him; and when
he received the pretty copy of his favourite
"Pilgrim's Progress," his joy and surprise came
quite up to her expectations.
Time wore on; and, owing to Mrs Grant's
and Mabel's diligence, in which they were ably
assisted by Mattie and Susan, Norman's wardrobe
was soon very nearly ready.
He joined them as usual one day, and, making
his way through a labyrinth of working materials,
seated himself on a small stool at his mother's
feet, and commenced eating a biscuit, the crumbs
of which were soon scattered around him on the
carpet. Mabel, who was very fond of keeping
56 MAABEL GRANT:
things neat and tidy, as she used to express it,
looked aghast at the mess her brother had made.
"O Norman!" she said, "just look what a
carpet you have made." Norman looked cown,
and at that moment a little mouse peeped cau-
tiously out of an invisible hole in the wainscoting,
and, after peering about him with his bright little
eyes, fairly ventured out and nibbled the biscuit-
crumbs at Norman's very feet. The children
scarcely ventured to breathe, and watched with
great interest the movements of master mouse;
when, unfortunately, Mrs Grant let a reel fall
from the table, and with one bound the little
creature was back to its hiding-place.
What a dear little mouse !" said Mabel;
" what a pity it was frightened away !"
Hush, Mabel said Norman ; "keep quiet,
and perhaps it will come back again."
They waited a while, but in vain-mousie was
too timid to venture out again,-so Mabel went
on with her work.
Mamma," she said, the little mouse has
reminded me of a curious story I read the other
day in our German story-book."
By the by, Mabel," interrupted Norman,
" that story-book is mine ; but I mean to give it
A hIGHLAND STORY. 57
to you when I go away, for I really think you
could not live without it."
Mabel laughed; "I think I could manage to
live without it, Norman," she said; "but still I
do like it very much, and I am never tired of the
stories. I wish you would teach me German,
mamma," she continued, turning to her mother,
" and then I might read many more stories, and
would not need to wait till people translate
"But, Mabel," replied Mrs Grant, "I cannot
teach you German, for I do not know a single
word of it myself; French, however, I know, and
shall gladly teach you it will be a pleasant
employment for us when dear Norman is away."
Thank you, dear mamma," she replied, I
would like very much to learn French, and then
you know, it won't be so difficult as German, for
the letters are the same as ours. Mamma, may
Norman read the story aloud to us while we are
With all my heart, Mabel. Will you favour
us with it, Norman ?"
Norman went immediately for the book, and,
after giving one more glance to see if his friend
the mouse would not make his appearance, he
58 MABEL GRANT :
read aloud the following little legend of the Rhine,
~Tje ftouse obuier at i3ingen.
Near Bingen on the Rhine, there rises from
the midst of the water a high tower, to which the
following legend is attached :-In the year 974,
there was such a terrible famine in Germany,
that people were obliged to eat cats and dogs;
but, notwithstanding, many died of hunger. At
that time, there lived a bishop in Mayence, named
Hatto the Second, a very covetous person, whose
only thought was how to increase his worldly
goods. I-e looked calmly on while some of the
people were falling down in the streets from
exhaustion, and others were running in crowds
to the bread-stalls, and carrying off the loaves by
No feeling of pity touched the bishop's heart.
One day he commanded that all the poor and
needy of the town should assemble themselves in
a granary, and I," said he, will feed them."
As soon as they were all collected in the granary,
he closed the doors, set fire to the building, and
burned it to the ground, with all its wretched
inmates; and now, when the poor creatures were
A HIGHLAND STORY. 59
groaning and screaming in the midst of the flames,
Bishop Hatto exclaimed, Hark, hark, how the
mice are squeaking But his punishment was
at hand, for day and night mice ran over him,
and eat his flesh, and, do what he would, he could
not get rid of them.
At length the only means of deliverance which
he could think of, was to build a tower at Bingen,
in the midst of the Rhine, which tower may be
seen at this very day, and there he hoped for
repose; but the mice swam through the stream,
climbed up the tower, and eat the bishop up
Norman laughed heartily as he laid down the
book. Well, Mabel," he said, I don't think
much of this story, and it is certainly not true."
"Do you think not ? said Mabel, who had a
feeling that, somehow or other, whatever was in
print must be true. Why do you think it is
not true, Norman ?"
Because I don't think the people would stand
quietly by, and let their poor neighbours be
burned to death in that shocking manner; and
then, Mabel, did you ever hear of such clever
mice as those? Just fancy them swimming
GO MABEL GRANT:
through the Rhine in order to murder the bishop !
it's perfect nonsense !"
Mabel was forced to confess that, after all, it
did seem a very unlikely story; so she ended by
saying, Well, I am glad the poor people were
not burnt to death. What do you think about
it, mamma ? "
Mrs Grant, to say truth, had not been thinking
much about the matter, having a good many im-
portant subjects to think of; but she told Mabel
that legends were seldom true stories,-they were
something of the same nature as fairy tales.
On the day preceding Norman's departure,
the manse was filled nearly the whole day with
Norman's friends, and with sorrowing villagers
who came to condole with Mrs Grant, and to see
once more the dear laddie, their precious minister's
only son, and to bid him farewell ere he left his
home to become a sailor on the mighty waters.
Norman bore up well till he had to say good-bye
to his friend Hugh Macleod; he quite broke
down then ; and, as the two boys sobbed in each
other's arms, they promised that neither time nor
absence should ever diminish their warm friend-
ship, and they also agreed to keep up a constant
correspondence till they should meet again.
A HIGHLAND STORY. 61
The next morning Norman was up by daylight,
wandering over every room in the house, and
taking a last look at all the well-known objects
which met him at every turn. We shall pass
over the parting with his mother and Mabel, for
it was a scene of such heartrending sorrow, that
Dr Evans, who came with the gig to take him
away, was fain to hurry from the house, and
busy himself with the horse's harness, in order to
subdue his own emotion at sight of the sorrow he
had witnessed. Norman at length came out, and,
throwing himself into a corner of the gig, was soon
whirled away from his home, and in a short time
the curling smoke from the cottages, the pic-
turesque huts of the fishermen, and the quiet glen
of Clunie, were left in the far distance.
THE spring flowers were pushing their little heads
through the earth, and smiling a glad welcome to
Mabel, as she and her mother passed along the
garden walk, and took the road to the glen. There
seemed to be a sympathy between the flowers and
Mabel; both were struggling through a wintry
soil into the glad sunshine, and both were looking
with bright eyes upon the face of renewed earth.
Deeply though the child had felt the departure
of her brother, hers was not a nature that could
long give way to sadness, or shut out the little
beams of hope which came clustering round her
heart, suing for admittance. Her spirits had been
bent, not crushed; and, the first weight of her
sorrow over, she soon had gained her wonted
elasticity, and now ran gaily along by her mother's
side, full of happy anticipation, because they
were that morning going to see how their cottage
looked, after the papering and painting it had
MABEL GRANT: A HIGHLAND STORY. 63
undergone ; and full of eagerness and importance
was Mabel, for her mother had promised that she
should help her to furnish it, and might choose
from the manse furniture whatever things she
wished to retain.
So Mabel tripped merrily along, stopping every
now and then to pluck a little flower, whose near-
ness to her path seemed to plead that it might be
put with the bouquet she had fastened in her
bosom. And why should she not share in the
gladness of this fresh spring morning ? Had she
not had a long, delightful letter from Norman,
telling her how happy he was, and how soon he
hoped to be a big man, and to become a captain,
and then he would return to comfort the hearts
of the dear ones at Clunie 1
Mabel's heart grew light within her as she read,
and her vivid imagination passed, at one bound,
the weary distance which must intervene, ere
Norman's anticipations could be realized. And
now, was she not in her very element, going to
assist her mother, and be of importance, and as
busy as a bee ?
What youth and natural buoyancy of tempera-
mcnt did for Mabel, the power of religion was
gradually but surely effecting in Mrs Grant. Her
64 MABEL GRANT :
husband was gone, but she knew that he was with
Jesus, and faith brought near the glad time when
they should meet again; and though her only son
was now afar off on the ocean, she yet felt a calm
confidence, in the midst of her sorrow, that the
Lord would deal tenderly with her wayward child,
and she knew that all things would certainly work
together for their good.
And so they walked on, shortening the way by
pleasant talk, and forming plans for their cottage
home. Many were the kindly greetings bestowed
on them as they passed through the village. Mat-
rons came forward, busily knitting their husband's
stockings, each glad to get a smile and a kind
word from Mrs Grant; and the little ones came
flocking around Mabel, holding up their chubby
cheeks to be kissed, and I, I !ull.,. receiving the
flowers which she shared among them.
On they went, and entered the glen just as a
bright beam fell across their path, lighting up the
fresh new green, and making sunshine in the
The day favors us, Mlabel," said her mother;
"our cottage will look very pretty if this bonny
Yes, dear mamma," returned Mabel "but I
A HIGHLAND STORY. 65
must really think of a name for our cottage, it
sounds so strange to be always calling it our cot-
tage, or the cottage. May I choose a name for it,
Certainly, my love," said Mrs Grant, smiling;
"choose any name you please."
"Then, mamma, what do you think of Stanley
"I fear it is rather too grand a name for our
modest little abode. Think again."
Mabel considered a moment. Rose Lodge,"
she said ; does not that sound very pretty? "
Indeed it does; but I suspect there will be
no roses there till we ourselves plant them,
At this moment a turn of the glen brought
them in sight of the cottage. It was a pretty
white building, one story high, with a small
grassy knoll in front, covered with daisies and
cowslips. A sudden idea struck Mabel, and, joy-
ously clapping her hands, she exclaimed, "O
mamma! I have thought of such a pretty name-
Cowslip Bank; does not that sound beautiful?"
It sounds very pretty, indeed, dear Mabel,
Sand is, I think, a most appropriate name. How
lovely those cowslips are they are among the
66 MABEL GRANT:
prettiest of the spring flowers ; so Cowslip Bank
let it be."
Mabel ran forward as they approached the
door, stooped quickly to pull a few of the pretty
yellow flowers, and, presenting them to her
mother, said, Welcome to Cowslip Bank, dear
Mrs Grant smilingly took the flowers, and
fondly kissed her own little rosebud.
They entered the cottage; it was very small,
but very neat. A small, square lobby, just large
enough, as Mabel said, to hold a wee table for
Norman to throw his cap on when he should re-
turn; a parlour, two bedrooms, and a kitchen,
with a servant's room behind. That was all the
accommodation; but in Mabel's eyes it was a
perfect palace, for it was so new-looking with its
pretty clean papering, and she was to help to fur-
nish it; and then it was their own, and it had a
name now; it was not merely an ordinary cottage
-it was Cowslip Bank; so she skipped from
room to room, admiring this, proposing plans for
that, and, in short, quite pleased with everything.
The parlour had two windows, opening in the
lattice form, with large window-sills, most suit-
able for flower-stands, and this caught Mabel's at-
A HIGHLAND STORY. 67
tention at once. Mamma," she said, "these
window-sills will hold a great many flower-pots;
what kind do you think we should get 1"
I think a box of mignonette would do nicely
for one window," said her mother.
"Oh yes, mamma, the very thing; and perhaps
pots of China roses in the other; that will do,
then. And now, mamma, what do you think
about the furniture ?"
The painters had left an old wooden chair in
one corner of the room, and on this Mrs Grant
sat down, to observe things at her leisure. Mabel
spread her little pocket handkerchief on the floor,
and sat down beside her.
"I think, mamma," she said, the green
carpet that is in our study would look very well
I think so too, Mabel; and it is so much
larger than this room, that it will probably cover
one of the bedrooms also."
And then, mamma, after the carpet is on, we
must put a table in the middle of the floor: do
you think we can afford to keep the drawing-room
"No, my love, it is too expensive a table for
us to retain; but you need not be distressed about
68 MABEL GRANT :
it, Mabel, for it is so large, that if we were to put
it here, there would not be room left for a single
Mabel laughed at this. I never thought of
its size," she said; we had better think of a
smaller one; it would never do to have no
The small round parlour table seems to me to
be the most suitable for this room."
So it is, mamma; and the parlour chairs will
do nicely too : don't you think so "
Yes; and they have green covers, Mabel,
which will certainly please your taste."
Indeed, yes, mamma; I love to have every-
thing green about me-green frocks, green carpets
and chairs, green grass, and"-
"Not a green sky, though, Mabel ?"
"Oh no, mamma, the sky must be blue, bright
blue, with little white clouds."
Now, let us look at the other rooms," said
her mother; and, look, there come the painters
from their dinner; I dare say they would rather
not find us here, for, you see, this door has not
yet got its last coat of paint."
The furniture plans for the bedrooms and
kitchen did not trouble Mabel so much as the
A HIGHLAND STORY. 69
parlour arrangements had done, and they were
soon on their way home.
I shall send the gardener to dig that little bit
of ground behind the cottage," said Mrs Grant;
"it will in course of time be a nice kitchen
And may I have a little corner railed off for
a hen and chickens, mamma "
Yes, dear, if you promise to feed them regu-
"I shall be sure to feed them every day;
I could not let the dear little pets starve,
Then you may tell Duncan to put up a pal-
ing, as soon as you please."
Thank you, dear mamma. Oh, how pleased
Susan will be with her little kitchen and the
bonny yellow cowslips I think she will like
very much to live at Cowslip Bank; but what is
to become of poor Mattie ? "
Mr Kennedy's mother has written to say
that she will keep Mattie; so she will remain
still at the manse."
Mrs Grant sighed as she uttered the dear name
"manse." Mabel looked up condolingly in her
70 MABEL GRANT:
"You are sorry to leave the dear old manse,
mamma; and so am I."
"Yes, Mabel; I have spent many a happy day
there, and it pains me to think of leaving it; but
still, dear, I hope we shall be very happy in the
cottage. We shall have the presence of God
there, too, my Mabel, if we only seek it, and in
His presence there is fulness of joy. And then,
you know, the flowers scent the air as sweetly,
and the sun shines as brightly, on Cowslip Bank
as at the manse; don't you think so, love 1"
Mabel listened in silence, only expressing her
sympathy by pressing fondly the hand she held
"Will you repeat that little hymn about the
presence of Jesus, Mabel? I mean the one you
learned last week."
"I shall try, dear mamma ; it is called, God
everywhere;'" and Mabel repeated the following
Jesus, where'er I walk abroad,
Each work of Thine I see
Speaks of an ever-present God,
And leads my thoughts to Thee.
A HIGHLAND STORY. 71
I see Thee in the glorious sun
That gladdens us by day :
Thy beams illume the path I run,
And cheer me on my way.
I see Thee in the moon's soft face-
The way-worn traveller's guide;
I see Thee, full of truth and grace,
For ever by my side.
I see Thee in the stars of light,
That deck the evening sky;
Like them, Thy promises are bright,
When sorrow's hour is nigh
I see Thee in the lovely rose;
The lily speaks of Thee ;
And every fragrant flower that grows,
Wafts Jesus' name to me.
I see Thee in the boundless sea,
That stretches far and wide;
Thy love's as boundless, full, and free,
As yonder swelling tide.
I see Thee in the rock that stands,
'Mid tempests' rage secure ;
Thy promises, and Thy commands,
More firm abide and sure.
If thus I can, while here below,
Thy love and glory trace,
What must it be when I shall go
And see Thee face to face.
72 MABEL GRANT:
A tear was in Mrs Grant's eye as she turned to
thank the little one at her side ; and she felt that,
although she had lost much, yet the Lord had
given her a great blessing in the sweet child for
whose sake she was striving to keep up, and to
look at the bright side of things.
In a short time the little cottage was furnished
and ready for its inmates. Mr Kennedy had
agreed to purchase the manse furniture; and,
after the few things necessary for themselves had
been removed, Mrs Grant was glad to see that it
did not make much difference in the appearance
of the house; with the exception of the study,
which was a good deal dismantled, things looked
pretty much as they had done before.
I should be sorry," Mrs Grant observed, "to
have Mr Kennedy come home to a dreary, bare-
looking house; we must make things look as
comfortable as possible, Mabel;" and with this
benevolent wish filling her heart, Mrs Grant felt
all the less keenly the pain of their departure.
It was a lovely day towards the end of May,
when they bade adieu to their old home, and with
mingled feelings prepared to take possession of
Cowslip Bank. Dr and Mrs Evans insisted on
their dining with them, and then, said the doctor,
A HIGHLAND STORY. 73
"MAy wife and I will accompany you, and we
shll all drink tea together at the cottage. Do
you agree to this, my good friend ?"
Mrs Grant smiled through her tears; and
Mabel earnestly begged that she and Susan might
be allowed to go down an hour or two before the
others, just to get things made comfortable. To
her great joy, her request was granted ; and imme-
diately after an early dinner at Dr Evans's, she
set off, accompanied by both Mattie and Susan;
for poor Mattie could scarcely make up her mind
to leave her dear mistress and her sweet Miss
Mabel; she would just stay for a day or two with
them, she said, and help Susan to get things put
On their way to the glen, they met Ellen Mac-
leod. Good afternoon, Mabel, dear," she said;
"Flora has gone to take a walk with grandpapa,
so I thought I would go up to the manse, and see
if I could help you a little."
Dear Ellen," exclaimed Mabel; I am so
glad I have met you, for what do you think?
mamma has given me leave to put everything in
order at the cottage; and then she, and Dr and
Mrs Evans, are coming to tea, and I am to have
it all ready for them, and to make the tea my-
74 MABEL GRANT:
self! Will you come with me and stay to tea,
Ellen agreed at once; and they walked on,
chatting to their hearts' content all the way.
The two children were complete contrasts in
outward appearance. Mabel was slightly made,
and danced, rather than walked over the ground ;
she had a profusion of fair ringlets, blue eyes full
of animation, and a smile on her little rosy lips,
so bright and sunny, that it did one good to look
at her. Her friend Ellen was short and stout,
with black hair, merry black eyes, and a mouth
with an expression of firmness about it, which
plainly said that she had a will of her own, and
a strong one too. Mabel was timid as a young
fawn, and Ellen was bold as a lion. It was per-
haps this very dissimilarity of character which
made them such great friends-Mabel's leaning
and confiding nature being met by the frank, self-
confident, and somewhat patronizing disposition
of her friend. When they reached Cowslip Bank,
Ellen's undisguised admiration of house and fur-
niture quite delighted Mabel.
"What a lovely cottage, Mabel!" she said;
"how much pleasanter than our old tumble-down
affair of a tower "
A HIGHLAND STORY. 75
"0 Ellen, I wonder to hear you say that !-do
you really not like your fine old tower, with its
oak panels and carved figures, that make one
think of knights and ladies, and all sorts of old
funny stories ?"
"Not I, indeed, Mabel; I think they are ugly,
dingy-looking affairs, and make one think of
ghosts rather than of knights and ladies."
"But you know, dear Ellen, there are no
I know that, but there are no fairies either,
Alabel; and yet, I am sure, you think often enough
about them; I do believe you think you see one
in every flower in the garden."
Mabel laughed. Look here, then, Ellen,"-
and she ran to the window; "see what pretty
homes I have got for my fairies here Did you
ever see such lovely China roses ? "
"Beautiful," said Ellen ; and, Mabel, what a
lovely paper this parlour has it is like a perfect
garden How bright these blue convolvoluses
on it are "
The room did indeed look very pretty. The
green carpet was down, and had been swept till
not a particle of dust was visible ; the chairs were
ranged in nice order; the round parlour table
76 MABEL GRANT:
seemed to have been made on purpose for the
room ; Mrs Grant's small sofa was at one end;
and, at Mabel's express desire, the space between
the windows had been fitted up with shelves, up
to the very roof ; and in these were rows of their
choicest books. In making a selection from their
large manse library, Mrs Grant had chosen such
as she thought likely to be of benefit to her chil-
dren in after years ; and Mabel had gathered all
those which she knew to be peculiar favourites of
The girls found everything in the parlour in
such perfect order, that they had nothing to do
about the room, except to put a match into the
grate to light the fire ; Susan had suggested that
a new house generally felt cold and chill for a
day or two. There was soon a bright blaze; and,
to Mabel's extreme astonishment, the door was
pushed open, and in walked her cat, Muff, and
seated herself as comfortably before the fire, as if
she had never known another home.
Why, pussy she exclaimed, where did you
come from ? and how have you managed to find
your way here ?"
Pussy purred, and winked with her eyes; but
other reply it was not in her feline nature to
A HIGHLAND STORY. 77
make; so Mabel ran off to the kitchen, and learned
from Mattie that the poor beast had followed
them all the way from Dr Evans's, preferring her
young mistress's company, to the comfort of the
"Now, Mabel," said Ellen, "is it not time
to set the tea things? Where shall I find the
"Everything is in this cupboard," she replied
and soon the tea-tray was set, the bread and but-
ter put neatly on the table, and the tea put into
a cup, ready to be infused the minute their friends
should make their appearance.
"I have brought flour with me, Miss Mabel,"
said Mattie, as the child entered the kitchen; I
would like to make scones for my dear mistress's
tea ; I'11 never make scones for a better, for she's
a real leddy, that she is." And Mattie wiped her
eyes with the corner of her white apron.
Oh do, Mattie said Mabel ; mamma is so
fond of your scones, let us have a nice plate of
them for tea."
Mattie looked cheerful again in a moment, and
set about her baking with right good will; while
Susan began to brighten up dishes and covers
which were bright enough already, and to scrub
78 MABEL GRANT:
a floor, on which not even the quick, nice eye of
Mrs Grant could have detected a single spot.
Now, Mabel," said Ellen, following her friend
into the kitchen, I have seen everything outside
of the cottage, and a good deal inside too, but I
haven't seen your bedroom yet ; come, shew it
Mabel ran forward and opened the bedroom
door. The window looked to the back ; and be-
yond the little kitchen-garden, through an open-
ing among the hills, was caught a distant view of
the sea. It was a pretty, snug little room, with a
four-posted bed; and the carpet was part of the
parlour one. In one corner stood Mabel's little
white chest of drawers, which she had had all her
life, and near it was a larger one for her mother.
The room pleased Ellen very much, and not a
corner of it escaped her eye.
Now for the other room, Mabel," she said;
"let me see it; and what is it to be ? I see this
room is for Mrs Grant and you together."
"Mamma thinks she will make it a sort of
parlour," replied Mabel; but she has put a fold-
ing-bed up in it, in case we have ever any one
staying all night, and then, you know, it is to be
Norman's room when he comes back."
A HIGHLAND STORY. 79
"Dear Mabel," said the other, "I must come
often to play with you and comfort you, now that
Norman is away. But what is that ?" she ex-
claimed, as Mabel opened the room door; "a
pianoforte where did you get that ?"
Mabel's eyes opened very wide as a pretty little
cottage pianoforte met her gaze. Mamma said
she could not afford to keep our old pianoforte,"
she exclaimed, and here is one far prettier, and
quite, quite new! I really thing a fairy must
have brought it, Ellen."
"A fairy would find it rather heavy to carry
through the air, I suspect," replied Ellen ; and
she ran to ask the servants to explain the mystery,
but they declared they knew nothing about it,
and were quite as much astonished as the children
had been when they went in and saw the pretty
instrument. At this moment the sound of
approaching footsteps was heard. Ellen ran to
the window. "There they come, Mabel," she
said; be quick and infuse the tea." Mabel was
ready in a moment, and then ran forward to wel-
come her mother.
Mrs Grant was greatly pleased with the neatness
of everything, and much amused when pussy,
rising slowly from the rug, and stretching herself
80 MABEL GRANT:
to her full extent, came forward, purring a wel-
come, and rubbing herself on her gown. The
tea was pronounced to be excellent, and Dr Evans
gravely congratulated Mabel on having made such
a successful dIbut.
Mabel looked puzzled on hearing the hard
French word, and was about to ask what a debut
meant, when Ellen suddenly exclaimed, "Mrs
Grant, where did that pretty pianoforte in the
next room come from? Mabel declares that a fairy
brought it." Mrs Grant looked astonished. I
know of no pianoforte," she said; I did not feel
justified in keeping mine, as Mr Kennedy made a
very handsome offer for it; besides I knew it
would be too large for any room in this cottage."
And now Dr Evans was obliged to confess that he
had been the fairy, "though a pretty substantial
one, Mabel," he said, smiling. The fact is,
Mrs Grant, I thought it a great pity that my
little pet here should not be able to practise ; so
my wife and I got it quietly brought in when no
one was looking."
Mrs Grant felt much touched by this kind and
delicate way of conferring a favour; and Mabel
thanked him with her brightest smile on her lip,
and an abundance of bright drops in her eye.
A HIGHLAND STORY. 81
As soon as tea was over, she ran to try it; and
very sweet in her ear were the tones she called
forth. "Let us sing a hymn, Mabel," said her
mother; and all present joined with her in a
psalm of praise; so that the first sounds heard
in the cottage that evening, were the praises of
Jehovah, in grave, sweet melody.
MRS GRANT and Mabel had been visiting a poor
widow woman in the village in order to carry to
her daughter some plain work. Effie Fraser was
a pious, diligent girl, in very delicate health;
and being quite unfit for service, was glad to take
in sewing in order to support herself, and assist
her aged mother. Mrs Fraser was quite a
different sort of person from her daughter. She
was constantly murmuring at what she called her
hard lot, and she allowed the cares of life to come
between her soul and God, instead of doing as the
Bible commands-casting all her care upon Him
who cared for her. Mrs Grant often reminded
her of the injunction, Seek ye first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness, and all these things
shall be added unto you; but Mrs Fraser never
received this advice in good part, and used to say
that it was all very well for rich folks to be taken
up with these things; as for her, she had no time
MABEL GRANT : A HIGHLAND STORY. 83
to spare for religion; she had enough to do to
keep soul and body together.
Poor Effie was grieved to the heart at her
mother's state of mind ; and many an earnest
prayer did she send up to the throne of grace,
that one so dear to her might be brought to see
the value of heavenly things.
Poor Mrs Fraser !" said Mrs Grant, sighing
when she and Mabel were quietly seated again at
their work at the little lattice window ; "poor Mrs
Fraser she forgets that religion is the one thing
needful; and that, although she may do without
many things, she cannot do without that."
And she is such an old woman too, mamma !
oh, it is sad !" And a tear was in Mabel's eye as
she looked up in her mother's face. "I always
feel as if old people must love Jesus, namma, He
is so kind and tender."
".It is indeed very sad, my child; and it should
teach you the importance of seeking God in youth,
for the heart gets harder every day; and, if people
put off caring for salvation till they are old, the
likelihood is that they will never obtain it at
But does not Mrs Fraser know that she is to
die, mamma "
84 MABEL GRANT :
Yes, Mabel; but I believe she thinks it will
be time enough to seek God then."
But that is not being kind to God, mamma,
to live always without loving Him, and just begin
to seek Him when one is going to die."
"Indeed it is very unkind, my child, and very
foolish, too; for how does Mrs Fraser know that
she will have a deathbed ?-she may die in a
moment, as old John Ross did."
Or be taken ill of fever," returned Mabel,
" and not be able to think about anything; but,
mamma," she continued, "there is something that
has been puzzling me all the way home, some-
thing that often puzzles me, and I want so much
to ask you about it."
"What is it, my love? I shall be happy to
help you out of your difficulties, if I can."
"It is not exactly about religion, mamma; it
is about a great many things that I am puzzled."
"Well, dear," said her mother, smiling, "let
me hear one or two of those things, and per-
haps I may be able to help you to understand
"Oh, that I am sure you can, mamma. Do
you remember Mrs Fraser saying (and it was this
that reminded me of my difficulties) that she had
A HIGHLAND STORY. 85
no time to attend to anything but her body; well,
this made me dislike her very much."
And why did it make you dislike her "
0 mamma because the body is not half so
grand as the soul; the body dies, but the soul
lives for ever; it is the soul that thinks, you
know, not the body ; and it is so much nicer to
think of God, and heaven, and all these things,
than just to think about what clothes we are to
put on, or what food we are to eat. Don't you
think so, dear mamma ?"
I do, indeed," replied her mother; and what
more were you thinking of? "
Why, mamma, I was thinking that I would
not like to have a companion like Mrs Fraser
-a companion who thought only about her
"You are quite right, my dear; I should be
grieved to see you take such for your friends."
But then, mamma, Effie Fraser is quite
different from her mother; she loves God, and
thinks far more about her soul than her body;
and yet I would not like to have her for my com-
panion either; can you tell me the reason of this,
"Perhaps, Mabel, it is because Effie is in quite
86 MABEL GREAT :
a different position from you; she is a good,
industrious, and amiable girl, but she is not a
lady, and her mode of speech, her manners and
habits, are quite different from those of persons
in our rank of life."
Mabel looked very thoughtful for a little.
" Yes," she said, at length, I see that that is
certainly one good reason why I could not make
a companion of Effie; but still, mamma, I think
there is something besides that, and it is this
that puzzles me."
Mrs Grant began now to suspect what it was
that was puzzling her little daughter; but, as
she wished to give her, as much as possible, a
habit of thinking for herself, she said nothing,
and Mabel went on.
Dr Evans told me, one day, that we have a
soul and a body, and that we should not neglect
either; now, mamma, the body cares only about
food and clothing, and the soul cares about God;
but what is it, mamma, that cares about history,
and geography, and that knows about the stars,
and the birds, and the flowers ? That is what I
want to know, mamma; for one day I asked
Effie to tell me something about Julius Caesar,
which I had forgotten, but she did not know
A HIGHLAND STORY. 87
she said she had never heard his name before,
and that surely he was not a Clunie man."
Mrs Grant laughed outright at this; but
seeing that Mabel looked quite grave and
serious, she composed her countenance, and
replied : "Effie has probably never read a page
of history in her life, and she is, therefore, as
ignorant of Julius Cmesar as you probably are of
"I certainly never heard of him before,
mamma; but it is not about Effie's ignorance
that I am puzzled, it is about the soul. Have
we two souls and a body !"
"No, my child, we have only one soul, but
that soul is the part in us that thinks; and you
know, Mabel, we can think of God and Christ,
and of history and astronomy also ; it is the same
one soul which thinks of all these things; and
one reason why you cannot make a companion of
Effie is, that although she has got the best know-
ledge-the knowledge of God, yet she lacks the
knowledge of very many other things-things
which are necessary to render her a fit companion
for one whose mind has been cultivated. Do
you understand this, Mabel ?"
"I think I do, dear mamma. Then the mind
88 MABEL GRANT :
is not another soul, but just a part of our one
"But, mamma, the soul must have a great
many parts; for, although it is with the mind
that I think of Julius Cesar and astronomy, it is
not with the mind that I love you-itrTs with
the heart ;" and, as if to give emphasis to what
she was saying, she jumped up, and throwing
her arms round her mother's neck, gave her a
hearty kiss. "I like that part of the soul best,"
she said; "for it is so pleasant to love, and
surely it is the heart that loves, is it not?"
Yes, my child," said her mother, affectionately
returning her caress, and I am glad my Mabel has
such a loving little heart. Have you any more
questions to ask, or are you now satisfied "
I am not quite satisfied yet; but there must
be a part of my soul that tires, for I am weary
of thinking so much, mamma."
Run in to the garden, then, my child, and
have a romp ; it does not do to weary the minds
of little ones."
Mabel ran into the garden, and the next
minute her mother saw her busied amid the
flowers, her fair hair dancing in the breeze, and
A HIGHLAND STORY. 89
her sweet, young voice, which was as clear and
fresh as a young lark's, sounding all over the
garden, singing merrily, I love to roam in the
green woods free."
While Mabel was amusing herself in the garden,
Mrs Grant happened to look up from her work,
and saw a lady coming towards the cottage, and,
from the smile that instantly brightened up the
widow's countenance, it was evident that the
visitor, whoever she was, was a welcome one.
She appeared to be about thirty-five years of age,
was tall and gracefully formed, with quite the
appearance of one accustomed to good society.
On approaching nearer, one was struck with the
subdued, melancholy expression of her interesting
countenance. Her dress was of a simple gray
material; a muslin neckerchief of snowy white-
ness was crossed over her bosom, and instead of
a bonnet she wore a closely-fitting white cap, and
the brown hair which was parted over a fair high
forehead was prematurely sprinkled with gray.
Her eyes were large and soft, but very sorrowful,
and there was, altogether, something interesting
and foreign-looking in her appearance.
No sooner did Mabel see who was approaching,
than, leaving her flowers, she sprang forward to
90 MABEL GRANT :
open the garden gate, and then flew into the
lady's arms. Dear Annette," she exclaimed,
"how glad I am to see you have you come to
stay tea with us ?"
"Yes, sweet child," replied the lady; and
although she spoke perfectly correct English, yet
there was a slightly foreign accent perceptible.
Mrs Grant now came forward and welcomed
Annette (as Mabel had called her) with a very
"I have come to spend the afternoon with
you, if you will permit me," she said.
Most gladly," replied Mrs Grant; "it was
very kind of you to come."
Mabel showed Annette her flowers, and the
various improvements she and her mother had
been making in the garden, and then they went
into the house, and the two ladies seated them-
selves in the pretty, cheerful parlour, while
Mabel bustled about, getting tea ready. Making
tea was Mabel's peculiar prerogative, and her
mother could scarcely devise a severer way of
punishing her, than by taking from her this loved
employment. But it is high time that our young
readers should be introduced to Annette; so,
while they are enjoying their tea and a pleasant
A HIGHLAND STORY. 91
talk, we shall make her acquaintance-as far,
indeed, as that is possible. But very little was
known to the inhabitants of Clunie of the private
history of Annette, and among the cottagers she
was generally known by the simple appellation
of the Lady."
Many years before Mabel's birth, there lived
in a cottage about half a mile further up the
glen than Cowslip Bank, a gentleman named
Malcolm. He had been a farmer in his youth,
but having realized a small independency, he
quitted the farm, embittered to him by the death
of his wife and only child, and built this cottage
in the glen. He had an only brother, a lieu-
tenant in the army, who, it was rumoured, had
displeased his family by marrying a foreigner;
but for the truth of this report no one could
vouch, as Mr Malcolm never mentioned his
brother's name, there having for years existed a
coolness between them.
Some years passed away, and one day the
Clunie post-boy delivered a letter with a foreign
post-mark to Mr Malcolm, the contents of which
seemed to affect him deeply; and from that time
he withdrew more and more from all intercourse
with his friends, and grew more testy and
92 MABEL GRANT :
melancholy than he had been before. Many
such letters came after this ; and then one day
he went off to Inverness, telling his old house-
keeper to make things neat about the cottage, as
he intended to bring his niece back with him
from the town. In about a week he returned,
bringing with him a delicate-looking young lady,
whom he installed as mistress of the cottage.
She, as well as her uncle, declined visiting the
few families who lived in the neighbourhood,
and was rarely seen abroad. She appeared to
be sunk in sorrow, seldom smiled, and avoided
all social intercourse; but if ever there occurred
a case of sickness or distress in the village, there
"the Lady" was sure to be found, early and late,
mixing the medicines with her own hand, and
reading the Bible to her patients, in her sweet,
low voice-her kindliness and humility endearing
her to the heart of every villager of the place, so
that there was not one among them who would
not have done his very utmost for the sake of
the bonnie, sad Lady."
In course of time Mr Malcolm died, leaving
the cottage and the little money he possessed to
his niece. Mr Grant visited her repeatedly after
her uncle's death, and by degrees won his way
A HIGHLAND STORY. 93
into her confidence, and prevailed on her to go to
the manse, and become better acquainted with
his wife. From this period her reserve gradually
wore off, and Mrs Grant became at length her
dearest friend. She visited also at Dr Evans's,
and at the Tower, and every one of these new
friends learned to love and admire the interesting
Owing to debts of her uncle's, which she
was not aware had been left unpaid, and owing
also to some law arrangements, Annette found
herself, after Mr Malcolm's death, in such poor
circumstances, that it was necessary she should
take immediate steps to obtain a livelihood.
There was not a door in all Clunie, whether
among rich or poor, that would not have been
gladly thrown open to receive Annette, but she
would not hear of being a burden to any one; so,
after considering a while, she came to the deter-
mination of offering her services in instructing
the few children of the neighboring families.
Most gladly was her proposal accepted; and
in the improvement that was soon visible, the
parents had cause to congratulate themselves on
the blessing they had obtained in her for their