Next mornin' Maggie, now Mrs Grant o' Gowan-braes, if you please, went awa' wi’ her new guidman, in a perfect shower o' auld shoon, and of course the lave o' the Gowanbrae family departed wi' her. The prize piper played himsel awa' wi’ “Lochaber nae mair,” and the thrang dispersed to their hames. The Bailie and his pernickety son were to bide a while, having some business wi' the laird, and Madam had nae thocht o' leavin’ for a time. Mr Renwick also stayed on. ‘Deed the auld leddy wad nae bide to hae him lang out o' her sicht. ANd Mr. McGelpen was to stop at Craigielinn the week, as was his custom when he made his rounds.
Maggie had gien Madam Cranston a hint o' how matters stood atween Colin and mysel'. But I didna ken o't till one day when she marched me intil her ain room and bade me gae doun on my knees an' lay my heid in her lap. “Noo.” quo she, “I maun ken page 60 a’ aboot Colin Davidson. Dinna be feart. Speak oot as though ye were speakin' till your ain mither; an' dinna think ye'll hae hard words frae me. Eh, lassie! I was young mysel' langsyne. Sae speak out, my dawtie.”
Encouraged by her kind words an' the softened accents o' her voice, I unfaulded a' my sorrows wi' mony tearfu' sobs atween, and besought her to ettle her best to win owre the laird, sae that he wad accept Colin for his son.
When a' was said she lifted me up, and, lookin' straight intil my een, as though she wad read my very soul, she said,—“Ye'll hae tauld your story vera weel, Janet; an' I'm wae for ye that trouble should hae come till ye sae sune. Ye're owre young for sic a burden. But ye maunna speer at me what I will dae. Young folk see things through a fause glimmerin' mist o' excited feelin' maistly; an' I maun see Colin Davidson an' judge for mysel'. Frae what ye tell me, an' what I hae sifted oot o' ithers, he's a proper lad eneuch, though no' in a warldly position to wed wi' a Cranston. But I'll see aboot it, lassie—I'll see aboot it; an' I wadna say but gin he's as braw an' as gude's ye pent him we may mak' a weddin' o't yet.”
Ye may be sure this heartened me, and a' the mair when I heard her bid Mr Renwick send for Colin to come up to Craigielinn. He didna seem very willing to dae this; but Madam Cranston wasna a woman to hae her will disputed. (Colin sometimes says I'm a true Cranston in respeet o' that; but it's only when he's wrang himsel' that I winna give way till him.) “Nane o' your ‘ifs’ an' ‘buts,’ noo, Davie,” said she, page 61 settin’ doun her cane on the floor wi' a very deter-mined manner. “It's my pleasure to see Colin Davidson; an' surely ye wadna hae me gae doun till the Shaws to seek him.”
“I'll no send for the lad, Meddam,” quo Mr. Renwick. “There's nae need to acquent the haill strath wi' oor affairs. “I'll just gae till the Shaws mysel'; and I'll gie him Meddam Cranston's compliments, an' say she wad be proud to hae the honour o' his company.”
An’ wi' a hearty laugh he eseaped out at the door just sune eneuch to jink the stroke Madam aimed to chastise his impudence.
Colin came as Madam ordered it early next mornin', and had a lang crack wi' her and Mr. Renwick; an' I wasna allowed to see him only to say “good bye!” in the face of a' folk. But the tender glance o' his een warmed my heart an' keepit the lowe o' luve alicht. My faither an' the Bailie folk were awa aboot the farm, an' the minister was owre at Gowanbraes, sae that nane kent o' his coming but oursel's, and Madam bade us say nought o' his visit to ony till she gave us liberty. En! but she was a douce auld body. “King Solomon wrote that in the multitude o' counsellors there is wisdom,” quo she; “but gin he was livin' noo he wad ken better than to pit his hand to ony sic fule sayin'.”
That nieht I gat a bit line frae Colin. There were only three words intilt—“Aye be leal!”