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Ae Mair Part, & The Last

Ae Mair Part, & The Last

I had no gay Highland piper at my ain weddin, but the lads and lassies gathered round us; and as some o' them could play a spring or twa, what we were short o' in music, we made up in noise. Mr. McGelpin performed the ceremony in a maist impressive manner, and when it was a' o'er he said to us—“Janet and Colin—Colin and Janet, I hae been the the chosen instrument o' couplin’ twa honest hearts in the unbreakable circle o' matrimony. See till't that ye gang through life wi' mathematical exactitude, and ye'll solve a problem that the wise men o' the earth hae perplexed themsel's owre for ages. For if ye canna aye square the circle; it needs but a wee giein' and takin' on either side, to circle the square.”

And now what think ye o' Colin? “Jenny,” he said till me afore a' the folk,” ye'll tint your snood for gude an' a’ noo; but I hae a snood that ye tint lang syne, when ye rin awa' frae me up the yairdie wi' killed coat an' legs as Nature made ‘em.” And pittin' page 80 his hand intil his breast, he pu'd oot the blue ribbon that got cast awa when he and Mr. Renwick came to the burn side the day I tauld ye o' at the commencin' o’ my story. Sae I gat it back when, as I said, it was o' nae mair use to me.

Jock Howieson, as ye may certify, was at the weddin'. He had made his peace wi' Maggie, and gi'en his word—” sure's death “—he wadna contrive ony mair puddock pies. An' to dae me the mair honour he had gotten a special song for the occasion. Minister McGelpin ca'd it—

An Epithalamium in the Doric

Far ye're gaein, Colin, Colin;
Far awa ayont the sea;
Mony a heart that lo'es ye, Colin,
Sair will at the pairtin' be.

Wha's that wi' ye, Colin, Colin?
Wha's the bonnie, blushin' bride?
Blossom o' the muirlands, Colin,
Fairest flower o' Carrickside.

Wear it brawly, Colin, Colin—
Wear it brawly in your breast;
No a thorn upon it, Colin,
No a thorn to gie unrest.

Peace gae wi' ye, Colin, Colin,
Peace and joy your steps attend,
Health be yours, and pleasure, Colin,
Fortune aye her favours send.

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Ither Janets, Colin, Colin—
Ither Colins by your knce,
Time will gather round ye, Colin,
In your hame ayont the sea.

Tak’ the heather, Colin, Colin—
Tak’ the heather in your hand;
Plant it whaur ye're gaein, Colin,
Emblem o' the faitherland.

Gee your way, then, Colin, Colin—
Gae your way ayont the sea;
In the fresh young far-lands, Colin,
Ither Scotlands there shall be.

Jock's song was suited to the occasion, for Colin aye held to his notion o' comin’ out to Otago, and I bless the day when we did sae. We sailed oot o' Greenock in November, in the Philip Laing, wi' Captain Ellis as commander, and Mr Burns gaed wi' us as minister, just as Colin had said. And in April following we landed at Port Chalmers, after lang weary wanderin owre the pathless ocean. Colin richtly considered that there was mair opportunity for a steady strivin' man in a new country than in an auld ane, and that there is sae we hae abundantly proven. And as I tell Maggie—that's Mrs Grant o' Gowanbraes—we hae no yet experienced ony inconvenience frae stan ‘nin’ on our heids.

I maun tell ye that the cost o' our passage and outfit was liberally paid by Madam Cranston. And my uncle Davie came doun till the ship ane day, just afore we started, and presented me wi' a fine plaid o' the auld clan-tartan—thistle-green an' blue. “I couldna gie ye a mair useful thing,” quo he. “There's page 82 naething like a plaid for settlin' matrimonial difficulties. If ever ye hae a dispute wi' Colin, just hap him in the plaidie, and dinna let him oot till ye ‘gree.”

The day we went on board the Philip Laing, Madam Cranston put her last gift intil Colin's hand. “It's only a common tinder-box,” quo she. “Spunks are no aye to be gotten in the wilderness, an' ye'll find the means o' gettin’ a lowe at orra times wi' the help o' this.” When Colin opened it he found bank-notes for fifty pounds intil't; and pairt o' the lands we haud noo were bought wi' the tinder the kind auld Madam provided.

My faither and his brither biggit a fine new house at Craigielinn on the site o' the auld byre; and they lived there thegither in peace and security till they were ca'd awa'. Davie was the first to gang through the gowden gate, but my faither was no lang ahint. Madam Cranston died in the full possession o' a’ her faculties to the very end. Her last words were— “Dinna fash me aboot my will. I'm gaein whaur there's an honest Judge, an' nae lawyers; and pit by the physic, for my body's past mendin', an' my soul's ayont curing now.”

And Colin and Janet hae travelled doun the stream o' life in comfort and happiness—

“Contented wi' little and canty wi' mair.'

No often has the plaidie been ca'd intil requisition; for baith o' us hae aye held fast by the auld motto—

“Aye be Leal!”

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