Obrazy na stronie

powers, which, to do them justice, seemed to be of a rare order indeed.

"I trust you are all enjoying your Auld Yule supper?" quietly enquired the worthy President. "For my part, taking example from the English, I say as little as possible during my meals, reserving the 'feast of reason and the flow of soul' for the wine and desert. Any more haggis, laird?"

"Nae mair, thank you; but I think I've a wee bit corner for a slice o' that fine tongue-a commodity I'm no overburthened wi'. Will you tak' a slice, too, Maister Student? -I thocht I saw ye lookin' wi' a sheep's e'e in that direction -eh?"

"You have kindly anticipated my wishes," politely rejoined the student; "and I will trouble you, Mr Smith, for a wing of that fowl before you, also, when you are disengaged."

"Wi' great pleasure," said the smith. "As for mysel', I'll stick to the haggis the nicht, it bein' mair in keepin wi' the national holiday o' Auld Christmas. Our puir ancestors, the Covenanters, would hae been glad to hae tasted a bit o' it when wandering o'er the mountains and hidin' in dens an' caves o' the earth."

"Aff on the wrang tack again," said the miller; "but the best way is to lat ye rin the length o' yer tether; and I'm thinkin' afore it's run oot in a nicht like this, ye'll be se chokit i' the snaw, ye'll be unco glad to get safe back again amon' kent folk at the keepin' o' Auld Yule, wi' a' the happy comforts o' a cozy fireside-ha, ha, ha!"

Thanks having been returned by the student, the cloth and et ceteras were removed from the table, leaving its wellpolished mahogany exposed to view, as a fitting testimony to the care and tidiness of our excellent hostess.

While the punch-bowl and necessary adjuncts are being brought in I may as well explain that the table at which our worthies sat was of a shape perfectly round, and as Knights of the Round table, except the arm-chair on which the presid

ent sat, there was no other mark visible to distinguish one member from another.

"Are your glasses all charged, gentlemen?" enquired the Chairman. "You are aware we only drink to two toasts at our meetings, viz.-'The King and Constitution,' and 'Our noble Selves.' Let them be given at once, that we may proceed to the more important business of the evening. To the King and Constitution,' gentlemen."

The toast having been duly honoured, the Miller was called upon to give "Our Noble Selves," which he did in almost as brief terms as the President had given the previous toast, with this difference, however, that the former insisted that his toast should be drunk to with all the honours, together with a tremendous "hip, hip, hurrah," as a necessary and suitable conclusion to his speech.

All having resumed their seats, the Student proposed that, as the night was fast wearing away, the real business of the evening should now be proceeded with.

"Ye'll be sittin' on heckle-pins," satirically said the Laird, "till ye get quit o' the burthen o' your sang, Maister Student, eh?" "It will come to your ain turn by-and-by, Laird," quietly said the Smith. "Ye'll nae doot astonish us a' the nicht wi’ your learnin'."

"Well then, gentlemen," said the President, glad to change at once the current of conversation, "to encourage you in your poetical efforts, I will, without the least hesitation, give you the trifle I have composed for this evening's entertainment." The Dominie then, in a fine clear, musical voice, sang


Air" Bonnie Wood o' Craigie Lee."

Soft flow thy streams, bright bloom thy flowers,
Thy birdies liltin' as of yore,

The music of thy fragrant bowers

The voice of love awakes once more.

Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,

Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Life's early spring-time spent in thee,
My blessings on thee evermore.

And must I leave thee, bonnie Howe,
To brave the broad Atlantic's roar,
By gowand lea and broomy knowe,
Are all my youthful ramblings o'er?

Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Life's joyous summer spent in thee,
And must I leave thee evermore !

Far from thy vocal woods and streams,
My fate I weeping sad deplore,
Yet oft my sunny golden dreams,

Do all thy charms to me restore.

Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Life's autumn spend I far from thee,
Oh! shall I never see thee more?

Years fled-enraptured now I see
My own loved native Strath again,
Hail! bonnie Howe! shout I with glee,
Hark! love re-echoes back the strain.

Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
Life's closing eve I'll spend in thee,

And never, never leave thee more!

"Excellent!" said all the members, as with one voice they cordially pronounced their verdict.

"I wish I could sing like you, Maister Robertson," quietly said the Smith; "but my feeble voice, never very gude, is noo a little cracket, an' I dinna hae the same heart to lilt awa' as I used to do in my young days."

"Come awa' wi' your sang," impatiently rejoined the Miller, "We a' ken vera weell you're juist like a win' bag at the burstin'-ha, ha, ha!"

"Order, gentlemen," indignantly said the President. "No insinuations, Mr Miller. Your song, Mr Smith."

"Belangin' as I do, to Douglastown," said the Smith, "I've made up a wee bit sangie aboot my native Kerbet, which I'll sing the best way I can." Sings


Air-"Saw ye my Father."

Sweet were the days by the swift flowing Kerbet,
When I trudged to Kinnettles' wee school;
Or fond wi' young Jessie oft willingly linger'd
To gaze in the deep minnow pool.

Fair were the lawns and the fields of sweet Brigton,
Surrounded by woodlands so green;

The sheep feeding rich in the haughs and the meadows,
The river meand'ring between.

Wild were our pranks with the kind-hearted miller,
As o'er the lade waters we swam ;

Or sly stopp'd the voice of the noisy loud happer,
By shutting the sluice of the dam.

Loud, long our glad shoutings on holiday mornings,
As we play'd on the sunny bright knowes;

Or piled the ripe fruit in our burnish'd white flagons,
As we lay 'mong the blackberry boughs.

I've drank of the waters of many strange rivers,
And gaz'd on fair maidens divine,

But my heart turns to thee, my own native Kerbet,
The sights and the sounds o' langsyne.

"A very sweet song, indeed," approvingly said the Chair


"An' weel sung, too," chimed in the Laird, betraying at the same time considerable uneasiness as the time approached for him to give tangible evidence of his poetical powers.

"Nae shirkin', noo," authoritatively said the Miller. "If ye canna sing, Laird, ye maun juist get up upon your feet an' mak' a speech as lang's my airm; an' if so, it'll no be short, I'm thinkin'."

"We are all impatiently waiting for your song, Laird," said the President, respectfully," and I feel our expectations in regard to your mental and vocal powers will be more than realised."

In obedience to the fiat of his chief, the Laird with great emotion sang


Air-"Katherine Ogie."

From springs on Sidlaw's highest hills
Flows Glamis' bonnie burnie;

And down the glen it murmurs sweet,
Wi' mony a jinkin' turnie.

It laves the meadows bright and green,
Where lasses soft are singing,
And wild woods with the melody
Of happy birds are ringing.

All Nature sang fair Isa's charms,
Heav'n's smiles in bliss revealing,
As to mine own her lips I prest,

And nought from her concealing.
She vowed her heart was wholly mine,
Forsake me would she never;
Believing then her words sincere,
My love I gave for ever.

On still thou flow'st, my bonnie burn,
But thy voice is wild and dreary;
Birds' dowie songs attune no more
My heart so faint and weary.
Woes me! the sunshine of my soul
With her hath all departed:
No longer mine, yet from my heart,
Oh! never to be parted.

The Laird's song had apparently astonished them all, for, instead of instant applause following, as in the case of the others, the members seemed to be struck dumb with amazement, as if they had not expected so fine marble out of such an unpromising quarry.

"That's fine, though," patronisingly said the Miller, at length. "Ye'd surely been jilted, Laird, i' your youth, else ye widnae kent sae weel aboot it."

"We will compare it with your own by-and-by," quizzingly remarked the Chairman. "Now, Mr Miller, we are all attention, sir, expecting you will astonish us by as gratifying an exhibition of the muse's inspirations as those to which we have just listened with so much pleasure."

"What a terrible nicht that is, though," said the Miller,

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