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From the Mon., Mar. 11, 1861 issue

" If it's a fair question, what pairt do ye live in, leddies? "

We explained, with a similarly wide margin.

"Ye'll have a gay time in the south. Do ye go to many balls?"

" Not to balls. Neither are we very gay— we're too busy."

"Busy—what business have ye!"

"We are both eldest daughters, and that's a perfect labor in itself."

"What ye'll ca' labor—tooming the money out o' your purses upon counters, among silks, and velvets, and things."

"No, no, Mrs. Stewart, not that exactly."

"What kind o' queer letters are they ye had to-day frae hame? Was yon your nanies?"

"No. To amuse the village, we bade them just put on our initials."

She was called to the door by an inquisitive neighbor, who, of necessity, was marched in to criticise us, we bearing the inspection with the most unaffected artiessness. Such was only a specimen of Mrs. Stewart's tactics; for to go through them all, and our answers, would make a tolerably well-sized volume.

"What ladies are these you have with you?" said the minister.

" dinna ken."

"What are their names at least?"

"I canna find oot, sir."

"Why don't you ask them?"

"They wanna tell."

"That does not look well," said the minister; and he ever afterwards honored us with a broad scrutinizing stare, in right of his cloth.

Another person, smitten by the general curiosity, was a daft boy belonging to the village. Everywhere we went, far or near, we saw him some time or other during the day— No matter how early, or how privately we set out, he knew, and set out, too., Sometimes he would walk past us, and then sit down for a long time, and again overtake us. At first, we were a little alarmed and uncomfortable, but when we knew more about him, it only added to our amusement. He never spoke once to us, and never pretended to notice us. No doubt the little spy greatly edified his mother and granny.

"Isn't it queer for a toun-body to look doun into a loch, when they're no accustomed t'it, and see the water wavin' away?" We were thus accosted by a most peculiar, smart, dark-eyed, elderly woman. "Do ye like the Hielands?"

"Ye'll hae seen near everything a'ready? Ye'll hae been walkin' aboot a deal?"

"Yes, a good deal."

"Hiv ye seen the glen fa?"

"No. Where is it?"

"Wad ye like to go? I'm gaun there the noo. It's raal bonny."

We assented.

"Ye'll be the leddies that's stoppin' doun at Mrs. Stewart's?"

We acknowledged it.

"Div ye like her?"

"She is very kind and obliging."

"She's a fine body."

"Is she your sister?" she whispered once to me, indicating Ally with her thumb.

"No; she is not my sister."

"Is she ony relation?"

"None in the world."

"What's her name?"

"I'm afraid you must ask her that yourself."

"What's your's, then?"

"It's such a long one, you could not pronounce it, and it is not worth trying to. "

When we had seen the really beautiful falls, and were on level ground again, she turned to Ally: "What's your name now, miss?"

"People always forget names among these hills; I don't believe you could tell me your own, if I were to ask you!"

With many a long screed of confidential gossip, she tried to tempt us to break our resolution, but in vain.

The lunkeeper "daundered" down also to Mrs. Stewart's once. "Have you never fund out your leddies' names?"

"Ne'er hae I. They winna tell me them, Jenny nor Jessamy, for a' my speerin' at them."

"I'm thinking they wadna hae been sae lang wi' me without my finding oot. Do they get hae letters?"

"Yes; but they hae jist some o' the A B C on them, 'Care o' ' the Postmaster." Such a daft-like thing. It's one o' the things I dinna like aboot them, as if they couldna spell."

"I'm thinking they can do that richt weel."

"I ken that; for the postmaister shewed me twa letters they had addressed to Edinburgh to freends there, and a richt black dashin' hand they baith write; and they helpit me with my accounts the ither night, and richt grand figues they are, for certain."

"I'm thinking they're baith born ladies!"

"No—div ye? Why !"

"Because Lord and Lady and Fitzbohn, they askit me the ither day what was their names, and I tell't them naebody could find oot. And they kind o' laughed, and Miss said: 'I've got a great fancy to find outmysel,' And I said: 'My lady, you'll find them any day you like by the loch-side, for they've begun sketches there,' And she and her mother did go, but I don't know what they said, only they bow to them now, when they meet them, and I heard Miss say: 'They are uncommon in everything'"


"What kind o' lodgers are they ye have?"

"That's mair nor I can tell."

"Hoot, nonsense! What'll be their names then?"

"I never was so beat in my life. I askit the ane, and she said: 'We'll be like the Queen, add not tell our names till we go away' and when I speered at the ither ane, she says; 'What's in a name, Mrs. Stewart ! Peppermint by any ither name would smell as sweet.' But I never can be angry with them, however much I'm provoked at them. We've gotten gey intimate noo; and I like them raal weel. They've been twice butt at nichts wi' me warming theirsels at the fire, and they're rani cheery bodies."

"Why did ye no speer at them then?"

"Ay did I; but a' that I've fund oot is, that they were in Edinburgh before they cam here, and that maist o' their freends are there. I've heard them speak o' this one's carriage and that one's carriage, and this hotel and that hotel, Sir This and Lady That, and Honorable Something Else; and they couldna hae kend thae folk unless they were gey stunnin' theirsels."

"I dinna believe in them. What made them come here?"

"Jist to see the places, and learn to pent things frae natur.&"

"Daft-like leddies."

"The Carry one says to me the ither day: Now, Mrs. Stewart, you must let me wash the tea-cups, and make the beds and sweep the floor, for it's such fun!" And I'm no thinkin' that if she'd been obliged to do it, she wad thocht it fun."

"Na, na; leddies wad hae brawer dresses!"

"Ay, but they're aye neat; and their dresses are made sae funny, like what my mither used to wear; and wil belts round their waists, like wee leddies. But I suppose it maun be the fashion."

"Ony body can get the fashion in Edinburgh. They'll be shopkeepers!"

"Ay, but onybody canna get beautiful goold watches. And I had to wash some o' their linen, and it was sae bonny, wil dabbit holes worked a' round their things, and lace ayont it; and I've heard say that ye ken leddies by that mair than their out-dresses."

"If I were a leddy, I wad wear silks every day."

"And they've got initials on their letters, and is na that the thing only grand folk hae! And the leddies at the hotel bow to them when they meet them!"

"They're no ken nae better! But gude-bye the day. I dinna tak them for gospel, mind."

A Highland lassie had been listening for some time to the conversation. "Sae ye havena fund oot their names yet?"

"No; and I'm no gaun to try it nae mair, for I'm tired o't, and I'm turnin' to like them, and winna bother them."

"They were doun the loch-side this morning again!"

"Ay, at their sketching; and beautiful sketches they make, the Ally ane best."

"Some folk said they werena canny; but dogs and bairns dinna tak to uncanny folk; and if ye saw oor Ruffler—every time he sees them far away, he flees like wnd, and'll hardly leave them; and they bring bits o' biscuits and bread to him. And Miss Robson up there says her dog Roy is the same, and he's a snappy thing. Do ye think they're weel aff?"

"They maun be; or how could they hae come a' this distance for nae business. And they're raal genteel wi' me. I'm sure I could cheat them, if I liket, but they dinna lose onything wi' being free. And, forby, they're sae thankful to me for everything I do; it's a perfect pleasure. They canna be accustomed to lodgings."

"I was raal glad that I cam in and saw them the ither nicht whan they were butt wi' you— they're nice canty leddies, ony gate And if they're sae weel aff as ye think they are, I wish oor Donald wauld fa' across ane o' them, for he's every bit a gentleman barrin' the money, and that he canna win muckle o', for a' his hard wark at the tailorin'. Poor man, he's guid enough to be a marrow for onyhody!"

"Deed is he. He's a perfect jewel of a man!"

Thus was our past and future mapped out for us by the village—not that their guesses came near the truth. Their ignorance was bliss; their ignorance was the mother of admiration.

The night before our departure, we were very confidential and friendly with Mrs. Stewart before her bright blazing fire. We had been directing her how to forward our luggage, and gave her labels with the longcoveted names and addresses. "You see they are not much worth knowing, after all; But hasn't it been a good joke? What a deal of fun and clatter it has given both the people and us! What do they think of us? Do they think we are cracked—or what?

"No. How should I know? We don't, I say"—

"I understand. But you know quite well that more than half of these Gaelic harangues were about us."

"Such nonsense. Folk are sae conceited as to think we're speakin' o' them, when we talk in our mother-tongue."

"Maybe I know more of your mothertongue than you are aware of—so take care. "

"No! Do ye?"

"What do they say about us?

"They think ye're raal, fine, honest, sonsy lassies, o' the richt cut, and no feared for a Highland peatmoss."

"And I think they're quite correct; don't you? Will you keep up the mystery about us when we're gone, for your private amusement?"

"Deed will I."

"Town will be a great change to us, Mrs. Stewart. Will you miss us?"

"Ay, won't I though! And won't ye miss me and my ingle-cheek, and my bit crack? ye'll no get the like in Edinburgh."

"No. We won't get such fun again for a long time, for they keep us in trim order at home."

"Puir things!"

"But I'm so sleepy, and we're to be up so early—we must go."

I drew out my watch.

"What a fine watch! Is it a motionless one?"

"No. Listen!" and she examined it amid our hearty laughing.

"Good night, Mrs. Stewart. It't the last time we'll say that to you."

"Dlana break my heart, lassies. I hope it'll pour rain like the mischief the morn! "

"That's not a kind wish, Mrs. Stewart, for we must leave in any weather. Good-bye, in case we leave before you are up in the morning.

"Do you think I wad let ye leave my house without rising at ony hour to mak yer breakfasts?"

And true enough Mrs. Stewart was up, though not usually an early riser; and when the inhabitants of the village were all astirring, "the nameless lassies" had vanished in the same mysterious manner as they had come.

I believe Mrs. Stewart kept up the talk a good while even after we left, for her own amusement. They need it all, poor things; for I know that even when we were there, we heard them talk about the visitors of the preceding summer; and as to how long we would last them in that line, I cannot pretend to guess. But as a secret when told is no secret, we won't tell it now, and let our readers make the most of it, as our Highland neighbors did.