“What gars ye gang stravaguin’ that get, Meg, whan ye ken weel eneuch ye sud a’ been in to worship lang syne? An sae we maun hae worship our lanes for want o’ you, ye hizzy!”
“I didna ken it was sae late, mither,” replied Margaret, in a submissive tone, musical in spite of the rugged dialect into which the sounds were fashioned.
“Nae dout! Ye had yer brakfast, an’ ye warna that hungry for the word. But here comes yer father, and ye’ll no mend for his flytin’, I’se promise.”
“Hoots! lat the bairn alane, Janet, my woman. The word’ll be mair to her afore lang.”
“I wat she has a word o’ her nain there. What beuk hae ye gotten there, Meg? Whaur got ye’t?”
Had it not been for the handsome binding of the book in her daughter’s hand, it would neither have caught the eye, nor roused the suspicions of Janet. David glanced at the book in his turn, and a faint expression of surprise, embodied chiefly in the opening of his eyelids a little wider than usual, crossed his face. But he only said with a smile:
“I didna ken that the tree o’ knowledge, wi’ sic fair fruit, grew in our wud, Maggy, my doo.”
“Whaur gat ye the beuk?” reiterated Janet.
Margaret’s face was by this time the colour of the crimson boards of the volume in her hand, but she replied at once:
“I got it frae Maister Sutherlan’, I reckon.”
Janet’s first response was an inverted whistle; her next, another question:
“Maister Sutherlan’! wha’s that o’t?”
“Hoot, lass!” interposed David, “ye ken weel aneuch. It’s the new tutor lad, up at the hoose; a fine, douce, honest chield, an’ weel-faured, forby. Lat’s see the bit beuky, lassie.”
Margaret handed it to her father.
“Col-e-ridge’s Poems,” read David, with some difficulty.
“Tak’ it hame direckly,” said Janet.
“Na, na,” said David; “a’ the apples o’ the tree o’ knowledge are no stappit wi sut an stew; an’ gin this ane be, she’ll sune ken by the taste o’t what’s comin’. It’s no muckle o’ an ill beuk 'at ye’ll read, Maggy, my doo.”
“Guid preserve’s, man! I’m no sayin’ it’s an ill beuk. But it’s no richt to mak appintments wi’ stranger lads i’ the wud sae ear’ i’ the mornin’. Is’t noo, yersel, Meg?”
“Mither! mither!” said Margaret, and her eyes flashed through the watery veil that tried to hide them, “hoo can ye? Ye ken yersel I had nae appintment wi’ him or ony man.”