It was the last week in November when the doctor came, himself, to take Phemy home to her father. The day was bright and blue, with a thin carpet of snow on the ground, beneath which the roads were in good condition. While she was getting ready, old David went out and talked to the doctor who would not go in, his wrinkled face full of light, and his heart glad with the same gladness as Kirsty's.

Mrs. Barclay and Kirsty busied themselves about Phemy, who was as playful and teasing as a pet kitten while they dressed her, but Steenie kept in the darkest corner, watching everything, but offering no unneeded help. Without once looking or asking for him, never missing him in fact, Phemy climbed, with David's aid, into the gig beside the doctor, at once began talking to him, and never turned her head as they drove away. The moment he heard the sound of the horse's hoofs, Steenie came quietly from the gloom and went out of the back-door, thinking no eye was upon him. But his sister's heart was never off him, and her eyes were oftener on him than he knew.

Of late he had begun again to go to the hill at night, and Kirsty feared his old trouble might be returning. Glad as she was to serve Phemy, and the father through the daughter, she was far from 158 regretting her departure, for now she would have leisure for Steenie and her books, and now the family would gather itself once more into the perfect sphere to which drop and ocean alike desires to shape itself!

"I thoucht ye wud be ef ter me!" cried Steenie, as she opened the door of his burrow, within an hour of his leaving the house.

Now Kirsty had expected to find him full of grief because of Phemy's going, especially as the heartless girl, for such Steenie's sister could not help thinking her, never said good-by to her most loving slave. And she did certainly descry on his countenance traces of emotion, and in his eyes the lingering trouble as of a storm all but over blown. There was however in his face the light as of a far sunk aurora, the outmost rim of whose radiance, doubtfully visible, seemed to encircle his whole person. He was not lost in any gloom! She sat down beside him, and waited for him to speak.

Never doubting she would follow him, he had already built up a good peat-fire on the hearth, and placed for her beside it a low settle which his father had made for him, and he had himself covered with a sheepskin of thickest fleece. They sat silent for a while.

"Wud ye say noo, Kirsty, that I was ony use til her?" he asked at length.

"Jist a heap," answered Kirsty. "I kenna what ever she or I wud hae dune wantin ye. She nott (needed) a heap o' luikin til!"

"And ye think mebbe she'll be some the better, some w'y or ither, for't?"

"Ay, I div think that, Steenie. But to tell the 159 trowth, I'm no sure she'll think verra aft aboot what ye did for her!"

"Ow, na! What for sud she? There's no need for that! It was for hersel, no for her think-abootit, I tried. I was jist fain to du something like wash the feet o' her. Whan I cam in that day — the day efter ye broucht her hame, ye ken — the luik of her puir, bonny, begrutten facy, jist turnt my hert ower i' the mids o' me. I maist think, gien I hadna been able to du onything for her afore she gaed, I wud hae come hame here to my ain hoose like a deein sheep, and lain doon. Yon face o' hers comes back til me noo like the face o' a lost lammie 'at the shepherd didna think worth gaein oot to luik for. But gien I had sic a sair hert for her, the Bonny Man maun hae had a sairer, and he'll du for her what he can — and that maun be muckle — muckle! They ca' 'im the Gude Shepherd, ye ken!"

He sat silent for some minutes, and Kirsty's heart was too full to let her speak. She could only say to herself —"And folk ca's him half-wuttit, div they! Weel, lat them! Gien he be half-wuttit, the Lord's made up the ither half wi better!"

"Ay!" resumed Steenie, "the Gude Shepherd tynes (loses) no ane o' them a'! But I'll miss her dreidfu! Eh, but I likit to watch the wan bit facy grow and grow till't was roon' and rosy again! And, eh, sic a bonny reid and white as it was! And better yet I likit to see yon hert-brakin luik o' the lost ane weirin aye awa and awa till't was clean gane! — And noo she's back til her father, bricht and licht and bonny as the lown starry nicht! — Eh, but it maks me happy to think o' 't!"


"Sae it maks me!" responded Kirsty, feeling, as she regarded him, like a glorified mother beholding her child walking in the truth.

"And noo," continued Steenie, "I'm richt glaid she's gane, and my min' 'll be mair at ease gien I tell ye what for: — I maun aye tell you a' thing 'at'll bide tellin, Kirsty, ye ken! — Weel, a week or twa ago, I began to be troubled as I never was troubled afore. I canna weel say what was the cause o' 't, or the kin o' thing it was, but something had come that I didna want to come, and couldna keep awa. Maybe ye'll ken what it was like whan I tell ye 'at I was aye think-thinkin aboot Phemy. Noo, afore she cam, I was maist aye thinkin aboot the Bonny Man; and it wasna that there was ony sic necessity for thinkin aboot Phemy, for by that time she was oot o' her meesery, whatever that was, or whatever had the wyte blame o' 't. I' the time afore her, whan my min wud grow a bit quaiet, and the pooers o' darkness wud draw themsels awa a bit, aye wud come the face o' the Bonny Man intil the toom place, and fill me fresh up wi' the houp o' seein Him or lang; but noo, at ilka moment, up wud come, no the face o' the bonny man, but the face o' Phemy; and I didna like that, and I cudna help it. And a scraichin fear grippit me, 'at I was turnin fause to the Bonny Man. It wisna that I thoucht He wud be vext wi' me, but that I cudna bide onything to come atween me and Him. I teuk mysel weel ower the heckles, but I cudna mak oot 'at I cud a'thegither help it. Ye see, somehoo, no bein made a'thegither like ither fowk, I cudna think aboot twa things at ance, and I bude to think aboot the ane that cam o' 'tsel like. But, as 161 I say, it troubled me. Weel, the day, my hert was sair at her gangin awa, for I had been lang used to seein her ilka hoor, maist ilka minute; and the ae wuss i' my hert at the time was to du something worth duin for her, and syne dee and hae dune wi 't — and there, I doobt, I clean forgot the Bonny Man! Whan she got intil the doctor's gig and awa they drave, my hert grew cauld; I was like ane deid and beginnin to rot i' the grave. But that minute I h'ard, or it was jist as gien I h'ard — I dinna mean wi' my lugs, but i' my hert, ye ken — a v' ice cry, 'Steenie! Steenie!' and I cried lood oot, 'Comin, Lord!' but I kent weel eneuch the v'ice was inside o' me, and no i' my heid, but i' my hert — and nane the less i' me for that! Sae awa at ance I cam to my closet here, and sat doon, and hearkent i' the how o' my hert. Never a word cam, but I grew quaiet— eh, sae quaiet and content like wi'oot onything to mak me sae, but maybe 'at He was thinkin aboot me! And I'm quaiet yet. And as sune's it's dark, I s' gang oot and see whether the Bonny Man be onywhaur aboot. There's naething atween Him and me noo; for, the moment I begin to think, it's Him 'at comes to be thoucht aboot, and no Phemy ony mair!"

"Steenie," said Kirsty, "it was the Bonny Man sent Phemy til ye — to gie ye something to du for Him, luikin efter ane o' His silly lambs."

"Ay," returned Steenie; "I ken she wasna wiselike, sic as you and my mither. She needit a heap o' luikin efter, as ye said."

"And wi' haein to luik efter her, he kenned that the thouchts that troubled ye wudna sae weel win in, and wud learn to bide oot. Jist luik at ye noo! See 162 hoo ye hae learnt to luik efter yersel! Ye saw it cudna be agreeable to her to hae ye aboot her no that weel washed, and wi' claes ye didna keep tidy and clean! Sin ever ye tuik to luikin efter Phemy, I hae had little trouble luikin efter you!"

"I see't, Kirsty, I see't! I never thoucht o' the thing afore! I micht du a heap to mak mysel mair like ither fowk! I s' no forget, noo 'at I hae gotten a grip o' the thing. Ye'll see, Kirsty!"

"That's my ain Steenie!" answered Kirsty. "Maybe the Bonny Man cudna be aye comin to ye Himsel, haein ither fowk a heap to luik til, and sae sent Phemy to lat ye ken what He would hae o' ye. Noo 'at ye hae begun, ye' be growin mair and mair like ither fowk."

"Eh, but ye fleg me! I may grow ower like ither fowk! I maun awa oot, Kirsty! I'm growin fleyt!"

"What for, Steenie?" cried Kirsty, not a little frightened herself, and laying her hand on his arm. She feared his old trouble was returning in force.

"'Cause ither fowk never sees the Bonny Man, they tell me," he replied.

"That's their ain wyte," answered Kirsty. "They micht a' see him gien they wud — or at least hear him say they sud see him or lang."

"Eh, but I'm no sure 'at ever I did see him, Kirsty!"

"That winna haud ye ohn seen him whan the hoor comes. And the like's true o' the lave."

"Ay, for I canna du wantin him — and sae nouther can they!"

"Naebody can. A' maun hae seen him, or be gaein to see him!"


"I hae as guid as seen him, Kirsty! He was there! He helpit me whan the ill folk cam to pu' at me! — Ye div think though, Kirsty, 'at I'm b'un' to see him some day?"

"I'm thinkin the hoor's been aye set for that same!" answered Kirsty.

"Kirsty," returned Steenie, not quite satisfied with her reply, "I'll gang clean oot the wuts I hae, gien ye tell me I'm never to see him face to face!"

"Steenie," rejoined Kirsty solemnly, "I wud gang oot o' my wuts mysel gien I didna believe that! I believe 't wi' a' my heart, my bonny man."

"Weel, and that's a' richt! But ye maunna ca' me yer bonny man, Kirsty; for there's but ae bonny man, and we're a' brithers and sisters. He said it himsel!"

"That's verra true, Steenie; but whiles ye're sae like him I canna help ca'in ye by his name."

"Dinna du't again, Kirsty. I canna bide it. I'm no bonny ! No but I wud sair like to be bonny — bonny like him, Kirsty! — Did ye ever hear tell 'at he had a father? I h'ard a man ance say 'at He hed. Sic a bonny man as that father maun be! Jist think o' his haein a son like him! — Dauvid Barclay maun be richt sair disappintit wi' sic a son as me — and him sic a man himsel ! What for is't, Kirsty?"

"That'll be ane o' the secrets the bonny man's gaein to tell his ain fowk whan he gets them hame wi' him!"

"His ain fowk, Kirsty?"

"Ay, siclike's you and me. Whan we gang hame, he'll tell 's a' aboot a heap o' things we wad fain ken."


"His ain fowk! His ain fowk!" Steenie went on for a while murmuring to himself at intervals. At last he said,

"What maks them his ain fowk, Kirsty?"

"What maks me your fowk, Steenie ? " she rejoined.

"That's easy to tell. It's 'cause we hae the same father and mither; I hae aye kenned that!" answered Steenie with a laugh.

She had been trying to puzzle him, he thought, but had failed.

"Weel, the bonny man and you and me, we hae a' the same father: that's what maks us his ain fowk! — Ye see noo?"

"Ay, I see! I see!" responded Steenie, and again was silent.

Kirsty thought he had plenty now to meditate upon.

"Are ye comin hame wi' me," she asked, "or are ye gaein to bide, Steenie?"

"I'll gang hame wi' ye, gien ye like, but I wud raither bide the nicht," he answered. "I'll hae jist this ae nicht mair oot upo' the hill, and syne the morn I'll come hame to the hoose, and see gien I can help my mither, or maybe my father. That's what the bonny man wud like best, I'm sure."

Kirsty went home with a glad heart: surely Steenie was now in a fair way of becoming, as he phrased it, "like ither fowk!"

"But the Lord's gowk's better nor the warl's prophet!" she said to herself.

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