I took a hand at the cairts and sang a lilt like the rest; but I was luiking for Alick's company to fill up my cup of happiness. The time wore on, and it was getting close to the hour at which he might be expectit. I kenna what ailed me, but I felt strangely uneasy and anxious for his coming. 'Here he is at last! I said to myself, as my heart gave a jump at the sound of a foot on the gravel walk.
I hae h'ard o' cairts, an' bogles, an' witchcraft, an' astronomy, but sic a thing as this ye bring me noo, I never did hear tell o'! What can the warl' be comin' till! An' dis the father o' ye, laddie, ken what ye spen' yer midnicht hoors gangin' teachin' to the lass-bairns o' the country roon'?" She was interrupted by the entrance of the laird, and they sat down to breakfast.
They playt cairts thegither, they drank thegither, they drave oot thegither for the auld captain never crossed beast's back an' what made sic frien's o' them nobody could imaigine. For the tane was a rouch sailor chield, an' the tither was a yoong lad, little mair, an' a fine gentleman as weel's a bonny man.
Ye wad be thinkin' ye was i' yer bed whan ye was i' the mids' o' the middin', or pu'in' the blankets o' the denk dub ower yer heid! Lord! my lord, yet micht set the hoose o' fire, an' burn a', baith stable an' byre, an' horses an' cairts, an' cairt-sheds, an' hiz a' to white aisse in oor nakit beds!" "Hold your outlandish gibberish," returned his lordship. "Go and fetch me some whisky.
It was pathetic to see how Mr Cupples's right hand, while he looked at the cards in his left, would go blindly flitting about the spot where his glass had always used to stand; and how, when he looked up unable to find it, his face shadowed over with disappointment. After those two or three games, he threw down the cards, saying, "It winna do, bantam. I dinna like the cairts the nicht.
But I maun tell you the story frae the beginnin'. You've mibby heard me speak aboot Meg Mortimer's mither that used to bide at The Drum. Meg's in a big wey o' doin' noo in Edinboro; but I've seen the day, I'm thinkin'! Weel div I mind when her mither flitted ower frae Powsoddie. She cam' along to oor hoose to seek the len' o' twa kists, juist to gie her flittin' some appearance on the cairts.
The general opinyon sattled doon to this,'at they twa bude till hae fa'en oot at cairts, an' fouchten it oot, an' the auld captain, for a' his skeel an' exparience, had had the warst o' 't, an' so there they faun' 'im. But I reckon, Cosmo, yer father 'ill hae tellt ye a' aboot the thing, mony's the time, or noo, an' I'm jist deivin' ye wi' my clavers, an haudin 'ye ohn sleepit!"
I hae the cairts on me, maybe ye'd take a hand, sir, at Beggar ma Neebour, or Catch the Ten? Ye needna be feared, a can pay gin I lose. He dragged out his cards, and a handful of silver. The rough customers between whom Merton was sitting began to laugh hoarsely. The old gentleman frowned. 'I shall change my carriage at the next station, he said, 'and I shall report you for gambling.