We had to hover a blink till Mistress Mikaver ran ben the hoose for a knife to Mey Mershell. "Mester Bowden 'ill say the grace noo," says Aleck; an' Sandy was on his feet like the shot o' a gun, hostin' to clear his throat. I dreedit he wud mak' a gutter o't somewey or ither, an' so I keepit my een open. Sandy shut his, an' so did a' the rest.

Mistress Mikaver had the stair noo whitened, an' every stap was kaumed an' sandit, ye never saw the like. An' there she was hersel' wi' her best black goon on, no' a smad to be seen on't, an' her lace kep an' beady apron. She was a dandy, an' nae mistak'.

"He's an ill man that blackgairds his wife, altho' she were the deevil's sister," says Mysie; an' even Ribekka gae her moo a dicht, an' whispered to hersel', "Eh, aye, that's a troo sayin'." "I'll no' say a wird again' men," said Mistress Mikaver, "for Wellum was a guid man to me"; an' she took a lang breth throo her nose, an' lookit up at the picture abune the chumla.

Mistress Mikaver wud hae me alang to a cup o' tea lest Teysday efternune; so I gae my hands an' face a bit dicht, an' threw on my Sabbath goon, an' awa' I gaed. I fell in wi' Mistress Kenawee on the road, an', gin we landit, there was a gaitherin' o' wives like what you wudda seen ony mornin' at the Mossy Wall afore the noo water supply was brocht in aboot the toon.

Afore Sandy got up the stair he manished to mairter the feck o' his Sabbath claes wi' the whitenin'; an' I was akinda feard Mistress Mikaver micht mistak' him for the scone-baker's ghost. But we got him made gey snod, an' syne we gaed inby to the ben-hoose fireside, an' had a crack wi' young Aleck. That's the son's name.

We gaed awa' to hae a cup o' tea wi' Mistress Mikaver that's the scone-baker's widow, ye ken. Her auldest laddie's been awa' oot amon' the Reed Indians, or some o' thae ither lang-haired, naked fowk 'at never wash themsel's; an' they say he's made a heap o' bawbees. He's a snod bit stockie a little beld, an' bowd-leggit, an' wants a thoom.

"Noo, juist see an' mak' yersels a' at hame," said Mistress Mikaver, in her uswal fizzy kind o' wey. "An', as the auld sayin' is, gin ye dinna like what's set doon, juist tak' what ye brocht wi' ye," says Mistress Winton, an' set's a' to the lauchin'. You never heard sic a cratur for thae auld-farrant sayin's; an' Mysie's no' far ahent.

Mistress Mikaver was quite my leddy, an' was rinnin' frae the teen to the tither o's juist terriple anxious to mak's a' at hame, an' makin's a' meesirable. I windered that the cratur didna gae heidlang ower some o' the stules she had sittin' aboot; but she got through wi' a' her fairlies an' the tea maskit withoot ony mishap, an' we got a' set roond the table for oor tea.

Mistress Mikaver had oot her mither's cheenie, an' a braw tablecloth, o' her mither's ain spinnin' she tell'd's. She has an awfu' hoosefu' o' stech, Mistress Mikaver; press efter press, an' kist efter kist fu'. I ashure you, the lass that gets young Alek 'ill no want for providin'.