With the help of the neighbour from next door, Jim got her upstairs into the room that had been hers. She awoke from her swoon only to fall into the torpid sleep of exhaustion, which lasted for twelve hours. 'Keep her oot o' ma way, said the father with an oath to Jim, 'or aa'll not answer nayther for her nor me! She needed no telling.
"My leddy," answered the stranger maiden, "it is little that I can promise, and less that I can do; but if ye desire to see yer son, I think I could answer for accomplishing yer request; an' though nae guid micht come oot o't, I could also say that I wad see ye safe back again."
There's that gran' place they ca' Huntly Castel! a suckin' bairn to this for age, but wi' wa's, they tell me, wad stan' for thoosan's o' years: wad ye believe 't? there's a sowlless chiel' o' a factor there diggin' park wa's an' a grainery oot o' 't, as gien 'twar a quarry o' blue stane!
"It micht be safer tae lift the instruments oot o' reach o' the water; wud ye mind haddin' them on yir knee till we're ower, an' keep firm in yir seat in case we come on a stane in the bed o' the river." By this time they had come to the edge, and it was not a cheering sight.
"Ye're wrong, sir-r," said Tam quietly; "the groond's a fine place to test a wee perambulator or a motor-car or a pair of buits but it's no' the place to test an aeroplane. The aeroplane an' the submarine maun be tried oot in their native eelements." "But suppose you did succeed in breaking something and you went to glory?"
I have heard it likened to 'the ill place, wi' the fire oot; but it did not so impress me when first, after long desire, I saw it. There was nothing to suggest the silence of once roaring flame, no half-molten rocks, no huge, honey-combed scoriae, no depths within depths glooming mystery and ancient horror. It was the more desolate that it moved no active sense of dismay.
"I'd gie 'im to ye, mon, gin it wasna that the bit lassie wad greet her bonny een oot gin I didna fetch 'im hame. Nae boot the bit tyke wad 'a' deed gin ye hadna fed 'im." "Eh, man, he'll no' bide with me, or I'd be bargaining for him. And he'll no' be permitted to live in the kirkyard. I know naething in this life more pitiful than a masterless, hameless dog."
The sound of the first shot in the pit nearly frightened him out of his wits, and he listened nervously to every dull report with a strange uneasiness. About one o'clock his father called to him. "Dinna tak' that hutch oot the noo, Robert. Just let it staun', an' sit doon an' tak' yir piece. Ye'll be hungry, an' John an' me will be out the noo if we had this shot stemmed."
And there can be naething ye're callt upon to du, sae lang as she's i' the grup o' the enemy, but rugg her oot o' 't. Gien ye dinna that, ye'll never be oot o' 's grup yersel. Ye come oot thegither, or ye bide thegither. Gordon sat speechless. 'It's impossible! he said at length.
But when an artist's time has come, when he has come to know his audiences, and what they like, and why then it is different. And by this time I was a veteran singer, as you micht say. I'd sung before all sorts of folk. They'd been quick enough to let me know the things they didn't like. In you days, if a man in a gallery didna like a song or the way I sang it, he'd call oot.