Indeed, the tin-roofs of the churches and public buildings give this city a splendid look on a bright sunshiny day, testifying, moreover, to the dryness of the air. Captain Stoddart took me all over this curious city, and kindly introduced me to one of the partners of a great mercantile house, who invited us both to dinner.
But the breath that stirred the loch where Tom Stoddart lay and mused in his boat, soon became to him merely the curl on the waters of lone St. Mary's or Loch Skene, and he began casting over the great uneducated trout of a happier time, forgetful of the Muse. He wrote another piece, with a sonorous and delightful title, "Ajalon of the Winds."
Banffshire can claim a Stoddart, and Morayshire the two M'Kessocks, the Laird of Ardgay, and the tenant of Balnaferry; and I do not know which to admire most, the daring and skill of the laird, or the caution and skill of the tenant, Macdonald of Blervie, through whose hands three-fourths of the store cattle in Morayshire pass.
Ere I could tell my story Stoddart sent an answering blast up the steam pipe to let the skipper know his signal was being attended to; and then, pulling back the lever of the throttle valve, the piston began to go up and down, the cylinder oscillated from side to side and the crank shaft revolved at first slowly, but presently faster and faster until we were now going to the utmost of our pace.
I wanted to do my work the better that I loved her. Thus week after week passed, with little that I can remember worthy of record. I seldom saw Miss Oldcastle, and during this period never alone. True, she played the organ still, for Mr Stoddart continued too unwell to resume his ministry of sound, but I never made any attempt to see her as she came to or went from the organ-loft.
Poor Jackson, however, the other fireman, was gripped tight between two of the plates and it was all we could do to release him, Stoddart having to use a jack-saw to force the edges of the plates back." "My God! horrible, horrible!" ejaculated the skipper, terribly upset and concerned. "Poor fellows; Jackson, too, was the best hand Stokes had below!"
Now I recollect Stoddart did promise me some wine when he was last in England; but I suppose he has forgotten it. But from the produce I must return to the island and my passengers. The first day of their arrival they ate their dinner, took their coffee, and returned to bed early to enjoy a comfortable night after so many of constant pitching and tossing.
Brooke reflected in time that he had not had the personal acquaintance of the Augustan poet "I was going to say, poor Stoddart, you know. That was what he said. You ladies are always against an independent attitude a man's caring for nothing but truth, and that sort of thing.
Ah, replied my gentle fair, Beloved, what are names but air? Choose thou whatever suits the line; Call me Sappho, call me Chloris, Call me Lalage, or Doris, Only, only, call me thine. Some time after this, Mr. Coleridge being in an ill state of health, recollected that a friend of his, Sir John Stoddart, was the Judge at Malta, and he determined to repair to that island.
Up they came and swept past Miss Oldcastle upon Judy's pony, and Mr Stoddart upon her horse; with the captain upon his own. How grateful I felt to Mr Stoddart! And the hope arose in me that he had accompanied them at Miss Oldcastle's request. I had had no fear of being seen, sitting as I was on the side from which they came.