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the feu, more especially as he is a favourite with the Sub-Prior, and then he may live in the auld tower like his worthy father before him—and who kens but Mary Avenel, high-blood as she is, may e'en draw in her stool to the chimney-nook, and sit down here for good and a'?-It's true she has no tocher, but the like of her for beauty and sense ne'er crossed my een; and I have kenn'd every wench in the Halidome of St Mary's—ay, and their mothers that bore them—ay, she is a sweet and a lovely creature as ever tied snood over brown hair-ay, and then, though her uncle keeps her out of her ain for the present time, yet it is to be thought the grey-goose-shaft will find a hole in his coat of proof, as, God help us! it has done in many a better man's-And, moreover, if they should stand on their pedigree and gentle race, Edward might say to them, that is to her gentle kith and kin, whilk o' ye was her best friend when she came down the glen to Glendearg in a misty evening, on a beast mair like a cuddie than aught else?'—And if they tax him with churl's blood, Edward might say, that, forbye the old proverb, how
Makes gentle bleid ;
yet, moreover, there comes no churl's blood from Glendinning or Brydone, for, says Edward".
The hoarse voice of the Miller at this moment recalled the dame from her reverie, and compelled her to remember that if she meant to realize her airy castle, she must begin by laying the foundation in civility to her guest and his daughter, whom she was at that moment most strangely neglecting, though her whole plan turned on conciliating their favour and good opinion, and that, in fact, while arranging matters for so intimate a union with her company, she was suffering them to sit unnoticed, and in their riding gear, as if about to resume their
journey. "And so I say, dame," concluded the
Miller, (for she had not marked the beginning of his speech) "an ye be so busied with your housewife-skep, or aught else, why, Mysie and I will trot our way down the glen again to Johnie Broxmouth's, who pressed us right kindly to hide with him."
Starting at once from her dream of marriages and inter-marriages, mills, mill-lands and baronies, Dame Elspeth felt for a moment like the milk-maid in the fable, when she overset the pitcher, on the contents of which so many golden dreams were founded. But the foundation of Dame Glendinning's hopes was only tottering, not overthrown, and she hastened to restore its equilibrium. Instead of attempting to account for her absence of mind and want of attention to her guests, which she might have found something difficult, she as
sumed the offensive, like an able general when he finds it necessary, by a bold attack, to disguise his weakness.
A loud exclamation she made, and a passionate complaint she set up against the unkindness of her old friend, who could, for an instant doubt the heartiness of her welcome to him and to his hopeful daughter; and then to think of his going back to John Broxmouth's, when the auld tower stood where it did, and had room in it for a friend or two in the worst of times-and he too a neighbour that his umquhile gossip Simon, blessed be his cast, used to think the best friend he had in the Halidome! And on she went, urging her complaint with so much seriousness that she had well nigh imposed on herself as well as upon Hob Miller, who had no mind to take anything in dudgeon; and as it suited his plans to pass the night at Glendearg, would have been equally contented to do so even had his reception been less vehemently hospitable.
To all Elspeth's expostulations on the unkindness of his proposal to leave her, he answered composedly," Nay, dame, what could I tell? ye might have had other grist to grind, for ye looked as if ye scarce saw us—or what know I? ye might bear in mind the words Martin and I had about the last barley ye sawed-for I ken dry multures* will
Dry multures were a fine, or compensation in money,
sometimes stick in the throat. A man seeks but his awn, and yet folks shall hold him for both miller and miller's man, that is miller and knave,* all the country over."
"Alas! that you will say so, neighbour Hob," said Dame Elspeth, 66 or that Martin should have had any words with you about the mill-dues. I will chide him roundly for it, I promise you, on the faith of a true widow. You know full well that a lone woman is sore put upon by her servants."
"Nay, dame," said the Miller, unbuckling the broad belt which made fast his cloak, and served, at the same time, to suspend by his side a swinging Andrew Ferrara, "bear no grudge at Martin, for I bear none- -I take it on me as a thing of mine office to maintain my right of multure, lock and goupen. And reason good, for, as the old song says, I live by my mill, God bless her,
for not grinding at the mill of the thirl. It was and is accounted a vexatious exaction.
* The under miller is, in the language of thirlage, called the knave, which indeed signified originally his lad, (KnabéGerman) but by degrees came to be taken in a worse sense. In the old translations of the Bible, Paul is made to term himself the knave of our Saviour. The allowance of meal taken by the miller's servant was termed knave-ship.
The multure was the regular exactions for grinding the
The lock (signifying a small quantity), and the
The poor old slut, I am beholden to her for my living, and bound to stand by her, as I say to my mill-knaves, in right and in wrong. And so should every honest fellow stand by his bread-winner.
And so, Mysie, ye may doff your cloak, since our neighbour is so kindly glad to see us-why, I think, we are as blythe to see her- not one in the Halidome pays their multures more duly, sequels, arriage, and carriage, and mill-services, used and wont."
With that the Miller hung his ample cloak without further ceremony upon a huge pair of stag's antlers, which adorned at once the naked walls of the tower, and served for what we vulgarly call cloak-pins.
In the meantime, Dame Elspeth assisted to disembarrass the damsel whom she destined for her future daughter-in-law, of her hood, mantle, and the rest of her riding gear, giving her to appear as beseemed the buxom daughter of the wealthy Miller, gay and goodly, in a white kirtle, the seams of which were embroidered with green silken lace or fringe, entwined with some silver thread.
goupen, a handful, were additional perquisites demanded by the miller, and submitted to or resisted by the Suckener as circumstances permitted. These and other petty dues were called in general the Sequels.