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bed! Whan I loupit in last nicht, I thocht I was gaunna
"Not yet," answered his visitor; "but Mrs Ford has sent me ben to say that breakfast is nearly ready.”
"What! is she gaunna gie me my breakfast tae? That's far owre kind; but, hoosumever, I'se rise at ance. Get awa wi' ye, sir; ye hae naething tae dae tae stand and look at an auld man's legs." Thus admonished, Henry departed, and going to the kitchen, where the landlady was busily engaged in the spreading of bread and butter, took up a book, till Andrew appeared. He had to wait but a short time, indeed; for Andrew was not one who took long to his toilet. The usual good mornings having been interchanged, the little party sat down to their simple yet comfortable meal. "Dinna forget to write to Mr Everly the day," said Mrs Ford to Henry. "Ye ken he'll be as glad to hear aboot Diamond as ony
FRAUD AND FRIENDSHIP.
"I mean to do it the first thing after breakfast," mumbled Henry,
with his mouth full.
Speak o'ahem!—and he'll appear!" exclaimed Andrew, as Richard entered at the moment, having let himself in with his pass-key.
"Ha! a comfortable-looking party, I declare,” cried Richard, stopping short, and regarding them with a smile.
"And just as comfortable as we look, Mr Everly," answered Andrew, with a nod. “There's a poorfu' change since ye were
Ay, that there is, Mr Everly," exclaimed Mrs Ford. "I was just this moment bidding Henry write to ye, to say that Andrew's gotten a letter frae Diamond. Guid sake! ye dinna seem a bit
astonished at the news!"
“No news to me, I assure you,” replied Richard, drawing a chair to the table, and sitting down very composedly.
"Nae news!" echoed the landlady and Andrew, while all three
looked at him in amazement.
"None whatever. I posted the letter which you got."
"Then ye'll ken where Diamond is now!" cried Andrew, ex
Perfectly well. I saw her not an hour ago."
"Ha!" ejaculated Henry.
"Hech me!" said Mrs Ford.
"The like o' that!" gasped Andrew.
"Then where is she?" asked the latter.
"With her parents," answered Richard, quietly.
"Her parents, did you say, Mr Everly?" cried Henry, springing up. "Yes, Henry; let me congratulate you. She has found her parents at last."
"Nonsense, sir!" cried Andrew, hotly. "She has nae parents, neither faither nor mither. I'm her faither, sir, and her mither tae, for that part o't. There sall naebody tak her frae me." "What, Andrew! would you be so selfish as keep her from those whose child she is, and who have for so many years mourned her loss?"
"But who-who are they, Richard?" inquired Henry.
“Those whom, I dare say, you would have chosen for her, had such a choice been in your power-Mr and Mrs Gray."
It would be in vain to describe the effect of this communication. All faces brightened with joy and wonder; even Andrew's melted into satisfaction, and lifting up his hands and eyes, he uttered an inward, thankful prayer.
"But how was the discovery made? Tell us all about it," said Henry, with glistening eyes.
Richard proceeded to give them a minute detail of all that had taken place, so far as he knew, from the moment of Diamond's dis appearance. To this they listened with intense interest, and mingled feelings of indignation and admiration. Every one was delighted; but Richard thought that Henry did not appear so joyful as might have been expected, seeing that the objection which Diamond had to their union was removed. He seemed to be supremely satisfied with the discovery that had been made; but a shade of melancholy came and went on his face, which his friend could not understand. He took no notice of it, however, but delivered the commission with which he had been charged, namely, that Henry and Andrew were to accompany him to Newington immediately. "Me! Have they sent for me?" cried the delighted old man. "Ah! I kenned Diamond wadna forget auld Andrew."
No, indeed," observed Mr Everly. "And she requested me to bring the carriage for you, for she remembered your rheumatism." "Bless her kind heart!" murmured the pressman, dashing off the starting tears with the back of his hand.
They were quite ready, and eager to set out, and in a few minutes were seated in the carriage, and rolling up the High Street.
"Have a care o' me! but this is curious," said Andrew, half to himself, for this his first ride in a carriage had filled him with strange feelings. "Na, it bates a'," he continued. "The hooses are rinnin' past us like the wind. There's the Tron Kirk awa swuffin' by, and a the folk on the street. Eh! Henry, man! there's Wullie Geddes gaun awa doon to the King's Hoose. Little dis he
ken that his croney Andrew is hurlin' alang the South Brigg in a braw coach."
FRAUD AND FRIENDSHIP.
Richard was amused by Andrew's droll remarks, but Henry gave little heed to them. He was too much occupied with his own grave thoughts, and the same sad expression which Richard had viously noticed flitted over his countenance. But he said nothing, and Mr Everly deemed it prudent to seem as if he did not observe it.
"What's that little denty body beckin' and booin' to me for?" exclaimed Andrew, as they were going along Nicolson Street.
Richard looked towards the pavement, and immediately pulled the check-string.
"Guidness! if he hisna stoppit the coachman wi' his roarin'; and here he comes to speak. I never saw the man atween the een afore." Richard bent forward, and held his hand out at the window. "Good morning, Mr Strickland," he exclaimed. The worthy lawyer came forward, blowing very hard, his round, goood-humoured face flushed with the run he had had.
"How do you do, Mr Everly? I thought you were to leave town the other day."
“I did. I have been to Netherton and back since I saw you."
"Not unfortunate, the opposite of that; but something very important, and connected with our friend Mr Gray. We are just going to Newington. Can you not come with us? There is room you here."
Richard opened the door, and the little man jumping in, he again closed it, and the carriage rolled on.
Mr Strickland knew Henry, and nodded to Him, but he looked rather curiously at Andrew.
"A friend of mine-Mr Pringle-a very worthy gentleman," said Richard, smiling.
The lawyer made a most profound bow; and Andrew thought he could do no less than return it, which he did with substantial inte rest; for the carriage giving a jolt at the moment when his head was bent at the lowest, he flew forward, and pitched it directly against Mr Strickland's stomach.
The worthy little man winced a little under the concussion; but the ludicrous look of concern which the old man assumed, and the undisguised mirth of the others, forced him to laugh.
"Hae I scruzed yer puddins, sir?" asked Andrew, still on his knees, and looking up at the lawyer with an anxious countenance. The latter assured him that he was not hurt, and Andrew gathered himself up from the bottom of the carriage.
Before they reached the house, Richard had imparted to the lawyer the present interesting state of matters.
THEY reached Newington, drove to the front of the house, and alighted. No one appeared to welcome them; but Richard got a glimpse of a sweet, eager face peeping between the curtains of the drawing-room window.
He led the way to this apartment, opened the door, and pushed Andrew forward. The old man ventured over the threshold as if he were treading upon eggs; but every feeling of shyness and modesty vanished when he caught sight of Diamond running forward to meet him. With a cry of joy he opened wide his arms, into which the happy girl threw herself, and nestled confidingly in his bosom, as she had been wont to do. Andrew saw not and heeded not any one else. He strained her to his heart, and kissed her brow again and again, while tears came coursing down his wrinkled cheeks.
The others looked on this scene with deep emotion, and not an eye was dry.
"My ain pet, hae I seen ye again?" whispered Andrew, drawing off a little to have a look at her face. "O Diamond, lass, we hae had sair hearts aboot ye-me, and Henry, and us a'. The covetous, bad-hearted rascal, to carry ye aff in sic a sinfu' way, and threaten to wrang ye as he did. He sud get his neck raxed wi' a hempen gravet.
"Nay, my good Andrew," said Diamond, patting his cheek with her slender hand. "He doubtless had no intention of doing me service; but, you know, if I had not been carried off, I would not have discovered my parents."
Very true, hinnie. It's a' happened for the best."
See, here are my parents waiting to welcome you too." Andrew looked up, and saw Mrs Gray standing before him. "Yer servant, mem," he said, releasing Diamond, and making his best bow to the lady.
The blessing of a grateful mother be yours, sir," exclaimed Mrs Gray, shaking him warmly by one hand.
"And of a grateful father too," said her husband, taking his other hand, and holding it firmly in his own.
Thus taken captive by two grateful hearts, Andrew could only. look first at the one and then at the other in astonishment.
FRAUD AND FRIENDSHIP.
"What hae I dune to ye, that ye treat me wi' sic kindness?” he inquired, innocently.
"Ah! we know the generosity and devotion you have shown to our child," said the father, earnestly. Diamond, as you call her, has told us how tenderly you have watched over and protected her. It is to you she owes her correct training, her good principles, her pure, simple, undefiled habits. Neither she nor us can ever repay you for what you have done, but
"Dune?" echoed Andrew, in wonder. "I hae dune naething but my duty, and far less than I sud hae dune. Unless I had had the heart o' a stane, and no o' a man, I couldna hae but been drawn to the little sweet-faced infant that lauched up in my face. And if I did bring her up, has she no dune as muckle and far mair for Has she no been a' my comfort and consolation for years? She's the bonniest, and best, and kindest-hearted lassie in a' Embro'."
“She is indeed, and the more honour to you for it," said Mr
"I'm just vext for ae thing," observed Andrew, shaking his head
"No, no," cried Diamond, clinging to him. you; we shall live together still."
"I will not leave
"You may depend on that," said her father. "This house is big enough: it will hold you very well. You will live with us, and she will be your child as well as ours."
Andrew could not make any reply to this very kind offer. He
Diamond was disappointed by the way in which Henry met her.
He must know this, and yet there was a lingering sadness about