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“ He loves not the laughter of Children? ”
Go bury that Man! He is dead :
Set a Grave Stone close to his head.
Watch all the wild pranks of the Children,
And live your life over anew;
Fall fresh on the Spirit like dew.
Sing--shout-and be glad, O Children !
Gray Skies glow golden yet, ,
THE MILLER'S KIRN.
“CEPTEMBER Seeventeen," was a memorable o day in Castlebraes.
The night before, word had been sent from Cottage to Cottage that the Miller wanted all his Harvesting finished next day, that the Leddy had prepared a Merry Kirn, that every man and woman would be welcome who cared to help on the morrow, and particularly that all the Bairns of the Village were invited and expected. This was the distinctive characteristic of the Miller's Kirn, and came to be looked forward to by all the Youngsters, and not less in truth by Fathers and Mothers. They talked of its coming, from the first day that Harvesting began ; and it served them for many an evening's crack, through the Fall, and far into the Winter.
It would be — “D'ye mind this, at the Miller's Kirn?” or “D'ye mind that, at the Miller's Kirn?”
—and then would come some funny reminiscence, at which Children and Parents alike laughed with glee.
Or, it would be,—“Wull the Miller be sayin' this, at the Kirn?” and, “Wull the Miller be daein' that, at the Kirn?”—and bright eyes sparkled with expectant delight.
I had heard the rumour as far as Tinlie Tower; and, having been already assured by Moudie Jamie that “The Cheery Miller was seen at his best, yince an' only yince every year, and that was at the Kirn, whan he flooered oot, as it were, and than faded till the next annual burst,”—I quietly resolved to be one of the Party, by hook or crook, at the Miller's Kirn.
The Afternoon, however, had begun its race, before I could invent an excuse for appearing on the Harvest Field, the last whereon stooks now stood, by feigning some preposterous pretence of consulting the Miller. But I need not have been so sensitive. For, as I passed the Stackyard, where the ricks were being finished off amidst laughter and cheers, the first salutation was from Moudie
“Welcome, Laird ! Ye'll be in at the deith. But the Leddy 'll no grudge ye yer Kirn, like the lave. Fa' tae, an' relieve the Miller. He's been fowin' without a break, since fower i' the mornin'. We maunna let him get ower sair forfochten. That wad spoil the Kirn, an' disappoint a' the Bairns !”
This sally was hurled at me from the top of a rick, where, without a pause, Jamie was receiving and bedding sheaf after sheaf, every second, bantering away, but never drawing breath.
“Thanks, Jamie, for a job for an idle man ! I'm right glad of the chance," said I, hastening on to the Harvest field. There, about two score of Children were tumbling and tossing, over sheaves and under stooks, playing at Tig round and round the carts, and in and out amongst the horses' feet, in the most alarming manner,—the Cheery Miller hounding them on to all sorts of mischief, and filling all the fields with laughter, as one after another got into scrapes, and ran greeting to their Mothers, crying," It was the Miller did it! It was na me; it was the Miller.”
“Ye're welcome, Laird,” said the Miller to me, "but I doubt ye'll no get muckle peace here, the day.”
“Moudie Jamie,” responded I, entering into the spirit of the occasion, “gave me my orders; and I'm here to obey. You are now to deliver up your fow to me, and reserve yourself for the Evening's
Seizing the fow, I threw aside my coat, and, with muscles fresh and strong and disciplined, I soon established an enviable reputation.
“Lovan—entie—me, Laird, but ye could mak’ yer breid at the Hairst wi' the best o us!” cried the Miller, slapping his dusty thigh with pride and surprise.
“Collidge wark's no a' brain-wark,” shouted Jamie from the top of his rick,“the Laird can haunle tools, ma certy!”
On that Harvest field, there was neither Master nor Mistress, neither Servant nor Laird. All were as one,-perfectly at ease with each other, perfectly united in working together towards a common issue ; no self-seeking, no indolent scamping ; but every one doing all he could, and the best he could, with heart