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CL A N- A L B Y N:

A National Tale.

BY

MRS. JOHNSTONE,

AUTHOR OF "ELIZABETH DE BRUCE,” ETC. ETO.

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G. ROUTLEDGE & CO., FARRINGDON STREET.

1853.

249.6.75.

CLAN-ALBYN,

| National Tale.

CHAPTER I.

No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear,
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier ;
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned,
By strangers honoured, and by strangers mourned.

POPE.

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In a dark and stormy night in November 17—, Ronald Macalbyn, a Scottish Highlander, left the hamlet of L- to cross the mountains to Glen-Albyn, a solitary and remote valley in the Western Highlands. In the person of Ronald were invested the various trades of blacksmith, farmer, distiller, and drover; and in the last capacity, he had just been attending a cattle fair, annually held at L as agent for the little community to which he belonged.

The leave of absence which Ronald had obtained from his wife was for one day; but at the fair he had met with many clansmen and old friends, and his social propensities were of the most ardent kind. It was on the evening of the third day that he reluctantly bent his way homeward, revolving some probable tale with which to appease the anticipated clamours of his help-mate. Like most of the procrastinating sons of mortality, Ronald had averted the evil day as long as possible. In the midst of his jollity, the idea of his wife had, indeed, intruded; but it still fled before the jests of Mr. Wingate, top-master to an English drover, and the pipe of "Piper Hugh;" or was drowned amid the quaighs of Fairntosh with which he laboured to keep his spirits buoyant.

It was now when alone, and exposed to the fury of the tempest, that all the terrors of the reception he expected congregated in dismal array before him; and the thunder* which broke on the surrounding mountains, rolling in long, deep peals through the

* In the West Highlands thunder is very common in winter.

CAN-ASTY,
die gastened car in awful reverberation

* Rr draded moral thunder
vesicht Ronald to anticipate.

ALA" thought Ronald, “let alor
In anus suid to-night;" and

-s, nesania me plaid shawl which he h Feriepair

*** Vantate Hiwid pity me.” And t R1: Siasa panu w like high treas IS Hinta: he and to give it a local ha

seembar it in wonis; for the la nisha mins to those of the real Mas elementeriae surrme authority.

Ramniwan nasing recace; and Ronald, leavi
his meascar Marinued to frame and reje
suspension his conduct, or averting its punis

"I wenus Nimesomead for me," he exclaimed
lasti trend with this idea, he was urving on his hors
What the animal sudarsopped short and refused to advang
Rims who counci dale mar an oppsing host of his own speci
wirà un anche cher, and found curage in danger, felt a
the national awe ani rad of being of a suprior nature. Now,
was
in te Renali, that bith hones and dogs can discov
spuris sibie to huzaan ken; his wife had often assured hi
that has the surnal rumbles rouil tempt aime supernatural visita

have been to shine his heuer was cume; and, in a voice that shoc
wich einir, denizde "if any one stopped the way." No ansı

surnel Hesin artempted to make his horse proceed, b
Dennual was noted to the spot; and, to confirm his worst fear
Shirley

began to howl mest mitevusly. Ronald, nearly distract
with cernir, shouted in a louder tone, and, mingled with the echo
finale voice: Mis muuratt instantly revived, and, heartily asham
sf his tears, he alished, and leading his horse forward a few pace
discutere a temale leaning on a ditt by the side of the path.
"Tis a sad night," sid Ronald, in Gaelie.

Are you a strange
vived no intelligible answer; and he repeated his observation an

God help you! are you alone?" Ronald r interrogatory in the best English he was master of:

m, indeed, alene," said the female in a feeble voice; ar To the next hamlet," she replied: " is it still far distant: sind if you can ride behind me, I give you a thousand welcomes

or a countrywoman

Ronald inquired whither she was going:

Dut declined his ofler. Ronald would strip off his slip-on, and.com

a the
ert it into a pillion for her accommodation; this was likewise de
clined. - If she would ride alone, he would lead forward the horse-

"I cannot indeed," said she, earnestly; "when I have rested,
Biopo I shall be able to go on."

Half petted by her peremptory refusal, Ronald remounted, and slowly rode off.

"It is a pitiful night for any Christian soul to be out and alone in the middle of Glenlenan,” said Ronald, addressing his roughcoated steed; "and that a woman, a stranger too,-English, or Irish, or Lowland,-a soldier's wife, I warrant, crossing the countries, poor thing, to Fort - Well

, women are all alike positive. It will be three in the morning before she gets through the glen; and then, a mighty likely thing that Mr. Daniel M'Pherson will open the New Inns to a soldier's wife: and then, the river to-night will be dreadfully swelled—the poor thing might be drowned.”.

These probabilities smote the simple, but humane heart of Ronald. “I will return, and at least tell her of the stepping stones,” thought he; "perhaps she is come to reason, and I will bring her home. She might be afraid to meet me in that lone place, I will tell her whose husband I am.'

Ronald, besides the courteous hospitality of the national, and the kindness of the individual character, had a third motive for pressing the stranger to accompany him to his home. He knew that his wife, to a violent temper, united a generous disposition; and that her anxiety to welcome and accommodate the stranger would divert the displeasure his lengthened stay must have occasioned. He retraced his steps.

“I am returned,” cried Ronald, as he again approached the wandering female, “to tell you that the stepping-stones are now removed to the pebbly shallow, where the old willow dips into the stream, by the Cairn of the Hunter.'”

Ronald received no answer, but his ear caught a faint hollow moan, that seemed to announce the separation of body and spirit. He was instantly on his feet, and caught the unfortunate female in his arms, as she was sinking from an attempt to rise.

"Don't be afraid, poor soul,” said the kind-hearted Highlander, in a voice which instinctively softened to the expression of sympathy and encouragement; don't be afraid of me, I shall take good care of you.-Don't you know that I am Ronald,—the smith's wife's husband ?” -“Ronald's wife's husband” received no answer; but in a short time he learned that his wretched companion was seized with the pangs of child-birth.

“For the love of God, I pray thee, have me conveyed to the shelter of some roof, and to the care of some female ; what a condition is mine!” and she shuddered with the mingled agony of body and spirit.

Ronald placed her gently under the shelter of a projecting cliff, stripped off his upper garments, and wrapped them around her ;even the new shawl was put in requisition ;-for Roland, forgetting that he was—“his wife's husband,"--only remembered that he

The trampling of the horse's feet was the usual signal for Ronald's wife to commence her cannonade; but when she saw her husband, instead of his customary slow and hesitating mode of entrance, furiously dashing open the wattled door, she blessed

was a man.

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