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A Little Gipsy Lass

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
THE young man stood on the deserted platform of the small, north country station, just where the train had left him, on that bright August evening. Yonder she was speeding east wards against the breeze. Against the breeze, and along towards the cliffs that o'erhung the wild, wide sea, the end of the last carriage gilded with the rays of the setting sun, the smoke streaming backwards and losing itself over the brown green woods that stretched away and away till lost in a haze at the foot of the hills. He hailed a solitary porter. 'This isn't a very inviting station of yours, Tom, is it?' 'An awful good guess at my name, sir,' said the man, saluting. 'Your name is Tom, then?' 'No, sir—George,' he smiled. 'But any name does; and as for the station, weel, it's good enough in its way. We only tak' up or pit doon by signal. But you'll be English, sir?' 'That's it, George; that's just it. I'm only English. But, so far, I am in luck; because I understand your talk, and I thought everybody here ran about raw, with kilts on and speaking in Scotch.' 'So they do, sir, mostly; but I've been far south myself. No, sir, no left luggage room here; but if you're going to the inn I'll carry your portmanteau, though ye'll no' find much accommodation there for a gentleman like yourself. Besides, it's the nicht of the fair, and they'll be dancin' and singin' in the road till midnicht.' 'But,' said the stranger, 'I'm bound for Loggiemouth, if I can only find the way. I'm going to a gipsy encampment there—Nat Lee's or Biffins'. You know Nat Lee?' 'Well, and curly headed Lotty too. But, man, you'll have ill findin' your road over the moor the nicht. It's three good Scotch miles, and your portmanteau's no' a small weight—a hundred and twenty pounds if an ounce.' This young man, with the sunny hair, square shoulders, and bravely chiselled English face, seized the bag with his left hand and held it high above his head, much to the admiration of the honest porter. 'You're a fine lad, sir,' said the latter. 'An English athlete, no doubt. Weel, we all love strength hereabouts, and Loggiemouth itself can boast of bonny men.'