Chapter XXXVII.
 

At the end of six months George Fielding's stock had varied thus. Four hundred lambs, ten calves, fifteen cows, four hundred sheep. He had lost some sheep in lambing, and one cow in calving, but these casualties every feeder counts on; he had been lucky on the whole. He had sold about eighty sheep, and eaten a few but not many, and of his hundred pounds only five pounds were gone; against which and the decline in cows were to be placed the calves and lambs.

George considered himself eighty pounds richer in substance than six months ago. It so happened that on every side of George but one were nomads, shepherd-kings--fellows with a thousand head of horned cattle, and sheep like white pebbles by the sea; but on his right hand was another small bucolical, a Scotchman, who had started with less means than himself, and was slowly working his way, making a halfpenny and saving a penny after the manner of his nation. These two were mighty dissimilar, but they were on a level as to means and near neighbors, and that drew them together. In particular, they used to pay each other friendly visits on Sunday evenings, and McLaughlan would read a good book to George, for he was strict in his observances; but after that the pair would argue points of husbandry.

But one Sunday that George, admiring his stock, inadvertently proposed to him an exchange of certain animals, he rebuked the young man with awful gravity.

"Is this a day for warldly dealings?" said he. "Hoo div ye think to thrive gien y'offer your mairchandeeze o' the Sabba day!" George colored up to the eyes. "Ye'll may be no hae read the paurable o' the money changers i' the temple, no forgettin' a wheen warldly-minded chields that sell't doos, when they had mair need to be on their knees--or hearkening a religious discourse---or a bit psaum--or the like. Aweel, ye need na hong your heed yon gate neether. Ye had na the privileege of being born in Scoetland, ye ken--or nae doot ye'd hae kenned better, for ye are a decent lad--deed are ye. Aweel, stap ben led, and I'se let ye see a drap whisky. The like does na aften gang doon an Englishman's thrapple."

"Whisky? Well, but it seems to me if we didn't ought to deal we didn't ought to drink."

"Hout! tout! it is no forbedden to taste--thaat's nae sen that ever I heerd't--C-way."