The Bell-Ringer of Angel's and Other Stories HTML version

A Rose Of Glenbogie
The American consul at St. Kentigern stepped gloomily from the train at Whistlecrankie
station. For the last twenty minutes his spirits had been slowly sinking before the drifting
procession past the carriage windows of dull gray and brown hills—mammiform in
shape, but so cold and sterile in expression that the swathes of yellow mist which lay in
their hollows, like soiled guipure, seemed a gratuitous affectation of modesty. And when
the train moved away, mingling its escaping steam with the slower mists of the mountain,
he found himself alone on the platform—the only passenger and apparently the sole
occupant of the station. He was gazing disconsolately at his trunk, which had taken upon
itself a human loneliness in the emptiness of the place, when a railway porter stepped out
of the solitary signal-box, where he had evidently been performing a double function, and
lounged with exasperating deliberation towards him. He was a hard-featured man, with a
thin fringe of yellow-gray whiskers that met under his chin like dirty strings to tie his cap
on with.
"Ye'll be goin' to Glenbogie House, I'm thinkin'?" he said moodily.
The consul said that he was.
"I kenned it. Ye'll no be gettin' any machine to tak' ye there. They'll be sending a carriage
for ye—if ye're EXPECTED." He glanced half doubtfully at the consul as if he was not
quite so sure of it.
But the consul believed he WAS expected, and felt relieved at the certain prospect of a
conveyance. The porter meanwhile surveyed him moodily.
"Ye'll be seein' Mistress MacSpadden there!"
The consul was surprised into a little over-consciousness. Mrs. MacSpadden was a
vivacious acquaintance at St. Kentigern, whom he certainly—and not without some
satisfaction—expected to meet at Glenbogie House. He raised his eyes inquiringly to the
"Ye'll no be rememberin' me. I had a machine in St. Kentigern and drove ye to
MacSpadden's ferry often. Far, far too often! She's a strange flagrantitious creature; her
husband's but a puir fule, I'm thinkin', and ye did yersel' nae guid gaunin' there."
It was a besetting weakness of the consul's that his sense of the ludicrous was too often
reached before his more serious perceptions. The absurd combination of the bleak,
inhospitable desolation before him, and the sepulchral complacency of his self-elected
monitor, quite upset his gravity.
"Ay, ye'll be laughin' THE NOO," returned the porter with gloomy significance.