It was a chilly Scotch spring day. The afternoon sun glistened with fitful, feeble rays on the windows of the old house of Kirklands, and unpleasant little gusts of east wind came eddying round its ancient gables, and sweeping along its broad walks and shrubberies, sending a chill to the hearts of all the young green things that were struggling into life. On the time-worn steps of the grey mansion there stood a girl, cloaked and bonneted for a walk, notwithstanding the uninviting weather. 'It's a fule's errand, I assure ye, Miss Grace, and on such an afternoon, too. I've been askin' at old Adam the gardener, and he says there is no one o' the kind left worth mind in' in all the valley o' Kirklands. So do not go wanderin' on such an errand in this bitter wind, missy. ' The speaker was an old woman, standing in the doorway, glancing with an expression of kindly anxiety towards the girl, who leant on one of the carved griffins of the old stone railing.