Owing to the prevalence in our neighborhood of some particular patronymics--Macdonald, Mackintosh, Mackenzie, and the rest--many individuals are distinguished by what is called in Ardmuirland a "by-name." Some of these are furnished by the title of the residence of the family in question, others by the calling or trade of father, mother, or other relative; thus we have "Margot of the Mill," "Sandy Craigdhu," as examples of the former, and "Nell Tailor," "Duncan the Post," of the latter. Still more variety is obtained by the mention of some personal trait of the individual, such as "Fair Archie," "Black Janet," and the like. Willy Paterson's wife was commonly known by such a by-name; every one spoke of her as "Bell o' the Burn," from the name of her childhood's home.
Bell is a spare, hard-featured body--not attractive at first sight, though when one comes to know her, and the somewhat stern expression relaxes, as the lines about the mouth soften, and the brown eyes grow kindly, one begins to think that