Harking back to her own childhood, Margaret Oliphant captures in a few words the ambience of the old singing game "Janet Jo".
For a description of the game itself, see this excerpt from The Popular Rhymes of Scotland by Chambers (1870, pp 140-142). Mrs Oliphant would have been most familiar with the first version described, the Edinburgh version.
As Peter and Iona Opie wrote: "The appeal of the game must have lain in the mesmeric to-ing and fro-ing of request and repulse, and the mock solemnity of the funeral, which burst into sudden excitement when Janet Jo came to life and chased the mourners." (per The Singing Game, Peter and Iona Opie, 1988.)